Friday, February 13, 2009

(part 137) PUZZLE MAN


I was a puzzle. A bunch of different experiential pieces that were totally dissimilar to the experiences of those in the world around me. Pieces by themselves, unassembled, which did not portray in any cohesive way a picture of my collective self.

These pieces were in a box in my head, and they just sat there. Occasionally a new piece was added to the box, confusing further any clear notion of what the pieces would represent, should they ever be joined together forming a single character.

A human set of fragments, strewn across the filthy floor of my own house of demons. Cascading emotions and super charged flashbacks flowing in an endless array of deadly memories through my mind and body.

To see me sitting almost perfectly still you would not have guessed that I was engulfed in the kind of turmoil I was in. I would have appeared at ease to any onlooker, even comfortable, while in truth I was not even present.

The shades and textures of a human being are created and changed over time by all that they have been and now are. The social continuity of a culture is born out of the collective similarities of everyday experience.

But when you have a human being, whose experience is totally dissimilar to the experiences of those around him, then the one will be different than the many, and will find it difficult to assimilate or integrate into the world around him.

I could not integrate myself into the world around me. I stood outside like a beggar at the window, hiding the pieces of myself from your view, afraid of what you'd think. In Tucson, I was a nobody on crutches. In Hollywood I was thought of as crazy, but I was still Bobby Jameson.

This was my catch-22 reality. Mentally, I was neither in Tucson nor Hollywood. I was hopelessly split somewhere between them. Always wanting to leave where I was to get to where I thought I should be, and once there, would question my own presence.

As I sat in my wheelchair in the living room of my mother's house, I looked down at my left arm and stared at the needle marks. I looked at my mother, seemingly unaware, of the tragedy all around her. My brother Quentin, nodding out from drugs on the couch and all the while the TV chattering in the background.

In this surreal setting, I knew something had to change. I was broken and loaded on smack and booze in a goddamn wheelchair in Arizona going nowhere. As my eyes traveled over this scene, I knew then the heroin had to go, and I had to get out of there. I vowed to myself that I would pull it together and fight my way back.

After some months, my casts were cut off while having two metal pins removed from my ankle that had worked themselves loose. My left leg, from the thigh down to the calf, was emaciated from no movement for over half a year. It looked like the leg of someone who'd spent time in a prison camp.

The first time I put weight on it without a cast, the pain was unbearable. But with the aid of alcohol and pills I finally got to where I could tolerate it. I was slowly but surely piecing myself back together like frankenstein.

I was a wreckage, posing as a human being. Where once I'd had a clear picture of myself and my purpose, I was now fragmented into so many pieces, it was hard to know what I'd become or where I was headed. Again, I was like a fully assembled puzzle that someone had picked up and dropped on the floor.

I had only a vague sense of what I was doing. In reality I was wandering around as a damaged group rather than a whole human being. Unaware of the truly splintered nature of my psyche, I continued to grope, unsuccessfully, for anything resembling a normal life.


  1. Dear Bob
    Did you ever read "Homeboy" by Seth Morgan (he was Janis Joplin's last boyfriend)? It was similar to your story, a huge best seller and I loved it but your book is better!
    Don't lose your dream yet.
    Much love
    Dave "Doctor"Pepper.

  2. I'm trying to find the words to put this the right way, so I don't sound dumb.....

    I wish to hell this was fiction, because the writing, this writing, this entry--it may be the absolute most haunting one yet, the most moving.'s not fiction. This is an account of your REAL, TRUE feelings. This is about your LIFE. Bobby, I have never been more moved by your writing. I'm sorry it's something you lived through. But my heart and my soul are very very touched.

  3. Your life, though remarkable and daunting, simply is what it is. Though the details are fascinating, moving, horrifying, or uplifting (occasionally), and though the individual lessons, if read perceptibly, are extremely edifying, I find that the greatest value for me is the creative aspect of your writing. Your use of the extended metaphor to set a theme for each passage is masterful.

    Your puzzle metaphor fits not only this passage, but your entire narrative. Each piece offers a metaphor or a simile which sets the tone and offers the insight that illuminates a specific aspect or a particular revelation (self- or otherwise), and each piece, though they fit in chronologically, also can be reconstructed or reformed into parallel constructs which inform the various narratives: the ambitious performer, the sensitive artist, the victim of a ruthless and exploitive entertainment business, the rabble-rouser, the frustrated writer, the victim of personal foibles, the local celebrity, the hard-working musician, the optimist, the pessimist, the beneficiary of the kindness of strangers and friends, the target of the indifference of strangers and friends; and, finally, the consummate self-psychologist and the master wordsmith; these are a few of the puzzle pieces that you have created with this wonderful narrative.

    I thank you, Bobby, for your continued dedication to unraveling the tangled threads (or putting the puzzle pieces back together) of your amazing story.

  4. I just read your last two poetry posts, and I was reminded of an observation that I have noted several times before: if this is ever published in book form, many of the companion poems should be included. Some of the poems refer to other, current, personal events or feelings, but so many of the rest include parallel poetic frameworks for the chapter details.
    Keep up the good work and keep fighting the hard fight,