I have already noded some secrets about depression. One more is when I was thirteen I fantasized I was the reincarnation of Sylvia Plath
or Joan of Arc
. The most interesting women I knew, the only role models for brilliance, were martyrs, madwomen, self-multilators. I mean if you want to be a poet and the only vocabulary you have for that is "drunken poet," twenty bucks says you will drink to excess to achieve it, long before you learn that for every Bukowski
there are a million swollen livers with nothing to report. And for every Anne Sexton
there are a million mouths clamped shut, leading lives of quiet desperation.
My secret about depression is not that it's dramatic or self-destructive or Dionysian and gorgeous; that has been addressed. The secret about depression is that it's boredom squared. My former impression was Plath's train to Auschwitz, but in the thick, it's more like a train sliding backwards down the hill. I can't, I can't, I can't, because I think I can't. On my worst days I happen to be Wile E. Coyote tiptoeing over a cliff, knowing the second I look down is the second I plummet. We are all aware of the wreckage of this disease; we've all got stories. More of us are walking this impossible walk, refusing to fall.
(If any of this alarms you, please remember that I know this walk well, and I have all kinds of faith. This too shall pass; I will land on solid ground and run and run and run, not from or to but in order to use my legs.)
Besides, I can't get this damn Bob Marley song out of my head: Is this love, is this love, is this love that I'm feeling. It doesn't match up but will be my meditation. OK?
Another meditation: I leave the lab with the worst burrito jones you can imagine. 10:30 I walk into a Mexican grill which is also a bar now and serves the best beans in the universe. Authentic to what tradition I do not know, other than being beans and being delicious. And so authentic they are. When I get inside it starts pouring hard, but I can't stay in there with the lonely bartender and the three dipshit girls, one of whom I think is his girlfriend, and the blaring Paula Abdul and the two TVs, volume off, Fox Sports and Animal Planet. The one in my line of vision is a rerun of the 1964 Civil War game, still Parker Stadium, black and white and quaint. I can't stay in there and I can't eat in the rain so I take my styrofoam out on the stoop of the building, watching the streets turn to rivers and the streelamps scatter in the water.
Yesterday, I saw a wreck at this intersection.
My Docs are wearing, full of holes, and I walk back here soaking and lonely and exhilirated.
What is in my thermos: chai and rice milk and honey. How many of these details do you want? It gets lonely here.