When the “wheels fell off” and i hit the methaporical and literal wall wth my illness, i attempted to disappear to heal myself. This journey started in Vegas and SLC and Logan (Utah) where i saw my Mom for the last time. Then by various transport schemes which frankly i don’t recall (though there was a stop in Pacific, CA in there), i ended up in Thailand for a barrage of medical test and treatments and then to India where i lived in-patient in an Ayurveda clinic for several weeks, venturing out rarely. The journey continued in India to Auroville and was from then on thwarted by unexpected tragic circumstance.
This notebook was a from brother Bob from a Japanese 100 yen shop. The paper is thin but robust and the journal comes with a string to hold it all together which pleases me as i can bundle the whole assortments of oddments up. By oddments i mean stickers, cards, clippings, tickets, appointment cards, scribblings of poetry, musings, annotations, signatures from strangers, paper scraps of all sort.
When i visit Thailand, i fly into Chiang Mai – a bustling olden city in the north area, rather than Bangkok which is just too much city for countryboy me. Then i head for the city of Phitsanulok, (Pits-NOH-loh) in central Thailand which is a workaday, very “normal” city for medical treatment (Phitsanulok life is detailed elsewhere in a similar fashion.
I travel by train – either a 1960s era Japanese model or a new Chinese-built machine with folding beds for the nighttime journey. Along the way, i write poetry and gaze out the window (poetry series Towns and Trains is – or might be – elsewhere in this archive).
What follows are snaps taken by a Lomo La Sardina (sardine can) camera loaded with expired film snapped from a moving train for no particular reason aside to see what happens and capture the washes of colour fleeting by as i roll, as well as a few folks i encountered along the way and a few places i slept or soaked.
Disappearing, invisibility, loneliness, depression, anxiety, being lost, trying to not be found, trying to find white space to invigorate… Sometimes these weave together, other times (perhaps) each remain exclusive.
Gord Downie, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski and me all try to figure out the nuance in different ways atop Turkish street music, trains from Kerala and Moncton, and various ephemeral music snippets.
Amidst a thunderstorm at 4AM in Chiang Mai, Dave discusses – with excessive frankness and emotion – various medical conundrums (Fibromyalgia and CFS-ME) and details the physical feelings of “crash mode” as well as the mental strain in dealing with self de-identification and inter-personal relationships, confusion in seeking help, and various alternative treatments. No sympathy or advice requested.
If folks ever wonder what I’m doing, or how I’m doing or whatever… they can figure it out through reading my poetic dispatches. To me it’s very obvious but I suppose it shrouded in mixed- metaphors, curious phrasings and obtuse examples. Though to me, poetry is one’s life distilled to core essence. Far more sincere than “catch-up chitchat“ on a phone call.
Also (vaguely related):
My journals/notebooks/scrapbooks etc. are the most precious items which I keep safe and stored (keep in mind I have very few possessions). Most all of the contents is sort of in the “code of poetry” – specifics are known only to me and someone would have to be *very* dedicated to interpret the metaphors into facts and emotions. There something in Nabakov’s Lolita which expresses similar sentiment (no creepiness intended).
Question: If you shred your journals, will you make something out of the scraps from the shredder?
Finally up worked nerve/courage to watch @unrestfilm – Cried & laughed + noted im not alone. So much familiar: documenting, crashing, trying *everything*, endless Drs, so much confusion/suspicion/loss. 5 years along #cfsme & #fibro. Was invincible dynamite before.
Also, was funny in the movie to see her obsessing about mold and putting up a tent (I did this), making bone broth (which I did obsessively and one of my former charges now has a bone broth company), all the supplements (which I spent so much money on!), and all the “superfood“ smoothies/drinks/concoctions… Oh, and also all the Chinese herbal remedies cooked up in a big pot making the whole house smell crazy weird.
9 years ago today, I presented “fuck stats make art” to a full house at SXSW, scored hash brownies and MDMA in Austin, drank whiskey backstage with the black angels. 11 years ago, signed up for Twitter. Also brother Bob’s birthday.
These days, a challenge to just get out of bed for a cup of tea… I’m really trying to “move on”, find “acceptance” and “close the book on old life” but it sure the fck ain’t easy with such wild & fulfilling actions in my past
A fond salute of admiration to exceptional, compassionate, empathetic and skilled medical professionals who have helped me along on this healing journey. Admiration for their tenacity in training, professionalism in practice, and kindness and patience shown to this ole brokedown poet. #respect