Quitting smoking V

Coffee, but no cigarettes this morning. I cannot focus my thoughts for long on anything other than cigarettes. This will be a very long and unpleasant day.

Published in: on April 30, 2008 at 9:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Qitting smoking IV

Did I tell you already? This morning, I found the prescription pills I used the last time I quit smoking. It says, “don’t take these when you are drinking,” on the bottle. Whoever came up with that notion is wrong. You don’t care about anything when you are drinking and taking these pills to excess. Not even smoking.

Now, I remember how I quit smoking the last time.

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 4:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quitting smoking III

Afternoon. I took a nonsmoking pill just before lunch. It keeps my mood elevated, but I can already feel my blood stream eliminating the nicotine from my system, which means I want a fucking cigarette so badly I would almost sell my soul to have one, that is if I had a soul. All I am is a blob of addicted flesh.

I hope you all are having a much better day than me.

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quitting Smoking II

As I sit here this morning drinking my coffee without a cigarette in hand, I ask myself, what was I thinking? What makes me think I can quit smoking? All I can think about is smoking and the ordeal has barely begun.

Too bad it is too late to go back. Everybody would call me chicken shit if they found out I backslid.

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Quitting smoking I

I decided to quit smoking beginning tomorrow. Next weekend is a special weekend for me. I don’t want to be going through nicotine withdrawal during it, so there is no point in delaying it.

I can almost feel the pain from nicotine withdrawal tomorrow, pain coming over me in nauseating waves where I can think of nothing but cigarettes, where I lose all affection for life except for nicotine, and where I must find the most solitary and quiet place possible. However, delaying the starting date seems like delaying the torturer when you know you will survive the torture and be better for it when it is over. Let the games begin.

If State Street turns into a bunch of cuss words for the next three days, you know why.

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday mornings, baseball, cigarettes, and love

Monday morning. V has left for work. These first few hours of Monday mornings without V always seem the most lonely and vacant of the week, especially after I have spent a wonderful weekend with her.

The early morning sunshine has turned to dark clouds and a cold rain. I have a ticket to the White Sox baseball game this afternoon. I wish they would postpone it before I go to the baseball park, for the weather will be cold and rainy all day.

I promised V I would quit smoking by midnight on Wednesday. If I do not, I must cut my hair short. I love my long hair, so I will quit smoking. I have been thinking a lot about quitting this year anyway. The problem is the first 72 hours without cigarettes. Every nerve in my body screams for a cigarette. I can feel my blood stream eliminate the nicotine from my body. My blood sugar level goes through radical gyrations. I feel elated at one moment, then I crash into depression the next. After the physical withdrawal period is over a sense of joy sets in where I tell myself, I did it! Then I feel depressed as if I have lost the love of my life. When the first week without cigarettes is over, the quality of my life changes spectacularly for the better. I am no longer a slave to one of natures most insidious drugs. I am free in a way hard to explain.

As I mentioned previously, I had this feeling my life had changed in some subtle way I could not describe. The nature of the change came to me this morning after V left. My personal identity has changed. I am the man who has V in his life. I think about things differently than I did before. I feel differently each minute of the day because of her. My life is divided into two major parts: the time with V and the time without her.

At any rate, I am rested this morning. That is not a bad way for me to start my week. But still, I miss her.

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  


Playing the chess program cranked up to the highest level, I hold my own through the opening and into middle game. Yet, as it is with some of my human opponents, I get this eerie feeling the program has turned the game in its favor although I see equality on the board.

I wonder when intuition is based on some analytic process hidden from consciousness. No matter what our decision processes are, our emotions eventually force the process to halt. If the emotions did not do that, we would be nothing but prey trying to decide if the lion stalking us was truly out to eat us.

Meanwhile, the chess program halts its algorithmic calculations and makes its next move. The computer has to simulate emotions even if it does not have them. Moves must be made.

Published in: on April 25, 2008 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment  


V, I will see you at the bar around noon for lunch.

Published in: on April 24, 2008 at 10:46 am  Comments (1)  


Images come as fast as I can process them today. I feel as though I am peering into the future. The future consists of more than images; it has an hidden form I have yet to fathom. The words still don’t come that would express any of those images, but it feels differently than yesterday when they did not arrive.

Do I wait in vain, or is it merely vanity to think words will come when called?

Published in: on April 23, 2008 at 4:33 pm  Comments (1)  


I know talking or writing about the weather is boring, and sometimes, the sign that one has nothing of import to say. Yet we are enjoying our first week of spring weather in Chicago. It feels good.

My days are colored by the amount of sunlight and warmth. These days of light and warmth are my favorite time of year. I would have enjoyed the baseball game with V the other night even if the weather had been brutal as it can be at this time of year. However, sitting through a night game in shirt sleeves and feeling comfortable throughout made the experience all the more enjoyable. I’ll never forget when she rested her head upon my shoulder a couple of times during the game. Life is an accumulation of small kindnesses and generosities if it is to be a good life.

Of course, being with V makes every experience pleasant. I find it difficult to take my mind from her on this day of light and warmth. Her beauty and this wonderful weather mesh perfectly.

Published in: on April 23, 2008 at 10:44 am  Leave a Comment  


Words don’t come some days, or at least any I can match with the images that flit through my mind, images not standing still long enough to be photographed. The day will come soon enough when it does not happen at all, or if words still come, I won’t care.

I feel older than dirt today. Of course, I am old. I merely feel it today. The world of impossibility crowds out the world of possibility. Words simply won’t come to me no matter how I hard I try.

About the only thing to do is read some good words others have written. If reading won’t satisfy, do the mundane and ordinary just to numb the sting of missing the words that won’t come regardless of how much they are bidden.

Published in: on April 22, 2008 at 2:29 pm  Comments (2)  

Play ball

It was a honey of a night for a ballgame. The Cubs beat the Mets 7 to 1. V went with me. And as I watched the game I never was more in love with a woman than her.

Published in: on April 22, 2008 at 6:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Wild crazy

She wakes. She rests looking at me. I tell her I am wild crazy in love with her, for I certainly am. Now, she’s gone off to work.

Tonight we’ll got to the Cubs game: me, V, and my wild crazy love for her.

Published in: on April 21, 2008 at 8:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Shut up

I explore the chess games in a big online database. I meander through the moves, almost at random, like floating down a river on a raft on a sunny summer afternoon. People, better chess players than me, have played these games. People on my river have floated along it, looked at the same trees growing along its banks. Nothing seems new, yet nothing seems as if it has happened before. This drifting I call the feeling of what happens might be new or well floated and noted. History repeats itself or takes a turn toward the unique. I simply do not know. The day yawns before me an incomprehensible blob.

I drift, dreaming the while, toward something wicked or wonderful, or worse yet, something simply mundane and ordinary. Meanwhile, Judy Collins sings Send in the Clowns in the background and every sad event of my life seems to desperately call my attention.

The cure for this drifting: walk into the beautiful spring sunlight; see what happens. Feel it; don’t think about it; just feel it State Street; and for Christ’s sake, shut the fuck up.

Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  

More entropy

He is better than me–definitely higher rated; he is beating me at our game of chess. I wonder if he knows it yet. Can he see he will eventually go a pawn up on me in our long endgame?

My life changed last night while I was sleeping. Yet I cannot figure whether for good or ill, or just differently, an event without value. I study the board called my life. I do not know my next move. All I know is the game changed subtly while I was unaware. I might lose one of my life’s pawns. The cleverness required for avoiding it eludes me.

Entropy troubles my life. Each day something breaks. I would dearly love to know why this man’s chess game coincides with my life, but I never will.

Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 10:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Delivery systems

I woke early this Sunday morning. As soon as I sat down next to the computer and lit a cigarette, I wanted to write. The torture began. What should I write? The only thing I saw physically and mentally as I pondered the question was the smoke from the cigarette resting in my ashtray as it curled and disappeared into the air to foul my apartment.

Let’s talk about the big questions. First of all, there is no god or gods. We produce them from our imaginations. We don’t live forever either; the soul waxes mortal as the body. Who are we then? The free will question remains open for instance. An example might help.

What if V and I are two worlds colliding? We merely obey some complicated and incomprehensible laws of physics? We act, but the acts are foreordained and strictly determined.

Now, back to the writing question. Why did I write these words?

OK, let’s defer the answer to the question for a beat longer. The cigarette smoke curls and turns to dust while I attempt writing or a facsimile of writing. The coffee tastes like a caffeine delivery system as does the cigarette taste like a nicotine delivery system–neither good nor bad. I am addicted; the drug’s the thing. Despite the best efforts of the our capitalist producers to make the delivery systems for my addictions a pleasant experience, some days, the coffee and cigarettes deliver without enjoyment.

I spent yesterday listening to people. I wanted to say many things to them, but I listened, for they did not care what was on my mind. Yesterday, I knew full well I would write this morning–type some words lost and lonely and forever forgotten.

I produce my words from a word processing delivery system as though they were another one of my addictions.

Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 9:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Risky and wide open

When you play the white pieces and King’s Gambit opening, you are quite simply down a pawn on the third move of the game, but you also have the prospect of a wide open risky game, the kind of game that gives a little adrenaline rush. Those are the kind of games that most chess players like even if they will not admit it. King’s Gambit was a standard opening during the Romantic era of chess back in 19th century. When you study the games from that era, you discover wild games with big sacrifices beyond the gift of a pawn. Sometimes the person playing the white pieces gives up two pawns and a piece with nothing apparent for compensation.

Fischer studied those games from the Romantic era and refined them into modern chess strategy. He played 3. Bc4 whenever he could, which is a big throw back to the Romantic era, a move fraught with danger as far as I can tell. I have played it and royally screwed it up.

My romance with V is like those King’s Gambit openings. I start way behind. All I have is faith in myself to figure it out before the game is over. My ego guides me.

Yes. Risky. Wide open. The bigger the reward the greater the risk.

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  


Of what does a good sentence consist? A good sentence states a proposition patently false or improbable, yet stains the mind with plausibility.

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Only gems, please

Her parents came downtown to spend the weekend with her. I met them last night, but not as who I am to her. Oh well, you are who think you ain’t anyway.

I wish I had woken this morning with her face next to mine. Spending a night without her suddenly seems strange, out of time and place. The day will drag without her.

I explore new territory because of her. I have been in love before, yet not this much or this way. The moments with her are forbidden, yet I would not shy away from them for anything.

Only beautiful things will do today: the subtle and delicate novel exploring philosophical notions, a pretty mathematical theorem proved spectacularly, Cubs baseball, a Fischer chess gem, or the spring drizzle on my face.

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 9:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Sublime figure

I study the games where Fischer plays King’s Gambit Accepted.  Each game proves a mathematical theorem, something inevitable.  More than that, each game paints a picture, tells a story, or carves granite into a sublime figure.  Each game delights like the sun rising over the lake on a summer morning.

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 9:05 am  Leave a Comment  


Let’s say that chess played at its highest level is more an art than a mathematical exercise for human players. Let’s further assume that the gods exist and intervene in our lives. Does chess glorify the gods’ creation or blaspheme it? What is our fate regarding our attitude towards chess whether we are immortal and must seek the gods’ pleasure and approval, or return to dust?

I’m just asking at this point. Maybe, just asking myself for that matter because on days like these the machinations of the universe seem like chess moves to which I must respond.

The day wears on. I must do other things than think about the place of chess in the universe. Chess and the meditations it spawns will evaporate like the morning dew.

Published in: on April 18, 2008 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chess, birthday, and addiction

OK, I will admit it. I have a milestone birthday coming up shortly. No, I won’t be Sweet 16, but let’s just say I will be a little farther along the road to absolute Geezerdom.

V gave me this beautiful chess set as a birthday gift. It has me totally addicted to chess again. I am studying the games Bobby Fischer played as the white pieces and King’s Gambit accepted. The pieces she gave me are a replica of the ones Fischer and Spaasky used at Reykjavik in their 1972 world championship match. I could push these pieces across the board all day and night.

Of course, my real and beautiful addiction is V.  I cannot get enough of her, ever.

Published in: on April 18, 2008 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

What tastes good?

Coffee, cigarettes, a chess set, and an annotated book of chess games: I am tempted to sit for hours this morning studying a couple of games. Then there are the Blitz games played against the chess program turned to maximum rating. The computer kicks my ass each time I play it. Does my chess brain grow muscles from the exercise or merely callouses?

My mind snaps a picture of me, somewhat lost and a little blue, sitting over a chess set. My chess is a symptom of undiagnosed and untreated maladies. Let’s lump the maladies together and call them melancholy, a melancholy that seems part of an hopeless romanticism.

I am not alone in starting the day like this. Chess players all over the world start their day sitting at their computers either at work or at home and contemplate the next move, or play a game or two of Blitz so they can get their chess fixes in. We share the excitement of making the first move of the day. Games will be one or lost, yet we are uncertain as to which ones.

The day is supposed to be warm again. I wonder who might be at the North Avenue chess pavilion along the lake today. I could take my set there. I could possibly play games all day, losing myself in them, not caring whether I win or lose.

As soon as I think about it, the desire fades because it contradicts something just below consciousness I cannot as yet discern. I have a feeling this will be a day dedicated to words. Whether they will be part of genuine work or more idle play I cannot tell.

The day wears on. The coffee and cigarettes taste good to me.

Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 9:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Taxes and dust

I prepared my taxes at the last moment yesterday afternoon. Once again, the IRS gave me an haircut. A few minutes after I filed them, my sister informed me that one of our uncles had died.

His wish was to be cremated without ceremony or remembrance. He was a damned fine man in his plain way. I won’t forget him nor will those who knew him. So much for the remembrance part. Ceremonies consist of rituals, yet they are products of the heart.

We are dust, but magnificent dust all the same.

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 11:36 am  Comments (1)  

Monday morning

I wake. The sun rising over the lake floods the room with bright light. I turn my head. Her face lies inches next to mine. I want to wake her, but I kiss her forehead instead. She stirs, then falls back to sleep.

Her cab is barely out of sight when my heart begins to sink. I want to be with her. I miss her already. I begin to think about what it would be like if I would never see her again. I stand at the precipice of a bottomless chasm as if gazing at a primordial abyss.

She loves me. That is more than I have earned or deserve. I am more than lucky to have had these days and nights with her. The abyss fades from view. I imagine her lying next to me again. The sun on this Monday morning seems to have emanated from her.

Published in: on April 14, 2008 at 8:49 am  Leave a Comment