On One Hand

January 28, 2005

Butterscotch on Pink

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:50 am
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Tonight I was walking home, stoned, and I saw myself how I really am. The shield of ego and self-blindness was lifted and saw myself, as if from above, yet I was more in me than I ever have been. I was seeing myself how other people see me and yet not caring how other people see me. Tracing over the sidwalk, hard step from thin leg over firm pat over hard step, brown on shadowy gray. My face was different from how I imagine it, different even from the way I see it in the mirror when I look. It was more rounded, more blunt, more pale than the two-dimensional polished surface shows, more pysical with moving collagen and blood. The eyes were bigger, softer. More alkaline. My voice was deeper, more smooth, less sexy but more real, more mellow, more itself. Smooth like an unpolished table, smooth like a painted wall. Spoken from a different part of my throat. Spoken with less pressure and more flow. The energy was a dry, reclined, optimistic pale one, a static field that holds its charge. The spirit was itself, knew itself, real and basic and brown, like tea but tea in the air, like the smell of it. There was a musty scent, a deep, masculine, unshiny pureness. Unpolished. Wise. The color and texture of wood. Smart, not genious but insightful. I was how I knew me, and knew me well.

I saw my mother the way she is. Her thin, pursed lips, her strands of red-blonde hair dangling in ones, then twos through her sugary hands. Circle on circle over circle-circle. Round-cornered square. She was herself, butterscotch on pink, pale line on shadowed dot. Looking down at out and to the right, reading, thinking, focused deeply but focused not on her. Distracted, thinking on the out, at a point, at a magazine.

I saw me again. Speaking from the chest, instead of the place I speak through most of the time, speaking through the depths, more inside, closer to the Earth, closer to my lungs. Speaking below the lump. Speaking like the texture of wood and bark, like dry, electrec air, like roots in soil. Pulling the energy in, around, giving when I give but not forcing it. Less sexy, less Hollywood Magazine TV America, less ideal, but I liked me better this way. Loving a lot, but not as much as Christ. Giving a lot, but not a Mother Teresa. Thinking a lot, but not an Einstein or an Aristotle. Not a Socrates. Not trying to be the first. Not trying to be anything. Loving a lot. Real, genuine, me.

I saw my father. A person in his basic shapes, like a Picasso. Blunted triangle over inverted, rounded triangle. Soft, but sharp, smooth, brown on a darker hue, real. Like me. Opaque, translucent, smooth. Passionate, reserved, angry, insecure, pulled back like hair and real.

I saw my sister. Oval on oval. Purple, brown. Pulled down and to the side. Like clear obsidian – no – black. Pulled in and to the out, dark-eyed, neutral, solid. Earthy. Real. Stone.

People were people, warm, concentrated, thinking on what they were and thinking on the out. Thinking on the curtains, on the dark sky, thinking on the magazine, thinking on the television, thinking on the dry air, thinking on the dry whiskey in the dry glass. People were people. I was me.

I hope I keep this, that I always remember to speak from the lungs. Thinking less like cold water and more like thick dry air. Speaking with the texture of wood. I hope I remember this, the dry air, the lungs, the wood.

January 25, 2005

Wolf Moon

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 4:16 am
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A glass of wine, a cigarette, half a pickle. I try to find happiness in life and it comes to me in incomplete bits as I burden through. A dark rainbow halo around the moon, drops of poetry sparkling over his neck. A random compliment from a friend, an unforeseen gesture when most needed. You feel your worst when you’ve fallen flat on your back, only to open your eyes to see a sky of shimmering scales; silvery back-lit cirrus clouds on a black, infinite translucence. A gentile coolness that wraps around and lifts and soothes. Step out now, catch the breeze before you miss it.

January 21, 2005

Expunge

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 8:38 pm
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This is for you, so that I never think of you again, your name severed from my consciousness by sharp, shiny steel. Three paralell lines, so close together they almost touch, seven drops, one long sting and may this be the last you hurt me. Goodbye.

January 20, 2005

Anatomy of a Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 12:45 pm

Wednesday January 19, 2005:

Woke up at 9:00, showered, noticed it was warm so wore my Napoleon Dynamite T-shirt. I ate a granola bar, Mallory called, said she was parked outside, I put on shoes and went out to meet her at 9:35. She picked me up, we talked about working and her brother, she parked just off campus and we parted to walk to our first classes at 10:00. “Philosophy and Art,” the teacher’s cool, I think the guy who sat in front of me is cute, the topic of the class was Charles Batteux. Class ended, I stayed in the room for “Philosophy and Science.” The teacher of Philosophy and Science looks like the mom from the movie Carrie, but she’s nice and the topic was the Criterion of Meaning, which is itself meaningless under its own premises, which I find amusing. I went to “Creative Writing: Fiction,” I turned in a short story about getting stoned, did an awful freewrite about a character, class ended and I went next door to “Creative Writing: Poetry.” I sat next to a pretty girl I know. I realized there was homework due and scribbled it out in two minutes before the teacher came in the room. I decided that two of the guys in that class are hot. We read a poem I liked and talked about concreteness and abstraction and the class ended. I walked the girl to her next class, so was late for my own, “Media and Youth Culture,” ran into James in a rush on the way to Humanities. He told me to call him later. The lecture in the class I was late to was boring, about teenagers 200 years ago, and thank God it ended fast and I walked home on my first break of the day at 3:00 in the afternoon. I got home and wrote a poem about life and science, ate a little, then went out to UMHE at 4:30 for their Wednesday free-food-and-discussion. I met a girl who was stingy about bumming cigarettes. The Christians and Unitarians prayed together, we ate spaghetti and salad, I ate two huge helpings of everything because it was the first time I ate anything except a granola bar all day. A guest speaker came in to talk about the concept of peace in Judaism, I almost fell asleep, he left at 7:30 and as the group dispersed I started walking. I chatted with these two lesbians and stopped at the coffee shop, found out one of them has a birthday on July 24, which is the same birthday as several of my other friends, as well as my grandfather, which I find amusing. Outside I pointed out the constellations Auriga and Taurus. I walked the girls home and then called Dave, he said to come over and watch The Simple Life, I went straight over without going home and started taking resin hits from his empty pipe as soon as I got there. I bummed a cigarette. We laughed at Paris Hilton on DVD for two hours and then at 10:30 Dave had to do homework and go to bed. From Dave’s I called James like he told me to, his phone was disconnected, then I remembered his roommate Molly and I are supposed to jam sometime on guitars so I called her instead. She invited me over and I started walking, paranoid about strangers following me, probably a direct result of the resin hits. I Looked at my phone’s clock at 11:11, had the premonition that something big would happen, which would turn out to be false. Got to the apartment at 11:30, walked in and James started handing me alcohol. We went out onto the porch and I pointed out the constellations Gemini, Leo and Virgo. The guy from my philosophy class who I like was there, I asked him his birthday and it was, strangely enough, July 24. I got drunk, and when the joint was passed to me I took a couple hits. I played guitar, this other guy there was hitting on me and I was trying to be cool about it without leading him on, ‘cuz he’s a nice guy but I don’t want to be flirting right now, I got pretty drunk and stoned, smoked two cigarettes and then the guy I’m into woke up and gave me a ride home. Nothing exciting came of getting a ride from him, no hints, no exchanges, no invitations, not that I was expecting any, not that it bothered me. I got a “see you in class.” I got home at 2:00 in the morning, the first time I was home since four in the afternoon, ate a bowl of cereal and a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, a granola bar, turned on the computer and checked my email. I got a chain letter about the Iraq war. It said to pray for American soldiers in Iraq, to send the message to thirteen people so that something exciting would happen to me at 11:11 that night. I changed the message into a prayer for Iraqi civilians, sent it to one person, closed the computer and at around 3:00 I went to bed.

Humor

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:07 am

I think it’s odd that the randomest thoughts come across as funny. When I have to list things in class, or I get together in groups to write “group poems,” I respond as ridiculously as possible. I’m ridiculous because I’m insecure about being serious, afraid I might seem lame, so I figure that if I’m purposely lame everyone will know I wasn’t trying and they’ll laugh because things like that are funny. Most of my intentional jokes relate back to some sort of randomness, some sort of obviously off-target response to a statement or idea. Is that because my brain has a propensity for absurdity, when left to its own? Or is it that a slightly ill-fitting context is what produces humor…which is a depressing thought because it impies that there is much less technology in comedy than I like to think.

I suppose humor is a mechanism to prevent depression, releasing endorphins and such. It helps you get over the shit you go through. Mine works well; I laugh when awful things happen to me, I fall and cut myself open and I’m laughing before concerned bystanders get to me (true story). Laughing serves it’s biological purpose, which I hope doesn’t mean that there is no purpose for it deeper than the biological one. If there isn’t a deeper purpose, I don’t really see much point in living.

January 17, 2005

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January 16, 2005

Arm in Arm

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:22 pm
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Despite the fact that everyone is afraid of dying alone, almost all people not killed in violent explosions indeed die by themselves. I, like many, would love to live my last moments with my spouse lying beside me, but I know it’s unlikely to come true. He will either die years before me, leaving me alone, or I’ll be sick with cancer and he’ll come up to bring me orange juice one day to find me urine-soaked and cold. Dying together, in bed, arm in arm, would be a feat. I can’t imagine how it would be timed correctly unless it’s suicide; imagine the coincidence of your lover discovering he or she has a brain tumor just as you come down with lung cancer, and you both give up chemo at the same time and deteriorate at the same pace. It seems more than unlikely that you would both slip off at the same moment, and if it happened right you would certainliy both be subject of a PAX TV special on miracles post-mortem. But even if you both commit suicide together, by, say, poisioning, death at the exact moment would be nearly impossible – one will always go slightly before the other, leaving one person alive for few awkward moments, desperately lonely for his or her last few seconds of consciousness hugging a still-warm corpse. I know how hard it is to get off at exactly the same time as someone else, which is something you can practice over and over again. Dying, which is something you do just once, at the same time as your partner must be quite an art.

Note to self: rewrite this.

January 14, 2005

Brain

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 12:35 am
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When I was a kid, I was afraid that my own self/consciousness would fade away each time I fell asleep and that a new one would emerge the next morning, with the same memories and personality as me, who thinks he is me, but who is not me. I felt that way because I would think about what a mind is and what a brain is and had a hard time figuring out what made me me other than the fact that I felt like me continuously since I woke up in the morning. I was sometimes afraid to fall asleep, worried that I would experience my last moments alive as I drifted off.

Science has determined that the mind, whatever it is, is located in the brain, and strongly suggests that the mind is the brain. Science has determined that the mind can be manipulated through chemical or physical adjustments in the brain, and that every conscious act correlates to a natural chemo-electrical impulse in some part of the brain. That might lead one to fear that that’s all a conscious act is – just a chemo-electrical impulse in the brain, or a series of them, with really little romance or mystery involved.

If I took a brain cell from me and put it into your brain, and a brain cell from you and put it into my brain, I would imagine that I wouldn’t feel much of a difference. I have billions of brain cells and we woudln’t have exchanged a significant proportion of them for any real change to occur. And what if I took a second cell from me and a second cell from you? Once again, I doubt we would notice any new feelings. But what if we exchanged cells rapidly, continuously, without stopping, until eventually all of our brain cells have moved? At what point do I become you and you become me? Would there be a sudden moment, a flash, an instant of reallignment when we switch heads (or bodies), or would the change be fluid and smooth? My sense of reason directs me toward the second option, because I realize that I am a sum of my brain cells, not just one of them. But if I’m a sum of my brain cells, that means that when just one cell dies, I have changed. When one has changed the sum has changed, I have changed, and I have died and a new person has emerged with one less cell who thinks he’s me. Since I’m losing brain cells all the time, I’m dying all the time. I once thought mortality lingered in the distance, some eighty or sixty or at least forty years in the future. Perhaps it happens every millisecond. Every moment I die, and a new me emerges with my thoughts. How many times have I died and been reborn in the time it took to write this?

Only parts of your brain are awake at any given time. When you read this written text, there are three important places in your cerebrum that are active. First, the back of your cerebrum processes the visual signal from your eyes and lets you percieve that there is a two-dimensional screen in front of you, a series of black spaces and white spaces. Your brain doesn’t then pass the perception of the image on to you; the image is already IN you now, in your brain, and the flashing of your brain’s neurons IS your perception of sight (which doesn’t really make sense to me). Then another part of your cerebrum, most likely on the right side since language is interpereted in the right hemisphere, desiphers the words that you read. It comprehends the sentences, with their meanings, and then its task is complete. Then a third part of your brain ponders the question, the paradox behind the sentences. Just a tiny fraction of the neurons in your brain are active when you carry out this complex task.

Then, lets say you close your eyes and listen to a piano chord playing in the background. Suddenly the visual and lingual parts of your brain shut of, and the auditory part of your brain has awakened. Perhaps some old memories are stimulated as well, since you recognize that the chord is from a piano and perhaps you are familiar with the song. Now, in your mental paradigm shift, you have become a completely different person. The part of you that was once awake to read is no longer functioning, and this new you that is awake to listen has taken control. It is impossible for your whole brain to be active at once; the experience of that would feel like mental overload, like a psychotic episode or panic attack. The most sane and skilled people are, in fact, the ones who are most able to turn unnecessary parts of the brain OFF when those parts are not needed.

So I am just a brain. My brain is made of molecules and electrons that are moving. They move in order, as part of a system, to more efficiently disperse energy in the Universe’s never-ending quest to become homogeneous and featureless on a smaller and smaller scale. When I die, the molecules that make up my body will continue to move, to disperse, and the entropy of the Universe will leap upward in a gigantic release that will happen the very moment all of my thoughts and memories are lost. Like a gigantic thermodynamic orgasm, the Universe will spew into nothingness all the information it has built up in me. And the molecules will coninue to move, to break appart and become soil, become ash, become tree roots. They will spread, and continue to spread, never coming together again, but never stopping in their movements either. The molecules will contine to move and to disperse until they stop being molecules, until they stop being atoms, until they stop being any kind of matter at all. But whatever it is left will still move, as it did while I was me, a part of the process as if I hadn’t died at all. All processes become parts of new processes, new seperate processes that are all actually just one process, one movement in the Universe toward infinite distribution, a state that can never actually be reached. Am I immortal then, being a part of a process that will never cease? Or does this all imply that I was never alive from the beginning?

January 12, 2005

Freewrite w/ Prompt

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 3:07 pm

Prompt:
In sunglasses like dark lakes
I like the way the car capsules me from conversation
the smell of the day burning.

The poets business is telling the truth.

Response:
Umm… there is nothing incredibly insightful I can say about either of those quotes. I like the first one, even though I hate to drive.

I’ve been having problems lately. They say, as I have written before, that disorders like OCD or bipolar can make a person very creative, which would help me now. I find this to be true, that a bit of mental absurdity can indeed make me more creative, but lately my creative insanity has been reaching a debilitating level. It’s hard for me to speak out loud or carry a conversation. I’m afraid to talk in class, something I’ve always managed to do before. I’ve retreated, more than ever, into pens and paper, media that don’t judge and don’t change their minds about me if I do something wrong. I need drugs.

The poet’s business is telling the truth. The poets business is honesty. A poet must let go of ego, of the desire to make oneself more perfect to the forfeit of letting oneself be human. A poet must be willing to cut open the deepest and darkest of desires, the urges that he or she is disgusted with, and let the contents fly out into the judging world. A poet must ride on the brink of insanity, of atrocity, unafraid to risk falling in to the abyss. I think I’m falling.

Emphetamines. Alprazolam. Zoloft. Prochlorperazine. Atomoxetine. Oxazepam. Cannabis. Adderall. Fluphenazine. Tetra-hydro-cannabidiol. Thrifluoperazine. Ritalin. Caffeine. Alcohol. Haloperidol. Clozapine. Lithium. Olanzapine. Thorazine. Lorazepam.

Acute Stress Disorder. Anxiety disorder. Asberger’s Syndrome. Attentian Deficit Disorder. Antisocial Personal Disoder. Avoidant Personality Disorder. Bipolar disorder. Delerium. Dementia. Insomnia. Panic disorder. Schitzoid Disorder. Schitzophrenia. Social Anxiety Disorder. Stuttering. Tourette’s Syndrome. I’m trying to figure out what I have. It’s getting worse now, as I explained. I’ll be talking to someone in front of me, while my consciousness zips off somewhere back over my shoulder. I feel like I’m not making sense when I speak. I can finish the conversation even when my mind drifts elsewhere, so I don’t know if people notice when I’m not paying attention to them. Caffeine makes everything worse. I’ve always been proud of being funny, but now I feel like I can’t make jokes because my mind is so tangled. I feel like I’m always under incredible pressure, each moment weighted with life-changing potential, each conversation pivotal to my self-esteem and social future. I feel like I’m always being judged. I’m afraid of having responsibility when it opens the opportunity for me to be judged. My body temperature rises when I have to speak in class. My heart races, I hyperventilate, I sweat for no apparent reason. I stutter in formal settings. I don’t sleep, and I’m tired all the time. I used to be able to tune out background noises very well, and was never annoyed by anything. Now I find difficulty trying to hear someone over the sound of construction in the background or TV static. My consciousness zips in and out of focus; I’ll be walking down the sidewalk, staring down at the concrete below my feet, focused on a tiny point, an infinitesimal space at the center of my field of view, a theoretical point moving rapidly over the ground as I walk. Then my mind zooms out to encompass the whole world, and I can’t focus back on the point again. The whole world tilts forward at the edges like I’m looking through a lens. It switches suddenly, beyond my control, and sometimes at the worst possible times.

I don’t mind when my thumb or eyelid twitches, when my arm falls asleep, when I spasm during a dream or any other time that I lose control over my own body. That doesn’t bother me. My body can do what it wants. But losing control over my own mind is extremely disconcerting. It was once fun, like a roller-coaster that is gradually speading up, and it’s not fun anymore. I’m hoping this passes. It’s becoming debilitating.

Into Me

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:01 am
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I was talking to this guy online, who is attractive, who is a “medical assistant.” Is it strange if I had the thought that it would be really hot if he stuck an IV in my arm? I want him to draw my blood. I want him to tie a band around my arm to make the veins rise, and to professionally, delicately, slide the needle out of the sterile envelope, just like any professional nurse or doctor would. I want to feel him press his warm thumb on my skin, feel him stick the cold needle into my vein and I want to watch the blood fill the glass cylinder. I want to live in the feeling of trusting him. I want to watch him insert the IV next, see the air bubbles wobble down the clear plastic tube, through the thin needle and into my body. Into my blood.

It was just something that came to me.

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