Where would we be without our good friends? We may as well be dead without them.

Published in: on June 28, 2008 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  


V and I are going to the Cubs/White Sox baseball game together tomorrow at Sox park. We went to the Cubs/Sox game together last Saturday at Wrigley. I showed her how to score the game on a scorecard. As you can well imagine, she is the quickest study I ever met. She even learned the most important thing on her own when the game was only halfway through: everybody has their own style and system of doing it.

V and I have been to several baseball games together this year. You can’t beat fun at the ballpark with V.

Published in: on June 27, 2008 at 10:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Casual chess

I played chess against friends all afternoon and far into the night yesterday. There is something uniquely pleasant about a competitive and gregarious casual chess game with friends that soothes raw emotions. The game takes control of the body. To me it is like a welcome drug at times.

Actually, that is kind of how I met V. She asked me whether I could help her with her chess game. I have not helped her much so far, yet we have many more chess games to play and analyze. I love playing chess with V whether she is playing me or I am helping her against the computer chess software.

Life is never about the big events. It is about the small pleasures, kindnesses, and generosities that accumulate over the years. We would be nothing without them.

Published in: on June 27, 2008 at 10:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Quitting Smoking Live Blogging

Here we go. I just smoked the last cigarette in the pack. I’ve quit for a whole minute and feel fine.

Published in: on June 26, 2008 at 11:12 am  Comments (4)  

Quitting smoking: volume II

I’m well into my smoking routine again. I am going to give quitting another shot today after I finish the pack sitting beside the computer and coffee. It felt really good for a few weeks not being a two pack a day smoker. V was proud of me. That counted for a lot.

If I could smoke in moderation as some people can, I would not think about quitting. My addictions are never in moderation. Naturally, I started smoking again one night when I had been drinking quite heavily. One cigarette always leads to a two pack a day habit with me. I tried to hide it from everyone–an impossible venture.

Today is maybe not the best day to try because I am more melancholy than I have been in many years. Actually, I am seriously depressed. However, I also feel in dire need of regaining some self esteem. Quitting smoking is such a hard motherfucker. If I can do it again, that ought to make a good start with the self esteem I desperately crave.

The one thing about quitting smoking is that the only thing on my mind for about a week are cigarettes. I never thought that would be a good thing, but now it seems a blessing. 🙂

Published in: on June 26, 2008 at 10:00 am  Comments (1)  


I’m rereading Herodotus’ Histories again. I read it for the first time while vacationing at Virginia Beach. I thought it a good beach read, but did not think much more about it. The second time I read it, I acquired a taste for it. It is a good study in hubris. The gods punish us for it. I also like his take on fate: even the gods cannot harness and control fate for long.

Published in: on June 26, 2008 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Bud for breakfast

The Budweiser for breakfast yesterday was a really bad idea. I won’t be trying it again anytime soon if ever.

Oh well, I am an old fool who has never learned much. I wonder what life would be like without drinking.

Published in: on June 26, 2008 at 7:17 am  Leave a Comment  

The tough, poetry, and mobile blogging

My Dearest State Street Readers,

When the going gets tough and the noise from the construction sites have given the tough a migraine headache by noon, the tough take a favorite poetry anthology in hand, and get the Hell out of Dodge. And what better book to take than A Book of Luminous Things edited with commentary by Czeslaw Milosz?

Oh, I discovered WordPress mobile blogging yesterday. It ain’t fancy. Mostly suitable for postcards sent from an iPhone or such. But we don’t feel like writing, or reading for that matter, any long thing. We are just too strung out. We might be mobile blogging live for awhile at State Street.

Let’s stay in touch.



Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 12:13 pm  Comments (1)  

Europe trip

She wrote me and invited me to go to Europe with her this fall. I cannot imagine any woman who knows me as she does inviting me to go to Europe with her after seeing me once in almost seven years. She must have fucked up her medication when she wrote me. Otherwise, I am totally perplexed.

Oh, wait. I have money.

Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Breakfast, etc.

Coffee, cigarettes, potato chips, and Budweiser was my breakfast. By the way, Budweiser is not the name of anything but a beer. The brand name was coined because it was thought to appeal to Americans and German immigrants both. It worked.

God, I am so totally fucked. I mean, a grown man writing this shit down for people to read.

Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 10:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Germany vs. Turkey

Euro 2008 is coming to a close. Germany plays Turkey today in a semi-final match. Germany is a huge favorite. I wonder. I just wonder if the long odds against Turkey are justified. I am going to find out the hard way by betting on Turkey. For you Chicago fans, the broadcast starts at 1:45 on ESPN.

Happy wagering!

Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 10:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Things that won’t come true

Listen to her play Moonlight Sonata for me. Watch her ivory hands caress the keys. Drive aimlessly out west with her, enjoying each others company. Drive to Iowa, for that matter, to meet my family. Take my sister aside and say isn’t she the perfect woman? Dine with her friends. Help her strip her walls in her new condo. Be the first man she takes to bed with her there in her new place. Finish watching Battlestar Galactica and Family Guy together. Revel anymore in her kisses. See the way she once looked at me.

I hate dreams.

Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 8:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Get over it; not hardly

Let’s face it. This blog became a blog about V and me. Now that we are no longer romantically involved (still friends though) what should I write about? I have never been able to write a damned thing on this blog except for what was on my mind at the time. There lies the dilemma: V is still on my mind. I want to write about V and me even though there is no longer any V and me as I knew it. I will indulge my urge and desire and write about her anyway. I have nothing but praises to say about her so it can’t be that bad. Can it?

First of all, I woke in my bed this morning alone. Yes, I lit a cigarette first thing. My first coherent thought was of V. Would I see her tonight? Then reality set in. Even though I will see her again at times, it won’t be the way it was, and most of the time I won’t know when it will be.

I will also never wake next to her. She will never again nestle her head in my shoulder in bed. I won’t see her pull on her blue jeans before heading home to get ready for work. I won’t walk down to the street with her in the morning and kiss her goodbye before she she gets in a cab.

Then there was her kisses. Kisses to die for. No woman ever kissed me as well as she; no woman ever will. And of course, I was more sexually attracted to her than any woman I ever met. Just being in the same room as her is an incredible sexual experience.

My days were totally and completely filled with the expectation of the next time we would be together. My future was with her.

We will see each other again still. Of that I am more than grateful. Strangers and friends will notice something odd about us. They will intuit I love her passionately, yet also realize the feeling is not reciprocal. I hope they do not pity me. It is better to love passionately than not at all.

Then there will be the first time when I see her or hear of her with another man. That is going to hurt beyond belief. I’ll down my shots of Maker’s Mark faster. Try my best to anesthetize my emotions.

I know this is the age of get over it, move on. Distance yourself from a former love as quickly as you can. But that ain’t me. I don’t want to get over V. And even though I can move on today with someone else, I don’t want to. I reveled in my love when things went well. I will revel in my love now that things have gone badly.

Damn, I remember V’s kisses all to well. I don’t want to forget.

Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 8:26 am  Leave a Comment  

End of the line

OK, I will get this out of the way. V and I are no longer romantically involved. I hurt her deeply. She rightly and justifiably wants to break it off. I wish I had the heart and courage to tell the details, but I don’t.

She still wants to be my friend. She has a big, kind, and generous heart. Her offer of friendship is way more than I deserve.

My heart is crushed. Her love was the most special thing in my life, ever. I brought on this pain, a pain that will continue until the day I die. From now on my pain will be my own concern and nobody else.

Life goes on. Or maybe, just a pale imitation of life goes on?

Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 11:47 am  Comments (3)  

The end of the story

I met my friend Randy at the North Avenue chess pavilion. He was kind enough to play against me although his game was always superior to mine. We spent long summer days at the chess pavilion and winter nights at each others apartment playing chess. We eventually told each other our life stories–two old men swapping tales hunched over a chessboard.

I got to the part about the great love of my life. I started from the beginning when I met her at a Chicago bar in the mid-Seventies and tried to recount all the wonderful times with her, times I thought would never end. I continued all the way with my story until just before the end. What is the end of the story? he said. Come on, you know me well enough by now to guess. I hurt her deeply; she left, I said. I can imagine; you can spare me the details, he said.

Randy died not long ago. I am an old man alone now except for summer when I still make it to the chess pavilion for a game or two. I don’t win often. My chess mind is almost gone.

Whatever stories I have left to tell will be told to the grave.

Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 9:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Dreams, pain, and damage

I’ve had these recurring dreams since I met V. In my dreams I am continually trying to find her. When I catch up with her, she disappears. As I mentioned early this morning, I could not sleep last night. I finally managed to drop off for two hours sleep. I had my most vivid dream of V ever. I was searching for her, but this time when I found her she did not disappear. She stood before me bathed in sunlight and more beautiful than I ever imagined a woman could be.

My dreams, I either don’t have them often, or don’t remember them at all, seldom synchronize with my desires. They exploit my fears, or they envision a happiness too good to ever come true. I am not tempted to reflect long today about my dreams based on my reading of Freud or other scientific literature. I would rather make my own call.

I spend a lot of my time during the day dreaming, drifting, and indulging in wistful thinking. Even at the worst moments, I try to control a world I make my own. At night though, the dreams are all too often nightmares or at the borderline of nightmares. I don’t claim that my daytime reveries crowd out nighttime dreams, but it is a relief that I don’t dream at night if the dreams will be mostly troubling.

My bad dreams refresh me more than my good dreams. There is nothing like a bad dream to make me feel more refreshed in the morning than usual. Still, I can live with the fatigue at the expensive of a bad dream.

On the really bad days though, I cannot drift and dream at will if at all. I live in a nightmare from which it seems I will never wake. If there was a Hell, maybe that is what it would be like–one long continuous eternal nightmare.

I have a feeling these somber thoughts will not release me today. I must get out of here soon. The construction noise is beginning in the neighborhood. Today it is more taunting than usual. This is a day for reading about the exotic and the ordinary with attached commentary about events, people, and places. Herodotus seems as if he might do the trick for me.

I have it good. I am unfettered from normal work and family contact. I can escape by myself and don’t have to carry my burdens in front of people all day. One might even consider that the ultimate luxury. As far as mental health goes, it counts as premium medical care.

Most of all, this a day to reflect about the pain I have caused and damage I have done. After all, we create our own nightmares, for they seldom come unbidden.

Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 9:08 am  Leave a Comment  

First Light

I woke at 1:30. I really did not want to. I sat in my chair and tried to read myself to sleep. Now, it is past four. The city seems silent. That’s just relative though to the noise that will all too soon begin again at the construction sites surrounding me.

The chess set V gave me for my birthday sits beside the table where I write these words. The pieces are set to a game an opponent postponed for over two weeks. His profile states he is a Gambiteer and good at it. I played my King’s Gambit against him anyway. He is better than me. He’ll beat me, but not as easily as he thinks.

Chess seems an abstract game far beyond my comprehension. I seem incomprehensible to myself even in my simplicity.

The first light begins to illuminate the tops of the buildings around me.  I cannot sleep.

Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 4:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Old Man

I am an old man. I am sitting alone in the dark, drinking Bud, and smoking Camel non-filter cigarettes. (I know, earlier in the day, I said I would not be a smoker again. What I did not say is that was contingent upon how well my day would go.)

I have sat here, just like this, for so many nights it seems as if I arrived at my destination. And I have. I kept hoping such was not the case. You cannot blame a person for hoping.

Unless you are young, this city is not made for you–an old man sitting alone in the dark, drinking Bud, and smoking non-filter Camel cigarettes.

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quitting smoking

I’ve smoked a few times since I supposedly “quit.” I want a cigarette right now in the worst way. But I don’t have any. I ain’t going to give in today to smoking though. Nor tomorrow. Nor the days after. That is what I keep telling myself. I just won’t smoke again no matter how weak willed I am. I will do this one thing right from here on out. I simply must.

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Tattered baggage

I commenced writing shortly after I woke this morning. After more than six years of doing it, the habit is well ingrained. When a habit controls one’s life and does not produce anything of value, such as my writing produces nothing of value, shouldn’t one break the habit? What is the borderline between habit and compulsion?

What I really want to do this morning is run away–get in a car and start driving about the country with no destination in mind. I would not take my laptop computer. This blog would indeed become a collection of postcards sent via my iPhone from wherever I landed during a day’s journey. One good book to read slowly, such as Herodotus’ Histories, would suffice for the journey.

What I really want to do is run away from myself. Unfortunately, I will always be stuck with the tattered baggage called Lynn.

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 9:39 am  Leave a Comment  


Let’s pretend V and I are no more. Let’s not worry about why or the details. The first thing I notice is that her ghost haunts my rooms. Ghosts don’t listen though. You cannot touch them. Their job is to remind of what might have been and lacerate hearts.

Suppose this time I refuse to let a ghost do the kind of damage to me as some have in the past. I truly must get on the road, and travel as far away from my failures and faults as I possibly can, Only strangers and alien places can keep me from recollecting too much. I want to be a stranger in a crowd or alone on the prairie lost in the immense expanse of the sky and plain. Let ghosts chase me rather than me them.

I wish memory was not attached to emotion and desire. What an accursed thing memory can be.

What would feel better today: the cold rain that fell upon me this early morning or the sun warming the ugly lump of flesh I call my body? Nothing will console should V be gone. Whether her absence is idle reverie or brutal reality of that I am certain.

Published in: on June 22, 2008 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  


June 22, 2008. Summer has just begun. The days are getting shorter. The descent into the dark cold days has begun. For some of us, the dark season reflects our souls. I wish more than anything I could change who I am–turn the darkness into light, project some warmth. I never get it right when I try. Some demons seem as though they can never be expelled.

Living with who I am is the hardest thing. I do my best to forget most of the time, but on the worst of my days, I recall I am who I think I ain’t.

Published in: on June 22, 2008 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Meandering: The Delighted States

I read Richard Eder’s NYT book review of Adam Thirlwell’s The Delighted States. The review piqued my interest in the book, a quirky homage to some novels, their authors, styles, translations, and translators. Then I read Michael Dirda’s review of the book in The Washington Post. Whatever the merits of Dirda’s review, he slapped Thirlwell in the face.

I started reading the book yesterday. I’m through the introductory part. I am enjoying the read so far. Thirlwell meanders, drifts, and dreams in the world of novels.

The book feels like the perfect summer read for me. Who can predict what the solitary reader might enjoy?

Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 11:17 am  Leave a Comment  

New love; old text

A new love affair is like rereading a valued text. We search for new meaning in our desires. Each emotion begs for reinterpretation. New propositions present themselves. We seek their conformity with reality–their truth or falsity–or whether they are lies we tell ourselves and others to maintain our most cherished and needy desires.

We ask ourselves whether this time we’ll get it right.

Published in: on June 19, 2008 at 12:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Distracting the lonely

V’s schedule and mine do not mesh this week until the weekend. I miss her badly when I am without her for two days. More days than that seem interminable.

They are drilling across the street at the condo construction site. The noise is deafeningly painful. It crushes any other thoughts. I mean it. All I can think of is going someplace much more quiet.

My first notion is to grab my copy of Modern Chess Openings, my pocket chess set, my iPhone, and go someplace quiet to study and play chess on the Internet. In fact, I can just take my iPhone sans book and chess set and play until my heart is content should I want. Or there is the chess pavilion at North Avenue beach. I could grab my big chess set and find as many games as I want against real live human players.

What it would amount to is something distracting me from the loneliness I feel without V. I think about what life would be like if V left me. I have a feeling MCO and my chess set would be my companions more than now. Being a chess bum would occupy my time. I’d muddle through. Life would go on, lonely to be sure. But would pouring through MCO’s dense algebraic notion and terse commentary console? No.

There are no consolations for lost love. One must travel the long road of forgetting until love is far out of sight as if it were only a wonderful dream to good to be true.

Published in: on June 18, 2008 at 9:38 am  Leave a Comment