Saturday, March 28, 2009

Suicide Park Columbus Ohio Spring 09

You drive around central Ohio and you see signs of the times. A forgotten and discarded mobile home park has become a literal Trailer Park Trash site. Salvaged almost beyond recognition these once manufactured home were typical low income housing. Nothing looked like this around here before the two Bush Administrations wrecked havok on the infrastructure of a nation and its peoples lives.
It's not about cleaning up places like this - The time now is to learn about it. How, why, who and where did this happen to?
This is not a low income version of Grey Gardens. Undocumented lives were lived here - played out by all the nastiness of the dark side of the American Dream. These are the chewed up and discarded bones of human existance from the American styled unrestrained Apocalyptic Beast of Capitalism.
What sort of people and Nation do this to themselves? This is enough to make me want to just pack up and move to The Kingdom of Saudia Arabia and find some peace, order, stability and leadership.
I find these images - this modern day ghost town inside the Capital of the States of Ohio - This park tells the truth about the sadness of the state of Ohio.
It gets even creepier because even though the place seemed empty - it was not - there were people there...
Though they did not want to be seen - ghost like glimpses of strangers were behind a few of these dilapitated structures.
This is not America - a song from the film Falcon and the Snowman sung by David Bowie. But indeed this is America - this is the United States. No matter how much you try to look away - this part of America begs to be seen.
When I look at this place I just want answers. In this mortgage and housing and economic crisis my guess is - this is the future (indeed it is the present).... The large sprawling suburban homes of McMansionville beyond the ring of the outerbelt will eventually look like this. Sad scenes under a sad and ambivalent sky.
This place should be named Patriotic Park - so patriotic Americans can go here and meditate on the way things here work out for all too many people.
When I see images like this I just want to run away: To a different society, a different culture - a place with different values - where poverty does not neccessarily exclude dignity or humanity.
Shame on us in the US for our relentless economic greed. There has got to be a better way than rampant consumerism turning people into consumptives who can not then even take care of themselves or the world we live in.
This is a salvage park of homes from discarded human lives from a social and economic system based in cruelty and lacking any decency. Like Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders sang in the song My City Was Gone - with the lyric "way to go Ohio"... My Trailor Park was gone - way to go Ohio...
There has got to be a better way to rebuild a nation than to just turn it over to salvage collectors for scrap metal for the military industrial complex to use in foreign war machines.
Unsettling doesn't even begin to describe this place. More like "unhinged mentally" describes this land and park place - devoid of both park and place. The future is in Nowhere-ism.
An architectural urban lack of planning example of a a social system built on an idea like existential nihilism - where everything is permitted and nothing matters ends in what exactly... when greed takes over? ....Suicide Park.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

In Sharjah Dreaming of Ohio

The Devils or Shaytans can you find you anywhere...
There was some ancient writer from the Arabian world who wrote "in Cairo dreaming of Baghdad" or was it the other way around. It was something I read that now in it's half life is a half memory in its incomplete incorrectness... That's the way my mind works... Thank God for Google... If I weren't so lazy I'd "Google it"....
I'm imagining someone in Sharjah a city in the Arab Emirates dreaming of a strange place called Ohio - north of the Ohio River Valley and South of the most southern tip of Canada. Curious about a strange nowhere place somewhere else far away.
So for that imaginary friend or Brother or Sister in the UAE here are an odd assortment of photos. The photos for you presented as seen from dreaming of a strange place called Central Ohio - Columbus or more appropriately C-bus... "See bus?" because there is no public transportation in the urban sprawl of C-bus... and everyone dependent on public transportation chants "see bus" while standing precariously in the lanes of automotive traffic...
One photo is of a happy Bhuddha at some Chinoiserie hole in the wall type place where you order and pick up non-halal food through a barred up window in Ghettoville... stick to the vegetarian options like tofu because who knows where the meat comes from. That's probably why the Bhuddah is laughing. I rather like the odorless electronic incense sticks on offer. The barred up window hole in the wall eatery is neccessary in this neighborhood because here is more of a war zone than Iraq ever was which is a secret the media here will never tell you unless you watch Al Jazeera in English - Al Jazeera would do a story on that dirty little skeleton of an urban war playing out daily in the US on warmer nights thats confined to the US media in America's suburban closet... except as far as skeletons go its more like a 500 pound Gorilla named Ishmael chewing on a bunch of celery who doesn't even fit in the closet anyway...
The other altar is much more beautiful with its oil flame of Hindustani origin from the great Punjab. America is chock full of religion. I like life and culture from anywhere from along the old Spice and Incense Routes. Those Routes beat Route 66 any day any millenium...
The wetland and woodland photos are from OSU research area that is painfully all too small for the scale of the project - or for the downright dire environmental need. I want to see this research area become at least the size of all the combined central Ohio Wal-Mart parkinglots.... Scroll down to the subsequent entry for a link to the place - it is worth visiting and experiencing. There is a huge fallen tree that stands about three meters off the ground - I was able to walk my dog Rusty up there in search of squirrels and a view. Dogs will go anywhere you go even up a tree.
There is a funny cell phone self portrait of me on the phone with Barack Obama (pictured in the background on the poster in my kitchen). No I'm not on the phone with Barack Obama. I wish I were. But with him as President I don't have to call him: I have HOPE. Hope despite being unemployed and not having healthcare and having an insane (literally and figuratively) pre-existing condition. If I could call Barack Obama there isn't much I could tell him that he doesn't already know. That is probably the difference between the Barack Obama administration and the previous ones. The Obama Administration knows what is going on and they and we who support them are fighting to make the hope of change a reality for all the Ghettoville streets in the US of A.
But if I were on the phone with Barack Obama - I'd tell Barack Obama that 1000 square foot kitchen garden his wife Michelle is building at the White House is a brilliant idea! Sad to think that hasn't happened there since Eleanor, bless her soul, Roosevelt! Organic kitchen gardening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue now that hits me in a soft spot and makes me want to cry. I'd invite myself over for dinner for vegetarian styled Collard Greens. Well that won't happen because I prefer to eat sitting on the floor and eating off communal plates while eating with my fingers from my right hand for the sensual experience of food. That requires not just clean hands but well washed feet for dinner!
In Central Ohio dreaming of Sharjah... And in Sharjah dreaming of Central Ohio.
I want to go to Sharjah and write, blog and illustrate. In short I want a grant to Experience the UAE. Who knows - stranger things have happened. The UAE really needs a cultural injection right now to build bridges to the rest of the modern world. The world of Islam is full of unexpected opportunities and pleasant surprizes - anything can happen.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

In Ohio Dreaming of Sharjah

Dear Dr ___,
You asked that I write you after a few weeks on my new meds for Depression. I really cannot express how much that impressed me that you asked me to write you and assess my condition for you this way. Thank you very much in advance. You are a cool doctor and I admire your work and honest approach with me over the difficult and often times tedious subject of something like Depression and anxiety.
Well let me explain things here this way: Keep in mind I am still reeling from a separation from a 15 year relationship and having lived abroad for ten of those years. I am not adjusting to what is left of my family after my return and my fathers death. But on other levels - except for the momentary unemployment I am doing well. I own my own house (and its paid for) as is the used car I drive. My credit rating is good and I keep busy working on my dilapitated but paid for home.
But to describe where I am at with the meds you prescribed. The Fluoxetine (aka generic Prozac) works - but I am skeptical. Lexapro would probably work better. I am taking some form of Clonazepam for the late night anxiety that is gripping and often times worse than the depression itself. But here is an example - a slice of life of what is going on with me. Despite my sometimes incessant loneliness and aloneness and my struggle with existential nihilism in a society where everything is permitted and nothing matters - I feed the birds and watch the seasons shift in my existentialist roadtrip to nowhere. But tonight... ....watching TV from Sharjah UAE in Arabic (and my understanding of Arabic is limited at best) via satellite (I've been to the UAE and liked it very much) and at one point felt something on my face. Even though I wasn't feeling anything but pharmaceutical numbness, tears were rolling down my cheeks. No lump in my throat. No specific sadness or at least none that I was aware of. But physical signs of depression all the same. Finding that I was tearing like that - crying - surprised me at how out of touch with myself I am - I don't really have words to describe what it means to be surprised that you yourself are crying for no reason almost personally oblivious to doing so - some part of me disconnected to my awareness was crying. ....and all while watching TV but not crying over the TV subject.
I'm sure this detachedness happens to other people but it has never happened to me. I'm not sure what to think about taking meds for depression. This isn't right - it isn't natural - and yet I cannot function in "life" without meds. To be honest - despite what I write I think I probably need more/different medicine not less. At least for the moment. (Sick isn't it?)... I still struggle with incessant thoughts of death that honestly just pester me. I want to live and enjoy things but can only think about piling up medical bills that make no sense and how and where to get a job in my condition.
I do not have an active tendency to inflict pain on myself in any suicidal attempt - thanks God(s) but the existential nihilism is dogging me to no end. Its like this - if I have to die (and I do - we all do - I understand that quite well) I just want to get it over with. Like as a kid during swimming lessons in the spring when the outdoor water was cold - you just had to jump in and start swimming. Well thats how I feel about death. The cold pool awaits. ...(But first)...
I really would like to just travel a bit more - especially since I lived overseas for so long and travelled about the middle east the way Europeans do in ways Americans cannot comprehend. I have the money to travel modestly even but should probably save it. But who knows maybe it is better to travel. Perhaps once my meds stabilize.
Sexually I have noticed a difference. I can make sex if I want to but getting me to want it is not so easy (solo or otherwise) - but then I'm not really a swinger or living the lifestyle of a stud bachelor. In some ways its a relief not to have a compulsion for sex. But it does affect how I feel about myself. I get the most satisfaction walking my dog at the OSU wetlands research area open to the public. I like the quiet and the birds and water and tanglewood trees there. I like the mixture of science fostering and restoring nature rather than destroying it for capitalism.
The rest of the time i just feel extremely lonely like...
...human roadkill on the side of a busy road of life and capitalism.You are the only person in the medical industry i know who would understand any of this with respect towards me.
Then this morning, Later:
I woke up today to typical Ohio overcast skies - I just feel - - I can't articulate - it's like a my soul groans... moans and groans in ways too deep for words from any language. I got up early anyways, today. Drove myself to a far away independent diner because I can't take the McChains... And there are no independent diners anywhere anymore or donut shops to abuse myself with - then while at the bar - I prefer eating solo at the bar - the sun came out and I recovered... somewhat. Or the coffee kicked in...
Last nite was weird. Haunting and alone is all I can say.
...I wonder what Dr ____ will make of that letter. I suspect his RN will send me a one sentance reply and I'll wonder if anyone else but you dear reader understood the words. Well, with writing, it's the process for me that matters. The writing it all out it's how I survive...
Outside, I do wish it were already ten to fifteen degrees warmer - what I don't like about the Ohio climate is that it always has me wanting something... different. It's a hard climate and the suicide sky fucks with my soul and my brain. Waking up alone with those skies today - after last night... I don't know how it is I'm not hurting myself physically - but thank God I'm not. My mind torments me.
As far as roadkill - " god..." - as Betty Butterfield from YouTube would say with her dialect - I burst out in tears over roadkill because deep down I know I am Ohio wildlife roadkill - squished to the pavement - run over half alive but stuck to the tarmac - waiting - I can cry over roadkill but can't cry at my folks funerals.
Then last night sitting and watching Sheikhs on Saudi TV via satellite late night alone in bed unbeknownst to me I'm crying at how dignified and Angelic they look - like the Angels Gabriel and Michael - Jibril and Mikael in Arabic.... (think like al Gebra for math). Maybe thats why I was staring at the soporific electronic blue TV images all catatonic and alone like and crying and not even realizing it. Plus I've been to those parts of the world.
Central Ohio feels like a glue trap for human lab rats. I've been with men like those sheikhs - some are dear hearted extremely generous and gentle - others can be mean and nasty - hey - just like anyone else around the world. But those bearded sheikhs in white have a style and dignity like nowhere else in the world. Maybe thats what I am missing. Why I am crying inside. I feel like roadkill - white trash in dirty jeans and a torn T-shirt with holes in my socks and shoes - in need of a wash - suburban misfit - lost - alone - discarded housewife dishrag - wandering along the side of a transcontinental capitalists expressway.
....Sell house - find Rusty a home - get a job in Sharjah, UAE - maybe that's what I should do... move to Arizona... who knows... who cares... nothing matters... But the point seems to be to leave here - Yet to occupy myself I keep working on this house... which is endless....I just want to wake up. Rusty the black dog deserves better. I really don't know. Nothing makes sense without Mom and Dad and Bart or my sister-self locked up behind countless layers of razorwire and guarded checkpoints.
It will end - in that there is consolation - an end to the wanting in this soul body - an end to the needing. But right now it just feels like nothing will end, nothing will change and that difference is utterly elusive. But something has got to change.