The Frances

It was a long two-storied brick building — Civil War vintage. The brick had been painted gray. The wood around the windows and door-ways was brown and peeling, always peeling: a permanent peel. I think the paint had been designed especially for the Frances to never appear new but always peeling. Yep, Sherwin Williams Permanent Peel Brown. The windows were single pane, probably a hundred of them in all. Most of them were tall windows stretching from a foot off the floor to about a foot from the ceilings. They all had the old ropes, like the clothes-line rope, and the weights inside the frames. The top half would come down if it weren’t for the old permanent peeling paint, probably five or ten coats over the years always applied over the old peels, never scraped or sanded. Often I would look out those windows stoned and be aware of the different textures on the wood frames. Some looked like the Grand Canyon, some like the mountains on the moon.

A parade. The annual corn-roast parade. The drums are thumping, the natives swaying back and forth as they always have in good times or bad. The American Legion, FFA, Veterans of Foreign Wars. The high School band being led by the POM-POM girls in short red skirts, the old men salivating as they stand at attention beside their wives picking the corn from their dentures. The young boys in heat holding hands with the current “steady” hoping for a kiss or a feel. And it, the parade, moves endlessly on down the old streets of empty store-fronts and dreams gone sour. Year after year they forget why they are not blessed and continue to eat before the sacrifice, not offering up to their gods whom they’ve forgotten long ago, the first fruits. Expedience, let’s eat it, the spirits will devour the left-overs.

Ernie was a drunk. Regardless — drunk or sober — he was a good-looking man probably approaching 50 when we first met, medium height, dark thinning hair and dark eyes.  I never saw him in the pure light of day; it was always in his small apartment at the back of the building where he manned his make-shift office watching, always watching, the watcher; able to see down the hall to the front entry. A sentry, a sphinx. Sometimes when I needed a small loan of ten or twenty dollars I’d see him in the dim light behind the bar at the VFW where I knew I would always find him if he wasn’t at the Frances. Ernie could smell who was there and knew, with some un-canny sense, when  someone was there he needed to watch. These were Ernie’s domains. I was a mere sixteen, almost seventeen, pretending to be a man at our first meeting there in that long hallway at the Frances. I could tell that he liked me immediately and could see right through me and my pretentious acting. I liked him. He was friendly, kind. He rented me a room on the spot without asking too many questions or making me pay a month in advance. He took what I had and wrote me out a receipt.

I hitched a ride back out to the farm and threw what I thought I would need into an old suitcase I had bought at the goodwill store; the same case I had just carried with me out to California, up the west coast, and back to the farm in Ohio. I had become attached to it by then, it was important to me: a symbol of my freedom and independence on which I had cut marks along the leather trim each time I crossed another state line. Of course I cheated marking some of the states again as I  passed through them on my triumphant return. I asked my Mother if she would give me a ride back to town after telling her I had gotten a place of my own. She was not happy with me.

We lived in an old farm house in a small town. I had set out a week and half earlier for California. I hitched a ride up to the interstate after picking up my $70.00 check at the tire shop where I had been working since I was fourteen. It was summertime. “You got to have a worker’s permit to get this job, ” old Jack said, “that is if you ain’t sixteen.”  I said, “well, I’m sixteen.” They hired me and I started to work there in the evenings and on Saturdays. I learned to cuss and smoke cigarettes, change tires and suffer. The shop was hot in the summer and cold in the winter but the money was good for a kid. Seventy bucks was a lot of money back then and I thought it would be enough to get me where I wanted to go, and where was that? I didn’t know and it didn’t seem to matter to me at the time. I spent that seventy bucks like it was a million. Those were the days my friend.

So, Mom was pissed. I really thought she would be O.K. about the thing especially because I sent her a card from Tucumcari, New Mexico my 4th day out. Back then they didn’t have a missing persons issue the way we do now — no internet. I mean all she could do was call the Sheriff and ask him to watch out for me and tell me to go home. He had taken me home a few times before. Of course the Sheriff had taken my Mother home a few times too. She was a good looker. We were on a first name basis with the Sheriff as were most of the people in the county. So, here I was in Tucumcari  and Mom was wondering where the hell I was. She got the card about the time I was almost back. Anyway, we had another fight. She ‘d get pretty rough with me sometimes, slap me around, pull me by the hair. I never touched her, even to defend myself…. I don’t know why. So we decided, her and I together, that I should keep on being grown up and she didn’t need two grown-ups around. I could still see she was unhappy driving me into town that day with my suitcase and books.

I settled into a small room upstairs on the south side of the building. There was a small bed, an old metal cabinet to hang what few clothes I had brought, enough to fill the suitcase but not the cabinet. There was a chest-of-drawers with a mirror where I laid out my bathroom supplies and a few of the books I had carried with me throughout my short adventures. I was on my own. I went back down to the tire shop aforementioned and asked to be put back on the crew. Old Jack smiled and welcomed me home and Clyde loaned me another pack of Viceroys to get me through until payday. I was on my way thanks to a little help from my friends. I had made it home from California penniless from Bodega Bay to the farm not even having to beg. People along the way felt sorry for me as they would have with someone in their own family. Those were different times, I miss them and all of the goodwill I sensed abroad then. People were not afraid of strangers, especially very young ones who had obviously bitten off more than they could chew.

The first meeting of the “Native Plant Society.” Beverly and I attended. Boring, just wanted more volunteers. Talked about peach-leaved Willow, Plains Cottonwood, and Natural Disturbances: floods etc….


Beverly has been back in California for a month now. I’ve left the campground where I’ve been staying and where we stayed for the most of her time here. It was good. I’m in Ft. Collins at the Dunkin Donut getting ready to camp out in their parking lot. I’ve got an appointment with Dave N., my rehab adviser, tomorrow morning and thought I would come on over. I’ll get up early and have a good breakfast and have a good day. Tomorrow night will be my last lab this semester and I’ll have a month off from school. Beverly will visit again at the end of the month, I miss her, we had a good time (mostly) on her last visit. I’m continuing school and often  wonder why. It’s 10:30 p.m. here in my truck, in this parking lot. I hope the cops don’t bother me tonight….


Storage, propane, beer, food, first of August, I’m tired. Spent most of summer camping, was good. It’ll be cold soon; I’ll have to find a place inside….

Homeless in The Heartland Cafe. Could be worse, the coffee is fine today, the waitress is new, and pretty. Jim, the owner,  likes em’ young and pretty. His wife Sharon doesn’t seem to mind. Jim gave me some work this summer cleaning out the restaurant’s cellar. Beverly and I were able to sell most of the junk he wanted to remove like the old bar seats. They were red upholstered with chrome stands, the old spin rounds. Some of the stuff had been down there for 50 years, quite the haul, old heavy duty pots and pans, stainless shelving, silver utensils, old pictures of the restaurant in the thirties. It was an adventure. I don’t think Jim was aware of some of the stuff that was buried down there, and, we made sure he didn’t see it as we carefully removed it up the old stairs and out the back door into the alley, into the truck and away.


Tuesday morning and I need new glasses. I’m always straining to see, far away and closeup. Reading and writing will soon cease to be if I don’t do something soon. I slept in the truck the last couple of nights. Sometimes I’ll pull up in the Post Office parking lot under a very old Willow. The girth of this tree at chest height is at least five feet. It must be sixty-five feet tall. I don’t know where it is getting it’s water considering it is smack dab in the middle of this asphalt parking lot. It’s getting cold. I need to find a room soon or go south for the winter which is not an option now that I’ve accepted the contract at the Post Office. I’ve not been sleeping well or eating well; I’ve got to search out an alternative. Here we go….

Sitting in the Heartland after a good night camping at Flatiron. I’m going to look at a travel trailer today, maybe a new home. Beverly will be back in five days and I hope she will be in a good mood….got to find a place before she gets here, camping is harder on her than it is on me. If we get that job at the Branding Iron we’ll have plenty of money and maybe a place to stay for the winter.


I’m at Pinewood Reservoir, up here in the mountains. Pretty nice, no one is around but me, good view, watching out for bears and mountain lions. The wind has come up from over the western slopes and I’m glad I’m settled on this side of the ridge. I’m tucking in for the night. All the day campers and fishermen have left for town or work and I appear to be the lone solitary soul remaining for the night. It’s the best time I’ve found to be camping in the county parks and there are a number of them. Pinewood Reservoir is the most remote but still barely an hour’s drive from civilization. The wind on the lake looks a bit more intense than it is up here; it’s but a breeze, and a pleasant one up here near the ridge among the pines. Beverly left a couple days ago and I feel pretty lonely. This is a good place to be right now. The wind is rushing through the Ponderosa Pine above me and then gets eerily quiet, all sounds are drowned out by the stillness, not even a dog barking here. I hope it does not rain, this tent is pretty good but I don’t know if it can stand a good downpour.

Blue Mountain is south, southeast of me, the foothills roll gently up to it ending finally in sharp Hogbacks. There is a ranch up there. I bet those folks own all of what I see up there. Wow, what a place. Heavy dark clouds with rain in them are blowing around down below. It’s getting dark. Time to put the fire out and try to sleep. Hope the bears stay away.


Camping is over for this year. I’m moving back into town for the winter. Beverly is back in Los Angeles and I’m back in school. I got me a crummy apartment in downtown Loveland, at least it will be warm and I can study. I’ve been in Loveland for a year and a half now and ain’t got a pot to piss in. Something has got to change. At least I’m not broke or in any kind of trouble. The work at the Post Office is going well and I’m getting along with everyone there. Beverly is flying in on Saturday, I look forward to that and I hope she is in a good mood. Left to my own devices I really don’t care about much anymore, life is basically boring, people are even worse than boring. I suppose I am the same. I need to get a hair cut and start taking better care of myself. My beard is getting too long and I look like a Hillbilly. If I want to be successful around here I’m going to have to change my approach. I’ll get lessons from Ray I’m sure.


It snowed most of the night, it’s icy and very cold. The temperature, they say, won’t get out of the twenties today, now, it is 9 degrees. I haven’t heard from Beverly in a while. I’m doing O.K., I guess. I heard today on NPR that the biggest killer of men between the ages of 25 and 44 is AIDS. Hmm, kinda shocking. Sexual transmission and addicts who inject their fix. Guess being off the drugs and being celibate is beneficial to my health. Well, I’m still a drug addict and slut inside…. How long do you want to live anyway? An easy answer to a tough question, forever of course. I’ll be happy when Beverly gets here on a permanent basis, if she ever does. I trust that she is celibate too.  I may go today to shovel Mrs. Cox’s drive-way and sidewalks. I don’t know, it is too cold right now. Bonnie has suggested that I do all of their rental properties. Ray has yet to say anything about it, I’d rather not although Ray pays pretty well and pays fast, we’ll see how broke I get this winter. After the Post Office I’ll go to Mrs. Cox’s and then to my storage shed. If it gets too cold I’ll just go home and work on the apartment. Oh!, the best laid plans of mice and men.


A friend of mine committed suicide last night. He calmly left his apartment around 9:00 p.m., drove to the King Soopers up on 29th, parked his car and stuck a 38 in his mouth and blew the back of his head off. Strange. We were not real close. We would get together once a week with another guy and chat about current events, guy things and whatever was on our minds. He was older and very lonely which he mentioned often but, he would never participate in anything. Except for our weekly meetings which would never last over an hour, he would retire to his apartment, watch the same movies over and over again and listen to Pentecostal preachers. I don’t understand. I’ve read that women attempt suicide more often than men but men succeed much more often. Women overdose on poison or drugs, men use firearms and nooses.


It’s colder than Owl shit and I’ve got work to do outside. Beverly finally got through to me yesterday; the fires in California make it increasing difficult to get connections out, even on the fiber optic transmission lines, hard to believe huh? Yeah, great future in technology.

I’m getting really fed up with her father’s attitude, no wonder he has so few friends, mainly just Darrell and Bernice. I needed a small loan because someone stole my weed-wacker out of my truck a couple of weeks ago. I should not have left it chained in the truck. They cut the chain, took it, and probably sold it to a local pawn shop the following morning. I reported it to the Police and they let me know right off that it will probably will never be found. Well, Ray was the last one I should have asked for a loan to replace it. He loaned me the money and added without a smile that, “I am not a bank.” Asshole. Bonnie told me that he didn’t want her to help me with my janitorial work even though she thought she would enjoy it, even to just get out of the house. Ray probably doesn’t want Bonnie to be seen publicly sweeping and dusting at the Post Office. Oh well, tuck it away. I sure miss Beverly right now and wish she was here. I also need some good help and she is very good help.


Oh, how unhappy life can be, my life of course. Sometimes I wish I had never left California, too late now, much too late. Nothing seems to be just O.K. right now and I wonder why I feel this way because really everything is O.K.. No sense at all. If I talk to Beverly on the phone I get depressed. If I don’t talk to her on the phone I get depressed, go figure. I keep on going and she does too; taking care of the business that appears right in front of us. Good soldiers.

It’s snowing again for the fourth time already and it is not even winter yet. It’s always overcast, cold, and depressing, can’t let it get to me. This place can be miserable. Of course I lived in the sunshine for thirteen years and the least bit of bad weather can set me back a bit. It is not always ugly, keep cool. I don’t believe loneliness has anything to do with my present mood, maybe it does. I hope I am not just a miserable person. I’ve been accused of that more than once. Break through to the other side. There is sunshine and peace there, we’re on our way there. I’ll keep on dealing with this the best that I can, keep busy, study, pretend everything is alright and maybe it will be…mind over matter, what does it matter?…


Another snowy, shitty day here in the middle of amerika. I guess it could be worse, all of the above and being broke also. I’m almost broke, mentally and economically but, it will get better. I’m going to work at the Post Office for a while and then work at home on my school assignments. Beverly will be returning in about a week, I hope we get along better than we did the last visit. Hey!, at least she still visits, I’m surprised that she hasn’t filed for divorce, what a girl, true blue, I think. We go for such long periods without seeing each other, it’s pretty amazing. I often wonder what kind of relationship we have, it is odd that we keep coming back for more. I don’t know, go with the flow.

It’s snowing like hell again. I hope it’s not like this when Beverly flies into Denver, it’s really hard on her wings. It’s amusing watching people here with their snowblowers, getting them on and off of their trucks, in and out of their trunks. It’s easier for me to just shovel the stuff. Someone sold them a big snowblower, a trailer, and all of the gas and maintenance for a lifetime when, a simple shovel would have gotten the job done, good exercise, no exhaust fumes, no noise. Oh well, to each his own. My shovel paid for itself on the very first job.

I had a good day yesterday. I finished the basic text of my plant catalog and got a good start on the new irrigation design. Tonight I’m going to Darrell and Bernice’s church for dinner. I shouldn’t have said yes but I couldn’t think of anyway politely out of it. I really don’t like to go there but, now I’m committed.


Maybe I’m just trying to fill this spiral up so I can start a new one. I’ve been carrying this one around for a while and it is falling apart. It’s been a very dreary winter although last week was relatively mild. There is still ice around from a storm two weeks ago, it’s been so cold that it refuses to melt away. The winter semester at Front Range Community College is coming to an end and the project at ABC Storage is beginning to look like someone is doing something. It’s all ad lib there.

Beverly has been calling more as though she is lonelier than before. It’s been a long time now since I left California and we are exhausted living like this but, she may be here permanently in June. I hope so, it’s been a long hall. When she is here I associate with her parents more which is neither here nor there. When she leaves it takes about a week and then it becomes apparent that this family is very local. Maybe that is one of the reasons I don’t enjoy being around them that much. But then again, it is O.K. being around Bonnie, Darrell, and Bernice but add Ray to the gathering and it all gets tiresome. Sometimes I care, sometimes I don’t. Oh well, families are all different, I’m not used to Alpha males that have a vital need to be in control of everyone and everything. It’s a nice day today, I’m off to the Post Office to clean.



I’m in the Heartland to eat and break in a new waitress. God, when will it ever end?, she’s un-trainable, but that’s O.K., she is mortal like me and has hopes and fears that will die with her when she goes. I can’t decide if to go do Ray’s Walks or not, if not, it will melt off in a few hours. It is cold and will probably not even reach 32 degrees today.

It’s five days until Christmas and soon a new year, and soon I will have been here fro two years. I really don’t like it here most of the time but we can’t afford to live in California. Oh well, that’s life, face up to the terror of the situation.


It’s two days before Christmas. I finally took my glasses in today so I will have a second pair soon. It’s windy but at least it is almost warm, the sun is shining, the ice is melting and all seems to be well. I’m going to dinner with Ray and Bonnie to an Italian place in Ft. Collins. It’ll be O.K. although I really do not want to go — I feel I should do something with them every once in a while to keep the communication lines open. They are what they are — WWII generation — and I am pretty radical for them although they aren’t really aware of how much. I’ll be glad when the new year rolls around. I don’t know why, just tired, bored, wistful. Life is basically boring, maybe that is god, I don’t know. I need to change something but I don’t know what, revolt, be somebody else, but who?


I’m tired of this spiral. The year ended badly, very badly. The Holidays, debauchery, indulgence, license for the stupids to excel. I’m glad it’s over, hopefully Spring will come early this year, cold, snow, broke with a bad attitude. Maybe take better care of myself this year, yeah right. Things seem to be moving faster as I seem to be moving slower, which is which? I don’t know and would rather not think about it…Happy New Year.

May be warm and kinda nice today so, I may be able to get the drywall project finished. I hope so, I can’t lug around those sheets much longer, hope it doesn’t ruin me for life. I’m going to propose a temporary compensation to D & B soon after this project is complete just to take care of my expenses. B is taking way to long to pay me and I don’t think D. is even aware of it.

Beverly will be here on the 6th which is only a week away. I’m glad and getting tired of being here alone all the time. I know it is getting close to a final move and she is apprehensive about the affect it will have on her kids and the grand kids. We have to get ready for the mowing season — I’ll be happy to see her.

I’m in the Heartland and will have been in Colorado for two years at the end of this next month, it’s been a long haul. I guess everything is as it should be….



The in-laws are getting on my nerves. They want to watch the football game today and so surprise me with a request I can’t refuse. “Can you pick Don up at the airport today, we’re not up to the ride?” Just tell the truth; I’ll gladly change my plans for the truth. Now I have to change my plans for a lie. Everyone here is a Broncoholic. They wear Bronco clothes, drink Bronco soda and beer; eat Bronco chips and dip. Boy, the Broncos rule, Elway is our Savior. Kinda funny, kinda not….

It’s 8:00 p.m.. I’m at Stapleton for Don flying in from Los Angeles. The more I think of my in-laws the more I realize that they are typical, products of their cohort and overall predictable, acceptable, and less than malleable. They will not change and that is O.K.. We don’t want them to change, it is too late, knowing what to expect is better than wondering. They are not so different than us, the sixties kids. They just smile less, trust less, give less, and sleep less. They are dying off, the WW2 generation and soon we, the Vietnam generation, will do the same. Enough!…I also gained some insight into Lisa, Dean’s wife, estranged wife I should say. Her and Dean are arguing more and more as he flagrantly displays his new girlfriend all over town. So I need to avoid them as I go in and out of the apartment, I don’t want to be involved. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. A tenuous situation; creep in and out like a cat, try not to meet at the entries or in the driveway. I need to move away from this situation, too much ugliness and tension. I can’t complain to them about anything, they own the place….



I don’t believe it, just heard it again: Bill Clinton will not serve his whole term. That frightens me. What do these crazy people mean by that? I’ve got to remember what year it is, keep forgetting, they all seem to just run together.

I’m in “The Egg & I” for breakfast. I heard the food was good and the girls are pretty and yes, the prices are high. I’m kinda broke right now and should have stayed home and had a bagel but, I need to get out and about to avoid depression. I’m looking for cheap and clean. Is there cheap and clean? Is there expensive and clean?

I’m working at MCI trying to sell 800 numbers. It’s ridiculous, can’t hardly give them away. Thank God I’m not on commission only but at minimum wage I don’t see how they can keep me on at two or three sales an evening and there doesn’t seem to be anyone there doing much better. It pays $5.00 an hour which barely pays my fuel cost over there. It certainly will not pay for breakfast at “The Egg & I” everyday. It is perfect for going to school though. Maybe a cheap place to live will magically appear when I most need it. I’m still getting my unemployment but for how long, I do not know.


My check has not come in yet and things are really getting tight, soon I won’t be able to smoke or drink coffee. Maybe time to run back to California huh? I’m at the Heartland for coffee and a muffin. Don, bless him, loaned me the money for my rent. I’m surprised he is so good-hearted especially because of the way I used to make it hard on him. He is forgiving and straight forward, no mysteries, no secrets, just Don. I’ll check back at the Post Office later and go home and read and write Beverly a letter. I need a tie, and a new pair of dress slacks to go with a shirt I already have. I’ll be set, three changes of work clothes.

I had a good night at work. I’m at the Heartland this morning hoping my check came in this morning. There is a man here that is — slowly but surely — on his way to an institution. He has gotten worse since I’ve been in town. I met him when I was renting a room downtown. He used to be able to ride his bike and read but now he just sits there and talks to something or someone I don’t see. I don’t believe anyone else sees either. He sits mumbling and scratches his head. I’ve been here for half an hour and he continues scratching; must be getting pretty raw. I wonder about his past and what kind of future he has to look forward too. He has become an embarrassment to himself and to some others that seem to know him. It’s apparent he needs help but none is forthcoming. The folks here just ignore him. It’s sad. I’ve seen this sort of thing in the cities but rarely in small towns. Doesn’t say much good about the town, I don’t know.

It interests me how we all respond to people like him. We kind of act as though he weren’t there. Is it not to embarrass him or embarrass ourselves? Probably the latter. He is not shocking to us anymore. When I was a boy I never saw people like him in public. They lived in special homes; and not only to hide them from us but to protect them. There was an Old Soldiers and Sailors Home in my hometown. There were orphans there and handicapped, mentally retarded. They don’t call them mentally retarded now but mentally challenged. My Aunt Lucy and Uncle Jay had a daughter who lived in a special facility. I only, as a boy, saw her once. We, for some still unknown reason visited her. I remember her as being quiet and swinging on a swing. I think she was about my age.

Every donut shop or coffee shop I’ve been in in the last few few years has people like him in them. It’s like they’ve been poured out into the street. They sit and talk while no one listens, they scratch an eternal itch and stare at something no one else sees. So he sits there and I sit here over a muffin and stale dark coffee while the snow begins again outside and the temperature drops making the roads more than treacherous and I am as broke and worn out as an old shoe.


Beverly and I have to pay taxes again. It’s sad that you try to do well, stay out of debt, and work hard to be responsible and never get a breath of fresh air, something comes in the mail everyday reminding you how hopeless it is, you’ll never be able to peacefully relax, avoid the pressure and stress; no mail is good mail. We both agreed that this should never happen again and that we would do everything we could to avoid this in the future. Hey, at least we agree on something huh?

Today is a beautiful day here in the middle of amerika except for this loud pig-like woman running around the laundromat screaming at her rug-rats that are pounding on the candy machine. I don’t know what is worse, the woman or the kids. So, I go out into the cold sun and smoke hoping she’ll be finished soon.

The Netherlands legalized euthanasia today. The central requirement is that the patient is enduring unbearable pain but is still able to make clear and reasonable decisions. So, can a person make reasonable decisions while enduring unbearable pain? It seems to me that if you describe the pain as unbearable then the patient is not enduring and if the patient is enduring then it must not be unbearable pain. Furthermore if a patient is able to make a clear and reasonable decision then how could that patient be enduring unbearable pain. I don’t know. The patient must make the request themselves and have prognosis from at least two Doctors. Three/quarters of the voters in the Netherlands approved of the decision. I think presently Dr. Kevorkian is still in jail in the USA for helping people end their lives.


I finally  received my unemployment check on Monday so I have food and gas for the truck. I’m really getting tired of listening to the instructors at MCI every other day in the training class but, I must endure huh?, regardless of the unbearable monotony of it all. Hey, just throw me out to the wolves, put me on the phone and let me sell things to people that they don’t need for money that they don’t have, the amerikan way, the velocity of money, keep it going, moving from hand to hand until it reaches the right hand, the one at the top, the billionaire investor, the one who really does not need it anymore. I’ve got to focus on this bullshit, I do need the job — focus, get through the week and all will be well, keep my mouth shut, listen, daydream, look at the cute little girl across the aisle from me.

Are we really as moronic as we appear to be or am I the only moron? It seems like we are all just traveling down some stupid highway to nowhere, saying what we’ve been taught to say, thinking the thoughts of our teachers, someone else’s thoughts. Maybe I’m the one out of step and will just end up talking to myself in some lonely donut shop with people watching me and wondering why I scratch so much. Just another day huh?


I’ve been busy and have not been keeping the journal up to date. It’s very cold here right now, -4 and going down at 9:00 a.m..

I finished the training at MCI and have been released to the wolves. I was surprised that the trainer Dion did not not fire me on the last night. She pulled me aside and informed me that I have a very negative attitude about many things and was afraid that I would have a bad influence on the the younger people (most of the people around me are younger). I gave her every opportunity to have her wish but she did not ask me to leave. So, I start a new adventure tonight on the phones. Through the training we did get on the phones for about three hours and I was able to sell one 800 number account along with the Friends and Family bullshit. Some sold more, some less.

Man, I am really tired of this winter, it has gone on forever, one of the worst ones I’ve ever experienced, I’m really getting depressed. I’ve got to keep on going though because I have no support here. If I stop, everything about me stops. It’ll be better when Beverly gets here although we have no idea when she will be able to move here permanently; we’ll have the world by the tail.

I haven’t visited Ray and Bonnie lately, Bonnie probably wonders why, or maybe she knows why; Ray is O.K. with it I’m sure. Obviously Ray and I don’t have much, if anything in common, totally different types of persons. I’m not surprised that his son was estranged from him also. It seems to be Ray’s way or no other way. Many of the WW2 guys I’ve met are like that, sadly. I get sick and tired of hearing the word “ambition” every time I get into a conversation with him. Oh well, I’m going to have a good day anyway, maybe take a nap as the cold in my apartment woke me up at 4:00 a.m..


Boy, did I make a mistake in greeting Darrel this morning. He immediately began raving about Bill Clinton and the new economic plan that he presented to Congress last evening. In a way, and I say this with uncomfortable reserve, he is typical of this area, this part of the country which seems on the surface to be relatively liberal but underneath there is a seething far right, militia-like energy. Darrel and Ray are examples of the man I don’t want to be when, and if, I ever grow up. They are so closed minded when it comes to a new idea, anything different than the old white guy approach is anathema to them. It is still pretty racist around here and definitely set up to keep women and minorities in their place. For minorities in the fields and mills; all the menial tasks; for women, in the home pregnant, and subservient. I’ve only seen three or four Black people here, many Mexicans doing most of the labor, a few Indians, but rare, and hardly any Asians. I suppose they are so unhappy because they can see that the world is changing rapidly and there is absolutely nothing they or their peers can do to change this fact. Their world-views are no longer relevant as someday mine will not be; it’s inevitable, so it has always been and will continue to be so as long as Humans reside here on this very small planet, in a small solar system, in a small universe, in a vast unimaginable expanse of nothingness and eternity. Often these guys frighten me. I should have learned by now that there are certain (many) things I can’t even mention around them. They wonder, I’m sure, why I don’t associate with them more. Boy, if they only knew, and they probably do, how ignorant they appear to me and to others. But, of course, there are more of them around here than people of my ilk. God bless em’ huh?


I haven’t made many entries lately, I don’t know why, lazy, dis-interested. Could be the weather, the ice and snow, loneliness, depression. Things have been moving along — sometimes — often not pleasantly. The job at MCI is O.K. and school scheduling is being worked out. There are always more forms, more appointments, more questions that aren’t easy to answer. I think I’m O.K. with it, hanging in there. Things don’t seem to change much here in the middle of amerika. I’m in the Heartland for coffee and a muffin.

I must work on this self-deception thing and really try to see things as they are. I know that that in itself is an aggressive approach but I’ll try to stay “in the real” and observe and accept what appears and hope that I’m not manipulating the situation or my perception of it. Tough row to hoe. Time to go….


Sitting here at Macy’s: it’s snowing again on this cold, dark morning. I’ve been reading Krishnamurti about loneliness and thoughts that occur to lonely people, at least, those who confess of such thoughts when they experience what they think of as loneliness. I was swept back a few years and remembered thoughts I was generating or experiencing then of a general character of the common theme of “going home”. I don’t speak here of a physical geographical place but a spiritual place considering I am a spiritual creature. It’s subtle yearning for a place I know I’ve been but can’t remember. Somewhere I’ve come from before I arrived here in this body, on this planet. Maybe I am on a journey to that place or to another place. I am uncomfortable with the thought that I will always be traveling from place to place. I don’t believe I am capable of eternal traveling from this type of existence to another type and further, can’t possibly comprehend why it would be necessary considering especially how quickly I become bored with where I might happen to be at any particular time.

Being in my Mother’s womb probably became very boring but there was great fear in the upheaval of leaving. I’m sure I was very frightened and didn’t want to leave although I had grown unhappy with my circumstances. Maybe this life will end in a similar way. There will be the fear of leaving into something unknown but a relief when I arrive there. So, I keep (apparently) wandering, not knowing the why or where of it and only wondering why I don’t seem to have any choice in the matter. I have no doubt — maybe I should –that other humans have experienced this lostness, seemingly eternal lostness. The story of the wayward son comes into my mind but is still a going back, a return to the known. I don’t believe we are permitted at this stage of our travels to know why and where but, I believe we should wonder mainly — although we seem to be so little and insignificant in ourselves — because we are capable of the sublime in our hearts and minds.


Sitting here in the middle of amerika. Finally a nice morning, warmer, the sun is bright and dazzles on the snow, steam from the streets and sidewalks. Prelude to Spring? Scary! Too nice, uncomfortable because I’ve built this cocoon around me to protect myself from Old Man Winter and now He is becoming unpredictable. When it becomes time to shed our protection we get shaky. I felt that way this morning; the shaky, when the early morning sun broke into my apartment.

Too much beer yesterday, kind of numb this morning, played a lot of music last night and slept well afterwards for six hours straight and now I’m here at the Heartland for breakfast at 8:00 a.m… I think I’ll take a walk when I leave here, maybe feel better, need more exercise, the winters drag me down, no time outside, always trying to stay warm crammed into that apartment looking out at the ice and snow on the street. I rarely drink alcohol during the week and so on the weekends I have to be careful. I can’t handle it the way I used too although some people I know would say I could never handle it.

I was a late starter when it came to drinking. I never liked the taste of alcohol. I had to learn to like it and the way I learned was to begin to appreciate the buzz. Other than the way it made me feel when I drank — just the right amount — was the reason for me to drink. My Mother drank with her boyfriends. There was a man named Arnette who fell head over heels for my Mother. He was married but spent most of his time with Mom. He had a farm in Jamestown, Ohio and was also an engineer at International Harvester in Springfield, Ohio. I never saw Arnette, I am convinced, totally sober, it was the way he lived. I would, at thirteen and fourteen, drive Arnette and Mom, or his friend Pete around while they drank in Arnette’s pick-up trucks, it was a blast for me and the way I learned to drive. Imagine a young kid driving around two or more stoned adults in a pick-up truck in the middle of the nights every week-end. All the country roads, all the drinking; what a way to grow up huh? Arnette and Pete both died young in one of the pick-ups I used to drive them around in on a cold and icy winter night around 1970. I liked them both. They were good to me. Mom never dated anyone else for the rest of her short life.


It’s a beautiful Winter morning here and hopefully Winter will be over soon.I’m here at Macy’s — actually the best little restaurant in town — for coffee and biscuits with gravy. I’ll take a walk down by the Lagoon afterwards, maybe even see some early Crocuses and Hyacinths, I doubt it but hey, why not imagine flowers now. Everything is fine at work and I experienced a calm impression this morning that I may be out of the basement apartment soon away from Dean and his wife.

Beverly will be here in a month for a visit and maybe a long one. It depends on whether she can get the three month leave she has requested, we’ll see soon. I’m calm, my pen rests in my hand. I hope — always hoping huh? — that the major snow storms are over. I’m trying to accept, or, I’m trying to learn to accept what appears to be real as real. It’s a tough row to hoe. How much — an age old question — do we personally play in our own perception of supposed reality? How do our physical senses modify what appears to be reality itself? It’s hard to always be in the “present” and to observe ourselves there. Yesterday was a pain in the ass but, I’m sure tomorrow will be better. Yeah. How about now? Well, now is sunny and bright and relatively warm, the coffee was good and the service acceptable, the notes, as always, leave something to be desired but I’ll walk and enjoy the melting snow, the warming breeze, and the jangling of change in my pocket.


Can’t shake a bad feeling today. Ugly night at work, made one sale and don’t know if it’s been verified. Seemed like everyone else was having a great time. Oh well. All is well as far as I can see. If I’m having a bad day it is usually my own fault. I’m sitting in the Heartland after a very pleasant morning walk. Jabber, jabber all around me. It sounds this way at MCI, two hundred people talking on phones in very small cubes for four hours straight. Actually it stinks in there, the perfume, the sweat, the air that has been breathed a hundred times before it gets into my lungs. They also play loud music in the background, young people music to stimulate I suppose. It is an uncomfortable environment for me, it’s my age. Well. I’ve got to shake this feeling off soon this morning or it’s going to ruin my whole day — put it in a compartment somewhere, give it away to my neighbor there across the room, wish it away, pray it away. Here we go, another adventure. Beverly will be here soon.


Another day here in the middle of amerika. The day before my forty-first birthday. Bonnie and Ray took me to Casa Bonita last night for dinner. It was a real disaster. Terrible, sloppy food, crummy entertainment — if indeed it was meant to be entertainment; an old Mexican man with a beat up, out of tune guitar and an older lady singing with a tambourine. Drove me nuts, we were there for two solid hours. Yeah, Happy Birthday. I guess it is the “thought” that matters and, I will definitely “think” about it the next time that invite me to one of their favorite restaurants.

Another beautiful morning here. I’ve  washed the truck, walked a bit and now at the Heartland for coffee and waitress watching: new girl, kinda cute, great smile, and wonderfully well shaped breasts. Not much to say except things are as they are, quite a bit less than interesting.

Birthday boy! Another nice morning but, it will change for the worse in a few days. I’ve been in Colorado almost a year now; two more weeks, hard to believe, so far, so good. I’ve experienced a full cycle. four seasons, all of them interesting but not necessarily comfortable. It’s like having a baby I guess, on days like this we forget the painful part, or parts. I can’t forget, it is mostly all recorded in these journals. I only have to bear up without Beverly for five more weeks; she may just get her leave this time. I hope so. If so, we’ll rent another apartment while she is here. It is interesting that she is moving from the place in Moorpark to share a house with her daughter exactly one year after I moved from there. She spent most of the year with her new grandson Kyle whom she is crazy about. I think most first time Grandmothers are that way. I think I’ll settle down and read for a while….


Meeting with Kathy Kreger this morning; good meeting, good advice, free advice, some digression from the focus of the meeting, chatted about Percy, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Grass. I’m meeting more cohorts, unsettling. It has snowed again. It has been relatively unpleasant for me since October, the leaves didn’t have time to fall before the first snow and extreme cold — trick or treating in a foot of snow. Looking forward to Spring soon.

Very cold again today, high only in the twenties, damn, when will this be over? I woke up at 4:00 a.m., wide awake and cold. Now at 6:00 a.m. I don’t feel so wide awake. Something from K. I just found sitting here at the Widows.

To a man of true purpose there is no renunciation;

for he is not drawn away from the path of pure understanding,

by the confusion of experience, by the multitude of desires,

by the deceitfulness of thought. He is not held by the fear of sacrifice:

for the man of true purpose, time creates not it’s wasteful abundance.

…I saw of an evening, over a city of vast habitation, a bird swiftly flying towards it’s distant home….


I’ve been captured by an idea for a business, gardening, just gardening. Gardening for the wealthy, only those who can afford a personal gardener. Maybe visit properties once a month and do it all, whatever is necessary at that time of year. I wonder if it can hold my interest for very long. Is it worth the time and investment. I could have a decent income and not work for anyone except the clients, and them, only if I choose too. That’s a top priority for me as I can’t seem to get along with anyone for any extended amount of time. It’s me, I know.

Something like gardening would also give me the time I need to go to school and allow Beverly and I to do something worthwhile on our own schedule.

Eating cheap tacos at Taco John’s at 9:00 p.m., had to get out of the house, lonely, depressed, nothing to do that excites. Overall, life can be pretty boring, never thought it would be this way; being a kid was a lot more fun.


Here we go again, another beautiful day in the middle of amerika but, it is only temporary so, I refuse to get excited about what the future will bring and enjoy today. There has been a hell of a storm from the Gulf coast through New England. They say it is the worst storm since the late 19th century, 1888 or near there. O.K., it’s gorgeous here this morning; I’ll have some biscuits and gravy and do my laundry and hope for an adventure of some sort. Hopefully this separation from my wife will be over soon. She will be here for a few weeks next month. I think I’ll go for a walk after breakfast.


I’m waiting for an appointment with a guy named Charlie from Harry’s Automotive next door to the Key Shop to finish a Logo for Don’s business idea/ I doubt he’ll show and I actually hope he won’t. He overheard Don and I talking and butted into the conversation showing us how smart he was on the computer. Oh well, maybe he is, maybe he ain’t. I didn’t ask him to be involved and neither did Don. Don and I can handle it I’m sure. Charlie is strange, small town Colorado, can’t mind his own business, all bluster like a few of the other guys I’ve met here. Well, maybe it will work out, maybe not.

Charlie didn’t show. Ray called and told me about a new City Project involving Xeriscape gardens down near the library. That was nice of him, I wonder what’s wrong. My wife, Ray’s daughter, will be here soon so I guess we’ll be going over there more than usual. Right now, after over a year here things are getting really old, I’m very bored, and everyone is bored with me.

It’s 4:30 in the afternoon and 67 degrees in Grand Junction; good news. Maybe the storm they say is coming will go further north. I hope so!….


Bright and early this morning I got a call Rudy the Postmaster here in Loveland to do some janitorial work. I’m on my way to the interview now.

Yes, I got the job and will begin tomorrow taking care of the old Post Office downtown. I also finalized my relationship with MCI today, the bastards, not nice people, nor am I in a situation like that. I feel good. Now, got to figure out a way to accumulate some savings, I am broke. I’ve got to find another apartment by May 1. By the way, it’s Beverly and I’s anniversary today, gosh, how long has it been, I forget. She asked me how long and I guessed 8 years. She wasn’t happy and did not tell me the real time. Oh well.

I’m at Macy’s right now for a piece of pie and coffee. No such luck, only peach, no apple. I’ll pass and go to the library and read, walk around.


A beautiful morning. I’m at the Heartland on my way to work at the Post Office. It appears as though Beverly will get her three month leave of absence; Boy! what am I going to do with her for three months? Just kiddin. I’ll work about three hours today at the Post Office and then go check out some aeration jobs for a friend of mine. Not really a friend, kind of a jerk. Maybe Beverly and I can really pull this off — this business I mean, mowing, taking care of properties. It’s got to be totally legal, which means to me that there won’t be that much money in it but, it will be something we can do together — getting through school will be the key, getting the degree in Horticulture and staying sane.

I’m at the Library now and just went out for a smoke. It occurred to me there, or I should say, it forced it’s way into my consciousness, the Biblical passage “judge not lest ye be judged.”


At the Heartland for breakfast — had to get my own coffee, women blabbing. It’s raining, I’m glad, good for the plants. I’ve got to get a proposal together for the plant maintenance at the Post Office. I hope the Postmaster will let me do it, it’s his budget. I’ve been spending my time, very much, alone. Beverly will be here soon; I’ve been here a year now. Don’t really like or dis-like the place. I’m always sorry when I come to this restaurant, I don’t know why I always give this fucking place another chance.


Beverly is here! We had a helluva time getting over the mountains, at times I thought the old Ford was not going to make it. The pass through Vail ate up all of the transmission fluid. We were able to stop and buy some more…saved it.Thank God we did make it. Beverly drove the car to Las Vegas where I met her after a boring bus trip. We were getting pretty up-tight because of the mountains and snowy cold but mellowed out as we neared Denver.

We submitted a proposal for outside maintenance at the Old Post Office yesterday. We’ll probably get it, just mowing, fertilizer, weed control. It’s cold again here and snowing in the mountains; we made it through just in time, charmed lives. We went over to Janet’s — Darrell and Bernice’s daughter  — last night. Ray and Bonnie were there. I don’t get along with them the way I used too. Familiarity breeds contempt. Not that it bothers me, sure would be nice to get along with them, I’ll try harder because I’m sure Ray won’t. They have their agendas, I have mine. I’ve learned to keep my opinions to myself, it’s taken a while to get to know them. We are who we are….

I’m glad Beverly is here and happy that she was able to meet my family this year on our trip back to Ohio. We have been busy and may get the Post Office contract signed today. The lawn care business is shaping up and we are moving on the first of May. All is well although we don’t always get along. She is hard-working and intelligent and, I trust her. We are having fun. Time for a new Vagabond Spiral.



A hot day already at 9:00 a.m..

The truck is in the shop, over-heating. The mechanic says that he thinks it is the fan clutch this time. Every summer something goes wrong with the cooling system. I don’t mind — with all the new parts on the truck it is almost brand new again. A new truck, no, don’t even think about it; I’ve got a lot of time and money in this one… yes but, a new truck, yeah right. A truck to do what I need for the gardens would cost more than replacing the engine, transmission, brakes, everything. The last time I looked they were over twenty thousand dollars and that was one with a whole lot of miles on it. A brand new one is up around 25 or 30 thousand basic with a short and high bed. What a rip off. I’ll attempt to keep this one on the road until I can no longer work or drive, which may be soon.

This body I live in — unlike my truck — can not be repaired and sustained so easily. It is worn out from all the labor it has experienced. I am thankful for it — this body — it has served me well. When I turned sixty years old it started screaming at me to slow down, relax and heal. It used to be only muscle strains, pulls, and minor injuries but now it is skeletal issues, joints, tendons, knees, feet, wrists, shoulders. Now, I am forced to rest and heal; I can’t just “work my way through it”. It is a trial and test because I have to continue working, there is no end of it except the grave. I pray to God that I will endure until He relieves me of this life of labor, trial, joy and misery. I pray that I’ll not become totally dis-abled as there is no help for me in the system I inhabit: the poor worker is resigned to begging in our culture, no health insurance; social security will not suffice, pay the rent or feed this old, tired body.

So, except for the sciatica, swollen left wrist, small broken bone in my right foot I am having a wonderful relaxing day here in the middle of America. Soon, if things progress as they appear to be progressing all I’ll be capable of is writing on this keyboard. Of course I may not even possess a keyboard if things get worse which they in-evitably will. No gardening, no playing guitar, maybe even no driving. I’ll have to adjust and God will help me as He always has before. Yes, God is good. Compared to the suffering of Job or Jesus my situation is a picnic and, as in both of those cases, I will be justified, comforted, and will be given the grace necessary to endure. I am a creature.




Yeah, a new, clean Spiral began Friday the 13th, year: a mystery.

Today, I want, yes, we always want. But these are reasonable wants: an oil change in the truck, some clean clothes, and to do more research on “official” job descriptions.

I’m at the “Jiffy Lube” sitting outside grinning at the world as it passes by on the main drag of this little town. People, including yours truly, are so ridiculous, the frowns, the bitching because of their unmet desires. Yeah, we want to be treated in a special way, have our own way, go to the head of the line unless of course the line leads up the ladder to the guillotine, or down to the infernal places. I would think that most of us middle-aged persons should know better of our insignificance, and maybe we do, but would rather not think of it. We want to be treated the way our Mothers treated us. I miss my Mother. So it goes, all good things, as well as bad, pass away.

It is November and a beautiful day here in the “Middle of America.” It is warm and sunny and the people here are outside enjoying it; I feel great.

I’m at the Heartland Cafe after an hours walk; I have become addicted to walking. Often I walk for hours around this town. It is a pleasant town, the streets are clean, the streetlights work and people generally take good care of their properties. I’ll go to the library after this coffee and research three more job titles. I may even get the motorcycle out of the garage, we’ll see.


I had a good week at work. I’ve been working with a guy named Fred on smaller roofing projects and repairs. He is a pleasant guy to be around, much better than being on some of the larger crews here. I’ve earned my three days off.

It looks like a major storm is moving towards us from over the mountains, heavy clouds, maybe light snow increasing to four to six inches, the most I’ve seen in years. I hope I can handle it and, I don’t see why not having grown up with massive amounts of lake-effect snows back east but, that was years ago, I am older and spoiled.

I’m at the Heartland, it’s early morning, nothing new here in the “Middle of America.” I hope this storm doesn’t mean a lay-off. Working with Fred on repairs may mean, at least, that I won’t get laid off as soon as the build-up crews.

Beverly and I seem to be communicating well lately; I miss her. She is always so busy that she doesn’t miss anything. She’ll be visiting again soon.

Today, just writing, maybe some music. I hope my neighbor upstairs works today: he bugs me.

Laundry, Wal-Mart, Post Office (stamps), hand lotion, cigs….


First major snow of the year; it is beautiful, not too cold, blowing and drifting in the streets. The old train station looks like a Rockwell painting, yep, even better. An old man in a small Chevy pick-up truck yelled at me from his open window, “You bum, what are you doing here?” as I photographed the scene. “Do you have permission to photograph the station?”, he spit out snarling. I had seen him around before and just ignored him wondering why he was upset. He is someone I don’t want to be when, and if, I ever grow up. I guess many people around here think I am a bum because I walk around so much, I don’t know. There is a concert tonight at the high school which I plan to attend titled, “Black Composers.” Funny, I was talking to a guy the other day that told me that just ten years ago they had a black jazz band play at the Elks on New Years Eve and had to get them rooms in Ft. Collins for the night because of the racism here. seems weird, but maybe not so weird; this is white country, old white guys, like the guy in the truck.

I’m grinning and laughing now sitting in the Heartland over coffee, biscuits and gravy. It’s cold and getting colder, no motorcycle for a while. My thoughts, the things that run through my mind all the time, whether they make sense or not, seem to be compressing and condensing, more finite and focused. Good or bad, I don’t know, maybe it’s just a phenomenon of this moment, this day, this snowstorm. I think it has to do with my desperate attempt to adjust to this culture, this environment, this new life. Just surviving, paying the rent, dealing with this all encompassing loneliness. Where to go, what to do, just hanging in there. Maybe this surviving requires more than I am capable of — times have changed, nothing is easy and pleasant like it was twenty years ago. I am more conscious but only because of the needs I have that seem so desperately unattainable. My senses seem to have become more acute; are things brighter in my eyes only or is the dull less noticeable? I don’t have any answers now to these personal speculations but, at least, I find it interesting. Maybe I am dying.

Lately I’ve been reading new material: Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, and Anderson. I love the Conrad. I’ve got to decide in the next two weeks what would be best for me in the rehab program; they don’t decide for you but only suggest from the multiple testing they have done to determine what I may be good at and what I may be able to succeed in doing. It’s an investment for them and they do not take it lightly. I should do the same. Think, wait, fast….


I’m not feeling emotionally well, so what’s new huh? I’m lonely and feel a need for affection. Love over fiber optics gets old and very boring. I like touch, a look, a smile, passion and tears; so does everyone else I suppose. Consulting the I Ching today for an overview of the situation here and, of course, my place in it. So, the question: What is the situation now and what are it’s possible consequences? Answer: Ultimately in matters of your external relationships you must always return to the center of the self for orientation and processing. Broaden your ideas to encompass larger goals; retreat, get organized.

Footnotes: Only a people economically strong can be important in Military Power. Get organized or misfortune…. It is by no means a sign of courage or strength to insist upon engaging in a hopeless struggle regardless of the circumstances.

It would be in your best interest now to behave as a subordinate with propriety, passivity, and constant caution, no one is interested in your views. In other words, do what you are told, be quiet and submissive; now is not a good time, relax, float downstream, be quiet. Think, fast, wait….

Use your energies to strengthen your inner vision. Remain passive for now and hold to the enduring aspects of the relationship to pull you through. Develop and cling to a long range idea; it will help you through this time. The path you have chosen is a circle and will lead you back to where you began. If this seems unfortunate then trace back to the beginning to where the situation was created. It — the beginning — is the only place it can be changed.

The Text: The superior man understands the transitory in the light of eternity….


It snowed all day yesterday and so, I am not working today. That’s O.K. with me, it is dreadfully cold. I am at the Heartland for breakfast and to get out. I had to shovel snow today to get the truck away from the curb. It brought back memories, not all pleasant, of growing up in Ohio. I hadn’t shoveled snow in years and care not to shovel more. They call this a blizzard around here. It’s certainly not like the blizzards I experienced when I was a kid. Of course words are changing now as the seasons and people are not as tough as they used to be: this is not a blizzard but a heavy snowfall, maybe eight inches and some blowing drifts, not much. Different part of the country, different conditions and definitions.

Yesterday I was sick and called Bernice to say I wouldn’t be joining them for Thanksgiving dinner; I spent the day playing and just messing around. Today it is beautiful, clear, and getting a bit warmer. I’m at the laundromat in Berthoud for my laundry, alone and content. I’ve been off work for a week now, some others have worked on emergencies and repairs. I’m going to file for unemployment on Tuesday. I wonder how they (CMC) will respond to that, probably not in a friendly way, so it goes. I hope this is just a cold that is getting me down and not something serious. I feel a bit better today probably because I stopped taking that medicine, go figure. I’ve got the money for rent and the truck payment for December and don’t look forward to the early part of the new year; it may be tough. Maybe go back inside to the temp jobs, we’ll see.


I’m feeling better today, there is more snow in Denver and in the mountains, maybe no work again this week. What to do? Who knows? Deal with tomorrow when it comes. Since I’ve been stranded inside my apartment I’ve been playing more music, everything is very organized here for the new year, same old stuff, need to fight off this creeping depression, not much to say.

I’m at the 4 Bees having stopped here after visiting Wal-Mart where I bought Bonnie and Ray a new coffee pot for Christmas. They have a crummy old coffee pot. Of course, they don’t drink much coffee but I do when I visit and it seems a burden for Bonnie to use the old one so, a new Braun, my favorite.

Those of us who sit at these bars in these restaurants, drinking plenty of coffee and water, writing, reading, and chatting probably come here for the same reasons: we are bored or lonely. I’m glad we are able and permitted to do so, no one seems to mind most of the time, unless it is very busy. There is an interesting kid (young man) down at the other end of the bar. Reminds me of when I was that age, maybe early twenties, late teens. He is wearing a long dark brown coat and reading Karl Marx, an introduction. I wonder why? I wonder if he understands at his age, I didn’t. I wonder if he, like I did, will graduate to Ouspensky and Gurjieff and where it will lead him. I wonder if he has to fend for himself and if he realizes that no matter what he reads it all seems, in the end, to come down to exertion, work, sweat, aging, vanity, and vexation of spirit. No matter what he realizes, I wish him well.

Another dismal winter day here in the Middle of America. I put in a couple of hours at Mark’s house with Paul a guy who seems to think that if he just dives in, no matter the knowledge of a task or otherwise, all will turn out O.K.. Glass half full kind of guy. Why should I criticize, he seems to do O.K.. He is the boss, I am not. I’m kind of depressed. I called Beverly and she was not in a decent mood either taking care of Jeni’s kid. I decided again to consult the I Ching to give me some insight into the situation.

The Question: What is going on right now and how best to deal with it? Advice: relax and adapt, chill out Charlie!…

Beverly called back; she knew I was depressed, she is too. So much crap to put up with, unclear future, little money, too much time on our hands. We were unprepared for the length of time separated that we have to endure. I’m glad she called back.


More snow and cold. Damn, everyone told me that the winters were mild here, not so far. I got a haircut at Bob’s this morning and am at the Heartland for breakfast: mellow out Charlie. I’ll play and write today, maybe do my laundry. I’ve been in Colorado for nine months now and I still don’t know what to think of it. Was it a good decision to come here?; and if so, why? Are things well here? Kinda, kinda not. Are you happy here? Kinda, kinda not. I don’t know how I would present this place to a stranger. I still seem to be very unfamiliar with it, I am not settled, content; I keep changing jobs, keep wandering and watching for something which is un-clear to me.

The Heartland is crowded today, as crowded as I have ever seen it. People wanting to get out of the house. It has been very cold this week and people have had to stay inside including myself. Yeah, we don’t like it, need to get out, fresh air, activity, conversation. It gets lonely being shut up for a week. This is a very outdoor place Colorado, lots of things to do, lots of sun, good air, parks, mountains, museums, great libraries.

One of the owners of the laundry stopped at my table to say hello. I like this man above all others at the laundry. He is the only one in the family that seems to understand that their family is just that, a family, no more special than anyone else. He treats us all with respect. He is a humble sort compared with the rest. Maybe that is why he is not running the show. Of course his older brother, the aggressive one, the over-bearing one, the my way or the highway one, the money man is running the show. That’s capitalism. He stopped by even though some of the others in the family were present. When I leave here I’ll take Ray’s gas to him and head for the library. It’s cold, the last three or four days haven’t reached twenty degrees, BURRRRR!


Feeling lonely, reading Ouspensky, getting ready to go to the library. Right now I’m sitting in the 4B’s drinking coffee and socializing; saying hello, and goodbye, have a nice day, see you later. Most repeated words in my vocabulary. That’s socializing for me.

Historical man: brain fully evolved, is the man I’m concerned with;  and this man goes back, as far as we know to date, ten to fifteen thousand years….

Another day, it’s very cold — it’s been in the single digits lately. Thank God the truck always starts. Boy!, I’m going to have to stop using that expression; I’m not a real Christian, I am a fake. Why do I even think ‘thank God’? Why do I capitalize His name. See, did it again. Maybe He is after me like a hound in the night. I don’t know these things. I use many expressions similar to this; maybe I am something I am not aware of. I digress….

Sitting here talking to Dave and some other old guy from West Virginia about snow and cold. The old man and Dave agree that we are due for a miserable winter, cold and snow, and long. I’m kind of glad. I’ve got an appointment with employment services this morning to apply for unemployment. I hope California will pay it.


Not many entries lately. I’ve been working at Johnson’s this week at night, it’s a pain. All I do is stand for eight hours at a machine that shrink wraps books, thousands of them; I don’t even know what the books are about, and sadly don’t care. It is close to my apartment and I can walk, I like that.

Hopefully Beverly will be free to retire soon, living alone for such a long time is wearing on me, changing me into a single person again, not good for a married person. I should have thought of that before I came here huh? It’s Saturday morning here in the Middle of America. It’s cold, dreary, and more snow is on the way. I’ve spent the whole week focused on music and have not written much. I see a marked improvement in my playing although it is still amateurish. I can at least accompany myself on a few songs now without a ton of mistakes.

Not much to do today — maybe laundry, play music, maybe write something. I have to conserve for a trip in January to meet Beverly in Las Vegas where we will spend a day and then drive the car back here. I look forward to that. She is driving the car from L.A. to Las Vegas and I am taking a bus from here. Another adventure, she’ll be able to spend a month here with me.


I just paid off the truck today and have the title in my possession, now I don’t feel so bad. In a way the truck represents my savings; I put all of my meager extra money in it to pay it off and keep it maintained; it’s an old Ford f150 with rusted floors and a new paint job. It runs really well, a straight six cylinder with a three speed shifter on the column, it’s a good old truck, kinda cold in the winter because of the holes in the floor on the driver’s side which I keep covered up with a piece of sheet metal and a very thick floor mat. It works for me.

Now I’m really going to have to scramble for rent, I’m broke and the trip is coming up soon. Oh well, at least now I only owe for rent and not rent and the truck every month. Can’t just sleep in the truck here, I’d freeze to death. Hey, this ain’t one of my worst moments. I don’t know what to do, should I pursue this job at Johnson’s or take my unemployment?

Another snowy morning here in the Middle of America. I’m at the Heartland after a morning walk around the lagoon. It’s a nice day. It was still before sunrise when I walked and the light snow and the lighting around the Lagoon was pleasant, I get up much too early sometimes. There are Christmas decorations everywhere with hugh wreaths on all of the lamp posts like a Norman Rockwell painting. Of course Norman Rockwell was hopelessly romantic. As a boy I wondered whose world he was painting, certainly not the one I grew up in. Mine was more like a Charles Dickens world, cold, relatively impersonal, sometimes desperate, always — more or less — hopeless and depressing. Being poor is never pleasant for anyone I suppose. Some would say that it makes us stronger, more appreciative, modest, and is even better for us then as if we were spoiled. “Builds character”, they say … I always would have liked to try a spoiled life but that’s water over the dam. We have no control over where, when, or to whom we are born. I digress….

I parked at the library and just waked down here to the restaurant. I’m starting second shift today at Johnson’s and really enjoy having my mornings free. I’m in a very tight financial situation, the savings are gone. Beverly and I may take an added trip to Ohio when she gets here, probably take the truck, I hope everything goes well, we’ll see.

The Chamber’s brothers just walked in, they are identical twins; they wear the same small white western hats, blue coveralls, and smoke the same cigarettes. I wonder what their wives are like? They walk the same, talk the same. Maybe they are both married to the same woman. They are always friendly, smiling and polite as they sit with the other old-timers at the long rectangular back table. I don’t know what their names are; I call them the Chambers brothers because they work for Chambers Plumbing Company.

I’m trying to work a bit and still not lose my unemployment benefits that I am getting from my last job in California where I worked for a couple of years. I’ve just got to get through January, February, and March and all should be well, the weather will break, the sun will shine, and the economy will pick back up around here.


I got a late start this morning; worked second shift last night and was more exhausted than I thought I was. I try to sleep six hours but it is tough, I usually end up with seven or eight. Second shift gets me home at 12:15 a.m. — I relax until about one or one-thirty and sleep until seven a.m., get news on the radio, have coffee and get out.

Boy, is it cold! Any residue of moisture here was sucked out and frozen last night. Last night around ten it seemed as though the air around me was depleted of it’s moisture, all of the humidity was strangled out of it and turned into small slivers of ice. It was clear and cloudless outside so I knew that it wasn’t snow I was seeing. For five minutes, which was as long as I could bear being outside, these small slivers of ice floated to the ground, spinning and floating in tight circles. I’m at the Heartland now for breakfast, working again tonight.


Breakfast, tired, more emotional than physical I think. I’m dealing with some pretty big egos at work: Bill and Sherry. I’ll have to limit my conversations with them, just do my work and speak when I am spoken too. They don’t want my opinion anyway. Working with Temps is a very hard job. Neither one of them can be quiet for more than a minute and almost everything they say seems to affect my sensibilities. It’s probably me as usual. Constantly vomiting words from their months, insignificant words, meaningless to me and I inevitably respond only alienating myself more from them. I need to be quiet.

December twenty-two, the winter solstice, the longest night, shortest day, A very long night for me. No sun, always cold, windy, need some vitamin D to help me get through this winter, The winter of my discontent. Of course, I am never really content. I need to change but into what?, maybe this is really me, always unhappy, complaining, bitching about everything. I have made my bed, now, lay in it? I hope not.

It’s Christmas Day and this old truck stop is hopping; it was hard to find a place to park. I really needed to get out of the house and this place was the only place open near Loveland. I got my laundry together and headed to Loveland. Nothing was open and so I headed for Berthoud and my favorite laundromat. I was hungry so I headed out to Johnson’s Corner for food, so, here I am clean clothes and all. It’s crowded but not like the Village Inn in Loveland which I stopped at earlier but saw no sense in waiting 30 minutes for a table and sure bad service on a day like today.

It’s a drive through the country to get here and there was fog all the way from Berthoud; almost surreal, the snow and the fog. There must be a waitress here named  Corina — they keep shouting for her from behind the cook’s station. “Corina, Corina, girl where you been so long?” Bob Dylan from long ago and far away in my life. “I been worried bout’ you baby, won’t you please come home?”

This truck stop is located on I 25 North of Denver, about fifty miles. There are a lot of locals here from the surrounding small towns and farms, down home people, tough, jeans and western hats, western boots, pick-up trucks. There aren’t many tourists here this time of year because you can’t get into Rocky Mountain National Park, too much snow, sixteen or seventeen feet right now. I saw a few pictures yesterday of the walls of snow up there and the plows looked small  as they moved through the tunnels. Damned if I would drive through there, those guys have some kind of confidence that I could never drum up, looks pretty dangerous to me. Beverly and I will be driving to Ohio soon, I hope the old truck holds up….


It’s become increasingly clear to me that Gurjieff was correct in his ideas of human development after 17 or 18 years of age. In fact, according to him, any growth of being or any other factors of growth, especially mental and emotion, basically stop. This is so evident around me here in the Middle of America. Most people here that I am exposed to seem to be pretty much the same as they were when they were in their teens. Unfortunately I include myself to a great degree mainly because of my innate inability to observe myself properly in an objective way. My intellect gets in the way as do my emotions and the barrage of data I am constantly consuming through my physical senses. Sometimes I believe I don’t stand a chance of observing the real nature of what is going on around me, and within me. Often — romantically I add — I believe that I am different than the masses of humans. This in itself is a sure sign that I am out of touch with my real self and the predicament that we all seem to be in. The predicament of course is that we have no control over what is outside of our being and what resides within our being. I only have a more developed formatory apparatus which creates illusions and hampers my own development. I run here and there, helter skelter, doing nothing to put my being puzzle in order but, through imagination only create more pieces to my own puzzle. Yes, confusion reigns. I’m always left with stimulating yet seemingly worthless puzzle parts of a picture that I am incapable of organizing. The great puzzle lies there on a collapsible table reminding me as I consider it of my inability to make sense of it.

On a different note I am happy that this amusing holiday we call Christmas has come and gone. I’m tired of saying Merry Christmas, a phrase I never quite understood. Most Christmases I have endured were just that, a test of my endurance. I wish I could experience the joy that some people seem to experience. When I was a small child the joy came, and only came, from receiving gifts. What a way to train a child, as though a magic man arrived to give a wonderful child toys placed under a dead tree in a house that left one shivering cold and hungry.

 I do not celebrate this holiday nor do I celebrate any other except Thanksgiving, and even that to a nominal degree. Thanksgiving makes sense to me. I am thankful for many things. The day, or a few days after Christmas most people are suffering again and now probably even worse unless of course they are a wealthy family. It can be a sickening withdrawal especially considering the new debt, the dis-appointed recipients of foolish gifts, and all of the manufactured storytelling. Thank God for a new year huh? Maybe I’ll move forward instead of backward or march in place. I feel I’ve been marching in place for much too long….


I often wonder if these spiral journals will ever be useful, or even of interest. If nothing else they are a record of an ordinary man and the circumstances in his life and probably, the lives of many other ordinary men. Men brought up in America in the middle of the twentieth century and surviving into the twenty-first. The experiences, trials and errors,  and everyday occurrences of Mr. Normal. Rarely is life for the ordinary exciting  or even anything to write home about, it is just living, surviving, and trying to make sense of day to day experiences.

We moderns are exposed to much fiction in literature, film, and television and rarely is real life for us revealed. Many are under the impression that those aforementioned fictions are general reality; that they represent the common man in a global sense. Rarely in America is the truth nakedly told or spoken of; there is no profit in it I suppose. For me, I’ve read some of those Authors whom some (critics) call Realists. I won’t mention those names but I don’t believe they are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If they were they probably would not be so widely read. This writing you are reading is real, a normal person born and raised in the second half of the twentieth century. This is real life with all of it’s nonsense and boredom, brokenness and togetherness, scars and smiles and indeed, more scars than smiles. I digress as I sit here in this coffee shop here in the Middle of America. It is busy here. The Christmas season has come to an end and I think people are out trying to get normal again. Away with holidays, except Thanksgiving of course — we should always be thankful. There is a waitress here who complains that everyone (mainly other waitresses) are taking her toast before she can get to it. The war is on for toast, the crime of the century. Another waitress shouts out, “call in the FBI.”


It’s almost a new year. I’m sitting here at The Widows reading, writing, and preparing to send out an application for financial aid. It’s cold, I’ll go home, play a little music, write some trash, and try to get into the New Year groove. It’s only 13 degrees outside, the windows in here are all fogged up. Only 13 more days until Beverly flies in for another visit. Here comes my food, Bye.

One more day in this very trying year. I know that it is illusory on my part but this new year represents another chance for me. And yes, I have been granted a number of new chances in my life. Maybe this one will produce something different, something positive — beyond a doubt. Maybe I kid myself, yeah, it’s all in your mind, you’ve read to many of those self-help books but, so be it, it feels just right to have last year behind me. There are things germinating around me which might be exciting. But it is hard work. I’d like to take advantage of my unemployment to concentrate on writing, and music. Not that I think either of these hobbies will put food on my table but, they sure do keep me out of trouble. Anyway, I went to the bank today to get my rent and to take stock of my financial situation. I’ve got the rent and money for the trip but, not much else, it’s going to be tight but, I think I can pull it off.

I’m sitting here at the 4-Bees having coffee. When I leave I’ll pick up the check for some temp work I did last week and go home to my cave. This time of year can be dangerous for me socially, all the partying going on so, I think I’ll hibernate through it all.



It’s a nice morning here in the Middle of America where I’m sitting in the Heartland sipping on a cup of coffee that should have been discarded instead of served. Yep, being a regular is not always a good thing. “Oh, it’s for Charlie, it’s o.k. he won’t say anything, why dump it out; it’s worth a buck?”

There is a guy that just came in that reminds me of an old friend I had in school. I called him Rabbit because one night we were doing some mescaline and I looked at him and he looked liked a rabbit. The nickname stuck throughout the rest of our relationship. He ended up marrying a girlfriend of ours and having a bunch of kids. He became a sales manager for one of the largest GM dealerships in the Dayton area. I’ve owed him $150.00 for decades and I’m sorry. I should try to find him. Long ago and far away. Yes, some regrets.

Oh, all the things that run through this mind, I guess things that don’t matter that much anymore.

Brad M. just came into the restaurant. He owns, with his family, some of the dives here in the downtown area. He’s a nice guy, hardworking, hard drinking. His family is one of the major slum landlords around here but, at least they do provide a number of less expensive places to live, if you can call it living. He asks me every once in a while to clean something up for him and I usually try to do it. I’m glad to have made his acquaintance, it may pay off in the future.

I’m working on an idea for a auto-biographical work, casual, open, and in the genre of meandering modern stuff, reality, reflections of my travels and adventures. Not for sale but, just for whoever might be interested in what it was like to grow up when I did and how it all turned out for an ordinary guy lucky enough to be born in the fifties, to have experienced the sixties, and now kinda paying the price but, with still enough mojo to change into something worthwhile.

I’m going to Ray and Bonnie’s for lunch, I’ll give them a call….


I have two lovers my love me and you

I have problems with the constant interference of unknown suitors

they want to be here too

They rant and rave for attention

They leave me breathless exhausted

Erstwhile I attempt to concentrate on my loves but….


I’m feeling depressed again, I’m tired of being cold — I’ve got to get my head back on straight. Consulting the IChing for an overview of the situation. So I ask. What is the situation for me and how should I respond? It answers with the hexagrams Danger, limitations which translate into start subjecting yourself to creative limits. Danger is a positive thing for growth but you must not always live in Danger — establish limits. Accept things and people for the way they are and then, file it away — learn from it, keep your standards, persist, and attempt to be naturally good….

My wife and I are going on a trip from the tenth to the eighteenth of this month. It involves driving nearly 2400 miles. I consult the IChing with, how should I prepare? Answer: power, be careful and quiet, listen….


I have to laugh, the guy upstairs who rents me this basement apartment is extremely self-centered. Of course I recognize this because of my own self indulgence. He is also very rude. I would wonder, he is so obvious, what a fake, a great example of a fake, I’ll keep my mouth shut, I don’t feel like moving right now because it is a much better place than downtown.

It is a good day so far, I am packing for the trip, and the weather looks O.K. for this time of year. It is cold but there is no snow and none in the forecast. The freeways should be safe, clear, and perfect for 60 mph traveling. I’m almost convinced that at least half of what requires my response in a less than positive way is imaginary. Maybe I have some sort of defensive complex, always watching for the judgement and criticism of others, or always seeing first the bad side of the coin and responding before I consider the real situation, Maybe not. Why do I think, and seem to enjoy thinking, that the world wants me to be uncomfortable or even that — as I say often about others — they, the world even think of me at all? I don’t seem to learn from my own bad example.


It had turned cold here again, burr, almost unbearable. Dismal, overcast, steel gray skies, wind, very ugly, snowing intermittently. Beverly will be flying into this tomorrow from Southern California, hope it doesn’t make her sick. We’ll be leaving the next day for Ohio to visit my family whom she has never met, after all of these years. Sure doesn’t look good on the roads, maybe a bad time, we’ll see.

I’m at the laundromat in Berthoud preparing for the trip as though it were a nice Spring day or something. I’m broke and my unemployment check has not arrived. I have to keep from getting depressed somehow. It could be a lot worse I guess but I don’t know how, I won’t go there. I look forward to our visit and will concentrate on that. I intend too….


Another year has gone by and I have to keep reminding myself of that when I date entries and write checks. I have not written in my journal for a while. It comes and goes like everything else in my life. I get interested, go full bore and, slowly but surely, the desire disappears. I often wonder why I am like this and also wonder if other people are like this. It has been this way with the writing, the music, my work, my girlfriends, and wives. I wish I was not like this; life would be much easier I suppose, maybe not.

Beverly and I had a good trip to Ohio, very few problems with each other or the truck. As we came back into Colorado we hit a number of miles of black ice. Beverly was driving in the night and lost control. We spun into the median and she was able, or God was able, to pull us right back out headed in the right direction, not even a blink. There was a semi coming toward us which could have been a disaster if we had gone all the way over into the eastbound lanes. Whew, pretty scary. It seems as though every time I drive back into Colorado it is night and there is black ice. Of course I only visit Ohio in the winter when I am not working, stands to reason.


I’m here at the 4B’s for coffee and reading and writing. Dean (my Landlord) is rehearsing this evening down in the basement which is where my apartment is located. I try to get lost when they rehearse because the acoustics are horrible and it is unbearable in the apartment barely 10 feet away. They are a pretty good band and work every weekend in the local C&W bars around town of which there are many. So here I am with another hour to kill attempting to relax and do something worthwhile.

I got the job at MCI while Beverly was here. It is a job selling phone plans over the — yes, you guessed it — phone. I’ve never had to give so many urine samples in my life; three so far since I’ve been in Colorado. These aren’t the best of jobs either, minimum wage or barely better. Oh well, grin and bear it, try to convince the interviewer that I am truly interested. In reality I just need money to pay my rent and no, no loyalty, no dedication? Afraid not, at least no more or less than the employer loyalty and dedication to me.

I told Don today that he was welcome to share the apartment with me until May. He has been staying with Ray and Bonnie and it is driving him nuts. If he takes me up on the offer he will probably find that it will be the same or worse with me. I gotta go, write more later….


It’s a beautiful morning here in the Middle of America. These are the kind of mornings I am often told about here. In the dead of winter all of the sudden it is warm, clear, clean, and like paradise if you can imagine that. Where I grew up when Winter hit, it hit hard and never let up until it was over. Gray skies, cold, and misery for sometimes four or five months. Rusty cars, pollution hanging in the air everywhere, and people bundled up like Eskimos.

I’m at the Lagoon sitting on a bench and listening to the Crows. The Crows, or Ravens here are huge. They must weigh five pounds or more. They are bigger than many of the small dogs. The Magpies are the same, large carrion birds. They are all over the place cleaning up after humans, raiding dumpsters, picking at the roadkill, and competing with each other. The Crows hang out together and appear to be more successful because of this. The Magpies hang out by themselves. I’d never seen Magpies until I came here except in the cartoons and I definitely never saw Crows as big as these. There are Seagulls here also cleaning the streets and parking lots. They never leave spending all Winter hanging out at the Big Box Store parking lots. I think they are Seagulls. They look the same as the ones in California and Florida.

Most of the people here think of these birds the as  we think of Pigeons back east and in the larger cities: dirty, and a nuisance. I’m glad they clean all of people’s trash up. The Squirrels are active this morning also. I always thought Squirrells hibernated I guess I was wrong, at least not here.

Working at MCI I have my mornings free and need to use them more constructively. I work at MCI from five p.m. to ten p.m., it is in Greeley so I spend — back and forth — another hour of the day on the road if all is well. Hopefully I’ll be starting school in the Summer and will feel more ambitious than I do now. Now, I’m in a survival mode….

It’s pleasant sitting here on days like this. I often feel that I have done the right thing by moving here but, often, I do not feel that way and think I just wanted out of California, away from Beverly and the kids. I don’t know but this morning all seems to be well in my world.

It’s evening and here I am again at the 4B’s for coffee. I needed to get out of the apartment. Very little light gets through the windows and I can get depressed if I’m not aware of it. Not only that but it’s gets so humid down there that I have to use a dehumidifier. I guess most basements are like that. I remember when we lived on East Third Street in Xenia that my Brother and I shared a makeshift bedroom in the basement. It was always sort of damp; I can still smell it. It flooded one year and our bed and the washer and dryer were floating in five feet of water. I think we vacated after that.

I went for a walk in the Sculpture Park before I came here, it’s better at night when all of the accent lights are on and lighting up the works there; lots of interesting shadows. I almost started thinking that some of the pieces were beginning to move. Gave me the creeps, maybe they were. No one else was there.

So here I sit and I don’t know why. Maybe I am lonely and just need to be around people although I seldom strike up a conversation with them. My nose is always in a book or in the Journal. Most of these other people are possibly, lonely too. It’s seven thirty p.m. and totally dark outside but warm and cozy sitting here at the bar. The coffee is good. I think I’ll read for a while. My buddy Phil is cooking tonight and doesn’t look pleased to be here. Oh well, he is young and I’m glad he is working so hard at a truly miserable job. Takes all kinds….


It’s no mystery why some of us become so isolated, not part of the herd. Maybe feeling we are not even welcome in the herd. Everyone seems to be so uptight. Maybe it is my imagination. I’m careful about even casual relationships as they seem to lead to responsibilities or disappointment. I am prepared for neither. For instance:

My relationship with Dean and Lisa are very strained. Of course they are going through some tough times. Dean has a Lover and I believe Lisa knows about it. There have been whisperings of divorce. He flagrantly displays his relationship with this other woman. For a few months everyone in town, including me, knew about her except Lisa. It is kind of sad. Lisa is an intelligent and relatively attractive woman. She is quiet, homespun, and dedicated to work and seemingly, her family. I hear them arguing daily and Dean looks for my sympathy of which I have none what-so-ever. Lisa, probably out of sheer embarrassment, does not speak to me anymore. The arguing is getting on my nerves as Dean is very loud as he is in his everyday life. I complained to him about the noise and he told me to move the f..k out if I was so unhappy. Of course, no one matters to Dean except Dean. Lisa, on the other hand, seems to be O.K. except for her situation.

I ask myself how I would feel if my Wife or Lover was trying to sell off the property from under me while sleeping openly with another Lover. I’m surprised she hasn’t shot him.

Well, anyway, I did state my case and it’s too late to take it back now. I deserve some consideration as I always pay the rent on time, and never ask for favors. Oh well, the times they are a changin’, again….



Often I make mistakes, blunders. Sometimes people are hurt, including myself. But I think that is the human way, the condition, the process in which we learn. Yes, it can be painful, and, in the least, very un-comfortable. We test our strength and maturity in how we handle unpleasant experiences and also — in a different way — test ourselves in happiness and contentment when all goes well — if this can ever be; I mean: if all ever goes well.

We meet others often in virtual worlds these days as much as we meet them on the streets. Actually, I meet more people here in my virtual world than on the streets, and this without the aid of video or IM. We write letters and these begin innocently enough and soon increase in number and in content; content of course being measured in the degree in which it made one happy or sad, dis-appointed or pleased. If it does not occur this way it is ended; letters just stop coming or the words and signals in the letters that continue become valueless to the participants. It is always this way in these little pockets of our virtual worlds. These are real worlds; they exist everywhere anyone is reaching out to another. Mine is right here in front of my body, my face, my eyes, and my hands as I type these symbols onto this machine. This is real to me, I feel it, I see it, and often, I hear it. I have feelings and emotions about it, I take it very seriously, and it has an impact on the way I move through my day and my life. It is a good thing.

Many people believe that these little but very personal virtual worlds are useless and possibly harmful to the souls that involve themselves in for countless hours and days, writing letters, notes, developing relationships that often never go any further than this captain’s chair in front of this computer. I have hardly ever smelled or touched the other humans I associate with now or in the past here in front of this monitor. They live in far distant places all around the planet. Some are near, most are not. As I mentioned above it is not always with video or audio and most often IM is not involved because most humans on the planet do not have access to the wonderful equipment we have here in the West. When this is the case you rarely know, or should even assume that you are communicating with the supposed person sharing your virtual space with you. Of course video is the best evidence you have of this. You see and hear that person speaking with their mouth, you see their gestures, you hear the words. Audio, being second best is not always exclusively available because there has been so much focus on video with audio. You might as well call them on the phone if that is possible. Nonetheless — speaking of audio — one could still be mis-led about the person you think you are  communicating with wherever they may be. Often if that person chooses not to reveal to you where they are, or if they set out to deceive you, there is hardly anyway you would be able to locate them.

Obviously what I’m getting at here is that we can never be sure of who we are dealing with unless we have video. Even this in the hands of a person with the right skill set can be illusory. You still may be fooled about who you are talking too, where they are and their true motives. In certain areas of our lives I have found that being mis-led or even fooled into believing something that we find to be pleasant is valuable even if it is not “real”. At the least, for many of us it is more valuable than loneliness and not attempting to communicate at all with another human. So, in my opinion these worlds we involve ourselves in are very valuable. They are safe and we have choices about this safety. We don’t ever have to meet these people in the flesh if we choose not to do so. We can have valuable experiences and learn important lessons in these, our virtual worlds. It is similar to reading good books when I was a child. I spent my summers with adventure, baseball, mystery, pre-adolescent love, and other harmless but instructive diversions; experiencing victory and defeat, travel and new cultures, excitement and boredom, and being introduced to human sexual love. I was able to learn from these readings without ever having to place myself in harm’s way. Did I truly learn from the characters and situations in these books, was this information useful to me as I grew older? Sure was, in more ways than I probably understand even now fifty years later.  These relationships I experience in my virtual world, shared by many others, fit very nicely into the  same little box I carry around with me day in, and day out. They are real and worthwhile.

Now, I will set out to tell of a valuable experience in one of these virtual worlds. To protect the guilty and the innocence I will not divulge the names of anyone involved in this virtual lesson. Let us just refer to this one person, a middle-aged single man as M. M. is very familiar with the etiquette and workings of this personal virtual world and has a comfortable understanding about how his world relates and interacts with the worlds of others that choose voluntarily to be involved through their personal, virtual portals. Keep in mind always that no person is ever forced or coerced into participating in another person’s world; we simply close the doors and windows. There are many protections we have available to us. There are absolutely no excuses for anyone to plead a case where claims are made against other participants in these virtual worlds. You never have to click on anything, never. You never have to search for anything, never, you never have to give permission for anything other than those things that you choose, allowing them (those things) to proceed through your own open windows and doorways. No excuses. So, here is an incident, M.’s incident.

M. involved himself in a popular dating site. After much trial and error and some wasted time he began to focus on a few European and Eurasian dating sites. To him the women were not only more physically attractive but, more intelligent, and more prone to treat a person with respect until , of course, it was found that one was not worthy of such respect. He also gravitated to these sites because of obvious differences between Western Culture oriented women and the Eastern. Western women seemed to him to be, at least, spoiled brats only wanting to verify income and property possession while the Eastern women, mostly Eurasian, were interested in family, true-love, good conversation, and home life. He became aware immediately of the differences in the way the different cultures presented themselves on a personal level. The Eastern women sought to appeal to the interests of a man that were universal in scope while the western women focused on the materialistic character of the man. Of course with this preference M. became aware immediately of the language issues involved. He found that many of the Eastern women had training in English through-out their education and often would claim to be fluent. None of them were “really” fluent but thanks to highly developed translators in almost all communication software it did not become a problem speaking with them if you speak and type as in Skype and Windows IM. The problems always arose when the women insisted on trying to speak directly to him. Upon becoming familiar with certain women though it became much easier and more relaxed over a short period of time and in the end the issue was not a problem. As always, just getting to know one another helped tremendously and if the parties were willing to spend time together in writing e-mails, using Skype and or Windows IM a relationship would develop very quickly, in fact, too quickly.

After a while M. focused on a particular woman who seemed, at the same time, to focus on him. Over a time of about 6 months they became relaxed and hopeful of a lasting relationship (virtual or not) in spite of the fact that neither one of them understood the others language. They became a habit. Dreamily they decided to meet halfway somewhere in the middle in Eastern Europe. M. made sure his passport was up to date and that he had the necessary funds to make the trip. Of course most of the money needed for her trip who have to be provided by M. also. The woman did not ever ask for monetary help and this pleased M. although it created a hardship for him if he decided to go ahead. M. did not go ahead and suddenly ended the relationship with the woman.

Two years later M. heard again from the woman. She had continued her searching on the web site and found an Australian man who apparently was well off and could afford to pay for the legal documents she needed to leave her country and enter Australia. After a 6 month relationship they were married. When the woman contacted M. again she spoke English quite well and had been taking lessons at a local college in Brisbane. She expressed her desire to resume their virtual relationship which confused M. now that she had married and had lived there with a new husband for a relatively long time but, she was bored as she had been before. M. began to believe that she really wanted to find a way into the U.S. and did not care about her Australian husband who had much invested in her situation. M. told her that she should focus on her new life there and dedicate herself to her husband and stop being involved with him. She took M.’s advice.

No matter for M…. He enjoyed the experience, nothing lost and a bit gained. My point being that no matter what becomes of these virtual relationship they can be beneficial as this one was to M., to the woman, and to the Australian man. No one was a loser in the play.



They dropped me off here 62 years ago, the men in the white coats. They were gentle. I didn’t know I was being punished, they don’t tell you; all the high crimes and mis-demeanors are wiped from your memory before they deliver you here. Nobody knows why you are here or why they are here. Everyone imagines; some of them create myths, some religions. I never did but still I always wondered, especially when I was younger, before I understood the concept of time, this being a place of time and punishment.

That’s the big difference here; there is time and atmosphere. Often when I sleep there are places that present themselves to me in what they call dreams. Places where time is not a consideration and it is not required that we breathe or feel things like heat and cold. I think maybe there are very small traces of me before they delivered me here still deep somewhere, hidden but not washed away as they would have it. I keep quiet about this; I like the dreams, they comfort me most of the time. A man in a white coat asked me many years ago if I had a sense of my past before they dropped me off here. I lied to him, I didn’t like the color of his eyes; he was a cold man.

When I first arrived here they assigned a caregiver. She taught me to refer to her as a woman and a mother. She had a helper who was called a man and a father. Her helper changed a number of times before I was released from her care. Looking back I can see why the caregiver was necessary. We have to be taught to live in time and in atmosphere, not least of all we need to be taught to live inside these, what they call bodies. This body, which they taught me to call my body and me is very negatively affected by time and atmosphere. The caregiver I learned to call woman and mother dis-integrated many years ago because of this and I now am experiencing the negative effects which over time led to her dis-integration. Time and atmosphere are not kind to these things called bodies.

It seemed odd to me that they insisted I call this body mine. Over the years I began to understand the why behind their insistence. I learned that this body which I’ve been taught to call mine is a commodity of sorts. You need to learn to use it to produce things, things preferably that other bodies need or desire. Most notably these bodies are used to produce things that are directed toward the needs of the very bodies. They produce food, tools. They produce places to shelter from the atmosphere, things to protect the bodies from time and other bodies, and things that provide what they call pleasure and pain. Inevitably all production by these bodies is to alleviate the negative effects of time, atmosphere, and other bodies.

So, as everyone else in this place I learned to produce things with this body. Strangely though, they — especially my caregivers — insisted that I call this body me. I resisted because of my dreams. I learned to be careful and quiet about this issue and developed a plan and that was to always at least admit to them that this body was a part of me. Most other bodies accepted my approach often nodding, frowning, and wondering out loud why I insisted on being incalcitrant. I learned that if I denied that this body was me it confused their system of numbers. It was necessary in their system to assign a number to all of the me’s. It was necessary for me to identify myself as this one and only body. At a certain point, even while the caregivers were still active in my life, I was assigned a number, a special number so they would be able to ascertain which me I was. It was confusing when I had as yet experienced very little in time and atmosphere.

They also, when you are delivered here, give you what they call a name. It’s another one of their ways of classifying bodies that live in time and atmosphere. They insist the names are significant and you are only permitted one of these. They called this body of mine — see, I’m learning — C. There is a file in a very large building in a place they call St. Louis Missouri that says C. was delivered on this day sixty-two years ago. There are armed guards around this building to protect this document. For their records and accounting this seemed a reasonable thing to do although I developed another name for myself, or, at least I should say, another name was revealed to me in my dreams. It is a name without a body, or a my, or a me. I prefer this name although generally few other bodies around me are aware of it.

They call all of us that have been delivered to this place people. They say this place has been peopled by us. In other words, if we had not been delivered here, this place would not have been peopled, at least by us people. I am not always certain if this place exists for us or if we exist for this place. They say as time and atmosphere have their way with these bodies that we become food. Once we have dis-integrated we feed this place. I don’t know how that works exactly but they dig a hole in what they call the ground — we are grounded here — which is where we navigate on these legs. Then they place the bodies in the holes and put the ground — which they now call dirt — that they removed to create the hole back on top of the dis-integrating person. Often they plant flowers around the holes to make the dis-integration more attractive to the bodies that had special relationships — like the caregivers — with the dis-integrating body. I know a body that purchased, with his productivity, a hole for his soon to be dis-integrating  body well in advance of the actual dis-integration and paid a small fortune of his productivity for the hole. Go figure….

final thoughts….



It’s hot and humid, I’m sweating and lethargic.

I took the day off today instead of tomorrow which is our “regular” day off. I was in need of recovery of the heat, the lifting, the bending, the sweating, and the aches and pains that are always present in this aging body. The last two years have been a challenge; before that I had a different body, my body. I think someone snuck into one of my dreams and  stole that body and left me with this one. Whoever dunnit, I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t want this one either and, if I could imitate the thief I certainly would have before now.

I remember a dance club outside of Dayton, Ohio; the name was “The Mouse That Roared.” it was a dance club, not 100% Disco but close. That was O.K. with me. I liked to dance then, smoke dope, swallow crossroads and dance myself silly. One night I was there with a friend totally out of it and arguing about some insignificant thing. I left her there and drove my van back to Dayton and got off on a ramp downtown near my apartment off of Brown St.. I lost control, hit one of those fiber steel light poles, spun around a couple of times and stalled out in the middle of the intersection. I desperately tried to start the motor but the pole had destroyed the front part back through the fan assembly. I decided to run for it and got out and started walking as the first police car pulled up screeching to block my path. I surrendered.

Another police car pulled up just as my friend from “The Mouse That Roared” pulled up behind the van. She was loaded too but it didn’t seem to matter to the cops. They had me standing with my hands on one of the cars while they talked with her. One of them led her back to his car which was out of my view. They were gone about five minutes, the cop returned and the other cop who had been keeping his eye on me left to go back to the other car. I began to realize that there must be some kind  of negotiations going on back there in the other car and laughed to myself thinking she may just get me out of this. The other cop returned and my friend appeared and got back into her car as the tow truck came into the intersection. The last cop on the negotiating team told me to get into my friends car. We went home, made love and slept til noon the next day….