The photo above is of Raymond, our bulldog. Raymond is on his way to a doggie farm where he’ll stay whilst Kelly and I visit the USA in order to work on my writing. I’ve been planning a book for about twenty years now. There has always been something or other in my way and usually it has been me. I am my own hangman. Many of us are I guess. I usually don’t think I have anything worthwhile to say. That’s what depressives do. That’s where they live.
This blog will be posted after I have safely entered the USA. I always get a second interview at Homeland Security because of narcotics convictions (the last one being in 1979) and a conviction from 1992 for assault with intent to injure. Hell, I was really beginning to like jail at one point. In prison you know who your mates are and things are very simple: You bash me; I will bash you. You look after me; I will look after you. If only it could be like this in the world and if only we got to grips with it.
I always get sprung by computers at borders. Those computers remind me of the past and they make me feel dirty. But, I done the crime and so I must do the time. This time is measured out in shame and disgust. People can say all they like about how we might choose how to feel in any situation, but I don’t believe them. They are just trying to wear us down with their worthiness. They are the sanctimonious philistines of this world and I don’t use spellcheck.
I’ve been ‘clean’ for a good number of years now and I have tried hard to mend my ways, but I’m thin skinned and that makes many things difficult. I have to think a lot (rather than simply react) and often I’ve gotten things wrong. I’ve said “No” too many times to the ice-creams that have come my way in this life as I’ve sometimes thought they were s***t sandwiches.
I watch it for a while and if it don’t smell only then do I eat it. You can’t be too safe these days.
I think this second part of my life has been about ‘making amends’ and I think reflection is good for people. But I’m just as likely as anyone else to go off the rails.
So, today I’m packing up my Paul Butterfield compact discs and we should be in Illinois by the weekend. I aim to be putting up a few poem posters around Abraham Lincoln’s house in Springfield, Illinois.
I’ve read a lot about Abe lately and it seems to me he was able to live under considerable duress (and for a long time) without ‘acting out’. He was a depressive anyway and so he probably had more of an internal dialogue going on (as depressives do) than a need to lacerate others. There are people out there who disembowel others first, and then they ask questions.
In the age of the Internet, laceration has become a full time job for many. They might disguise themselves as ‘critics’ because that term might seem less harmless than being a prick. They might be there for the ‘good of the people’ and to educate other folks.
Lincoln did not generally lose his temper and there is only one recorded incident (that I know of) where he hurled his stovepipe hat to the floor and uttered a swear word. On that occasion one of his generals was heading away from the Battle of Signal Mountain (Chattanooga) rather than heading towards it. I’m sure there are experts out there who will correct me. Am I paranoid? Damn right!
There was a television show on Sunday night here in New Zealand where a young bloke had committed suicide. It was heartbreaking to watch. He was probably 22 and he had some problems and ended up in Hillmorton Hospital in Christchurch. I think he was probably incredibly sensitive and some shrink had written a report describing him (the kid – because that’s what being 22 is – a ‘kid’) as a “narcissist”. The word “narcissist” is almost a new swear word which people hurl at each other these days. I think the 22 year old read the report and that night he committed suicide. There were people getting angry at our mental health system and ‘experts’ climbing in to have their say. This will all break your heart further as this young man looked like a lovely boy.
When I was in Cherry Farm mental hospital in 1975 waiting for a court report to go to jail, a shrink had described me as being “unable to express negative feelings”. This has stayed with me for over forty years now and I’ve proved him wrong millions of times. But, it was a dangerous label and it was hurled around.
Six or eight months ago one of my best mates died. I write about death quite a lot. He was with me in Sunnyside Mental Hospital in 1973 or 1974 (probably both years, we liked a bit of a break during the winter). Sunnyside is now the Hillmorton as referred to above and where the 22 year old recently committed suicide. It’s not a happy place and never has been. We have learnt very little it would seem.
Me and my mate had seen the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and listened to the Velvet Underground far too many times. We’d crawl into mental hospitals to get away from the junk and then an eighteen-year-old blonde psychiatric nurse would come and put drops of opium tincture under our tongues. She’d carefully and bashfully use an eye-dropper and she’d give us various other drugs as well – all of them were nice ways to greet the day.
“And how do you feel today Mister Wilson?”
“Look, I don’t mind if I do…look I hardly ever have extra, but today is a special day!”
I’d recommend this course of treatment to anyone. Me and my mate would climb into the same bed and read Hammond Innes novels together. Seeing this, the shrinks would send the nurses (now plural) back to give us more drugs. There are some very positive things to be said about Hammond Innes novels.
My friend had about three major things happen to him at once before he died and all of them whilst waiting at a traffic light. From memory, they were a heart attack, a stroke, and a cancerous growth in his liver (noticed in the hospital). We hadn’t talked for at least twenty years (I wanted to get clean and he was enjoying his life) and so we connected together over the phone. I was in the USA, he was in Melbourne. In 1972 we lived together in View Street in Dunedin and we had the time of our lives. We were close. If you fall over in a bathtub and cry that you need a doctor and someone helps you out of that bathtub, then you get close. This is known as ‘dependency’. We had far too many doctors.
I called my mate and on the phone everything slipped away and we touched each other again. The rubbish and the airs and graces of our lives slipped away and we were whispering the truth into each other’s ears once again. This was the most incredible experience and we repeated it three or four of times before he died. His wife, a nurse, arrived from a distant land to look after him and she died of a Heroin overdose before she could. He knew this and then he died. Funny how everything ties together.
Like I say and I repeat myself: there were no airs or graces, no lacerations and no disembowelments, just the vital chemical stuff of closeness and intimacy which people need if they are going to have a satisfying life.
We all die for it.