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I went in with skyscraper hopes. I came out with a DUI, and STD and a pocket full of wadded up ATM receipts. I held it in my heart ‘til the fucking thing blew. Then I gathered the shards like Jackie Kennedy. I braced myself against the wind and trembled like an orphan. I worked myself halfway into the tomb, and I STILL couldn't relax. I've been alone and afraid. People and animals keep dying in front of me. The booze only makes it worse. I've lied about things you'd never believe. I don't have the wherewithal to hate you.
My left hand smells like your perfume. I have no clue why. I wash it five or six times a day. But when I sink my head into my palm, there's that goddamn aroma again. I can't sit still. I get up and pace, up and down the L car. I've been torn to hamburger by this unreciprocated crush. It turned on me like a demoralized guard dog. I don't know when I'll see you again. When we share oxygen, I'm happy. When you're out of sight, I smell you everywhere. Your cigarettes, your sex, and that maddening girly perfume.
Punk Kid is clearly fucked up on something. Punk Kid asks if he can come over to Ripped Hose Girl's place. Ripped Hose Girl believes this would be awkward. Punk Kid addresses Pink Fishnets. Pink Fishnets: "Just because we talked at the bus stop doesn't mean we have to keep the conversation going." Punk Kid offers Pink Fishnets 20 bucks if she'll let him sniff her feet. She accepts. Punk Kid: "Sooo bad… meaning good." Pink Fishnets offers the 20 back if Punk Kid will use her foot as a phone. Punk Kid accepts. "Hello?" The bus stops. They scatter.
You should dance. If you want to, you should. And I know you want to. Make a habit of it and you're bound to get better. After which you'll get good. Keep doing it, and you'll dance with her. Dance with her and she's yours. The life of the party, still in your company when the party's over. Wouldn't you like to know her? Wouldn't you like to see her when all the accessories fall away and she's left before you, in the raw? Sure, you aren't the first and you won't be the last. No big deal. Go wild.
"IF IT CAME TO THAT." I'd strip down, turn the shower on full tilt and place the gun on the soapdish. I'd crank up the hot water, steamy as I wanted it. I'd feel it soak in my hair and skin, hear it hit the floor. Stand there and ponder. Let it blast my face and rinse out my eyes. Fog up the mirror. Steam up this li'l houseboat cabin apartment. Stand there until my fingertips shriveled. Until the hot water ran out. Then pick up the gun and stick the barrel in my mouth. Maybe puke out the memories.
I have no idea why a person would sink into a job he hates – a job that has nothing to do with what he's about – and stay there. For 20 years. Shooting a roomful of people? Makes a lot more sense to me. Ever since I was a lad, I've maintained a gruesome cognizance of my own mortality. Can't crank the GnR up loud enough to drown out the grains of sand hitting the bottom of the hourglass. I can't seem to work my way into intense pleasure without contracting equally intense misery. But without intensity, all would be pointless.
IF THIS FEELING'S FOR SALE, I'M BUYING IN. AT THE PLATINUM LEVEL. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. I'm lonesome enough to fall in love. Maybe. Not quite lonesome enough to sign up with a cult, but the night is young, sachem. I've been lonesome for a long time. I'm not sure how long is too long – I never see it coming – but I might be getting there. As far as I know. I'm not sure what's going on. And that's a bitch. All I've ever wanted to know is what's going on. I'm not sure why I keep stepping away. It figures.
CONFUCIOUS SAY, "THE WISE MAN IS DISTRESSED BY HIS WANT OF ABILITY." I am a bad man. A weak man. A foul, bitter, spiteful wretch of a man. A wreck of a man, held together by dried wads of Bubblicious. I know of no worse man. I look out at your faces, and I see a lot of anger. I see a lot of pain, a lot of questions. And there isn't a damn thing I can do for you. I'd love to save you. But I use you and hurt you without even thinking about it. I'm sorry. Run.
The doc scanned me over. Where did that scar on your index finger come from? From puffing one down to the filter. Smoked half a pack the other night, walking home up Damen in the rain. It's still there. Now there's one to match, on the bird finger. I'm not sure why I started smoking again. No, I know. Once you've been a smoker once, it doesn't take much to yank you off the wagon. It's a silly habit. A smelly habit. An outward display of masochism. For the last few weeks, I've been stopping the holes with such distractions.
Teargas. It's the one-step solution for colds and allergies. The entire two-week ordeal compressed into a few minutes of massive fluid purging. Jack rides the city bus back and forth from the library, so he gets sick a lot. He remembers the teargas cure from his navy hitch, but he doesn't have access to teargas. Do you have access to teargas, perchance? If you do, Jack wants to rap with you. He feels like shit. He's tired of blowing his nose. He went to the last war protest, but no teargas was forthcoming. He's looking for relief. Can you help?
Big Dean's battered brain kept pushing words into his mouth, but they didn't have adequate force to launch. Until he opened up, and the whole batch slid forward like watery vomit. "Can I have a dollar? To get out of town?" "Maybe next time," Jimmy replied, before hacking up some tar. "Don't walk away from me," Big Dean slurred. "Learn to play a fucking instrument," Jimmy muttered. Big Dean turned to his companion, and his brain supplied words for his next outpouring of dialogue. Jimmy rounded the bend, no longer tantalized by the hot dog stand, once again tired out.
I met Little John at the Village Tap. He described, to an audience of three or four, the Donut Game. Something he did in the navy. A group of enlisted men would jerk off toward a donut, and the last one to cum would eat the donut. I saw him again on the train the next day, tweaked out of his skull, headed for a drug test. He said I looked like I needed a vacation. Gave me a brochure for a hostel in Boulder. Told me to tell them I know Little John, the Russian Jew from the navy.
Good morning. You've landed on the coast of Antarctica, seventh of seven continents. Do you set off into the countryside? Rummage for something edible? Plow through the ice and snow with the power of faith alone? Would that be suicidally stupid? Do you have what it takes? What the fuck does it take? This much is certain: You have no compass. You will not survive a return journey. Do you want to cast off, back out to sea? Do you want to drill holes in the bottom of the boat? Is every struggle noble? Is it time to surrender, maybe?
"I feel like shit," he said. "Pure shit. I wish I'd been stillborn." He throws a glance at the wall clock. "My entire life has been a monument to wasted opportunity," he said, "and I see nothing in the future but a tundra of frozen dogshit." Pool balls clack together. A young lady with the look of a long-haul meth addict flips through the CD jukebox. "I'm doomed to aim to high. I'll always be abandoned." Raindrops pitter-pat on the window, washing the grime to the sidewalk. "I have to say, though," he said, "I took it like a champ."
ACCIDENTS HAPPEN AT ANY SPEED. I remember scaling rooftops, navigating alleys, doing everything in my power to locate this particular bar in Rogers Park that I'd heard was amazing. Well, the joint was curious. And I suppose I've always had a tendency to confuse the two. It happened to carry the house brew from Vincent's Ear, a place in Asheville, North Carolina that, to the best of my admittedly foggy recollection, has no house brew. I gave the man a 20 and neglected to collect change. I realized, on the bus home, that I was dreaming. Still pissed me off.
Have you read the Koran? Have you read 100 Days of Sodom? The Koran is a shitload worse. Worse than Hitler's wet dreams. I've got beef with Islam. Fuck Islam. I'm not going to root for the Muslims simply because they're the underdogs. Islam is a delusional death cult. I'd like to minimize death and suffering, if that's on the menu. Anyone who lives by the letter of the Koran wants to maximize death and suffering for anyone who doesn't. Beautiful, peaceful religion my ass. I'm not sure how to handle these things. But I'd like to see Islam go.
"NOTHING LASTS WHEN NOTHING'S THERE." Never settle. My parents settled for each other. Perhaps they shouldn't have. Well, fuck the word "should." They did, and thus I was born. If that'd never happened, it would have saved me a lot of problems. Don't rest until you get what you want. Study what you want and how to get it. You'll need a diversion here and there, but get going before you get stuck. Hose on the roses, baby. Maybe you'll find what you want, and maybe it won't work out. In that case, consider suicide. Always cheers me up, anyroute.
EMERSON'S FUNLAND HAS A STANDING POPULATION OF ONE, BABY. The first time I noticed the guy was outside the rip mart at the corner of Belmont and Oakley. "I've seen you walking everywhere. You walk fast." I walk to Clybourn Market to buy various amenities, which is where he'd spotted me. "Walk on the other side of the street there. Gangbangers like to mess with people. Sometimes." Saw him again today, about a block south. "I call you The Walker." Maybe that could be my last name. Didn't buy the DVD cleaner he was hawking, although I reportedly "need" it.
The difference between JAZZ and JIZZ... is one letter. Miles will get you started. He'll give you the push you need. Then it's your responsibility. To take it THOUGH "e." And all the way to "i." It takes some planning. A bit of forethought. Ration the booze just right. Dwell on the more presentable side of your character. Miles is dead. He can't do the work for you. Be classy. The difference between CLASS and ASS? Two letters. You have to don the class. Then you slowly shave off the "c." Then the "l." That's how you get the ass. You can handle that.
The UIC campus looks like it was designed by MC Escher. The faculty and staff have their own private lunch lounge. I suppose we're never mature enough to cease wanting a clubhouse. Unless you're homeless, it's silly to bitch about the weather, but it's the only shared context this city has. (There're people here that don't follow the Bulls.) It's drizzling today, but it still feels like spring. Ideal. I was in such a goddamn funk this weekend that the sunshine only worsened it. This is more my speed. She's out of reach. Self-pity, unfortunately, ain't gonna bring her back.
When I was a boy, my dad had a fishing boat we called Big Blue. Got it from the neighbors down the hill. They gave it away. As I was waiting for the #77 this eve, I bummed a cigarette from a passerby. "I don't smoke," he said. He'd just bummed it from someone else. Newport menthol, it was. I inhaled the cool fiberglass death. ‘Twas like sucking burning Big Blue through a straw. I saw the lights of the bus approach. Took a long puff and tossed the Newport into a puddle. The bus was actually a garbage truck.
You seem like you're worn a bit thin. Tired. Disconnected. You're yawning a lot. Yawning more than talking. Outside of your aggressive flirtation with the smug bartender, you don't seem invested in anything. You give me the balance of your last beer. I walk you to your car. Then I walk back over the bridge. I have some more beer at my neighborhood tavern. When it closes, the barkeep and I hit two 4 AM joints. I'm pants-pissing drunk, ranting and rambling. I wish you were here. You're gone. I amble home, prepare some food, and puke my guts out.
I'm hoisting another ‘un in your honor. Hope all's well in there. I'm thinking of you. And I'd like to think I'm taking a cue from your courage. Courage is the only way to get things done. I'd like to wake up tomorrow and do something that guaranteed my life would be different for the duration, from here on out. You did that, and I don't doubt you've regretted it on occasion. The small pleasures probably mean more to you than they do to me. I can't imagine what you're going through, but I miss you, and we'll meet again.
You'll gouge the blade in. Again and again. Until you've bled half your soul away, and there's nothing left outside but scar tissue. You'll dispense with all the pain here and now. And save yourself pain later. Because as it stands, you're swollen with tenderness and compassion. And they don't deserve it. They don't deserve shit. And they only way they won't bleed you is if you're not burdened with it. So scream all you please. It's a motherfucker. It hurts. But this is the only way to spare yourself. After this, you won't be frightened anymore. Let it bleed.
"IF I WAS A CYNIC, IT WOULD PROBABLY MAKE ME FEEL BETTER." I'm waiting for the #77 again, trying to light a square. "Need a light?" some good soul inquires, extending his almost-spent cig. "No thanks," I reply. "It's just the wind." A trio of Lakeview swells approaches. "Watching ME get my dick sucked," one guy says to another. "...What does that say about YOU?" They pass out of earshot. Everyone else is yammering into cellphones. I'd like to write something good, something that would make someone I've never met feel proud of being unwholesome. Circa now, I've got nothing.
I can hold my bladder for hours. I can walk the streets swimming in my own urine, and I won't need to piss until I've secured an opportunity. Once I get back to my place, I have to hop on one foot while removing my jacket, because I suddenly feel as though I'm about to explode, like a water balloon dropped from 8 floors up. Need seizes my soul. Sometimes I barely make it. It's nice to have control over my bodily functions, even if it's semi-conscious and situation-specific. Mind over bladder. Wish my thoughts themselves were so easily controlled.
One of these days, I'll relate this whole sordid episode. Find a way to hose out the residue of this torrid fling. Without being tacky. Steep the whole thing in metaphor. Maybe I won't care so much. Maybe I won't last that long. Accidents happen. But at this juncture, I've got nothing to say about anything. Not that, not anything else. Can't sleep, can't write, can't masturbate. I refuse to wallow in self-pity, so what else is left? Nothin'. I got nothing to say. The breeze makes the garbage dance about. It's lovely in Chicago. Perhaps I'll take a stroll.
A few enlisted men show up for the party, so it is actually an immediate benefit to the troops, not just the Lincoln Parkers who know them. And it looks like they pulled down some scratch, from the size of the crowd. The fighting men have donated a few photos and curios. Most notably an Iraqi flag swiped from one of Saddam's palaces. It looks smooth, smoother than any flag I've ever seen, like silk PJs. I want to rub it on my balls. Because it looks so soft, not as a statement. Start with whiskey, then switch to beer.
YOUR DESPERATE CRIES FOR HELP WILL, AT THIS HOUR, GO UNHEARD. I hit bottom last night. In the throes of (what I guess was) a panic attack, I dashed a knife into my arm, then crashed out at my brother's. It won't get any worse than that. Mark my words. It went as far as it's bound to go. Now, I'll dig myself up and out. I'll burn up when I wonder what she's doing. Right now. Burn up because I've got a pretty good idea. Nothing I can do will change it. Wake up time. Grow up, move on.
Well, well. Time to put a lid on this silly April batch. All this shit, over a girl. It certainly wasn't her fault. She wasn't even the catalyst. Something was bound to happen. The facade had to crumble. Once upon a time, solitude came easily for me. It was my forte. I pushed people away to secure it. Then, I kicked solitude to the curb so I could share my apartment with a young lady. That went to seed, and I discovered solitude has it in for me. I've had trouble readjusting to my own company. Hence, all this. Goodnight.
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