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june 2002

There's the Rub5:07am saturday, 29th june
A dream is another life — dreams, many other lives, in fact. We find ourselves in alien landscapes when we dream that somehow feel familiar — like visiting a town whose buildings have all been torn down and rebuilt, but the roads are still the same. Why do we dream? It is as if we are so used to being somewhere and doing something that the mind makes up for the inactivity of our bodies with activity in the mind. Perhaps we are not satisfied merely with the plain black or blank of sleep. Perhaps we miss having a world so much, when we sink deep enough into that death-like state, that we make one up of our own — a life supplement.

There are many theories about why we dream and what we dream, but we can't get a consensus among these "experts". A man's wisdom extends only to his own breath, and even his breath is a mystery to him. In my madness, I imagined that the people I saw, the cartoons of people living and dead — I believed that I had connected to the place where we all go when we dream. That was one of my theories, at least, that we all traveled to a certain place — a dreamtime — when we slipped into the dream. But no, not these days. I don't believe that there is some "connection mysterium" joining all mankind through some unknown medium.

I remember my favorite dream; I think I was fourteen or so. I remember I could fly, in perfect control of my vertical as well as my horizontal. I never dreamed it again, though, never quite the same thing. Some dreams are like that, I think: the only chance we get to experience magic.

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Time Redux12:43am friday, 28th june
Time does everything and nothing, everywhere and nowhere.
It is lighter than air, and yet more inevitable than death.
Wars, famines, civilizations falling — and time never blinked.

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Busy12:12am thursday, 27th june
"He not busy being born is busy dying." – Bob Dylan

I think like most of us, I alternate between the two. At some moments, I am becoming more than what I was, and on the flipside, I let my soul shrink a little, die a little. Of course, I would always like to be busy being born, but I am only a man. I really don't believe there are very many of us in constant birth of himself or herself — I think that must be a hard thing to keep up. Even if we are always active, it is perhaps to say that oftentimes we do wrong when we do things — as much as we do right. I'd like to think — or at least hope — that the birthing of myself outgrows what the dying of myself atrophies.

Maybe the key is that we are doing something, though. We are individuals given free will (and all its consequences) — we can so choose the light or the darkness, the one or the other that echoes, however faintly, in every single action that we take. We must consciously choose which path to travel, and though we may not travel the entire length without straying, I think in the end it speaks of us that we chose a road and did our best to live as we had chosen. To paraphrase another quote, it is said that the hottest fires of Hell are not for the angels who fell, but the angels who would not choose which side to fight on.

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Soliloquy to a Mirror12:15am tuesday, 25th june
I look at you and can see right through those eyes you have; all the defensive masks you wear do no good against me. Do you remember me, your first confessor? You have improved, I can say. I recall when you could barely look me in the eye, when you had to force yourself to do so. Do you remember when you almost lost yourself, back when? You don't have to pretend anything with me. But really, it's been quite a change since the last time I had a good, hard look at you. Finally growing up? Hm. I guess it happens to the best of us.

Don't do that to me like you did, or almost did, back when. You were almost lost for good. I worry about you, though not as much as your mother does. I admit there were times when I almost lost all hope in you. Almost. You've got more than a foot in the door, now, you have. Just watch it that you never get on your high horse about anything in the future. I'll be here and I'll always know — know what you used to be, what you did to yourself back when. And don't be a stranger. Sometimes what you need is just a nice quiet visit with yourself.

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Song the Third3:27am monday, 24th june
A third song (3 of 6, in fact) I wrote during this period, once again about the time I wrote this song and this one. The one below, I recall, came out the most naturally; it took the least effort and I think has the most melodic feel to it:

"Dreams Live On"

The thunder had been stolen
But no one missed the sound
A flight of broken melodies
Through lonely night resound
Though everything's been done
And love's a tragic dream
Hold onto every heartbeat
If there’s nothing you believe

Listen to the voice inside
Find the strength to turn the tide
Even though the magic's gone
Dreamers die but dreams live on

The process takes its victims
That no one ever knew
The wheel it keeps on turning
As you wallow in your blues
A longing you can't fathom
As you play passerby
Is known to fellow strangers
Who worship different skies


Survivors with no destinies
Await the final lie
They don’t believe in heroes
Who live before they die
You search forgotten corners
For feelings to beware
There's nothing like the dangers
That wait for those who care


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Night4:52am saturday, 22nd june
Night, and the pale of my thought
is only a distant calling; dreams
are breathing heavily down my neck.

Night, and a distant calling remembers
promises made by people, who
were never there, but were my friends.

Night, and promises I scribble down
to understand their secrets, no
time but now that I may keep them all.

Night, and secrets I never knew cast
pale shadows in my thought; this
night my dreams call me like promises.

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Mortal12:39am friday, 21st june
I think I would not like to be immortal. Whatever the span of my life will be (70 years or more, I am hoping), I think that will be enough. I think that is all I need of this world. Of course, I expect there to be more than this world in the course of my soul, so perhaps this desire (or lack thereof) is influenced by my faith. But I think back, back to when I believed there was nothing else but this world, and I don't remember back then ever wishing to live forever. But back then, perhaps this was just an acceptance, a "sweet lemons" proposition. Maybe not, though. I think I have feared death perhaps not as much as I should. Yes, I do get that rush of a sense of mortality when I look down from a high spot (as when I wait to board the train every day, going home from work), but I remember back when on the farm: to conquer the fear of sitting on the roof ledge of a building there, all I had to do was imagine what if I did fall — a sharp but brief pain, and it would all be over — and I could sit without apprehension.

I expect there is more than this, more than what we see on this world. I feel it sometimes, and it gladdens my heart when I do: I am a stranger in this world. That, after all, is what it means to be a child of God, and those brief moments that I feel it, nothing material is like it. I suppose if you ask me these days why I don't want to live forever is that I would rather be with God, to be in the presence of God. A high no drug could top, and not empty like the highs of drugs I have used in the past. I'm in no rush, though, to get there. I think I will pray for a long life, in fact — it is a gift, after all, this life. Life to me is a kind of proving ground, and I think I will need all the years I get to show what worth I can muster from this being I was given. But I don't want forever in this world — I, this stranger, like any stranger, longs for home.

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In Three Parts2:45am thursday, 20th june

My mind is not a blank, but pretends to be so. Nothing wants to think. There is always that little urge to go back, back into the arms of sleep, but every day I win. I can still look forward to brief nods of light nap on the train — once I woke up not too late but too early, confused that perhaps I had reached my destination when I had not. Usually the lurch of the train's halt wakes me up at every stop, and now, I check the signs, always.


The morning ends and the day begins with coffee. Cups and a cup of coffee. I am not working like those rare few at something I love to do, but I do sometimes delight in my work anyway. Being a software engineer is nothing to sneeze at, I think. Mostly, I feel like it's something I don't mind, that work is an even walk at an even pace (most of the time, sometimes the pace is stressed), bumps in the way to climb over. I am scouting territory that has someone (perhaps I) will till and make grow some crops that are fair for food. It is an acceptable proposition.


I seem to remember that my evenings had more fire to them. The day is not that much harder, but it is waking up as early as I do — I am still not used to it. I go home and most days, I write, as you see here. It is good therapy, I think. Some days, I am not much good for anything else. But a few days, I can explore the lands of psyche I always wanted to see, scavenging assemblies of imagination to fashion a brand new thing in the world, and I am doing as I should — I am me.

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Mad Notes3:52am tuesday, 18th june
Notes to go with these notes, more that I wrote down when I was in the psyche ward of SF General, back in August of 2001 (I got out here). Taken before these notes:

They say, "I am a prophet of the Lord! Time to express those beliefs!!!!!!! Enlightenment is sight. Archangel Micha-el is your spiritual mentor. The battleground for the war in heaven is in my head. Revelation started 8/26/2001." (And numbered, "2".)

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Heaven1:47am monday, 17th june
I imagine Heaven is beyond the reach of my dreams —
existing outside space and time, visions too rich for human words.
I imagine, too, an angel could explain it in a smile.

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Recalling to Now6:07am saturday, 15th june
I remember when I was in high school. Growing up, I was always considered that I had a bright mind, that I was an intelligent young man. By the time I went to high school, some people were even using the "g" word (you know, "genius"). But to a great degree, I really didn't know what they were talking about. I imagined that one of those days, I was going to get discovered to be a complete fraud. I was always waiting to be revealed for the nothing that I truly was. But you know, I was an underachiever then — I think it makes sense that I felt as I did. I never did anything worthy of my gifts, and it was obvious that I had been granted them; my denial of what they all said about me just gave me an excuse not to live up to any kind of expectation.

In college, there were all those drugs. People still thought I was a bright guy, but for a bright guy I did a stupid amount of those drugs. I did even less with my gifts, but with the drugs I was doing, I didn't have to think about being a fraud or that I was wasting my life. I didn't have to think of anything at all, really — I just had to be high, and all the time.

When the madness came, I was thinking only strange things. When people called me intelligent, it was more of the memory of what I had been. I remember that the madness made my IQ good and average (the brainpower was fueling the psychosis), and I was there for a long time.

It's taken me this long and all that to understand what those people were talking about, way back in high school. I was given a gift, and even more special than that, a second chance. Not many people get the former, and very, very few get the latter — not like I have. I'm not going to blow it this time. I feel like I am alive for the first time in my life, not just taking up space; I feel like there is life to live. Some people need things taught to them the hard way, and I was definitely one of them. If anyone else out there is just waiting for something to happen to them, all I have to tell you is the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for." The treasure is never what you expect it to be.

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Another Song2:27am friday, 14th june
These are some more song lyrics I wrote, during about the time that the last song I posted was written. It is quite chaotic, and goes through many of the "experiences" I had in my head, back when I thought I was the archangel Michael, born on earth (look here):

"War In Heaven"

Jesus is marrying Brigitte Bardot
Don’t count on anything you think you may know
The archangel Michael doesn’t know who he is
Architecture’s at odds with the likes of show biz
Leonardo da Vinci is crafting some truth
Salvation is promised by many to few
Lucifer’s happy and Walt Disney is sad
Where’s Michael? Where’s Michael? When all has gone mad?

War in Heaven
War in Heaven
War in Heaven
War in Heaven

There’s hate in the air and true love to be found
Jim Morrison’s hovering but on his way down
What’s unfair about life is that it’s actually fair
The archangel Michael gets a taste of despair
Satan’s angels make mockery of all that is right
Einstein rocks out and God’s saving His might
The good guys must win no matter the cost
Where’s Michael? Where’s Michael? When all has been lost?


J. R. “Bob” Dobbs with his usual sell
You may not have experienced what you have just felt
The Garden of Delights for the fortunate few
Jimi Hendrix is looking to stop singing the blues
If it’s all an illusion every secret’s a lie
The archangel Michael has stopped asking why
With a way to be found and a road to be paved
Michael is here and the day has been saved


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Capable Of12:02am thursday, 13th june
I think perhaps that most of us will never know what we are truly capable of, neither the heights nor the depths. The best of us that we ever act upon in the course of days spinning by is perhaps not as inspired as we would be able to do if given the most ambient of circumstances and the strongest will to act. The worst of us we only fantasize about acting out, murder of one hated, rape of one lusted after; we are never pushed, most of us, past the brink of merely desiring the evil, into committing it. We are never faced with extreme enough circumstance: the best and worst of people can sometimes be brought out by such things as natural disasters, and most of our lives suffer no such emergency. We will not ever know.

In my madness, I committed acts of good and evil in a fantasy world, great acts I could never explain in any way that make rational sense. Not real, none of them. Some of us imagine that the extreme circumstance brings out our real selves, but as one having been through a pretty extended extreme circumstance, let me say that I don't think that is so. An emergency is an altered state of being, I believe, and what we do when an emergency happens — good or bad — though I would recognize the heroic and perhaps punish the misdoings, I would not anticipate these actions revealing anything realer about the people than we see in them day to day. Our everyday selves, I think, reveal more about us than the emergency.

No, most of us will never know the ultimate moment of "do or die", but let us not think that because we never knew that moment, that we never knew our true selves... for better or worse.

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We of Dream4:13am tuesday, 11th june
Dreams the clouds that pass in night,
Day the dream in brightest light:
We are not as we appear,
We the edge of time's frontier.

Dreams a shadow creeping by,
Night the dream in darkest why:
We are solemn masks to see,
We the space that yearns to be.

Dreams a breath before we die,
Life the dream we dream thereby:
We are dreams that dreams set free,
We the break of destiny.

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Written Before1:07am monday, 10th june
It has all been written before, no? You know, you can't copyright a story idea — one reason is that it is assumed that whatever you write, the idea has already been done before. There are even people who have formulated all possible story plots, taken from all the stories that have ever been written. It is even said in the Bible, "...there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, 'See, this is new'? It has already been in ancient times before us." [Ecclesiastes 1:9-10] So, not only has it been done before, but it has been done from long before, and probably been done again and again since it was first acted out.

The question comes up, "So, then, what's the point of doing anything?" If everything has already been done, it is perhaps a valid query. Because if you look past the faces of all the new things — the inventions, the books, the art — you will see that indeed, the above wisdom is correct: it is the same song that has already been spread throughout the world, played in a different key, perhaps. But a feeling, I think — we ponder that the feeling we get when we are in the act of creation, of putting it down on paper for the first time (for us). The feeling is unique to each thing that we do new — I have not quite ever felt it before, the feeling each time I create.

Moreover, there is the notion that human beings are more similar than not. I think we can say that. When we create, we are discovering things about ourselves; and in discovering things about oneself, we perhaps discover what is universal to humanity. Yes, it has all been seen before, but not by one man, not by one woman. So I think I will keep looking — keep writing — I myself will never discover it all. And it's all new to me.

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Doodle Next2:08am saturday, 8th june
Another doodle from during that last episode — it is perhaps of a darker tone than the one from last week:

I dunno, it may be that y'all out there can derive more meaning from them than I can. I think I look at these from too close a perspective.

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Words to Fill2:17am friday, 7th june
For a second, I thought I was getting sick of all those things, the things of goodness: justice, peace, kindness, that sort of thing. What is wrong with me? I thought to myself... But then, I realized that it wasn't those things at all that I was getting too much of, but the words themselves. It was that the words were being so overused everywhere, like the media, and talk among co-workers and such — I was sick of hearing those words when there was nothing behind them. I was sick of hearing "justice", for instance, without the speaker himself in knowledge of what that word truly represented. I was sick of hearing it used merely for effect.

If it were the other way around, I think, that people acted justly, and kindly, and peacefully, without them saying a word about it — I don't think I would have a problem with that at all. Who would, after all? I think I must watch myself, now that I have come to the understanding that I have. I must not wear out those words (words like "love" — who hasn't at one point heard that used too much?); I must use those words when I mean them, really mean them, and not when I want to relegate them as verbal garnish. It is, I think, to cry "Justice!" when one desires it in one's bones, not when it itches on one's tongue.

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Fadeout2:43am thursday, 6th june
Beginning as dust, I grow fainter as the moments pass.
I am now barely a shadow that disappears when the sun sets.
Tomorrow I will never have been — this poem will vanish.

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Madness not Mad2:29am wednesday, 5th june
I found this, something I wrote during the worst of my madness (about here), and yet, it seems not mad at all. See what you think:

Fireside chat with my buddy Clyde. He’s a harmonica. I set him down by the ashtray every night around seven or eight and just talk, y’know, what’s happening here and there, how’s the weather, that sort of thing. I know Clyde hears it, you see, it’s all stored up in those little holes of his, coming out as sweet blues when I put him to my mouth and blow.
The strange thing about it is that it's not strange at all, n'est-ce pas?

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The Nail3:37am tuesday, 4th june
I remember back in my old apartment there was always this nail sticking out of the middle of the carpet floor. I didn't have a hammer proper, so I couldn't pull it out, but I had this metal box cutter that I used like a hammer and pounded it in whenever the mood struck me or I stepped on it and it hurt me (just a little — never blood). However many times, though, that I would pound it in flat to the floor, it seemed that I would just turn around and then it would be poking back out again. I guess just walking about the room (it was a studio apartment) tugged at it so that it would stick out — always. It would forever be a sore spot.

Some things are like that nail. You keep pounding them back in, and just the normal course of daily activity will end up tugging it back out again. Every once in a while, I am reminded that I have suffered from madness. The little cartoons in my head start acting up again. I fight it, like pounding that nail back into the ground, but the buffeting of the normal course of everyday events makes it every once in a while stick out right in the path of my tread, right into my heel. Ouch. Sure, I'd like it if that nail never poked out again, but that's life, right? It's not perfect, but it's good enough that we face it and then we can move on, at least for a stretch.

Every once in a while, I'll step on that nail, sticking out again, so I'll grab my metal box cutter and pound it back in. It's not too bad, if I come to think of it. Really, everything should be so simple.

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Strange, not Strange1:33am monday, 3rd june
I think sometimes the things I think of are strange, like when I realized that 10 is an arbitrary number to set to two digits, that I think we would have been better off with 12 fingers instead of 10. Then, looking on such thoughts, I think maybe "normal" people have such "strange" thoughts, too. But really, 10 is hardly divisible by two — 12 really would have been a better 10 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, 10). I do have thoughts, I think, some mad thoughts, but even they — you out there who have never been "diagnosed", have you never thought some things misshapen, half-made, meaningless except perhaps in a bizarre way only to you?

I will have to face, I think, that this is as normal as I am ever going to be. It would be nice, of course, to be able to have the mind I had when I was 17, before I was heavily into drugs, far before my madness — but that's quite the pipe dream, n'est-ce pas? It is a little wisdom learned, that is (I believe I've touched on this at least once before), that one must do one's best with whatever they've been given, whatever is "on hand", as it were. Makes me think of some lyrics by Bob Marley:
Most people think great God will come from the sky
Take away ev'rything, and make ev'rybody feel high
But if you know what life is worth
You would look for yours on earth
And now you see the light
You stand up for your right, yeah!
The natural question follows: "Do you see the light?"

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I Wait2:57am saturday, 1st june
I wait for the dream
that will rip asunder
the sky of night. I
wait for the moment
that holds all moments
to be and all moments
that have been. I wait
for the poem that will
be the last words ever
said by anyone. And
forever will come and
go, the impossible will
come to pass every hour,
and desire will cease
to be: when simply to
wait makes everything
in the world happen.

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