Managing My Anger, or, The Hell With Jane Eyre

Watching my anger and irritability for which I must take responsibility: “this thing of darkness I acknowledge mine” as Prospero says in The Tempest.

I mean, what the hell is the Jane Eyre deal? It’s almost as if she needs to bring Rochester down because he’s such a self-sufficient stud: but my Father taught me to be an SSS. I wanted to be a self-sufficient stud especially given the tap-dance the nuns pulled on my head in school, in which I was taught fear.

And as it happens La Eyre merely recreates a phallus in herself becoming a successful individual same as Rochester. I find that absurd, and three-card monte if women are just gonna be assholes like men.

Other things that burn my ass…kids on bikes that don’t even see me in my new frailty, young whippersnappers. My own kids. I asked them today to reply, if only with a word or two, immediately to my emails. Boy, is that gonna get me in trouble for it’s basically the truth in my family that I abdicated in 1981 and therefore am not even its constitutional monarch…can say nothing admonitory.

But I don’t recall signing on to that deal. I had no Wallis Simpson and was no Hitler sympathizer. I felt I was still a father with new responsibilities for supporting my household and the kids as well but Hollywood has decided that this role is somewhat louche. You get no credit, according to Chris Rock, for paying the court ordered payment.

Well, whatever. Frankly I give myself a lot of credit for doing so as well as meeting a payroll (that of my helper) through my economic troubles of 2010/2011.

On a different note, my usage statistics indicate that many people may be coming here because I’m talking about cancer and feelings around cancer, but get put off by my sentence structure and elaborate cultural references.

This can’t be helped. I would only say that you can Google the references easily these days. The fact is that I find that my cultural depth, going back for example to the Wanderer, helps me to deal.

This is contrary to the pseudo-Authenticity of much writing about illness and recovery. It is the fashion for the sufferer to abandon as vanity her college professor hood (cf Emma Thompson in Wit) and become Simple and Good.

Which is good. The message of the Passion of Christ and Suffering in Buddhism is that in pain we are all one. No doubt, if the end approaches despite my efforts to be a cancer survivor, I shall also become, hopefully, as a child. The fact is that regressing to happy thoughts of being in hospital as a little kid helped me deal on May 31 with going into hospital the first time.

But at the present moment, in the Now, I am not looking for a literary agent to sell this my story. If one came along with a hefty advance, that’d be great for me and the kids, but I’d guess that the first thing an agent would want me to do is dumb down. Like Bartelby, I prefer not to dumb down.

Back to anger management…with my (apparently non cancer related) back pain, the Chinese are even more irritating than they already were to me. The constant crowding, the clangor of their impossible language. Their impassivity, thick faces. The fact that I’m a minority here. Standing in queues, which we do a lot of here, can be very tiring with sciatica.

Sometimes I just want to explode.

But today I had an errand at the bank. I dread these in-person errands to the bank since you stand in a long line as a non-Premier or Advantage customer. Once at the former Nathan Road HSBC I spent two hours in queue.

The Causeway Bay branch in 2005 had take a number and comfy chairs. But guess what: HSBC ripped out the chairs and went back to a queue. It appears some sort of crazy nuts Market had developed in the take a number system, and that makes me crazy: everything here’s a market and there’s no way to even sit-down without buying something, almost no public space.

But the main branch today (in the Norman Solomon landmark at Statue Square) had a special queue for old people and people just out of the hospital and everything went fine.

Grin and bear it? No…just know it, how dark it is. I chose to live here and while the Chinese drive me crazy nuts, they are a polite, commercial and philosophical folk. There’s no religious zeal here outside of Victoria Park on Sunday (when Indonesian maids gather in hijab) which results in a sort of standoffish amity between cultures. And Hong Kongers despise the mainlanders for their materialism and cynicism, so oddly sorted that cynicism is with a willed belief in Beijing’s lies…most recently about Li WangYang, a Tiananmen Sq/June 4 dissident who was said to have hanged himself but was in fact murdered.

This story was covered up by the major local paper (The South China Morning Post).

My fellow poets at Joyce Is Not Here knew all the facts because every other HK paper carried the story two weeks ago. The South China Morning Post is as irrelevant to reality as is the Chicago Tribune.


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