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I donít know if itís the severe lack of sleep or something I need to say, but I canít fucking breathe. In me, desperation turns to courage. But I can't tell if this courageous, desperate act is too little too late or too much too soonóand Iím hoping against hope itís the latter. Iím hoping that, where, before, it was an act of terminal self-defeat to bite my tongue and bide my time, now its necessary as the dust settles. Iíve always waited for the right time, and now is never quite the right time, so just do it.
The settling of dust can be an excruciating process.
The bomb is dropped. Rubble scattered. Casualties unknown. Whether there are any survivors even remains as yet undetermined.
Ground zero was a couch here in Logan Square, about ľ mile away from where I live, which means that Iíll be breathing the fallout in my sleep for years to come.
The Fissile material was denial, bound in riveted layers of reverse psychology and self-righteous self-doubt. The fuse was made only of beer and desperation. And when it hit the truth, it was all over.
And now Iíll watch the dust settle.
Itís odd to hear these songs. Iíve played them beforeóon the violin in my younger youth. I canít place the names but I remember holding the four stings, struggling to focus on the staff, always thinking of something else a few bars in, always mourning the inevitable mistakes as they passed. I look at that and Iíve come so far. I have chopped away so much. I miss a lot of it, but it had to go. Open space alleviates the pain. All thatís left is to keep cutting, and hold on tight to what I know I need.
Thereís nothing wrong with feeling remorse for something you had to do.
She didnít have to come on so strongóI didnít have to let her. It really was my fault, in the end. One could say, a lawyer could say, that she was opening herself up to liability by engaging herself with such a self-avowed fuck up. But really, I, being the one who realizes, who knows, am to blame. I could have headed the whole thing off before it got off to its cataclysmic start. But I let her. And I hurt her. Nothing changes that.
Does she sense my thinly polished contempt? She looks away as if she could, but more likely its to disguise her eyes saying, ďwhatís taking you so long.Ē If I scream loud enough in my head, I wonder if she could here my answer. ďOH MY GOD. YOU GET PAID THREE TIMES WHAT I DO AND YOU ARE AN IDIOT. ITíS TAKING SO LONG BECAUSE YOU DONíT WANT OIL ON YOUR FUCKING BACON AND CHEESE OMELET!Ē But out comes, ďThere you go, have a nice day.Ē
As the day goes on, my teeth begin to hurt from clenching my jaw.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Possibly unbeknownst to you, I have squandered a great deal of resources with the expectation of some notoriety later in life. And Iím sorry, that, despite such extravagant expenses, it may not (most likely
not), in fact, come to pass. As I cannot even begin to dream of being able to pay you back, I will make good on your efforts. No one else may know about it, but you will know and you
be proud. I may not ever be famous, but I may (most likely
) be great.
So Look out,
I may shake from what I've done, but the wailing six-string siren heals all wounds. I'm the boy that nobody owns and Iím on a mission to find my home. Hopefully I won't burn it down when I get there.
I'll hit the bricks in search of a new shackle, this time for one that fits a little better. Shit, I might trip and fall on top of something I needed all along, right under my feet between the cracks in the sidewalk of this gritty second city, this flatland hot dog town that may hold my fortune after all.
Most people see life as a completely linear process. Youíre young, you grow up, you get old, youíre done. I prefer to see it as only a segment of time, in which I can do whatever I see fit. Surely, Iíll grow constantly; and I can accept a commitment and it wonít mean my time is up.
So today I buck up and make sacrifices. I eat shit for a while until that sweet thing comes alongÖand it wonít mean the end of anything I donít want to be over.
Today is a good day for riding into the wind.
Do you get up early and get your news early from Ari Shapiro on ďMorning Edition?Ē Or do you get it by accident from Peter Segel and Mo Rocca on ďWait Wait Donít Tell Me.Ē Are you the young, attractive, concise Lakschmi Singh type, or the heary, old-guard, scotch-straight-up, Karl Cassel? Identify with the in-your-face, dominating, did-your-homework Terry Gross, or the slightly toady, submissively endearing, Lisa-Simpsonian Marty Moss-Coane? Are you more of a sleepy, Minnesota, rocking-chair-and-antiquing, ďPrairie Home CompanionĒ type liberal, or the witty, raucous, New England working-class ďCar TalkĒ kind of liberal.
What kind of NPR listener are you?
I let slip that I find her attractive Ė in a very roundabout, if not politic, way. It went a little something like this:
ďWas she cute?Ē
ďYeah, I thought she was beautifulÖbut I have odd taste in women.Ē
ďIíve never had the pleasure, before, of saying that to anyone I found attractive.Ē
ďHowíd it go? Was it everything you expected?Ē
So if I keep doing shit like that, I think I might make something. Weíre both self-assured self-doubters. I have to hold the ball loosely without dropping it. Our lives are both horrendously fucked up right now.
Youíre like me; you feel the need to help. You feel like you have the ability, and you do. You help all the time, even press others to let you help. But, whoís gonna help you. Nobody can, right? Because, those same abilities make your problems something nobody else knows or understands. And thatís true.
I strongly believe your problems and pain are your god given property, but I thought Iíd offer a hand, seeing as Iíve done a lot of lifting myself. Our Lady of Perpetual Help isnít above being helped herself.
She might need it most of all.
A half hour left and what is there to do? The black and white leaves little choice but to fabricate lies and literary misdemeanors. Free verse isnít so free. It comes at the price of oneís standards, oneís integrity. Thereís an empty space to fill that keeps opening up, so you fill it. Ninety percent of the time you do a quality spackle job, but that tenth time, thatís the doozy. When you open up and thereís nothing falling out, thatís almost a good thing. But if you open up, nothing falls out, and your still scared, thatís not quite.
Remember when you asked me who my favorite authors were. I had no answer. I hadnít read enough. Itís funny how things have changed in the 3Ĺ months since Iíve been here. And for some reason, itís everything thatís supposed to happen. I look the rest of my life in its gaping, toothy maw and laugh hysterically. Holding those jaws open will be a gas. The cuts and bruises, torn clothing and bloody conscience will be sweet rewards.
So my answers (for now) are, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gustav Flaubert.
To have answers is scary. Deliciously.
I'll get my shit straight one day. Or I'll at least get better at not having it straight. I've been here 3 1/2 months and now I'm right back where i started. With everything. I try to give myself a break, but Iím still not on the road. I know where it is, but Iím taking my sweet time getting there. Why does everyone else just close their eyes and just lands ok. I try and force and fight and all I get is more problems. Thereís my answer right there, but I donít know any other way.
The pictures I see right now, if I could only paint them, so many shapes, spines spraying in a hundred directions. My mind is on fire thinking of you. Iím losing myself in you and it scares me. I care what you do and it scares me. Iím losing sleep over you, and it scares me. What right does your ghost have to my nighttime hours? Autumn, [there, I said your name, Iím not afraid to anymore] you do something to me and I hate it.
Right now, Iíd give a million dollars to know how you felt without asking.
Iím facing nothing here. The opponent is non-threatening, if not non-existent. I have little more than to whittle away anticipation. The only enemies are anticipation, fear itself, looking the future in the eye as if everything always goes wrong.
Maybe sometimes there really is a turning point. Maybe Iím not a complete failure. Maybe this is the turning point, where I stop running and start diving.
Maybe when I actually try at something, and fail, that will be my first true victory. Letting myself fail instead of forfeiting out of anticipation thereof.
Itís time to put up,
Where can you go when itís too hot to live? The heat outside is sweltering, and the bullshit inside is none too hospitable. This is supposed to be the summer of Evan. I guess I was hoping for my own summer a little too soon. I have five years to get my shit straight. Thatís plenty of time. Plenty of time to pay off my debts, live and die through a romance or two, and get back into school. What it doesnít leave time for is any more serious mistakes. This is the summer of Evan. Donít fuck it up.
Wheels are made for people whoíd rather fly than walk. The only thing is, you still feel the bumps.
Itís about two years to the day since I graduated. Two years. Life was supposed to start then.
Maybe it starts now. Maybe Iím that close to bottom. Iíve never been there before. Hell, Iíve felt like it, felt worse than this, but never has more been on the line.
Itís time to spare myself the IOUs and bill-me-laterís. Those are just bumps in the road down the line. Thereís no need to make them any bigger than they already are.
At three AM in the pouring rain, the streets belong to me. I travel alone under the orange sky, lit by the tungsten of half a million city lights, a color Iíve come to love.
Her light was on. I canít help her now.
Everything gleams with those beads, shines in the cascades. Itís as if Iím reminded of my sacred concrete, reminded of where I am. I almost believe in destiny. As in, what brought me here and why it feels so right.
The only other souls out are infirmed. On nights like these, thatís the company I keep.
Iím proud to be a late bloomer. It means thereís something left for me to learn. All the disappointment of not yet being equipped is almost worth it. Itís when you realize that thereís songs left to write, that your minor successes have only been trinkets along the way, that thereís something left to try for, that your able to pick back up again and keep running. You might not know where, or for how long, but you know thereíre still destinations. When you find yourself asking, ďis this all there is?Ē you need a reason to tell yourself ďno.Ē
You have nothing to be afraid of. Really. I know I look like a fuck-up, but all those places youíre afraid I might take you, Iíve already been and I donít want to go back. I work hard and Iím way too tired to shake myself to sleep anymore. Thereís many ways that I used to think I was different, but Iím only as crazy as I am rational, and while that makes me pretty damn crazy, it means that Iíll never hurt you nearly as bad as Iíll hurt myself, and Iím already pretty sore and sick of it.
Seems like Iím back where I started. Same shit, different time zone.
I feel kind of like a dung beetle, rolling around my little ball of poo. I carry it with me everywhere I go. God only knows what its for. But my ball of shit, it gathers, it grows. Thereís been words written, stories unfolding. And the ball gets bigger. Maybe one day Iíll build a home out of it.
I am going somewhere. Iím building a body of work, a pool of ideas to swim in later. Yeah, same shit, different time zone. But sometimes, shit rolls uphill.
Seems like these urban trails are all I know. The canyons get bigger, the walls change, but the vast, perfect emptiness of civilization gone awry is way too comforting. The Humanity is everywhere, but thereís not a drop to drink. Only walls, ignorance, and fear separate me from my neighbor, but I know heís right there on the other side.
Iíd run, but Iíd just get further around the circle. Maybe thatís the key. Maybe I do have to finish this looping trail and get back to where I started. Maybe itís only a trap for those that see it.
My forced words have been so disappointing. These are forced, themselves. At least it's something to think about. And it spawns wretched excess that pretends as digestible text.
I have one hour to burn. Iím sick of self-abuse. Itís not enough time to clean. I've watched all four seasons of the wire. That's 49 episodes. That's a workweek, with overtime, out of one month of my life. And that's not time-and-a-half either.
I guess Iíll just go make my four cups of coffee and start all over again. These weeks will expire and Iíll go on.
Cheaters almost always win.
Those margaritas are fucking huge. I mean huge. Yeah, with tip, it was 21 dollars, but I got chips and salsa, too. Not to mention the pleasant conversation about the USA vs. Mexico match yesterday. USA, two to nothing! EAT THAT, SANCHO! And now I know what a sidecar isÖthe drink. Its like a gringo margarita.
Yeah, so, over this bowl of margarita, I got to thinkingÖWhatís a good year to ask you out on a date? Like our fourth first date. If itíll never happen, Iím cool with that. I just wish I had the balls to find out.
Rainy day off, expensive looseys of Californian ale and Jamaican lager, chilaquiles verdes y rojas, new bike wheel, hostess cupcakes, minor disappointment, hope for a good friendship (again), hope for pieces to fall together, love of the urban rot, love of the personal tragedy, self-regard, vanity, Stuartís brand Columbian coffee, thunder and lightening heard in vain, daemons drowned and slain, sweat bled in vain, and missing the solitude of the commuter train is most of what I did today.
That and remember that I was right to play it coolÖin fact, whenever Iíve listened to my gut, itís been right.
I just spent an hour reading in the Dunkin Donuts. I did this because they have air conditioning and coffee...and doughnuts.
Subsequently I spent about another half hour reading in the park. I did this because I wanted to read more and I didn't want to go home. The park had places to sit. Unfortunately the park had no air conditioning or coffee...or doughnuts.
I tried to walk more because Iím still feeling inconvenient feelings, like I have pretty much since 1997. Itís high time I started saying inconvenient things.
But itís hot. This roomís empty. And I hate myself.
You helped bring me into this new world, but Iíll be damned if Iíll let your ghost take me out of it. I came here for many reasons. Iím not mad at you. Iím mad at the specter of you Iíve allowed to take up extended residence in my brain. Itís my fault for letting it in and itís my fault for giving it room to breathe and having hope that this landlord/tenant relationship would blossom into something constructive. As usual, Iíve let this new resident make a mess of things in there, just like all those that came before.
So I want youóbad, but I don't need you...and he does. And that's the long and the short of it. Those are the crumbs on the table from the proverbial cookie. I think you need someone who needs you. Thatís too suffocating for me. I've always been a little short of breath, but you've been breathing free and clear your whole life, it seems. So maybe a little smothering is in order, and heís not short on that.
So we both require something and those somethings don't seem to be matching up, at least not this summer. Fucking lame.
Iíve got two wheels. Iíve got a cat. Iíve got control. Thatís all I need. That and a few beers.
I rode home. The north branch of some river of some city flowed beneath me through some steel grating. I wanted to crush, break, smash, destroy. I felt that surge of youthful recklessness that Iíve been missing. And I survived despite myself.
I remembered that the want for stability that I feel when sober is just misguided self-hatred. I learned that Iím on the road to nowhere, by myself, and thatís where Iím supposed to be. For better or worse.
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