• Joseph Kolb

One Job to the Next


In Princess Mononoke the wolf god tells her adopted daughter, ‘You know, that boy wanted to share his life with you.’ I find myself constantly (‘constantly’) being him. Ready to give everything to fight for greater love; to disarm conflict; to avoid the self. And yet the film will always end the same. I’m convinced Ashitaka is a Taurus (loyalty; neutrality; swallowing hate), but what would San be? Remember her reply: ‘I hate him! I hate all humans!’

Being in New York can/will help me get over being afraid/embarrassed/


timid, because no one gives a fuck. There are so many people that if they do, you’ll soon be lost to them. I feel stupid writing on a legal pad on the subway, but why?

Yesterday at Smut Slam (@ Under St. Mark’s Theatre) JF sat next to me and wrote things down throughout the sets. DN proudly showcased his scrapbook journal while we got ice cream. Shame comes from within and projects onto others. Hate also resides within but can be birthed from any thing, driven inward to create energy that may or may not be used.

I have noticed more men on the subway begging for money in the form of irritating. I’ll explain:

‘Does anyone have 92 cents? I live upstate and ran out of my antibiotics last night, and just need 92 cents. I’m this close to getting out of this and it’s just 92 cents so just give me something.’ It’s not a whine,


but like a verbal eye roll. As if we, those sitting in the car, have demanded that he plead to us for money, and also ensured to him that the likelihood of any return is guaranteed to be minimal. I don’t blame them for it.

My freshman-year roommate spoke several times of a book he read (non-fiction; memoir?) about a man who, at the beginning of a new year, started at nothing and tried to reach financial security before the year’s end. He was unsuccessful. NR wanted to try that, in his thirties maybe, he said, (when he himself would be secure enough to take a risk-reduced experiment in human suffering; adversity? I’m sorry.) NR is from Colorado and studied book publishing. It’s hard not to take his interest in this as coming from a place of privilege, as if I don’t come from a place of privilege.


[I think privilege and suffering are not mutually exclusive. Or suffering comes in many forms. I don’t know. People are good at creating hells for themselves, is what I’m trying to say.]

Trying to/only being able to understand something by experiencing it — I recognize this as being a fault of mine. Is this a fault? What I mean is, needing to form care/concern/interest.

Sometimes I make myself out to be a completely un-empathetic person, which scares the shit out of me. This is because of overthinking. I think recently I have experienced release from this all, mostly, surprisingly, during my mornings as barista.

(Sam walks in, Sam walks in every day. Sam must be a businessman with retirement on the horizon. I like Sam but sometimes I think Sam is so pleasant that he must ruin people’s lives when he goes to his real-person job. Sam orders a triple-shot cortado, whole milk. Today I am steaming his milk, and Sam says, ‘Must be working hard today. [a beat] You’re all so quiet and fast back there — you guys are like robots!’)

The only way I can describe it is as viewing it all, everything, as if through the scope of a rifle which is simultaneously all past and possible future. Presentness feels like setting down the gun and looking up.

My life had stood a loaded gun, right?

But I’ll be carrying my self away.

#princessmononoke #subway #work #shame #thoughts #suffering #newyork #privilege #newyorkcity #barista


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