Thursday, August 17, 2006

Boethius and the Whole Thing

First a poem for Poetry Thursday, the next in the rising mania of Sine Wave:


I do not like thee Dr. Fell

“Is it the beard, the stainless steel stirrups,
how my stooped shoulders droop like ears?”

The reason why

dry as frost on a freezer rack
sour as a cricket’s rasp in saw grass
(winning phrase announced later)

I cannot tell

blue as a neon-blue martini sign mirrored in blue oil
face-of-a drowning-victim blue

the water, wind and waves of it
the dead hound scratching at guilt’s grave of it

but this I know

for the Bible tells me so
how the lighter fluid from a barbecue
gets into your steak until you like it that way
how the traffic shuffles you to sleep,
how the refrigerator hums you

and know full well

enough let well enough alone alone

I do not like thee, Dr. Fell

(Published and depublished in Wired Heart.)


Now go to this site and take out your frustrations on its elegant surface: Pop Me


Regarding the whole thing.

No one can see the whole thing. A very few can imagine it. No one can deal with it.

I imagine the whole thing as a great ball of dirty dough rolling and bouncing over an old dirt road through a green valley. Everything it touches sticks to it and subsequently becomes part of the revolving show, much like the wheel of fortune about which Boethius wrote in his Consolation of Philosophy. And everything that sticks to the dough can ride along for a spell or be plastered back on the road or thrown out to the fields.

I used to think that the reason I wasn't more successful in managing the whole thing was that I wasn't rich or famous enough to afford help with the whole thing.

Celebrities of every stripe have managers, maids, valets, lawyers, accountants, trainers and more, I reasoned, to manage the whole thing for them with little supervision. Thus I lived in hope of becoming a celebrity to better deal with the whole thing. But each time I approached the cusp of fame I was so worn out from the swim that I missed the boat.

When I saw Whitney Houston looking like a Holocaust survivor in the tabloids, I realized that life can become unmanageable even for celebrities! Imagine that. (I do think Whitney would be well-served to hire a new drug counselor, one not afraid to slap the bitch around!).

Let us admit that not even a celebrity with support troops can manage the whole thing. The thing is--it's just too--too too too--gigantic to approach, this nightmare of a doughball thundering through your green valley like a pale head.

Even with a personal trainer, you have to do the exercises. You have to decide what shade of white you want your teeth. Someone can shop for you, someone can dress you, but no one can sleep for you. And it's precisely in these unprotected moments than the whole thing comes to smash you and hoist you above like flattened gum on its pudgy surface.

There is no escaping the whole thing. The whole thing doesn't care if you have a personal trainer. The whole thing can make you fat if it wants to. We are talking about the very elemental forces of nature here.

All matter, including sentient beings, is subject to the whole thing. And just when you reach the top of the spinning sphere with your beautiful wife and wonderful job and a ranch style house and 1.5 children, down you go. The whole thing will cram a Mercedes down your throat and a mortgage up your ass at the worst possible moment. Children? There's leukemia. The wife? She can have an affair with your boss. If you're the boss, she can always have an affair with your secretary. The whole thing, the giant turning sphere of sticky dough that rules our lives is always there, ready to turn our existence inside out at a moment’s notice. And it has and will.

There is no protection from the whole thing. Psychiatric medications may smooth out the gut-fluttering ride but they can't protect you from being stuck in the dough and whirled about.

Occasionally the whole thing will drop you on the road and you feel a strange relief in getting off the roller coaster and not being lost in the fields. Trust me, this won't last: this is the whole thing psyching you into a lack of caution before it swallows you up again.

There is no escape from the whole thing.

As for mood I'm about 1 kilorat today. I'm still feeling fragile, as if the medications were just barely suspending me from falling into the abyss.




  1. "There is no escape from the whole thing."

    Wow - I actually really needed to hear that this morning. It's a comfort, though I'm not sure why.

  2. Anonymous10:23 AM PDT

    Great way you express what most of us feel some time or another.
    I like “ you have to do the exercises”.
    After all, how we react to and feel about us and ‘the whole thing’
    is an inside job.
    Love reading your blog.

  3. Talking about our inability to encompass "the whole thing" helped Kathleen and me to get through the hard times in Mexico. It's meant to be funny but it's much funnier live, so she tells me.


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