Monday, April 13, 2015

no, it's not willpower, my friend

how does it happen, slipping into these morning depressions? i wake, stand up, feel fine, and immediately head toward downbeat thoughts, which quickly subdue me and rob me of my actual physical strength. all i want to do is lie down again. and if that's not a sign of being depressed, i don't know what is. 

i have tried various methods to combat it, beginning the day reading poetry, for example. alas, even if i love poetry, it's a two edged sword, about love and death, and often love leading to death. yes, the love aspect can lift me higher, if i'm in a lovely mood. ultimately, it merely intensifies my inner state.

and food's a remedy, almost, if i could just figure out what doesn't make me sluggish. bananas claim to be mood enhancers,  so i've begun many days with a banana, and once i've consumed it, i lie down again and float like a cork downstream. or apples, food of the gods. i must be affected like adam was by eve's offering. 

and now we're getting to the heart of the matter: the tree of knowledge. i realized the tree branches in all directions, carrying me hither and yon. how did i find this out? by once again indulging in a drug called wellbutrin. this time i carefully timed it and watched my changes in consciousness. lo and behold, after an hour i began to focus outward naturally, avoiding the magnet in my mind which draws the force of investigation back to myself.

oddly, i don't have to force myself to be interested in something, i just naturally am. my divided self joins together in one direction, in this case art, and i don't have to choose. in other words, i have so many interests, so many shoulds, i jig from biography, to history, to essays, to the making of donuts. everything under the sun must be investigated and understood. 

a little while ago the welbutrin wore off. suddenly, i did feel like myself, the comfortable state of mind agonizing over what i must do next: watch a talk on brain chemistry, bounce on my trampoline, write to the technical company threatening to renew my subscription in eight days. and it's this very state of writhing over possibilities brings on the dreaded dark night of the soul.

now, the world recommends willpower, and what i've discovered is the will to power lasts about fifteen minutes, then i'm exhausted, i have to rest for an hour to get it up again. jung would say this all has to do with the erotic flow, and the end of an orgasm comes to mind, arousal must wait for replenishment. it is something like that. every orgasm requires prepping, especially getting older. 

no wonder americans love drugs. they unify the mind, they erase all the inner tensions and contradictions. the inebriated flow in one direction, to dance, to flights of fancy, and it all happens naturally, it just comes. and for the time of the high, i don't really seem to be me, less empathetic, more arrogant, and decisive without having to make a choice. 

the question is: how much do i need, and is the dependency worth it? i wish i could reach the level of this chinese poet:


When I was young I never knew the taste of sorrow
yet loved to climb up towers, 
to climb up towers,
and just to write poems I pretended to be miserable.

Now I've exhausted all of sorrow's flavors
but stop before I say it, 
and finally just say, "What a cool autumn day."  

                                                                        Xin Qui

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

the world won't be a better place

                                            (they tried to domesticate David, too)

i hate to admit it, not because i've been here. i haven't stopped a war or saved a village or invented a cure for selfishness. the battles go on, children live in poverty, and the human being hasn't been improved, even if i have ideas how it could be. 

trouble is, shifting one part of the anatomy alters all the rest. take away the reptile part of my brain and i'd sink into sloth and enjoyment. subject my brain to pleasing chemicals and i'd be nobody without my perversity. you could give me a million dollars and see what happens. i would welcome your experiment.

alas, i've always worried about money. somewhere back in my mind is an empty coffer, a waiting grave, a subdued love. all exploration in solitude hasn't brought me to the diamond mines of satisfaction, fulfillment, i keep yearning for the end of torment in an epiphany.

that's not to say i'm suffering. what preposterous statement it would be: he's drinking tea, he's just had crackers and cheese, playing games of self-elopement on the computer. i've the luxury of myself in expanding in comfort and dreaming. if i want a few extraordinary past lives, i can conjure them up and blame them for making this world sordid. or slide down a glacier like an ace. 

all fulfillment comes from the imagination. i'd like to quote from 'the book of disquiet' by fernando pessoa, a Portuguese poet:

"Everything for us, is in our concept of the world. To modify our concept of the world is to modify the world for us, or simply the world, since it will never be , for us, anything but what it is for us. That  inner justice we summon to write a fluent and beautiful page, the true reformation of enlivening our dead sensibility - these things are the truth, our truth, the only truth. 

alas, the responsibility thrown on my sloping shoulders, half an inch of my actual height lost, while my feet have become a half-size larger, the burden too much for me. in my sleep last night murders occurred, sane people tried to escape in vain, the marauders had the advantage of guns and mobility. if even in my nightmares, i can't reform the world, save humankind from drowning in rubber tires and plastic bunnies, how could it do so here, fishing for the fluent and beautiful page?

just to remind myself how many have disappeared from my memory, i open the tattered address book. yes, him, her, them, the time and place. the only gift i have to give is my presence, and i guard it like an angel among devils. not very flattering is it?