Tag Archives: mania

A 2-year pattern

Since I’m awake, I thought I’d write about this discovery.

I’ve been reading old journals.  This is something I wrote in July 2005:


I’ve been having rather dramatic mood swings lately. I wake up in the morning a raging egomaniac, convinced that a dozen easy paths to fame and riches lie open to me. In the afternoon I am steeped in self-recrimination, preoccupied by some idiotic thing I said five years ago. In the evening I am inspired to dip my feet in the creek and sit for an hour, mesmerized and moved to tears by the beauty of the moonlight on the water. At night I lie awake, breathing the unloving darkness in gasps, bone-lonesome ’til I sleep.

That was 2005.  There were a lot of journal entries from that fall.

Of course, I didn’t recognize this as mania at the time.  I didn’t know I was bipolar until 2007, when I had my first full-blown manic episode.  An episode that resulted in many things, including the dramatic explosion of my life in New York.

Then go back to fall/winter of 2003/4, and I find most of the poetry I ever wrote.  Which is significant because hypertextuality is a hallmark symptom of mania.  Rhyming, punning, and spontaneously beginning to write poetry,  even for people who have had no previous interest in poetry, are all quite typical symptoms of a manic episode.

Fast-forward to 2009, and I find my second full-manic episode, which, though less dramatic overall, led to the commission of a crime thatlanded me in prison for a year.

So my discovery is this:  2003, 2005, 2007, 2009.  It seems to happen every other year, towards the fall.

The Birds

It’s six o’clock.  I know this because the birds are chirping.  Foggily.  Then, suddenly, as clear as a thousand living bells.  Oh my god!  I’m awake!  The birds woke me!  I love these birds.  They live in the bamboo.  They’re so small you have to really look to see one, but they congregate in their thousands and make a joyful noise each six o’clock in the morning.

How long did I sleep?  Ambien and whiskey was at three.  Three hours then?  Plenty.  I look at the clock.  It’s six o’clock, indeed.

I seem to be completely naked.  Obviously, this was the correct way to be.  Pants, however, might also be correct.  I locate a pair.  My favorites!  With the rainbow punk belt already threaded!  Shit yes!  It’s a sign.  I was meant to wear pants.

First things first.  A cigarette.  On the roof, I think.  No! Wait! Yes!  Poem!

First things first.  I composed a poem last night before sleep.  I’m shocked that it stuck around through the ambien and whiskey in my head.  Am I still drunk?  Never mind.  Write it down.

First things first.  All the first things.  All of them First.  I climb out onto the roof, wearing my pants, smoking a cigarette, carrying my journal, where I sit, intent.  Oh!  The birds feel good under my bare feet.  The shingles give goosebumps to my chest.  The chill air is singing mightily.  The poem:

she was a ghost with

water for breath

fuming and sputtering brain-things

yet wordless.


was an earth-creature

at home

in the mud or wet sand


to stay in and chew through the dictionary

everyone has to start somewhere,

he thought.

and she kissed him.

and he drowned.


Was that it?  No.  The one last night was better.  I remember!  It was a song.  So I write a song about star-crossed lovers being eaten by lions.  It was a story.  So I write a story about, it comes to pass, nothing at all.  It’s after eight now and I’ve been writing for 2 straight hours.  The shingles feel good under my bare feet and the birds have stopped their singing and air has warmed up and I’m no longer shivering and this roof is obviously the correct place to be.

Then again, there are pedestrians down there.  Are they looking at me?  Never mind.  They’re clearly on their ways to places.  Like work.  And breakfast.  Also, on reflection, correct places.

In a flash of inspired motion, I’m on the street.  Equipped now with sandals and a t-shirt and a twenty-dollar bill and always my everlovin journal.  And I’m walk-popping, hop-loping toward the coffee shop, intent.  But distractible.

Is this a Beautiful Fucking Day?  I’m gobsmacked by beauty.  If I close my eyes, I’ll melt.  I close them.  Because I don’t melt, I laugh.  Some lady on the sidewalk is looking at me funny because I was laughing with my eyes shut.  I say Hi, Nice shoes!

Now who’s the smarty-pants?

Nothing around me seems real.  The trees, the people, the storefronts, all seem like hyper-realistic simulations of the real thing.  High-definition renderings of such exquisite similitude that I would have to bite things to prove them false.   Which I refrain from doing only because the thought has reminded me that I really want to bite some real breakfast.

All the rest of the way to (My Favorite) coffeeshop, I pay special attention to the realness of things.  Things are really substantial, after all.  They are Made of other Things.  Buildings are made of mortar and such.  People are made of their parents and food.  Even the air has been created and it’s practically a solid if you think of it.

Before I can go in and get my bagel I have to write down an inspiration.

Must research density of ordinary things.  What is the density of air?  Flesh? Cement? Compare to the vacuum of space & core of the sun.  How would it be to chew each of these things?  Plot densities logarithmically.

I get my bagel.  Cream cheese.  Tomato.  Salt and pepper.  It isn’t like New York, I think.  I think that every time.  But it’s still really fucking good.  This is so correct.  The day is so beautiful.  And it’s just beginning.  I’m sitting outside, eating and sipping my coffee and scribbling and smoking and feeding crumbs to the birds.