The Pursuit (Poem)

I am sitting

Again

In a café

At the corner of my world

Sipping on the bitter drink

As I am listening

Again

To mogwai

While looking at the way

The wind pushes snow

Into the sheltered faces

Of people passing

By my window

 

I am thinking

Of the word

Of women

Of the world

I am thinking of passion

And projects

As I seem

To be out of a struggle

Right now

 

There’s a part of me

That started looking for a mess

Another one

A day or two ago

Something

To stick my feet in

And see if there’s something there

Something

Worth digging in for

Something

Worth writing for

Something

Worth living for

But most of all

(and yes, it’s true)

Something worth

Loving for

 

It’s out there

That is a certainty

There’s no shortage

Of anything

And everything

Going on in the world

And I am ready to find it

 

Just about now

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On Climbing

Gravity doesn’t give a fuck about who you think you are.

That’s the real beauty of climbing.

I hadn’t expected to find the same kind of emotional satisfaction from climbing as I get from writing or painting. It really took over lately and it’s not a career plan in any way which is also part of its appeal. It simply is only a fight against yourself and there is absolutely no purpose behind it.

It is the way I used to write and then the way I used to paint and maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much. There’s no contract attached to it. I don’t need to answer to a potential client or (non-existent) public.

It’s taken me away from the focus of novels for over a year now and I am powerless against it.

I am especially fond of the bloc. I like the falling part of it. I like how you can’t cheat it and rest on the rope. I like how you have to complete all of it in a single set and it’s impossible to do it otherwise. It’s downhill if you slip and I hit the wall, twist, turn, do everything I can to keep at it but again : gravity doesn’t give a fuck who you think you are.

It pushes me to my most visceral self at times. It really works on the nerves, and I mean physiological nerves. My body is lean as could be, my muscles are stiff. My muscular capacity can hold my weight just fine. The muscles could take it but it’s driven by sheer will power to hold at this point till the pain is too much for you to even move. It hits you in the nerves when it’s too much. I do it to exhaustion and then crash on a pad and life is a bliss for a couple minutes.

There are muscles on my body I didn’t know existed and I can’t lie, I like it.

I like the very moment when I take on a very small crimp. I like the very instant when I shake my hand, place the phalanges of my fingers exactly where they need to go. A millimeter more and I would slip and fall. I like the moment when I tense up and get ready to put all of my weight on exactly two square inches on my own skin and pull.

I like to look at the path, the way, and see the space underneath it. I like to get a feel for the angles. I like how I have to listen to my body, the weight of it, the placement of it. I like how I can only force it so far and have to listen to what the path requires instead of trying to power my way through it. And then I like to break that rule down and prove to myself there was a second way to get to the top, a third way to get to the top, that a moment of arrogance and strength can be enough to overcome the problem and see it through.

I like to nail a 4 or a 5 only to see someone else in there fly through a 6 or a 7. It humbles you to see what the human body can do. If you look at it with passion, you start to see the person’s foot placement, hand position, the way they shifted their body, that little heel hook that keeps everything in place for two seconds in a transition.

I often use climbing as a metaphor for my entire life now.

Snowboarding had a similar feel when I was younger. I wonder if it would still have it. The freedom of not having a purpose in life for a minute except than to live for yourself and yourself alone, see if you still got it in you to make it through.

In the end, I guess it comes down to three lines I keep writing over and over again.

Climbing

Boarding

Writing

Painting:

Pick a line,

Stick to it

Don’t fuck up.

Another Gifted Suicide In the News (and a solution)

I read about another “gifted suicide” this week in the news. I read she was given every label they could find to slap on her except the one she needed to make it out of the system alive: gifted.

She wasn’t bipolar, she wasn’t depressive. Something tells me she became depressive because she felt all those labels she was given were wrong. I am sure she felt it in her entire body that everything they were telling her about herself was wrong. I am sure she knew instinctively it wasn’t what was going on. I am sure it wrecked her, the same way it wrecked me, to have the deepest conviction that she was right, but then if she was, how come everyone in the world was telling her she was wrong.

I truly believe that receiving an improper diagnosis breaks down your own self-image (and sense of worth) in a visceral way that is hard to exist. Then comes the argument of authority: a trained professional’ opinion is always worth more to everyone around than the self-image of a teenage girl (or grown adult in my case). It’s hard to fight the rest of the world when you’re the only one who believes your own truth.

It’s a lot of pressure to live with. Especially if you’re hypersensitive. Especially if you are gifted, especially if you’re a teenager. I can tell you these things because I feel that’s what I went through only a few months ago.

I had amazing social capital when I was having a hard time. It was, somehow, a phrase a friend of mine told me years ago that stopped me from going through with it. Everything in my body was telling me she was right and it came down to « I don’t have the right. » when the moment came. I took the blade away and shook it of for a few minutes. Too close for comfort is an understatement.

I had legitimate issues last year, (out of a divorce and into a difficult breakup, adapting to living alone and the financial strain of being a single parent with the same monthly payments to make.) I decided to ask for help and was immediately labeled as bipolar and/or narcissistic at the emergency room.

I cannot tell you how wrecked I was to hear those things, how wrong they felt to me, how inaccurate it felt to me. I cannot tell you how much doubt it set in my mind and the emotional toil it took on me. I began to relive and re-question every single human interaction I had ever had over and over again. The anxiety that came from that was impossible to live with.

It led to months of going around the system until I could “land somewhere” as one doctor called it.

I took a blade to my wrist during that time. I took a blade to my wrist and I meant it. No one knew I was down there. I didn’t call anyone about it till weeks later. I took a blade to my wrist in the second basement bathroom at work. I took an Olfa knife, sharpest ones on the market, put in a fresh blade in there, sharp as could be. I took it out about three inches long. I held it firmly in my right hand. I locked my left wrist against my knee, pressed my right hand like a wedge against my wrist, blade inwards and down. All I had to do was push my weight down on it and it would have gone in like warm butter. All it took was for me to take a breath and let my body down on it. There would have been nowhere to go and I knew exactly what I was doing.

One deep breath, release, and that was it. I was out in minutes, too late to do anything about it. The thing is, I didn’t feel like I wanted to die. A fourteen years old girl wrote it better than I could. “I don’t feel like I want to die, but I’d rather not be alive.”

The problem with the (public) healthcare system is that they’re not really trained to deal with the gifted mind. I have to say the younger doctors (med students I met) were more open minded to the reality, but the oldest ones were overwhelmingly dismissive of it. (That’s my opinion anyways.)

It took months to finally get a good meeting with three therapist (two students and one professor) that were open minded to that and it was a very constructive, very helpful few hours. I have to recognize that. But a lot could have happened in those few months (and a lot did).

I told them I was going to a private clinic that dealt almost exclusively with gifted people. It seemed rare (if not new) to them. One of them asked for their contact information and I liked that a lot.

The person I found, who was trained to deal with gifted people, didn’t see me as crazy or abnormal. She knew it was possible for someone to feel emotions that viscerally, she knew it was possible for someone to have so many thoughts all at once and to struggle with the moral implications of certain choices (and the underlining level of anxiety that comes with it).

Statistically, people are often considered gifted when their intelligence is in the top 2% of the population. It sounds arrogant to say that but it is what it is: a statistical distribution of certain people in the world that live with faster brain patterns. I know it sounds like a weird problem to complain about (and I am not complaining) but it does come with a lot of difficulties. Sure, I learn faster than almost anyone around, but for some people it comes with paralysing anxiety, others have absolutely no social skills. I personally find if physically exhausting like you wouldn’t imagine and the social isolation can become very, VERY real.

It was a saving grace for me to have someone recognize that and accept that I could feel certain things that deeply, think about other with that level of intensity and I am still alive to this day while that young girl is not.

So where am I going with this now? How do I wrap this up?

Is there a solution?

I think there are some. One of them is actually simple and could be applied immediately.

An adapted school system that screens and recognized different types of intelligences would be a dream, but I don’t see it happening in the short term.

SO!

For now, at least there should be a directive in the public healthcare system to screen people for giftedness way more systematically especially when dealing with hypersensitive people. That test should most definitely be granted BEFORE handing out a definitive diagnosis of any disorder (bipolar, manic, depressive or any other.) Best case scenario, you can guide that kid to the proper care she needs. Worst case scenario, you spent a few hours on a possible diagnosis that came back negative and you can get it out of the way.

It’s a few hours (and maybe 1000$) that could not only save a lot of lives, but most of all, provide accurate care to those of us who live with those issues on a daily basis. It would prevent months (if not years) of “going around the system” (which will be WAY more expensive than the test itself anyways) only to land back at the starting point.

So there,

I found a solution. I don’t know how to get it out there. Posting this online feels like an utter waste of time but it’s what I got right now.

I’ll write this to a handful of people I know who have a foot in psychology departments, probably talk about it at the next Mensa general assembly, someone with some leverage somewhere may hear about it and have the credentials to act on it (because I really I don’t!)

Spread the word and take care?

Ian

The Last Saints of Sainte-Claire (Poem)

As I am saying goodbye
To Sainte-Claire
I realized
There was
a subltle
Kind of poverty here
A silent kind of poverty
An uneventfull kind of poverty

You see it in details
Like the guy next door
Pushing 60
And always drunk
Not mean drunk
But always a little wobbly
Smiling just a bit
You see it in his eyes
As he makes his way
To the corner store
And walks back
With a tall one

I had never seen him sober
Until this morning
5h30 AM
And the bus is full
He’s there
In his blue dickies
Lunch box and all
Sharp as a whistle

I am leaving this town
In a week
This may be the last time
I ever write it.

So let me make a statement

The refineries long dissapeared
But the alcoholics of the past
Have aged

With nowhere else to go.

Untitled Love Poem no.28 (poem)

She had eyes
Those eyes
With a smile in them
And bit of anger too

Just enough of it

And in a single instant,
One look of hers
And I was done
That was it
I was out
So long
To the rest
Of them

And I meant it

She had brown hair
Few freckels
Thick eyebrows
And
Eyes

Those eyes
I can’t lie

I was fucked

Eyes
That could
Just
Melt me

Absolutely
Melt me

Into pure
And
Unconditional
Obedience.

The Artist (Fragments)

There is something impossible to convey in it. The simple and pure act of creation. I’ve heard some describe it as a tsunami yet I’m not sure it really explains the intensity of it, the unrelenting focus of it.

It is as if time itself stops to exist, every lines just replaces it, their need to exist, their need to become more, their need to expand beyond one’s own body, beyond the hands, the eyes, the tip of the fingers and onto canvas, onto paper.

It is as if a quartier inch aside would completely destroy it, vanish its beauty, defeat it’s purpose, render it useless. It is as if the wrong tone could deface it entirely.It becomes that necessary to get it right, make sense of it, let it carry you where it needs to go yet keep it where you wanted it as well. A balancing of power and abnegation that know no equal and have given  us every piece of art worth remembering to this day.

There is no vanity in the act, not true art, not true creation. It cannot exist out of a will to please but only can exist out of a will to be.

There is absolutely nothing in the world that compares to it. It truly is that rare.

Those who are aware of it, who’ve become through it, who dared because if, know, in silence perhaps, and alone, most likely, that it is a privilege to live such a moment.

I’ve heard some compare it to an orgasm. It is true, in a way; The separation from body and mind. But an orgasm lasts mere moments where a true creative drive can last you an hour. Both, I would say, are equally exhausting and exhilarating, each at it’s different pace, should you carry through the way it was meant to be lived.

And then there are those you manage to have that one such creative drive during sex and if that is not tantric, then I don’t know what is.

There is simplicity in it, strangely enough. How can one inexplicably speak of simple terms about something that is so rare and sough after by fools running fools errands for millennia.

How can one such goal that drove so many to madness or love or death can be spoken of as « simple. »

Yet it is true and I shall stand by that statement.

In it simplest form, it is nothing else but the disappearance of oneself into something greater for no other purpose at all than to simply live it and feel the entirety of existence become into purpose.

I don’t know if words can really describe it. You have to live it to understand how strong it can be. The madness of it, the genius of it, the way the pen or the brush or the razor blade appears to move by itself as you merely become a vessel to emotion.

Ten thousand pages later I’m still trying to get it just right. And here I find myself typing about it once more perhaps our of ego, in vain, probably, trying to give it it’s proper respect.

And yet, the only thing I can find to say about, again, is that nothing else than the beauty of the woman you love should ever be the object of any greater focus.

Set me Free (Song)

*I’m pretty much done with my stoner phase but this would have made a killer stoner metal song.

Set me Free (song)

So here I go
Again
Heart on my sleeve
In vain
Dug inside my ribs
Too much on this one

So here I go
Again
I gave myself
In vain
I know I
Dragged it
Way too far for myself

(Chorus)
Say what you want from me
Or go on and set me free
I never thought I’d bleed out for you
I waited out to see
Waited for my heart to breathe
I never though I’d bleed out for you

It seems I wrote you a thousand times before
And still I don’t know where I stand at all
I poured my heart on paper
And in chords
And still I don’t know where I’m headed now

(Bridge)
(It’s getting old.)
Say what you want from me.
(It’s getting old)
Or go on and set me free.

(Solo)

And still I stand around
My heart just won’t give up ground
And I can’t believe how long that I’ve crawled

So

Say what you want from me
Or go on and set me free
I never thought I’d bleed out for you.
I waited out to see
Waited for my heart to breathe

I’d never wanted to give up on you.

Of Living in the Future (Poem)

Of Living in the Future (Poem)

*because I can even write poetry about a market “correction”…. Bref…voilà!* I’m not sure I care at this point.

I am watching
The S&P 500
Join the Nasdaq
Into correction
I am watching
Titans
Lose billions
By the hundreds
(If not thousands)

Half of it
Pension funds

I am watching it
In real time
Through
Four data streams
And
I want to say
I told you so
I want to say
I called it
I want to feel good
For being right

But I don’t

This is the same old story
Over and over again
This is Icarus
And Sysiphus
And I’m surprised
It took that long

Even if
Things picked up
Right now
The damage is done
Lines have been crossed
Support has disolved
Money will be rare soon
Industries will dissipate
Supply chains will be wrecked
The daily lives
Or ordinary men and women
Will be tossed into the fray
Again

A mere 10 years after the last one

I want to say
I told you so
I want to say
Paul Tudor Jones
Told you so
I want to say
Bernanke told you so

But the words are bitter
The taste is foul.
I take now joy in this
I did for a second
But the initial pride
Of being accurate
(And now much richer)
Has disolved
Into the pure
And
Un-abstract
Knowledge
Of the consequences
Of this.

I have been cursed
By living in the future
Cursed
By the taste of foresight
And the lack of power
To trully act on it

I am resting a bit easier
Knowing my own is safe
But I can’t help but feel
Right now
How so many people
Are going to feel

When the calls
And the letters
The payments
And the cutbacks
Start coming in
In the spring.

The daily lives
Of millions
With no responsibility
Or say in this
Will feel it

As sharks
And snake oil merchants
Walk away
Again.

And we will let the
Because our minds
Will be focused
On next week’s meal
And payment

I have no solution to offer
No easy one that hasn’t been
Offered before
By people a lot smarter than me

It’s too late for that now

So,

Hold your loved ones
If you have one
Keep her close
Smell her hair
And kiss her

Make the most
Of christmas
This year.

Next one one won’t be so easy.

Search and Destroy (Poem)

There is this kid
on the bus
Teenager
Long hair
Skateboard look
About himself
He looks at my hand tattoos
Just a glance
And I notice
He looks at my shoes
Wonders about
The band on my hoodie too

(Madball)

He’s got the vans
And the element board
(As those things
Have made a comeback)

Then I have this idea
In the back of my head

I want
To just hand him my headphones
And say
“Here.”
Iggy Pop
Search and Destroy

And change his life forever

The Veracity of the Heart (Poem)

The Veracity of the Heart (Poem)

I climb

The way

I write

The way

I paint

The way

I love

And fuck

And care

For the world

As it shows

Me who I am

But also

Who I can be

And why I should care

(Because I do)

I have been

Blessed and cursed

At times

By this fire in my heart

That won’t let me rest

Until I’ve lived fully

Taken risks

Owed my mistakes

And made amends

Only to try again

Differently

This time

Just enough

To make a

Difference

In myself

And in the world.

But it happens

Sometimes,

When the winds

Become harsh

And the snow starts

To fill the ground

Around me,

I fool myself

(Just like anybody else)

That I could live

Any differently

Than to live

Fully

Every single moment

Every emotion

Every waking moment

Of Every day

I hide at times,

As it is necessary

To lick my scars,

Pick at my scabs

And grumble

For a while

But the bruises heal

(Some, it’s true,

more easily

Than others)

And I always

Come back

For more

There never was

Any other way

Not for me,

At least

Than

To carry on

So that now

The scars

Of times past

That mar

My heart

And my skin

And my soul

Will show,

I hope

Not only

That I dared to lived

But most of all

That I dared to live

Free