midday of the soul

No matter how early I get up, I cannot stay ahead of three pm. No matter how early. I can get started two hours before sunrise and still three pm will catch up with me even when I have been running flat out needles pegged westward since jumping out of bed and into my shoes. Three pm never approaches any faster or any slower than it has before or will again but always with just enough hurry to overtake me with relentless unconcern almost exactly like so much boring clockwork. Resolute and implacable and without a trace of regret for my alleged peace of mind: three pm neglects even to pause in the face of the shining virtue into which I arose with the first birdsong of the day.

The exercise. The daily gallon of water. The plant-based protein. The modest bedtime and the washing of the hands every single time you visit the toilet. Three pm respects none of these and nothing you can promise it will keep it at a distance. Deep sleep: three pm does not care. Sorting the plastic into recyclable and not: three pm is not impressed. Scooping the cat box daily: three pm never looks at the cat box and expects you to have scooped it twice yesterday without anyone having to ask.

I have experimented with studied patience. Watching. Listening. Taking no action other than that required to remain conscious. Three pm arrives and then three pm is here or rather three pm is whatever three pm is and then without a beat three pm continues on and three pm oh one arrives having approached also for some time and also continuing to stay for no time and all the time I may have left would not be sufficient to chronicle all this passing exactly as it passes as it does so without notable features so from there you will have to imagine how it goes. How three pm goes and then three pm oh one how that goes and whatever might be said to go next or after or then or now. If outrunning three pm is not possible neither is waiting for it whether with patience or resignation or some imagined immune response to the repeated exposures any earth-borne creature must undergo to that which three pm denotes. It passes, leaving nothing, taking nothing, saying nothing, and changing almost nothing almost as to not change even to the eye fully-clothed watching for half a century now.

I have tried taking three pm apart and I have tried to take apart its passing or any other passing for that matter–and if it makes it easier to understand what passing means use time instead although to do that is fairly circular and non-explanatory but it may be more comfortable which is often all anyone really needs at three pm to be made comfortable or to become comfortable or somehow otherwise prone to comfort. Passing falls apart all by itself with only the touch of a glance into the possibility of change and then change as change and then the consequences of change and the memory of the possibilities and the realizations and the consequences and also some tendency or other to measure how slowly or quickly change occurs as though there were a fixed and unchanging backdrop against which we could line up and compare the different rates at which change goes from one somehow inferable moment to the next.

That we have never found such a backdrop has not stopped us from devising clocks and sundials and water wheels and hourglasses and various opaque structures fashioned around some space or another sometimes two spaces and a surface for the reflection of light or shadow and upon which the sun will shine at a predictable angle for a single moment out of all the other moments. There are other sorts of mechanisms and procedures that do more or less the same sorts of things that is make of the acceleration and slowing down of change a quasi-entity that can be measured using a single scale no matter where one applies that scale that is no matter where one is able to locate or stipulate the entity by separating it from the change it is supposed both to enable and contain and then apply the scale to it–or enumerate it as consistently quantifiable while also independent of change.

Otherwise how would we know it was enumerated consistently if that could change at any time.

When I am done with all that three pm although theorized into practical nonexistence remains insistently. This three pm and all the other three pms are not anythings I can describe. They are side effects of one or several desires to measure or to parse or to record or to predict or to regularize other desires and other forces and other impulses without discernible origin all of whom might otherwise wreak change without warning or at least without consistency that is the warning may be always in effect but the exact order of change unknown and unknowable until after the change or changes in question have already occurred and the dead and wounded sorted and counted and sent for repair to a place where appropriate practices are practiced or for return to the elements through one or more of several conceivable routes.

If in the wake of this three pm–this one always approaching–lies every other three pm that had already passed when this three pm did so, this three pm does not notice or care. If this three pm were to have the power to do so this three pm would disclaim any relation to the other three pms even as they follow quickly and emphatically in all persistence despite the other three pm’s once having been followed by this three pm.

Spatial metaphors can only go so far before they drop off the edge of the world or something.

Not that I can speak or disclaim for this or any other three pm I would not even be able to guess how to go about imagining how a side effect of a tendency would begin to speak much less what it would say so when I write that three pm would disclaim any relation to the other three pms what I might mean might be more accurately stated that this three pm is as far as I can make out nothing if not indifferent. So indifferent it is that I can only see it or notice it or remark it after I have myself posited it there in that approximate place–for lack of a better way to clear out room for it–where I then find it.

The one three pm and the other three pm and the other other three pm all run together. That glare in the middle: a dispassionate sun hangs from an uncertain meridian where it unloads everything it possibly can without mercy for us or relief for itself over and over and over and over and over.

Three pm was never my idea. I was handed three pm already fully formed. From there it has solidified in several directions and begun to decompose in several other directions and in several directions besides these it has broken down into unrecognizable components or rather other ideas that are nothing like three pm or noon even or midnight or anything I can think of that has anything in common with three pm or noon or midnight or anything.

As difficult as it is to pick out three pm from some of these angles and as noiselessly as three pm approaches at some of these times it remains as unmistakably three pm as it ever has. It bursts through the blinds no matter how tightly drawn its disingenuously pleading voice well aware that it can continue to plead for at least one moment longer than you can continue to refuse it admission. The plea is its alibi its cover for the nearly absolute power at its disposal should its plea falter but it never does or that is it never did I always gave in at least one second before it had had enough.

I have tried sleeping through three pm with some success insofar as success might consist of not noticing three pm as it approaches and passes and approaches and passes but you will note or I have noted that sleeping does not fend it off.

Sleeping does not prevent its passing nor its receding into the folds of remembered and forgotten three pms or thereabouts.

Nor does sleeping prevent any of them then from reverberating with the boredom of headaches and motion sickness and diesel exhaust and the ride home where hats were hung and heads above the hats were hung and swords above the heads were hung and still hang today despite protestations that no sword has ever been brought into the house.

Which is why nobody goes home anymore.

But three pm will pass whether or not anyone is home and three pm will pass whether I try to pretend I do not see it when I am at the store or when I am at the park or when I am at the library or when I am at the doctors office or when I am in my room which is not the same as being at home my room is much less far less dangerous than is home. My room is the familiar collection of rocks and sticks and needles and dirt and old hair and cast off skins all worn smooth and dry and painless to touch. It is the modulation of heat and noise and light down to amplitudes that do not blare. It is the coincidence of mammalian rhythms and temperate latitudes. It is the stamina of wood and metal and mineral against casual intrusion. It is a modest supply of tools and instruments that can be used to do things or initiate processes that have no utility and no exchange value on any of the most pressing markets neither those by now compulsory nor those remaining optional and so in most modern senses of the phrase none of them follow from honest labor. If the things made or processes initiated have any effect on anything it would be to act on time and space and materials and forces in such a way as to deflect if only at the very most oblique angle such other times and spaces and materials and forces as three pm and heat so deep it piles up in great waves all the way to the sky asserting its persistence: a persistence just as infinite as it has to be to obtain your resignation to its inexhaustibility.

◊ ◊ ◊

I am up early today.
I will outrun three pm with the enthusiasm of six am resurrect and reanimate.

Nothing is impossible until at least noon.


giving in to convention

So I thought about it for a little while and decided that I could capitalize the sentences on the longer, denser parts of undiagnosed without totally compromising my artistic integrity.

There are so many things wrong with that sentence I am not sure where to begin but I do realize that pretty much every part of undiagnosed is dense and long and I do not hold a great deal of reverence for “artistic integrity” not least because I mostly have no idea what the phrase refers to in its usual contexts and also I have no desire or energy to supply it with a coherent referent in this context here probably because integrity may not be salvageable in the linguistic communities I belong to and I may think good riddance to that so why devote much more effort to it.

But so what I decided then was something like I could capitalize those sentences that appeared to me to be sentences in the last two pieces I put up at undiagnosed and still like how they read. I will admit to a bit of compromise and if I ever were to have the opportunity to print undiagnosed as a book I might uncapitalize the sentences I just capitalized because once it is in print I am a little less concerned as to whether it is readable.

Well actually I am ambivalent about whether or not I want the sentences capitalized and so as long as I am not absolutely sure they must be done one way or the other I figure I might as well make them a bit more readable now since ultimately I do want readers and I do think what I am writing might be worthwhile for someone out there to read or parts of it at least and I do not want to purposely throw up obstacles to reading without a really good reason and I am not sure my reasons are all that good or even all that clear even to me. That is I know why I have not been capitalizing most sentences but I am not myself convinced that it is a necessary method for doing what I am trying to do.

That is there might be other methods that work just as well or it may be that I do not need other methods or the no-capitals method. We will see.

So a bit friendlier, here:
stalking feet
covert citizenship in the land of one thousand dances
I am however fairly certain I do not want to capitalize the titles.

sort of like you know I’m not sure but definitely I will think about it yes

I found this at How to Make Money Writing Poetry (Part One):

  1. Always use keyword research when you are writing material that you will use to draw traffic or to make money online.
  2. Use Keyword Research to select your blog niche, blog title and blog URL. Preferably you want to select popular AND profitable keyword terms.
  3. Use keyword research to select blog topic posts and write blog posts or poems based on profitable and popular keywords.
  4. If you already have a collection of poems for your blog posts package them such that they fall into a profitable keyword niche.
  5. Make sure you include the main keyword at the beginning of the title of your blog post (so that it will show in the URL of the blog post) e.g. A Sad Love Poem by Your Name: Love Lost. Keep in mind that for branding purposes, keyword research and search engine optimization, the poem niche and your name are more important than the title of the poem.
  6. Make sure that you include your main keyword in the body of your blog post and in the tags. You should also try to include related popular keywords.

Some backstory:

I am doing a research project. It is really the same one it has always been and it is not particularly distinct from any of the other concrete things that I work on but it may have been for instance my primary topic of academic writing if I had kept to a course in which academic writing was the sort of writing I was doing but since I am not so much writing of academic pieces even though everything I do write would have been impossible to write without having for a long time been an academic and without still being more or less in study more or less all of the time this research project is not precisely an academic research project but it is not precisely not one either.

The topic, broadly, could be put this way:

What the fuck.
I mean.
What. The. Fuck.

I could spend some time detailing the many contexts in which I so often say or read or hear about this approximate topic but I do not know that I could do this adequately in fewer than 5000 words and I am not up to 5000 words today and besides it would take at least 10,000 to really explore all the genres of what the fuck. So this is but a bare outline of where my own overburdened incredulity has led me up to this point:

I am looking at the colonization of Europe by specific human species and groups starting around 45,000 years or so ago through the fall of the Roman Empire and the Christian conquest of what is often called paganism. I am looking at the development of the idea of individuality in Europe and the Americas. I am looking at the geneaology of dualistic structures in mainly European and USian traditions of thought and inquiry. I am looking at USian psychiatry’s approach to diagnosis and treatment of “mental disorders” and I am looking at whatever relationships might suggest themselves between cultural trauma and abusive child-rearing philosophies.

I am also trying to track my own family’s history in the US and in Europe at so many times and places I have no hope of putting anything in narrative order. I am looking at USian imagery and discourse on disability, responsibility, and productivity. I am looking at the broad spectrum of outcomes of treating the designated symptoms of PTSD with neuroleptics, mood stabilizers, SSRIs, SNRIs, novel antidepressants, anticonvulsants, stimulants, and whatever else might be deemed possibly beneficial.

I am also looking at what I think I see as a tendency in disciplines practicing the scientific method toward reductive haste and over-confident explanation and investigating ensuing patterns of having repeatedly to recognize greater complexity in observing and theorizing empirical reality.

So. You know.

Over the weekend I decided to try to read one of the many texts I have been accumulating on these and related subjects only to find that once again I had to stop after less than ten pages and go write.

I say once again because this has been happening with greater and greater frequency over I would reckon the last two or three years. Maybe longer but I think in 2010 I could still finish a book-length academic text and in fact did so although I am not sure which one because I have completely lost track of what I have started to read and what I have read all the way through and what I am in the middle of and what I have put down because I was sleepy or exasperated or disgusted or curious about cited sources or excited about curious sources or so energized that I had to go take a five-mile walk.

And so I went to write. And I can even say that I was successful at least to the degree that I did indeed write even to the point of finishing a section of unDiaGnosed or that is writing enough on it that I was reasonably willing to post it for public consumption and so did just that.

I do not know what I am going to try to do next but it will probably be a response to this growing hunch that it is time to write and that if I try to do other than write I am probably going to be frustrated and depressed and cranky and unbearable even and especially to myself.

And although I do write because I cannot not write or that is when I write it often is the case that not writing was not so much an option I also do write in hopes that someone will read what has been written and find it appealing or useful or amusing or not a complete waste of time and because this has happened before I do actively search for readers although “actively” is sometimes of necessity not particularly active-looking to anyone not familiar with the way I am put together and sometimes that anyone includes myself.

But so the SEO Poetry tips were the result of a Google search looking for suggestions on how to broaden one’s online audience and of nearly everything they say one should do there is almost no chance that I will do any of it except maybe ponder some basic web user interface problems which I have historically tossed to the winds because I was not really trying to make things easy to find and certainly not trying to create descriptive links and in fact usually wanted you to have no idea what a given link would produce when clicked. I think though that I might have to make a concession or two at least for the purposes of providing clear paths to anyone who might actually be trying to find a thing because they want to read it. On the other other hand this thing that I write that might be a blog but is sporadic and without direction although I am not all that interested in furnishing it with any particular sense of direction I would like it to be somewhat less sporadic in some way that might actually render me able to pull off something like a change in direction for the collection of writing sites that are nominally mine and that I consider active even if I have not posted in two years on at least one of them.

Something might happen here is what I almost mean to say. I do not know what. I do not know if anything at all will happen but if say I were to find energy enough and to enjoy any period of what they call productivity at all I would like to try a couple of things. None of them are SEO poetry.

Unless they are. Because I did stop in my rush to make fun of the How to Make Money Writing Poetry (Part One) tips and wondered what it might be like actually to follow these tips without following them. Or to take them as occasions for making something they probably were not trying to help me put together. Because when it comes to cultural subversion I am pretty much about straight-on perversity or certainly what usually results is abruptly orthogonal even to what I think I am trying to do.

What I mean is that I do not think I will be writing ironic SEO poetry not just because irony has been chewing on its own tail for so long now that it has practically devoured the distance from itself that it requires of itself but more because I still do best at associational perversity. I may forget about SEO poetry altogether and make no response at all but I am still going to think about it. Or something else.


Why I am not here

So now I guess I am posting every other month.

Well, you cannot say I have not been busy. I have books to mail; videos to plan, film, edit, and release; and I am posting my autobiography, UnDiaGnosed online piece by piece, partly as a spur to finish it already, and partly as a serial experiment in publishing and distribution over the internet.

And I have taken to composing lyrical pieces when I am feeling especially inarticulate. Maybe there will be another collection sometime in the not terribly distant future.

Not to mention some interesting developments in the world of politics that have been begging me for some sort of contribution. But I am not going to say any more than that for now.

So, please, go read UnDiaGnosed; I am trying to post a new part every two weeks. I do not really know how long this will take because I have many sections to work on but some of them are short and so I will combining varying numbers of the into single posts. It might be some sort of entertainment for about a year, though.

If I think of something worth arguing prosaically, I will consider running off at the mouth here.


Kickstarter project: we have achieved liftoff!

One Last Ditch: the movie.s. has been launched at Kickstarter! I have 45 days to reach my funding goal so that I can start making non-pixelated videos–or at least, when I want them to be non-pixelated–in October or so. Please go visit and please consider funding more poetry videos, for whatever reason compels you to support poetic and visual art. I have my own reasons, but they may not be yours: I am trying to find my own voice in order to speak up for life experiences that are not necessarily considered “normal” in American culture in the twenty first century. I know that hearing and seeing others who were considered freaks in their own milieux helped me to find reasons to stay alive when I was young and terribly unhappy, and although I do not propose to go into this to save lives, I do know the power of images and language when used well. I only hope to use them well and for the forces of life and the forces of love.

And it’s fun, besides. :)

If you wish to bookmark the page (but pledge soon, because 45 days is not as long as it sounds!), use this url: http://www.tinyurl.com/onelastditch –it’s much easier to remember than the long Kickstarter url.


home is where. no seriously. where is it.

Like most urban dwellers in the US, I am from somewhere else. I have been from somewhere else for as long as I can remember; when I was two years old my family moved across the country from Tacoma Washington to a suburb of Atlanta Georgia. I grew up saying I was “from Seattle” because in the 60s and 70s in the Deep South it was slightly more likely that one’s interlocutor would have heard of Seattle than that they would know about any Tacoma. Both possibilities were vanishingly slim and I suspect that Seattle was mostly missing on any map drawn east of the Mississippi back then.

Until I was about high school age it was the family story that one day we would move back to Seattle. My parents never did and now claim that they hated the rain anyway and prefer tornados to earthquakes, but of all the things they indocrinated me with, the only one that took was that I had to get back to Seattle. After a childhood of flying back to visit relatives in this lost paradise where it never got hot and the grass stayed green all year I was so hell-bent on getting back to Seattle that when my partner and I decided that we had to leave Atlanta in 1987 because, well, it was the South, I immediately and relentlessly campaigned for us to move to Seattle.

I was successful, much to my immense pleasure. Now I live in San Francisco but that has turned out to be something of an accident and I still assume that one day I will head back up to the land of dark and rainy winters. I miss those actually: one could stay in bed all day in the winter and not feel slothful in the slightest.

But what I mean to write about is going home. Continue reading