Finding The Bluebird Of My Heart

blue red sunset

I’d get on it and very soon thereafter want to kill myself. Not ‘kill myself, kill myself.’ Just kill myself. Like shoot me. And after I couldn’t take it anymore, go somewhere else equally pointless and hopefully equally numbing but numbing in a different way. I mean, maybe there really are people who really read (as in past tense) books that are actually books. There must be a whole batch, a whole sliver of people who’ve read the books I’ve read just like me. People who’ve actually read Tolstoy and Keats. But to say that makes me a little freaky elite? And these are really just main core not even hardcore. We’re not even dipping into the god-awful well drinks mixed with shoe polish and Erofeev’s recipes. Or to recommend John Williams’ great masterpiece Stoner?

But how on Earth, and where on Goodreads should I be? Somewhere, besides my coterie of like-minded friends, surely there must be millions upon millions of people who know, not as an angry fact or a visceral obscenity, but just as a common sigh, that folk like Jonathan Franzen are really not real writers at all, just like the nose in front of me. Or, if they are, it’s just the lineage that goes Sherwood Anderson, John Updike, and him. Novelists, my friends, as opposed to writers. Those who do it as a well-honed, professional craft, per word, like Dickens. As opposed to the few like Blake and Yeats and good old Bukowski who did it to sing the song of the bluebird hidden in their hearts. Not like the sort you hold at bent-elbows’ length in an over-stuffed armchair under light in the den whilst being engaged in ‘the act of reading’ the way you might nibble on Chex Party Mix from a little porcelain bowl for a Thanksgiving Day snack—which you eat it, yeah, too much of, but don’t really like.

And on the other track, you’ve got Thomas Wolfe, Jack Kerouac, and if he’d lived past The Pale King, where he just started to really get it, maybe David Foster Wallace, peace be with him. But really I’m so numb and stupefied by all the glamour of tablet-gray slickness that passes itself off for the lower common denominator of marketable goods, I’ve got to myself go soak my head in Netflix for another eight episodes—one comically uncomfortable technical neighborhood passed on over into the massive streaming mediocrity of years and years of bad TV of another. I mean, do a search there for Humphrey Bogart and you come up with nada. Yeah, hours and hours go by, and now there are Utz potato chip chips on and no tricks up my sleeve … and I’m so spaced out from Pony Maltas.

And me, I nod back to the Acropolis and those 17,000 half- and wholly drunk ill-educated men at the theater, on the whole, but all of them knowing in their breasts Homer. And that’s like in Athens, not the Simpsons, the way Paul Simon once joked about Dylan as Thomas and not Bob, which I must presume the hoi polloi don’t know anymore the difference between or even the knowledge of, turning me into unwittingly such a little snob or jerk I really am not, or a fool. It just got all bunched somewhere, I don’t know, the way, like a meteor, Junot Diaz rose from Drown, burned like a glorious new song of nature and such lyrical beauty of pitch-perfect genius in Oscar Wao, and after that, so sadly (and badly), burned up completely and utterly by tossing out pleasing pop singles for a sell-out crowd, where once he crooned as one of the true great originals and, like Justin Bieber, became a minor plume of ash dispersed in Earth’s atmosphere.

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Impotent Middle Class Bell Blues

tide chart

Somebody wants to kill herself. And what can I do about that? Last week I hung fly paper around our home. The week before that ant traps.

I tried to keep my spirits up. I tried dreaming of deep sea whaling, and joining a small crew to catch King Crab in Alaska. Not much luck.

I just was insufficient, too human also. Too foul-mouthed, too conceited, and too effed-up with my own human deficiencies. Not enough tiger in my tank to spare.

The things I naturally saw—bright stars, baby praying mantises, nice people at Whole Foods—their skins had grown over with donut glaze, premature glaucoma.

In Women in Love Winifred cries “Di—Di—Di!” hollering for a child that’s drowned. Prescient pun, I suppose, for “Diana,” a book I read thirty-five years ago.

And Emily, well, everybody in America knows because she “could not stop for death,” you can click on it if you don’t. See?

I know, I know, I know I ran away, pulling out my hair. And when I caught myself doing an Amy Winehouse 180, I saw a little, look-alike man like me was there instead, now sleeping in my baby’s bed. My ghost, my brother, my killer.

Paralyzed, hypnotized, infantilized, Christ! I’m a smart enough dude; I’ve read and comprehended Schiller and what in 1795 he wrote about the “simple” and “sentimental.”

I know, too, from The Tibetan Book Of The Dead, just to sit. That is a great service to the dying, and not much else to do. Try it.

Kurt Cobain confessed his “will was good.” But flopping around town, I’ll tell you this: his bagged “mosquito” also offed my “libido.” Se fue, hermano.

Today, I’m just a solitary organ grinder standing at the street corner in Nabokov, a minor character waiting for an unknown stranger to flip a light coin into his monkey’s cup.

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