Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hygienic Art--New London, CT

Recently, a blogger friend who lives in New London, CT posted a series of photos taken at the Hygienic Art event in New London. I'd heard of it through her blog a couple of years earlier but hadn't explored it much. But this year, she posted a comment about a video that described the event. I finally found the video to which I think she was referring. It's shown below. Seeing the video made me even more interested in actually experiencing New London for myself.

Friday, January 27, 2012


When I walked outside this morning, I noticed the roofs of the houses all around mine had heavy layers of frost on them. But not mine. That surprised me, since I just had a vast quantity of insulation installed in my attic. I assumed the insulation would prevent the heat from inside the house from entering the attic...and I assumed the warmth of my attic was responsible for the lack of frost on the roof.

In fact, when the insulation guy came to give me an estimate a few weeks ago, he pointed out the same thing to me. My neighbors' roofs were all coated with frost, but mine wasn't. He explained that was because the warmth of my attic either melted the frost or didn't allow it to form. Once the insulation is installed, he said, my roof would look just as frosty as my neighbors' roofs. He was wrong.

I am sure my attic needed a LOT more insulation. I am not sure, though, why my roof does not have frost on it. Is my assumption about the warm attic right? If so, where is the warmth coming from?

You probably don't know. You probably don't care. That's alright. I'm asking anyway.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's behind it?

I wonder why, tonight, my emotions are overflowing? I've been trying to think of what might have caused this flood of memories or wishes or whatever it is that's overwhelming me. But I can't think of a trigger. Maybe it's just time. The steady beat of time continues without pause. In fact, it's faster and faster with each passing hour. Maybe that's it.

I listen to Tacoma Trailer, an instrumental piece from Leonard Cohen, and I cannot control myself. I just weep. I am no longer embarrassed by it. I'm just surprised. And I wonder. What's behind it?


I have a great many friends. Unfortunately, most of them do not know about our friendship, since I tend to keep it under wraps, even from my friends. This rather secretive side of me, coupled with the fact that I've never met most of them, makes it impossible to say we have an intimate friendship (not that kind of intimate, damn it, be serious here) friendship in the traditional sense, but I think it's intimate. I think it's intimate, though, because I feel like I understand at least a part of what's inside their heads. At least a little.

Let me explain. I believe poetry and its cousin, music, reveal a great deal about what a person believes, feels, sees, understands, and cares about. Music, especially, opens the door to a person's soul (not in the religious sense...bear with me). It's not just the lyrics. It's the emotion carried in the tune and the way it's delivered. A person's humanity can be revealed in the degree of attachment he or she feels to music. Of course I can't measure the degree of attachment. But I can sense it. And when I'm right and I feel a deep emotional attachment between a person and music that creates that same deep emotional attachment in me, I feel attached to that person. Whatever communication we've had, whether via telephone, email, or simply comments on a blog or social media site, I feel that level of attachment.

Ideally, I'd break through the barriers of space and meet these people. Sometimes I do. But mostly I don't. Yet I have friends in them. Maybe our friendships are very, very close. Maybe they don't feel that way at all. But isn't that true of more traditional friendships, too?

I listened today to some music by a woman named Brandi Carlile. I encountered her by chance as I stumbled across an "activity" on Facebook of a friend I've never met. When I listened to the music, it evoked music of others I like and it made me realize I have a connection with the friend who inadvertently shared it with me.

What does all this mean? I suppose it means that the dimensions of friendship are changing. It's no longer necessary to have a physical presence with a friend to BE a friend. But, come to think of it, if we read the letters of poets and writers, many of their friends were distant. Maybe social media and the internet are becoming today's version of oceans and distance.

Ice cream man

Goddamn the ice cream man.

He lured me into thinking vanilla was a natural thing. He led me to believe pineapple and peppermint would always be there to brighten an otherwise dull day.

Goddamn the ice cream man.

There was no okra-ice in his truck, no garbanzo swirl, no chemo-crunch. His truck was a lie told to unwitting co-conspirators.

Goddamn the ice cream man.

If only he'd laid it out plain, if only he'd been honest, if only he'd served up what he didn't have, I might not have been blind-sided. Come to think of it, though, I don't really remember the ice cream man that well. But I imagine what it must have been like, with all those cold sweet flavors. If I don't really remember him, why do I think I know what it was like? Why do I think it's different now?

Goddamn the ice cream man.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Right...uh huh.

What would you do if you fell in love in late middle age?

I didn't think so.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thinking about someone on the coast

Damn. Just damn. If only I could head south tonight, I could be there in the morning. But I can't. Damn.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Muffled sounds pierce the thick, warm fog, but they are mere noises, nothing meaningful. The time between becoming conscious of the noises and the point at which they seems to have some rational content might be seconds, but it could just as easily be hours or even days. Finally, or perhaps not finally but just suddenly, an irritatingly repetitive noise becomes louder and louder and then, like the fog was lifted, becomes a question. "Mr. Kneeblood?" Louder: "Mr. Kneeblood?" LOuder: "Mr. Kneeblood?" LOUder: "Mr. Kneeblood?" LOUDer: "Mr. Kneeblood?" LOUDER: "MR. KNEEBLOOD?! Can you hear me?"

This questioning robotic voice won't stop until I respond, which I try to do, or think I try to do. I can hear myself responding, but then maybe it's just my brain telling my body to respond. Maybe my body isn't properly interpreting the instruction. I try again. I try again. Nothing. The robotic annoyance continues. "Mr. Kneeblood?!" Then, finally, the blanket of unconciousness that silences my response is torn away. I hear myself respond. "Jesus Christ, yes, I can hear you! Stop it! "

The woman seems pleased. "Good! You're doing fine! It will be just a while longer!"

Longer? For what? I know only that I'm not fully aware of where I am, or even whether I'm awake or am dreaming this. The fog has lifted, but only the heaviest layer. I still feel as though I'm breathing through a mountain of cotton. I feel like my body is wrapped in thick, cold blankets. I don't know exactly where I am. I'm not even conscious of whether I am aware of who I am. But the blankets are being removed, somehow, and I have the odd sensation that I'm getting warmer with the removal of each successive layer. I am becoming more aware, more conscious, more an actor in this environment instead of simply the subject of actions around me.

It seems like I have been wading through this odd purgatory of molasses-speed awareness and slow-motion movement for hours, but it may be only seconds. I see time seems as a physical "thing" that bends and molds around my body, then becomes a fragile mirror that shatters when touched by a feather. Eventually, its tangible presence fades away to reveal only shadows and a sense of loss and vulnerability.

Then I open my eyes. Finally, I open my eyes and that simple act brings the sounds into sharper focus. I hear the hum of the machinery, the beeps of gauges, the repetitive "swoosh" of pumps handling things I can no longer handle on my own.

Hospital. Surgery. Hours? Days? Weeks? Who was calling out his name? Kneeblood. Who the hell is Kneeblood? And then it hits me. It will take some adjustment for all of this to sink in.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I don't know exactly where my edges are. Maybe they're just over the end of my patience. Maybe they're more distant and less visible. But I know they are there. What I don't know is what I'll do when I go over them. What happens when the edges are behind me, or above me? What happens when I've run past the edges and can't get back? I don't want to learn when it's too late. But I may not want to learn too early.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To Hell and Beyond

I think I know what it is. It's fear there's just nothing there.

After digging deep, looking under every thought, studying each action, there's just nothing to be found. At least nothing substantive, nothing coherent. Just a mass of jagged emotions and attitudes, most of them only partially-formed, badly underdeveloped, irrelevant and pointless.

Fortunately or unfortunately, their irrelevance is hidden from all but the most relentless explorers. As if someone could explore another's motives. You just cannot know what drives a person to be who he is. Not even yourself. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe others have a clear understanding of themselves. Maybe others really are as deep as I am shallow. Not shallow in the traditional sense, though that may describe me, too, but shallow in the sense that this shell I live in doesn't have much depth. It's the stuff beneath that goes all the way to the bowels of hell and beyond.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese

A friend I made through Facebook has recommended a film I want to see, but I have to be in the proper mood and have adequate free time to watch it. To ensure I won't forget where to find it, I'm "memorializing" it here: A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Daily Spirituality

I have a new friend on Facebook, someone I've never met. He teaches a college English composition course (courses) at a college on the west coast of Florida. He is either "from" my hometown or spent a considerable amount of time there. He considers it his hometown.

My new friend and I have had some short conversations via online posts and messages. He seems like a very nice guy, a very down-to-earth guy who delves deeply into issues that interest him or that he finds illuminating. Based on some of the conversations we've had, and on comments I've seen him make on others' pages, I gather he grew up Catholic and has retained his belief in a supreme being, but has lost...or is losing...his connection to the church. His beliefs are changing, or have changed, enough to cause him to question (perhaps 'reject' is the more appropriate term) the traditional church dogma. But he retains a sense of spirituality that is, or may be, religious. I'm not sure. Just recently, he posted some comments about Scientology; while not endorsing the 'religion,' his comments demonstrated an extraordinary sense of open-mindedness about something I always have considered greed-driven espousals of magic. There's something about his willingness to give 'believers' the benefit of the doubt that I find refreshing and genuinely good, despite the fact that I cannot bring myself to be as generous as he appears to be.

All of this is a prelude, I suppose, to what's really on my mind right now. And that is, what IS spirituality? Is it the sense of wonder that I have at the world around me? Is it the utter amazement I feel when looking deep into a pool of clear water? Is it the sense of amazement that I feel when I look at all of what humankind has accomplished in harnessing the resources of the earth? What the hell is it?

I guess it's something different for everyone. For me, it may be something different for every day of the week.