Thursday, December 18, 2014

have you ever felt free, realizing you couldn't make a fortune?

                                                and they cut my red coat off me

yes, the dust is settling after my flight over the hood of a small sedan. friends have been terrific, bringing food, chauffeuring me to doctors and lawyers, washing clothes and vacuuming the floor. i just shaved off my two week beard. ah, ten years younger, not quite the derelict i was yesterday. hallelujah!

sitting outside the lawyer's office, looking up into the green trees and grey skies, i felt liberated. i'm alive, only a fractured ankle to show for this little mid-winter adventure. (i realized my life has simply been one little adventure after another.) 

"so" he said, "you have a choice, get tangled in litigation, maybe lose money, or make a few bucks. or simply do nothing." do nothing? friends had been saying, "maybe you'll get a settlement, twenty or thirty thousand." on the verge of a decrepit old age, that sounded promising. then i got the police report. my heart dropped. an Hispanic woman with three kids, old car, living in the poorer part of town and lousy insurance. 

at that moment i knew my fate was sealed. that said, a tiny grain of greed remained when i got to the office of the law. the lawyer gentle, helpful, fun, not your idea of the evil guy. slowly, going over the papers, he let the truth be known. and once i had made my decision (when in doubt do nothing) i myself felt i'd evaded the clutches of the court.

oddly, i found out people on the lower end of morality try to get hurt, so they can sue. and here's the guy (me) not even on scale who keeps remembering the driver crying over my body, "i'm so sorry. i'm so sorry. i didn't mean to do it." how could i attack the virgin mary when she cried for me in a way no one else ever has. 

goodbye, limousines, trips to the hesperides, nights in the darkest depths of paris depravity. i'm left staring up at blowing branches, thinking, 'i'm alive, how did that happen?'

Young at Heart: Feeling Younger Than Your Actual Age Linked to Lower Mortality

By Kristin J. Kelley
What's the key to living longer? While eating your broccoli and running probably play a role, so might self-perceived age. People who feel younger than their actual age have reduced mortality, according to a research letter in JAMA.
U.K. researchers analyzed data from some 6500 adults aged 52 years and older who were asked, "How old do you feel you are?" Almost 70% of participants reported feeling at least 3 years younger than their actual age, 25% felt close to their actual age, and 5% felt more than a year older than their true age.
During approximately 8 years' follow-up, mortality was lower in participants who felt younger (14%) than in those who felt their actual age (19%) or older (25%). After adjustment for covariates (e.g., age, ethnicity, sex), feeling older than chronological age was a significant independent predictor of mortality. A relationship existed between self-perceived age and cardiovascular death but not cancer death.
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Saturday, December 6, 2014

guardian angel sydney saves me from certain death

after two days in the hospital, lots of ex-rays, cat-scans, being probed, i'm back in my little cottage. plenty of sores, pains, walking with a walker, and only one little chip off my ankle. i don't know how you did it, sydney. i flew over the hood of the car, down the right side, breaking the rear-view mirror, and landing face-down on the pavement. 

after dark, lots of headlights shining on me, me determined not to move a muscle before the medics arrive. poor woman who hit me crying, 'i'm so sorry, i'm so sorry.' she'd been talking with her kids in the rear-view mirror and didn't see me till she hit me (at thirty-five miles an hour). normally i'm super-careful, even in a cross-walk. i wore my fire-engine red coat and a waved a flashlight in my hand. that last gave me a false sense of security.

you know, ambulance rides rough, they seem to hit every little bump. i'd always imagined it would be riding on air. they emt's superb. they kept me talking. the real trembling didn't start till later. even now i have little after-shocks. i'd been sure, hit in my right hip, that bit of elderly anatomy would be crushed. first x-rays  showed no such thing. suddenly, i am sliding back and forth in this tube, back and forth. good heavens, when does this end?

okay, i do have a moment where i wish i'd been hit head-on and dead, all my troubles over, no more effort to be made, the end chosen for me. that passed, me pretty sure i didn't mean it, the only pain i'm feeling in the hip. later, i find the real damage to my left ankle, though that relatively minor, even looking like a bloody, blown-up inner-tube. 

of course, this means sydney saved me so i could save the world. Syd, i've been trying my whole life and never gotten anywhere. someways the situation of human beings better than in 1940, and in other ways worse, ie. we've grown no wiser. i love to walk, and will be very happy to do that again. friends have been spectacular. pays to be aging in a community you know. the hospital folks spectacular. true, i did feel a bit sidelined once they realized they wouldn't have to do anything dramatic. 

fifteen minutes of stardom, the hard way. i'd recommend you run naked through a stadium, if you really need the attention.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

the value of companionship

couples have always boggled my mind. i wonder, 'why? why?' all i seem to focus on are their fights, which do take up a lot of time and energy. who in their right mind would like living with a person who criticizes them day and night? who redesigns their style? and so on. it doesn't make any logical sense, or does it? 

for better or worse, companionship provides attention, both good and bad. as a guy in a movie said, 'well, with a woman you have to be cleaner.' and i don't think that's awful. it's pretty easy to go to seed when you lose your dignity, stay in a job too long, lose track of time. 

time, that's the big one. my friend sandy said many years ago, 'time is what makes us human.' partnering forced me to spend more time in the now than i wanted to! for a day-dreamer a reminder to take out the garbage comes like a clap of thunder. the good side of this: you're shaken out of thoughts of the transitory nature of things, how your life is passing. mainly, you don't have time to think. 

hmm, what's the relation between time and thinking? if the first makes us human, the second makes of us decaying gods. what do i mean by that? the problem of science and the objective distasteful. in other words, i become fallible and failing. Entropy, that's the word. no matter how much energy i store up in creative endeavours it drains away as i grow  older.  the meaning of it to me lessens. 

true, i'm often delighted with a poem i've written, or a picture i've taken. they take me out of time in the way any relationship does. i escape into order, delight in light and color, laugh at myself for having been so wise. alas, time comes back and bites me. my knee, fifteen years after a bike accident, suddenly reminds me i have been pretty stupid at times. old hurts start to ache. bending over to favor them, i strain my back in the shower. 

now, i do know the essence of regrets: if i'd done something else, i'd never have grown older. unfortunately, that means i would have had to be someone else. and only boredom or brain-damage seems to do the trick. am i always weighing the costs and benefits? consciously, i don't think about it. on the other hand, i've always tossed in the cards when a situation evolves into anxiety. 

yes, i end up preoccupied with my partner's problems, trying to fix them. and in the process i lose my sense of being. it does solve the terror of time passing. i can't even consider my own decay, attempting to shore up someone else. if i have a tragic-comic flaw, that has to be it. 

here's a poem on the subject under discussion:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

if you want to understand american politics

election results? bah, humbug. i'm trying hard not to be disheartened this morning. the ME  party sweeps into power. yes, i know the score. they'll dump the economy back in the abyss, as they've done since the 1920's. the feeding frenzy begins. and when i'm flailing in the pits, the public will call back the YOU party to get the economy on its feet. once that happens, the YOU party will be thrown to the dogs. 

i could have called this 'the american myth of selfishness', in other words, no taxes, no government is good for your personal health. even people i know who make a living completely off taxes, they too resent paying any! and i'm almost one of them, except i don't make enough to lose much when april returns with its rains. 

oddly, this may be okay. when the indexes dive, unsuccessful companies fade away and the entrepreneurs fight for their lives and a slice of the pie. once the fat trimmed and firmly in the pockets of the wealthy, the pig dies and everybody else loses a lot of what they've stashed away. this could be called The Great American Political Cycle. 

i know it confounds all logic. in fact, this morning my head aches. my eyes can't believe what they see, even if it's to be expected. 'a goose in every pot!' no one believes it as they're standing in the bread line. if, on the other hand, they can load their baskets at the supermarket, it's time to 'throw the bums out.' as eric hoffer said, 'you can never have enough of what you really don't want.'

what will now happen in the battle zones, since war good for the economy and suppliers can charge for a thousand meals when they've only provided for forty-five? i suppose the hawks will be out there, screaming to the skies. and it's just plain weird to me the country needs foreign bloodshed to protect itself. and, damn it, so far it works!

yes, this morning i'm a pretzel, and not even one of my favorites with feta and spinach. i don't want to believe what i know. of course, as the chiropractor facing me a couple of days ago said, 'you've got a knee problem? alas, at seventy-four you have to expect everything to wear out from this day forward.' an honest sermon, and not one i wanted to hear. 

he did get me back on my feet, able to put in storage all the summer's detritus, things i have but really don't need. often i feel like a little fish avoiding the sharks in the ocean. and to mix metaphors, like any animal i do my best to survive on dry lands. a few tears have been added to the ocean by yesterday's vote, and numerous cigars have been lit to dry what's left in my eyes. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

the tangled web we weave

                                                  (and after the humans are gone?)

i'm really having trouble being optimistic about the future of human beings. october doesn't help, a cold wind blowing out of the east, fire season coming to a close. soon i'll be plunged into the world of traffic sounds, students, death, disease. in fact the ebola epidemic just spreading out of africa. o boy, lots to look
forward to!

here's a picture with the title: "drive one mile straight up for an hour and you leave the atmosphere" i read this somewhere awhile back and suddenly this put everything in perspective. we (i) exist under a very shallow envelope of oxygen and filters calming down the heat of the sun. think: driving sixty miles on the ground, it goes by in a flash. and if we're in outer-space, no breathing without a suit. 

common knowledge, common knowledge, so sue me! i do wonder what will happen to humanity after i'm gone. will the survivors reach the other planets, settle down to lives under artificial domes, eat regenerated, 3d printed food? if we're lucky. and at this point that's be best i can hope for. humans multiply like rabbits, every increase leads to a war for territory, not to mention the effluvia thrown into the air. yes, i'm banging my head on the wall of the future, not even knowing what it will be. 

until yesterday. i received an e-book by a friend, david helton, met in greece almost fifty years ago. thanks to the net, we re-contacted with each other. after greece and many dubious, unmentionable peregrinations, he ended up in england for the past thirty years. wife, daughter, and a list of journalistic and script writings for the BBC as long as my arm. here's the cover of his present work:


voila', he's way ahead of me, thinking about the re-population of earth by the diaspora into the solar system. what might the conditions be? how could the idiots who fled into space still not be idiots on returning to earth? his hero, a seventy-year old immune survivor, Gibbous Moon, decides he'll end his days walking out into the wilderness. for better or worse, he runs into the aliens, who are now returned homo-sapiens, especially the religious fanatics who decide the earth belongs to them.

if this sounds both adventurous and philosophical - Tokien meets Ray Bradbury - it is, and often the misunderstandings very funny. there's a bit of warfare and sex, and very appealing characters from the moon, mars, and titan, among other celestial bodies. they make any ideas discussed come alive, and there is a victory of cries out for a sequel. what happens to the wonderful folks he's created? i'm dying to know, left suspended in space like them.

of course, nobody's settled off our planet yet and at the rate we're exploiting the planet and each other, we may not. i like having what's to come have something in it for our ancestors. hope isn't exactly what i'm after, but i'd like to see the kids get a chance. 

by accident i've just done a series of photos somehow mixed up with the themes of dave's book:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

i have never, ever been accused of common-sense

yet, i'm still here. traveling on impulse, i can't say i've planned anything. when i travel, i simply go, guidebook in hand, and explore the territory i know absolutely nothing about. and when i did a production of Racine's Phaedra, my mentor said, 'i'd never tackle anything like that. it's way too tough.' i've never really asked if something were possible or not (except the immature desire for a mate). i launch, and look for wings on the way down.

that said, i have been working on a closer relationship with my guardian angel. climbing into my car to drive the feather river canyon, i ask the flighty one to put his pinions around me and i feel much better  with the white feathers tickling my nose. true, i know the poor fellow will have to give up some day and let me go. imagine the loneliness, the lack of a job, the loss of face.

i do, of course, believe in the power of circumstance. true, as a child and tiny god, i knew nothing could phase me. lately, i've been doing some pretty stupid things, like eating grapefruit, when the label on the cholesterol medicine says explicitly not to. that happened last week and i don't know what stratosphere i've inhabited these past few days. and the worst is, i didn't notice a thing!

i do have to admit, a friend of my mother told her 'he will be alright. he has common-sense.' where she got that idea, i don't know. living in a divided berlin basement, chancing unreliable sexual adventures on a greek island, spending forty years writing poetry, doesn't sound like a healthy and balanced mind, which, by the way, is filled with equivocal memories of the dastardly sort, close encounters of the weirdest kind.

sitting alone on a mountain day after day, forgetting the sound of my own voice, wavering in and out of dreams, last night i wandered through my invisible city. i call it new york. no, it bears no resemblance to the real thing . my three years on manhattan didn't teach me a jot. in this dream town i'm always learning lessons, like don't lend a lame man my camera, or stay out of the shower when there's shooting in the hallway.

geeze, how many times have i fallen asleep at the wheel: in the wee hours, in broad daylight, swinging back into my lane in the knick of time? i've often thought human beings so careless and stupid, they couldn't be surviving on their own. i don't know my guardian angel's name yet. individuality of that sort seems forbidden. i've threatened to give it one and, boy, do those feathers tremble!