The November Project

for Stephanie Young

Friday, September 03, 2004

11.2.03 1:57 a.m.
(really 11.1.03)

I finished the peanut chews.
I bought pistachio nuts
and, with help from my dad, finished those too.
I have a bottle of orange powerade
—gatorade’s not kosher—
and i’m finishing that between bedtime and outbed
and that’ll be it.
No more junk food until I remember how to eat again
no more goobers at the movie theater
until I realize that means I eat less pasta at dinner.
The meds are balancing my manic depression,
now I will try to balance my caloric intake
(there’s no pill for that, without speed in it, of course).

11.3.03—1:53 a.m.
(really 11.2.03)

i keep a pillbox in my front, right pants pocket
it’s yellow, plastic, rectangular, about 1” x 1.5”
it used to be for my daily multivitamin and fiber pills
i’d use it when i traveled so they’d be at the ready
now i use it daily to hold1500 milligrams of lithobid
(the nongelatin version of lithium for this kosher boy)
five pills, 300 milligrams apiece
two with breakfast, three with dinner.
i lost the pillbox yesterday
but had my jar of pills to dip into
taking three from the next day
leaving me now with only tomorrow morning’s two pills.
so i must leave my parents’ long island house
return to my apartment in the city
to pick up my prescription renewal
but also to not stay away from home too long
because my temp assignment just ended after 14 weeks
and it’s easy to cut myself off when i stay in long island too long
with nothing to do
geography lending a nice assist.

11.4.03—2:27 a.m.
(really 11.3.03)

Who’s going to answer the phones at the Yale Club
now that the temp agency told me I was let go.
So at around 5 p.m. today I muted the TV
and called the club’s number on speaker phone.
“Thank you for calling the Yale Club,
this is Kyle speaking,
how may I help you.”
And then I hung up.
Kyle? I never worked with someone named Kyle there before.
They got someone new to replace me? Why?
I called later and talked to one of my old co-workers
who confirmed that my agency had sent Kyle there.
My mother asked if I was seen by people while working at the Yale Club.
And I asked her, why,
did she think that maybe they fired me because I’m fat.
I thanked her for her thoughts,
but now they’re running through my head,
as I replay every day I worked there
for a reason I was replaced.
In the morning I’m calling my agency
asking for the the real reason
and finding a new agency.

11.4.03—11:11 p.m.

i forgot to take my meds today
first time since i’ve been on them
seven months now.
my renewal is sitting in the gristede’s pharmacy
their computer said it was too early for me to renew last tuesday
so i had to wait until friday to pick up the prescription
but i had enough meds to last me through yesterday
so i waited until today to pick them up
and then didn’t
tomorrow i will go to the gristede’s pharmacist
ask him if i should double my dose or simply miss a day
tomorrow i will take my meds.

11.5.03—11:29 p.m.
the movie less than zero premiered november 6, 1987
it was based on the brett easton ellis novel of the same name.
i was turned on to ellis by judy phoenix
a freshman i’d met at the new voice,
the alternative student newspaper at which i was an editor
i was three years older than her
for two months we talked on the phone almost everyday
me trying to woo her
her trying not to be wooed
soon i was reading authors she’d recommended
ellis was one of them
so when the movie opened we planned to see a 7:30 show
at the east meadow multiplex up the turnpike from campus
my friend ian drove, he always did back then,
and we sped to the theater just in time
and watched the movie
and then judy and i wanted to see it again
so ian stayed and watched it again, too.

11.7.03—1:42 a.m.
(really 11.6.03)

they’re keeping the empire state building lit past midnight
ever since the second 9/11 anniversary it seems
and it’s covered in fog
and i’m listening to elliott smith rarities from his web site
a fan site that became his official one
now him covering the beatles “for no one” off of revolver.
after my first ex-girlfriend broke up with me
i kept two songs on permanent repeat,
elvis costello’s “alison” and this song.
“Your day breaks, your mind aches
You find that all the words of kindness linger on
When she no longer needs you.”

11.8.03—12:40 a.m.
(really 11.7.03)

i’ve cut my roommate off.
see, the threeway girl didn’t want to kiss me
said she was going through a phase and it was over.
four days later she’s in my apartment
fucking my roommate up the ass with his strapon.
how do i know this?
because he told me
even though i didn’t ask
when he wanted to gush with details.
so i’ve cut them both off.
and now i put the seven-foot high shutters up
to divide my room at all times
even though i didn’t before.
and now
his music is played a little louder
when it wasn’t before.
the freezeout has seven-and-a-half months to go
but he doesn’t know my rent and electric is $620 a month
and he’s paying me $700.

11.9.03—1:23 a.m.
(really 11.8.03)

hold the bar
raise it high
tell my mom
i’m gonna die.
went shopping today on my food stamp card
those trips were normally late night ventures
where all that i got was junk food.
this time i bought fruits and vegetables
beans and rice
soups and ziti
apple sauce and pineapple
diet soda and sorbet.
i realize when i start these calorie cognizant phases
to do what i am able to, not more,
to not think that i’m going to buy a chicken and cook it
but instead buy a chicken pot pie
and know that i’ll heat it up
hold the bar
it’s so low
tell my mom
i’m just so-so.

11.9.03—11:24 p.m.

i took a nap today
woke up to pee at two to 10
realized the sports reporters were on in two minutes
and decided to stay up and watch
which led to sportscenter,
nfl pregame shows
and then the falcons against the giants.
but the giants were losing
and the game was boring
so i took a nap at halftime
and woke up as the third quarter was ending
only to watch the giants lose.

11.11.03—1:24 a.m.
(really 11.10.03)

tonight i cooked.
okay, it wasn’t cooking
but i did heat food up—
eight empire kosher frozen chicken nuggets in the toaster
at 400 degrees for 14 minutes
flipping them at seven minutes
and a baked potato in the microwave
on high for six minutes.
and then some mild chunky salsa for the chicken nuggets
and some kosher mustard for the baked potato
and some caffeine free diet pepsi.
it wasn’t cooking
but it was better than eating a tray of delivered baked ziti
and a loaf of garlic bread
in one sitting.

11.12.03—1:04 a.m.
(really 11.11.03)

i haven’t showered in a week.
my scalp is getting crunchy.
my best friend risa asked me what my plans are for tomorrow.
i told her to wake up in the morning and shower.
and those are my only plans
because i know from that act will come others.
i’ll put on clean clothes,
leave my apartment,
pick up my last temp paycheck,
take the tests my new psychopharmacologist wants me to.
the showering is the hardest part.

11.13.03—12:23 a.m.
(really 11.12.03)

i showered today.
i wasn’t going to,
but risa called,
said she really wanted to go to weight watchers today
and wanted me to come with her.
it’s always easier when u have a buddy to lose weight with.
and so, i trimmed my beard, showered,
put on deodorant and powder,
and then brushed my teeth,
spitting a blood-water-toothpaste mix into the sink.
and then i walked crosstown to weight watchers for the meeting.
after we walked uptown to get my last old temp job check.
then downtown to risa’s for lunch—
some potato and onion pierogies with sour cream,
seedless red grapes,
and diet rite orange soda.
and it all began with a shower
something i’m going to try and remember tomorrow.

11.14.03—2:18 a.m.
(really 11.13.03)

le tigre was on last call with carson daly tonight,
lead singer kathleen hanna jumping rope as the band played the song out
i’ve seen a lot of concerts
i saw the police at shea stadium,
august 18, 1983,
with joan jett and the blackhearts, and rem opening up.
i went to live aid
july 13, 1985
jfk stadium in philadelphia.
i’ve seen u2, the jacksons, bowie, and elliott smith,
springsteen on the born in the u.s.a. tour.
but the best show i have ever seen anyone put on
is still le tigre at warsaw,
the polish national home, in williamsburg, brooklyn,
january 2002.
the happy i left feeling unrepeated since.

11.15.03—1:31 a.m.
(really 11.14.03)

i’ve been out of work two weeks.
the friday before i knew i’d be jobless
i went to long island
to see my folks
and my best friend ian, for his birthday,
and the next day found out my temp assignment was up.
so the plan to go home on monday
before work started at 3 p.m.
shifted to going back on tuesday.
i would’ve stayed longer
but my meds were ready at my
gristede’s pharmacy
and i was out.
thursday I had therapy at 12:20 p.m.
and i was hosting my monthly series at 6 p.m.,
so i figured i could take last week off and not job search,
giving myself the old,
“when will I have the chance to take a week off again” speech.
and then this week came,
and daily my dad would ask
“so, you find a job yet?”
and i’d say no.
and he’d say,
“are you looking?”
and i’d say kinda.
but I wasn’t.
i became paralyzed.
i thought i only have one pair of job pants.
and this week was going like last week,
and depression boy knew it couldn’t
or soon i’d be eating haagen-dazs chocolate chocolate chip from the pint
and throwing my trash on the floor.
today I did it,
i called a few temp agencies recommended by friends,
and I set up an interview and testing for tuesday
and emailed a requested resume.
tomorrow i’m calling the cleaners to launder my shirts,
hangers no starch.

11.16.03—12:18 p.m.
(really 11.15.03)

i watched this movie on the abc family channel this afternoon,
“Beautiful Girl.”
it was about an overweight girl
who enters a beauty contest,
because beauty is on the inside,
and she wants to win
a free trip to hawaii for her honeymoon.
her fiancee is a handsome latino man
who’s in perfect shape.
as an overweight guy
I know that once i’ve met somebody
and can let them see inside me
that i stand a fighting chance at wooing them.
but unless that meeting is prearranged
the glance across the room will never work for me.
so how did he fall in love with her?

11.17.03—12:14 p.m.
(really 11.16.03)

nostalgia’s flowing thick for my sister-in-law since her suicide attempt.
her and my brother dropped their kids off
at their camp reunion at chelsea piers.
and then we went for some brunch at le gamin cafe,
housed in the oldest building in chelsea.
afterwards we got the kids
and went on a little trip down her memory lane.
first it was jerry ohlinger’s movie materials store,
to look through stills and posters.
and then it was cbgb’s,
to show the kids where mom used to party in the day.
we skipped bleecker bob’s records
because it was getting late
and it was a school night.

11.18.03—2:17 a.m.
(really 11.17.03)

my parents were in the city today.
mom saw a doctor
to see how she was recovering from hammertoe surgery.
(hammer-toe)
and they brought me my navy blazer,
because tomorrow i have interviews and testing
at two temp agencies.
but it’s two in the morning,
and i’m still looking to roleplay before bed.

11.19.03—5:08 a.m.
(really 11.18.03)

so this will be thanksgiving this year for the kirschenbaums.
it was supposed to be at my parents,
but mom’s depression,
and their accumulation of junk in every room of the house,
killed that.
my sister offered her home,
and my mother said ok.
my brother and sister are fighting, per usual,
but somehow they’ve made up.
and so all the nuclear family,
and their spouses and kids,
will be under one roof.
but my father didn’t want to hear my sister’s husband say that
they were mooching another meal off of them,
so dad decided to cater the night from Ben’s Kosher Deli.

sometime during the night there will be a fight.

my brother will leave early,
saying it’s time to go,
and giving his family two minutes to pack up,
all so he doesn’t get trapped into staying too long.

my sister will be upset at my mother for leaving too early,
no matter what time she leaves.

and my father will say to me about my sister’s husband,
“i hate that scumbag.”

11.20.03—3:08 a.m.
(really 11.19.03)

walk alone
steady the race
car u drive
in yr face

when you see a fork in the road, take it.
—yogi berra

i went to a reading at the poetry project tonight,
first time all season because of the yale club nightshifts;
robert creeley and jennifer moxley.
they held it in the big room, the sanctuary,
not parish hall, the small side room.
i didn’t think it would be full,
as i trudged through the rain
from the parish hall entrance
to st. mark’s church’s main one,
but, sure enough, it was.
it wasn’t new year’s day reading full,
where it’s uncomfortable to walk to the bathroom,
and the seats and floor are people covered,
but it was a nice crowd,
especially given the major downpour outside
and the finale of the bachelor.
happy i was that i did not embrace my initial jump back
when i went on my terrace to weather check
and saw the sky’s water fall.

11.21.03—2:06 a.m.
(really 11.20.03)

my dad’s big sister marion,
my aunt marion,
fell in her bathroom on sunday,
broke her hip,
had surgery monday,
and went into a coma,
which she stayed in
until she died three days later.
so i’m going to sleep soon,
and waking up soon,
and busing to jersey soon,
too soon.

11.22.03—12:08 p.m.
(really 11.21.03)

the port authority bus was $2.80
and dropped me right in front of the funeral home.
it’s the second time i’ve taken a bus from port authority
to a jersey aunt’s funeral—
three years ago my mother’s sister mary,
today my father’s sister marion.
i’ve yet to feel death myself.
as others i care about cried around my aunt’s casket
i felt empathy for them,
felt bad that these people I deeply love were sad,
but i didn’t feel any sadness, much sadness, on my own.
one day i will—
my dad’s 73,
my mom’s 68,
and hurt is waiting for me.
my sister thinks i’ll have a breakdown
and she may be right.
perhaps a spouse for me to lean on by then
perhaps.

11.23.03—2:39 a.m.
(really 11.22.03)

my sister wants to do an intervention
on me.
doesn’t she know
that kurt cobain suicided
10 days after an intervention done on him
to kick the heroin.
my heroin is
pistachio nuts,
chocolate chocolate chip haagen-dazs by the pint,
entire trays of baked ziti with garlic bread.
my sister used to be heavy
for longer than i’ve been,
but she had gastric bypass surgery
and now she’s lost over 150 pounds
and is full faster
because they cut her stomach from the size of a two-liter bottle of soda
to the size of a can.
she’s become like the 4-pack a day smoker who quits
and derides everyone who still smokes about their nasty habit.
it’s been two-and-a-half weeks since
i bought pistachio nuts or
a pint of chocolate chocolate chip haagen-dazs.
i’ve bought trays of baked ziti with garlic bread,
but have made them last for two dinners
not one.
my sister says that because my stomach is so large
i won’t ever be able to satisfy it
and that any weight i lose i’ll put back on.
i still believe that this is the first time
i’ve been taking care of my manic depression
and that maybe it will also be the first time
that i lose the weight
and it does not return.

11.24.03—1:57 a.m.
(really 11.23.03)

i haven’t gone to sleep since i woke up yesterday morning
last night up with a cold
medicating myself from drug store
with store brand cough syrup, cold medicine, and zinc lozenges,
gargling with salt water.
the cold kept me up a bit,
but really it was the wanting to cum before bed that did more
and now i’m staying up until nighttime so my sleep pattern returns
to normal.

11.25.03—11:22 a.m.
(really 11.24.03)

i went to bed at 4:30 a.m.
my cold still beating me down
i barely ate
my arms felt weak
my head clouded
it’s a beautiful day.

11.26.03—1:04 p.m.
(really 11.25.03)

i’ve been too sick too deal with anything—
the boog city corrections,
which one of my editors gave me late
because she was mad at a joke i put
in the copy style sheet;
cooking,
because i just don’t have the energy;
writing that review of the poetry espresso books,
because i’m too worn down to digest poems;
writing my nighttime poems,
because by the time i get to bed lately it’s 7 a.m.
it’s probably not a good idea
to order domino’s at 1 a.m.
(or any other time really);
or to masturbate
for three hours, with three different people online,
and not cum.
tomorrow’s thanksgiving
and i’m thankful i’m alive,
i guess.

11.27.03—11:17 a.m.
(really 11.26.03)

my cold is getting better.
now i only cough up phlegm
or blow my nose
half a dozen times
in an hour
instead of a dozen.
i’m guessing the family
will enjoy this special treat
during the thanksgiving meal.

11.28.03-12:11 p.m.
(really 11.27.03)

made my train by a minute,
no seats to be had
so 40 minutes standing until some emptied.
i felt stomach sick,
from garlic bread breakfast,
and dehydrated from cold,
so got powerade on way to sister’s place.
i’d been given my own chair so no other’s broke,
one of those solid wood,
metal-framed classroom chairs,
so to each room i sat it went with me.
i ate some,
but the cold took the hunger from me,
that and the unwelcoming feeling
my sister’s husband gives everyone.
i started a charades game after dinner
because the mood was dour,
and this helped lighten it
until my mom took ill in the bathroom
and my sister’s husband started to
complain about the smell;
mom, dad, and i left soon after.
happy thanksgiving.
yep, happy thanksgiving.

11.29.03—2:55 a.m.
(really 11.28.03)

when i was a boy
my mom would take me
on the day after thanksgiving
to F.A.O. Schwarz
and tell me i could have anything i wanted,
under $10.
i got epoc baseball one year,
this game shaped like a ballpark.
the pitcher’s mound would hurl a ball-bearing
to a metal bat swinging batter,
my friend darryl and me laying on my bedroom floor
to maneuver our players properly.

11.30.03—2:29 p.m.
(really 11.29.03)

it’s the saturday after thanksgiving
so this must be arlo night.
my first girlfriend judy
turned me on to arlo guthrie.
she would sing “alice’s restaurant,”
all 18-and-a-half-minutes,
in its entirety.
and so we started going to arlo’s
thanksgiving weekend carnegie hall shows
back in the late ’80s.
About five years ago
my friend ian, his wife-to-be kimberly, and i
went to one of these shows together.
soon they would marry,
and soon we would fill a box each year,
eight red velvet seats, to house our friends and family.
we’d smuggle in bottles of wine, homemade chocolate chip cookies,
nutella, pretzels, hummus, pita bread,
even test tubes filled with shots of triple sec.
our own tradition here on 57th street.

12.1.03—2:11 p.m.
(really 11.30.03)

in the morning i’m leaving my apartment,
going to Beth Israel’s clinic
to get an EKG, urinalysis, and my lithium level checked.
my new psychopharmacologist
is more thorough than my old one.
my lithium runs out on thursday,
so i have to get the testing done in the morning,
and make an appointment with
the new psychopharmacologist for thursday or friday,
when the results will hopefully be in his hand,
so i won’t miss a day of my meds,
as even with them i can feel a depression coming on.

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