2014

January 7, 2014:
We think differently

“You’re different.”
“I know.”
“It keeps you back.”
“Back from what?”
“Back from life.”
“I’m alive.”
“You could have been so much more.”
“Like what?”
“House. Car. Family. What everyone wants.”
“I’m not interested in that.”

January 25, 2014:
#nofilter

I feel like, honestly, I have thirty years left to traipse this mortal coil. To right the wrongs I’ve done, to love as hard as I can, and to eke every word out that my brain seeks to fill a space with. Love to me is a filter. Love to me says, “Baby, just shut your mouth.” You and I have come to separate visions of the same truth. You are trying to find peace. I am trying to provoke her.

I was your lifeline out, and you were mine, and that was okay. And now it’s not. It’s about as far away from okay as you can stand.

:
Voices

This child is Christ the king. I can feel the saliva furrow in the edges around my tongue. And I can see you shudder. Perhaps it’s because the words come in Hawaiian that they are tolerable to me. Kristo no keiki ali’i. It sounds so pretty coming from the man’s voice.

Voice has come to mean so much to me. Passive. Active and the differences in between. Nobody gives a fuck except people like me. And, I guess, people like you. We’re a different breed you and me. Smartest motherfucker in the room still, invariably, makes you a motherfucker. I’m not quite sure that this is a bad thing.

January 31, 2014:
Brrr

Thunder is an emotion. I remember crying when I heard it. I never felt tough. I was never that guy. I was the one that had thoughts in my head. I was beat up by guys like you. I wasn’t fond of taking a slap.

But I guess you had to endure the pains life gave you. Gives you. Keeps giving. You may have asked for this. I didn’t ask for this. It just sort of happened.

I keep attention maybe two seconds at a time. It’s a blessing and a curse. Most likely a curse if you don’t like what I have to say. That doesn’t make me wrong.

Life is a mystery inside a riddle inside an absurdity. And we all know it. And we ignore it. You are a mess. I am a mess. And it’s such a mess when we push our mess together.

If you’d have asked me ten years ago, I would say I hate myself and want to die. Now people like that frustrate me. They make me sad in a way that I don’t like to be sad.

Words come easily. Words come like water. They flow. Sometimes they overwhelm me. They’re like a wave. They feel bigger than me. They are larger than life. But they’re just syllables. Just harmless vowels and consonants.

They push together to make ideas. Ideas are what’s truly fucked. They make you think things. I’d prefer to have ice cream.

:
How here?

It’s not like it was a single decision. In retrospect it was more like a million shitty ones.

February 5, 2014:
The folding chair

The folding chair in the corner is so simple but so important.
It is the best means, at this moment,
at my affection and its communication.

It sits simply against the wall most of the time.
It never complains. I never call it a bitch.

It just folds and unfolds when necessary.

It brings value to my life in a way that few people do.
So I say this, even though it may be ridiculous.

You are so much bigger than a folding chair.

February 28, 2014:
Baby, again

She says to me, “Soon, baby,” and in so doing changes the world. My world, at least. I believe she might not remember saying it. I know it doesn’t matter.

For months now I’ve walked like The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Like John Travolta in that movie but older. Watching couples as if I were an alien. Clinical. He says, “X,” she says, “Y,” they laugh, maybe kiss, finish their drinks, then catch the red-eye movie before returning home. Rote sex and replayed roles are cliché, so I don’t even have to go there for it to be depressing.

The contact is what kills. The emptiness of wrapping an arm around yourself. As much as I may regret my regrets, it was nice to have an arm at my waist, a body within reach, and, ostensibly, an advocate.

That pieced-together puzzle of want and need has seemed so elusive to the point of not caring. I’ve always been a skeptic, but never considered the fact that I might be a nihilist.

And then with one sentence she outs me as a heart on a sleeve. With one casual aside I am who I am again.

March 2, 2014:
Salty

Taste. Tang. Sweat. Lust you can’t hide. Salt. Everything you might be scared about. Open. Your legs wide open I might think about. But it’s your mind wide open that I wish upon a star.
“K, you’re not allowed to say that shit.”
“Try me.”

March 5, 2014:
You told me once

You said, “Now everything ends.”
I thought you were ridiculous.
You know, I don’t feel small. I don’t feel less than anything. You could bring a dragon to my face, and I would breathe back. I would blow as hard as I could. You on the other hand. You vex me. The word, “vex” was invented for you. You scare me. I don’t like to be scared.

March 9, 2014:
I get to speak again

This is the only place I’m good. Right now, I only have words left. I scare my friends. I have a death wish but don’t want to be dead. A child came and put his hand on my face the other day. “Is he dead?” “No. That’s just the way he is.”

:
Dying is hard

I don’t think I can be killed. I’ve tried so many ways without actually trying.

:
My two greatest fears

The first is being shot. The second is dying in a car accident. Actually I envision the car hitting me. There’s an irony here. Everything that’s supposed to kill me hasn’t. I’ve sliced my wrist and had my face smashed in. I’ve been found unconscious more times that I’d like to admit. It leaves me with an incredibly arrogant sense of invincibility.

Clearly we die. I don’t get to fight that rule. That motherfucker just doesn’t seem to work, because I should be dead six times. Something wants me to try. I’m trying. Failing, a lot. But trying.

March 11, 2014:
Judges

I don’t get to be alive in most lives. Who am I to judge? I’ve failed in spectacular ways. I fucking set the standard in failure. A woman that adored me and birthed two children that mean more than life itself. I fucked her over. For reasons I don’t even understand. The next that loved me I fucked in a different way. I’m talking about, beautiful wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime women. You get a shot a one at these. And I got a shot at several and I fucked them all away. Me. Not them me. They had their shit. Nobody’s perfect. But it was me. I was to blame. I was the bad guy. I couldn’t make things right in my head. So I chose the easy way out. The bottom of a bottle. And in so doing fucked my life. Fucked my wife’s life. Maybe fucked my kid’s life. And that’s the worst. I could tell you stories that I couldn’t possibly wish on my worst enemy. You couldn’t see the shit I’ve seen and still be alive. I’m telling you. Shit get’s worse than it sounds. I’ve seen it. I smelled it. I only live because God foolishly loves me. My very good friend rubbed my face and said you are so lucky. And I didn’t know what she meant. The love I feel in her hands right is an accident of the universe. For some reason God doesn’t want me dead.

:
It’s not doing what comes first

Am I evil? Maybe. Am I wrong? Maybe not. Things happen. By that I might know differently. We choose everything we do. I know the word culpability. I’ve learned not to hate myself. But I know I’m not clean. We move. We take a step. What can you do but take a step. So I take a step. Then I take another step. Then if I don’t fall down I take one more.

March 12, 2014:
Trouble

Google it. Go there and my mind goes to the place that one place that you will not let me. And you never get lost. You are of the other hand I am I am you. I am the fucked up version of you. I am you if could shut my mouth. I have never shut my mouth.

March 20, 2014:
Try

“I promise you don’t believe in what you believe.”
“Sure I do.
“No. No you don’t. You haven’t read it.”
“Have you?”
“Every page.”

March 23, 2014:
Sons

I realized that in my downward spiral of hopelessness, I was actually falling into the huge hole created by my absence of basic human graces. The most obvious was forgiveness. When relationships become a ledger of profit and loss, you have no friends. Just plusses and minuses. You are absolutely alone.

:
Crash this train

:
I actually know the answer to this

Why, if you’re pissed, and especially if your anger somehow gets into “the system,” is the knee-jerk requirement for arrest, or worse yet, anger management counseling? Do situations not exist where anger is the appropriate response? Loud voices and slammed doors. Why does that require intervention? If someone lies, can you not point a finger? If someone flails, can you not subdue them? Why is the physically weaker person always assumed to be the victim? Tweety Bird is a cunt, everyone knows that. So is the Road Runner. I would love to see both of those birds swallowed whole sometimes with their casual manipulation of the cartoon system. I digress.

The answer to the question posited in the title is this: risk mitigation. Everyone is so scared to take a stand. To be wrong. To look foolish. They choose the path of least resistance, and when they’re in power, force the path that provides the least amount of risk. Right? Doesn’t matter. Wrong? Matters less. Not my fault? Is the godhead of our modern-day legal and medical symptoms. No one wants blame. So they choose the middle path, when going left was the better choice. Just in case right was wrong.

March 27, 2014:
F_{n} = F_{n-1} + F_{n-2}

Tell me how connected the numbers three and five are. Closer than you and I ever were. On so many levels, by so many definitions. I dabble in these things. The truth in numbers. The truth in big and small. Quantum theory makes more sense to me than any catechism ever did. Fibonacci sequences seem to predict much more than mere numbers. This is beyond a set of fun puzzles to solve, but rather seem to be the key to something more real than the first ridiculous miracle at Canaa. With the exceptions of 1, 8 and 144 ( Description: _{1} = Description: _{2} , Description: _{6} and Description: _{12} ) every Fibonacci number has a prime factor that is not a factor of any smaller Fibonacci number. I find this to be far more miraculous than alleged water into wine. That seems like a myth told in the parlance of the times in which it was written.

But the sequence has always been the same; it exists independent of time or even consciousness. The numbers keep getting bigger and never repeat, and you, like the Earth as I blast into space, keep getting smaller and smaller and smaller.

:
I can count the times I’ve been happy on one hand

Not forever. But in the past three years. I’ve smiled. I’ve been not unhappy. But as any sentient adult will tell you there is a difference. The absence of pain does not equal pleasure. I might get what I deserve after the fact, I’m not quite sure I do before the fact. I’m not certain why there is a fact, why things go down the way they do. But they do. And they do. And continue to do so.

Surely I have my share of complicity in the way things play out. And after they start playing, I’m more likely to make things worse than better.

And so it is. And so we are.

March 29, 2014:
Be here to love me

Otherwise everything is speculation. I’m not here to be angry, though given the right circumstance I can usually be counted on to be so. Old behavior is extrapolated into guesses about what will happen. Vague memories have a way of becoming hard truth. Everyone knows what happened, but everyone knows differently, passionately. There are no witnesses that have actually seen anything except what they’ve heard. Credibility is a measure more valuable than a credit score. It means more than the truth.

Nothing happens without an equal and opposite reaction. Lies beget lies. Sorrow makes thing sad. Revenge makes retaliation inevitable. I’m not interested in propagating any of that. I realize my choices might put me in the background for now. I’ve never stayed there before. Why would I?

This is not an ever after. Things will get worse before they get better. But things will change.

It always has a way of coming around.

:
I am trying to break your heart

Meaning is so hard to discern. I admit to provoking extremes of behavior in the attempt to extract proof of feeling. Childish. A baby cries to be comforted. Not much different. I’m not sure it was a choice. That seems like the search for a scapegoat. Especially this deep into the game. Stay with me for a second.

I’m not unconvinced that my tool chest wasn’t shunted at a certain point. I have a limited quiver.

:
Stitches

You asked me why we always end up together. Darling, I know 15 versions of you. If I believed in the supernatural, I’d think you were a shapeshifter. You’re twentysomething, but I’ve known you for at least 50 years. I’ll be 44 a week from Wednesday, but you’ve been in my life for 1000 years as far as I can tell by feeling.

There’s only so many of us at the table. Seven, or less, by my count. And the transient nature of our day-to-day existence can’t hide this. It won’t be ignored.

You and I are woven into the same fabric; we are threads in the same tapestry. I don’t know what your role is. I know my role even less. But there’s something at play here. And I’ll let the weaver decide what happens next.

March 30, 2014:
Quite contrary

That girl ignores me now. I got too close to the source of her pain. She’s mercenary that one. “It’s just sex.” No. No, it’s not. Not for me. And it’s taken me this long to realize. Not for you. I’m sorry. I thought it was a game for you. Games, winners and losers, and, Baby, I don’t lose. Maybe in the short-term my words are redacted. But that black mark goes away. My voice, one letter at a time, will never be silent. At least not until I’m dead. So kill me or expect me to shout everything. Everything. Everything. Everything. Everything. Nothing is safe if I’m not safe. Everything.

:
Nothing is real

Hurt yourself. I have no intention of hurting you. You have always been your own worst enemy, your own worst memory. Live the life that feels good. And ignore the trace of dead bodies in your wake. You are evil as I’ve come to understand it. Everything is you.

:
Highway kind

Something is watching me. Something is watching over me. I’ve come thisclose to making some fucking serious mistakes. Not less than ones you asked me to make. I did them with a whole heart. We can discuss specifics when everyone is friends again.

Right now you’re a threat. I’m a threat. With no bite. I represent for you things that were necessary for you to get through. I understand. I hate you for all the unnecessary bullshit, but I understand.

This is a short-term game. You win right now. I haven’t done anything wrong. Not really wrong. So you lose eventually. It’s just going to take time. I wish I didn’t need that. But I’ve learned to take what comes. High. Low. In-between.

My only advantage? You don’t know the low. I’ve basked in it now for a minute. You’ll panic when it reaches you. You’ve only seen low from the happy side of the fence. The fence always falls.

:
Everybody else was dirty

Mutually assured destruction relies on the principle that either party prefers not to be destroyed. That goes into flux when one party stops giving a fuck. Bring it down, bring it all down. Burn it down to a stump, and then piss on the ashes. It’s hard to negotiate at that point.

I could give a fuck or I could give a fuck less means the same thing. There is nothing left to lose. I cannot lose anything more than I have already lost. So nothing that happens has any impact. You can test this, I suppose. The result will be the same. Mutually assured destruction.

:
Listen

There are lessons to be found here. Mostly I write so that you’ll know me. Once it’s out here, there’s no taking it back. And when you’re old enough, most likely sooner, you’ll find my words. There are no lies here. You have heard distorted versions of the truth since you were a child. She can keep you from me, but she can’t keep you from this.

I love you. I have always loved you. I will always love you. Contrary to what you may have heard, you and your brother mean more to me than anything. I can’t be current. But I can leave you a legacy of words. And no matter what others might want, these words are outside of their control and will be here forever.

March 31, 2014:
It’s a shame that it’s a shame

Everything you thought made a difference, doesn’t mean shit. I take my coffee black. All these crazy dances we do, to be liked or loved, are transparent in more ways than we want to believe. I can see you dancing, so it shouldn’t be surprising that you recognize me.

I hate dancing. I’m bad at it. I hate the alternative more. Stillness. Where are you? I prefer stillness inside you.

I take my coffee black.

April 4, 2014:
I didn’t do anything wrong

I waited. I need to just learn to shut up. I romanticize things in a way that can be far removed from reality. And I guess trusting my predictive abilities so many years later was probably not prudent. I need a plan. I can’t see a pain-free way for me to extricate myself from this situation. But this time there is really nothing left to lose for me. Except a certain comfort zone I’d found these last few years.

April 6, 2014:
They

They never care if it’s true, as long as there’s something to prove. And there’s always something to prove.

April 8, 2014:
You

You are evil in ways I can’t even count. And you’ve destroyed lives needlessly. Have you looked at yourself? Do you see what your casual indiscretions have started? I guess I don’t understand what motivates you. I’m lost. I thought I knew you, but clearly I don’t have the slightest what motivates you.

April 12, 2014:
The room is empty

No one is ever going to love me again. I mean not like the way you think about when you masturbate. I missed my window. You know how we idolize female virginity? We do it in the opposite way for men and in that sense, I’m a fucking slut.

I made a couple of mistakes in judgement.

I’m good at what I do, but I’m the best at what I’m bad at. Like at the cellular level. I am bad everywhere you can possibly be bad. Exponential mistakes. I won’t punch you in the face, but I will piss on your floor (not on purpose).

I have several good people wash their hands and say no more.

My mother called me repulsive and disgusting today. And she loves me. So you might imagine what someone who was a bit less fond might come up with. None of it was on my list of things that I like to hear.

Who still loves me. The list gets shorter every moment. The irony is my behavior was much worse five years ago. But the rope gets shorter. Until it only fits around your neck.

Last night I looked into the ocean, and I was three seconds away from jumping in. See how far I could swim. A shark would probably get me before the water would. This might be hard to believe, but I’m not interested in being dead.

Where I’m standing at sucks. But I fucking walked here.

:
China

I didn’t used to be good looking. I’m not saying that I am now. No one wanted to fuck me before, and now some do. So I guess things change. Everything changed at that point.

I was sad then, but not like now.

Then it was situational. And now it’s profound. I can’t feel anything else. I can laugh at a joke. Sad movies make me cry harder. But I feel numb.

Everything is different.

The weird part is that it’s not the pain. The pain comes from being not able to feel. I used to feel everything. And now I hurt myself to feel something. To prove that it hasn’t ended.

It’s fascinating how I’m not trying to hasten the end of things. But every decision seems to be a will to power in that direction.

I don’t know how to live in this world right now. Everyone seems foreign, different. I understand people, ostensibly, but they’re speaking different words than I would choose.

Am I so different?

I can hear you, but it’s so far removed from what I might choose to say or hear, that we’re like different species. Chinese makes more sense to me and I know very little Chinese.

April 14, 2014:
Everything that rises must, you know, what she said

I woke up in a tool shed. Not on purpose. And I was lucky to be there. That’s a hard story to explain. Give me a couple of hours and things will seem obvious.

It’s strange how things come around. Choices. Every second is a choice. I’ve made some bad ones.

Shallow and hollow.

I spoke to a priest today. And I tried to believe for two hours. Need is not quite belief.

He said some things that might be compelling on a good day. I asked him if Eve fucked Seth or how else would the world be 7 billion and counting. I asked him if Noah dropped the kangaroos off in Australia, and the eastern diamondback rattlesnakes in New Mexico. I asked him if Jesus walked on water, and made fish out of air. I asked him why god was a man, and that provoked his best answer. “The way humans are, no one would have listened to a woman.”

Fuck. That’s remarkably honest. It made me want to believe him.

I don’t believe in anything, remember?

I have some really close friends. And I’ve done my best to tear those relationships to shreds. The dialogue is silent. Hands reaching out, most of them, have pulled back from the flame.

When it was happening, the civil war that was my marriage, seemed like I was the victim. I hurt that woman, those women, every woman that crosses my path. Some of them might have a little more complicity with sharing my terribility. F was a good woman. She was someone I didn’t know how to love.

She loved me first, hard, and I punished her for it because I lacked a chase. I remember the first time she said she loved me. A gray Mitsubishi Eclipse. The song Amazed by Lonestar was playing. She cried. I asked her “Isn’t love a good thing?” But I resented being tearless. I came around when it was too late.

Hindsight can kiss my ass.

The next one was damaged but came when I needed a place to put parts of me in other things. I was crazy about her, but mostly I was crazy.

And now the litany of little girls, whores and broken ones don’t shine a bad light on them. It’s more like a mirror of what I’ve become. I can only love what’s broken because I’m more broken.

I walked so far today, that I thought I was going to throw up because I was in so much pain. My feet were throbbing because the blisters were turning bloody and growing. But I kept walking. I used the bathroom and my underwear was also covered in blood. And then the pain stopped. It always stops.

I used to be surprised by the capacity for pain. And in the history of the world, I haven’t felt that much. Beatings stop hurting after a few hits. Feet go dead. I’ve never been burned at the stake, so I can’t speak to that, but I’m pretty sure it gets less worse with time. I once sliced my wrist so badly I couldn’t move it, but my memory isn’t pain. It was fascination with the amount of blood and how deep the wound was. I didn’t even call an ambulance. I would have bled out if my neighbor didn’t notice the puddles of blood I left behind.

Pain is weird that way. Survival kicks in I guess so you don’t have to experience the worst of things. Feelings are not quite as efficient with that. They reveal a weakness far more profound than an inability to lift something heavy off the ground.

When I rise, and I will rise, I hope feeling comes back.

:
Impulse, selfish

So this is the place I start. Blind and in rage. Or perhaps this is where it ends. So many other things have ended. So many more important things. A daughter’s love is muted. A son in a vacuum. There was a time of loving embrace.

Vindication may be correct, but there are victims. Two of them are innocent. For now. The rest of us have blood on our hands. And there is blood in the water. Chum. I don’t think ends well for anyone. There are some longer lasting effects I guess, but only because they live longer.

I never wanted this. I never wanted any of this. I made the mistake. It was my mistake. I blamed it on so many things for so long. It actually feels good to say it’s mine. I chose. I said yes when I should have said no. In so doing I changed six lives instantly, and dozens more peripherally. My fault. Me. I could have went right, but I went left. And then I kept going left.

I wish I could explain, but it’s encapsulated in two words.

:
The healing power of being confessed

It’s lost. I have this dysfunction, this compulsion, to throw everything away when I feel like I’m losing. It’s self destructive in the most curious way. It turns what can be saved into nothing, just ashes of a burned situation. Sometimes less than nothing, depending on your vantage point.

I did it as a child. I did it during my divorce. I don’t remember when I didn’t do it. You can make the argument that I’m doing it right now.

Much like a toddler, I am ruled by impulse. I read once that children are naturally polyamorous. They sexualize things, not just people. Their needs are immediate and quite often all-consuming. The world revolves around a need for self.

I am a toddler.

I am a toddler with a large vocabulary and an IQ that is higher than you might think given the things I’ve done. But like a toddler, most of it is innocence. That’s half true. Like a toddler I lie and I’m bad at it.

When hurt, I speak to hurt. And I do it well. Better than most. I’ve said things you can’t take back more than is probably conducive to a good life. It’s strange because I used to be so happy. And now I can’t even feel badly correctly.

I have learned one thing in the last few years. Not taking a swing is not better than shutting your mouth. Welts, bruises, that shit heals. Words, once spoken, live forever.

:
You are the worst writer I know

No one likes what you write out loud.

That’s not true. And that is one of the fundamental differences in our understanding of life.

You don’t like things hard, and I don’t do things easily.

You said what I write is disgusting. And not coincidentally that’s not the first time I’ve been described that way. I’m going to own that. I am disgusting. I’m a pervert. I go places in my mind that most people shy away from. Or at least they don’t admit to thinking. I have terrible thoughts. And I write the ones that sound good in my head. Or funny. Or frightening. I’m just trying to not be bored.

I remember when I turned ten thinking it was so cool to be a decade. A neighbor’s father told me, “It’s ten today. Tomorrow it’s twenty, thirty, forty.” He was right. We shuffle off this mortal coil with blinding speed, especially in the larger scheme of things.

Boredom’s not a burden anyone should bear.

April 17, 2014:
The Pajama Game and the 23rd Step

The sheets were tight and cool. She was wet, but there was nothing on the bed when we stood. We ate. I had a meatball sandwich. She had a manapua. In Hawaiian, mana means power and pua means flower. But “flower power” is just a good example of how translations are almost never literal. The Hawaiian word is thought to be an intra-linguistic creole of mana’o (thought), ono (delicious), and pua’a (pig). No one knows for sure. When I told her I was writing this she asked me to use three words to see if I could pull it off in a love story. There is no other purpose. Unless you can recognize a metaphor.

That night I walked home happy. Our fingers interlocked after nightswimming in the lagoon. That seems like a common thing to say, happy. But I hadn’t been that way in a while.

She is beautiful, and not just in her pretty face. And not just in her body which is pretty too. She had me from the moment I put my ears on her. She had me from, “Hello,” though I don’t remember who said, “Yes,” first. I’m sure I probably thought it first, but given her chosen entanglements, it was always on her to make that call.

She had a boyfriend and a girlfriend, and at one point a husband. Even then, like now, she let me inside of her on occasion. It was never just the physical sensation, which of course was always pleasant. It was more like rubbing souls. At different paces like a Pixies song: fast, slow, fast.

I loved her before all of that. I still do. But you know how it goes. Being inside someone physically, or even metaphorically, changes things. It hurt when circumstances made her have to go. Though I suppose that’s better than it being my fault, like it usually is.

Outside of this body, it might seem like a joke, to feel so deeply so soon. But there was nothing funny about this to me. I know I never laughed about it.

She taught me there are things that you don’t know about yourself until they happen. Many times these things are less than comfortable. Still, we live.

April 18, 2014:
I hope this whole thing didn’t frighten you

That phrase sort of loses it’s ironic slither, if I have to tell you its intent. It means neither what it says nor the opposite. Everyone seems so literal these days. “What became of subtlety?” I’ve often wondered the same thing. Straightforward, non-ambiguous ambition is seen as strength of character, but is really just another kind of blindness. And seeking discretion, in both meanings of the word, is considered a form of weakness. At least in the straight world. Not in my group of one, where blurred lines are nothing more than a subtle, “Fuck you.” Zealots to the left of me, zealots to the right. This isn’t a political statement.

It frightens me that expressed passion has become so frightening. I had a friend tell me recently, “That sort of beautiful madness should find its way to being published,” after reading the first 50 pages or so of my manuscript. Variations of that sentiment are rather common, though I like that choice of words best. It’s strange to me that reactions by some family and friends to the same source material have ranged from casual concern to unspoken disgust. Less strange is the vitriol from estranged lovers and acquaintances, especially those that recognize their trespasses, with suggestions that I might find solace in arrest (whether cardiac or legal never clearly defined).

I’ve had my fiction–words!–taken out of context and read in open court as an indictment (literally) of my character. But I suppose it’s better than nothing. “Meh.” Now that would bother me. I write to be symbolically hated as much as I write to be realistically loved. It’s my own private Idaho, where the only intolerable reality is being ignored.

Having said that, I’ve changed my mind about martyrdom. It seems to be counter-productive and, by definition, self-destructive. And I’m tired of being the only one in my circle who’ll admit out loud that there are monsters in the windmills.

April 21, 2014:
Mr. Lovett

I wanted you after buying Step Into This House. The nuances of the Bosque County Romance trilogy resonated so strongly that I thought there must be some cosmic force at work behind the scenes, reminding me that some things you do are just bigger than yourself. The whirlwind move from the decay of Los Angeles to the different decay of Dallas, finally landed in a small town with no cell phone coverage or stop lights. The gentle friendliness reminded me of home, and if I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be there, then this seemed like a comfortable alternative. Compared to the volatility of the Left Coast this apparent calm was all a comfortable alternative.

Ten years down the line and comfort is not quite so comfortable. Nastiness might happen at a slower pace in the country, but it still happens. Everything that exists in the core of the beast also happens at its extremities. And by this, I don’t mean to externalize the reasons for things happening the way they did. I am just as much a part of the beast as anyone else. I was lulled into a sense of apology, into a feeling that I was always the one to blame, but I know you by the trail of dead. Clearly I was not of you. And no identifying marks were necessary to show me as an outsider.

It’s not a coincidence that the same melancholy songwriter also brought the words to me that made me know I wanted out. Three songs lasting ten minutes and thirty-four seconds played on repeat for three hours and eleven minutes south on I-35 and I knew it was over. I suggest anyone on the fence about a relationship might avoid these three songs unless they are looking for a push toward a particular side and away from vacillation. I’m embarrassed at the way I couldn’t follow through with these feelings and instead tried to have it all.

:
It’s falling from the sky and calling from the graves, open your eyes, boy, I think we are saved

You defended me as the bad things were happening, and I was oblivious. I was more interested in opening the steam valve to my decades-long build-up of hostility. The obvious outcome to this reckless ignorance was, of course, how things are today. But instead of dissipating into the atmosphere like a harmless steam, this rage has fallen back on everything as poisonous fallout and made waste to the land for as long as I can see into the future, maybe forever. It’s impossible to calculate the half-life of this kind of hatred.

The irony is that now I defend you to others, even those outside my inner circle. And I can feel your body bristle as you read those words, incredulous at the fact that you might need forgiveness. But no one walks away from this clean. Surely in moments of stillness you can see that. You might be stubborn, but you’re not unfair. You can justify lies, overreaction, manipulation, emotional abuse, and the whole litany of other weapons at your casual disposal that you’ve deployed. And I’m sure you feel justified in their use. I did. Like the death penalty: he got what was coming to him.

The difference is: I never supported that outcome. I don’t think it’s a deterrent, it’s applied unfairly, and is ultimately, no matter the circumstance, cruel in a way that can’t be taken back.

Mine was a hair-trigger, not a planned operation. And I’m sure you know exactly what I mean by that.

April 26, 2014:
This must be the perfect place

I can show you at least three times the opposite. I’m not interested in sharing right now. Trust me. Perfect is dead.

There are workarounds. And I suppose it’s my charge to find them. All the things you think you need to be happy are actually unnecessary. It’s a cliché. All the things I was worried about losing? I’ve lost. And here I stand. Here I type. Stripped down to the essentials of what is, having previously been defined as what should never be.

In a weird way I have the advantage now. Having lost everything that you equate with happiness, I remain still; you can only lose happiness from this point. Having been where I had feared the most, I’m no longer afraid of what might happen. This is as bad as it’s going to get and, really, it’s not that bad.

April 27, 2014:
You’re such an inspiration for the way I would never, ever choose to be

Our paths crossed because we were beautiful when we were twenty-something. It was and is fun to think, especially at the time, about concepts like love. But the reality is you wanted to fuck me. And that desire was reciprocated. Watch NatGeo videos of monkeys and they are more like us than not.

You grew on me, and I on you. Mostly because we had offspring. And the same instinct inspires me to kill or die for them. Your fighting this instinct puts you in that path. Not a proclamation. Just one of those, “It is what it is.”

April 29, 2014:
I was a 45 percenter then; I was a lot of things

I brush my teeth without toothpaste. The flavor is there as an incentive. Flouride is for babies. I’m almost positive we don’t need it. I like the taste of blood in my mouth. It reminds me that I’m mortal. The rust-tinged iron tang of crimson spittle when you spit. It makes me human. Because I’m so far removed from you, you might as well be a planet or bacteria or a thought. You are a ghost. And I am nothing.

:
Don’t listen when I scream

It’s funny how transient things appear in hindsight. We don’t always have the insight, foresight, sight to look into the sterile past. Sometimes it’s dirty and it’s now and it spills on everything. I take it as a blessing that I saw it this time coming.

You are dangerous to delicacy. You are dirty, but wear white and look so clean. If you’re afraid, it’s only because you’ve looked inside yourself and have seen how bad things can get. It all comes from the inside.

I’ve sort of learned to play the game now. I don’t like it. But I like to lose even less. I didn’t think we were keeping score.

:
Ways and means

The way things are. The way things have always been. The way things will be. I don’t believe there is something called fate. Fate is an excuse for bad choices. Fate is a lie. Free-will versus determinism is just a ridiculous mind fuck mind game. You can’t have it both ways. Everyone tries. It’s an embarrassment of obvious clash. I hate it. I hate everything about everything stupid. Which is probably why I hate myself.

:
I never want to hear you say you’re better off, or you like it that way

So many things I used to carry around in sadness. Now open wounds are numb to the touch. What seems to matter almost never matters. The idea of what will hurt to lose, invariably, is far worse than the actual loss. We make things up as we go along. There are excuses and workarounds and reasons for everything. Even the biggest things are just an explanation away. Everything is a sentence, is words, is a this way or that way.

I can only see because I bother to look. Eyes wide, mouth open, and the audacity that’s required to open wide and let the hard rock in. I’m not afraid of anything, silly. Especially not you.

May 2, 2014:
The way

You won’t like what I’ve written. I just need to have something I don’t have. I put it on you and that isn’t fair. But I know me. I honestly cannot see me by myself. I hurt alone. I hurt myself . Enough so that I hurt others who watch. And then I do it again. I’m not dangerous with anyone specific, or alone sort of. I’m dangerous to myself by myself, not physically. I kick my ass in my head. And I absolutely will not put that on you. It just is what it is. You should know to expect things if things are the way things are.

:
It comes to me in my head

I don’t know how I know it. It just is. 11,700 divided by 12 is 975. It’s not a difficult problem by any means. I’m not Rainman. But I see the answer as it’s being typed. And I swear I wish I didn’t. It’s hard to explain if it’s not real to you. It’s not that I get to remember everything, but rather I cannot forget anything. I don’t always get to know the context of the answer. The answer is just there. And sometimes the obvious answer hurts. It doesn’t hurt to other people. And I’m pretty sure they don’t see what I see. What seems obvious to me. It imposes itself on me. It’s not a comfort, it’s more like a burden. One from which I can’t close my eyes or cover my ears. One that won’t shut up. It’s always. It’s everything all the time. And if you think that might make things easier, then you don’t understand. I’m two words ahead in every sentence. I type and I notice syntactical errors because my brain goes faster than the voice in my head or my fingers. It’s too fast and it’s not pleasant and it pushes people away and it sucks more often than it doesn’t.

This is going to sound like an excuse, it sounds like one to me, but alcohol shuts the whole system down. When I say I’m better after a few drinks, I may be mis-speaking. I may not be better to you, but I’m definitely better to me.

:
I can’t wait to meet you

Examples of stupidity and lack of discretion abound. They’re less than a dime a dozen. Did you want to fuck her? Is that why you’re judgment was so impaired? I’m just saying. I fucked her, and it wasn’t like it was life changing. She’s your basic, damaged, beautiful idiot. It’s on you. We’ll fix that. It’ll cost a few dollars, maybe some time. I’ve already paid for something I didn’t do. Never again. Not without a fight. Make sure you’re clean, because I am really good at finding dirty.

May 3, 2014:
It’s a long road to wisdom, but it’s a short one to being ignored

It’s been the same way since I was 12 years old. Not sort of the same. The exact fucking same way. I’ve made half-assed attempts at change, but if I couldn’t do it in four decades how can you possibly think that you might compel me to do anything more than scoff? I might love you, I might like you, I might hate you. All of those feelings: good, bad, or indifferent, I promise you, I feel exponentially about myself. You are powerless. You’re a piss in the ocean.

They used to make me go to therapy when I was seven, which is ridiculous. Then I went back on purpose when I was 25. And I told them the same thing. I feel exactly the same way I did twenty years ago. I’m in an adult body, but I’m the same boy I’ve always been.

I have absolutely no ugliness toward you. Everything bad about me faces inward. It only gets on you if you get too close.

:
The end of the rainbow is always a long ride

So, here comes that feeling. I’ve seen it. I don’t like it. I don’t know if I can do it. I know I don’t like to. I slam alcohol and blast the music to drown it all out. It hurts.

I’ve almost cut my right hand off with broken glass, I’ve had someone peel my forehead, I’ve bit my tongue in two while seizing, I’ve had five concussions that I know about. All “accidents.” I mean, none of it was consciously on purpose, but objectively I probably put myself in situations where danger might be considered imminent. None of that do I associate with pain; ambulances and emergency room questions have become second nature. This? It’s only a broken heart.

Your name and pain are synonyms in my lexicon. I’m not afraid anymore. This is a moment. I used to be so scared of so many things. What would I give to start all over again? To clean up my mistakes? That’s what scares me. The what ifs and the never wases. Those thoughts haunt me. They haunt me now.

:
Stella

“Jameson. Stella back.”
“You don’t drink brown liquor.”
“I hate it.”
“Then why?”
“It’s your berfday. I’m having what you would.”
“A gift?”
“A gesture.”
“What did you get me? Anything?”
“You get what you get. You’re not supposed to get to choose.”
“What if I choose you?”
“You’ve had me for a little bit.”
“Kiss me.”
“You’re at work.”
“Kiss me, motherfucker.”
“I bet you say that to all the boys.”

:
Savage and sexual and violent

What did it take to get where you are? I think mine might have been an easier path to navigate. It was never so hard. I’ve never broken a bone. (Actually, I think I broke two fingers on my right had punching a light post, but I never went to the doctor for it. The recess is somewhat pronounced, and my fist is less functional. My ankle clicks from landing in a hole so many years ago. Probably something there. But on my permanent record? Nothing.) I didn’t get stitches until I was 41, but when I got them they were staples. I remember the doctor putting the gun to my forearm and pulling the trigger. I had always feared the sewing, but I didn’t feel it. The worst part was the infection. I thought I might skip the amoxicillin but was woken by the putrid rot. It turns out that medicine saves lives. Even when you’re not trying.

May 4, 2014:
3 or so a.m.

It’s still Sunday. I open my eyes and see that today is today and not a softer version of tomorrow.

Everything I have to say, I have to say right now. I have to say it yesterday. The word imperative was invented for my compulsion to speak. The time here is short, even if it seems long. The words come at me, dizzying and spinning and aloft in light. The words push back the dark.

It troubles me when you can’t see it. So many don’t. Things are different the way things are. I promise you. Everything seems different then the way it actually is. Try to hurt me. In any way that matters it’s not going to work. I love you but I like to take small promises and break them. I can take what anyone can give. This has evolved into an interesting relationship with pain. Things only hurt in their absence. The presence of trauma, physical or otherwise is almost a relief. It sounds weird to say out loud. I’m pretty sure I walk alone.

This morning my heart was arrythmiatic. Lub-lub-lub-dub. It’s almost certainly not life threatening. But it feels as weird as shit. It makes you call your father and say,”I don’t like you but I love you.”

I don’t care about being dead. I stress about the dying. Fuck you. Fuck all of you. Fuck everything. I get to say fuck. I am what I am. I am who I am. I say fuck a lot, and it’s almost never in directed anger. Fuck you for trying to change any of that.

It goes and it goes. Then it goes one more time. Then it goes again. And it goes. And then it goes. If you think you might stop it? You’re crazier or stupider than I thought I was.

May 6, 2014:
Strange

“You despise conformity. It’s your c-word.”
“Maybe I can just be Van Gogh and cut off my ear.”
“Please don’t turn into Mango Man.”

I don’t understand why anyone doesn’t understand, because I think I’ve been pretty consistent. To a fault sometimes, and, of course, to my detriment. No one will ever control me. No god, no vagina, no dollar, no jail cell will compel me to do anything. The effort will provoke the opposite.

New Hampshire has always been my favorite state since I was old enough to know what New Hampshire was, even though I haven’t been there. It’s one of the six left on my list. Their motto and their license plate. Live free or die. It rings in my ears, and louder in my soul. I wonder sometimes how Old Hampshire is.

May 7, 2014:
Vindictive and nasty and sometimes cruel

I try to stay calm. In my mind there is an ocean of tumult. Mostly I eat it. Sometimes I spit it. The churning is harder than it used to be. There are many things that I would prefer to ignore. I’m not the best example, but I’m hardly the worst.

:
All I want is quiet

I’m not interested in compulsion or noise. Everybody wants to make me do something. I just want still. I want to lie under a blanket. I want to think my thoughts. I want to be who I am. Read what I have to say. The words are soft.

May 8, 2014:
Peace is not an option

Peace seems like a silly word. Which is weird because I’m a pacifist. My rage looks in the mirror and hates what it sees. The milieu is safe.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never hit someone in anger on purpose. Your rage baffles me. Which is weird because there is a storm in the center of me that will never quiet. It’s the sun and the moon and the stars, all at once, burning a fire that never stops.

People look at me. They see calm. I am myself amazed at the juxtaposition of still, when everything inside me throbs and flails and moans and cries and punches out at what? Nothing. I’m afraid it’s all nothing.

:
Holy shit i have to redact names

I was thinking about things. The six loves of my life. C was married and I was a bully to make her love me. I met A in rehab. I met M in a hot tub. D was a hooker. In my defense I never paid and I got her out of hooking. She was my neighbor. E was my wife. L was anyone had a shot at that? I dare you not to try.

:
You’re made up of cheese

I love you and i want to eat you whole. You’re toast and eggs with jelly. There is a guy within ten feet of me using a weedeater and for no good reason I want nothing more than to punch him in the face. Like repeatedly. The noise. There’s a fucking rooster 20 feet away and his goddamned days are like in the single digits. I am going to personally strangle that chicken and baste him in teriyaki.

:
This is the kind of shit that is actually innocent but three months later I’m in jail

I saw a stripper do a line on stage two months ago. What do you think you’re going to show me? Are we going to talk about Chekov and rub privates? Girls, its so frustrating that you don’t get it. I’m listening to your bullshit story about your feelings about an event I didn’t go to. I’m acting like I care because…do I really need to say why?

I like you. You have a pretty face. We do shit together. I get it. But I’m not going to be the one that says, “Say more.”

:
Punk rock is not for you little stupid shithead

I scare the people that love me because they think there is no way I can make it. I’m a punk. I listened to Circle Jerks when I was 10 and tried to tell my mom. Can’t you hear? The Carpenters are awesome, yes I love them. Everybody loves to be fed with a spoon. But can you hear that scream? Have you not wanted to make that noise with your own throat? Mom I love you more than anything. But that scream is inside me. Kurt Cobain. Sam Kinison. Do you need it quiet? Amy. Janis. Anne. Sylvia. Ian. Jimi. Ernest. It’s all the same fucking song.

May 9, 2014:
I try not to fall for make believe, but what is reality?

God moves in me right now. And by God I don’t mean that old guy with a beard. I can feel the universe. Atheists just hate the stupid awkwardness of the myth not the source.

I surfed a perfect wave. I felt the joys of holding my daughter and son as they opened their eyes for the first time. I was the one holding them. I know what it means to know that something is bigger than me.

I guess its funny how far we can fall when we do. I’m going to say it and you’ll say I’m misguided. You won’t believe it.

So much of this life is compromise. I hate myself for those moments of weakness when I do something irritating like lie. Lying disgusts me. Lying is weakness encapsulated. I lie because I want you to feel better and that’s selfish in a way that most people will never understand.

I am bigger than the answer. And I’m working on something here that I believe in.

May 11, 2014:
Feelings are a lie

This whole thing is a crazy train crash. Say stop and I guess it stops for a second. Walk home. Cry your way toward the beach. It’s all sort of the same. I make words in my mouth like you make love in your heart. It doesn’t necessarily happen on purpose. I hiccup and pause. You move with stealth beauty. It all walks toward the same end. Your way just feels better.

May 18, 2014:
Why am I afraid

Everything has to be disclosed or nothing means anything. Hurt is never my intent, though it may be my result. I would sooner put a screwdriver in my ear than hurt you on purpose. I know I’ve hurt you. I walk this road alone, my love. And alone makes you crazy sometimes. Not by choice, always. The silence. The silence. The silence is deafening in its tyranny.

June 2, 2014:
Blocks

I don’t hear anything. Literally my left ear is blocked. What day is it? What time is it? I know this. Me.

The mind is powerful and weak. It is in charge of the mechanisms of life and ideology. But even the idea of a belief system makes us weak. By definition it puts us in a cell. One of our choosing so we are culpable in the imprisonment.

:
Myths

The myths of our lives are not just the stories we tell other people. More powerfully they are the stories we tell ourselves. The nature of our lives is mostly passivity. There are moments of terror and pain and joy. But mostly it’s nothing.

How do we find meaning there? In ourselves? In the stars? Where do I look?

June 7, 2014:
Please stop fighting me

I made a mistake.

My life is sad and small and a burden to the ones I love.

:
Sarcophagus

“Go sit in your sarcophagus and die.”
“You don’t mean sarcophagus. Those are for people who are already dead.”
“I’m literally going to kill you.”
“You said the wrong word not me.”

June 8, 2014:
The look

You can give that look. I act upon that look. I know that look. I feed upon that look. I ask for that look. I miss that look. But don’t you dare say I don’t know that look. I invented that look. That stare. That gaze is mine. That whisper. That shhh. Is. Mine.

:
Tutu

I miss my Tutu. She would have been 97. Her name was June after the month she was born. She took care of me and taught me how to read, quite early actually. She wasn’t perfect, but who the fuck is? You damn me before you damn her. She died when I was 16 and I haven’t slept a whole night since.

I remember when Honouliuli wasn’t like it is now. We’d walk down the gravel roads with sugar cane as far as you could see. Tutu lives on a golf course now if everything were the same.

Everything is different.

:
I never got them until i was 41

And when I got them it was staples not stitches. It was 22 degrees. An anomaly for Austin. I wrapped my hand in my sweater and put it through the glass. Then I pulled back.

My neighbor saved my life. I would have bled out. When the cops came I thought I was in trouble. Bang, bang, bang bang.
“Open the door.”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“You need an ambulance.”
“No I’m, um, fine.”
“Oh Jesus fuck you need an ambulance.”
And I did.

The moral of the story is I made it. And I wasn’t even trying.

June 10, 2014:
Equality

I’m not sad about the nothingness before I was born. Why would I be sad about the nothingness after I die? Death is the great equalizer. Civil rights, equality? No. No matter the situation. We all die.

:
Life

Life is a short period. It seems long when you’re living it. But it’s accidental and crazy and painful sometimes. We’ve all had that right? Rhetorical. The key is to be as passionate about your passions while you still have time. Don’t worry about the little bullshit because it’s exactly that. You are so much bigger.

June 20, 2014:
Power

Power is fragile and, more often than not, transient. The paradox is that in most interpersonal relationships the power is held by the one who cares the least, not who cares the most. This is true even with the conflicting parts of the self. The idea of power is an almost comical mind fuck of the mind. It’s almost impossible to control oneself, let alone anything else.

And those of us that prove capable of temporary control of our surroundings through fastidiousness, timeliness, attention to detail, work ethic? Invariably we become impossible to live with. The very strengths that define outward success, promote fraction in our houses.

The compromises that actual relationships require: tolerance, acceptance, open hearts and minds, are shuttered by our own needs for a level of whatever. The ones we love bear the brunt of this intolerance with their, by definition, inability to live life exactly as we might.

I let go. Seriously, I let go. Be who you are. Love what you want. Do what you know is right. Try to die having done things correctly.

I discovered late in the game that control is an illusion. Anything you have comes from far beyond understanding and you have practically no say at any given moment except for how you respond. If you set up in your mind the way things should be, you are just pre-defining failure and disappointment.

The past and the future are the same: not here. The moment is all we have.

Everything I was ever afraid of manifest because of me. I am to blame. I made the bad choices. I am the one that caused so much harm to so many lives, not the least of which was my own. Now these pieces of a puzzle sit before me. My grandmother used to give me these impossible puzzles. 5,000 pieces at the start of a marathon of 20,000 heads; 2,500 pieces of worms where every piece fit every other, but you had to make it work so it came out like the picture on the box. This puzzle is infinitely harder. But I solved all the other ones. Why should I doubt that I can’t solve this one too?

June 21, 2014:
My brother

Three decades ago, when I was a shitty older brother (perhaps I still am), influenced by the abusive power complexities I learned from my grandfathers and father, I tortured my younger brother in an attempt to make him acquiesce to my way of thinking.

I remember one incident where I bent his fingers back, and he was wincing, and I said just say, “Stop.” And instead he said, “Break them.” He was ten. I had just turned 14.

And this is how I know we are brothers. I would have said the exact same thing. In some ways I have, metaphorically, said the exact same thing, mostly to my detriment however. Not necessarily the easiest way to navigate this mortal coil, but “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me,” seems to be a sort of genetic family mantra.

When I left for college, he didn’t come to the airport. And when I came home for some summer break or other I found an essay by him that explained why. He hated me. Perhaps rightfully so. Reading those words changed me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super self-absorbed. But if you knew me at 16 you would see the difference. Back then there were no consequences, none that I cared about at least, except not getting what I wanted. Reading the way that my behavior might have impacted him. He was a child. I was a child plus four, and I let my world make me into a tyrant.

That hasn’t been the truth for a while now. I still bristle. I still have to be talked off the ledge of I Am Always Right.

It may not seem like it if I rage, but I am gentle. And the rage is never physical. But it is self-righteous and I can understand how it might be annoying, especially to someone with no emotional investment. You know that judgmental feeling? I get it all the time. Besides living our lives I think the next great past time might be judging.

My brother taught me a lesson that day. At 10(!) One that I clearly haven’t forgotten.

:
Unicorn

You ripped the horn off the unicorn because you wanted it to be a regular horse. It will always be a unicorn. This is a metaphor.

June 25, 2014:
I listened to this song when I was nine years old

Your time is going to come. Fuck, right? Lying, cheating, hurting that’s all you seem to do. Always the same, playing the game, troubles going to come to you. One of these days, and it won’t be long, you look for me and, baby, I’ll be gone.

:
Pools of blood

I wake up in pools of my own blood far too often. It’s not like I’m choosing it. It just sort of happens. I must have more than some culpability, but I promise you, for the most part, I try not to bleed out of my head. Things fail. I didn’t try to be this way. By most definitions I have failed at this life it. So be it. I am what I am.

I’ve seen a lot of shit that most people don’t see. And for the first time in my life I don’t feel better than you. But I don’t feel worse.

June 26, 2014:
Spirit

The rational. The righteous. The holy. It all has to end somewhere. Why not here? Why not now? I’m tired. I want to be in New York. I’m here, but I belong somewhere else. New York sounds nice.

The best night of my life I spent up the street from CBGB with a Jägermeister girl named Wendy. She gave me the keys to her car and I drove to the Village behind her. And then I followed her into the bathroom. Things happened. She wanted to be on the news. She was supposed to come visit and we were going to see REM, but I took my ex-wife instead. (For the record, I still love my beloved wife, but not in a way that harbors any kind of hope, at least not this decade.)

July 10, 2014:
Wetsuit

Sex feels good but sometimes it’s like drugs. A wetsuit because the world is cold. Sooner or later that has to come off.

July 30, 2014:
Southern Writers

I’ve always had an affinity for southern writers. The great Flannery O’Connor once said in a title of a story, Everything That Rises Must Converge and I never understood the connection between the story of and older lady and a savage killer. Now I do. Hemingway wrote Hills Like White Elephants and I swear it took me two years before I figured out they were at a train station so she could leave Spain to get an abortion. I am also a user of cryptic titles. But I promise you, just like life, everything has a meaning, even if it’s unintentional.

August 30, 2014:
Words fill up the page, pages fill up the days between you and me

I notice the shadows first. The dew casts rotund weaknesses about the thin blades of grass reaching up toward the light. Condescending condensation. I laugh at my joke even though it’s not funny. No, I guffaw. I like the play on words.

September 3, 2014:
Isolation

I know you love me and I love you very much. Isolation makes change happen. Solitude brings voices. Not all of them are pleasant. And the most urgent ones can be convincing. So I was immersed in these voices and I became convinced. You know how you’re positive that 2+2=4? Some of these voices scream 5 incessantly. No one else can hear it, but stay alone long enough and 5 starts to become 4, and begins to seem correct.

September 4, 2014:
It’s easy until it’s hard

That’s the thing that’s so hard to explain to people who don’t vacillate between the two, or whose natural personalities might automatically plane the hills and fill the valleys. The disconnect happens because easy looks neutral and doesn’t usually provoke concern or attention. Hard is frightening from the outside; others notice. The paradox is that on the inside hard feels easier, because hard is usually assuaged with some coping mechanism or other. Depending which one, hard becomes even harder, or floats back slowly to neutral, i.e. getting to even (yes, that is the philosophical etymology of this website and story—for the record, it doesn’t mean getting revenge).

Right now it’s easy, and it’s hard to wrap my head around things being difficult. But success requires the effort. I can’t go back, but I can always remember. Things aren’t quite yet fine, in fact they’re about as far away from fine as can be. Having recently been there, I can tell you it can get worse, much worse. So easy, or even neutral, feels a lot better than Hell.

:
Close, closer

Say it in your best voice, “My love, baby, go to bed.” But then kinda say it like you mean it. I didn’t mean shit. Or did I? On the losing end I like to pump up the bravado and act like I don’t care. Random lies make it sometimes hard to remember the truth. You seemed to have a sixth sense for that, didn’t you?

In thisclose to me is meaning, and everything I ever said is everything I’d ever meant to say, true or false, right or wrong. (For the record I never stopped caring.)

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When I say, “you,” I mean all of you

Which in a perverse and paradoxical way means, specifically, none of you.

But every one that has at one time been “you” (and that number is so low that it would most likely surprise you), please assume that my expressed feelings here recently apply to you wholeheartedly.

The specifics of the myths—some imagined, most real—always fluctuate, but the ideas and feelings behind them almost never do. By definition they have a greater influence in shaping our belief systems. Fluctuations in reality always make better stories, and can be modified for different audiences, sometimes consciously, but usually not.

Most people’s memories are a complex amalgam of what actually happened, our recollection of what happened, the stories we tell about our ourselves, and the filters of time and bias. The result is never true in the strictest sense of the word, eidetics and savants included. (Even photographs and videos, capturing everything, still get it wrong, but I’m talking about the human capacity for the willful suspension of reality, whatever that is.) No judgement there. Everyone suffers with this phenomenon. So universally, in fact, that “suffers” is more than likely the wrong word. All people are this. That’s better.

September 6, 2014:
How it feels to be reconstructed

Sherman’s March to the Sea began in Atlanta on November 15, 1864. Sparing only churches and hospitals his army burned down the city and laid waste to the infrastructure on its way to Savannah, over 300 miles away.

You might be wondering what this has to do with me, since the consistent narcissistic tone of this site generally precludes the actions of others that have not directly impacted me. This is a metaphor, of course. Though I have no affinity with the city, save a lifelong devotion to it’s major league baseball team, I am Atlanta. And, of course, you (as individual and society in general) are Sherman.

Atlanta is in many ways atypical of the South. In my experience it is more tolerant of groups generally ostracized by the Red State Mafia. Like Austin serves Texas, it is an oasis in a redneck desert. “Too Busy To Hate” was an unofficial theme of the city as it grew exponentially after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Having been destroyed relatively recently in historical terms, the city seems newer than say, New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, or any of the bedroom communities that run south of the Mason-Dixon Line along the Mississippi River (Natchez, Vicksburg, or Tunica). Those places still retain the ghosts of the pre-Civil War era. Atlanta seems to be made out of glass and concrete. The bulldozers of time and modernist design have covered most of the ghosts since reconstruction, though even before its destruction it was unlike most southern towns of the time. This paragraph’s intent was not to educate you on matters historical, but to extend the bounds of the metaphor because architecture is the least of the ways that we are similar.

It is the very reconstruction itself that I find appealing. You, like Sherman, came with promises of liberation, and I suppose our country eventually got around to that, but first there was the scorched-earth policies that indiscriminately laid waste to anything of value. (This, by the way, should sound familiar to you, though I doubt you yet lack the insight to recognize yourself in that assessment.) I am sympathetic to this course of action, not because I think it is correct, but because I have also, many times, been the perpetrator of an all-or-nothing policy regarding my life, and especially my relationships. “If I can’t have it the way I want it, then I’ll tear the whole thing down.” Bad mantra. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Now I find myself torn down with complicity, but also with outside agents (you, systemic entities, etc.) also acting to destroy. Either way (and does it really matter?), I recently lay smoldering in ruins, much like Atlanta on November 16, 1864.

My goal, then, is to use Atlanta as a model, not because I think the city is all that great (New York! San Francisco! New Orleans!), but because down on its ass, it stood back up, and told everyone that tried to stop it to fuck off. And now, love it or hate it, it is a player. It is the 6th largest metro area in the country, has the 15th largest economy of any city in the world, and the country’s busiest airport. A success by almost any standard. Gone are the ghosts of the past, replaced with glass and concrete and hope.

I can only hope to do the same with skin, bone, and purpose rather than dollars, buildings and planes.

September 8, 2014:
All this angst has served me well, but now I’m sad and bored

I’m not sure how to deal with this beyond remembering to breathe.

Lately I’ve been asking the people I’m closest to, “What’s the next thing you are looking forward to?” Most are puzzled by my reasons for asking, but everyone has an immediate answer. I don’t. There is no source of external outlet of which I can conceive. This is a relatively new reality for me. It’s not a pity-party request for sympathy, it just is what it is.

But I’m at a loss. I used to drink this feeling away, but we all know where that ends up, so now I don’t. It’s hard to understand why this way is so much more painful, but is also the right thing to do.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so alone. But I am sure I don’t much like it.

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The perversity of ideology

This woman I was seeing opened her eyes when I told her I’m a writer.
“You’re a writer? I want to be a writer.”
“So write.”
“Write something for me.”
“How is that supposed to help?”
“You ask too many questions.”

So I wrote. It’s the glut of form that makes the knowledge of its absence anything special. What is missing makes what’s there. Take away. Remove. Believe in your vision. And then you have art.

“Deep.”

But you never know how deep the depth is. The reality of any frame is never as neutral as it appears. This is how ideology works. It has to be an empty container. Open to all possible meanings. Metaphysical presence allows transcendence. But it is negative space—the absent, invisible quality of things—that paradoxically defines what’s there.

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Fast, slow, fast

We experience history not in the moment but only once a thing has happened. Only then is it even possible to have an intuition of what history might mean. Maybe without a moment of authentic passivity, nothing new can emerge. Maybe.

Symbolic destitution: stepping out of the body of the moment and accepting complete destruction. It’s the only way to be born again. Canceling or suspending the system of authority breaks it down, even the authority of the self, or it can’t happen. Of course we cannot know what god wants from us because there is no god. It’s wrong to think the second coming will be an actual man. The return is already here when there is an emancipatory collective.

My fascination borderlines on the absurd; why you cannot see the rage I have. There is a torrent of drums and percussive cacophony constantly playing in my head. I’m just supposed to put it out because it would make you feel more comfortable? I can’t stop it for me, how could I possibly stop it for you?

September 10, 2014:
The path of most reisistance

There are struggles for gain, and struggles against loss. These you might forgive, at least, for ostensibly having a purpose. My struggles are harder to forgive, even if the only person I’m saying sorry to is myself, because they often seem to be meaningless. Feelings and reactions to them often seem as pointless as they are painful. Does everything have a point? Should it?

I find myself in the realm of the imaginary reliving actions and having never-real conversations with people I’ve lost easy access to. The explanations are moot. The sorries are ignored, and deservedly so. But when I can steer the interaction within myself it gives me hope that versions of these might one day make their ways back to reality.

I love everybody.

September 12, 2014:
First-world (bullshit) problems

Reader: “Driving a car with no I.D. gets ya a trip to jail. Cant even buy a beer without an I.D. I guess this disenfranchisement has been going on since the beginning of time, but being required to show your I.D. can only apply to certain situations outside of voting says the socialist. Thats Hypocrisy.”

Me: Voter fraud has not really been a big problem with modern registration techniques. It’s another invented problem that takes away focus from real ones. It’s mostly just a way to keep “undesirables” from voting. This includes people, that for whatever reason, find themselves without a government ID (almost always poor and non-white). I myself went over two years without one so I speak from experience. If you lose an ID in the correct circumstances it can become a comedy of catch-22 errors in trying to get it replaced. Most states require birth certificates, social security cards, and “proof of legal presence (e.g., mortgage, lease, or a year of utility bills),” for any type of government-issued ID. All three of these require some form of the other two, and if all go missing simultaneously (e.g., your house is robbed and all your important paperwork and wallet are stolen) it is extremely time consuming and difficult to rectify. Especially (like I was) if you were born in another state (for me, Hawaii) or country and need to be present to request a birth certificate to your new state (in my case, Texas). (That’s an $800 roundtrip ticket and 3800 miles each way for those of you keeping score at home.)

Now addressing your supposed “hypocrises”: I have bought many beers without an ID. Contrary to popular belief it is even possible to fly without a picture ID (imagine a stranded tourist who is robbed at his destination…how does s/he get home?) So there are workarounds to the situations you describe. As there should be for voting. We’re not a true democracy anyway, and I think voting is merely a symbolic kangaroo choice between purchased puppets surviving on the corporate teat. I voted against George W. and for Obama, but has my life changed in any real way? Of course not. The office is mainly there to espouse certain belief systems. It’s not even required for the President to live the beliefs he espouses. None of them do with 100% consistency. Kerry got slammed for being a flip-flopper (which he was). Newsflash: THEY ALL ARE. Congress is locked, and the President’s power is limited to influence, i.e., except in rare circumstances (executive orders, pardons, etc.) the President doesn’t make much law.

In my experience, the impetus to prevent voting is usually an unspoken (yet very realized) racism. I’m not saying that you personally are racist, I’m just saying usually. It seems to exist to keep Hispanic groups from voting en masse (they tend to vote Democratic, and the staunchest voter ID supporters tend to be Republican), and it also seems to target black voters in swing states controlled by Republican majorities (Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, etc.), who also tend to vote Democratic. The truth is that Democrats and Republicans are so alike that I don’t think it matters anyway which talking head has been purchased for his or her token, partisan vote.

Corporate donations go to both parties equally (in fact, donations almost always presciently favor the projected winner). Like anything else in a capitalist society, you need only follow the money. Corporate America has a vested interest in an impotent, unpopular Congress. That is not an accident. And Clinton taught everyone (again) that you campaign to the middle. Left (progressive) and right (tea party) might energize their faithful but fall on the deaf ears of the hoi polloi, and are vilified by the status quo to the point of ostracism.

For the record, then, I don’t think voting does much, but I hate the idea of one group trying to take away the little that voting does do from other groups of people because their pigment may be darker or their voting habits don’t align with their own.

September 13, 2014:
I tread a troubled track, my odds are stacked, and I’ll go back to black

By coincidence I’m wearing all black today and Spotify chooses that song and I think to myself, “I can’t believe that Amy Winehouse has been dead for more than three years now.” And I know I’m lucky that I didn’t die the same way, in fact, in that same timeframe. I got out.

But life, as it most certainly is prone to do, keeps happening. The pressure of similitude never ends and I’ve come to know that it never will. That perhaps this is the very definition of life. Pleasure is fleeting, and for the most part so is pain. The difficulty arises, especially to someone with my mentality, because every day is essentially the same day. (And this is the perfect, perhaps only, time I am to quote Janis, “It’s all the same fucking day, man.”)

That seems to be one common thread in the trail of dead. Boredom. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Leads to belief in the mantra that “It’s better to burn out, than fade away.” Is it? I’m not looking to burn out. I’m not exactly fond of the notion of fading away either, but if that’s all we have, then why waste it?

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You went back to what you knew, so far removed from all that we went through

I can barely understand my motivations or my moment-to-moment reactions to stimuli. Why do I do the things that I do? And if I can’t answer this about myself, how can I possibly even begin to try to answer it for you? Your motivations and responses are as foreign to me as they are fascinating. Why do you do the things that you do? Vindictiveness doesn’t quite explain the depth of your commitment. When is it finished? Is it ever going to be enough? Or is the nature of your action a dystopian world view in a never-ending war?

I think about you and certain phrases resonate, none more than, “(S)he loved Big Brother.”

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If not profound, at least prolific

I’ll fill the emptiness with words. There is a hole, of sorts, that seems to me to be currently un-fillable. I have poured enough venti dark roasts (two Splendas and space for cream) in it to burst any three existentialist bladders, but to no avail. I joke now, but the emptiness is palpable and real. I don’t know how to fill it. I don’t know where to look. I don’t like the idea of staying empty—it seems beyond selfish to do so—but I don’t have a plan; I don’t even have an idea for a plan. My default mode is normally proactive and this waiting-around-to-die shit is far too Townes Van Zandt for my liking.

September 14, 2014:
I’ve loved all, I’ve needed love; sordid details following

I am an unreliable narrator.

I make no pretense to disinterest. Everything I use to fill the vacuum of this life is done by choice. Consciously or subconsciously I am neck deep in my interests and biases. So are we all. The difference is my memory. It is eidetic. I can often remember things exactly as they happened. The trick to being unreliable is the interpretation of these events to suit the argument I am making, which may or may not remain consistent. It really depends on the moment. It depends on the audience.

Now for the hard part. Sometimes I am the sole member of this audience. And the cognitive dissonance that occurs during the process of packaging a situation is far more dissonant, when the package is for self-consumption. It’s not impossible, clearly. And by what I’ve witnessed I’m not the only person doing it. You see it in a color-by-numbers, kindergarten-simplicity when the law becomes involved. Statements are taken, snap judgements are made, then all evidence that fits a hypothesis is hoarded, while anything that subverts the accepted idea of “what happened” is summarily dismissed as coincidence or superfluous. In our personal lives we do this shit on a whole other level. Why? Because we are fighting for our perceived actualization and the definition of our capital-s Self. That is a constant battle waged from cradle to grave, and everything is sacrificed in its effort.

The few individuals that can subvert this compulsion, or rise above it, are pointed to as heroes and anomalies of selfless wonder. Again, I don’t include myself, even remotely, among these beautiful freaks of human nature.

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One flash of light, but no smoking pistol

I can’t explain the color blue without being self-referential, though I know it’s located between violet and green on the optical spectrum. Or the power of the blues except with uninspired definitions of rhymed, simple narratives played flattened or gradually bent in relation to the pitch of the major scale. Both descriptions are sterilized to the point of meaninglessness. These two examples are as real as any “proven” entities that I know, yet remain beyond the grasp of non-experiential understanding.

We bask in the glory of the senses but as a path to true knowing they are clearly quite limited and limiting.

September 15, 2014:
Spring only sighed, summer had to be satisfied, and fall is a feeling I just can’t lose

The sky’s coming down again. The pain is gone, and that makes me worry because in its place is nothing. I’m always skeptical of stillness. It’s stupid and quasi-romantic and the well-covered material of melancholy songs of loves lost, unrequited, or unrealized. It seems better as a respite but, in fact, is often the portent of a much more profound absence than most feelings can feel their way out of.

I’m trying not to be negative. I am choosing to not be complicit in the release of that energy into my world. And so I won’t be, though I assume it’s too late to redact these observations from the universe’s notice.

I watched videos of the kids yesterday. It was lovely and simultaneously soul smashing. Strange how those intertwine and overlap; equally provocative, but pulling at the seams of self in opposite straits. I had to turn them off. The kids are young in the pictures. They get older every day.

And melancholy, is the temporary triumphant.

September 17, 2014:
Notes from a meeting

I find this circle jerk to be something less than helpful. I’ve been here for three Tuesdays now, and I recognize the tone that will provoke my cringes. The current speaker is repeating the exact same things (verbatim) that he said last week. I think I’d prefer a mild physical pain to listening to him ramble (and by some amazing cosmic coincidence he used the word ramble at the exact time I wrote the word in reference to his rambling). I am trying so hard not to be skeptical—the conclusion almost chooses itself. This is an excuse to talk. It’s all filler. It means nothing. It has no effect. It’s all affect.

Please shut up. Please shut up. Please shut up. Please shut up.

The over-the-top subject of victimhood aligns nicely with the not-so-subtle subtext of religiosity (here specifically it’s Christianity, though I’m sure it’s Judaism in Tel Aviv, and Islam in Jakarta). The mindset required to turn everything over to a higher power is foreign to me; these people could be speaking in tongues of gibberish and it would have just as much influence (none) that this does. It’s a weird dichotomy between the professed humility and the unbridled narcissism it requires to talk about yourself for 35 minutes without saying anything that matters.

He just doesn’t stop.

September 19, 2014:
Miranda, or how I learned to stop talking and love the fifth

They tell you, “Anything you say can and will be used against you,” when you’re detained. (Heed this. Especially if you don’t have the money or time to defend yourself.) And though this warning might be a helpful start, like most legal minimums, Miranda is a cover-your-ass, lowest common denominator (not for you but for the one reading to you) that omits important corollaries which are more true than the rule itself. For starters it’s not just what you say. Anything you say, do, write, post, or imply will most certainly be taken out of context and used in the most damaging way possible against you. Any insights or truth that conflict with this agenda will be summarily ignored. Your behavior and willingness to acquiesce will do nothing at all to prevent this; the only possible impact will be on how you are treated, and how you are charged. These are both completely at the discretion of the arresting entity initially. And no matter what has happened, unless you have the good fortune of being recorded on video, it will come down to your word against theirs (which means you won’t have a word).

If you remember nothing else, remember this: the person asking the questions is not your friend. He doesn’t care about you, and cares even less about your extenuating circumstances. He’s trying to make you say something incriminating to justify your detention. You tell your side of the story best when you say nothing at all.

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in this kind of situation, trust me and shut the fuck up.

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I hope it’s still funny when you’re in hell

I’m getting out of the emotional revenge game. For every sweet moment there’s been at least one bitter blow-up. For every action there has sometimes been a wholly unequal and opposite reaction. ¿Es la joda? I’ve come to the realization that I am fundamentally, atom-level different from the amalgam of people known as society. The more conservative the part of this (e.g., Texas, Florida), the more out of place I am. I cannot tell you (though not from lack of trying) how many times I have done something that I thought (and think) was reasonable, only to have a uniform (cheap suits and ties count as such) question my (usually incorrectly) perceived intent.

I like to think that it’s because I don’t flinch at painful truths, and though that may be a part of it, the near-unanimous revulsion I have sometimes provoked makes me inclined to believe that there is something larger at play. I wear being different like a badge of honor and have paid for this hubris, a higher price than I ever would have believed before paying it.

After the “informal declaration” debacle of 2009, I made a vow to be totally transparent here. Because the truth was being so obviously obfuscated, and false advocates and stories were commanding the attention of anything that mattered, I decided to speak truth to power. To tell everything as I was experiencing it, no matter what it was. Dirty words, dirty thoughts, reflections, projections, trespasses committed for or against. Everything.

Count on these like you count on your fingers.

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The lunatic, the lover, and the poet have such seething brains

A Type I error is a false positive. It is believing something is real that isn’t, based on a misunderstanding or misapplication of data. As a pathology it is known as apophenia and was first used to describe the acute stages of schizophrenia when unrelated details appear to be connected and meaningful. Beyond the pathological, this phenomenon seems to be a part of the common human experience, though usually to a lesser degree. It seems this tendency to see order in random configurations and coincidences happens to us all.

Apophany—the polar opposite of epiphany—is most likely an evolutionary holdover. Danger and it’s avoidance, when confronted with a set of circumstances that seem, however briefly, to be an ordered, pre-ordained series of events, probably saved our prehistoric ancestors from a slashing saber tooth, or the truncheons of a rival tribe. Usually, after time, these feelings of revelation went away. But not always. This is how myths are born.

And now we deal with this anomaly of evolution, like a psycho-emotional appendix, and it manifests in conspiracy theories and psychic readings and “proofs” of purpose and non-random patterns. Is it a seething brain that intuits divine revelation and the less-than-divine emotions that savage the psyche like self-professed love or hate? Or is there something else, something outside of the self? I would like to believe the latter, but assume the former. And fret over the myths that slouch toward us waiting to be born.

September 20, 2014:
A way to talk around the problem

The roosters don’t know it’s Saturday. They crow in the pre-dawn darkness, and fill their hovels with shit just like they do on Friday or Wednesday. The smell reaches me only seconds after the sound. I still haven’t figured out how they know it’s 4:45am, but they know better than any clock I’ve ever owned. I can tell what time it is by the pitch of the crow; apparently they work in shifts, each speaking a slightly different cacophonous tongue. By the third cockerel, I know it’s time to leave home.

I hate birds in general, but I especially hate roosters. I hate the loud-mouthed incessantness and labial wattles, the beady-eyed nervousness and aggressive feather ruffles. A Mesozoic hangover whose only redemptive quality is being delicious when basted and deep fried. (In immediate retrospect, that seems a bit harsh. I suppose a rooster has never done me harm beyond shaving a few minutes of sleep from my life. I don’t think I hate anything, not even you.)

I used to tell people that a person who hates everything actually hates themselves. There’s a way around that I’ve discovered, but it requires careful planning. I don’t have a plan. I do have an idea that seems to hold promise. (An idea for a five-year plan that starts five days ago.) And promise is the enemy of hatred.

I’ve come to believe that anything can happen. Anything happens all the time.

September 24, 2014:
The soundtrack of our lives

Watching the landscape, or cityscape, pass by in the windows as music is playing too loudly in the background, and I sometimes feel like I’ve warped into a music-video world. It helps if the music is fast enough to keep time with the view, is catchy, but more obscure than pop (this isn’t about a sing-a-long), and bonus points for esoteric lyrics that require some level of reflection.

Today’s candidate for perfect music-video song came on just after noon when Spotify carefully selected the Cure’s Charlotte Sometimes. And Robert Smith’s repeated cries of “Sometimes I dream!” seemed to fit the ride, and the day, perfectly.

These songs, so full of memories for such different reasons, suggest the silent soundtrack of our lives played out without music but in our thoughts and memories, both conscious and subconscious.

Events of the day, had otherwise triggered thoughts of the past, my past. And, of course, as we all do when triggered, I drifted back to the recent and more distant history and contemplated life and the decisions that I’ve made. There are some things I’ve done that look really bad on paper, but given identical situations, I’m quite sure I would repeat most of my actions, even the one’s with difficult ramifications, even knowing what I know now. Ouspensky’s wheel once again revisited.

The inconvenience comes from the judgments of those removed from the situation. “If only I could explain.” I’ve learned it’s best not to try. Explanations are often interpreted as excuses. And I don’t have any good ones. I just have to trust that I’m trying to do the right thing and for the most part succeeding. Then let people fall into place where they will. Because they will anyway.

None of us are so different as we like to believe we are, myself included. The human condition does not produce many truly unique situations. More than one person’s walked on the moon. And whatever you’re feeling, a million other people are feeling at the exact same time. I try to remember that when I get too much in my head. Especially about regrets, if onlys and what ifs.

Some of us are just not as good at hiding our true selves. Growing up Catholic I was trained at an early age to be confessional. I blurt. But, I’ve learned that not everyone wants to hear your true confessions. Some don’t care. Some can’t empathize. Some understand, but keep it to themselves. Some just don’t like the act of blurting.

I am what I am, and I’ve done what I’ve done. And there’s no changing any of that. There’s just moving forward.

But, sometimes I dream.

September 25, 2014:
Rise over run

It’s a slippery slope from intellectual integrity to ethical cynicism and its inevitable conclusion, dispassionate nihilism. I sometimes wonder about my refusal to even consider the supernatural as any kind of primary cause. Religion or its contemporary pseudo-counterparts like The Secret, Scientology or even Mormonism, just seem so obviously wrong. They seem mired in the desperation of wishful thinking.

The phrase I keep hearing in my head is one I learned in college, “the efficacy of reason.” Human enlightenment coincided with the embrace of reason and the rejection, slow as it may be in coming, of magic. (Think of all the people that reject evolution because they don’t understand the word “theory.”) How then are certain intellectuals, many of whom I admire in their realms of expertise, able to come to a completely opposite conclusion? How does a radical feminist medical doctor also obtain a master’s degree in theology, and a Ph.D. in Public Health (all from Harvard) then become a Catholic nun? How can a physicist teach quantum mechanics at the doctoral level and be a biblical literalist, simultaneously holding mutually exclusive rational and irrational beliefs? How does a socially radical theologian and poet become the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury? These people exist. And I am sometimes moved from my high horse by these apparent contradictions.

A quote from the Right Reverend Williams (the aforementioned Archbishop), is an example of an insight that provokes this metaphysical tickle. “Reason is a good tool for criticism, and its power as a critical force habitually leads us to mistake it for a straightforward guide in constructing positive social goals. Reason is a very good solvent of nonsense but is not necessarily a very good constructor of sense.

I feel guilty for thinking to myself, how can someone who is capable of such abstract yet rational thought also be subject to a world inhabited at times by resurrections from the dead, angels, demons, untouchable gardens, and impossible floods? Surely he must see the absurdity of the myths he’s presumably built his life around? How does he reconcile the glaring inconsistencies?

It seems to me to be a guilty pleasure rooted in sheer egotism. Having said that, can I still make a few wishes?

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Ghosts that we once knew will flicker from view and we’ll live a long life

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, not so long ago. Via instant messages, tens of thousands of characters made words that 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.

And we argued eight hours until abruptly re-exchanging vows of recompense 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. Believing that was my mistake, of course. We had actually 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.

September 27, 2014:
I came out of the woods by choice

All these mistakes I’ve made don’t exist, except in my memory. It’s past and just as fake as whatever I can imagine comes next. Only now exists. The rest is a mind-game-mind-fuck. I have tortured myself beyond any pedestrian water board. I’m tired of living in the shade. “Let there be light,” is a metaphor. It didn’t happen like the book says. It happens every second. This might be hard to wrap your head around, but seconds are too long. Every moment represents a comprehensible difference from the last. Nano-nanoseconds. Every single one of these whatever you want to call them, is a chance to let there be light. God exists in minutiae. The smaller everything gets, the greater is the change in our rules of understanding.

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Grapes of wrath

A package came today and the return address was in Grapevine, Texas. My son was born in Grapevine. There was a piercing in my heart when I noticed the address. An actual physical hurt. I miss my son. I miss my daughter. I may have done a lot of shitty things in my life, but I know I did at least two things right.

I’m not sure how to fix the situation yet, or how to broker peace in a war that I mostly declared. But I know it has to happen. There’s too much love for this to continue indefinitely.

September 28, 2014:
Circles they grow and they swallow people whole, half our lives we say goodnight to wives we’ll never know

I knew my wife pretty well. Perhaps better than she allows herself to know herself. And the fake wife that came later. I guess I knew her pretty well, too. These are the reasons I still root for Texas A&M, and hate Beaumont even though I’ve only ever passed through. The former represents innocence and integrity, the latter a cesspool of power, corruption, and lies.

The old (and not so old) me craved the drama. It made me feel like I was alive, whatever that means. I recall finding myself in peculiar situations and watching the scene(s) unfold outside my actual experience, like watching a documentary but simultaneously living in it, often thinking to myself what my “normal” friends or wife or family might think if they stood where I was actually standing. How incredibly fucking interesting it seemed to be to be alive like that. But the periods following alive were at best soporific, and at worst, less than dead, and the return to normalcy was terrifyingly sedentary and dull. In retrospect I see the calm inside the storm, the eye, where against my flailing attempts to flee, was safety and comfort.

Whipping in the outskirts for years now I can only wait for the storm to pass, and hope another doesn’t arrive before I can rebuild the levees.

:
Two ships passing at the mall

Isn’t it weird the kind of changes that occur between two parties in an intimate relationship? I find it interesting sometimes to reflect on the fact that though I’ve had countless lovers, there are four or five people walking around planet Earth who know, up close and personal, about my predilections for certain styles of fantasy, dress, or action. That is a very intimate knowledge. And running into these people when access to their relief of these desires is no longer appropriate nor attainable sometimes borders on the surreal. You speak about the shallow end, talk about the weather, the new job, maybe even the kids, knowing all the time she knows something about you that the world passing around you doesn’t.

Part of the reason that my site is so transparent is an attempt to take away some of the power of that knowledge. But the main reason, related but far deeper, was to be so honest, sometimes embarrassingly so, that people had no choice but to know I must be telling the truth about everything.

:
Memories of him

Walking from the pool with my girlfriend and the kids. My daughter ran ahead and in chasing her I almost tumbled over my son who had abruptly stopped and kneeled down on the sidewalk. I was just about to hurry him along because my daughter was now almost out of sight when my girlfriend said, “Wait. He has literally stopped to smell the flowers. This is an iconic moment. I think we can wait until he’s four to discourage him and crush his spirit.” So we waited. And after a few long draws from the petals he got up and continued toward the house, singing to himself, “They smell good. They smell good.”

They do, son, they really do.

:
Your name here

I saw you and I couldn’t take a breath. Every horrible, terrible everything of my life was made whole by the calm of you. Every mistake accentuated made darker in the shadow of your absence. It’s true I ran away before. I wish I could be small. I’ll never be. You’ll never be. In my memory you are bigger than life. You are a myth. You are nameless. It might not be pretty, but let’s see what happens.

:
Mele

Mele means song in Hawaiian. The reduplication, melemele, means yellow. And to me, sometimes, it means everything. There is a picture in my memory, where my daughter, in a yellow dress, has her hands up, reaching to grab an unseen something, more likely someone, with a barely-toothed smile bursting at the limits of her tiny face. I used the image for the invitations to her first birthday lu’au. Every time I see it, I smile.

After she was born I remember rushing home to watch her sleeping in her crib, next to our bed, always in reach. I remember waiting to wake her in the morning, unwrapping her from her blanket burrito, and watching her eyes open to the strange world around her, recognizing the moment of recognition that would cross her expression as she remembered she was alive.

Times weren’t perfect than. But every minute with her was.

The smiles would come later. And when they did there was nothing more special that ever was until that moment, each smile unique and more precious than the last. So quickly did smiles become giggles, then coos and syllables. Then words. Now she is a person. Sentient and sensitive. She is wise, but thankfully retains an innocence I don’t ever recall.

I was born 40 years old (I have old journal entries to prove it), so I’m happy she gets to be 11. There are people responsible for that. I did notice and I am thankful.

We think differently

“You’re different.”
“I know.”
“It keeps you back.”
“Back from what?”
“Back from life.”
“I’m alive.”
“You could have been so much more.”
“Like what?”
“House. Car. Family. What everyone wants.”
“I’m not interested in that.”

January 25, 2014:
#nofilter

I feel like, honestly, I have thirty years left to traipse this mortal coil. To right the wrongs I’ve done, to love as hard as I can, and to eke every word out that my brain seeks to fill a space with. Love to me is a filter. Love to me says, “Baby, just shut your mouth.” You and I have come to separate visions of the same truth. You are trying to find peace. I am trying to provoke her.

I was your lifeline out, and you were mine, and that was okay. And now it’s not. It’s about as far away from okay as you can stand.

:
Voices

This child is Christ the king. I can feel the saliva furrow in the edges around my tongue. And I can see you shudder. Perhaps it’s because the words come in Hawaiian that they are tolerable to me. Kristo no keiki ali’i. It sounds so pretty coming from the man’s voice.

Voice has come to mean so much to me. Passive. Active and the differences in between. Nobody gives a fuck except people like me. And, I guess, people like you. We’re a different breed you and me. Smartest motherfucker in the room still, invariably, makes you a motherfucker. I’m not quite sure that this is a bad thing.

January 31, 2014:
Brrr

Thunder is an emotion. I remember crying when I heard it. I never felt tough. I was never that guy. I was the one that had thoughts in my head. I was beat up by guys like you. I wasn’t fond of taking a slap.

But I guess you had to endure the pains life gave you. Gives you. Keeps giving. You may have asked for this. I didn’t ask for this. It just sort of happened.

I keep attention maybe two seconds at a time. It’s a blessing and a curse. Most likely a curse if you don’t like what I have to say. That doesn’t make me wrong.

Life is a mystery inside a riddle inside an absurdity. And we all know it. And we ignore it. You are a mess. I am a mess. And it’s such a mess when we push our mess together.

If you’d have asked me ten years ago, I would say I hate myself and want to die. Now people like that frustrate me. They make me sad in a way that I don’t like to be sad.

Words come easily. Words come like water. They flow. Sometimes they overwhelm me. They’re like a wave. They feel bigger than me. They are larger than life. But they’re just syllables. Just harmless vowels and consonants.

They push together to make ideas. Ideas are what’s truly fucked. They make you think things. I’d prefer to have ice cream.

:
How here?

It’s not like it was a single decision. In retrospect it was more like a million shitty ones.

February 5, 2014:
The folding chair

The folding chair in the corner is so simple but so important.
It is the best means, at this moment,
at my affection and its communication.

It sits simply against the wall most of the time.
It never complains. I never call it a bitch.

It just folds and unfolds when necessary.

It brings value to my life in a way that few people do.
So I say this, even though it may be ridiculous.

You are so much bigger than a folding chair.

February 28, 2014:
Baby, again

She says to me, “Soon, baby,” and in so doing changes the world. My world, at least. I believe she might not remember saying it. I know it doesn’t matter.

For months now I’ve walked like The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Like John Travolta in that movie but older. Watching couples as if I were an alien. Clinical. He says, “X,” she says, “Y,” they laugh, maybe kiss, finish their drinks, then catch the red-eye movie before returning home. Rote sex and replayed roles are cliché, so I don’t even have to go there for it to be depressing.

The contact is what kills. The emptiness of wrapping an arm around yourself. As much as I may regret my regrets, it was nice to have an arm at my waist, a body within reach, and, ostensibly, an advocate.

That pieced-together puzzle of want and need has seemed so elusive to the point of not caring. I’ve always been a skeptic, but never considered the fact that I might be a nihilist.

And then with one sentence she outs me as a heart on a sleeve. With one casual aside I am who I am again.

March 2, 2014:
Salty

Taste. Tang. Sweat. Lust you can’t hide. Salt. Everything you might be scared about. Open. Your legs wide open I might think about. But it’s your mind wide open that I wish upon a star.
“K, you’re not allowed to say that shit.”
“Try me.”

March 5, 2014:
You told me once

You said, “Now everything ends.”
I thought you were ridiculous.
You know, I don’t feel small. I don’t feel less than anything. You could bring a dragon to my face, and I would breathe back. I would blow as hard as I could. You on the other hand. You vex me. The word, “vex” was invented for you. You scare me. I don’t like to be scared.

March 9, 2014:
I get to speak again

This is the only place I’m good. Right now, I only have words left. I scare my friends. I have a death wish but don’t want to be dead. A child came and put his hand on my face the other day. “Is he dead?” “No. That’s just the way he is.”

:
Dying is hard

I don’t think I can be killed. I’ve tried so many ways without actually trying.

:
My two greatest fears

The first is being shot. The second is dying in a car accident. Actually I envision the car hitting me. There’s an irony here. Everything that’s supposed to kill me hasn’t. I’ve sliced my wrist and had my face smashed in. I’ve been found unconscious more times that I’d like to admit. It leaves me with an incredibly arrogant sense of invincibility.

Clearly we die. I don’t get to fight that rule. That motherfucker just doesn’t seem to work, because I should be dead six times. Something wants me to try. I’m trying. Failing, a lot. But trying.

March 11, 2014:
Judges

I don’t get to be alive in most lives. Who am I to judge? I’ve failed in spectacular ways. I fucking set the standard in failure. A woman that adored me and birthed two children that mean more than life itself. I fucked her over. For reasons I don’t even understand. The next that loved me I fucked in a different way. I’m talking about, beautiful wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime women. You get a shot a one at these. And I got a shot at several and I fucked them all away. Me. Not them me. They had their shit. Nobody’s perfect. But it was me. I was to blame. I was the bad guy. I couldn’t make things right in my head. So I chose the easy way out. The bottom of a bottle. And in so doing fucked my life. Fucked my wife’s life. Maybe fucked my kid’s life. And that’s the worst. I could tell you stories that I couldn’t possibly wish on my worst enemy. You couldn’t see the shit I’ve seen and still be alive. I’m telling you. Shit get’s worse than it sounds. I’ve seen it. I smelled it. I only live because God foolishly loves me. My very good friend rubbed my face and said you are so lucky. And I didn’t know what she meant. The love I feel in her hands right is an accident of the universe. For some reason God doesn’t want me dead.

:
It’s not doing what comes first

Am I evil? Maybe. Am I wrong? Maybe not. Things happen. By that I might know differently. We choose everything we do. I know the word culpability. I’ve learned not to hate myself. But I know I’m not clean. We move. We take a step. What can you do but take a step. So I take a step. Then I take another step. Then if I don’t fall down I take one more.

March 12, 2014:
Trouble

Google it. Go there and my mind goes to the place that one place that you will not let me. And you never get lost. You are of the other hand I am I am you. I am the fucked up version of you. I am you if could shut my mouth. I have never shut my mouth.

March 20, 2014:
Try

“I promise you don’t believe in what you believe.”
“Sure I do.
“No. No you don’t. You haven’t read it.”
“Have you?”
“Every page.”

March 23, 2014:
Sons

I realized that in my downward spiral of hopelessness, I was actually falling into the huge hole created by my absence of basic human graces. The most obvious was forgiveness. When relationships become a ledger of profit and loss, you have no friends. Just plusses and minuses. You are absolutely alone.

:
Crash this train

:
I actually know the answer to this

Why, if you’re pissed, and especially if your anger somehow gets into “the system,” is the knee-jerk requirement for arrest, or worse yet, anger management counseling? Do situations not exist where anger is the appropriate response? Loud voices and slammed doors. Why does that require intervention? If someone lies, can you not point a finger? If someone flails, can you not subdue them? Why is the physically weaker person always assumed to be the victim? Tweety Bird is a cunt, everyone knows that. So is the Road Runner. I would love to see both of those birds swallowed whole sometimes with their casual manipulation of the cartoon system. I digress.

The answer to the question posited in the title is this: risk mitigation. Everyone is so scared to take a stand. To be wrong. To look foolish. They choose the path of least resistance, and when they’re in power, force the path that provides the least amount of risk. Right? Doesn’t matter. Wrong? Matters less. Not my fault? Is the godhead of our modern-day legal and medical symptoms. No one wants blame. So they choose the middle path, when going left was the better choice. Just in case right was wrong.

March 27, 2014:
F_{n} = F_{n-1} + F_{n-2}

Tell me how connected the numbers three and five are. Closer than you and I ever were. On so many levels, by so many definitions. I dabble in these things. The truth in numbers. The truth in big and small. Quantum theory makes more sense to me than any catechism ever did. Fibonacci sequences seem to predict much more than mere numbers. This is beyond a set of fun puzzles to solve, but rather seem to be the key to something more real than the first ridiculous miracle at Canaa. With the exceptions of 1, 8 and 144 ( Description: _{1} = Description: _{2} , Description: _{6} and Description: _{12} ) every Fibonacci number has a prime factor that is not a factor of any smaller Fibonacci number. I find this to be far more miraculous than alleged water into wine. That seems like a myth told in the parlance of the times in which it was written.

But the sequence has always been the same; it exists independent of time or even consciousness. The numbers keep getting bigger and never repeat, and you, like the Earth as I blast into space, keep getting smaller and smaller and smaller.

:
I can count the times I’ve been happy on one hand

Not forever. But in the past three years. I’ve smiled. I’ve been not unhappy. But as any sentient adult will tell you there is a difference. The absence of pain does not equal pleasure. I might get what I deserve after the fact, I’m not quite sure I do before the fact. I’m not certain why there is a fact, why things go down the way they do. But they do. And they do. And continue to do so.

Surely I have my share of complicity in the way things play out. And after they start playing, I’m more likely to make things worse than better.

And so it is. And so we are.

March 29, 2014:
Be here to love me

Otherwise everything is speculation. I’m not here to be angry, though given the right circumstance I can usually be counted on to be so. Old behavior is extrapolated into guesses about what will happen. Vague memories have a way of becoming hard truth. Everyone knows what happened, but everyone knows differently, passionately. There are no witnesses that have actually seen anything except what they’ve heard. Credibility is a measure more valuable than a credit score. It means more than the truth.

Nothing happens without an equal and opposite reaction. Lies beget lies. Sorrow makes thing sad. Revenge makes retaliation inevitable. I’m not interested in propagating any of that. I realize my choices might put me in the background for now. I’ve never stayed there before. Why would I?

This is not an ever after. Things will get worse before they get better. But things will change.

It always has a way of coming around.

:
I am trying to break your heart

Meaning is so hard to discern. I admit to provoking extremes of behavior in the attempt to extract proof of feeling. Childish. A baby cries to be comforted. Not much different. I’m not sure it was a choice. That seems like the search for a scapegoat. Especially this deep into the game. Stay with me for a second.

I’m not unconvinced that my tool chest wasn’t shunted at a certain point. I have a limited quiver.

:
Stitches

You asked me why we always end up together. Darling, I know 15 versions of you. If I believed in the supernatural, I’d think you were a shapeshifter. You’re twentysomething, but I’ve known you for at least 50 years. I’ll be 44 a week from Wednesday, but you’ve been in my life for 1000 years as far as I can tell by feeling.

There’s only so many of us at the table. Seven, or less, by my count. And the transient nature of our day-to-day existence can’t hide this. It won’t be ignored.

You and I are woven into the same fabric; we are threads in the same tapestry. I don’t know what your role is. I know my role even less. But there’s something at play here. And I’ll let the weaver decide what happens next.

March 30, 2014:
Quite contrary

That girl ignores me now. I got too close to the source of her pain. She’s mercenary that one. “It’s just sex.” No. No, it’s not. Not for me. And it’s taken me this long to realize. Not for you. I’m sorry. I thought it was a game for you. Games, winners and losers, and, Baby, I don’t lose. Maybe in the short-term my words are redacted. But that black mark goes away. My voice, one letter at a time, will never be silent. At least not until I’m dead. So kill me or expect me to shout everything. Everything. Everything. Everything. Everything. Nothing is safe if I’m not safe. Everything.

:
Nothing is real

Hurt yourself. I have no intention of hurting you. You have always been your own worst enemy, your own worst memory. Live the life that feels good. And ignore the trace of dead bodies in your wake. You are evil as I’ve come to understand it. Everything is you.

:
Highway kind

Something is watching me. Something is watching over me. I’ve come thisclose to making some fucking serious mistakes. Not less than ones you asked me to make. I did them with a whole heart. We can discuss specifics when everyone is friends again.

Right now you’re a threat. I’m a threat. With no bite. I represent for you things that were necessary for you to get through. I understand. I hate you for all the unnecessary bullshit, but I understand.

This is a short-term game. You win right now. I haven’t done anything wrong. Not really wrong. So you lose eventually. It’s just going to take time. I wish I didn’t need that. But I’ve learned to take what comes. High. Low. In-between.

My only advantage? You don’t know the low. I’ve basked in it now for a minute. You’ll panic when it reaches you. You’ve only seen low from the happy side of the fence. The fence always falls.

:
Everybody else was dirty

Mutually assured destruction relies on the principle that either party prefers not to be destroyed. That goes into flux when one party stops giving a fuck. Bring it down, bring it all down. Burn it down to a stump, and then piss on the ashes. It’s hard to negotiate at that point.

I could give a fuck or I could give a fuck less means the same thing. There is nothing left to lose. I cannot lose anything more than I have already lost. So nothing that happens has any impact. You can test this, I suppose. The result will be the same. Mutually assured destruction.

:
Listen

There are lessons to be found here. Mostly I write so that you’ll know me. Once it’s out here, there’s no taking it back. And when you’re old enough, most likely sooner, you’ll find my words. There are no lies here. You have heard distorted versions of the truth since you were a child. She can keep you from me, but she can’t keep you from this.

I love you. I have always loved you. I will always love you. Contrary to what you may have heard, you and your brother mean more to me than anything. I can’t be current. But I can leave you a legacy of words. And no matter what others might want, these words are outside of their control and will be here forever.

March 31, 2014:
It’s a shame that it’s a shame

Everything you thought made a difference, doesn’t mean shit. I take my coffee black. All these crazy dances we do, to be liked or loved, are transparent in more ways than we want to believe. I can see you dancing, so it shouldn’t be surprising that you recognize me.

I hate dancing. I’m bad at it. I hate the alternative more. Stillness. Where are you? I prefer stillness inside you.

I take my coffee black.

April 4, 2014:
I didn’t do anything wrong

I waited. I need to just learn to shut up. I romanticize things in a way that can be far removed from reality. And I guess trusting my predictive abilities so many years later was probably not prudent. I need a plan. I can’t see a pain-free way for me to extricate myself from this situation. But this time there is really nothing left to lose for me. Except a certain comfort zone I’d found these last few years.

April 6, 2014:
They

They never care if it’s true, as long as there’s something to prove. And there’s always something to prove.

April 8, 2014:
You

You are evil in ways I can’t even count. And you’ve destroyed lives needlessly. Have you looked at yourself? Do you see what your casual indiscretions have started? I guess I don’t understand what motivates you. I’m lost. I thought I knew you, but clearly I don’t have the slightest what motivates you.

April 12, 2014:
The room is empty

No one is ever going to love me again. I mean not like the way you think about when you masturbate. I missed my window. You know how we idolize female virginity? We do it in the opposite way for men and in that sense, I’m a fucking slut.

I made a couple of mistakes in judgement.

I’m good at what I do, but I’m the best at what I’m bad at. Like at the cellular level. I am bad everywhere you can possibly be bad. Exponential mistakes. I won’t punch you in the face, but I will piss on your floor (not on purpose).

I have several good people wash their hands and say no more.

My mother called me repulsive and disgusting today. And she loves me. So you might imagine what someone who was a bit less fond might come up with. None of it was on my list of things that I like to hear.

Who still loves me. The list gets shorter every moment. The irony is my behavior was much worse five years ago. But the rope gets shorter. Until it only fits around your neck.

Last night I looked into the ocean, and I was three seconds away from jumping in. See how far I could swim. A shark would probably get me before the water would. This might be hard to believe, but I’m not interested in being dead.

Where I’m standing at sucks. But I fucking walked here.

:
China

I didn’t used to be good looking. I’m not saying that I am now. No one wanted to fuck me before, and now some do. So I guess things change. Everything changed at that point.

I was sad then, but not like now.

Then it was situational. And now it’s profound. I can’t feel anything else. I can laugh at a joke. Sad movies make me cry harder. But I feel numb.

Everything is different.

The weird part is that it’s not the pain. The pain comes from being not able to feel. I used to feel everything. And now I hurt myself to feel something. To prove that it hasn’t ended.

It’s fascinating how I’m not trying to hasten the end of things. But every decision seems to be a will to power in that direction.

I don’t know how to live in this world right now. Everyone seems foreign, different. I understand people, ostensibly, but they’re speaking different words than I would choose.

Am I so different?

I can hear you, but it’s so far removed from what I might choose to say or hear, that we’re like different species. Chinese makes more sense to me and I know very little Chinese.

April 14, 2014:
Everything that rises must, you know, what she said

I woke up in a tool shed. Not on purpose. And I was lucky to be there. That’s a hard story to explain. Give me a couple of hours and things will seem obvious.

It’s strange how things come around. Choices. Every second is a choice. I’ve made some bad ones.

Shallow and hollow.

I spoke to a priest today. And I tried to believe for two hours. Need is not quite belief.

He said some things that might be compelling on a good day. I asked him if Eve fucked Seth or how else would the world be 7 billion and counting. I asked him if Noah dropped the kangaroos off in Australia, and the eastern diamondback rattlesnakes in New Mexico. I asked him if Jesus walked on water, and made fish out of air. I asked him why god was a man, and that provoked his best answer. “The way humans are, no one would have listened to a woman.”

Fuck. That’s remarkably honest. It made me want to believe him.

I don’t believe in anything, remember?

I have some really close friends. And I’ve done my best to tear those relationships to shreds. The dialogue is silent. Hands reaching out, most of them, have pulled back from the flame.

When it was happening, the civil war that was my marriage, seemed like I was the victim. I hurt that woman, those women, every woman that crosses my path. Some of them might have a little more complicity with sharing my terribility. F was a good woman. She was someone I didn’t know how to love.

She loved me first, hard, and I punished her for it because I lacked a chase. I remember the first time she said she loved me. A gray Mitsubishi Eclipse. The song Amazed by Lonestar was playing. She cried. I asked her “Isn’t love a good thing?” But I resented being tearless. I came around when it was too late.

Hindsight can kiss my ass.

The next one was damaged but came when I needed a place to put parts of me in other things. I was crazy about her, but mostly I was crazy.

And now the litany of little girls, whores and broken ones don’t shine a bad light on them. It’s more like a mirror of what I’ve become. I can only love what’s broken because I’m more broken.

I walked so far today, that I thought I was going to throw up because I was in so much pain. My feet were throbbing because the blisters were turning bloody and growing. But I kept walking. I used the bathroom and my underwear was also covered in blood. And then the pain stopped. It always stops.

I used to be surprised by the capacity for pain. And in the history of the world, I haven’t felt that much. Beatings stop hurting after a few hits. Feet go dead. I’ve never been burned at the stake, so I can’t speak to that, but I’m pretty sure it gets less worse with time. I once sliced my wrist so badly I couldn’t move it, but my memory isn’t pain. It was fascination with the amount of blood and how deep the wound was. I didn’t even call an ambulance. I would have bled out if my neighbor didn’t notice the puddles of blood I left behind.

Pain is weird that way. Survival kicks in I guess so you don’t have to experience the worst of things. Feelings are not quite as efficient with that. They reveal a weakness far more profound than an inability to lift something heavy off the ground.

When I rise, and I will rise, I hope feeling comes back.

:
Impulse, selfish

So this is the place I start. Blind and in rage. Or perhaps this is where it ends. So many other things have ended. So many more important things. A daughter’s love is muted. A son in a vacuum. There was a time of loving embrace.

Vindication may be correct, but there are victims. Two of them are innocent. For now. The rest of us have blood on our hands. And there is blood in the water. Chum. I don’t think ends well for anyone. There are some longer lasting effects I guess, but only because they live longer.

I never wanted this. I never wanted any of this. I made the mistake. It was my mistake. I blamed it on so many things for so long. It actually feels good to say it’s mine. I chose. I said yes when I should have said no. In so doing I changed six lives instantly, and dozens more peripherally. My fault. Me. I could have went right, but I went left. And then I kept going left.

I wish I could explain, but it’s encapsulated in two words.

:
The healing power of being confessed

It’s lost. I have this dysfunction, this compulsion, to throw everything away when I feel like I’m losing. It’s self destructive in the most curious way. It turns what can be saved into nothing, just ashes of a burned situation. Sometimes less than nothing, depending on your vantage point.

I did it as a child. I did it during my divorce. I don’t remember when I didn’t do it. You can make the argument that I’m doing it right now.

Much like a toddler, I am ruled by impulse. I read once that children are naturally polyamorous. They sexualize things, not just people. Their needs are immediate and quite often all-consuming. The world revolves around a need for self.

I am a toddler.

I am a toddler with a large vocabulary and an IQ that is higher than you might think given the things I’ve done. But like a toddler, most of it is innocence. That’s half true. Like a toddler I lie and I’m bad at it.

When hurt, I speak to hurt. And I do it well. Better than most. I’ve said things you can’t take back more than is probably conducive to a good life. It’s strange because I used to be so happy. And now I can’t even feel badly correctly.

I have learned one thing in the last few years. Not taking a swing is not better than shutting your mouth. Welts, bruises, that shit heals. Words, once spoken, live forever.

:
You are the worst writer I know

No one likes what you write out loud.

That’s not true. And that is one of the fundamental differences in our understanding of life.

You don’t like things hard, and I don’t do things easily.

You said what I write is disgusting. And not coincidentally that’s not the first time I’ve been described that way. I’m going to own that. I am disgusting. I’m a pervert. I go places in my mind that most people shy away from. Or at least they don’t admit to thinking. I have terrible thoughts. And I write the ones that sound good in my head. Or funny. Or frightening. I’m just trying to not be bored.

I remember when I turned ten thinking it was so cool to be a decade. A neighbor’s father told me, “It’s ten today. Tomorrow it’s twenty, thirty, forty.” He was right. We shuffle off this mortal coil with blinding speed, especially in the larger scheme of things.

Boredom’s not a burden anyone should bear.

April 17, 2014:
The Pajama Game and the 23rd Step

The sheets were tight and cool. She was wet, but there was nothing on the bed when we stood. We ate. I had a meatball sandwich. She had a manapua. In Hawaiian, mana means power and pua means flower. But “flower power” is just a good example of how translations are almost never literal. The Hawaiian word is thought to be an intra-linguistic creole of mana’o (thought), ono (delicious), and pua’a (pig). No one knows for sure. When I told her I was writing this she asked me to use three words to see if I could pull it off in a love story. There is no other purpose. Unless you can recognize a metaphor.

That night I walked home happy. Our fingers interlocked after nightswimming in the lagoon. That seems like a common thing to say, happy. But I hadn’t been that way in a while.

She is beautiful, and not just in her pretty face. And not just in her body which is pretty too. She had me from the moment I put my ears on her. She had me from, “Hello,” though I don’t remember who said, “Yes,” first. I’m sure I probably thought it first, but given her chosen entanglements, it was always on her to make that call.

She had a boyfriend and a girlfriend, and at one point a husband. Even then, like now, she let me inside of her on occasion. It was never just the physical sensation, which of course was always pleasant. It was more like rubbing souls. At different paces like a Pixies song: fast, slow, fast.

I loved her before all of that. I still do. But you know how it goes. Being inside someone physically, or even metaphorically, changes things. It hurt when circumstances made her have to go. Though I suppose that’s better than it being my fault, like it usually is.

Outside of this body, it might seem like a joke, to feel so deeply so soon. But there was nothing funny about this to me. I know I never laughed about it.

She taught me there are things that you don’t know about yourself until they happen. Many times these things are less than comfortable. Still, we live.

April 18, 2014:
I hope this whole thing didn’t frighten you

That phrase sort of loses it’s ironic slither, if I have to tell you its intent. It means neither what it says nor the opposite. Everyone seems so literal these days. “What became of subtlety?” I’ve often wondered the same thing. Straightforward, non-ambiguous ambition is seen as strength of character, but is really just another kind of blindness. And seeking discretion, in both meanings of the word, is considered a form of weakness. At least in the straight world. Not in my group of one, where blurred lines are nothing more than a subtle, “Fuck you.” Zealots to the left of me, zealots to the right. This isn’t a political statement.

It frightens me that expressed passion has become so frightening. I had a friend tell me recently, “That sort of beautiful madness should find its way to being published,” after reading the first 50 pages or so of my manuscript. Variations of that sentiment are rather common, though I like that choice of words best. It’s strange to me that reactions by some family and friends to the same source material have ranged from casual concern to unspoken disgust. Less strange is the vitriol from estranged lovers and acquaintances, especially those that recognize their trespasses, with suggestions that I might find solace in arrest (whether cardiac or legal never clearly defined).

I’ve had my fiction–words!–taken out of context and read in open court as an indictment (literally) of my character. But I suppose it’s better than nothing. “Meh.” Now that would bother me. I write to be symbolically hated as much as I write to be realistically loved. It’s my own private Idaho, where the only intolerable reality is being ignored.

Having said that, I’ve changed my mind about martyrdom. It seems to be counter-productive and, by definition, self-destructive. And I’m tired of being the only one in my circle who’ll admit out loud that there are monsters in the windmills.

April 21, 2014:
Mr. Lovett

I wanted you after buying Step Into This House. The nuances of the Bosque County Romance trilogy resonated so strongly that I thought there must be some cosmic force at work behind the scenes, reminding me that some things you do are just bigger than yourself. The whirlwind move from the decay of Los Angeles to the different decay of Dallas, finally landed in a small town with no cell phone coverage or stop lights. The gentle friendliness reminded me of home, and if I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be there, then this seemed like a comfortable alternative. Compared to the volatility of the Left Coast this apparent calm was all a comfortable alternative.

Ten years down the line and comfort is not quite so comfortable. Nastiness might happen at a slower pace in the country, but it still happens. Everything that exists in the core of the beast also happens at its extremities. And by this, I don’t mean to externalize the reasons for things happening the way they did. I am just as much a part of the beast as anyone else. I was lulled into a sense of apology, into a feeling that I was always the one to blame, but I know you by the trail of dead. Clearly I was not of you. And no identifying marks were necessary to show me as an outsider.

It’s not a coincidence that the same melancholy songwriter also brought the words to me that made me know I wanted out. Three songs lasting ten minutes and thirty-four seconds played on repeat for three hours and eleven minutes south on I-35 and I knew it was over. I suggest anyone on the fence about a relationship might avoid these three songs unless they are looking for a push toward a particular side and away from vacillation. I’m embarrassed at the way I couldn’t follow through with these feelings and instead tried to have it all.

:
It’s falling from the sky and calling from the graves, open your eyes, boy, I think we are saved

You defended me as the bad things were happening, and I was oblivious. I was more interested in opening the steam valve to my decades-long build-up of hostility. The obvious outcome to this reckless ignorance was, of course, how things are today. But instead of dissipating into the atmosphere like a harmless steam, this rage has fallen back on everything as poisonous fallout and made waste to the land for as long as I can see into the future, maybe forever. It’s impossible to calculate the half-life of this kind of hatred.

The irony is that now I defend you to others, even those outside my inner circle. And I can feel your body bristle as you read those words, incredulous at the fact that you might need forgiveness. But no one walks away from this clean. Surely in moments of stillness you can see that. You might be stubborn, but you’re not unfair. You can justify lies, overreaction, manipulation, emotional abuse, and the whole litany of other weapons at your casual disposal that you’ve deployed. And I’m sure you feel justified in their use. I did. Like the death penalty: he got what was coming to him.

The difference is: I never supported that outcome. I don’t think it’s a deterrent, it’s applied unfairly, and is ultimately, no matter the circumstance, cruel in a way that can’t be taken back.

Mine was a hair-trigger, not a planned operation. And I’m sure you know exactly what I mean by that.

April 26, 2014:
This must be the perfect place

I can show you at least three times the opposite. I’m not interested in sharing right now. Trust me. Perfect is dead.

There are workarounds. And I suppose it’s my charge to find them. All the things you think you need to be happy are actually unnecessary. It’s a cliché. All the things I was worried about losing? I’ve lost. And here I stand. Here I type. Stripped down to the essentials of what is, having previously been defined as what should never be.

In a weird way I have the advantage now. Having lost everything that you equate with happiness, I remain still; you can only lose happiness from this point. Having been where I had feared the most, I’m no longer afraid of what might happen. This is as bad as it’s going to get and, really, it’s not that bad.

April 27, 2014:
You’re such an inspiration for the way I would never, ever choose to be

Our paths crossed because we were beautiful when we were twenty-something. It was and is fun to think, especially at the time, about concepts like love. But the reality is you wanted to fuck me. And that desire was reciprocated. Watch NatGeo videos of monkeys and they are more like us than not.

You grew on me, and I on you. Mostly because we had offspring. And the same instinct inspires me to kill or die for them. Your fighting this instinct puts you in that path. Not a proclamation. Just one of those, “It is what it is.”

April 29, 2014:
I was a 45 percenter then; I was a lot of things

I brush my teeth without toothpaste. The flavor is there as an incentive. Flouride is for babies. I’m almost positive we don’t need it. I like the taste of blood in my mouth. It reminds me that I’m mortal. The rust-tinged iron tang of crimson spittle when you spit. It makes me human. Because I’m so far removed from you, you might as well be a planet or bacteria or a thought. You are a ghost. And I am nothing.

:
Don’t listen when I scream

It’s funny how transient things appear in hindsight. We don’t always have the insight, foresight, sight to look into the sterile past. Sometimes it’s dirty and it’s now and it spills on everything. I take it as a blessing that I saw it this time coming.

You are dangerous to delicacy. You are dirty, but wear white and look so clean. If you’re afraid, it’s only because you’ve looked inside yourself and have seen how bad things can get. It all comes from the inside.

I’ve sort of learned to play the game now. I don’t like it. But I like to lose even less. I didn’t think we were keeping score.

:
Ways and means

The way things are. The way things have always been. The way things will be. I don’t believe there is something called fate. Fate is an excuse for bad choices. Fate is a lie. Free-will versus determinism is just a ridiculous mind fuck mind game. You can’t have it both ways. Everyone tries. It’s an embarrassment of obvious clash. I hate it. I hate everything about everything stupid. Which is probably why I hate myself.

:
I never want to hear you say you’re better off, or you like it that way

So many things I used to carry around in sadness. Now open wounds are numb to the touch. What seems to matter almost never matters. The idea of what will hurt to lose, invariably, is far worse than the actual loss. We make things up as we go along. There are excuses and workarounds and reasons for everything. Even the biggest things are just an explanation away. Everything is a sentence, is words, is a this way or that way.

I can only see because I bother to look. Eyes wide, mouth open, and the audacity that’s required to open wide and let the hard rock in. I’m not afraid of anything, silly. Especially not you.

May 2, 2014:
The way

You won’t like what I’ve written. I just need to have something I don’t have. I put it on you and that isn’t fair. But I know me. I honestly cannot see me by myself. I hurt alone. I hurt myself . Enough so that I hurt others who watch. And then I do it again. I’m not dangerous with anyone specific, or alone sort of. I’m dangerous to myself by myself, not physically. I kick my ass in my head. And I absolutely will not put that on you. It just is what it is. You should know to expect things if things are the way things are.

:
It comes to me in my head

I don’t know how I know it. It just is. 11,700 divided by 12 is 975. It’s not a difficult problem by any means. I’m not Rainman. But I see the answer as it’s being typed. And I swear I wish I didn’t. It’s hard to explain if it’s not real to you. It’s not that I get to remember everything, but rather I cannot forget anything. I don’t always get to know the context of the answer. The answer is just there. And sometimes the obvious answer hurts. It doesn’t hurt to other people. And I’m pretty sure they don’t see what I see. What seems obvious to me. It imposes itself on me. It’s not a comfort, it’s more like a burden. One from which I can’t close my eyes or cover my ears. One that won’t shut up. It’s always. It’s everything all the time. And if you think that might make things easier, then you don’t understand. I’m two words ahead in every sentence. I type and I notice syntactical errors because my brain goes faster than the voice in my head or my fingers. It’s too fast and it’s not pleasant and it pushes people away and it sucks more often than it doesn’t.

This is going to sound like an excuse, it sounds like one to me, but alcohol shuts the whole system down. When I say I’m better after a few drinks, I may be mis-speaking. I may not be better to you, but I’m definitely better to me.

:
I can’t wait to meet you

Examples of stupidity and lack of discretion abound. They’re less than a dime a dozen. Did you want to fuck her? Is that why you’re judgment was so impaired? I’m just saying. I fucked her, and it wasn’t like it was life changing. She’s your basic, damaged, beautiful idiot. It’s on you. We’ll fix that. It’ll cost a few dollars, maybe some time. I’ve already paid for something I didn’t do. Never again. Not without a fight. Make sure you’re clean, because I am really good at finding dirty.

May 3, 2014:
It’s a long road to wisdom, but it’s a short one to being ignored

It’s been the same way since I was 12 years old. Not sort of the same. The exact fucking same way. I’ve made half-assed attempts at change, but if I couldn’t do it in four decades how can you possibly think that you might compel me to do anything more than scoff? I might love you, I might like you, I might hate you. All of those feelings: good, bad, or indifferent, I promise you, I feel exponentially about myself. You are powerless. You’re a piss in the ocean.

They used to make me go to therapy when I was seven, which is ridiculous. Then I went back on purpose when I was 25. And I told them the same thing. I feel exactly the same way I did twenty years ago. I’m in an adult body, but I’m the same boy I’ve always been.

I have absolutely no ugliness toward you. Everything bad about me faces inward. It only gets on you if you get too close.

:
The end of the rainbow is always a long ride

So, here comes that feeling. I’ve seen it. I don’t like it. I don’t know if I can do it. I know I don’t like to. I slam alcohol and blast the music to drown it all out. It hurts.

I’ve almost cut my right hand off with broken glass, I’ve had someone peel my forehead, I’ve bit my tongue in two while seizing, I’ve had five concussions that I know about. All “accidents.” I mean, none of it was consciously on purpose, but objectively I probably put myself in situations where danger might be considered imminent. None of that do I associate with pain; ambulances and emergency room questions have become second nature. This? It’s only a broken heart.

Your name and pain are synonyms in my lexicon. I’m not afraid anymore. This is a moment. I used to be so scared of so many things. What would I give to start all over again? To clean up my mistakes? That’s what scares me. The what ifs and the never wases. Those thoughts haunt me. They haunt me now.

:
Stella

“Jameson. Stella back.”
“You don’t drink brown liquor.”
“I hate it.”
“Then why?”
“It’s your berfday. I’m having what you would.”
“A gift?”
“A gesture.”
“What did you get me? Anything?”
“You get what you get. You’re not supposed to get to choose.”
“What if I choose you?”
“You’ve had me for a little bit.”
“Kiss me.”
“You’re at work.”
“Kiss me, motherfucker.”
“I bet you say that to all the boys.”

:
Savage and sexual and violent

What did it take to get where you are? I think mine might have been an easier path to navigate. It was never so hard. I’ve never broken a bone. (Actually, I think I broke two fingers on my right had punching a light post, but I never went to the doctor for it. The recess is somewhat pronounced, and my fist is less functional. My ankle clicks from landing in a hole so many years ago. Probably something there. But on my permanent record? Nothing.) I didn’t get stitches until I was 41, but when I got them they were staples. I remember the doctor putting the gun to my forearm and pulling the trigger. I had always feared the sewing, but I didn’t feel it. The worst part was the infection. I thought I might skip the amoxicillin but was woken by the putrid rot. It turns out that medicine saves lives. Even when you’re not trying.

May 4, 2014:
3 or so a.m.

It’s still Sunday. I open my eyes and see that today is today and not a softer version of tomorrow.

Everything I have to say, I have to say right now. I have to say it yesterday. The word imperative was invented for my compulsion to speak. The time here is short, even if it seems long. The words come at me, dizzying and spinning and aloft in light. The words push back the dark.

It troubles me when you can’t see it. So many don’t. Things are different the way things are. I promise you. Everything seems different then the way it actually is. Try to hurt me. In any way that matters it’s not going to work. I love you but I like to take small promises and break them. I can take what anyone can give. This has evolved into an interesting relationship with pain. Things only hurt in their absence. The presence of trauma, physical or otherwise is almost a relief. It sounds weird to say out loud. I’m pretty sure I walk alone.

This morning my heart was arrythmiatic. Lub-lub-lub-dub. It’s almost certainly not life threatening. But it feels as weird as shit. It makes you call your father and say,”I don’t like you but I love you.”

I don’t care about being dead. I stress about the dying. Fuck you. Fuck all of you. Fuck everything. I get to say fuck. I am what I am. I am who I am. I say fuck a lot, and it’s almost never in directed anger. Fuck you for trying to change any of that.

It goes and it goes. Then it goes one more time. Then it goes again. And it goes. And then it goes. If you think you might stop it? You’re crazier or stupider than I thought I was.

May 6, 2014:
Strange

“You despise conformity. It’s your c-word.”
“Maybe I can just be Van Gogh and cut off my ear.”
“Please don’t turn into Mango Man.”

I don’t understand why anyone doesn’t understand, because I think I’ve been pretty consistent. To a fault sometimes, and, of course, to my detriment. No one will ever control me. No god, no vagina, no dollar, no jail cell will compel me to do anything. The effort will provoke the opposite.

New Hampshire has always been my favorite state since I was old enough to know what New Hampshire was, even though I haven’t been there. It’s one of the six left on my list. Their motto and their license plate. Live free or die. It rings in my ears, and louder in my soul. I wonder sometimes how Old Hampshire is.

May 7, 2014:
Vindictive and nasty and sometimes cruel

I try to stay calm. In my mind there is an ocean of tumult. Mostly I eat it. Sometimes I spit it. The churning is harder than it used to be. There are many things that I would prefer to ignore. I’m not the best example, but I’m hardly the worst.

:
All I want is quiet

I’m not interested in compulsion or noise. Everybody wants to make me do something. I just want still. I want to lie under a blanket. I want to think my thoughts. I want to be who I am. Read what I have to say. The words are soft.

May 8, 2014:
Peace is not an option

Peace seems like a silly word. Which is weird because I’m a pacifist. My rage looks in the mirror and hates what it sees. The milieu is safe.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never hit someone in anger on purpose. Your rage baffles me. Which is weird because there is a storm in the center of me that will never quiet. It’s the sun and the moon and the stars, all at once, burning a fire that never stops.

People look at me. They see calm. I am myself amazed at the juxtaposition of still, when everything inside me throbs and flails and moans and cries and punches out at what? Nothing. I’m afraid it’s all nothing.

:
Holy shit i have to redact names

I was thinking about things. The six loves of my life. C was married and I was a bully to make her love me. I met A in rehab. I met M in a hot tub. D was a hooker. In my defense I never paid and I got her out of hooking. She was my neighbor. E was my wife. L was anyone had a shot at that? I dare you not to try.

:
You’re made up of cheese

I love you and i want to eat you whole. You’re toast and eggs with jelly. There is a guy within ten feet of me using a weedeater and for no good reason I want nothing more than to punch him in the face. Like repeatedly. The noise. There’s a fucking rooster 20 feet away and his goddamned days are like in the single digits. I am going to personally strangle that chicken and baste him in teriyaki.

:
This is the kind of shit that is actually innocent but three months later I’m in jail

I saw a stripper do a line on stage two months ago. What do you think you’re going to show me? Are we going to talk about Chekov and rub privates? Girls, its so frustrating that you don’t get it. I’m listening to your bullshit story about your feelings about an event I didn’t go to. I’m acting like I care because…do I really need to say why?

I like you. You have a pretty face. We do shit together. I get it. But I’m not going to be the one that says, “Say more.”

:
Punk rock is not for you little stupid shithead

I scare the people that love me because they think there is no way I can make it. I’m a punk. I listened to Circle Jerks when I was 10 and tried to tell my mom. Can’t you hear? The Carpenters are awesome, yes I love them. Everybody loves to be fed with a spoon. But can you hear that scream? Have you not wanted to make that noise with your own throat? Mom I love you more than anything. But that scream is inside me. Kurt Cobain. Sam Kinison. Do you need it quiet? Amy. Janis. Anne. Sylvia. Ian. Jimi. Ernest. It’s all the same fucking song.

May 9, 2014:
I try not to fall for make believe, but what is reality?

God moves in me right now. And by God I don’t mean that old guy with a beard. I can feel the universe. Atheists just hate the stupid awkwardness of the myth not the source.

I surfed a perfect wave. I felt the joys of holding my daughter and son as they opened their eyes for the first time. I was the one holding them. I know what it means to know that something is bigger than me.

I guess its funny how far we can fall when we do. I’m going to say it and you’ll say I’m misguided. You won’t believe it.

So much of this life is compromise. I hate myself for those moments of weakness when I do something irritating like lie. Lying disgusts me. Lying is weakness encapsulated. I lie because I want you to feel better and that’s selfish in a way that most people will never understand.

I am bigger than the answer. And I’m working on something here that I believe in.

May 11, 2014:
Feelings are a lie

This whole thing is a crazy train crash. Say stop and I guess it stops for a second. Walk home. Cry your way toward the beach. It’s all sort of the same. I make words in my mouth like you make love in your heart. It doesn’t necessarily happen on purpose. I hiccup and pause. You move with stealth beauty. It all walks toward the same end. Your way just feels better.

May 18, 2014:
Why am I afraid

Everything has to be disclosed or nothing means anything. Hurt is never my intent, though it may be my result. I would sooner put a screwdriver in my ear than hurt you on purpose. I know I’ve hurt you. I walk this road alone, my love. And alone makes you crazy sometimes. Not by choice, always. The silence. The silence. The silence is deafening in its tyranny.

June 2, 2014:
Blocks

I don’t hear anything. Literally my left ear is blocked. What day is it? What time is it? I know this. Me.

The mind is powerful and weak. It is in charge of the mechanisms of life and ideology. But even the idea of a belief system makes us weak. By definition it puts us in a cell. One of our choosing so we are culpable in the imprisonment.

:
Myths

The myths of our lives are not just the stories we tell other people. More powerfully they are the stories we tell ourselves. The nature of our lives is mostly passivity. There are moments of terror and pain and joy. But mostly it’s nothing.

How do we find meaning there? In ourselves? In the stars? Where do I look?

June 7, 2014:
Please stop fighting me

I made a mistake.

My life is sad and small and a burden to the ones I love.

:
Sarcophagus

“Go sit in your sarcophagus and die.”
“You don’t mean sarcophagus. Those are for people who are already dead.”
“I’m literally going to kill you.”
“You said the wrong word not me.”

June 8, 2014:
The look

You can give that look. I act upon that look. I know that look. I feed upon that look. I ask for that look. I miss that look. But don’t you dare say I don’t know that look. I invented that look. That stare. That gaze is mine. That whisper. That shhh. Is. Mine.

:
Tutu

I miss my Tutu. She would have been 97. Her name was June after the month she was born. She took care of me and taught me how to read, quite early actually. She wasn’t perfect, but who the fuck is? You damn me before you damn her. She died when I was 16 and I haven’t slept a whole night since.

I remember when Honouliuli wasn’t like it is now. We’d walk down the gravel roads with sugar cane as far as you could see. Tutu lives on a golf course now if everything were the same.

Everything is different.

:
I never got them until i was 41

And when I got them it was staples not stitches. It was 22 degrees. An anomaly for Austin. I wrapped my hand in my sweater and put it through the glass. Then I pulled back.

My neighbor saved my life. I would have bled out. When the cops came I thought I was in trouble. Bang, bang, bang bang.
“Open the door.”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“You need an ambulance.”
“No I’m, um, fine.”
“Oh Jesus fuck you need an ambulance.”
And I did.

The moral of the story is I made it. And I wasn’t even trying.

June 10, 2014:
Equality

I’m not sad about the nothingness before I was born. Why would I be sad about the nothingness after I die? Death is the great equalizer. Civil rights, equality? No. No matter the situation. We all die.

:
Life

Life is a short period. It seems long when you’re living it. But it’s accidental and crazy and painful sometimes. We’ve all had that right? Rhetorical. The key is to be as passionate about your passions while you still have time. Don’t worry about the little bullshit because it’s exactly that. You are so much bigger.

June 20, 2014:
Power

Power is fragile and, more often than not, transient. The paradox is that in most interpersonal relationships the power is held by the one who cares the least, not who cares the most. This is true even with the conflicting parts of the self. The idea of power is an almost comical mind fuck of the mind. It’s almost impossible to control oneself, let alone anything else.

And those of us that prove capable of temporary control of our surroundings through fastidiousness, timeliness, attention to detail, work ethic? Invariably we become impossible to live with. The very strengths that define outward success, promote fraction in our houses.

The compromises that actual relationships require: tolerance, acceptance, open hearts and minds, are shuttered by our own needs for a level of whatever. The ones we love bear the brunt of this intolerance with their, by definition, inability to live life exactly as we might.

I let go. Seriously, I let go. Be who you are. Love what you want. Do what you know is right. Try to die having done things correctly.

I discovered late in the game that control is an illusion. Anything you have comes from far beyond understanding and you have practically no say at any given moment except for how you respond. If you set up in your mind the way things should be, you are just pre-defining failure and disappointment.

The past and the future are the same: not here. The moment is all we have.

Everything I was ever afraid of manifest because of me. I am to blame. I made the bad choices. I am the one that caused so much harm to so many lives, not the least of which was my own. Now these pieces of a puzzle sit before me. My grandmother used to give me these impossible puzzles. 5,000 pieces at the start of a marathon of 20,000 heads; 2,500 pieces of worms where every piece fit every other, but you had to make it work so it came out like the picture on the box. This puzzle is infinitely harder. But I solved all the other ones. Why should I doubt that I can’t solve this one too?

June 21, 2014:
My brother

Three decades ago, when I was a shitty older brother (perhaps I still am), influenced by the abusive power complexities I learned from my grandfathers and father, I tortured my younger brother in an attempt to make him acquiesce to my way of thinking.

I remember one incident where I bent his fingers back, and he was wincing, and I said just say, “Stop.” And instead he said, “Break them.” He was ten. I had just turned 14.

And this is how I know we are brothers. I would have said the exact same thing. In some ways I have, metaphorically, said the exact same thing, mostly to my detriment however. Not necessarily the easiest way to navigate this mortal coil, but “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me,” seems to be a sort of genetic family mantra.

When I left for college, he didn’t come to the airport. And when I came home for some summer break or other I found an essay by him that explained why. He hated me. Perhaps rightfully so. Reading those words changed me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super self-absorbed. But if you knew me at 16 you would see the difference. Back then there were no consequences, none that I cared about at least, except not getting what I wanted. Reading the way that my behavior might have impacted him. He was a child. I was a child plus four, and I let my world make me into a tyrant.

That hasn’t been the truth for a while now. I still bristle. I still have to be talked off the ledge of I Am Always Right.

It may not seem like it if I rage, but I am gentle. And the rage is never physical. But it is self-righteous and I can understand how it might be annoying, especially to someone with no emotional investment. You know that judgmental feeling? I get it all the time. Besides living our lives I think the next great past time might be judging.

My brother taught me a lesson that day. At 10(!) One that I clearly haven’t forgotten.

:
Unicorn

You ripped the horn off the unicorn because you wanted it to be a regular horse. It will always be a unicorn. This is a metaphor.

June 25, 2014:
I listened to this song when I was nine years old

Your time is going to come. Fuck, right? Lying, cheating, hurting that’s all you seem to do. Always the same, playing the game, troubles going to come to you. One of these days, and it won’t be long, you look for me and, baby, I’ll be gone.

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Pools of blood

I wake up in pools of my own blood far too often. It’s not like I’m choosing it. It just sort of happens. I must have more than some culpability, but I promise you, for the most part, I try not to bleed out of my head. Things fail. I didn’t try to be this way. By most definitions I have failed at this life it. So be it. I am what I am.

I’ve seen a lot of shit that most people don’t see. And for the first time in my life I don’t feel better than you. But I don’t feel worse.

June 26, 2014:
Spirit

The rational. The righteous. The holy. It all has to end somewhere. Why not here? Why not now? I’m tired. I want to be in New York. I’m here, but I belong somewhere else. New York sounds nice.

The best night of my life I spent up the street from CBGB with a Jägermeister girl named Wendy. She gave me the keys to her car and I drove to the Village behind her. And then I followed her into the bathroom. Things happened. She wanted to be on the news. She was supposed to come visit and we were going to see REM, but I took my ex-wife instead. (For the record, I still love my beloved wife, but not in a way that harbors any kind of hope, at least not this decade.)

July 10, 2014:
Wetsuit

Sex feels good but sometimes it’s like drugs. A wetsuit because the world is cold. Sooner or later that has to come off.

July 30, 2014:
Southern Writers

I’ve always had an affinity for southern writers. The great Flannery O’Connor once said in a title of a story, Everything That Rises Must Converge and I never understood the connection between the story of and older lady and a savage killer. Now I do. Hemingway wrote Hills Like White Elephants and I swear it took me two years before I figured out they were at a train station so she could leave Spain to get an abortion. I am also a user of cryptic titles. But I promise you, just like life, everything has a meaning, even if it’s unintentional.

August 30, 2014:
Words fill up the page, pages fill up the days between you and me

I notice the shadows first. The dew casts rotund weaknesses about the thin blades of grass reaching up toward the light. Condescending condensation. I laugh at my joke even though it’s not funny. No, I guffaw. I like the play on words.

September 3, 2014:
Isolation

I know you love me and I love you very much. Isolation makes change happen. Solitude brings voices. Not all of them are pleasant. And the most urgent ones can be convincing. So I was immersed in these voices and I became convinced. You know how you’re positive that 2+2=4? Some of these voices scream 5 incessantly. No one else can hear it, but stay alone long enough and 5 starts to become 4, and begins to seem correct.

September 4, 2014:
It’s easy until it’s hard

That’s the thing that’s so hard to explain to people who don’t vacillate between the two, or whose natural personalities might automatically plane the hills and fill the valleys. The disconnect happens because easy looks neutral and doesn’t usually provoke concern or attention. Hard is frightening from the outside; others notice. The paradox is that on the inside hard feels easier, because hard is usually assuaged with some coping mechanism or other. Depending which one, hard becomes even harder, or floats back slowly to neutral, i.e. getting to even (yes, that is the philosophical etymology of this website and story—for the record, it doesn’t mean getting revenge).

Right now it’s easy, and it’s hard to wrap my head around things being difficult. But success requires the effort. I can’t go back, but I can always remember. Things aren’t quite yet fine, in fact they’re about as far away from fine as can be. Having recently been there, I can tell you it can get worse, much worse. So easy, or even neutral, feels a lot better than Hell.

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Close, closer

Say it in your best voice, “My love, baby, go to bed.” But then kinda say it like you mean it. I didn’t mean shit. Or did I? On the losing end I like to pump up the bravado and act like I don’t care. Random lies make it sometimes hard to remember the truth. You seemed to have a sixth sense for that, didn’t you?

In thisclose to me is meaning, and everything I ever said is everything I’d ever meant to say, true or false, right or wrong. (For the record I never stopped caring.)

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When I say, “you,” I mean all of you

Which in a perverse and paradoxical way means, specifically, none of you.

But every one that has at one time been “you” (and that number is so low that it would most likely surprise you), please assume that my expressed feelings here recently apply to you wholeheartedly.

The specifics of the myths—some imagined, most real—always fluctuate, but the ideas and feelings behind them almost never do. By definition they have a greater influence in shaping our belief systems. Fluctuations in reality always make better stories, and can be modified for different audiences, sometimes consciously, but usually not.

Most people’s memories are a complex amalgam of what actually happened, our recollection of what happened, the stories we tell about our ourselves, and the filters of time and bias. The result is never true in the strictest sense of the word, eidetics and savants included. (Even photographs and videos, capturing everything, still get it wrong, but I’m talking about the human capacity for the willful suspension of reality, whatever that is.) No judgement there. Everyone suffers with this phenomenon. So universally, in fact, that “suffers” is more than likely the wrong word. All people are this. That’s better.

September 6, 2014:
How it feels to be reconstructed

Sherman’s March to the Sea began in Atlanta on November 15, 1864. Sparing only churches and hospitals his army burned down the city and laid waste to the infrastructure on its way to Savannah, over 300 miles away.

You might be wondering what this has to do with me, since the consistent narcissistic tone of this site generally precludes the actions of others that have not directly impacted me. This is a metaphor, of course. Though I have no affinity with the city, save a lifelong devotion to it’s major league baseball team, I am Atlanta. And, of course, you (as individual and society in general) are Sherman.

Atlanta is in many ways atypical of the South. In my experience it is more tolerant of groups generally ostracized by the Red State Mafia. Like Austin serves Texas, it is an oasis in a redneck desert. “Too Busy To Hate” was an unofficial theme of the city as it grew exponentially after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Having been destroyed relatively recently in historical terms, the city seems newer than say, New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, or any of the bedroom communities that run south of the Mason-Dixon Line along the Mississippi River (Natchez, Vicksburg, or Tunica). Those places still retain the ghosts of the pre-Civil War era. Atlanta seems to be made out of glass and concrete. The bulldozers of time and modernist design have covered most of the ghosts since reconstruction, though even before its destruction it was unlike most southern towns of the time. This paragraph’s intent was not to educate you on matters historical, but to extend the bounds of the metaphor because architecture is the least of the ways that we are similar.

It is the very reconstruction itself that I find appealing. You, like Sherman, came with promises of liberation, and I suppose our country eventually got around to that, but first there was the scorched-earth policies that indiscriminately laid waste to anything of value. (This, by the way, should sound familiar to you, though I doubt you yet lack the insight to recognize yourself in that assessment.) I am sympathetic to this course of action, not because I think it is correct, but because I have also, many times, been the perpetrator of an all-or-nothing policy regarding my life, and especially my relationships. “If I can’t have it the way I want it, then I’ll tear the whole thing down.” Bad mantra. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Now I find myself torn down with complicity, but also with outside agents (you, systemic entities, etc.) also acting to destroy. Either way (and does it really matter?), I recently lay smoldering in ruins, much like Atlanta on November 16, 1864.

My goal, then, is to use Atlanta as a model, not because I think the city is all that great (New York! San Francisco! New Orleans!), but because down on its ass, it stood back up, and told everyone that tried to stop it to fuck off. And now, love it or hate it, it is a player. It is the 6th largest metro area in the country, has the 15th largest economy of any city in the world, and the country’s busiest airport. A success by almost any standard. Gone are the ghosts of the past, replaced with glass and concrete and hope.

I can only hope to do the same with skin, bone, and purpose rather than dollars, buildings and planes.

September 8, 2014:
All this angst has served me well, but now I’m sad and bored

I’m not sure how to deal with this beyond remembering to breathe.

Lately I’ve been asking the people I’m closest to, “What’s the next thing you are looking forward to?” Most are puzzled by my reasons for asking, but everyone has an immediate answer. I don’t. There is no source of external outlet of which I can conceive. This is a relatively new reality for me. It’s not a pity-party request for sympathy, it just is what it is.

But I’m at a loss. I used to drink this feeling away, but we all know where that ends up, so now I don’t. It’s hard to understand why this way is so much more painful, but is also the right thing to do.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so alone. But I am sure I don’t much like it.

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The perversity of ideology

This woman I was seeing opened her eyes when I told her I’m a writer.
“You’re a writer? I want to be a writer.”
“So write.”
“Write something for me.”
“How is that supposed to help?”
“You ask too many questions.”

So I wrote. It’s the glut of form that makes the knowledge of its absence anything special. What is missing makes what’s there. Take away. Remove. Believe in your vision. And then you have art.

“Deep.”

But you never know how deep the depth is. The reality of any frame is never as neutral as it appears. This is how ideology works. It has to be an empty container. Open to all possible meanings. Metaphysical presence allows transcendence. But it is negative space—the absent, invisible quality of things—that paradoxically defines what’s there.

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Fast, slow, fast

We experience history not in the moment but only once a thing has happened. Only then is it even possible to have an intuition of what history might mean. Maybe without a moment of authentic passivity, nothing new can emerge. Maybe.

Symbolic destitution: stepping out of the body of the moment and accepting complete destruction. It’s the only way to be born again. Canceling or suspending the system of authority breaks it down, even the authority of the self, or it can’t happen. Of course we cannot know what god wants from us because there is no god. It’s wrong to think the second coming will be an actual man. The return is already here when there is an emancipatory collective.

My fascination borderlines on the absurd; why you cannot see the rage I have. There is a torrent of drums and percussive cacophony constantly playing in my head. I’m just supposed to put it out because it would make you feel more comfortable? I can’t stop it for me, how could I possibly stop it for you?

September 10, 2014:
The path of most reisistance

There are struggles for gain, and struggles against loss. These you might forgive, at least, for ostensibly having a purpose. My struggles are harder to forgive, even if the only person I’m saying sorry to is myself, because they often seem to be meaningless. Feelings and reactions to them often seem as pointless as they are painful. Does everything have a point? Should it?

I find myself in the realm of the imaginary reliving actions and having never-real conversations with people I’ve lost easy access to. The explanations are moot. The sorries are ignored, and deservedly so. But when I can steer the interaction within myself it gives me hope that versions of these might one day make their ways back to reality.

I love everybody.

September 12, 2014:
First-world (bullshit) problems

Reader: “Driving a car with no I.D. gets ya a trip to jail. Cant even buy a beer without an I.D. I guess this disenfranchisement has been going on since the beginning of time, but being required to show your I.D. can only apply to certain situations outside of voting says the socialist. Thats Hypocrisy.”

Me: Voter fraud has not really been a big problem with modern registration techniques. It’s another invented problem that takes away focus from real ones. It’s mostly just a way to keep “undesirables” from voting. This includes people, that for whatever reason, find themselves without a government ID (almost always poor and non-white). I myself went over two years without one so I speak from experience. If you lose an ID in the correct circumstances it can become a comedy of catch-22 errors in trying to get it replaced. Most states require birth certificates, social security cards, and “proof of legal presence (e.g., mortgage, lease, or a year of utility bills),” for any type of government-issued ID. All three of these require some form of the other two, and if all go missing simultaneously (e.g., your house is robbed and all your important paperwork and wallet are stolen) it is extremely time consuming and difficult to rectify. Especially (like I was) if you were born in another state (for me, Hawaii) or country and need to be present to request a birth certificate to your new state (in my case, Texas). (That’s an $800 roundtrip ticket and 3800 miles each way for those of you keeping score at home.)

Now addressing your supposed “hypocrises”: I have bought many beers without an ID. Contrary to popular belief it is even possible to fly without a picture ID (imagine a stranded tourist who is robbed at his destination…how does s/he get home?) So there are workarounds to the situations you describe. As there should be for voting. We’re not a true democracy anyway, and I think voting is merely a symbolic kangaroo choice between purchased puppets surviving on the corporate teat. I voted against George W. and for Obama, but has my life changed in any real way? Of course not. The office is mainly there to espouse certain belief systems. It’s not even required for the President to live the beliefs he espouses. None of them do with 100% consistency. Kerry got slammed for being a flip-flopper (which he was). Newsflash: THEY ALL ARE. Congress is locked, and the President’s power is limited to influence, i.e., except in rare circumstances (executive orders, pardons, etc.) the President doesn’t make much law.

In my experience, the impetus to prevent voting is usually an unspoken (yet very realized) racism. I’m not saying that you personally are racist, I’m just saying usually. It seems to exist to keep Hispanic groups from voting en masse (they tend to vote Democratic, and the staunchest voter ID supporters tend to be Republican), and it also seems to target black voters in swing states controlled by Republican majorities (Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, etc.), who also tend to vote Democratic. The truth is that Democrats and Republicans are so alike that I don’t think it matters anyway which talking head has been purchased for his or her token, partisan vote.

Corporate donations go to both parties equally (in fact, donations almost always presciently favor the projected winner). Like anything else in a capitalist society, you need only follow the money. Corporate America has a vested interest in an impotent, unpopular Congress. That is not an accident. And Clinton taught everyone (again) that you campaign to the middle. Left (progressive) and right (tea party) might energize their faithful but fall on the deaf ears of the hoi polloi, and are vilified by the status quo to the point of ostracism.

For the record, then, I don’t think voting does much, but I hate the idea of one group trying to take away the little that voting does do from other groups of people because their pigment may be darker or their voting habits don’t align with their own.

September 13, 2014:
I tread a troubled track, my odds are stacked, and I’ll go back to black

By coincidence I’m wearing all black today and Spotify chooses that song and I think to myself, “I can’t believe that Amy Winehouse has been dead for more than three years now.” And I know I’m lucky that I didn’t die the same way, in fact, in that same timeframe. I got out.

But life, as it most certainly is prone to do, keeps happening. The pressure of similitude never ends and I’ve come to know that it never will. That perhaps this is the very definition of life. Pleasure is fleeting, and for the most part so is pain. The difficulty arises, especially to someone with my mentality, because every day is essentially the same day. (And this is the perfect, perhaps only, time I am to quote Janis, “It’s all the same fucking day, man.”)

That seems to be one common thread in the trail of dead. Boredom. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Leads to belief in the mantra that “It’s better to burn out, than fade away.” Is it? I’m not looking to burn out. I’m not exactly fond of the notion of fading away either, but if that’s all we have, then why waste it?

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You went back to what you knew, so far removed from all that we went through

I can barely understand my motivations or my moment-to-moment reactions to stimuli. Why do I do the things that I do? And if I can’t answer this about myself, how can I possibly even begin to try to answer it for you? Your motivations and responses are as foreign to me as they are fascinating. Why do you do the things that you do? Vindictiveness doesn’t quite explain the depth of your commitment. When is it finished? Is it ever going to be enough? Or is the nature of your action a dystopian world view in a never-ending war?

I think about you and certain phrases resonate, none more than, “(S)he loved Big Brother.”

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If not profound, at least prolific

I’ll fill the emptiness with words. There is a hole, of sorts, that seems to me to be currently un-fillable. I have poured enough venti dark roasts (two Splendas and space for cream) in it to burst any three existentialist bladders, but to no avail. I joke now, but the emptiness is palpable and real. I don’t know how to fill it. I don’t know where to look. I don’t like the idea of staying empty—it seems beyond selfish to do so—but I don’t have a plan; I don’t even have an idea for a plan. My default mode is normally proactive and this waiting-around-to-die shit is far too Townes Van Zandt for my liking.

September 14, 2014:
I’ve loved all, I’ve needed love; sordid details following

I am an unreliable narrator.

I make no pretense to disinterest. Everything I use to fill the vacuum of this life is done by choice. Consciously or subconsciously I am neck deep in my interests and biases. So are we all. The difference is my memory. It is eidetic. I can often remember things exactly as they happened. The trick to being unreliable is the interpretation of these events to suit the argument I am making, which may or may not remain consistent. It really depends on the moment. It depends on the audience.

Now for the hard part. Sometimes I am the sole member of this audience. And the cognitive dissonance that occurs during the process of packaging a situation is far more dissonant, when the package is for self-consumption. It’s not impossible, clearly. And by what I’ve witnessed I’m not the only person doing it. You see it in a color-by-numbers, kindergarten-simplicity when the law becomes involved. Statements are taken, snap judgements are made, then all evidence that fits a hypothesis is hoarded, while anything that subverts the accepted idea of “what happened” is summarily dismissed as coincidence or superfluous. In our personal lives we do this shit on a whole other level. Why? Because we are fighting for our perceived actualization and the definition of our capital-s Self. That is a constant battle waged from cradle to grave, and everything is sacrificed in its effort.

The few individuals that can subvert this compulsion, or rise above it, are pointed to as heroes and anomalies of selfless wonder. Again, I don’t include myself, even remotely, among these beautiful freaks of human nature.

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One flash of light, but no smoking pistol

I can’t explain the color blue without being self-referential, though I know it’s located between violet and green on the optical spectrum. Or the power of the blues except with uninspired definitions of rhymed, simple narratives played flattened or gradually bent in relation to the pitch of the major scale. Both descriptions are sterilized to the point of meaninglessness. These two examples are as real as any “proven” entities that I know, yet remain beyond the grasp of non-experiential understanding.

We bask in the glory of the senses but as a path to true knowing they are clearly quite limited and limiting.

September 15, 2014:
Spring only sighed, summer had to be satisfied, and fall is a feeling I just can’t lose

The sky’s coming down again. The pain is gone, and that makes me worry because in its place is nothing. I’m always skeptical of stillness. It’s stupid and quasi-romantic and the well-covered material of melancholy songs of loves lost, unrequited, or unrealized. It seems better as a respite but, in fact, is often the portent of a much more profound absence than most feelings can feel their way out of.

I’m trying not to be negative. I am choosing to not be complicit in the release of that energy into my world. And so I won’t be, though I assume it’s too late to redact these observations from the universe’s notice.

I watched videos of the kids yesterday. It was lovely and simultaneously soul smashing. Strange how those intertwine and overlap; equally provocative, but pulling at the seams of self in opposite straits. I had to turn them off. The kids are young in the pictures. They get older every day.

And melancholy, is the temporary triumphant.

September 17, 2014:
Notes from a meeting

I find this circle jerk to be something less than helpful. I’ve been here for three Tuesdays now, and I recognize the tone that will provoke my cringes. The current speaker is repeating the exact same things (verbatim) that he said last week. I think I’d prefer a mild physical pain to listening to him ramble (and by some amazing cosmic coincidence he used the word ramble at the exact time I wrote the word in reference to his rambling). I am trying so hard not to be skeptical—the conclusion almost chooses itself. This is an excuse to talk. It’s all filler. It means nothing. It has no effect. It’s all affect.

Please shut up. Please shut up. Please shut up. Please shut up.

The over-the-top subject of victimhood aligns nicely with the not-so-subtle subtext of religiosity (here specifically it’s Christianity, though I’m sure it’s Judaism in Tel Aviv, and Islam in Jakarta). The mindset required to turn everything over to a higher power is foreign to me; these people could be speaking in tongues of gibberish and it would have just as much influence (none) that this does. It’s a weird dichotomy between the professed humility and the unbridled narcissism it requires to talk about yourself for 35 minutes without saying anything that matters.

He just doesn’t stop.

September 19, 2014:
Miranda, or how I learned to stop talking and love the fifth

They tell you, “Anything you say can and will be used against you,” when you’re detained. (Heed this. Especially if you don’t have the money or time to defend yourself.) And though this warning might be a helpful start, like most legal minimums, Miranda is a cover-your-ass, lowest common denominator (not for you but for the one reading to you) that omits important corollaries which are more true than the rule itself. For starters it’s not just what you say. Anything you say, do, write, post, or imply will most certainly be taken out of context and used in the most damaging way possible against you. Any insights or truth that conflict with this agenda will be summarily ignored. Your behavior and willingness to acquiesce will do nothing at all to prevent this; the only possible impact will be on how you are treated, and how you are charged. These are both completely at the discretion of the arresting entity initially. And no matter what has happened, unless you have the good fortune of being recorded on video, it will come down to your word against theirs (which means you won’t have a word).

If you remember nothing else, remember this: the person asking the questions is not your friend. He doesn’t care about you, and cares even less about your extenuating circumstances. He’s trying to make you say something incriminating to justify your detention. You tell your side of the story best when you say nothing at all.

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in this kind of situation, trust me and shut the fuck up.

:
I hope it’s still funny when you’re in hell

I’m getting out of the emotional revenge game. For every sweet moment there’s been at least one bitter blow-up. For every action there has sometimes been a wholly unequal and opposite reaction. ¿Es la joda? I’ve come to the realization that I am fundamentally, atom-level different from the amalgam of people known as society. The more conservative the part of this (e.g., Texas, Florida), the more out of place I am. I cannot tell you (though not from lack of trying) how many times I have done something that I thought (and think) was reasonable, only to have a uniform (cheap suits and ties count as such) question my (usually incorrectly) perceived intent.

I like to think that it’s because I don’t flinch at painful truths, and though that may be a part of it, the near-unanimous revulsion I have sometimes provoked makes me inclined to believe that there is something larger at play. I wear being different like a badge of honor and have paid for this hubris, a higher price than I ever would have believed before paying it.

After the “informal declaration” debacle of 2009, I made a vow to be totally transparent here. Because the truth was being so obviously obfuscated, and false advocates and stories were commanding the attention of anything that mattered, I decided to speak truth to power. To tell everything as I was experiencing it, no matter what it was. Dirty words, dirty thoughts, reflections, projections, trespasses committed for or against. Everything.

Count on these like you count on your fingers.

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The lunatic, the lover, and the poet have such seething brains

A Type I error is a false positive. It is believing something is real that isn’t, based on a misunderstanding or misapplication of data. As a pathology it is known as apophenia and was first used to describe the acute stages of schizophrenia when unrelated details appear to be connected and meaningful. Beyond the pathological, this phenomenon seems to be a part of the common human experience, though usually to a lesser degree. It seems this tendency to see order in random configurations and coincidences happens to us all.

Apophany—the polar opposite of epiphany—is most likely an evolutionary holdover. Danger and it’s avoidance, when confronted with a set of circumstances that seem, however briefly, to be an ordered, pre-ordained series of events, probably saved our prehistoric ancestors from a slashing saber tooth, or the truncheons of a rival tribe. Usually, after time, these feelings of revelation went away. But not always. This is how myths are born.

And now we deal with this anomaly of evolution, like a psycho-emotional appendix, and it manifests in conspiracy theories and psychic readings and “proofs” of purpose and non-random patterns. Is it a seething brain that intuits divine revelation and the less-than-divine emotions that savage the psyche like self-professed love or hate? Or is there something else, something outside of the self? I would like to believe the latter, but assume the former. And fret over the myths that slouch toward us waiting to be born.

September 20, 2014:
A way to talk around the problem

The roosters don’t know it’s Saturday. They crow in the pre-dawn darkness, and fill their hovels with shit just like they do on Friday or Wednesday. The smell reaches me only seconds after the sound. I still haven’t figured out how they know it’s 4:45am, but they know better than any clock I’ve ever owned. I can tell what time it is by the pitch of the crow; apparently they work in shifts, each speaking a slightly different cacophonous tongue. By the third cockerel, I know it’s time to leave home.

I hate birds in general, but I especially hate roosters. I hate the loud-mouthed incessantness and labial wattles, the beady-eyed nervousness and aggressive feather ruffles. A Mesozoic hangover whose only redemptive quality is being delicious when basted and deep fried. (In immediate retrospect, that seems a bit harsh. I suppose a rooster has never done me harm beyond shaving a few minutes of sleep from my life. I don’t think I hate anything, not even you.)

I used to tell people that a person who hates everything actually hates themselves. There’s a way around that I’ve discovered, but it requires careful planning. I don’t have a plan. I do have an idea that seems to hold promise. (An idea for a five-year plan that starts five days ago.) And promise is the enemy of hatred.

I’ve come to believe that anything can happen. Anything happens all the time.

September 24, 2014:
The soundtrack of our lives

Watching the landscape, or cityscape, pass by in the windows as music is playing too loudly in the background, and I sometimes feel like I’ve warped into a music-video world. It helps if the music is fast enough to keep time with the view, is catchy, but more obscure than pop (this isn’t about a sing-a-long), and bonus points for esoteric lyrics that require some level of reflection.

Today’s candidate for perfect music-video song came on just after noon when Spotify carefully selected the Cure’s Charlotte Sometimes. And Robert Smith’s repeated cries of “Sometimes I dream!” seemed to fit the ride, and the day, perfectly.

These songs, so full of memories for such different reasons, suggest the silent soundtrack of our lives played out without music but in our thoughts and memories, both conscious and subconscious.

Events of the day, had otherwise triggered thoughts of the past, my past. And, of course, as we all do when triggered, I drifted back to the recent and more distant history and contemplated life and the decisions that I’ve made. There are some things I’ve done that look really bad on paper, but given identical situations, I’m quite sure I would repeat most of my actions, even the one’s with difficult ramifications, even knowing what I know now. Ouspensky’s wheel once again revisited.

The inconvenience comes from the judgments of those removed from the situation. “If only I could explain.” I’ve learned it’s best not to try. Explanations are often interpreted as excuses. And I don’t have any good ones. I just have to trust that I’m trying to do the right thing and for the most part succeeding. Then let people fall into place where they will. Because they will anyway.

None of us are so different as we like to believe we are, myself included. The human condition does not produce many truly unique situations. More than one person’s walked on the moon. And whatever you’re feeling, a million other people are feeling at the exact same time. I try to remember that when I get too much in my head. Especially about regrets, if onlys and what ifs.

Some of us are just not as good at hiding our true selves. Growing up Catholic I was trained at an early age to be confessional. I blurt. But, I’ve learned that not everyone wants to hear your true confessions. Some don’t care. Some can’t empathize. Some understand, but keep it to themselves. Some just don’t like the act of blurting.

I am what I am, and I’ve done what I’ve done. And there’s no changing any of that. There’s just moving forward.

But, sometimes I dream.

September 25, 2014:
Rise over run

It’s a slippery slope from intellectual integrity to ethical cynicism and its inevitable conclusion, dispassionate nihilism. I sometimes wonder about my refusal to even consider the supernatural as any kind of primary cause. Religion or its contemporary pseudo-counterparts like The Secret, Scientology or even Mormonism, just seem so obviously wrong. They seem mired in the desperation of wishful thinking.

The phrase I keep hearing in my head is one I learned in college, “the efficacy of reason.” Human enlightenment coincided with the embrace of reason and the rejection, slow as it may be in coming, of magic. (Think of all the people that reject evolution because they don’t understand the word “theory.”) How then are certain intellectuals, many of whom I admire in their realms of expertise, able to come to a completely opposite conclusion? How does a radical feminist medical doctor also obtain a master’s degree in theology, and a Ph.D. in Public Health (all from Harvard) then become a Catholic nun? How can a physicist teach quantum mechanics at the doctoral level and be a biblical literalist, simultaneously holding mutually exclusive rational and irrational beliefs? How does a socially radical theologian and poet become the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury? These people exist. And I am sometimes moved from my high horse by these apparent contradictions.

A quote from the Right Reverend Williams (the aforementioned Archbishop), is an example of an insight that provokes this metaphysical tickle. “Reason is a good tool for criticism, and its power as a critical force habitually leads us to mistake it for a straightforward guide in constructing positive social goals. Reason is a very good solvent of nonsense but is not necessarily a very good constructor of sense.

I feel guilty for thinking to myself, how can someone who is capable of such abstract yet rational thought also be subject to a world inhabited at times by resurrections from the dead, angels, demons, untouchable gardens, and impossible floods? Surely he must see the absurdity of the myths he’s presumably built his life around? How does he reconcile the glaring inconsistencies?

It seems to me to be a guilty pleasure rooted in sheer egotism. Having said that, can I still make a few wishes?

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Ghosts that we once knew will flicker from view and we’ll live a long life

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, not so long ago. Via instant messages, tens of thousands of characters made words that 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.

And we argued eight hours until abruptly re-exchanging vows of recompense 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. Believing that was my mistake, of course. We had actually 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.

September 27, 2014:
I came out of the woods by choice

All these mistakes I’ve made don’t exist, except in my memory. It’s past and just as fake as whatever I can imagine comes next. Only now exists. The rest is a mind-game-mind-fuck. I have tortured myself beyond any pedestrian water board. I’m tired of living in the shade. “Let there be light,” is a metaphor. It didn’t happen like the book says. It happens every second. This might be hard to wrap your head around, but seconds are too long. Every moment represents a comprehensible difference from the last. Nano-nanoseconds. Every single one of these whatever you want to call them, is a chance to let there be light. God exists in minutiae. The smaller everything gets, the greater is the change in our rules of understanding.

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Grapes of wrath

A package came today and the return address was in Grapevine, Texas. My son was born in Grapevine. There was a piercing in my heart when I noticed the address. An actual physical hurt. I miss my son. I miss my daughter. I may have done a lot of shitty things in my life, but I know I did at least two things right.

I’m not sure how to fix the situation yet, or how to broker peace in a war that I mostly declared. But I know it has to happen. There’s too much love for this to continue indefinitely.

September 28, 2014:
Circles they grow and they swallow people whole, half our lives we say goodnight to wives we’ll never know

I knew my wife pretty well. Perhaps better than she allows herself to know herself. And the fake wife that came later. I guess I knew her pretty well, too. These are the reasons I still root for Texas A&M, and hate Beaumont even though I’ve only ever passed through. The former represents innocence and integrity, the latter a cesspool of power, corruption, and lies.

The old (and not so old) me craved the drama. It made me feel like I was alive, whatever that means. I recall finding myself in peculiar situations and watching the scene(s) unfold outside my actual experience, like watching a documentary but simultaneously living in it, often thinking to myself what my “normal” friends or wife or family might think if they stood where I was actually standing. How incredibly fucking interesting it seemed to be to be alive like that. But the periods following alive were at best soporific, and at worst, less than dead, and the return to normalcy was terrifyingly sedentary and dull. In retrospect I see the calm inside the storm, the eye, where against my flailing attempts to flee, was safety and comfort.

Whipping in the outskirts for years now I can only wait for the storm to pass, and hope another doesn’t arrive before I can rebuild the levees.

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Two ships passing at the mall

Isn’t it weird the kind of changes that occur between two parties in an intimate relationship? I find it interesting sometimes to reflect on the fact that though I’ve had countless lovers, there are four or five people walking around planet Earth who know, up close and personal, about my predilections for certain styles of fantasy, dress, or action. That is a very intimate knowledge. And running into these people when access to their relief of these desires is no longer appropriate nor attainable sometimes borders on the surreal. You speak about the shallow end, talk about the weather, the new job, maybe even the kids, knowing all the time she knows something about you that the world passing around you doesn’t.

Part of the reason that my site is so transparent is an attempt to take away some of the power of that knowledge. But the main reason, related but far deeper, was to be so honest, sometimes embarrassingly so, that people had no choice but to know I must be telling the truth about everything.

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Memories of him

Walking from the pool with my girlfriend and the kids. My daughter ran ahead and in chasing her I almost tumbled over my son who had abruptly stopped and kneeled down on the sidewalk. I was just about to hurry him along because my daughter was now almost out of sight when my girlfriend said, “Wait. He has literally stopped to smell the flowers. This is an iconic moment. I think we can wait until he’s four to discourage him and crush his spirit.” So we waited. And after a few long draws from the petals he got up and continued toward the house, singing to himself, “They smell good. They smell good.”

They do, son, they really do.

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Your name here

I saw you and I couldn’t take a breath. Every horrible, terrible everything of my life was made whole by the calm of you. Every mistake accentuated made darker in the shadow of your absence. It’s true I ran away before. I wish I could be small. I’ll never be. You’ll never be. In my memory you are bigger than life. You are a myth. You are nameless. It might not be pretty, but let’s see what happens.

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Mele

Mele means song in Hawaiian. The reduplication, melemele, means yellow. And to me, sometimes, it means everything. There is a picture in my memory, where my daughter, in a yellow dress, has her hands up, reaching to grab an unseen something, more likely someone, with a barely-toothed smile bursting at the limits of her tiny face. I used the image for the invitations to her first birthday lu’au. Every time I see it, I smile.

After she was born I remember rushing home to watch her sleeping in her crib, next to our bed, always in reach. I remember waiting to wake her in the morning, unwrapping her from her blanket burrito, and watching her eyes open to the strange world around her, recognizing the moment of recognition that would cross her expression as she remembered she was alive.

Times weren’t perfect than. But every minute with her was.

The smiles would come later. And when they did there was nothing more special that ever was until that moment, each smile unique and more precious than the last. So quickly did smiles become giggles, then coos and syllables. Then words. Now she is a person. Sentient and sensitive. She is wise, but thankfully retains an innocence I don’t ever recall.

I was born 40 years old (I have old journal entries to prove it), so I’m happy she gets to be 11. There are people responsible for that. I did notice and I am thankful.

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