Category Archives: Thoughts

On the train

cta“I saw him on the train, a passing glance. Something not immediately obvious caught my attention. He was sitting upright, hands clasped over a small leather satchel, opposite me. Eyes closed. Peaceful.

Dozing? No. Meditating? Perhaps.

The sparsely populated train moved along, and yellow sunlight, permitted entry by the passing buildings, glanced and sporadically coated the metal surfaces.

I noticed, at first without concern, and then with a rising sense of unease, that as the train tumbled and bounced down the track, that he was still. Perfectly still. We all rocked and shuttled with the movement of the carriage and yet he did not. He was a dead body in the casket, painfully static as we desperately scan for any sign of movement. As if he was floating above this mild mechanical bull as we knocked about on the bumpy ride, though he was undoubtedly sitting, and certainly alive, but frozen. For three stops he remained, lids closed, no expression on his long face, no movement, resisting physics and any established reality that I knew. Then, his stop approaching, he returned, eyes opened, and his hips and shoulders and head began to move with the train again, as if becoming reconnected with the rest of the world. He did not see me staring. And when the station pulled into view, he stood, brushed down his short coat, and walked away.

To this day, I have never understood what I saw.”

By The Marina


Kicking my legs off the edge of the jetty wall. It’s warm, but with a tang or two left over from the long winter. Not yet a deep summers warmth.

Lights from floating aircraft dance a ballet in the sky across the lake; an evolving constellation. There are a few stars poking through the luminous haze cast by the city.

The water undulates, organized into waves when the stout little marina transport comes by, catching the light and forming it into twisting shapes and patterns.

Beyond the waving masts and lines of the clustered boats, beyond the lake wall, beyond the glittering pier lights and flashing buoys, out into the lake, where the horizon line disappears, there is a thick dark, an expansive void, oil black and primal. Beautiful and frightening, like a great passion.

If I had a boat I would sail into it, happily, and not look back.

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I finally understand the basis for the myth that if you take someones picture, you own their soul.

As soon as I experience some wonderful moment (this morning: drifting ethereal piano while I slowly, achingly, become aware of warm early morning light on the stone outside the window while rising vented steam rises from a distant building) I have a desire for it to last forever, and then I feel the contemporary yearning to digitally capture it in all the perfection of the moment. There is desperation that stems from the core of me to preserve it, and a happy sadness that I know I can’t.

The human-ness of mnemonic preservation in all its frantic futility.


I’m reading an article on my computer, in my lap sits Puck, the cat I live with (I can hardly call him mine, any more than I am his; he’s a tenant, and yet to make a rent payment).

I’m petting him, he’s enjoying it immensely. He purrs, and leans into my hand and arm. A simple measure for me, for him, the oasis at the end of a long day without contact.

It’s a nice thing that we’re having, and yet without warning, suddenly, immediately, ambush, I feel alone. A chance neuron fires, a connection is made, and instantly, I experience that terrible moment of perspective, a zooming out from my position, back into the recesses of my head. I’m alone, in a room, a tiny room, in this city, in this country, in this world. I feel lonely, stereotypically, pathetically.

I look towards the window, towards the evening, and the moment worsens, more perspective floods in. Through the sheer curtains, tiny dotted lights, surrounded by dark. I’m one of many, and even uniqueness, the last bastion of personal safety, crumbles. I’m alone. I might die here and no-one would notice. It’s terrifically self-indulging, but it’s here and it’s real and I get a tugging sensation on my body, pulling me down from the shoulders and twisting deep into the abdomen, to curl up and lie down and not get up.

It’s the Solitude. The Alone. The Whatever the Fuck I’m Calling It Right Now.

Moments of pause.

Puck is watching me. I’ve stopped petting him. And what does he matter anyway? Why do I even care? I’m one of a dozen suitable owners, of many patrons that would be happy to call him a companion. Part of me wants to hold him closer, the other wants to push him away. How dare you make me chance at friendship with you. Won’t you let me sit in squalor? Won’t you leave anyway, via death or departure?

He’s still staring at me. I pet him, grudgingly. He’s interrupted my self-destruction. He goes back to his mild writhing, pleasure, I’m assuming.

Yet, I realize, it’s not loathing I have towards him, it’s envy. A cats ego is the size of the universe, so large it’s irrelevant. He can live perfectly in the moment. Moments are pleasure and pain and longing, but it’s all there, in the second, in the present. I want that, badly, that abandon to the past or what’s to come. Just the feeling and the wanting and the having that the present wantonly provides. Not this long view, through the tight scope of a rifle, to a future I don’t understand or want.

I realize I have to write this down. I did, it’s here, you’re reading it. As soon as I put him down, he looks up, and begins to meow. It makes me smile, wryly, bitterly because a light has turned on: my perspective, gleaned from living the younger years, from seeing beyond this hilltop to the next, means I know more pettin’s will come. But he doesn’t. I know that’s important somehow.

But right now, I’m sad and lonely and upset and small and that’s all that matters.

At the moment, of course.



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