I smelled spring in the air today and it was magnificent in all its damp, rotting mulch glory

A watery sun broke through some of the clouds and bathed all the dead grass with a brassy glow

it released more aroma of the hay fields down the road, alfalfa turning up the allergy meter to almost intolerable

but it still felt damned good and warm and my skin expanded to its normal size after some weeks of shrinking as close to my insides as possible

it was tight and it loosened with an inaudible sigh

and when it loosened up my mind loosened up right along with it

Winter pinches and squeezes a body more so after fifty, squeezes the mind and the mood and the spirit into drafty little corners of darkness

I’ve felt claustrophobic this year and it feels like a too-small overcoat that chafes my skin

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Pretty kitty and Casey

I washed my sheets yesterday. I moved my bed a foot. I cooked for the first time in two months-no, three. I threw away one more useless item.

Good night’s sleep by my standards means that I woke up fewer than ten times and fell asleep again before the night clerk at Hotel Anxiety rang the bell. I had a good night’s sleep.

No clean sheets, though. They are drying now. I slept on a bare mattress, contrary to every tenet of home training I had. I did drag the covers off my absent roommate’s bed (she’s temporarily in a nursing home. I hope.) and her cat immediately found a corner of the blanket to knead and suck. That poor feral baby slept against my legs all night, her delicate ethereal weight letting me know that she exists in a sad, grieving place of confusion.

Two cups of black coffee have a sedative effect. Feral kitty and and Black kitty settle in: her at my calves, him down my back. I think they like this routine.

Lunch is leftovers. I wanted a fish sandwich. I’m lying. I wanted two fish sandwiches. The echoes of depression voices channeled by my mother, filtered by my guilt, amplified by my depression keep me at home, in slippers, the clothes I’ve slept in for four days, and well, shit, it’s Monday.

Tomorrow might be better. I might be able to slog through the mud and fog again. Today, today continues.

black hanging bridge surrounded by green forest trees
Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

I put a new roll of toilet paper . . . On the holder.  It felt like I’d completed a workout in the rain barefooted.

Depression is a catch-all term for a whole plethora of symptoms relating to the psychological and physical inability to function like normal people do in the real world. Allegedly. We depressives tend to not talk much about the various ways our depression will sabotage our efforts to function. I like to write. I like to create. Mostly, what I do is nothing. My bed calls me, dirty sheets and all. And every time I crawl under the covers, right before I sigh with exhaustion, I think, I should change the sheets and throw these in the washer and take out the trash and wash the dirty dishes and clean the kitty pan and . . .

Two hours later, the nap has succeeded in making me feel worse. I still can’t move, though. I should hang up those clothes. I should go visit my friend in the nursing home. I need to write. I have some orders I could be working on. Those dishes aren’t cleaning themselves. Those sheets are getting sadder by the minute.

Depression lowers the immune system. Being the misanthrope I am these days, about half the time I go out of the house, I get sick with something: bronchitis, stomach viruses, strained tendons, 6-5 and pick’em.

My truck had four active recalls on it when I took it in for work. 24 hours later, I felt like a new deckhand working a tuna boat on the Atlantic in January with a violent storm blowing in. My cat curled up on my head, all 17 pounds of him, purring like a kitty generator. I firmly believe that my fever would have lasted at least another day if not for his medical intervention. As soon as I started sweating, he moved down to my icy feet and draped himself over them until they warmed up. Three days later, I’m still not well physically. Kitty did check on me last night, delicately licked my eyelid, and settled down for a nap on my painful shoulder, purring contentedly.

The first glimmer of a break in the clouds just happened a few minutes ago. You see, I try to listen to comedy bits, and they say laughter is the best medicine. It’s actually more like a vitamin supplement: the placebo effect temporarily supplants the depression. This small window of not-feeling-hideous could be used to wash the sheets, I suppose. I’m going to try it, see if this actually makes it to the bedroom. If it does, Ch. 2 might be a progress report.

 

 

 

scenic view of the trees
Photo by Alex on Pexels.com

There’s a curious freedom in dreams

curious and crucial

it makes for exciting scenarios, heroic actions, perfect endings with perfect partners

perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect body

And just for that while, that vivid, fantastic dream period, the smile in the mirror contains all the wisdom that unlocks every mystery, answers every question that my fevered mind shouts into the void:  Two nights in a row,

My lost love reappeared to let me know that all those feelings never left completely

that what we’ve built separately could have never been accomplished together, because

Together, we were complete. Together, we reached the pinnacle.

There would have been no need to strive for more, to engage every ounce of energy in creating a place of serenity, for we were already serene together

And for a few minutes, I embrace the wisdom of dreams, the divine message of meaning and hope

that I cannot fathom when I am awake

And it feels quiet and good and perfect for a few minutes.

scenic view of mountains during dawn
Photo by Stephan Seeber on Pexels.com

 

This morning, I arrived at the intersection of mortality and denial.  The past, present, and future sat at a cafe table, sipped lattes, and watched as my steps became hesitant.

The past delicately placed a five on the table.  “My money’s on knowledge.  She’s seen this one before and chose–well, if not wisely, then correctly.”

Present added a fiver. “I don’t know. Lately, she’s been just waiting and not doing. I’m going with what I see now.”

Future smirked and placed a ten under the cold candle. “You all know I have to cover both positions.”

I looked both ways and sighed. There must be a third choice I cannot yet see.  Frost may have gotten it wrong. I took out my notebook and started writing down the possibilities.

Wings sprouted from my shoulders and lifted me up, over the intersection, over the obstacles, away from the cafe. From above, I could see both roads.  I clutched my notebook to my chest and smiled. So, the writer’s way, then.

A passing waiter collected the money off the table and smiled at the trio staring openmouthed as I disappeared.

“It’s a push. Better luck next time.”

marsh

 

 

 

He tucked a cigarette behind his ear and stared at the blinding sand and the sad, blinding, dead-end strip of sand stared back

It knew it would win in the end

I watched his boot trace a silly amoeba, then dot a couple of eyes with the toe

and the sand stared back

There’s a silence in the country that pierces deep and dark and fills unsuspecting hearts with historical grief from hundreds of years of spilled blood and screams and ripped out hope

‘Stay here and suffer’ the silence begged. ‘Let it eat you alive, this soul stabbing pain’

He let the old rage come in and fill his body with pulsing red  He felt a high pitch of keening sorrow as it pushed aside the rage

it stabbed his lungs

He fell to the sand, the eternal sand

the wondrous grounding of soul came to quiet

He dipped a finger into the sand and tasted grit  tasted salt  tasted what was

what is  what will be

the beating of his heart remains connected to the sand

He felt dizzy and heard a drumbeat of the elders passing him a mantle

in the passing of a low rider

I dragged these boots through the mud for months

Through the beating sun

Through biting flies

Through circles of swamp and lonely cold beans in the can

Through dusty nameless plains of cactus and snakes

I fell to my knees

I stared at cool stars until the fever broke and rest came

I am, I go on, I am empty, I go crazy and try to touch the sky

I chew on solitude

It tastes like old leather

And aches of a sky so blue it snatches my breath away

There is no turning back from these atrocities. There is no “I was just joking” minimizing.

This is the pivot point. We either reclaim our humanity or we continue down hell’s path.

I spoke to a woman who was nonchalant. She said, I’m legal. I stared at her. She was engulfed in “I got mine.”

I shopped today, minding my place. White supremacy. It hangs on me like a spiderweb.

I don’t know how to shed it. But I can do something. I can be one among many.

I can be non-centered. This isn’t my world. I just live in it. I can speak out as a human.

I make it an awareness and a yoke.

It is. It is a sunset in the finite understanding of tarot card readers and icy cold beers drawn from a

tap.

What is inside curls like smoke to the air.

It bends in the darkness that has settled over this big, brawling country.

My tiny flame, other tiny flames will form the fateful lightning of a terrible, swift sword. And truth will march on…

The afternoon breeze whipped a fly-spotted curtain into that peculiar fabric dance of letting go

I sweated and smoked, blew rings that vanished honorably like poets from decades ago flicked the same ashes as they thought drowsy thoughts and contemplated what words,

what words, what words

There aren’t any words.  There’s just the bottle that drips time down to the table.

Time.

And soon, as the sun sets with orange and purple twilight chomping at the bit to bring its brief blaze of glory, a glorious interlude between sweating and swearing and yearning

to cool streetlights, nature night sounds, rustlings of words that sneak by in the dark

little thieves of time and comfortable existence

I lost a day somewhere in the ether where beer, getting old, and christian holidays mix together in a stew of oh, I don’t know, maybe a lot of bullshit?

I was thinking today about how I want to be liked by strangers. Not loved, not desired. Liked.  As if my wellbeing depends on what some random piece of shit says to me. I feel guilty when slights occur, as if I have some kind of power over someone else to feel a certain way.  I thought about this when a friend of mine got dragged very harshly by some people and I wanted to defend her, but short of saying that they were scum sucking sociopaths, I was stumped.  Years ago, someone browbeat me in an online conversation that I was blindsided by and had no answer for, so I shut down. What I really wanted to do was go after the person with both fists and as many insults as I could hurl, but I didn’t.

It came to me that I was raised to be nice. Be nice. Be nice, put others first. Be nice, your wants don’t matter.  Be nice, don’t hurt others’ feelings. Be nice, excuse others’ behavior.

Be nice.

Be nice.

I turned into a doormat.  I turned into a pile of mush. I was weak-willed because of the constant admonition to be nice.  I sincerely regret that I took that to heart.  It caused me no end of trouble my whole life.  I became someone I am not. Be nice.

Be nice.

I admired in a limited way, people who spoke for themselves, ever mindful when they would fall off the “nice” track.  They were then bad, and therefore unworthy of my time or attention.

I see all this with a keen hindsight and no small amount of anger, but-no, I’m done being nice.  I’m done excusing my shitty upbringing. I’m done dealing with other people’s arrogance because for sure, I’m not storing jewels for my crown in heaven.  There is no passing grade.  This is it.

This thing called life is it.