2010

January 9, 2010 
I thought of that recently

“Someone recently asked me if I liked poetry…”

Asking someone if they like poetry is an intimate question. It’s not the casual language of small talk. I assumed you were trying to communicate with me about something other than e.e. cummings. Remember when you believed in my nuanced understanding of the human condition? The choice of the word “someone” and the intimacy of the question indicates, whether or not it’s a lover, or even a man, it’s something like what we used to share.

The irony, of course, is that it was never about jealousy or control. It was about respect and true intimacy, that at the end, and sometimes in the middle, vanished. All the little omissions and inconsistencies were so confusing to me. You shut me out and let others in.

I look back and it plays in slow motion and though I lived through it, I still sometimes cannot believe it actually happened. That this is not just some phantasmagoria that hasn’t ended. You chose the worst-case scenario as your first option, setting events in motion that once invoked could not be recalled. At the most crucial moments, you made decisions that I would not have thought possible just a few weeks earlier, leaving southwest Austin unnecessarily in ruins.

January 10, 2010 
Supernatural indulgences

Why was I so convinced that this was different. It felt different. Because she called me, “Angel?” Ridiculous. Yet, because we met at a time when I was fragile, I likened her existence to the proactive, blessed supernatural. I wanted so badly for the fairy tale we started in those beautiful emails to be real. I was too busy writing the screenplay to a miracle to be interested in the dissonance of reality, and paid a hefty usury for the indulgence.

January 16, 2010 
Willful suspension and phantom pains

The short distance I’ve covered since October, belies the activity. I was too long clinging to assumptions that are more accurately described as delusions. In retrospect, it’s easier to see the logic, that when not convoluted by false hope, was pretty accurate in its forecast. I hate that I was right. There was an agent, actually two, a catalyst, and a verified, repeatable result. This is a cold comfort. As with a more accurate morbidity calculation, I would’ve preferred being wrong. And every new prediction manifesting as predicted, casts more doubt on the past. In fact, I’ve stopped asking questions, because more often than not, I’d prefer not to think about the almost certain answers, or my pusilanimous complicity in the willful suspension of disbelief.

Now I’m left to the forensic work. Self-flagellating with scenarios of how, when, and where, but most of all wondering who? I don’t care who it was with, but if it was premeditated, then who benefit? Isn’t that a strange logic to find comfort in? A simple cost/benefit analysis provides the only plausible scenario, that I can see, especially given history, that doesn’t require a plot. Patterns emerge, and this suggests an archetype. Right?

It’s also true, however, that an agenda was certainly adjusted at some point without my input, and the attempts to obfuscate that adjustment were inarguably the product of intelligent design. Cruel, but intelligent. The irony is that the symptoms of this campaign and its execution (the unexplained lost hours and hidden accounts, the immediate deletion of 2 a.m. text messages), though uncomfortable, were tolerable and, in fact, only possible with my acquiescence.

This is a first for me. An epilogue without mercy, constantly speaking truth to historical lies. And like the phantom pains of an amputee, the hurt was realized long after the actual betrayal.

January 28, 2010 
Coincidences

Life is mostly wasting time, trying to avoid pain, and gorging on whatever we think will give us two seconds of pleasure. Whenever I’ve been foolish enough to trick myself otherwise, the pain has been tenfold because I wasn’t bracing for what I should have known was an inevitable blow.

You were evil, but I was worse I was stupid. And I’m not stupid. I was careless and ignored a timeline that begins with human history before our consciousness and finishes with you. No one comes from either undamaged.

I closed my eyes, and missed the moment that yours changed, from stare to simmer. And God damn me for not admitting there was a difference, immediately after I did. There were too many things being slipped under pillows, erased with cause, or whispered when I was sleeping. And as we all know, there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

March 25, 2010 
Sad bastard music

Rational thought as a means to change is not often celebrated in love songs or happily ever-after-movies, but is the part of our consciousness best able to understand an end goal, modify ineffective strategies, repeat successful ones, and keep us on the enlightened path to self-actualization.

There are brain chemistry issues for some, but even they must choose whether to seek help. Then they must make the effort to maximize its efficacy. These both are rational choices. Conversely, for a person being ruled by feelings it is difficult to recognize that change is even possible. Yet, no situation can get better without that transformation. Whatever better comes to mean.

Swallowing wine while listening to sad bastard music is inarguably a poor strategy for feeling better or communicating with the world, a fact immediately recognized by someone whose choices are being controlled with conscious thought. In moments of conceit, i.e., most often, I consider myself the smartest person in the room. And yet, judging by my choices, I sometimes rank highly among the most stupid people this species has ever produced.

Feelings follow thoughts. And thoughts can be controlled. That’s where the difference lies.

March 27, 2010 
An imagined prologue to divorce. Oh, and Beck.

How is it possible that today, a niche-famous musician I’ve never met, only having admired him from this side of my ears, could accurately predict the thoughts in my head, from the speakers of my car, and in harmony no less? Even more impressive is the prediction manifest in a song, Cold Brains, released in 1999, which means it was probably written even earlier, and thus predicted this very day over one decade in advance.

And don’t let the song titles from this era fool you. These are difficult moments for sure, but they’re not about surrender. He’s not singing about his condition, he’s accepting of the role he played, but he’s singing about her. Killing her softly with his song. Awesome. Granted, witty revenge doesn’t feel as good when you’re saying it to yourself just before passing out in the closet, or the object of your wit doesn’t care. But the Universe knows you went down raging against the machine.

Your only leverage at that point is insider trading. You almost always end up regretting it. But, shit, does that feel good in the moment. It’s hard to resist the intoxicating, immediate rise back to prominence as you recognize that, at least on some level, what you say still matters. If you’ve been with someone long enough, you know where to go, even in the dark. In fact, at the end of a relationship, you’ve been purposefully not going there, just in case, rehearsing what you might say in your mind. You have to choose carefully, too little and you’re pathetic, too much and there just may not be a road back. Stink look, an interjection, no permanent damage, but at least you know she’s salty.

I’m sure Beck’s wife had a little Morton in her (yes, that is a euphemism) when Sea Change came out. (Technically, Cold Brains is on Mutations, which came out a few years earlier, but since they were married at the time, I think it’s fair to label her the muse for these odes to misery.) And I can just hear her trying to argue with… songs…to her friends and family. He just seemed like a gentle, musical genius, with an aw-shucks charm to match his boyish, good looks. Only later did he suddenly, and without warning, become the fill-in-the-lie. I’ve seen this phenomenon and it’s quite remarkable. You tell a lie enough times, especially one that contains elements of the truth (e.g., time and place, main characters), and it becomes reality for some people. There’s a scene in Ghostbusters where Harold Ramis is examining Sigourney Weaver when they first meet her. “She’s telling the truth. At least she thinks she is.” You never really know do you?

Anyway, as the album becomes a bitter classic, Mrs. Beck, is now surrounded by his poetic interpretations of the past—her past— which given his unflinching self-deprecation and painful confession, ring true to me. I imagine her seeking validation in a hand-picked audience, sycophancy being the only requirement for entry. A new lover would have served a similar purpose. Co-worker, hometown acquaintance, bartender at a favorite dive, really, “Who?” is usually not the burning question, at this stage. And proximity counts as a positive personality trait.

I loved it when life handed me that role the first time. I thought it was like an extra birthday that year. Turns out, its really not even a gift. You are basically the consoler of the lonely. You are tolerated. You cast stones at ghosts, sublimate claims of bias, and subsume ex-parte recollections, with indignation or sympathy being your only tolerated utterances. (FYI, use the latter sparingly. Too much and it can backfire when your affect is interpreted as pity. She’s there for validation, not actualization.) In exchange you get to be the first one to shake her out of her dress. It’s not that hard, really, you just have to not be him. It doesn’t even take that long. The bullpen’s been notified long before the starting pitcher gets the hook. Let’s take that silly metaphor another step. You are middle relief. It takes you a miraculous comeback to get a win, and you’re not even supposed to get the save. Your ERA is 9.67 because when you’re in trouble she makes you stay out there so she can save the “good” pitchers for a better situation. You do this with full disclosure at certain points in your career (hint they’re not the high points), because you’re happy to still be in the game.

Thankfully, Beck had the resources and the audience to compile a more compelling rebuttal than most could construct. I’m sure it’s nice to have a platinum-selling album as your advocate. Especially one that perfectly captures in sweet acoustic guitar, and lyrics whispered to you like a lullaby in your sleep, by god herself, about what a pain in the ass your ex-wife can be. Must have made him feel a little better. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I present to you Exhibit A, Cold Brains.

Wait, I spoke too soon. He did write a follow up for me. In my defense I didn’t listen to Sea Change very often. To get through it in one sitting requires that you have never been hurt by love. Nope. Too specific. You are actually dead inside. He wrote the songs during his divorce. Exhibit B, Lost Cause.

Every song is like this. It is brutal to listen to. So beautifully sad. I cannot imagine what he was going through when he made it. Shut up. Already Dead.

 
Shakespeare and how what feels immediate is older than man

These violent delights have violent ends. And in their triumphs die, like fire and powder which as they kiss consume.
So we begin Act 3. About the same place we began Act 2. A lot has happened, and though I’m closer than most of you, I don’t see how this resolves. I’m tired of my eyes watering. I’m tired of the unprovoked “advocacy.” The situation hasn’t–so far–required any platitudes to solve any dilemmas. If there’s a laugh track, they’ve switched it from cheerful group to smirks of realization and spiteful grins turned inward.

Still, if I had it to do over again, I might. That glimpse of the infinite. Even a momentary possession of it is worth one hundred years of solitude. (Which, of course, is easy to say after only 125 days.) Especially by those of us lucky enough to touch. Just the tip. Just a little. It’s selfish in the same way that sadness is, it just feels better.

That might sound strange looking in from the outside. It seemed strange up close. And impulsive. You could make that argument. (It’s a long line, by the way, but you’ll probably still have a chance to pour it on if you’re so inclined.) I’ll tell you what I tell everybody else. The decisions were not made from a place of fragility, but of rapture. It’s the only time I’ve ever felt still. I slept. That’s way bigger than it sounds.

So here’s to the end of rage. For now. And time to return to the roots of absolute appreciation. Redemption. Peace. Sleep.

 
I believe in you

I’m going to keep that diamond in my mind. I know you. Our time was double time. Inseparable. Alone together. Now I’m the devil’s child? It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Look close. Closer. Closer still. Deeper. For thirty seconds, don’t think. Feel. Remember what it’s like to be new. Brand new. And still. For all this, love is never spent. The search for meaning is often encapsulated in the idea that the individual must recognize something larger than itself. Itself. Yourself. Myself. Self. Bigger than you. Bigger than me. Bigger. Biggest. Separate. My love for you, despite, is. Was. Is. Will be. Always.

 
The grand tour

Of course, I chose Spring Break to get the hell out of Dodge. For the record, it is impossible to fly into Florida, in March, from anywhere, including Florida, for less than a thousand dollars. So for a hundred-fifty bucks I jump on the bus; how bad could it be? If my tone is laying flat, I’ll try to put a finer point on it. A Greyhound bus is like a portable horse track, full of the exact same individuals, the same sadness and desperation, the base conversation, the “if only’s.” And before you think I’m casting aspersions, I do have some remaining insight. Enough to realize I am sitting among the surrendered, the pathetically struggling. The dying. Looking forward to a finish that might never happen.

Most of you reading this will need to take a look at a map of Florida—closely—to understand the absurdity of this next segment. Clearwater is a beautiful beach, but a low-rent resort. It wants to be Cape May so badly it can taste it. But as I learned on that 36-hour bus ride, want is not need, and it most certainly is not is. Still, I should have made an escape there. Check your maps. (Click to make it disappear.) My ultimate destination was Tampa. Notice the proximity between Clearwater and Tampa. In fact, the bus goes further south, rounds that small peninsula (aka “The South Bay”), then heads…wait for it…north to Panama City. At this point, ignorant to Greyhound routing systems, Florida geography (beyond Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa), I naively ask if this stop, Panama City, is closer to Tampa and should I get off here. “No, you change buses in Tallahassee.” Again, my Florida geographic knowledge, which peaked in fifth and sixth grade when we all had to pick states to give reports about (I had Ohio, in fifth grade, with it’s Nepalese-ripoff flag and New Hampshire in sixth, with, in my opinion, the ultimate state motto that can never be approached, let alone bettered Live Free or Die.) But, as usual, I digress. I did remember that Tallahassee was all the way at the top, and that Tampa was some what in the middle, which in Greyhound terms means hours. Fuck. I could literally see Tampa two hours ago, and now there were at least five (!) to go.

Oh, yeah. I’m leaving out an important part. I’ve been living with the specter of a lie hanging over me for the last six months. A lie repeated several times under oath. A lie that is so easily refuted, I can’t understand why this nonsense continues, and no one lets me exonerate myself. 180 days now of living needlessly under pressure. Oh, yeah, and it’s killing me. So the mind is strong, but the body fights back. And when I realize we are not, in fact, near Tampa, but Marianna, Florida, and that there is still a required bus change in Tallahassee, my body turns around, looks at me, and says “Fuck you. No more. No. More.”

If you have never suffered an involuntary grand mal seizure, I highly suggest you avoid it. Imagine an unstoppable wave of terror so strong you think you’re going to die with every breath. Also, you can’t breathe. And your brain tricks you into thinking that everyone trying to help is actually trying to kill you. And you can’t move, but you’re actually clenched so tight you pull every major muscle in your body. And you bite down so hard, you almost bite off your tongue. And you don’t feel a thing. I woke up in the hospital. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t move. So I lay there for two days, eyes wide shut. And then I could move again. And so they released me.

I walked out. Normal. Myself. Back into the wild. Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?

March 28, 2010 
The blanket

Believe it or not everything is venom and everything is love. In an artificial vacuum this is what passes for reflection pining and trying to understand the purpose or meaning—if any—of an unprecedented sense of loss.

April 2, 2010 
The exaggerated importance of alignment

I used to reiterate to whomever would listen about how much we were alike. How important it seemed. How different it was not to have to explain this book or that band or that painting. There was almost no ramping up in a discussion on anything from Tool to Schrödinger’s cat and the search for reality. And yet these things end up meaning less than nothing. The decorations on a cake consumed too quickly to be appreciated, a dead tree decorated and weeks later discarded, the oleaginous promises are long forgotten. It meant nothing to anything to no one that matters. And now? There is no instant understanding. In its place a quick laugh, a history of decades, real affection. There is no cognitive dissonance. Everything is at it seems. That is peace actualized.

 
“Lord knows I can’t change,” sounds better in the song than it does with hell to pay

The entries on this site might mistakenly seem full of bile, venom, anger, and sadness. I put it here so I don’t have to carry it with me. I think of you and all I feel is love, love, love. I smile most days, most of the day. And against all odds believe that eventually reality will align with everything we always wanted. So in the moments when you feel alone. Forsaken. Lost. Afraid. You should know I’ve already been there. Subsuming the pain so you don’t have to. Feel me. I’m not angry. And remember, when you feel cold, there is someone, always, that burns for you.

 
The rules of engagement

These are the rules I’m playing by; yours seem to be a little more lax. I think you need a lot more #1 and #5, a little more #10, and a whole lot less #9. I need to wake up and repeat #11 as a mantra and stop being surprised at how low you can go. Sometimes, anger is a gift.

  1. Empathize with your enemy.
  2. Rationality will not save you.
  3. There is something beyond yourself.
  4. Maximize efficiency.
  5. Proportionality should be a guideline.
  6. Get the data.
  7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong.
  8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.
  9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
  10. Never say, “Never.”
  11. You can’t change human nature.

April 14, 2010 
All girls are valuable

 
Truth, justice, and blah, blah, blah

Surely, one of the most often repeated clichés from the lexicon of the American myth, is that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty, aka, The Presumption of Innocence. Those of you with the displeasure of running through the wrong side of the justice system (I just threw up a little bit in my mouth) know how that phrase is the biggest pile of bullshit since “all men are created equal,” or, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Looks good on paper or in an address given over dead soldiers, but doesn’t quite translate into real life.

Consider this. Here in Texas, specifically Travis County, if you are arrested, you are taken in to be processed in downtown Austin. From the moment you arrive, you are treated as if you have been convicted. Depending on who is supervising, the treatment runs the spectrum of stoic to abusive. After processing you are magistrated, which means you go in front of a judge who tells you what you’re being charged with and how much your bail is. If you have the money to make bail? No problem, you’re out in 12 hours. If you don’t? Tough. You remain incarcerated until trial. Let’s say you’ve been accused of a third-degree felony, the punishment for which is 2 to 10 years in jail. The statute of limitations for bringing a defendant to trial for most crimes of this nature is 3 years. Are you picking up what I’m putting down? That means if you can’t make bail (read poor, minority, mentally ill, etc.) you could theoretically be held for 3 years before going to trial. And the prosecutor can ask the court for an extension to that limitation. Before you say, “That could never happen in America. Prosecutors are working for justice, not to win at any cost,” or, “Why would the police lie about that?” Google it. The conditions in these places are de-humanizing, dangerous, and boring. But even if you are innocent, this is where you are kept until trial.

My personal belief is that it’s an unspoken strategy built into the system. A plea bargain looks better each day a person rots in jail, and many people crack and take what is offered just to get out. There is a whole parallel society that is relegated to outsider status through this system. When you are in jail for long enough, things like future employment, voting rights, home loans, and child custody all become secondary priorities to one thing. Freedom.

So let’s recap. A person is accused and arrested. For whatever reason, is unable to bond out. For whatever reason, trial does not begin for 3 years. Person is exonerated. But has been incarcerated, and lost 3 years of his life. Get it? At the end of this plausible scenario, the defendant has served more time, than he probably would have if he had been convicted. And the recourse? Eat shit, and be thankful the system worked.

April 16, 2010 
Love letter

My love (light of my life, fire of my loins, my sin, my soul-apologies to Nabakov),

This meeting is boring. And my thoughts, as they often do, return to you. What a two weeks, two months, two lives this has been. Who knows why anything happens? I’m so glad you come from a skeptical, rational place, because this supernatural, metaphysical stuff is foreign to me.

Have you noticed how our conversations are so much less about internal things than they used to be? I’m only recently able to step out of myself, ourselves, and concentrate our powers on the external.

Unbelievably, there is still a part of me that is waiting for an unseen shoe to drop, for something to take you away from me. And then every morning I wake up. And you’re there. It doesn’t make sense. But, it happened. It happened.

We’re watching this pseudo-motivational speaker and I’m convinced that the words “unctuous” and “platitude” came into existence so that they one day–today–could be used to describe this man and his unctuous, platitudinal presentation. He literally repeats these Aphorisms For Dummies over and over, and it’s Christian subtext is making me ill. And for a motivational speaker he has a lot of verbal tics (I was counting how many times he said, “You know?” Before I started writing to you 26 in the first 15 minutes alone). I wish you were here. You, more than most, would appreciate how terrible it is.

I’m glad you’re birthday came so shortly after we met. I remember telling you in early April that “if this thing is still happening” at the end of May that I was going to rock your birthday.

I like having you as my focus. When I said I wanted to wake up to you everyday I wasn’t trying to be (overly) romantic. I meant every word. For the past three weeks (minus one Thursday) the first thing that enters my eyehole is you’re beauty. The first thing I smell is your hair. The first thing I hear is your breath. And the first thing I feel is your skin (yes, usually your ass, but that is for another missive of love).

I love love letters. Or, perhaps, I love the idea of them. They represent our best feelings of hopes and fears and futures and happy. And they’re in our handwriting, so it’s like putting it out into the world in a way that cannot later be denied. Not that I would ever deny you. I opened the windows to let your hard rock in a long time ago. And until you say, “Stop,” my default setting is go, go, go! I love you, I love you, I love you! You saved me. Just like you were supposed to. You didn’t let me scare you. You are a warrior. My warrior. My love.

Yours

May 16, 2010 
Memory is a wonderful thing if you don’t have to deal with the past

I thought I was going to be more sad. But it’s actually a relief. I even laughed. Today was full of miracles. A bomb threat at the courthouse giving me the three-day delay I needed? How the fuck does that happen? If I didn’t know it wasn’t me, I might have thought it was me. (It wasn’t, Mom.) And I wish I could be there when it dawns on her, that by not responding by 10 a.m. on the twentieth day after Monday next, she defaulted on her chance to respond at all and is now bound by a summary judgment. Specifically, she owes me $3600. I wasn’t even trying to fuck her over; I gave her 150 days to respond. Still, it makes me giggle every time I think about that inevitable moment of initial realization. I would forfeit the money just to be there to see the look on her face.

 
The truth?

Everybody is going to hurt you. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for.

May 18, 2010 
I love you and I miss you

Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second. I miss you like my next breath if it wasn’t taken.

July 21, 2010 
Every minute, every hour, is another chance to change. Life is beautiful and terrible and strange.

I’m sorry I put you in a corner. I know you fight back hard. You’re fighting back too hard. In my mind, in my heart, all I ever did was love you. I made mistakes, of course. It’s a cliché to say, “Who doesn’t make mistakes?” But, who doesn’t make mistakes? Do you want me to say, “You win?” Then, “You win.” These unnecessary actions are bankrupting me, financially, emotionally, my faith. You were the one that made me believe again, and your attempts to break me are working against the core of my belief system. I’m turning around so fast, I’m dizzy and I’m nauseated.

I don’t hate you. I’m not trying to bring you harm. I’m scared to see what your life has become, so in all honesty, I’ve been avoiding you. I haven’t been within 10 miles of you (as far as I know) in almost six months because I don’t want to know. I feel like I fell in love with a character from a novel or a play, and that she never really existed. Or, if she did, her appearances were intermittent, like a matinee on a Tuesday afternoon.

The stubborn realization is so painful. I didn’t exist. You didn’t exist. We didn’t exist. There was never, really, a we. I wanted to believe so badly. I wanted to love something will all my heart so badly. I wanted to transcend so badly.

Were you my sweet love? Was I your angel? If not, why did we say it so often? Were you ever there? Were you ever really there? How could you do what you’re doing if you were ever really there? How can I do what I’m doing if I ever really existed?

Remember how I asked you to be vulnerable? Please, be again. If you won’t have me, let me be. Make it easier to walk away without destroying everything. Be vulnerable. I never took advantage of your softness. Stop being so hard.

August 10, 2010 
Bad lyrics sometimes feel good

What hurt the most shouldn’t have; without access those first few weeks, it wouldn’t have hurt at all. Even after all this time, these months, with shock after shock absorbed, it’s hard to summon the incredulity I felt as I read your words. How completely you sold me out even to people of almost no consequence. How quickly you (literally) erased the words of love shared between us, how soon you embraced the verve of partying normalcy (“Halloween party–South Austin, I know it’s late notice, yada, yada”), how eagerly you fell into another’s arms–and he into your legs–before even three weekends had past. You made me feel like saccharine, a bad Alanis Morrisette song (a slap in the face how quickly I was ugh), and for that I can never forgive you.

See? It’s been long enough that I can joke. Truth be told, I joked from day one. (“I love you like punk rock, I miss you like my next breath not taken, I’m sorry like Shania Twain,” remember?) You wanted to smile at the time; in fact, I think you did.

But what where you hiding? What unnamed errands so compelled you to leave that Saturday night? Don’t get me wrong, there were hundreds of moments where I could have eaten my words, swallowed my pride and opened my eyes. And maybe yours. Instead I chose to do nothing. Or, worse yet, to shut them closed.

What hurt the most? It was the juxtaposition of what you had written with what you were writing. It was the sad cynicism of your anti-marriage ranting set against the mad, hopeful optimism of our one-time union. And I couldn’t tell which one was real. Or both. Or neither. This is when I developed the theory of you as a character in a book, play or movie. (You do not exist.)

You are a haphazard amalgam, a poorly organized anthology of traits that I needed–beauty, intelligence, humor (though I rarely remember you laughing, especially sober)–and traits I ignored–addiction, promiscuity, lies–but were never in any real sense a person.

August 20, 2010 
9/11

A tie that used to bind about this situation, this life, was the dreaded judgment of “what will people think?” This fear that would so often cause the pre-dawn cringing of adrenaline-fueled fluttering in my chest. And now I just don’t give a shit. But in a good way. It’s hard enough to figure out how I feel about what happened without being consumed by a world full of judges making judgments.

It’s embarrassing how much time I’ve spent having conversations with ghosts, real and imagined, explicating circumstances and pointing out my points of view. Exhausting. And a waste. You’re (the royal you) going to feel what you’re going to feel. Didactic dialogue rarely achieves; it usually just delineates the differences. You and me, here and there, us and other. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Unfortunately, that question–and the insight required to ask it–seems to come too often after the choice has already been made.

Let us go back, then, and reflect upon that choice offered and ignored. The worst-case scenario begins that day, September 11, 2009. Via instant messages, tens of thousands of words burst staccato like rubber bullets fired at each other to hurt, if not to kill. Frustrations piled on impotent tools and tactics. Of course, the levee wouldn’t hold.

This was the day I met your mother for the first time and hugged her in the deafening pit next to the band and I took pictures and watched the CD release show at Beauty Bar full of beauty and tragedy and your family up from so near Vider and our only wedding gift and your ex-boyfriend back in town and supernaturally gracious and we argued eight hours until abruptly re-exchanging vows of love and we hadn’t slept in days and, and, and, and, and…I was out of breath surprised and always ready to duck for cover as the inevitable explosion finally exploded. That was my mistake, of course. We had earlier imploded individually, dying on the inside hidden. And in just three and one half weeks, we, us, you and me, would be dead forever.

August 21, 2010 
The Wave revisited (again)

The last two times I ran away, my sprints ended in your arms. At Tampa International and an abandoned Greyhound terminal in Ocala. Not quite St. Pete or even New Port Richey, but close enough for my geographic explanations to others. Your nickname in jail then, not surprisingly, was Florida. It was easier than Happy Kill and, of course, no one there could possibly make the reference.

I love the fact that we have decades of history from which to draw an esoteric language. I love the fact that you call me by my name only when you’re angry. (Even then you never quite finish the third syllable.) With you, it is (and always has been) just, “K.” I love the fact that I know these facts. It’s reassuring. How well we know each other, how easily we always seem to fall into each other.

You were little more than a girl when I met you–just five years older than your oldest child is now. We were both kids then, playing adult in our newly adult bodies. Traipsing along the waterfront in Waikiki, ruling Ke’eaumoku and Kalakaua, Kuhio and Ena Road. The Hideaway’s still there. So is Studio 54 (but with a different name). The Wave–the background set to so many of our triumphs and tragedies–is many years gone, however. Just a memory to those like you that made the scene, and those like me who rode your coattails to the front of the line and upstairs as a VIP.

You and I have lived at least four lives together, and many more separated. And now, after all this time we find ourselves together again. More precisely, together apart.

How is it possible that in January 1998 I slammed a door in your face then hung up on you two days later when you called to ask me for $300? The end was always bad for us. Of course, I never forgot you. What I still can’t explain is that you never forgot me. Everything I know of love–good and bad–I learned at your feet. But what was I for you?

What a pain in the ass I must have been, so naïve and pathetically new to everything. What a pain in the ass I must be now, never quite having grown up. And for the life of me, I don’t know what to do. Tell me, where do we go now? Are we to gamble the status quo of our lives that the fifth time will be a charm? Are you willing to sacrifice everything against the struggle for a work of consequence?

Tell me, where do we go?

August 22, 2010 
God doesn’t play dice, I do

I found Kay last night with a Google search by proxy, still ensconced sixty miles north, in some cell or other. Three stories above West Central Avenue in a town called Belton she rots unaware of the effort. Last we spoke, she was wistful, but somewhat hopeful and somewhat wishful for a misdemeanor sentence of time served. Seems fair enough to me; her charge of family violence no doubt a delayed rage against some historical violence inflicted upon her.

She bristles at pity and prances with the bravado common to those familiar with trauma and its post-traumatic syndrome. In her dewy, melancholy eyes the pain is clear. The first night I met her she was all fists and spitballs, a beautiful refugee from her redneck past, though she still retained the accent.

I vowed to take care of her in those first moments, though she, predictably, provoked other less noble stirrings. Dressed like a slut trying to be slutty in a skin-tight, midriff-baring tank and shorts spray painted over ass and mons and little more. She wore a cast on her leg, several bruises and self-inflicted scratches looking to me like perfect trouble.

 

And so I found a project bigger than myself that let me not think about myself or, in fact, do anything to help myself, at least for the moment. I had Kay to care for and through her I would find the absolution that had eluded me these last three lost years.

And, of course–now being committed– that’s when she told me about The Voice.

October 14, 2010 
The Voice

I haven’t quite decided if I’m up for that challenge. The night we spent together, I spent looking into pretty, vacant eyes and in a calm, loving, perhaps condescending voice assured and reassured her that the demon wasn’t real. That any voice she heard was a product of her perhaps broken brain. I pointed out the fact that Seroquel gave her some measure of control over The Voice’s effect on her and suggested that the problem might be solved with simple pyschopharmacology. She remained (and remains) unconvinced.

Her drawings and poems can be disturbing but not in a dangerous way. And her insights into herself give hope that this might be the ghost of some affectation assumed for so long it’s become a comfortable part of her identity. Clearly the drinking didn’t help.

November 17, 2010 
This one is for you

I confess, I let fear creep back into my awareness. A test of faith the sharper the pain, the deeper the belief. Where is the transcendence I once found? On the phone with my mom, the sun coming in through the windows and I understood how everything was the same. Unable to articulate the feeling, I nonetheless believed it to be true. Where is that faith, that calm, that unbearable lightness of being? Where is that thread of understanding to stitch together the disparate parts of my life?

Four months. But if I’ve come to expect anything it’s disappointment. I’m surrendering the outcome to the Universe and just expecting what is to be is to be. There is so much to do, to learn, and to share. I’m limiting myself in what I need to accomplish. I need to be in the world to become fully realized. And I swear again never to abandon my responsibilities as holder of the attributes that I’ve been accorded.

Surely you know all the truth of what I’ve spoken here. Ho’i mai. Ne me quitte pas. Return to me.

How then to tie the end of this tapestry of wishes, pleas and lamentations? These dead letters written but never sent? The plan of course is to send them everywhere to everyone in the hopes that they land somehow with you.

I’ve done my mortal best to remember; let me flex my recall. I’m flush with who, what, when and how; I’m still struggling with why. As much energy and thought I’ve expended over these last two months, it’s gotten me not closer to understanding some fundamental truths about you and me.

Why did I represent such a threat to you? You were my lover. You are my life.

A truth serum and ten minutes alone with you and I believe my aching psyche might be satisfied.

November 19, 2010 
July?

So you would think that after more than forty years on this planet, shuffling along this mortal coil, with half a brain (at least!) and some experiences with life’s hard knocks or two that I might be inclined to recognize some patterns, or learn from my mistakes, but-alas!-like Ouspensky’s Osokin I am bound to this eternal wheel and am doomed to go round and round in much the same manner I always have.

What? Let me explain. Ladies and Gentleman of the jury look at this tangle of thorns.

Some cynical part of me (growing, growing) thinks that maybe we both chose someone unattainable; someone with too many hurdles to realistically clear. Then we could treat our stolen moments together as escape! And idealize what could be, knowing it could never be what is.

You drove to Ocala because I didn’t give you a choice; how could leave your lover in peril so far away from home? But given a choice, your choice has been clear vacillation.

I’m speaking, but hidden in metaphors and whispers. Why? Because I have been a coward. To obfuscate our holy truth; it’s impossible to deny. So I stand in the shadows afforded by our distance and lob innuendos-a fishing expedition-with excrement for bait and no real hopes of catching anything.

I am deafened by the silence. My ears ring to mock me with nothing but tinnitus. You don’t owe me anything and the last thing I ever wanted to be was a chore.

I made the same mistakes the waves do; if you’ve forgotten they tend to pound, relentless and unending. The object of their affection? The Earth. It is pummeled into sand and then washed into eddies, back into itself subsumed by the never-ending water. Here comes a wave again; I love you and always will. I can’t stop the way I feel. I’m just sayin’. You know?

December 16, 2010 
Ennui

The boredom, no wait, a better word is needed. The ennui-yes!-the ennui is needed to fuel the loneliness to fuel the bad decision which through a complex process of asexual reproduction becomes a colony of bad decisions which fuels the drinking which fertilizes the process and like insects soon becomes legion. Then guilt. Remorse. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Then do it again. And again and again (and one more time again). And again. And here we go from legion to colony to establishment to established to entrenched to stuck to sinking to going under to drowning to suffocating to swallowing to savior to guilt to remorse to normality to boredom. No, wait. A better word is needed. To ennui. Now do it again.

You know the enemy intimately, so beautiful, so perfect in so many ways. Finger the beads of sweat down the glass, down your lover, but soft–quiet really–trace down feel under the bottom, lift her to your mouth, let her press against your tongue, cling to your guts, and roll into your head. Fuck you from the inside. She never wants to make love anymore; she only wants to fuck. And you like it. Pig. Weak-minded pig, and that worst word. Why do you always fall into that net? Why don’t they understand? You’re not falling, you’re grabbing–a desperate Christ, pulling your own nails out and swinging your arms toward your Bloody Mary then fingering your sides and hugging the warmth and resting your arms. Finally resting your arms. No false sacrifices here. Unnecessary. And you still get to die. Just slower and perhaps not as inspired, cirrhotic liver first. But still the example, still the Way to go. You choose this choice one choice at a time. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Lather. Ad infinitum. Ad absurdium.

 
I love everybody

Though unnamed (or renamed) here, you know who you are and you know that I’m speaking to you. My life is better because you were in it. I still miss you. I will always love you. I wish nothing but happiness and the best for you. You will always have a special place in my heart. Universe bless us, everyone.

December 20, 2010 
McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi

You’re either the owner of a new laptop or super cheap if you know where all the free wi-fi is. I know where all the free wi-fi is. I guess I’m both. So I’ve been (re) reading Demian again. I love Hesse. And have been listening to Pink Floyd (which one’s Pink?) and the Hold Steady over and over. Normally a bad sign. Now it feels almost empowering.

 

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