Ramona, come closer,
Shut softly your watery eyes.
The pangs of your sadness
Shall pass as your senses will rise.
The flowers of the city
Though breathlike, get deathlike at times.
And there's no use in tryin'
T' deal with the dyin',
Though I cannot explain that in lines.
Your cracked country lips,
I still wish to kiss,
As to be under the strength of your skin.
Your magnetic movements
Still capture the minutes I'm in.
But it grieves my heart, love,
To see you tryin' to be a part of
A world that just don't exist.
It's all just a dream, babe,
A vacuum, a scheme, babe,
That sucks you into feelin' like this.
I can see that your head
Has been twisted and fed
By worthless foam from the mouth.
I can tell you are torn
Between stayin' and returnin'
On back to the South.
You've been fooled into thinking
That the finishin' end is at hand.
Yet there's no one to beat you,
No one t' defeat you,
'Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad.
I've heard you say many times
That you're better 'n no one
And no one is better 'n you.
If you really believe that,
You know you got
Nothing to win and nothing to lose.
From fixtures and forces and friends,
Your sorrow does stem,
That hype you and type you,
Making you feel
That you must be exactly like them.
I'd forever talk to you,
But soon my words,
They would turn into a meaningless ring.
For deep in my heart
I know there is no help I can bring.
Just do what you think you should do.
And someday maybe,
Who knows, baby,
I'll come and be cryin' to you.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Ramona, come closer,
Monday, January 30, 2006
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Joe Dan, Ruth, and Babs
They were sitting in the hospital waiting room, waiting for Babs to deliver her baby. Her sister Ruth couldn't believe it would be the fourth child in as many years, but there it was. Ruth wasn't even sure why she should be there; what could go wrong after so damn much practice, anyway? Nonetheless, she was antsy because her sister always took so long and she started picking at her brother-in-law just to break the tedium.
“Do you believe in guilt?” Ruth asked.
“Yeah, sure,” Joe Dan answered. Ruth was always quibbling with him about his religion, so her question didn't surprise him.
“And I know you believe in sin, right?”
“Yeah, of course.”
“And therefore you believe in free will?”
“Uh—I guess so,” Joe Dan said unsurely. “What's all this leading to?”
“Well, if you believe in free will, Joe Dan, I just wonder why you always bring up this stuff about God 'letting' terrible things happen or 'making' good things happen.”
“But those things are true,” he whined. “God can do anything!”
“Yeah, right. And the first thing he did, even according to you, is to give man Free Will so that he—man—could by omission 'let' terrible things happen and by commission 'make' good things happen. Which suggests to me that seldom, if ever, does God himself mix in; he made the world to work a certain way and our job is to live in that metaphysical world, doing the things that are necessary. I don't think God mixes in. He just has opinions.”
“No, you've got it all wrong!” Joe Dan said nervously. “God decides everything!”
“No, I don't, and no, he doesn't!” Ruth grinned. “God may be the beginning and end of all things, but he’s not much a part of the middle. We're in the process alone. He doesn't sit around deciding whether to give you measles when you're 8 or urinary infections when you're 45. He may know when the least sparrow falls, but he's not the one shooting them out of the sky.”
“Well, I don't know,” Joe Dan said angrily, “but it seems to me that you can have free will, but still not necessarily get where you meant to go.”
“Now that's true,” Ruth said. “In fact, it's the first really practical thing I've heard you say in ages. No, free will doesn't solve every problem, it's just all we've got to work with to solve our problems. Most things are hazard.”
“Yeah, and that's the difference between you and me,” Joe Dan said petulantly. “You need the blessings of God, not a bunch of derned hazard theories!”
“Damn it, Joe Dan,” she snapped, “just when I thought you might have a thought in your head after all! You're the best example I know that free will can't save us from our own stupidity, whether we believe in God or not, sin or not, free will or not! Jesus, you're dense!”
“In God,” Joe Dan intoned, “is absolute redemption.”
“There is no absolute redemption,” Ruth sighed. “Especially not around here.”
“Yeah. Maybe. But in that situation, you just want to believe in hazard; I'd rather go ahead and believe in God.”
“Well, it covers all the options; if you're wrong, you're only wrong. But if you're right, you're Saved for all time!”
“I'll be damned, Joe Dan, you're a pragmatist, after all!” Ruth said.
“I am not!” he insisted, not entirely sure what he way denying.
“But, still, you make me puke! Talkin' to you is the worst fuckin' thing I've ever subjected myself to, I swear!”
“What do you do it for, then?” Joe Dan asked, his face red because of her obscene language, yet genuinely curious for once.
“Entertainment, I guess,” she muttered.
“I don't understand?” he said.
“Fuck, I don't, either,” Ruth giggled.
“I wish you wouldn't talk like that,” Joe Dan said with a hurt expression.
“Hell, you wish I wouldn't talk at all,” Ruth laughed. “Sometimes I wish you wouldn't, either and we could just both be brainless and happy.”
“I don’t get it.”
“No, and probably never will.”
5th draft: 1/28/2006
Saturday, January 28, 2006
I have never been a person to wake up very quickly. I have always needed some lead-time before I could count on being very sure-footed or very alert. Since having diabetes, I have now added being able to see well as one of the things I can’t do without some lead-time in the mornings! My eyesight has been getting better; both I and the retina specialist I saw yesterday can testify to that. I read up on the Internet about Kenalog, the medication that was injected behind the retina a couple of months ago and it’s talked about as if it’s not effective in all cases, so I guess I am lucky that it’s been working out for me. The medicine will continue to work on me for a couple of months more, the doctor said, and that’s good. As to whether he’ll ever treat the other (right) eye is yet to be seen (ha!). Anyway, the eye doctor will determine that after this left eye has finished improving. All this is, of course, very important. I’m far too visual a person to think about life with poor vision. I suppose that hardly anyone would feel any different.
Still, worry about my eyesight is something that’s been in the background, not in the foreground. I’ve been most worried lately about my lack of appetite and weight loss. I’m nearly 100 lbs. lighter than I used to be a couple of years ago and 40 lbs. of it was lost in the last few months—say, since the end of August. When my primary physician said he was concerned about the most recent 5 lb. loss, I told him gleefully that I’d actually gained 1 lb. back! Of course, it’s still a problem, but us guys wasting away look for cheer in the smallest of changes! He gave me some kind of antihistamine that serves to increase appetite and I hope that works some magic. I did manage to eat almost all of a big breakfast at IHOP yesterday! Lately I haven’t eaten all of anything! Time will tell.
I’ve had a new blue hat hanging on the bedroom wall for some time now, waiting for some of the other hats to wear out. I decided last week I’d start wearing the cheery light blue hat, mostly to cheer myself up, but also just in case I wear out first. This way I at least get to wear it some!
Friday, January 27, 2006
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Went to my primary physician today and discussed many things. He seems to think my symptoms of no-appetite and weight loss might stem from the gallstones indicated during my small bowel x-rays. So, too, it might be a cause of acid reflux and the esophogitis that has me frequently choking on my food and on pills—something that's no good for my appetite! They're going to do more blood work now, including for the kidney. Got a prescription for blood pressure pills that had heretofore been covered by free samples; nothing lasts forever. At least he noted that my blood pressure was now good. Also got a prescription for something that's supposed to increase one's appetite. Let me at 'em! I'd love to have some of that! The doctor took my poverty into consideration by making sure to give me generic drugs and a discount on the lab work. I thanked him for that, just to keep that wheel greased. I also informed him of the state of my retirement papers and plans for a Disability claim. I left some Disability papers with him which are meant for him to fill out for some medical panel in Austin who will never see me in person. Whoopee.
One funny moment of our conversation had to do with my inquiring if all the skinny people in the world hurt all the time from sitting on their skinny butts without any padding! Prior to my recent weight loss, I told him, I'd never even been aware of my tailbone! He explained that people who have always been slim are accustomed to it and are probably nowhere near as conscious or uncomfortable as I am, having suffered significant recent weight loss. I guess that may be true, but I sure feel like mine is sensitive and even brittle, that if I sat on it just a little harder, it would break off! Not to put too fine a point on it, I sure wish I had some of my fat ass back!
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Razor Blades and Dominoes
Sharon Goodnight and Edward Salle sat together after dinner, talking, laughing, and drinking beer while the radio played softly in the background. They had always enjoyed bantering. Edward noticed that some rock group on the radio was singing a frenetic refrain which he could only half-hear since the radio was set at such a low volume. He wondered what the hell was so important about “razor blades and dominoes”. Maybe he'd heard the lyrics wrong.
“I'm sorry, you know,” Edward said after a while. “I couldn't help thinking that I'd think about sleeping with you once I realized I was going to see you again after so long.”
“I thought about that, too,” Sharon smiled. “That you'd think about it, I mean.”
He nodded at her and lit a cigarette.
“Is that what you're thinking now?” she asked. “I mean, do you want to? It's not something that always worked out well between us.”
Edward nodded again, a dumb, but not dumbfounded, look on his face.
“I guess,” he sighed. “I don't know whether it'd be the right thing or the wrong thing, but I know I couldn't turn it down. After 15 years, I'm afraid that nothing will work, that—”
“Fifteen years?” she asked, leaning forward to touch his wrist with her fingertips. She looked astonished. He nodded, but didn't look at her.
“After that,” he continued, “It's hard not to worry that nothing's ever going to work out again. That I'm completely crazy. That I don't remember what's necessary.”
“No one forgets that, surely, Ed,” she whispered. “I mean, sex is—”
“Like riding a bicycle?” he grinned. “No, I don't guess that you do forget the mechanics. But I suspect you can, or that I can, forget the instinct, the feelings, the emotional balance of making love. I'm so pathetically, monolithically blind and empty and hungry now that I could devour a woman, finger-nails, eyes, teeth, and soul altogether. All at once—wham!—in a fell swoop, in a single gulp! Or try to, anyway, even if it turned out that my dick didn't really work any more.”
“Seems like you'd know already whether your dick works or not,” she teased. “It doesn't take two for that.”
“That's true, Sharon,” he laughed. “It doesn't take two at all.”
“Well?” she asked.
“Well, technically, it works,” he sighed.
She nodded and waited for him to continue, seeing that the moment hadn't lightened at all.
“But a sexual life so far removed from either real sex or real life for such a long time creates a world so artificial and strained that feelings and sensation become—well, artificial. Listen, I don't know how to say it clearly, or maybe I just don't have the nerve. But, to make it short, it's very far from real. So I don't know if what is wrong is real or not, either. Something's wrong, of course, even if it's only symptomatic of everything else that's wrong.”
“It sounds terrible,” she said.
“It feels worse. Like being dead, without the obvious benefits.”
“What benefits, for the love of Christ?”
“Cessation of stress. The end of thoughts and dreams. Peace. What else?”
“Jesus, Ed, maybe I should sleep with you,” she said softly. It almost sounded like a question.
“Maybe you should. The thought of it excites me and sickens me at the same time. It may be too late. It might destroy me as surely as my imagination wants to suggest that it would unerringly save me.”
“You've bit the big one, haven't you?” she smiled.
“The mother of all donkey dongs,” he nodded, making a wide gesture with his hands. “And it's not a thing that you can generally tell, not even to people who know you, love you, and probably suspect it anyway. It's like all that clamminess and claustrophobia in Conrad's Heart of Darkness. All those savage feelings and yet being so powerless at the same time. It won't go away, and you can't leave it. At some point, you just surrender to it, I guess. It's just—”
“The horror,” she interjected, as if finishing his sentence. “I know about that,” she said. “A lot of people do. There's lots of roads to Africa.”
He smiled tiredly, leaned back in his chair, and blew smoke into the air.
“Say, what was that damn question you asked me a minute ago, Sharon?” he asked vaguely.
They looked into each other's eyes for a moment, then both laughed loudly as if the tension had finally broken a little. After that, they sat for a long while, staring at each other in affectionate silence, two old friends wondering if it was really possible to make things any worse or any better and if they were about to do so. As kind as they wished to be to one another, the way things were going, it didn’t seem likely.
rcs. 3rd draft: 1/23/06
Monday, January 23, 2006
Dear Jane: Since I've mentioned that oriental lady a time or two before, you might be interested to hear some recent thoughts. I've seen pictures of Fong Du in her late twenties or early thirties, more or less before she got fat; she was only moderately cute back then. But now, swathed in a couple of decades' worth of additional layers of fat, I find her very “cute”, if only because I came to know and like her.
Though much more intelligent and good-natured and human, I might draw a quick sketch of her for you by mentioning Mrs. Rytell, the fat little civics teacher we had in high school. You remember her, I guess. Anyway Fong has that same look of having had an air-hose stuffed up her ass until it filled her up. That same sort of slightly hurried, half-staggering half-floating teeter when she walks on high heels (as if an air-hose had filled a few of her fat little compartments with helium instead of air). Although Fong is not florid, stupid, or disagreeably repulsive like Mrs. Rytell was, some of the physical similarities are there, even the unattractiveness. It’s very odd to be reminded by someone so pleasant of that old unpleasant and distinctly unkissable Heep of infamy who made my skin crawl back in high school! You can imagine that it is even more odd to be attracted by her!
Yet because Fong Du is sweet, intelligent, and sometimes—by the greatest accident, it always seems—touches my hand or wrist while we shuffle papers back and forth between us, I sometimes want to take her hand and hold it and pet it and politely kiss her sweet pudgy oriental mouth...
Oh, my. I can’t help it. I’m so nasty that even now I ‘d like to stick my tongue down her gullet while I smooch her well-fed pretty mouth! But I won't do it. Another stupid fantasy, I guess.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I hate the weekends, don’t you? Well, maybe you don’t.
I find the weekends to mostly be bare of phone calls or emails or other human contact, so they’re just no fun. Even good television is pretty rare, unless I count that odd FBI show “Numb3rs”. Anyway, it’s a wonder I don’t just sleep through the whole weekend in order to hurry it along. But I don’t. I check my mail boxes (snail and electronic) endless times, look out the back door, check the cordless phone to see if it’s charged. If I weren’t so sick, it’d be pitiful. Maybe it’s pitiful anyway! But I have been sick and I tire easily. My eyesight’s still a little too poor for me to drive, so I can only catch rides with others. Reading a book or magazine is still a chore. (I’m typing now with 24-pt. Times New Roman.) And bird-watching, my old favorite thing, has slipped through the cracks because it’s such work!
Finding something I can see clearly is always work these days, but weekends are even worse!
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Friday, January 20, 2006
“I don't know about those days, anyway,” Marilyn said. “The Vietnamese people were dying, and we kept on worrying about the price of drugs,” she complained.
“It's not much different now,” he said. “The students in China are dying now, and we continue to worry about Literature.”
“Literature's probably more valuable, don't you think?”
“Probably. But the Vietnamese and Chinese may not think it.”
“Touché.” Marilyn laughed.
“Does that word have anything to do with 'touch'?” he asked.
“Oh... Well, I really don't know. Why?”
“Just checking. Hoping.”
“Oh, get outta town!” she laughed.
He laughed too, but didn’t leave town. He sat down beside her and hoped for the best.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The results of my small bowel exam apparently told them nothing relevent, according to the nurse who was informing me. It did incidentally show that I have gallstones, but all I read about that would indicate symptoms that I don't have. The nurse didn't think the gallstones related to my taste buds/appetite/weight loss symptoms. I have an appointment for Wed. of next week and I'll be able to jump over the desk if need be and throttle a health care provider until I get a little more information! It may be nice to know what it isn't, but what is left that it could be? My imagination? Meanwhile, I need to go weigh myself again on the bathroom scales. Just so I can worry some more.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Sunday, January 15, 2006
When I went to have x-rays taken of my small bowel the other morning, I knew it involved drinking barium and that I’d heard many people complain about the taste of it. However, I didn’t find it either pleasant or very unpleasant, it was just difficult for me to drink the three Styrofoam cups of it and get it down in a timely manner.
My taste buds aren’t very “normal” these days, so I wasn’t as grossed out as some of the other victims (patients) that were also there for the same x-rays. If it had been a Dairy Queen milk shake, I’d have had trouble with it. No, the surprise and trouble for me was that I’d had no inkling of how long it took (more than four hours) or of how many times I’d have to get on and off the x-ray table! I’m not sure if it was six times or more, but it required so much more than usual of me that I was getting tired as well as feeling sore and strained from all the up-down of it!
For those of you as ignorant as I was, let me warn you that they need more than a picture or two. In between x-rays, I had to get down, go into the hallway, and walk back and forth in my disposable paper clothes and socks to keep the barium moving freely through my system. They needed a progression of pictures, evidently. Mine was not quite going through like it should have, so they instructed me to get dressed, go eat a snack, and then come back for more!
I dressed, went to eat, and was back in 30 or 40 minutes getting undressed again and into yet another paper suit! I guess I was lucky because I was only a couple of more times on that uncomfortable x-ray table. Two other patients I’d started walking the hallway with were long since gone home! I was so tired that I once again had to admit to myself how piss-ant feeble I am these days. Finishing up the exam on a Friday meant my results would be sent to the office of the doctor who’d sent me and that I’ll hear from them next week! I don’t know whether I want the news or not, though. Do I hope they find something or hope they don’t?
Maybe this is my imagination? Maybe I’ll go to a hypnotist next.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
Just got home from that small bowel test. Barium. Yum yum. They'll send the results to the doctor that sent me there, so I don't know anything. Probably, being Friday the 13th, the doctor won't see it or won't call me about it until Monday! One of my friends emailed me about barium once gave her hives and I should be glad I didn't have that. Well, I am glad. Also glad an 18-wheeler didn't squash me on the way home!
Oh what fun we have as we age and decay!
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Odd how everything is about my being sick lately, no matter whether I’m thinking about it or not. One day this week I went to the credit union to get some papers done and notarized, but I had to sign in and wait a little while. I wasn’t in any hurry, but I do tire pretty easily when I’m just standing around. I’d do better if there was someplace to walk to than just be standing. There were some chairs in the waiting area, but people were in them. I must have been staring at those seats hungrily or something, for it wasn’t long before I noticed one 20ish or 30ish young woman had risen from her seat beside her older companion and offered it to me! I don’t know if I looked that old to her or that feeble, but the fact was I did want to sit down, so I thanked her and then sat down. It wasn’t long before my name was called and I stated my business at the counter and they got it done in no time. By the time I left the credit union, the young woman and her older companion had gone on, maybe elsewhere in the bank or to the parking lot. I guess these days if I don’t feel frail or feeble on my own at any given moment, I can almost bank on it that something will happen to remind me of it.
She was a nice young woman, though.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Such A Dilemma
“Lemme get my hands on some of that vivid penis
Or somebody’s ripe and round American breasts,”
Said a voice in the dark at the smoky bisexual bar.
“I don’t care who it is, what it is, but I need somebody,
Just lemme get my mouth on something
Or full of something and I’ll be satisfied, I promise!”
“There’s nothing wrong with me
That couldn’t be cured by a bullet in the head
Or something sweet to suck on
Or maybe a sex change in a Swiss sanitarium
Where I could keep my knickers straight at last
If I only knew what to change to!”
“Why don’t you violate something?
Why don’t you let me rotate on it?
Why don’t you spread yourself wide for me?
Why don’t you just sit on it?”
It’s such a dilemma, such a fright.
As deprived and depraved as ever! -- Jo Jo Dancer
Saturday, January 07, 2006
When I resumed being able to see just well enough to test my blood sugar in the evenings without having someone else guide my blood droplet to the test strip, I never did resume taking it in the morning as well. I hated that idea, mostly because I am always out of sorts (barely awake) in the morning and very fumbling as well.
So this morning I finally made that effort again and it was a bitch. I had to stab myself 5 or more times (ouch, my fingers!) to get a good droplet and had to use 2 test strips, but I did finally get a blood sugar reading of 108. I guess that was reassuring, since many of my recent evening numbers have been so much higher (for instance, 120 or 130). If I didn't have to take that morning reading before breakfast, it'd be simpler for me since I'm almost awake and cognizant by the time it's after breakfast! But it's not really negotiable and I'll just have to learn to adjust to it again.
I am still sick (fatigued and losing weight), but will gladly admit it to you if that condition ever begins to change.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Monday, January 02, 2006
By the time I have a shave and a shower in the morning, barge dripping wet from the bathroom and dry off with two towels in the bedroom, sit on the edge of the bed and blow-dry my hair, I'm exhausted. I’m almost too tired to get dressed. But I do. Then I’m almost too tired from that to stand in front of my dresser and count out the morning’s pills.
When I get to the breakfast table, I set the pills aside and dig for another pill or two and take them. Standing at the kitchen counter and making myself oatmeal or a bowl of Cheerios seldom makes me cheery, just tired again. By the time I carry it to the table and get some artificial sweetener into it, I’m almost too tired to begin eating. But I do. If it was oatmeal, it slowly cools. If it was cereal, it gradually softens. Whichever, I eat little spoonfuls until all the good taste is gone, then I continue eating until the rest of the tasteless bites are gone. Why is eating never fun any more?
When the bowl is empty, I remember which pill I forgot and get that. Then, one by one, I take the 4 or 5 other pills that I start the morning with and consider that I still have 3 or 4 to take later in the day. I hate keeping track of stuff like that, but now I have to.
Meanwhile, I still have to stab myself 1-5 times in the finger to get a drop of blood sufficient to test with the glucose meter. It would be fairly simple if the first stab produced a fat droplet or if an expensive test strip didn’t get wasted, but that’s not always how it works out. I’ve taken to bathing my hands in warm water just before taking the blood sugar reading and also to taking an aspirin every day to assure better bleeding! Sometimes it all works and I only have to stab myself with the needle once. Praise God. Or, if it doesn’t work, I curse God. I’m an equal opportunity True Believer.