Tag Archives: depression

ON THE DIME or “ON THE NICKEL?”

If F.D.R. was our 32nd president and Trump our 45th, what is the difference between? Good old unlucky #13.  Is it any coincidence that 13 presidents later, after one of our best presidents was elected, one who is definitely our worst was elected? Our culture needs to smarten up and start putting people first, money somewhere down the line. What good is a good economy if only the richest profit from it???? With our economy, our health and our morale at an all-time low, too many have gone “on the nickel” under Trump’s administration. Whereas FDR led us out of a depression, Trump has determinedly led us into the threat of one.

“On the Nickel” refers to 5th street in downtown Los Angeles, which is a location where many of the homeless hang out.  A mission on 5th street is known as “The Nickel,” taken from both the name of the street and the phrase “on the nickel” which describes someone homeless and perhaps begging for nickels.

In the song “On the Nickel” (Heart Attack and Vine) Tom Waits sings: “And what becomes of all the little boys who never comb their hair? They’re lined up all around the block on the nickel over there.” This is one of my favorite Tom Waits songs. Listen to it here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvCKEi0cAFo

 

Dark Thoughts

DSCF1981 - Version 7

Dark Thoughts

At four in the morning, the old cat begins her morning crabby  high-pitched “wahhhhrrr.” The wind picks up and I go to pee. Open my laptop and with its very first light, a tiny beetle flies to the screen to wander back and forth, in search of what? Company or bugs even more miniscule? And where has it been in the interim? In what obscure corner of my world has it been waiting for light, like the old cat, barely able to restrain itself , seeking my company at my first sign of stirring?

Does the rest of the world wait for me like this, or is it death lurking in the shadows, waiting for its time? Has life slowed down to this one long communal waiting? My sick friend has left but leaves behind her some of her dejection. I cannot shake it. Return to it after each short departure into the world. I feel an eternity of the ills of the world around me. Optimist rebel in an enemy camp all my life, I now feel myself sinking into the ordinary world. My mood refuses to shift with the sunrise. Even the old cat, still unfed, leaves me alone to my dark mood.

I fear the power of sleep, not wanting to return to that half-remembered dream I woke from. Fear this new self I seem to be becoming. Suddenly, I fear eternity—feel it not my friend.

Prompt words today are camp, rebel, eternity.

The Wall: NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29

The prompt today is to write a poem inspired by a Sylvia Plath poem.  Below the photo is the poem I wrote. The Plath poem I chose that inspired it is given below my poem.

The Wall

I put my hand against the raw stone of the wall
and I can feel it siphoning molecules.
There is a tingling sensation
as they flow out of me.

I try to send some extrasensory
particles along with them
to communicate to me
where they go
and what they encounter there,
but I know that it is futile.

I cannot follow
where these lost parts of me go––
these thoughts, wishes,
aspirations
that I surrender to the wall.

It is not by choice, you know,
that I sit here facing what 
has  been leached out of my life.

I go on living what life I can,
knowing that in time
all of me will finally
flow into the wall.

 I’ve lost so much ambition to it—
and hope and curiosity.

So much of what has kept me engaged in life
has already  gone into that gray world
where I cannot yet follow.

Now I sit here, facing it,
acknowledging my failure
as well as the wall’s exclusivity.
Only my shadow
cast against it
reminds me that
somewhere behind me
there is a sun.

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For NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29.

 

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                              Apprehensions

                                              — by Sylvia Plath

There is this white wall, above which the sky creates itself —
Infinite, green, utterly untouchable.
Angels swim in it, and the stars, in indifference also.
They are my medium.
The sun dissolves on this wall, bleeding its lights.

A grey wall now, clawed and bloody.
Is there no way out of the mind?
Steps at my back spiral into a well.
There are no trees or birds in this world,
There is only sourness.

This red wall winces continually:
A red fist, opening and closing,
Two grey, papery bags —
This is what i am made of, this, and a terror
Of being wheeled off under crosses and rain of pieties.

On a black wall, unidentifiable birds
Swivel their heads and cry.
There is no talk of immorality among these!
Cold blanks approach us:
They move in a hurry.

Remember Me

Remember Me

What I imagine I will be remembered by
is probably in the past, my present more taken up by
remembering than by doing.
That energy to create a life seems worn out
so that rising and sorting piles of papers
seems an Everest to scale.

Who knew that we would wear out, too.
Prefer our deskchairs to the dance floor,
our own tables to the favorite gathering place?
We have dulled to pewter,
finest silver that we once were.

Once hatless, ratted and curled,
now we shield ourselves from the sun
with wider brims,
celebrate midnight in solitude,
go the way of civilizations
headed toward their end.

Today’s prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me: Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

Post-Migraine Depression

Disclaimer: Yesterday I suffered my first migraine in sixteen years or so.  I had just been telling a friend how long it had been since I’d had my last one and the best way to overcome them when suddenly, a few days later, when I was standing on a ladder putting away material in my studio, I grew dizzy and would have fallen off the ladder if I hadn’t had a chair back and file cabinet to steady myself on.  Soon after, the migraine descended, along with the nausea and this time with a shortness of breath that was probably psychosomatic but which made me feel as though I was going to suffocate.

What was worse is that there was no one around–no one in my neighborhood–no one I could think to call.  When I tried to think of someone to email or Skype, my mind fogged and I couldn’t figure out how to type the letters or who exactly to call–just to have a sense of presence.  I was too sick to talk and could barely even stand the distraction of calling on Skype.  Nor could I figure out how to actually make the call.  Luckily a friend who was about to leave on a trip to another town and who was already connected to me by Skype, contacted an old friend and she called me and talked me down a bit, poor thing, talking for ten minutes or so without relief.  All I needed was some soft distraction so I did not think about not being able to breathe.

Today just the slight edge of a headache is there. Enough so I dare not bend down or chance seeing a bright light or smelling the odor of Jacaranda, which I am afraid is what caused the problem this time, but I have started thinking about old age and being alone and vulnerable and all of those things I’ve never really thought of seriously before.  When I tried to write something else entirely, what got written was the rather self-indulgent piece below.  My impulse is to put it away and to write something else, but I also have a curiosity about whether others might have the same feelings sometimes so I just might have another look at it and print it with the understanding that when such things are written, they sometimes serve as their own antidote.

Or, perhaps the extreme of what I wrote is simply priming the pump–a surge to get me going.  Well, I’ll have another read and we shall see.  If I do print it, I’d appreciate comments–lots of them–no matter how negative.  My grandmother used to say a Dutch phrase when she was feeling sorry for herself, “Mama Miet mi Dote!” (Mama might be dead.) It became our family’s saying, only my mother (her daughter-in-law), who didn’t understand Dutch, said “Mama Milk My Goat.”  My dad thought this was funny so never told us differently until I went to college and tried to use it and got blank stares from all those who didn’t know the phrase I thought everyone used.  It was then my dad ‘fessed up.  So, “Mama Milk My Goat.” Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself in the ditty below, but it helps to rave sometimes and tomorrow is another day.  For now, I’m lying low for one more day.

Post-Migraine Depression

My life is growing narrower, the walls are closing in.
I don’t care where I’m going or care where I have been.
I never thought life would wear out or that I’d tire of it,
but suddenly the life around me does not seem to fit.
We’re schooled to be cheerful and to make the best of life–
to emphasize our happiness and overlook the strife,
but somehow everything has changed. Perhaps it is the weather,
for suddenly I feel my life is on too short a tether.

I think I’ve worn my old life out but cannot seek a new one.
I’ve simply not the energy to try again to do one.
So I shall lie abed today to contemplate my fate–
to have a look at what I do and what is on my plate.
I need to feed the dogs and then to feed my own self, too–
to dress myself and try to put each shoe in front of shoe.
My grandma was a martyr and perhaps I am the same,
but I don’t try to make this into any other’s blame.

I simply feel that I must stir the pot up once again–
take off on an adventure someplace I’ve never been.
Find a niche and fill it and live a simple life.
Try to find diversion without turmoil or strife.
To inspect the Caribbean or a tiny town in Spain.
Live alone in solitude with nothing to explain.
My family is scattered and has no need of me.
In terms of obligations, I am really fancy free.

So if you do not see me later on this blog,
just know that I have gone away and slipped my usual cog.
Perhaps I’ll be beach combing or traveling out to sea.
Perhaps I’ll be investigating what else I can be.
My life will soon be over and although I’ve had the best,
I feel that I need more of it before my final rest.
Or, I may not stir at all. I guess I must admit,
perhaps my need is satisfied by contemplating it.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/we-built-this-city/

NaPoWriMo Day 5: Two Poems

For our fifth prompt, we were asked to take a famous poem and use each word, in sequence, as a last word in each of our lines. I chose “In a Station of the Metro” by Ezra Pound.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.  

Here is my poem:

Dateless Saturday Night

How she worries the
puzzle of her 16 years, her face an apparition
in the mirror of
her window. These
nights with no other faces
in them, no other voices in
them. She sits alone, apart from the
cool crowd,
plucking her own petals,
“He loves me. He loves me not” playing on
her radio, a
hand holding one more piece that doesn’t fit, wet
with her dew, the whole world black
grackles on a leafless bough.

-0-

That was so fun, I did another, this one based on Robert Frost’s “Devotion.”

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean–
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.

Here is my second poem:

The

Changing “a” to “the”
is something the heart
will not do before it can.
It is not a matter of what we think,
but rather of
how we must. No
“should” can prompt devotion.
Nothing in our small lives is greater
than loving, than
being
loved. In our pursuit of it, we search for the shore
we were born to drift to,
swell towards the
home the ocean
of our being wants for us, holding
our happiness in the
breaker’s last curve.
What we are made of
is this becoming one––
curling from our lonely position
toward our safe harbor, counting
our failures shore after shore with an
aching to find the one. This seeking? It is endless,
and makes our world in its repetition.