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Poverty and the Brutal Fog

BrutalFogWithTreesThis is not the life I envisioned for myself. My checking account has a -$324.78 balance. My gas tank light is on and I can’t fill it until I get paid, which means I can’t sign up for shifts at the courier company I work for until I get paid on Tuesday, but that first paycheck may not even get me out of the hole, and rent is due on Friday.

I’ve had to ask for money from the man who asked me for a divorce. The rest of the money coming to me is tied up with lawyers. I’ve subsisted now for months on Ten-forTen-Dollars groceries. I’ve eaten canned raviolis for the first time since childhood. I make canned chili with rice several nights a week. I salt it heavily.

I made the humbling choice of looking into food stamps, though I’m told I’m paid too well to qualify.

PTSD has pushed me into a dark panicked corner. How can I be this broke working seven days a week? The math has defeated me. I’ve worked a long tangled string of entry level jobs so that I could write. But the 95%-completed-memoir I wrote was untrue, or missed an enormous truth, all to protect a man who never had my interest at heart. Or I worked a long string of entry-level jobs because I felt most comfortable aiming low. Or both.

I hate writing this. I hate how this could be used against me, but my only guiding star these days is the ugly truth, because that star shines on other men, trapped in their self-made bunkers, unable to trust in the love offered to them, nursing ancient wounds around which their entire lives have formed, like a tree absorbing a piece of broken fence.

They’re out there, dim stars in a black sky, solitary, gleaming, protecting their soft, faltering light.

Tomorrow I’ll shower the stink of this brutal fog off me, dress in clean clothes, and drive with my gas light on to the building downtown where I’ll begin to learn foreign languages that drive our devices and therefore our lives. In a few months I’ll take an internship, and this time next year I hope to have landed a job that will pull me out of this swamp.

I could fail. My fuzzy, addled brain, cluttered with the 24/7 fear intimately known by all men in bunkers, may fumble with these foreign languages. But it’s worth a shot. I don’t know how much lower I could go – I’d rather not find out.

7 Replies to “Poverty and the Brutal Fog”

  1. If you email me how to get it to you… I can send you a small donation. ( I do wish it were more) Your writing is and has always been instrumental to my growth, and wellness. I am grateful to hear you when you write and although I can’t give a ton, I can give you something. (I am also sure I am not the only one who could do this..) And no shame in this. It is as important for us to be those who receive as it is to be the ones who give. I am both on a variety of occasions.

    1. Daigan, thank you. I spent the night last night arguing over email and text with a couple of friends who wanted to help in the same way. It’s not easy for me to accept help, especially financially. And I know that you don’t have an enormous surplus of cash to share with others. But I’m going to try and be honor your request to help. My paypal email address is mikemcallister@mac.com. In exchange I’d love to buy you coffee anytime we’re in the same city. Thank you my friend.

  2. Liked your writting. Found you on other online sites. Relocated from SF as well. Interested in coffee. Maybe help any way I can alongside. Shoot me a line and give us the opportunity to meet each other and help during the process.


  3. Okay – I understand that you feel ‘odd’ about taking donations. I feel odd not being able to donate enough to you to erase your bank balance deficit. I guess that’s the breaks. At least you may be able to buy enough gas so that you can take additional courier runs.

    I’ve been following you since before Columbia, through Columbia; through your return to SF, Joe, and now whatever I can glean from your postings.
    Perhaps I’m living vicariously, but there you go!

    So please take my slight donation (it’s in Paypal) and use it wherever you think best.

    I still have this urge to help you thorough this situation as much as I can – and this seems to be the only way I have available.


  4. Dear Michael:
    I have checked up on you for quite a while. I worry when you don’t post for a long time.

    I can’t compare our struggles with betrayal, fucking nasty abuse, incest, etc. but I have endured some similar shit and struggle with trying to become a free person.

    I think it is may be possible but not for me. There are some things that one has to incorporate in a way that doesn’t interfere with every day life.

    Now, that is crazy, I know.

    But…everyday life is really crazy. Really crazy….even without the impetus of nutso family shit.

    When I listen to people (I am good at listening or appearing as if I am listening) it amazes me that the notion of some kind of normality is prevalent.

    I wish you well Michael…and that cute little dog too.

  5. Thanks for sharing and know that you are helping others because even though you may feel like it, you aren’t alone. Dr. Sanja Gupta did a special on CNN – Weed in three parts. Part 3 highlights how medical marijuana is helping vets with PTSD. At night is suppresses nightmares and allows for quality and restful sleep. During the day it focuses the mind on the moment and stops it from spinning memories. Its a specific type/chemical makeup that aides PTSD. Maybe this can help you.

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