Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux

I had a wonderful day. Got up at 4am, which may seem crazy but it’s when I got to get up tomorrow (or today since I am writing this on Sunday evening and posting it for Monday morning).

Two hour walk around Ansonia and the Ansonia Brass and Cooper site (formerly The American Brass Company) which will be going away soon. Took maybe 100 pictures with my phone. Was beautiful to see the sunrise.

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about.

Saw a link somewhere called “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux” I was a a big fan of his. Control pitcher, pitched fast. Didn’t get showy. Amazing to watch.

I liked him since he played with the Cubs. Although I am a Phillies fan always loved watching Greg Maddux even thought he was on the Phillies big rival team, the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s.

But this article was not about Greg Maddux. It was about an incredibly talented friend. A lost talent. So much potential. So much alcohol.

SCOUTING REPORT: Jason Kenney, age 19, by Boyhood Friend & College Roommate Collins

Height: 6’2, Weight: 216, DOB: 1/9/77. Home: Atlanta, Georgia.

Abilities: Three-Sport Athlete. Center Fielder, Georgia Little League World Series team, 1990; Fullback and Tight End, Atlanta Colts Pop Warner Football National Champions, 1991; Guard and Small Forward, Dunwoody High School, Georgia High School Basketball Champions, Undefeated, Ranked No. 3 by USA Today, 1995.

A “natural.” Hyper-competitive. Crazy instinctive touch and feel. Inspires envy.

Once bowled a 290 in Rome, Georgia while consuming 2 1/2 pitchers of Bud Light.

Weakness: Lacks control (drinking). Dismissed from basketball team two days before state title game — showed up drunk (again) to school. Binge drinking since age 14.

Jason and his friend Jeremy Collins loved the Atlanta Braves and Greg Maddux.

Greg Maddux who had such beautiful control as a pitcher and worked on it with a famous baseball coach when a scot at 18 said: “Weakness: Lacks control on all his pitches. Just has to get ahead of hitters more often.”

We have so many weaknesses as teenagers.

Seventy one days sober. Let’s celebrate. Six miles from their destination. Didn’t stop with just one pitcher. Car flips, he survives, his friend doesn’t, only 19.

Stunningly beautiful writing. A tale of control and loss of control. One night out, lost potential a lost friend. And Greg Maddux who had amazing control. Addiction hurts. So many lives and relationships are lost without control. I give my love to anyone working to leave addiction and to those lost. Powerful. #longform

Death Card

A few weeks ago before Lanna got her new job on our tenth anniversary on July 3rd, I went to Pinecone + Chickadee in downtown Portland and got some random Portland Pins from the gumball like machine. One was death with a nautical image.

I asked Lanna what it meant and she said in tarot it’s a symbol of new beginnings. From this Tarot site it states:

Death is symbolic of the ending of a major phase or aspect of your life that may bring about the beginning of something far more valuable and important.

My first thought was to be frightened but I didn’t know it was the symbol of good change. It’s been a difficult few years. I lost my dad on April 1st, 2013 and had a major mental health crisis and breakdown a couple weeks later where I ended up at Spring Harbor. Manic depression is indeed a frustrating mess. Dad’s was a long departure which I talked about extensively on the blog. I am still recovering 15 months later.

Lanna’s died just a little over a year before in March, 2012. His departure was fast. From seeming pretty healthy and in good spirits to gone not long after.

I feel like I have grown as a person. Learning to mediate, accept my many weirdnesses, learning patience, writing, interacting with words. Maine has been good to me. Maine has been very good to me.

Especially with the patience and perspective of just getting by with life. And that there is nobility to just living. You have a house, you have family, you have food, you are doing alright. Ayuh.

Moving to the Shelton, CT area for Lanna’s new job, she leaves today to start her new job tomorrow, feels like coming home in a way. I grew up in Central NJ in Montgomery Township, just a town north from Princeton up 206. Shelton, CT reminds me a lot of Bridgewater, NJ. Green, bucolic, with huge office parks and lots of money. And I am guessing a lot of the same attitude of not being satisfied and always wanting to have more in life. There is something beautiful in having enough.

I also feel this desire to work in counseling, mental health, anti-drug war and anti-prison efforts. I had a conversation just last night about trying to get people with mental health away from prison. Considering going into mental health work, maybe as a counselor maybe even as an NP. Although I still don’t like blood. I feel like I need to help people directly. As someone with creativity, mania and mental health issues, my current job in a medical call center has helped me gain patience. Listening is a powerful skill. Simply letting people get out what burdens them, helping them get to a nurse or doctor for advice.

Feeling grateful that my job can go with me and I can go remote. It’s one big less stress for this long move.

Feeling happy to unburden myself, I keep way too much crap. Let it go. Let it go.

Happy to have the kitties for support.

I’m going to miss my wife this week and a half. She is going to start in CT for a fortnight on the new job, and I am going out next Tuesday. It’s going to be strange, we are such strong partners with the 11 1/2 years we have been together (met in mid-January, 2003).

I am excited, and daunted by my next step in life.

Also looking forward to a cleaner house and having a place for people to stay. Our moms, our friends, etc. Good friends in good spirits is all it really takes to be happy. I was reminded of that last night at a wonderful party.

To new beginnings. As scary and daunting as they can be.

Numbing Agents

We are often uncomfortably numb.
Not engaging.

Using crutches
pain pills
alcohol
Facebook
cigarettes
pot
TV
Radio
Internet.

Keeping feeling internal
hard to shar

Afraid to say what we feel
Worried about offending others.

Wanting to be the good guy.

Not connecting to people in person,
social media isn’t that social.
It’s a lot of words,
a lot of noise
not much connection.

Texts
for hours
for hundreds of messages
while driving
while with an actual person
in front of you.

There are a lot of things out there
retail therapy
commercialism
you need more crap, more stuff,
more shit.

We live in bizarre times.
Don’t know out neighbors,
have hundreds or thousands of “friends” we hardly know.
That are at most acquaintances.

I like social media,
I can like TV,
like beer.
But there is just too much noise right now,
too much static.

We need to connect,
need to talk,
need to interact,
with people in-person,
not just online.

Need to connect with people,
of different classes,
races,
ages,
genders,
backgrounds.

Realize we have more in common,
than different.
That those with a difficult life,
little money,
families in jail,
addiction,
illness,
madness,
need love.

What a better life we would live if
we could just be
“Excellent to each other.”

Don’t be a dick,
listen,
too many people are bogus.

Love people for who they are,
“party on dudes,”
listen,
cry,
laugh,
love.

The world needs you.
Needs you to love.
To listen, to write, to create,
to be only the person you can be.

I am trying,
it’s not easy,
there is so much shiny, so much debt, so much hardship.

We are all in this together, kid.
Cliches and all.

Love. Love. Hug. Cry. Listen. Or just be there.
There is someone who needs you,
and someone you need,
blessings to you all.

Peace.

edmund

My Dear Aunt Sallie

(This is a work in progress — expecting to edit but really like the idea.)

My Dear Aunt Sally
learn it in school

Multiplication
Division
Adding
Subtracting

So 8*5/4-3 = 40/4-3 = 10-3 = 7

My Dear Aunt Sallie

Multiplying
student loans
Multiplying
interests.

dividing
families
dividing
relationships.

adds
debt
adds
fees

Subtracting
opportunity
spending money
the economy

Adds
new dorms
for-profit schools
tuition.

Subtracting
meritocracy
affordability

Multiplying
Government profit
Debt Collectors.

Dividing
young from old
rich from poor

It’s a mortgage.

If you can’t afford it
here is some “student aid.”

More semesters
more student loans
more debt
even in public colleges
even when working in school.

The tuition will be fine
the loans will be fine
college will pay off.

Will give
chances
opportunity
growth,

Make you a better person.

Successful, rich.

If you are so smart, why ain’t you rich.

Poets, artists and philosophers have never had money
unless they had a benefactor.

Give money
give money
give money
give money
10, 20, 30 years.

Disabled
pay me
mental illness
pay me
bad job market
pay me

Pay me
calls
pay me
default
plus give me 18.5%

We want your money
you signed a contract
sorry, no bankruptcy.

Sorry we can’t help you
go back to school,
take a forbearance,
take more debt.

Sorry we can’t help you
pay it in full of 18.5%

Pay me. Pay me.
Pay me.

My Dear Aunt Sallie Mae
forgive us.

We know not what
we signed

We just wanted to
go to school.

Send it was aid

Just want to go to
school
FAFSA said
I needed loans.

just wanted
to learn
to learn

opportunity
to learn
to learn.

Forgive us.
Forgive our debt
forgive the debts.
forgive. forgive.
forgive.

Improve the economy
end sleepless nights
allow creativity
allow entrepeunship
allow people to use their degrees
for good.

Giving our smartest people
who had parents without money
or enough money
a mortgage to start life is insane.

Just end Sallie Mae.
End it.
Forgive it.

Maybe less people would go to school.
That’s okay.

Student aid should be grants not loans.
Should allow people to follow their passion,
not take jobs that pay enough money.

We need to do better as a society
to the strivers
from poor, working class, middle class
families.

To improve themselves,
bring creativity,
bring a better world.

And not have the shackles
of thousands,
tens of thousands,
even hundreds of thousands in debt.

It would make the world
a better place.

edmund

Time of Renewal, Time of Peace

Easter.
Time of Renewal.
Time of Peace.

Mid-April.
Green slowly returning in Maine,
an explosion of color in most of the world.

April in Paris.
Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC and Japan.
Magnolias in the American South.

Easter.
Time of Egg hunts
and chocolate.

Of the scary bunny,
with hollow dead eyes.

Of eating off the top of
chocolate bunnies
head first.

Jelly Beans.
Easter Grass,
odd plastic stuff.
What weird times we live in.

Of thankfulness,
family,
forgiveness.

Of praying for your sins,
to improve.
To flower along with the trees
and grasses, annuals and perennials.

Jesus.
The Prince of Peace.
May you help heal a broken world.
Help the meek,
help the poor,
help those suffering.

People need help
in these greedy times.
Capital is merely a tool,
Capitols aren’t supposed to
controlled by capital.

Enjoy the green,
enjoy seeing winter trees slowly bud,
the birds slowly return.

The sun is almost set,
Easter in the morning.
Blessings to all
in this holy time
of Easter, Ēostre and Passover.

May it bring renewal to your life.
May it bring peace.
After a difficult 2 years I could use peace in my heart.

Blessed be.

A year later

It’s been a year since my dad passed away on April 1st, 2013.

At first I felt relieved when he passed away after so much suffering. I was able to write about his struggle finally. And here is the piece I wrote a year ago about losing him.

Music is so important to us both. We bonded through jazz, I even got to see Dizzy Gillespie as a toddler. And good straight ahead jazz not bebop, not the awful elevator music that calls itself cool jazz. It has no relation to what Miles Davis started with the “Birth of the Cool.”

April was so hard. I enjoyed the rush of hypomania, had full blown mania and was hospitalized almost 2 weeks. On lithium much of last year, which was good because it slowed the brain down when I needed it to, and bad because it slowed the brain down.

My creativity suffered. I had my last post blogging every day on April 13, 2013 which is a sweet kitty poem, after writing everyday since Thanksgiving, 2011. I miss it. I just haven’t been inspired to keep going. I have had thoughts, but I do think the practice matters.

I have been reading a lot of poetry this year, haven’t been to as many slam readings, I usually just don’t have the emotional energy out there. I have tried to make the monthly prose Lowry’s Lodge readings in Westbrook with two features and I have written a little bit of poetry.

I feel like the last year has been a year of recovery from losing my dad and from mental illness. I hope the next year is easier. I could use an easier more creative year.

I appreciate all the love people have sent out. It’s time for me to keep moving on my journey. Trying to live a deeper and simplier life even in the Age of Social Media and Facebook. It’s hard. I feel like smartphones want you to keep looking at them.

But, I am trying to meditate more. And I feel like I need to get more involved in passions of mine. Like ending the madness of the drug war, having student loan forgiveness, slowing down the assault on the constitution from NSA and Homeland Security, poetry and just treating people better.

Blessed be.

Don’t forget to tell people you love them.

Edmund

Tough Month

Today has been a tough month.

Last week, I lost my glasses on Wednesday and my iPod on Thursday. I have been out of sorts, watching a lot of Netflix and exhausted. I have also been very melancholy. My father-in-law died two years ago. I was very close to Walter, and he was an amazing man. My wife Lanna, did a great piece about him yesterday. Her series of posts about her father is beautiful and heartbreaking.

And a year ago, my dad was at death’s door. He died last April 1st, which just shattered me. A year earlier in March 2012, my father in law passed within a month. I still miss him too. I have been thinking about the suffering of both this month.

Had a friend who’s mom passed away in hospice this month and it brought a lot of feelings back to me. Losing a parent is something I am not sure you ever get over.

Me and Lanna were both lucky to have great fathers.

edmund

Music That Changed My Life: For the Good Times

So I decided to a do a post on the varieties of pop this morning. I had so much fun with it wanted to some more. Music has always been a big deal for me. One of the big things that bonded me to him.

Dad was all about jazz.

To me the best composer of the 20th Century is Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. No one compares to his output or influence in my opinion. My favorite Duke Ellington record from my dad’s collection is his double LP “The Great Paris Concert.” Turns out the whole thing is on YouTube so enjoy the Duke Ellington Orchestra from February 1st, 2nd and 23rd, 1963 from Paris.

Here is some as good as it gets music. John Coltrane’s full album “Blue Train”. One of those records any music fan just needs to own. It’s just beautiful. Glad to find out I can hear full CDs on YouTube. That’s awesome.

Now I have to add what I consider the best jazz record of all time, the absolutely amazing “Kind of Blue.” Grew up with this music. One of the last things I did while he was still consious in March of last year (he died on April 1st, 2013) was watch a DVD about the making of the record that I found with a CD for like two bucks at the Allentown Thrift Store. They have that CD copy. Found this in a Bull Moose grab bad and gave the copy to someone in Portland near Longfellow Books. It’s just an amazing thing to give music. I think it was after a poetry reading. If you have never heard this take a listen now, and buy it at your favorite record store. This is an extraordinarily important album to me. I love you, dad.

My mom’s favorite singers of all time are Simon and Garfunkel. My favorite track of theirs is “The Only Living Boy in New York.” I can gather all the news I need on the weather report. The lyrics are beautiful, as a song, as poetry the don’t work as well. And Paul Simon is a very underrated singer. This just makes me think of having perspective in life.

The Beatles “Long and Winding Road” is poetry as lyrics and just words. This one makes me cry. THe last two years have been a long and winding road. It wasn’t one of my blogposts but when I blogged about my dad dying on April 1, 2013 it started with: “My dad Henry Edmunds Davis passed away at 3:45pm today.

It’s been a long and winding road. “

And there have be a lot of tears including right now. And that’s a good thing, all of our lives are. They are supposed to be. Illness is always a long and winding road. I was lucky to have him 4 1/2 years with brain cancer even if the last 7 months were so, so hard.

In my “Rest in Piece” blogpost that night. Two songs came up. One I called: “But my theme song for this sickness has been “For the Good Times” by Johnny Cash.” Johnny Cash’s good friend Kris Kristofferson wrote the lyrics here they are:
Don’t look so sad
I know it’s over
But life goes on
And this old world
Will Keep on turning

Let’s just be glad
We had this time
To spend together
There is no need to watch the bridges
That we’re burning

Lay your head upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blow softly against my window
Make believe you love me
One more time
For the good times
For the good times

I’ll get along
You’ll find another
And I’ll be here
If you should ever find
You need me

Don’t say a word
About tomorrow
Or forever and ever and ever and ever
There’ll be time enough for sadness
When you leave me
For the good times
For the good times

Lay your head upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blow softly against my window
Make believe you love me
One more time
For the good times
For the good times

Lay your head upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine

Mom and dad were always inseparable. I worried about her without dad and she is doing really well. Better than me I think. She was there for his illness and didn’t want to leave him. Even kept a big stuffed dolphin with her in bed to represent his spirit. I read a poem on Higgins Beach to the waves and wind in my mania on Thursday, April 11th for about 30 minutes just talking. It was a beautiful moment. The madness of mania can. This is a gorgeous song. Johnny Cash has the right voice for it as he is dying after already losing his beloved June Carter Cash in Johnny Cash’s beautiful album “American VI: Ain’t No Grave.” It’s a meditation on death and dying. Johnny Cash is amazing at covers and lived a remarkable life.

2014: A Year of Grounding – Deep and Simple

We live in shallow and complex times.

Worried about e-mails, about texts, Twitter, Facebook.

Often interacting more with people even that we know in shallow ways. Always feeling like we need to check into our media and devices. A society full of advertising of buy, buy, buy of you need this, you need that.

You don’t. No really, you don’t.

You really don’t need a smartphone although it is very shiny. You don’t need an iPad, again very shiny. You don’t need those new clothes, you don’t need to see every movie, you probably don’t need more stuff.

You need to connect. To people, to the earth, to yourself.

I am dedicating 2014 to be the Year of Grounding for me. I need it.

The last two years have been very ungrounding. Losing my father in law Walter Maheux in March 2012, losing my beloved father Henry Edmunds Davis on April 1, 2013. I am still grieving. I still do not have all of my psychic and spiritual energy and might not for some time. I am trying to ground again and get back into myself. I need it.

I find writing helpful. I love conversations especially one on one although they can be hard to do. Why did it become weird to call someone? Seriously. I love to connect with people. In 2012 I started having lunches with one person and just talking. It was cool. It’s good to spend an hour with just one person and not be in the cacophony of noise and information of the internet and smartphones. I want to get back to it again and having lunch with someone tomorrow.

I am really happy to be in therapy. I had an unbelivably tough year that included a major manic episode in April, 2013. It was one heck of a month. Although I did write some good poems and posts including a memorial for my dad. I also ended up in jail for 36-48 hours of Patriot’s Day last year while fully manic and became extraordinarily manic. Basically doing a 24 hour performance in a cell to the NSA who I was sure was watching. Then was held down and drugged after getting loud at the Maine Medical Center ER and forgot 24 hours completely. April was unbelievably ungrounding. Losing the rock of my life, as I said in a poem at my dad’s memorial service. Losing my sanity.

Recovering slowly. Spring Harbor helped. Lithium helped a lot, dulling my mind when I needed it, found it dulling after my crisis as well and slowly going off of it. My wife helped, my mom helped, my therapist really helped. I am very thankful for therapy. More of us need to be in it. Seeing her tomorrow and happy to go over goals and talk about the last 3 weeks that includes that big holiday of Christmas and all the energy you put in an use for it.

————————-

I feel the need to ground. To slow myself down. In the words that Fred Rogers used from the documentary “Mister Rogers and Me ***” Make your life deep and simple not shallow and complex.

Take a walk. Look up. See the stars. See the clouds. Feel the wind. Hear the water. Rest your mind. Listen. Breathe. Breathe. Slow down. Touch the Earth if you need do, do some Earthing. Literally ground yourself.

Make it a practice. Meditate. Prayer with your heart. Bring the worries of the brain down to the heart. Practice the mediations I learn from Whispering Deer. Your heart can take a lot in, the brain wants to analyze everything. Breathe. Breathe.

One thing I do to ground that make me feel joy is walking with my headphones at work. There is great landscaping there. Statues, trees, birds, a creek, a marsh. Listening to something like Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind” yesterday, watching the trees in the twilight in a sea of clouds. Transported. Just looking. Appreciating.

Your technology can wait. Texts can wait. You can turn your cellphone off. Sometimes it’s good to not be available. People do not need you all the time. You can not answer a text. You can leave your phone in your pocket while driving. Pay attention.

Right now, I am looking out my window. Seeing rain on the panes. Seeing a gray sky with some blue just after sunset with plenty of dark gray clouds after a rainy, and warm day that reached the upper 40s and had plenty of snowmelt. Can see some red of the sunset in the distance. Lights over the parking lot for the Dancing Elephant and the Frog and Turtle. Light in the parking lot by me. A wet American flag. Trees in fornt of the sunset. A wide Presumpsoct River that is harder to notice through the raindrops. The Disability RMS sign hiding through the trees. A car driving through. Listening, looking.

Billy Collins said all a poet needs is a window, paper and a pencil. Simple. Beautiful. Calming. Noticing. Not overthinking. Which we all do too mcuh. Looking up seeing the day change, watching the birds. Seeing the scampering of creatures. Hoping the insects don’t bite.

Think when you were happiest. Was it a tweet? A Facebook message?

Was it time with a friend, with a loved one, a lover and partner? With family? Eating, drinking. Maybe on vacation in the woods, in the desert? Listening, content at peace. Breathe.

We all need more peace. Less worry.

A life deep and simple where you appreciate things. My cats Lenny and Squiggy. My wife Lanna. The simple sound of the cat fountain. The silence. Sleep, dreams. My family. My sister Mindy, brother in law, Robert. Brother in law Bill, mother in law Dottie. And the ones who have passed, my dad Henry, father in law Walter. Grandparents Avis Neal, Charles Neal, Mary Davis and Donald Davis. My Aunt Louise. My mother’s best friend Dottie Mithee, Cousin Benny.

And heroes who have passed and enriched my life like Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Miles Davis. And of course teachers past, present and futures. Those who listen. Those who let us listen.

The water. The sky. The birds. The animals. Our pets. Cats, dogs. The mice we can’t see. The bees who pollenate. The pollen that makes us sneeze.

Breathe. Ground. Let life be easy. Let life be quiet. Read. Turn the screen off. Just listen to music. Drift. Dream.

Work to live a deep and simple life in complex and shallow times. Love one another. Hug. Kiss. Be thankful. Breathe. Mediate. Be Present. Appreciate the silence. Learn to love the noise and watch. See the sky change and darken, as the blue almost disappears and the red of sunset is almost gone.

Rest. Breathe. Ground and be Peaceful.

Blessed be.

Sunrise, Sunset

As I draw to the end of a tough and long 2013, the beautiful song from “Fiddler on the Roof” has been one of my big songs in my head.

The lyrics are beautiful. About children growing older, turning from children to adults, ready to marry. About the years moving across. For me about being 39, 40 on June 23rd. Being without a dad who I expected to have for 2 more decades (he died at 66). About missing my wife’s absolutely amazing father Walter Maheux, just a completely good guy who died with a “Satisfied Mind” like the great standard wonderfully sung by Johnny Cash.

For my dad it is more about jazz. It was always his favorite, listening to WBGO 88.3 out of Newark, NJ and Temple Radio which went half classical/half jazz which definitely annoyed him. In retirement, my mom and dad were going to many more jazz shows. I wish he could have gone to more.

Surprisingly for me, I have mostly thought good thoughts about my dad and father in law. They are there in my mind. With memories, with smiles, with lives well lived. Me and Lanna were lucky to have great fathers. Always there, always supportive, both wonderful men.

We were also blessed to be with loving couples who were clearly each other’s life partner. Both are struggling with losing a partner but mostly seem to be doing well at least publically. My mom is taking classes and seeing a therapist. My mother in law goes to the pool every morning and often goes to the gym. I think for me and Lanna also we didn’t forget to say anything. I especially was able to be with my dad for sometime, even though he lived 8 hours away in Allentown. He lived 3 1/2 years with brain cancer and it was only after his second surgery in September, 2012 that things got much worse. Strokes, paralysis, hospice.

For Walter, it was really fast. He was hiding symptoms like far too many men in Maine. “I cough up some blood and then I start my day.” President’s Day he was in the hospital, less than 2 months later he passed away. Friends and family coming down to see him mostly from central Maine, sister from California, sister that was so close, not seeing him even though she ended up being a mile away. That one hurt. On really in the last week or two did he really show he was dying soon. I was there to see him pass and it was a very spiritual moment. One moment he was there, the next gone and just a body. Made my really understand the concept of a soul.

When my dad died, some rang the doorbell asking about a drum kit to sell. I wasn’t in the room just mom. We were all close, my sister Mindy, brother in law Robert, wife Lanna and me, but no of us in the room. Maybe that’s what he wanted, she was so close to my mom. They were always in love and best friends. So I didn’t see him pass, but was grateful to see him no longer suffering. He barely got up the last 6 months of his life.

So I try to move on but have been so exhausted since April. The odd surge of energy of hypomania and then full blown mania in April. Two weeks mostly at Spring Harbor, but including 36-48 hours in jail where my mania went from full-blown to off the scale. Literally performing for almost 24 hours straight, unable to sleep, in a cell with 2 blankets. Jail and prison just aren’t right. And that’s right no clothes on suicide watch. In a mental health crisis the Westbrook Police brought me to the Cumberland County Jail not Maine Med or Mercy hospital. Then relieved to get to Maine Med. Hearing that I would only be there shortly. But no one even talking to me for a while. I didn’t want to sign papers. Wanted to just touch the metal detectors. Demanded to leave and forced down. Got loud. THen pushed down on the bed including on the neck and given an unknown shot. I didn’t now what it was, thought it was going to be a fatal dose of morphine.

Sitting waiting on Cumberland County jail in that period, told I could leave with only a $150 bail I had left the house with only a pair of pajamas and a t-shirt. No shoes, I don’t think any underwear and no wallet. If I had a wallet, pants on and shoes I may have been able to post bail. And the jailers who admitted me may be four of the most evil men I have ever met. The ones in jail were sane, often people homeless or a little crazy. The jailers were the ones who belonged in the cells.

My performance in jail was based on Kurt Vonnegut’s memoir/masterpiece “A Man Without a Country”, a small book I have probably read every year since it came out. Maybe 10-12 time since 2007. We are in terrible times. An NSA security state, millions of Americans in jail often for consensual crimes like marijuana possession, drug offenses, prostitution, etc. It’s a bizarre land when rapists get less jail time then people with a few grams of crack.

Yelling in jail, mad at things saying things needing to be destroyed with an often refrain of “AND I’M NOT KIDDING!”. I was in a bad place. Prisons are no place for mental health problems. Jailers and police officer want to fight you, arrest you, consider you often a threat, male energy. If you are in a mental health crisis you need someone to listen, someone to calm you down, someone to call you on your shit. You need therapists, and nurses. Caring people, female energy.

Spring Harbor was critical for me. Still didn’t sleep well at the beginning but the lithium calmed in what was probably the most intense mania of my life in prison. My uncontrolled mania I had at the Oxford Trade program where I didn’t get medicated or see anyone in August, 2001 was the worst. I was not myself for months after that, especially considering 9/11 happened about a month after. Was planning to finally explore Europe, ended up return to the US feeling broken.

Since late April I have been healing well. I miss the slam scene but I don’t have the spiritual and psychic energy for it now. Hopefully it comes back next year.

Saturday was the Winter Solstice, the Yuletide. Feels like it’s the beginning of a calmer year with new beginnings. I am glad I had heart-centered meditation from Whispering Deer at Rites of Spring to use. Glad I had work for money and to be something to go to. Happy about lithium and Spring Harbor and psychiatrists, although it’s a drug that calms me, it also numbs my mind quite a bit so happy to go from 1200mg to 300mg. And very, very thankful of my wife Lanna Lee Maheux and my therapist, not sure if I should give her name.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Yuletide and Wonderful New Year. May the world gain some sanity in 2014. I know 2013 was a rough year for me.

edmund

(Tevye)
Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

(Golde)
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?

(Tevye)
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?

(Golde)
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?

(Men)
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

(Women)
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

(Tevye)
What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?

(Golde)
Now they must learn from one another
Day by day

(Perchik)
They look so natural together

(Hodel)
Just like two newlyweds should be

(Perchik & Hodel)
Is there a canopy in store for me?

(All)
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Here is the beautiful song. Like the Zero Mostel original version the best.