THE EDITOR WRITES: The Pilgrim is going quarterly. That’s right. Four issues a year.
We did not take this decision lightly. In fact it we didn’t take it at all. Reality - that abrupt and generous tutor – took it for us. Subscribers and regular readers will have noticed, over the past year or so, both an increase in the size of each issue and a slowing-down in the rate of production. These two phenomena are of course related: the bigger and more cap...
Most of the writing that goes into this magazine is produced on Tuesday mornings, at the weekly meeting of the Black Seed Writers Group; some of it reaches us by other means. Brother Roland Cantwell, Dorchester visionary and self-described “senior-in-exile,” has been contributing to The Pilgrim via the US mail for five years. Despite having never manifested physically in our space, he is a member (with honors) of the Black Seed Writers Group and a...
Along the banks of the Charles River I jumped awake at zero-dark-thirty. I sat upright in my surplus army sleeping bag thinking I have to get work. I don’t like being late. It took a second for me to realize that I haven’t had a job since I got laid off a few years ago.
The itch is still with me. The feelings of guilt and responsibility and the drive that I have to be somewhere: But I don’t have to be anywhere in homelessland. The itch i...
I have seen what it's like
to live in a cage
at a zoo.
I have seen what it's like
to live in a fishbowl too.
Can you see what prison does to you?
Locked in a 4 x 12,
it's almost like living in
a caged-in hell.
You try to escape the shouts
of somebody saying Please
help me please...
My cellmate is doing bad things to me.
The CO's think it's funny.
Well, this man
is stabbing me just for money.
Maybe it's something else -
maybe he's tryin...
Since our last issue, we have lost two Pilgrim regulars -- one to illness and one to violence. As writers, Ned Carleton and Frank Brescia had very different styles. Ned, magnificently transplanted highbrow, loved to hover over an idea, especially a bad idea. Week after week
he would perform -- in his immaculate and winningly splenetic prose -- what amounted to small acts of cultural hygiene. "More Dumb Ideas About The Computer" was the title of on...
THE EDITOR WRITES:Which is worse: too much reality, or not enough? The actual, the present tense, landing on you like a grand piano – or the sensation that meaning itself is being degraded and washed away by the forces of illusion? At the moment we seem to be experiencing both. The current political vortex, if not quite a theme in January’s Pilgrim, is certainly a recurring concern. It’s a concern everywhere, of course, but at this magazine we’ve...
I will not go silently into the night,
throw in the towel, give in my plight.
I will endure my struggle,
the one inside...
This sounds good
but it’s not really true,
because I'm alone in my head
and I don’t know what to do.
That elixir I drink is what I seek,
a temporary light to shine at all that is bleak.
Everything will be dimmer then,
but I feel so weak.
I know where this road leads,
and I know how I’ll feel -
but like a guinea pig,
I got back to Boston 25 days ago, and in the 2 years that I've been gone not much has changed. The people here are still the same, how they look down on the homeless, give them dirty looks and talk about them under their breath. They still think they're better than us. But they're not. And that's why I get so disgusted sometimes that I just shake my head and laugh, because they will never change, no matter what. Maybe we should just push the butto...
When you start to write, really write, write about what matters, you learn that the words, if you wait for them, will come to you. Delicately or urgently, they will make their approach. The writer sits there with language flickering around him or her like a nervous element, darting, volatile, fastidious sometimes, but always seeking relationship. It won’t be pushed. It won’t be hurried. You want to say something, to express some image or idea that...
It's neck and neck, everywhere you look: the bad keeping pace with the good, the losses staying right on top of the gains, exhaustion loping coolly and watchfully alongside strength, the chaos-makers breasting the tape next to the peace-bringers. And look inside yourself, because it's neck and neck there too: every loving impulse matched to its
perfectly-tailored reversal. So how do you stay ahead, when destruction is pulling level?...
To be in touch with one’s feelings... That’s a shortcut to destruction, surely. Feelings are bigger than us. Feelings can kill us. Feelings don’t care about our feelings. They are not to be got in touch with – they are to be feared, denied, evaded. Eliminated, if you can manage it. Feelings are dangerous.
But you get older, and you begin to understand that the dangerousness of a feeling is really only the sincerity of its longing to be granted s...
15 years ago today, I got married. I loved this man. I wasn’t a perfect person or wife, but I took the vows seriously. The saddest part is that other people tried to destroy it and us at the same time. I hope you’re well and going to meetings. For old time’s sake: Happy Anniversary. Today I woke up in a homeless shelter. No family, no husband, no dogs or cats. Sad. But I did start the day with an AA meeting, so the day started right. Yesterday I...