The cat woke me around 4; I finally got up at 5 and fed her. She has since disappeared; no yowling, no ripping through the house and sliding into walls in her frenzy to escape some imaginary predator. On the one hand, the serenity is a welcome departure from what has become an annoying routine; on the other, I worry that she may have slammed into something beneath the bed and knocked herself out. I must go look for her. After I make another espresso. I have become addicted to espresso, thanks to spending a week with my brother and his wife in Mexico. I drank espresso every morning while we were there. And I ate fresh fruit almost every morning. “Fresh” fruit here is unripe fruit imported from Mexico or Guatemala or Honduras or other distant places that is allowed to ripen in transit. There’s a difference in flavor and texture; truly fresh fruit is magical. I recommend it highly.


A cat is no companion. It refuses to behave like a friend or a dog. A cat is driven entirely by selfish motivation. Unlike a dog or a friend, a cat either cannot sense a person’s emotional fragility or it can but does not care about it. As long as it is fed and its litter box is frequently emptied and refreshed, a cat’s expectations are adequately met. Of course, some dogs seem more like cats than one would hope. And friends cannot be expected to ignore their primary obligations to comfort someone whose favorite sports team has gone down in defeat. AI has the potential of standing in for dogs and friends; and, if one is enamored of soulless, uncaring beasts, AI could stand in for cats, I suppose. I should not be so judgmental.


Here is a completely revised poem that I began to write some time ago. It was unfinished then. It is a battered mistake today, and it is finished now; in more ways than one.

Lost Chance

When shoulders aren’t there for the crying,
when love is a wall made of stone,
when life seems a prelude to dying,
when you’re tired and weeping alone.

It’s time to create your salvation,
crafted from sweat and from sands.
You emerge from your bitter stagnation
and build a new life with your hands.

The fire in the furnace inside you
is stoked with the pain of the past.
You stare at the face looking at you
from shards of a mirror’s cracked glass.

But your mind is a kiln or an oven,
that melts with a history of hate,
but your friends belong to a coven
that saves you before it’s too late.

Yet you shout at the liars, scream at the thieves,
calling everyone out for a fight.
You tear into the fighters, shredding their sleeves,
and do battle all the mutinous night.

You chase them with hatred and laughter,
you insult them with snarls and love.
You taunt them before and then after
and trap them below and above.

Your chance at creating salvation
was lost when you traded in hatred.
Now the train is leaving the station
taking with it everything sacred.

It is a lesson too late in the learning,
made of sand, he sang in a song,
and it leaves you with an impossible yearning
to forsake all you did wrong.


Yesterday’s post expressed raw emptiness; the sort of emotion in which sharp pain competes against itself in the form of numbness. Emotions rarely exist in a vacuum in which only one purely physical and/or mental sensation has taken residence. In fact, there exists no pure emotion, entirely untainted by other feelings; one emotion may be dominant, but it is almost always impossibly knotted with others, a tangle of eels. Deep sadness, for example, often is combined with anger or fear or confusion. If a pure emotion existed, what might it be? Love? Hatred? Joy?


I would welcome long, leisurely conversations today. As much as I enjoy my solitude, I prefer it to be interrupted from time to time. Especially when the interruptions involve pleasant conversations with people whose company I find enjoyable.

Another load of clothes to wash. Domestic chores can be soothing.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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