1

Stroke My Terror

You don’t want to go where this leads
I dropped my airpod on your breasts
You never give me your honey but
the coffee you serve is the best

I stroke my terror to find joy
Oh I’m going to burn in Hell alright
I promise I’ll burn well though ‘cause
mother said if you’re going to do it do it light

myself on fire, drop dead on the spot
i’m happy to be hurt by your mysterious
ways, the abyss is underneath the table
if you’re able to second guess my (intention)

I’ll play the role of darkness and you can
be the light that lights my perversity.

Soundtrack:

2

Why so glum chum?

And maybe it’s language itself that has disconnected us from our feelings. We are corralled into this constant striving to be happy as if happy is the only emotion worth feeling

Why so glum chum?

When we meet a glum chum we make it our mission to cheer them up, to get them back into a happy place. Why not let them stew in the glum? Perhaps they might learn something essential to their being if only we’d let them spend a good length of time swimming in the glumness until they understand what they’re feeling and know it’s nature.

Turn on your TV, radio or flip through a magazine (hehe how old school of me) and 99% of the adverts try to convince you that the good life will be found through the use of their product or service

Buy this shit if you ultimately want to be happy is the underlying message.

And it doesn’t stop with consumer goods… politicians seeking your vote…vote for me and your life will be better… you can lead a happier life if you vote for me…vote for the other guy and you’ll be miserable, life will truly suck.

Cathy shared a link with me that says we have 27 emotions.

Admiration
Adoration
Aesthetic Appreciation
Amusement
Anxiety
Awe
Awkwardness
Boredom
Calmness
Confusion
Craving
Disgust
Empathetic pain
Entrancement
Envy
Excitement
Fear
Horror
Interest
Joy
Nostalgia
Romance
Sadness
Satisfaction
Sexual desire
Sympathy
Triumph

How many of those do you go through in a day? Better yet, how many of those do you spend time with getting to know it intimately? Maybe that’s job of the poet, to do a deep dive into the emotion to understand the nature of the feeling – the rest of us have work to do, bills to pay etc so these emotions for us are fleeting at best.

I have one of these facial recognition apps (it’s still in beta) that scans your face and detects how a person is feeling in any given moment. It’s interesting to watch the face flick through emotions in seconds.

We can use language to avoid feeling. Through our self-talk we can side-step any emotion even convince a situation right out of existence.

George Orwell wrote in his Politics and the English Language essay that language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”

The misuse of words can lead to all sorts of abuse and self-abuse and desensitisation.

Such is reflected in a speech Pope Francis gave back 2013 to a crowd on the small island of Lampedusa:

“Today no one in our world feels responsible; we have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters.  We see our brother half dead on the side of the road, and perhaps we say to ourselves: “poor soul…” and then we go on our way.  It’s not our responsibility, and with that we feel reassured, assuaged. The culture of comfort, which makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people, makes us live in soap bubbles which, however lovely, are insubstantial; they offer a fleeting and empty illusion which results in indifference to others.”

So this is as much a language problem as it is a spiritual problem.

To avoid desensitisation, self-delusion and even monstrosity, we have to think about what we are saying and avoid euphemisms and cliches.  Only then can we establish a deep connections with our feelings.  Strangest thing, as I wrote that sentence I had a momentary sense of fear.  A fear of actually connecting with emotions. Will it make me soppy? Will it make me vulnerable? If I open the emotional flood gates, can I shut them again.

That reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld when Jerry’s girlfriend complained that she had never really seen him mad. Jerry tries to prove to her that he can be angry.  The more he tried, the more she just laughed in his face until finally he makes a breakthrough and manages to actually get angry.  But once he opened the gate to one emotion, the rest came flooding through.  He can’t stop crying.

I think I’ll tackle that list of 27.  Ooh that sounds like an interesting poetry project – to write a poem that expresses each of those emotions.

Speaking of poems, here’s one I posted on Tumblr yesterday:

Good Faith

good faith is hidden
in the fear of a country
girl in a short black dress

she sips cherry coke, bats
her erotic eyes and smiles

people fear me she says
but I am just living life
the way I think I should live

drop out and snuggle with me
and we can be human building
blocks and lie on the rocks

until dawn.

Soundtrack:

2

I want to feel more

It was a day of being everybody’s Yoda.  A role of which I am ok with, but by the end of it, I’m mentally drained.  Normally I’d pop on some tunes and veg out, but I have lots to do in a short period of time.

How do you know how you feel?

e.e. cummings wrote that “a poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words.”  The trouble is this isn’t as easy as it sounds.  I mean I am human right? Feeling is just something that happens automatically. But is it really? As e.e. cummings goes on to say:

“A lot of people think or believe or know they feel – but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught how to feel.  Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.”

I often question whether or not I feel.  I have a lot of empathy towards others, so I’m not a Mister Spock or anything, but sometimes deep feelings escape me or I’ve forgotten how to feel.  This isn’t coming out on paper like it sounds in my head. Sometimes I look inside to see how I feel and see nothing but the void.

Maybe that’s my problem right there – I “look” to “see” my feelings instead of feeling my feelings.  So back to my original question, how do you know how to feel? Can trust that what you feel is really what you feel?  Or just a response to how you have been conditioned to feel.

e.e. cummings again:

“To be nobody but yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

What feelings do I feel the most?

Supposedly the typical male only has three emotions on his dial – mad, glad, bad.  Everything else is a variation in degree for each of these.  Most of the time I’m just happy.  I do have periods of extreme melancholy.  And on very rare occasions, I get mad.  And some times, I have this crazy feeling of love for everybody and everything – I know that sounds very hippie, but its true, in those times, I feel immense love for everybody.

I’m able to suppress my emotions completely, which I guess must mean I have some Vulcan blood in me.

That said, I want to feel more. It’s on my list of things to do to make me a better human being.

Soundtrack:

And that’s the trouble with poetry

I awoke this morning to the hammering sound of rain. Just what you want out of your Monday morning – dark, wet, gloom. I made a batch of strong, dark coffee to match the mood. I turned to my one true source of motivation – books.

I cracked open Matthew Zapruder’s new book, Why Poetry. He’s on a mission to bring poetry back to the people. He argues that the way poetry is being taught in schools puts most people off of it for life.

“So many of us have been taught to read poetry as if words mean something other than what they actually say.  In this version of poetry, poems are designed to communicate a message, albeit in a confusing way. Everything that is in the poem – metaphors, similes, imagery, sounds, line breaks, and so on – is decorative, that is, place on top of the message or meaning of the poem.  The student’s job is to discover that meaning, and to repeat the central (often banal) message or theme back to the teacher, or in the exam.”

Liz Lochhead, former makar (poet laureate) of Glasgow, had this to say:

“The way poetry is taught at the moment is absolutely appalling…they teach poetry as a problem, rather than a joy, and that’s disgraceful…It’s clear that even teachers think poetry is code. I have been asked by a boy, who emailed me once: ‘when you wrote that poem about a bull, what did you really want to say?’ His education had allowed him to get the misapprehension that a poem is a code trying to get a message across.”

And that’s the trouble with poetry, it gets a bad wrap in school and few people, except sad sacks like me, ever recover.  It’s funny for as much as I read poetry is dead and that I should be a writer of a different sort, I can’t shake the poetry bug.  I love it and it’e my favourite form of self-expression with words. I love the wild ride poetry allows you take with language.

My favourite poems are those that are self-contained, that is, you can use your literal imagination to enjoy the poem as it is on the page without having to have an extensive knowledge of obscure literature or need a guidebook to help your navigate the many allusions and references (which is ironic, seeing how the poet that got me fired up about poetry when I was 16 was T.S. Eliot, but to be fair, I didn’t understand what the heck he was on about in the Waste Land, I just loved the pure language. And Prufrock and Hollow Men easily stand alone).

Zapruder nailed it for me though when he said, “poetry can only fully be pursued when the writer is not ultimately preoccupied with any other task, like storytelling or explaining or convincing or describing or anything else.” The poet must “be ready to reject all other purposes, in favour of the possibilities of language freed from utility, is when the writer becomes a poet.”

I hastily packed a small rucksack, grabbed some trail mix, and hit the road

I finished the The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison. It was an interesting journey. Morrison didn’t date his notebook/journal entries so the editors had to work extra hard at determine which writings belong to which time period. Morrison wrote his poems in layered drafts and often wrote and rewrote them iteratively and across multiple notebooks. So making sure they had the latest version of poem was a herculean task for the editors. I liked the book for the most part, some of Morrison’s poetry is quite trippy, which I like. Others were quite childish (which I didn’t like). My favourite poem was the last poem entitled As I Look Back. And this one:

Those who race toward death
Those who wait
Those who worry

I paused to consider where I might fit on that spectrum. Am I racing toward death, waiting for it, or worrying about it? I think there’s also a fourth category, those who ignore death all together. Ah yes and there is a 5th category, the Bushido warrior option which is to accept that you are already dead.

I probably flitter between racing toward death and accepting that I am already dead. And sometimes I think, it’s going to happen anyway so let’s get this shit over with, why delay the inevitable, why do we fight so hard to stay alive? I guess that’s Nature for you. Her prime directive is make more life and to do that you have to be alive. Feeding, fucking, and fighting – that’s the baseline, everything else is just window dressing.

These are some whacked out thoughts for a Sunday morning. Reminds me something Hunter Thompson used to say, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn Pro.”

But enough about death.

I stepped out into the garden.  It was surprisingly warm considering earlier in the week we had a taste of winter.  The sky was clear and blue and sunny.  Just what you want on an autumn day.  I decided to take advantage of the break in weather and go for hike.  The Cotswolds are nearby, just right for a quick getaway and a Sunday stroll.

I hastily packed a small rucksack, grabbed some trail mix, and hit the road.

I usual lust after mountains, but today I didn’t need the drive. Plus there are some lovely walks in the Cotswolds.  I have this AA pack of 30 walks in the Cotswolds.  I thought I’d make it goal to do all 30 walks.  I choose Edge Hill, one I like battlefields, and two it’s only 25 minutes from my house.  I picked up the trail near Radway and headed toward the Radway Tower.  When I got to the tower, I was suppose to go straight, but the trail to the right looked more interesting so I deviated from my planned route and headed southwest along the Macmillan/Centenary Way.

Considering I spent my morning thinking about death, it was apropos that I strolled through two graveyards along my route.

All in all it was a grand day.  I did about 7 miles all in.  Met a few people along the trail., and ate some fresh blackberries straight off of the tree.

Soundtrack:

Saturday night in the swamp

It’s been a relatively quiet day.  You need days like these from time to time.  My buddy Z stopped by for a couple of Coronas in the garden.  We are of similar age.  Consequently we’ve bee having similar thoughts about life, the universe, and everything. I think we’ve both concluded that tapping back into the simple pleasures of life and the things that made us happy back in the day when life was long and there was time to kill.  What that looks like for me:

adventure,
books,
poetry,
music.

For a couple of years now,  I’ve been trying to find my photographic style. I’m must drawn to documentary photos and the snapshot.  I also like doing digital manipulation and making surrealistic abstract photos.  The quest continues:

Soundtrack:

Christmas in September and Chasing Deer

Friday night.  Pizza consumed. Beer consumed.

No client facing work today.

Instead I met Cherry, my new co-author, in town for coffee and cake and to go over the first draft of our chapbook.  I’m supplying the words and she is primarily supplying the imagery.  Cherry and I are both high yellow energy so it’s no surprise that by the end of meeting we have now committed to this full blow multi-media extravaganza.

Our humble little chapbook is now also going to be a gallery piece, a series of Youtube videos, and lord knows what else.  Fun times.

I did some busking today.  I was rushing from one meeting to the next.  And as I passed this band in front of Marks and Spencer, someone called out my name.  It was  Adam, the drummer from Chasing Deer. I stopped to listen and say hello. Before I knew it, Adam had thrusted a tambourine in my hand and put me to work busking. I made the band three quid during my stint.

It was a night to remember

Ok, you’ll never guess where I am right now as I type. Well maybe you will if you follow me on Twitter. I’m at a Christmas party!! Yeah, crazy I know. The Holiday Inn in Coventry needed some guinea pigs so they invited a load of local small business owners to try out a Christmas party event they’ll be offering this year called Feastival. It’s a nice concept if you’re a small operation and want to have a huge Christmas party experience like the extravagant Christmas affairs Merrill Lynch used to put on back in my stockbroker days.

The food was good, and he atmosphere was decent. They had different food rooms – Chinese, Indian, American, and that old British classic fish and chips stand. Oh yes and a sweets room. There were various themed activity room.  We played air-hockey and foosball in the rec room.  And then black jack and roulette in the casino.

So yeah, I had my company Christmas party in September, for free (being a lab rat and all).  The packaged deals for normal customers looks reasonable as well (and no, I’m not being paid to add that link, nor will I get any kickback). Just thought it was the least I could do seeing how I just had my Christmas party for free.

Soundtrack:

Drink nectar with the gods

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. – Revelations 3:16

I’m tired. So if I nod off please forgive me. It was one of those drive 2 hours, deliver a 2 hour workshop, and drive 2 hours back home kind of days. A strong black coffee is in order before I really get going on today’s post.

It was sunny when I left this morning, but I was in a dark mood. I’d been reading Richard Halliburton‘s The Royal Road to Romance. It’s a classic traveler’s tale, Halliburton’s first adventure travel book, published in 1925. I read the first couple of chapters and was both excited and pissed off at how much time I’ve let slip by since last I’ve been out on a proper mountain adventure or any adventure for that matter.

Halliburton reminded me of my lost uninhibited lust for life that I have kind of put on hold to pursue other things. But now the out-of-doors sirens are urging me to breakout of the prison of necessity and return to the open road.

To view the world through adventurer’s eyes is my true disposition. I’ve been so linearly fixated that I haven’t allowed myself much time to meander, to deviate from the path with no real aim other than to see where the path goes.

I recall a mandala I did once. I’ll have to try and dig it up. I remember it showing a tangle of red lines that deviated off of a main line. I remember thinking at the time that the steady line was ultimately my destiny and the red lines represented all the times I’ve deviated from the path. I remember being more excited about the red lines than solid straight line.

Time to storm Mount Olympus and drink nectar with the gods there.

Soundtrack:

1

Staring into the void and getting nothing back

This is what we’re up against fellow blogging revolutionaries:

This has to stop! We have to resort to guerrilla tactics and use the big boy’s strength against them! Bloggers unite.

What if you looked inside and found nothing there? What then?

That’s what I feel sometimes when I’m staring into the void and find there’s nothing there. I scream into the void and hear only my voice echoed back.  There’s no-one there.  No-one to answer these questions that I have.  I don’t know whether I should look down, up, or in.

I’ve tried all three at one time or another.

Of late, I’ve been hanging out at the primal level little more than a beast.  Maybe that’s a bit harsh.  By default, I’ve been more embodying the image of man as painted by Hemingway that is “to do what men do – fish, hunt, fuck, fight, howl and die.” This makes life simple and easy to understand.

I’ve looked up. It was peaceful and very Zen.  Being one with yourself is nice, but it’s also very boring.  I feel much more alive when my hair is on fire (and yes, for those of you who know me, I don’t have any hair, well that’s because I burnt it all off!)

I’ve looked in.  The trouble there is you get lost inside yourself if you stay too long. Sometimes you can’t find your way back.  I’ve lost several friends this way.

As I write this post, I’m thinking maybe there’s something about a balance – that we need all three to balance.  I’ve been stuck in Hemingway mode for some time now having turned my back on any spiritual pursuit and run away from self-development. I’m out of balance.

There is a tide in a man
moves him to his moon
and though it drops him back
he works through ebb to mount
the run again and swell
to be tumescent I.

– Charles Olson

I feel drawn to my moon, but wary of the other paths. Either all good could come from them or none.  To sum this up, I think, if there is life after death, then pursuit of enlightenment makes sense. However, if there is nothing after they turn the light off, then it’s gotta be the way of the hedonist.

Until then, I think i’ll keep trying to push through the void…see if someone or something answers me back.

I think I’ve found the theme for this blog. It’s part journal, part diary, part love letter to you my friend.

I think I’m going to get back into doing challenges that are physically and mentally challenging.  I was inspired by the link my friend Cathy sent me.  It’s  something from the makers of the Art of Manliness called The Strenuous Life.  I don’t think I’ll join the program – ’cause that’s not how I roll – but the idea of doing stuff that taxes my ingenuity, physicality, mentality and practicality is intriguing.  And I have the perfect opportunity to kick it off.  One of army buddies is in-country in a couple of weeks and he wants to do some sort of challenge.  Open for ideas from you if you have any. My buddy will be in-country for 4 days, so the challenge has to fit in that time frame.

Ok, that’s it for today.  Until next time,

happy

trails

to

you

my

friend.

clay

Soundtrack:

I’m trying to be all Zen, but it’s not working

“If you’re not talking large numbers, what’s the point.” – paraphrasing Jay-z

I think I may have made the damn near perfect cup of coffee this morning.

Morning thoughts | #coffeetime #bw #photo

A post shared by Clay Lowe (@soulcruzer) on

I love Hunter S. Thompson’s flow. I don’t want to ape his style, but would like to adopt his flow.  His wordplay is tight, verb-centric and concise. His use of language is untamed and mad (at least in his earlier work like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Generation of Swine).  If I could learn to tell stories like him, I’d be happy.  It’s funny though, when you listen to him on tape (I have the CD boxset (remember those) of his recordings) he sounds like a babbling buffoon.  Maybe that’s why he was a writer and not an orator.

I spent the a day in a suit working with suits of the lawyer variety.

For lunch, I usually walk over to Costa Coffee.  I like the small setting tuck away at the top of Next.  I’ve come here so often that all the staff know my order and in what order I take things.  I start off with a ham and cheese panini, lightly salted potato chips, and a juicy water drink.  The staff know that I don’t like hot drinks with my meal.  They know to hook me up with a large black coffee after I’ve finished the sandwich.  As much as I moan about routine, there are some benefits.

Oh and while I was in Costa I composed this draft poem:

I’m dying for life.
I’m dying for a life
sitting here in this cafe
on an autumn afternoon.

Juice water
Raspberries and apples

“All you have to do is walk
out the door into life,” a friend said.

But I’m frightened.
I’m frightened of what I’ve become.
I’m frightened of what I can become.

I’m a bit miffed right now.  I can’t find my Apple Airpods. I’ve checked the pockets of the trousers I wore yesterday and today and nothing.  I’m trying to be all Zen about you know the old ‘if you break your favourite tea cup, you can be sad about or you can forget about and move on, either way the tea cup is still gone.’ As true as that is, it’s not helping me much at the moment.

The Airpods are a cool piece of tech.  They are lightweight, sound good, and you can tell your phone to do things for you.  I think Airpods bring me another step closer to the sci fi world of my youth.  Of course, the sinister part of this is we’re probably not too far off of becoming part person, part machine.

As we join the machine world, the machine world joins us.  You’re probably starting to see a lot of these floating bout the Internet:

Snapchat released the 3D Bitmoji. Btw if you like playing on Snapchat, I’m there too.  Hit me up.

Oh and I’ve just noticed iOS 11 is available.  I saw a demo of it a couple of months back and it looks like it will take the iPad closer to being a laptop replacement for me.

I have a bucket load of stuff to do and I’m running out night time. So I’ll call it quits here.

Soundtrack:

Do I dare disturb the universe?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Everyone gets everything he wants.
I wanted a mission. And for my
sins, they gave me one. Brought
it up to me like room service.;[/perfectpullquote]

If you’re into your war films, you’ll recognised that from the opening sequence of Apocalypse Now.  Martin Sheen, who plays Captain Benjamin L. Willard, A Special Forces officer, is in a hotel room in Saigon.  He’s been out of the jungle for a while and getting restless:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]When I was home after my first
tour, it was worse. I’d wake up
and there’d be nothing. I hardly
said a word to my wife until I
said yes to a divorce. When I was
here, I wanted to be there. When
I was there…all I could think of
was getting back into the jungle.
I’m here a week now. Waiting for
a mission. Getting softer. Every
minute I stay in this room, I get
weaker. And every minute Charlie
squats in the bush…he gets
stronger. Each time I looked
around…the walls moved in a little
tighter.[/perfectpullquote]

And that’s about where I am at right now – these walls are moving in a little tighter – If I don’t get a mission soon well…

And it has to one that’s challenging and unlike anything I’ve ever done before.  I maybe setting myself an impossible task. How can I find something that isn’t just a variation on an old theme? If the writers of Ecclesiastes are right then I am doomed:

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Hell, it’s beginning to sound like I’m having a midlife crisis, but even that, I’ve done already.  Or is this a symptom of staring a half a century in the face and hearing that old Eternal Footman laughing loudly behind me and me knowing he’s laughing because I haven’t done a goddamn thing to disturb the universe yet? And I’m desperate too. Otherwise I am endanger of being Prufrock.  If I was honest with myself, I would go ahead and admit to you that I am Prufrock. But as I said last week on Twitter, we, as humans, have the terrible gift of being able to deceive ourselves most of all.

Excuse me, this domesticated primate has to go and make dinner now.

Listen to Mad Child and Evidence while I’m away…

And Shane’s going insane while basically in my prime
Can I rediscover my mind are we wasting each others time
I don’t cry I don’t look up at the sky and ask why
But sometimes I feel like I’m patiently waiting to die
Go thru the motions try to put the pen to paper with love
But I’m still holding back afraid of what I’m capable of…

OK. Back now.  How very routine of me.

Am I to seek and never see?  I had myself convinced at one point that my lot in life was to seek, that I was (am) a seeker seeking something I would never find nor wanted to find, seeking for seeking’s sake was (is) my fate.  But sometimes even pilgrims get tired.  And so I had to take a time out and rest but I’ve been resting too long which is what I think this about or  was I distracted?

Anyway enough about that, I’m back now. And I had the best news today.  One of my old-school blogging buddies has returned to the fray.  Shout out to Cathy, warrior-scientist and fellow New Jersey-ite… a Jersey Girl (although I’m not sure if she’d accept that title, but hey if Bruce Springsteen can be in love with a Jersey Girl, so can I.)

And here’s another draft poem for you:

I don’t remember touching her hand.
I don’t remember how I ended up
inside her waiting for the cigarette
to burn down. This is the way it all
ends. This is the way the world ends:

A frightened sob
A taste of regret
Fingernails in my palm

I only stopped by to say hello, we took
the book well beyond your silent song and
I learned, at last, my heart is dead.

I think I want to get a blogging logo made up, something to reflect the revolutionary, non-conformist, fuck the herd kind of attitude I have toward the current trend in blogging.

Viva la Blog

P.S.  Just as I typed those last words, the heavens open up.

P.P.S  I think I’ll power down now, read some Hunter S. Thompson and the sip whisky and watched the beginning of Apocalypse Now at least up until the two military policemen through CPT Willard into a cold shower to sober him up before shipping him out to the jungle.

Soundtrack:

Some would call that being jaded

My day happened in fragments.  I woke up with this question on my mind: What dream am I chasing now? One of the problems I’ve had over the past couple of years is trying to force myself to stay excited about the things that used to get me fired up like climbing mountains, and travel to different places experiencing new cultures, going to museums and art galleries among other things.  But there comes a point, or least for me it did, when I thought one mountain basically the same as another.  You find a trail. You struggle to the top.  Peer around at the view, and then climb back down again.  Climbing one mountain versus another was different in degrees, but fundamentally the same.  How many times can you look at old paintings, or artefacts from somebody who dies centuries ago who was in fact just another person, same as me, living his life day by day until he wasn’t.  And I could go on and on about the savage routine of my life in a society thats breed you to be a rinse and repeat warrior.

Some would call that being jaded.  I guess having done so many things and so many great experiences earlier on in life that, yeah, I’d become jaded.

And this morning’s questions came in good time.  One I need to spend some time with this week.  I have a feeling it’s going to be something that is real, that has heart as Carlos Castaneda would say.  It’s has to be real and it has to be full on, no half-measures.  I’m not jaded as such now, but I do need to shake things up a little bit, and Introduce a little chaos

Here’s a poem I started working on today.  It was inspired by Break On Through (To The Other Side).  If you know the song, you’ll spot the reference.

This is the first pass of it:

Resurrection is dead.
I think I want to cancel my subscription too.
I have friends on the other side, they’ve not
come back to tell any tales. There’s nothing on
Trip Advisor or Yell.com. I think I’ll go to
Greece instead.

Anyway, I’ll play around with it some more.

I decided to spend some time with Jim Morrison’s The lost Writings.  The poems in this book were published after his death from notebooks and papers from his estate.  I don’t like the poems in this volume as mush as do the poems found in his two published works – The Lords and The Creatures.

His poems in the lost writings have a psychedelic flow.  In these poems, Morrison the Shaman comes out.  I might try reading this volume in low light light, with candles and incense.

Soundtrack:

Not much music in my head today.

Our choices are half chance

I looked on my Goodreads app.  I have 54 books in currently-reading status! My reading goal this year is 100 books.  I’m on 19. I read according to mood or what I want to explore on any given day.  Currently I’m bouncing between the Olson biography and his Selected Poems and Ginsberg’s Journals and Jim Morrison’s poems, both the Wilderness Volume 1 and The Lords.

The Olson stuff is turning me on intellectually, while Ginsberg and Morrison are hitting the passion button and firing me up emotionally. Sometimes, like this morning, there’s a battle between the two – the head and the heart.  I want to read both at the same time!

I might have to leave this one up to the dice, which by the way I’m planning to put into play again. Dicing, as it’s called, is a concept derived from the Luke Rhinehart novel, The Dice Man. I first red the novel back in 2004. The idea behind dicing is that our lives are mostly governed by chance. And what the Dice Man did was to take chance into his own hand by using dice to make all of his decisions. On my very first blog, I wrote a post about it.

Dicing 101

When you have a decision or choice to make, pick 6 options and then let the die decide by assigning a number to each option. One of the options has to be something that is way out of your comfort zone or that you would never do. The ultimate rule of dicing is that you have to abide by the outcome of the roll, no exceptions. I once diced for a week. It was a very interesting week and i’m thinking about bringing the dice back into play, spice things up a little bit.  You can one or two die.  Or your can make two options and then use odd/even to make the decision i.e. if its’ 1,3, or 5 do X if 2,4,6 do Y.  I prefer to do the 6 options roll.

Try it yourself.  The next decision you have to make, big or small, let the dice decide your fate.

Some word sketches, Costa Coffee…

plotting, plotted plopped
down in costa coffee, where
i do my thinking sometime,
eat cheese toasties, fat
dude in blue, small white
coffee, he sits for a few
seconds, then out comes the iPhone
(jut when you thought it was safe
go back into the water
lady in green long sleeve blouse, her
little friend wth a pink uniform
dances about the place

Note to self: Don’t try blogging when you’re tired or have just come from a party feeling topsy!

Anyway, I wrote a micropoem – What Would You Do

I’m plenty tired right now, so I think it’s time i bow out.

Soundtrack:

Movement on my mind

The more you move the better you feel.

One of my intentions this year was to move more. I started off well, as you tend to do, but as T.S. Eliot wrote:

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

Now it’s time to shine some light back on the subject, get my ass in gear and move more!

And since movement was on my mind, I threw on my walking shoes and headed out the door and the Universe let me know it approved with this:

Some words from Thoreau:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#FF0000″ class=”” size=””]I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks — who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre, to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea.[/perfectpullquote]

I’ve been living in the UK long enough to know that the weather is a moveable feast:

I’m leading a rear guard action to bring back the personal blog – the sacred space to rant and rave and be yourself and express yourself.

So look, if you’re thinking about starting a blog, do it! You can be up and running in minutes.  WordPress.com is free and so is blogger.com.  Personally I’d recommend WordPress.  If you already have a blog and it’s been gathering dust for months, pull that puppy out of the mothballs and get back in the game.  In either case, hit me up with a tag when you make your first or next post.

Viva la blog!

Here’s micro poem I wrote today: We Could Have Lived

And now it’s time to get on with the weekend.  The tunes are on.  The games are out.  I would say the beer is flowing, but I ran out of beer.  I may have to hit the hard stuff.  I have plenty of whisky and gin and vodka and ouzo and all sorts of other spirits on the top shelf (not that to shelf).

Soundtrack:

To The Other Side

Let’s make a run for the spectators who hesitated at the moment of freedom, sacrificed all the books, all the paintings and the music. Burnt the old culture to the ground. It’s an impossible situation. The old gods formed a circle, held hands, sang Kumbaya until the lady with the insect eyes left the hollow vacant field. She wasn’t looking for this kind of exposure. She just wanted to escape the beast, get across the bridge to the other side.

Why did the chicken cross the road anyway?

We ‘dug our treasures there,’ but we can’t recall where we buried our pleasures. And even if we could, you wouldn’t believe us. You took a bite out of the apple and thought all life was rotten. The old gods settled down at dawn. You may never be happy again in our empty house of content. The DJ drops the mic.

Are you feeling ok?

I can’t believe how excited I get about a book. I found a package on the stairs that had this in it:

I could feel my face light up like a little school boy with a new toy. And of course I was suppose to be doing something else, but I had to stop and flick through the pages, turn it over in my hands and read the introduction.

After Morrison wigged out on alcohol and was on the run from music, he returned to writing poetry. And the two official volumes that came out of that were The Lords and The New Creatures, and Jim Morrison became James Douglas Morrison the poet. Of course the publishers, with one wicked eye on making money, wanted to capitalise on his rock star status and didn’t honour his request to keep James separate from Jim.

I feel a little back like that. I’ve been considering returning back to Clayton which is my real name. It was my friends who got tired of calling me Clayton and reduce me to Clay. I eventually adopted the name and started introducing myself as Clay. I think Clay and Clayton are fundamentally different. If you’ve met me in person, you most likely only know Clay. If you know me only through the Net and you’ve read some of my darker more introspective writing, then you will have had glimpses of Clayton. When nobody is around I’m more Clayton than Clay. I have to get into character when people are around. Every now and then somebody will catch me still in Clayton mode and they’ll inevitably ask, “are you feeling ok?”

I’m a little late to the party with Parks and Recreation. My son kept banging on about how I’m like the Ron Swanson character (when it comes to food) my wife thinks I’m unlike him (when it comes to handling tools and DIY). I see both their points. I think I’m like the Chris Traegor character (at work anyway). Parks and Rec is a great series once you get past season one, so if you haven’t watched it, do so.

Long live the blog.

Like rock and roll, blogging has died a thousand deaths, yet here we are.  I must admit, I don’t like the state of blogging today with it’s emphasis on listicles and usefulness and productivity and how to’s etc. I want to start a retro movement and bring back the blog as the place to dump the contents of your mind or rant about something only you care about or slit your wrists and bleed on the page (screen).  Raw stream of consciousness stuff, talk about whatever the freaking dog’s bottom you want to talk about, writing like nobody’s listening (’cause they aren’t), but who cares?!  If you’re reading this, God bless, and welcome to the club.  Say some shit as well (by that I mean say what you want to say in the comments (remember the days when people used to comment in the comment section of blogs, now a lot of blogs close their comments sections because of the spammers (which I never really understood anyway (now let’s see if I close all my parentheses)))) Hehe..

I want to bring back the personal blog, blogrolls and blog comments.  If you don’t have a blog, start one (WordPress has a free service and Blogger is still around). If you have a blog but it’s mainly collecting dust, brush that bitch off and get to blogging (ping me if you do).

On another note…

It was podcast day today.  We talked all about breathing.  Who would have thought there was so much to say about breathing?!

Ok so,

If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it, does the sound exist? By extension, if God speaks and nobody hears him/her…

And lastly, before I go watch the SciFi series, Zoo, here’s the draft of a new poem I’m working on:

She is beautiful.
Everything about her looks tasty.
The lips, the hair, the brown eyes
and small tits.

She’s not mine though.

But mama says I can
look at the menu so

I salivate (like Pavlov’s Dog),
rub my tummy and imagine
what she tastes like.

But mama I can’t get full
from a menu though.

You can’t get burnt either so

Look. See it burns if you touch.
She’ll cut your heart out and drink
your blood from a dark river.

You didn’t notice the wedding ring?

No. My lawless heart was hunting me.
A thousand deep kisses drowned
in self-pity. She’ll wake up tomorrow
and not remember how bizarre the
pills were we took last night.

Soundtrack:

Completely changed my worldview

Books are a habit worse than heroine for me. I can’t get enough of them. I read the preface of the Allen Ginsberg Journals this morning. I have yet to finish the Olson book, but I couldn’t help taking a peek inside the Journals.

Am I on a quest to find the self, dissolve the self, or to self-actualise and realise there is no self?

I read the preface and introduction to the Ginsberg journals and like an open flame to tissue paper my mind was set on fire.  I’m not sure how to explain it, but think of it like a puzzle you’ve been trying to solve and then you finally get the last piece that makes all the other pieces fall into place.  I feel like that happened to me today.

These six poets surfaced in my psyche:

I have to spend sometime figuring out how they relate to each other and how the story of my life intersects with these poets.  I know Eliot had a huge impact on me when I was 16.  Mister Parsons, my high school English teacher introduced me to him.  The first poems I read of Eliot’s was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Hollow Men. I was blown away. Those two poems completely changed my worldview, and I don’t think I’ve ever really recovered from them even to this day, some 33 years later.

Sometime around 10:30 AM I crashed, that is I came down off of my caffeine and sugar high.  I hadn’t realised just much caffeine I’d consumed, plus a whole pack of Fruit Mentos.

What was I thinking?  The only cure for such a crash is to inhale peppermint until you feel the chill between your eyes in the middle of your skull.

“I might buy more gold.” I heard someone next to me say.

I gathered they were talking to their broker on the phone.  He was going on about liquidating some of his investments because of the state of the world at the moment.  He even enquired whether or not he could take physical possession of the gold if he wanted to.  I’m not even sure why that caught my attention.  I guess it’s not every day you hear someone talking about buying gold.

I saw a lady with massive boobs carrying a new born.  She sat down a couple of tables from me. I couldn’t help wonder how much her boobs must weigh and then I thought about the baby and whether these boobs posed a threat to it, like if they were lying on the bed together and one of those giant boobs popped out and landed on the baby.

Don’t ask. My mind has been like that all day.

Watching shadows on the wall.

Ok. Who spiked my coffee this morning?

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My computer is on 34% battery life left which is how I kind of feel right now.

The day has been long.

I better recharge.

Before I go dead, like a doorknob or fucking fried chicken as Jules would say.

Soundtrack:

I am doomed

I’ve been reading a lot of poetry over the past few months…Rimbaud, Robbins, Kaur, Broder, Addonizio, Bonta, Olson, Hanes, among others… what I am beginning to realise but have probably always known is that I like the weird and wonderful, stuff that’s offbeat and odd like neo-expressionism, real psychedelic mind fuck kind of stuff. I just read The Thing Was Moving, a poem by Charles Olson. It’s a beautiful long form poem about death, decay, and change and how we look back with nostalgia and long for how things used to be and how ugly progress is. Olson uses the imagery of a landfill dump that is growing in his hometown slowly taking over the spaces where he used to roam free as a kid, where he learned to hunt, where he spied his first naked woman in pond, where he learned to ride a bike and so on. Meanwhile this dump is slowly eating up the town’s space.

Now this is a wonderfully written poem and emotionally moving. I like it, but my little friend inside my head was like ho hum, where’s the weird shit like something Morrison and Robbins would write?

I also prefer the real low brow gritty stuff like Bukowski and Addonizio. Kerouac and Ginsberg.

And then there is the mind trips like Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell. I like swimming through stuff like that.

Meeting, meeting, training, meeting, meeting, home.

A whirlwind of day. I didn’t even have time for a coffee in the afternoon ( I usually have at least two) and there’s usually always time for a coffee. Hmmm a new way to measure my day – how much coffee have I had time to drink?

A lot of today’s story at work was the old classic called the left-hand doesn’t know (or care) what the right-handed is doing. I’m right in the middle of it so I know what both hands are doing.  Now I just need to get them to talk to each and everything will be golden.

Confession: I love days like this where I’m in constant contact, meeting, presenting, training, advising, solving problems and generally talking to loads of people. The intensity turns me own.

But enough about work. This came today:

Allen Ginsberg is another one of those poets who was a little out there in weirdville pushing the boundaries. I like reading journals and letters. You get right into the minds of great people. I find reading  journals and letters inspiring and reassuring, especially reassuring – because they remind me that people are people and there is no magical formula to success apart from hard-work, consistency, focus, a smidgen of talent (which can be honed), and a little bit of luck.

Oh and I am so close to buying one of these (if you’re feeling generous and want to gift me one, I’d be forever grateful:

The big news of course today is Apple revealed the latest version of the iPhone.  I haven’t had a chance to have a proper look.  I’m less interested in the hardware and more into what iOS 11 will add to the game.  From some of the early beta videos, it looks like iOS 11 is going to make the iPad Pro nearer to being a laptop than ever.  I’m also impressed by the Apple Watch series 3.  I don’t own an Apple Watch. So far I’ve managed to resistant my impulse to be completely fanboyed out with Apple products, but the latest watch is now a phone and music player and altimeter and so much more. Soooo…hmmm…

I may be doomed.

Soundtrack:

1

I had to find her the old fashioned way

5A.M Thoughts – We are all afraid to act like ourselves. I read that from a passage in Allen Ginsberg’s journal. That is so true.  Walk into a room full of people and if you’re like me, you probably size up the room before deciding how you want to show yourself.  If it’s a room full of friends, you’ll show one side of yourself; if it’s a room full of strangers, you’ll show another.  It’s even more nuanced then that.  Which friends are in the room will determine which side of you choose to show.  Granted, all these versions are you, but which one is the true you? Or do we wear so many different personas that we no longer know which one is the true version? The tricky thing with the mind is we can fool it into believing anything. So even though I might say I know who I am, do I really?

Continued on with the Olson book.  It’s easy to think that your literary heroes just pour great writing straight onto the page.  This is hardly the case.  I can’t believe how much Olson struggled to get his literary career off the ground.  The anxiety, the lack of confidence, the procrastination, even the greats suffer.  The only thing that can be done is to keep plowing away at it.

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men 
Gang aft a-gley. – Robert Burns

Yes old Burnsie was right, the best laid plans often go awry.  I had a plan for the day, but a quick phone call in the middle of my walk, ended that.

Question:

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Well I was the recipient of the call to bring the mobile:

I had to find her old school.  I had an approximate location and a length of time she’d be at the location or nearby.  I found her without hitch.  I called an audible on the day.  Instead of doing admin in the morning, I worked on the chapbook at the place I delivered the mobile phone.

I also had the idea that this chapbook should be a collab with a fellow creative, someone visually oriented.  I dropped my dear friend Cherry Williams an instant message.  She accepted.

Afternoon. Admin. Done!

Finished the second cut of the new chapbook.  Settled on 26 poems.  I sent them over to Cherry to read.  I’m looking forward to seeing what images she comes up with to fit the words.

More admin to get through this evening.  I’m running a condensed team-building exercise tomorrow.  After my meeting with the manager last week, I got the impression that tomorrow might be a rough one.  Always hard work when you’re working with a team that has disengaged.

I’m fighting against the clock here and my body.  I want to curl up under my desk and sleep.  Actually I want to stretch out in my bed.

Actually there’s nothing to stop me.

Actually I think I’ll stop here, grab some Baudelaire, and hit the rack. Tomorrow is another day.  Did I accomplish everything that I wanted to do today? I think so.  That’s good enough for me.

Chow!

P.S. Did I mentioned I hate banks and governments and people who try to rip you off just because they can?

Soundtrack:

With no snooze button

I’ve got that internal volcano feeling again that feeling where all the ideas in my head come bubbling to the surface all at once. Now add to that the relentlessness of time…

Time past, time present, time future…

Time ticking like a bomb.

Time ticking, as in running out off.

Time ticking with no snooze button.

Oh! Time to feed the cats among a hundred other things.

I finally found the design I want for my Signifying Clay Tumblr blog. What’s that you ask, ANOTHER blog? Well yes. It’s a place to house some of my poems and documentary photographs without the distraction of the other stuff I post here that sits outside of those two categories.

I desperately needed to get out of the house today. I’ve been holed up here for most of the weekend.  With all the inmates away, the house was quiet.  Good for reading, but after a while you get tired only hearing your own voice.

I went to the food and drink festival in Leamington Spa. The weather wasn’t playing nice, but I managed to do a quick survey of the fest:

And then the rains came…

I retreated to a nearby coffee joint.

Sidebar: I wanted to try one of the smaller none chain coffee houses but all of them were full. I had to beat a hasty retreat to one of the big and familiar joints – Starbucks in the mall. The storefront looks out onto the mall, which is great for people watching, so it wasn’t too bad.  Also I needed to write.

In the spirit of working out loud here’s a draft of the prose poem I worked on in Starbucks:

Let’s make a run for the spectators who hesitated at the moment of freedom, sacrificed all the books, all the paintings and the music. Burnt the old culture to the ground. It’s an impossible situation. The old gods formed a circle, held hands, sang Kumbaya until the lady with the insect eyes left the hollow vacant field. She wasn’t looking for this kind of exposure. She just wanted to escape the beast, get across the bridge to the other side. Why did the chicken cross the road anyway? We ‘dug our treasures there,’ but we can’t recall where we buried our pleasures. And even if we could, you wouldn’t believe us. You took a bite out of the apple and thought all life was rotten. The old gods settled down at dawn. You may never be happy again in our empty house of content.

Soundtrack: