“Feeling is a lot worse than knowing, but sometimes it’s all you’ve got.” -Lee Child
I should start a new journal because I feel like I have nothing more to say. I have written carelessly. In this journal there are emotions splattered on the page. There are a few short descriptions that contain more than emotion.
But it’s over. It’s all over! This part of my life. These feelings that controlled me as an earthquake controls the ground. I say goodbye to you…
September 11, 2008.
Current mood: disappointed
Honesty is a big word. I’m so tired of the way people have been relating to me. I feel like they are trying to catch up to what I knew a long time ago, and if they ever do catch up, I will no longer be there for them to catch up to, because I will have been forced to bail. Or my boat would drown.
I thought my friends were growing up.
By growing up, I thought they would become more honest. Honesty means keeping true to your word, honesty means saying things you don’t want to admit. When did so many people grow so deceitful?
Did I hope for too long that my standing there would change them? It didn’t even make a tiny dent in their awareness.
instead, the people I’ve known the longest no longer have the courage to tell me the truth about our relationship, or what they think about me, or what they have said. Occasionally they might tell me something they did, but only because they think I’m in no position to judge and they know i won’t tell anybody who matters.
Without this honesty from others, I look to the past, because I saw these people who were better people than they are now. It’s hard for me to believe that change can make a person age but not evolve. It’s hard to recognize arrested development because people who are arrested make up for it in so many ways. They might have big careers, or be good at using people, but they have become a worse person who is unhappier in most ways.
I will stop berating myself for choosing the wrong friends. Back then, I didn’t choose the wrong people. But my loyalty is to a fault. I know that but now I must recognize that I did use the word fault in that sentence. If people know I will always be around, why would they care if I get the honesty I deserve?
I wish I knew how to leave certain people. I know how to leave the extreme people, but I don’t know how to deal with the really smooth liars. The ones who convince me in the present that things are okay. The ones who have really good excuses.
I must give up on the idea of my honesty changing them because it repels them. And if it repels them, they are like a self-involved adolescent. No dignity, no guts.
And instead of pining away for somebody to remind me what qualities I have, I let people say cruel things feeling I don’t know how to deal with it besides walking away and then returning when they are in a different mood. I’m going to change this… somehow.
This one I wrote November 23, 2008.
But first I want to SAY something….
I found some stuff that shocks me because… it is evidence that I am still struggling with things I was struggling with over a year ago. I live through a moving kaleidoscope, and each year or longer I have a new problem that I attack from as many points of view and as many dimensions as possible. Every day it looks like a new problem to me. I just hadn’t realized how long this has been going on- this fight against something sociological. Then I threw myself into the arms of what I thought was reality and purity and empathy. But another person cannot be your solution. But what do you do when you have all this love that is as specific and thorough as a bullet from a gun? Do you throw the gun into a garbage can if it’s not reciprocal anymore? Do you wait? Give up? Move on? This metaphor has serious limitations since shooting somebody is violent.
Part of my predicament has always been that I’ve become somebody who will throw myself in front of a bus to prove to somebody that those weren’t just words, THAT WAS REAL. Now I have a small doubt- all this proving (over and over) is it to me???? But I know it was real. Why do I need proof of what I know was real?
Oh…………I feel like such a… oh….
I was proving it to myself? Was I? That my art was genuine, that everything was genuine? I felt the need to check every day to make sure? EVERY DAY?
Why do I have so much to prove? Why can’t I just say, I don’t need to prove anything to anybody? I don’t know when I began, but I now equate love with sacrifice to such a high standard. But their sacrifice- I just assume that it’s there. Shouldn’t there be peace? I’m a fighter to the core. But even fighters need peace… maybe more than other people. I appreciate subtlety and detail in everything.. I see so much as being art… Maybe my life?
Some of this writing is so different from how I feel now, but overall… the struggle… to discover whether or not what was shared with another person was as meaningful to me as to them… is the same. The only thing that changed was the stakes… they went way up. Dunno how. I decided that past passions were nothing in comparison. How can we know these things… Why did I feel that I had to know these things… But I also felt that I was stronger than I was in the past. Even more invincible. Which is what got me in trouble the first time. I assumed I had learned from experience. I assumed I was being way more careful. Because I felt a piece I hadn’t had before. And then it became bigger and bigger, the whole thing. Started out as a copycat and became more real than the original.
Keep trying to hit a home run like the old days but the weight inside is making me think I need to lose.
Maybe it’s living with Mike. Maybe it’s being alone. I would be okay with a family someday, and okay with no family. I would be okay being unloved, and okay being loved. Now these are the words of somebody trying to deduce what is really going on. I am saying these things like somebody throwing up balls in the air, seeing if one of them will defy gravity. (Moan.. isn’t there some stupid show called defying gravity?)
From Myspace, November 23, 2008.
This should appear as a video from utube of Bobby Fischer the chess player but instead it appears as a link.
“Maybe the reason Fischer irritated people so often is that he was willing to give voice to a lot of not-so-nice thoughts & sensations that most of us keep deeply buried- politically incorrect flashes of sadism, egoism, hatred, etc. I suspect his so-called “craziness” was actually mostly about his peculiar, almost childlike honesty — which would naturally seem bizarre in a world where the rest of us have become adroit at appearing inoffensive to others (and ourselves).” -(I’m not sure if I wrote this part or if a video commentator did.)
The video made me feel better…Reminded me of a time when I had more confidence. Fischer’s laugh surprised me too… I’ve never seen that. People really fucked up when they wrote his biography, and they really fuck up when they talk about him.
I don’t have hardly anybody who I can talk to honestly anymore and it’s ruining things. Dave, this guy Frank… But it’s not enough, and it’s more complicated than that. I can’t even talk about it now because people make these stupid assumptions. I need to let my f-cking anger out because it’s turning to sorrow and the sorrow is turning me into somebody who is so insulated and quiet and unobtrusive I’m not accomplishing what I want to. So fuck everybody, I’m tired of me trying SOOOO hard to sound acceptable. And me “trying really hard to sound okay” gets viewed as me trying to make some kind of character assassination. God Forbid I have an opinion about something somebody is doing. Nowadays, friends are the people you go to for big fat lies. I understand the need for support and encouragement, but I don’t condone this whole idea that if you watch somebody doing something wrong or evolving into somebody who no longer has morals, or who is losing their essence, that it is just wrong to speak up and be specific about what you see as the problems. My idea of tact was simply leaving out my opinions and addressing the stuff that involved me, but even that is very BAD. It means sacrificing their friendship if I say anything. I have to read every single line by ANOTHER friend to make sure it sounds fake enough to send. People take everything so seriously, me included.
And I’m really scared. Instead of being angry, then being sad, I’ve reached SCARED. So I am giving myself permission to this little entry, which, if anybody reads, will win me enemies.
But the last thing in the world I need or want to feel is fear. When you are scared you accomplish nothing. I walk around wanting to be small and invisible and hiding under a blanket. And FUCK B for saying that my writing lacked punctuation! I went from being so in love to thinking he is a total psychopath. And I don’t have a close friend to confide in about it. I’m really confused, and I’m beginning to think that the only person I’ve ever romantically loved in my life (maybe there is no such thing and I just was a victim of thinking that one should bother to do anything about loneliness or attraction or caring so much about somebody that you become a force of nature that doesn’t stop where they begin or start where they end….ANd no, that is not a borderline thing.) I am so tired of saying logical meaningful things to somebody who dismisses them and doesn’t write me back. I thought it was so romantic but now I am questioning it all. Mostly, I am wondering if they lack the ability to sense distress or fear on another person or relate to it because they do not feel fear themself.I’ve been up for a while researching this, and I learned that this is the definition of a psychopath… unlike what most people think, only one percent of people in prisons are psychopaths. Many psychopaths are really successful people holding normal jobs.
I also hate the way that whenever you say something you learned now, somebody will contradict you no matter what you said. Because anywhere you go anybody can say they outsourced youl. Nowadays it’s not what you say, but where you got the information from.
I feel better after writing this, like I just had a pissing contest bashing the way I’ve been deffering to everything for a long time.
And I refuse to feel anymore guilt or confusion. Yes, yesterday I felt a ray of sunshine and bliss and a completely new experience where I felt like I was neither a performer or an observer. (and in life I feel like I’m almost always playing one or both). I felt so present… But afterward there was reality and I felt like I had to seek oblivion afterward, and after that oblivion, it brought back traumatic memories which were NEVER resolved, contradictions and promises that were never met, things I did and said which were so striking and bold and loud that they could not be ignored, yet the person ignored them…and I found this enchanting instead of manipulative. “Oh, they can handle my wild side” i thought. Or maybe they just don’t get it. I’m mad at the lie they are living and if they feel and are they way my intuition SCREAMS they are, then they should be with me. And if they are not feeling this way, they deserve to be locked in a cage for the performance of a lifetime they put on.
Scammers = people who take advantage of those who are greedy or vain
Scummers = people who prey on those who are feeling lonely or vulnerable
NO MORE SCUMMERS.
My friend wrote this over the FIRST one about honesty.
I think that those were some very brave realizations on your part. It can be so easy to let people lie to you over and over again and just push it off as nothing. The odd thing about it being easy though is that it is not easy on the inner most self, because deep down you know the truth in some weird way.
Thank you Christina. I know you were just ONE person, but if you were here I know it would make such a difference in my life. I just found a suicide note under my door from one of my friends, others just don’t bother to return calls and lie to me, and others play mind games with my heart. You play mind games with my mind, not my heart! Oh, that’s right, I forgot to tell you that B saw me again. Complicated. Will he come back? He wrote an email suggesting another encounter, but i may not have responded in a way that will bring him back. Who knows? Anyway, I miss my sane, intelligent, thoughtful friend. Don’t feel that you are sane because of these crazy comparisons. I simply find that sanity is a really rare quality right now. I wish I could go back to before I was born and choose to be born in some backwater town like Dawson’s creek where things are simple. I mean, Joey and Dawson always went on about how complex they had it. They had no idea what adult life would be like. And that’s why adolescent films are almost always so much more successful… there is a mark to hit. With adult films, we don’t know where to go… or not go…etc.
Love you always,
fuck this one true love crap. i’m getting tired of it.
(i hope. )
it’s not the fucking movies. and why does my memory seem to conveniently forget all the slights i felt?
brenden says love is a delusion two people choose to continue. he said it in a less clinical way, okay?
confused. only way back is through focus.
must find my focus again.
what is hard is that i cant handle pressure very well. on the tiniest things. even when i want to. i think i mean i lose my desire in the pressure. it’s like a trigger goes off in my brain. suddenly the perfect time turns into a whirl. the past sits there like a smug prick, laughing at me. making me flip. making me confused. once i was a girl and i couldnt set boundaries. Then, I didnt want to set boundaries. And then I set a boundary and learned it had emotional consequences. my friends didnt go home happy. i didnt let them sleep off their drinks, i didn’t let them do this, i didn’t do this.. i was no fucking fun! It’s easier to set boundaries when you don’t care. That is for sure. It’s much harder when everything seems to turn in on itself.
brendon said that sex is different for addicts. he says that addicts either make it out to be precious, or are completely cynical and detached about it.
maybe im not enough of an addict type.
ps. honesty can always be bargained with.
what is my moral center????? is it something you can temporarily misplace? is it something you can dance around, or trick? Is it something you don’t want to touch because once you touch it you can never go back? Is it too late?
I used to believe fate was made. Need to have the faith that fate is still there guiding actions. Can’t make up my own fate. I’ve tried, lol.
LEAST PATIENT PERSON IN THE WORLD ME.
STUCK IN A CIRCLE ROUND AND ROUND AND ROUND.
GOT TO GET OUT OF THE CIRCLE.
OUT!!!!!! PICK SOMETHING. STAY WITH IT. STOP SETTLING. STOP TRYING TO THINK TWENTY MOVES AHEAD. STOP THIS LIVING IN THE MOMENT STUFF IF IT ISNT WORKING.
IT SOMETIMES WORKS.
BUT MOSTLY… IT FEELS LIKE IM NOT FACING UP TO THINGS.
EXCEPT THINGS THAT I KNOW WONT ANSWER ME.
STILL LOVE ONLY ONE PERSON. EVER. HAVE ONLY LOVED ONE PERSON. THE SAME PERSON. MY PERSPECTIVE SORT OF FLEW OUT THE WINDOW. BUT THEY MAKE ME HAPPY.
BUT I FEAR WE CANT GET BACK TOGETHER. THAT MAKES ME SAD.
ANYWAY ABOUT THE REST OF MY LIFE… I GUESS IF I COULD DEAL WITH ALL FACETS AT ONCE THEY WOULDNT BE FACETS.
ONE AT A TIME.. LIKE MY APPROACH TO LIFE. NEED TO SHIFT MY APPROACH TO LIFE TO MY APPROACH TO STRATEGIZING, OR MY LACK OF STRATEGIZING.
IN THE PAST I JUST SURROUNDED MYSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO HAD THE QUALITIES I DIDNT.
THEN I DRIFTED WITH AND FOUND PEOPLE WHO WERE LIKE ME… IN SOME WAYS. IN DIFFERENT WAYS. THE MAIN DIFFERENCE WAS WHO I CONFIDED IN AND WHO I DIDNT CONFIDE IN.
I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOO BURSTING
BUT ALSO SO CAUTIOUS
IT IS THIS CRAZY MIXTURE OF HESITANCE AND BOLDNESS.. REPEATS A LOT.
NEED TO PUT IT DOWN.
CRAZY OF ME TO THINK I WOULD JUST LIVE IN MY MOOD IF I TOOK THE THINGS I WAS DOING AWAY.. OR CHANGED THE THINGS I WAS DOING. LIKE THINKING A FISH WOULD CHANGE TO A FROG IF I PUT IT ON LAND.. THAT IS HOW I HAVE BEEN WITH MYSELF.
Can’t possibly live up to the expectations. The rumors, going past closed doors and flapping in the wind. How will I return to working there? Doomed if I don’t, doomed if I do. I could go back to school, but it would be like starting over. Finish lines have never been my strong suit.
In January, Lana, my fiancée, stopped asking about my days. I suppose she’d never been somebody who asked. I always volunteered, but the volunteering slowed down to a crawl, which must have created a larceny. A larceny of what we’d built together. Maybe a silent alarm triggered. So, she sabotaged things quietly and efficiently. She was always the one to keep things private, not me. She was way below the radar while my friends joked about the way my name accidentally popped up on the internet where it was least expected. But then I felt like my job became an avoidance clause. I had no good scraps of information to give her. Maybe it was something she was familiar with, being the private one and all, but I had never gone there before. I did it for us. I didn’t question what the government asked of me- not much anyway- because I needed to have something, even if it wasn’t what I wanted. Even if it led me nowhere. When I had to, I filled in the blanks by coloring a picture using markers. I was so terrible at it. And I should have had a photograph to describe. Instead it felt like an invention I had to coordinate. I grasped at straws so we could be together. I attributed her lack of interest to self-involvement. I was grateful but angry that she appeared not to care much about how I spent my time when she wasn’t around, making the decisions.
She wound me up, wound me down. I was lathered like a yo-yo, like in those comics where the guys socks go up and down when the girl uses a certain tone of voice, or after weeks of acting cold, does something affectionate. Maybe I became a downer to be around. It felt like she was a lantern leading my way. And I hate sentimentality. Always!
“Bobbi, I was just about to call you!” she said once, in a soothing tone, even though she’d fallen asleep and was not about to call me. Not that day. Probably would have waited months.
I’d be tempted to tell Lana that “forgetting to call about when and how we’d hang out or not” was the dumbest excuse I’d ever heard, but I kept my mouth shut. But the lack of reciprocity was the focus in the end game. We’ll get there.
Now I just wish she had been more open. She was like a banana that was still green. I only wish I had been able to go to her with my problems, but she came from a certain background . Her parents would have talked her down. Even after what they put us through, they still talked her down. I had a bad feeling that she lied to them. That she wanted people to think badly about me. Projection or just another one of Lana’s many tests?
Never been good at tests. I always go outside the box.
After all I put on the line, I lost her to her own demons. She became more beautiful to me every day, but she closed herself off to me in a calculated way that later gave me goosebumps. In the beginning, I remember I never had to beg. For us, I said, we must have a ritual of our own, where we could discuss anything. In those days she was game. But her follow through was terrible. I might find it funny if it weren’t for the fact that my follow through in my job lacked all sense. Now I’m at risk because I keep flirting with the idea, getting calls from the office, then trying to hide from them. You aren’t allowed out in this game.
The times I left my office turned from weeks to months.
Lana and I got cut short- cuts were made everywhere, so no surprise- but I didn’t think it would feel like a cord that needed to be dispensed.
Now, since Lana’s been gone, I haven’t seen any reason to continue the job. Which is funny, because what if it was the job that mangled our engagement? I know we said it was all these other things, but I can’t help but wonder. In the end, all I’m left with are the memory of her beautiful, brown, undaunted eyes. So alert, never missing a beat. That last year, she wouldn’t let me look into them anymore. Or was it me who stopped making eye contact? That refreshing voice. The way she positioned herself in restaurants so she’d observe all that was going on behind us. Her pithy wit.
I feel like I am speaking at a funeral.
Maybe I didn’t keep her in line enough. She needed that, and that was me, until I became so underwhelmed by the challenges of work that I started to hyper-focus on random things. She constantly needed somebody who wasn’t afraid to stand up from time to time and tell her to stop being such a snot. To keep her whining in line. To make sure she channeled that tyrannical streak elsewhere. Like in bed. She was too afraid. One time she used it, such a beautiful thing, to see her using her control, to have it define what she wanted, for it to turn us on so much, I let her guide us with her restraint. Nobody could turn me like she did. I’d never known desire until I met Lana. I’d had so much experience and none of it counted. I know Lana had her issues with touch, her issues with intimacy, but they were nothing compared to the memories of when she let her guard down. Compromising with me instead of choosing to work against me. I know that she was so used to being on her own that she needed somebody to remind her that adjustments and negotiations were necessary when you involved another person in your life.
Maybe I let her get away with too much. I fell into patterns. Sure, I called her on her shit, but I was a little too sweet about it. I’m a fairly brash person, but the past has eaten away at that, taken advantage of it, if you may. Tell me if I’m playing the victim card, because I used to have more than a healthy amount of bravado and arrogance that accompanied my blue streak at all times.
I didn’t know what else to do but give in to her. I thought it would be the solution and that she’d even be grateful at me. Instead, I fear I let myself become the punt of another one of her Saturday night jokes. The butt of one of her cigarettes.
I let out my anger when she wasn’t there. I put it into everything but her. I don’t usually let the people I’m angry with become aware of my anger. Maybe they see it, but Lana and I went long periods not seeing each other. She became unavailable. No comment. No comment. And again, no comment. Voicemail.
The longer this little game went on, the more I felt like the victim to one of Lana’s jokes. Being hypersensitive to criticism in the first place, being paranoid of the advances other men made on Lana, being very aware of that one night she used sex as a weapon against me at my expense.
But I still thought we could make it work. It has to work, I thought. What else? To me, there were no other options. I loved her. Fuck everything else she thought was in the way, she was wrong.
The way we got along with each other, that was a one in a million shot. So we could get through anything as long as we remembered the other. But the way she communicated. It became so rushed, so grudging, and eventually, so blocked, I felt like I’d get more out of a brick wall. I looked elsewhere for my support. I hated going anywhere but to Lana for support, but I felt like she had once driven me to want to be better. Now her avoidance was making me return to bad habits for comfort- dare I say it- maybe even intimacy, the intimacy I felt she was begrudging me. It was nothing compared to the wreck I was when I didn’t even have her resentful permission. I didn’t have her whining, or her annoying blocking, and maybe I wanted that back. For her? Yes.
I had given up a lot so I could be with her. It was gradual. Some were sacrifices she didn’t know about, sacrifices I would never tell her, for they were parts of myself that I’d left behind me. However, there were other sacrifices. The ones that I vigorously let on about. As if she owed me. Yeah, fuck me too.
But my compromise had became greater and greater.I couldn’t stand on water.
We were both stubborn. And when she tied my hands behind my back, not only was I not getting anything from her, she made it so I couldn’t give anything to her without it being something she had to pay for. Like the time I gave her something, and she was upset because, well, she didn’t give me anything in return. What was I supposed to do? Say, “Well, Lana, I will return my gift, because I see it upsets you that you weren’t considerate enough to think about getting me anything. Because you never think about getting me anything. Even though there was that email, where I said I had a surprise for you, and it was three days before Christmas? What did you think I meant? A candy bar?”
I should have said it. Would have been better than watching a movie I’d already seen, swallowing, and pretending that I hadn’t seen it before, because she was really really tired of looking up movies. All my fault, said her reluctant posture, the arms crossed in front of her chest, the cigarette inside the room when she knew how much I hated secondhand smoke. I’d made the process tiring instead of fun, her downcast eyes warned me. Maybe she felt I’d done the same to our relationship. Turn our whole process inside out to search for firewalls and hackers with viruses, and in the process looked too closely, thus taking away the security that she could do no wrong. There are two mistakes people make- they ignore their relationship, or they inspect it too closely. We did both. It depended on the day. But eventually Lana stopped going back and forth on me. She malignantly ignored the relationship, as if it was a snake she was hoping would slither away.
My heart started to slip.
There was a glimmer of hope. That was the shard of light that really burned me. The last time I saw her, she showed me her glaring insights, and shocked me away with her vulnerability. I wanted back.
She chose when to reveal her insights. My guess is as good as anybody elses. But that incredibly empathy combined with her fine-tuned control. Turned on when she wanted, turned off when she wanted. We want what we can’t have, right? I am detached but emotional. And she- oh she was a contradiction in terms, too. But a contradiction I grew to love and respect.
She showed me desire. Who was she to take it away from me?
Let’s take a step back. Back to when I wasn’t getting anything back from her. Should I have really pulled the card I did? The one you can’t take back? Well, I did. Girls flocked to me. But I was ready to settle down. Then she had to fuck with me. Right when I was trying to get in line.
If you tell somebody you might kill them, you should do so very carefully. It’s the same with friendships, when you warn somebody you might not talk to them anymore. In the case with Lana I made threats I wasn’t sure I could uphold. She made promises she wasn’t sure she could finish. My threats turned into her actions, and I kept her promises for her. Switching places was not good. Had it ever been? Why didn’t we just set it straight! We needed to split the difference, make up, and hold hands. In the end, that’s what I thought would happen. I even imagined it did happen, in some foreign universe where we were close, close friends.
I was dead wrong, and I would pay dearly for my mistake.
Her parents would never completely approve, and her friends thought I was too different to ever fit in with her elite group of blue-collar friends and neighbors. (or white-collar? See, i don’t even know the term.) I didn’t really have a collar at all. I fit where I fit, and that was with the people I loved. It was enough for Lana. Then, it became another excuse for me to go. I don’t ever want go where I’m not wanted. It’s one of my biggest fears. That somebody will think of me as so needy I’d chase them down. But I didn’t see what other options I had. The only other option was to bail out.
Instead of appear unwanted, I immediately bailed. But if this were some kind of game, Lana won over and over again, because I couldn’t hold back the force of my will. From a distance I tried to win her back. I didn’t go over to see her, and there was no chance we would run into each other. Maybe if we had run into each other, she’d have remembered. I left messages, I wrote notes, I sent flowers. I felt like the fool. I hated myself for my so-called “weakness.” My weakness was that I continued to care for her, my weakness was that I continued to tell her so even if she wouldn’t pick up the phone. My male friends told me she was the bitch, the cunt, the self-serving piece of shit, but Lana already knew that in a juries eyes, she would not be seen as a friendly party. I didn’t care about the coldness, and even though I thought my friends were trying to be helpful when they weighed in, all I wanted was her. I wanted us back.
I never even saw her back again. I watched her back. But the distance became greater and greater. I don’t know if Lana knew how to make contact with me without committing some kind of social faux pas her elite friends would have to comment on. As the seasons passed, I wasn’t sure how well I knew her. Doubt crept in. And I felt like if I didn’t know, she did. So the sting of her control hurt but reassured.Why? Because maybe she could assuage my doubts, if I ever did get a hold of her. But it stung because I felt like I couldn’t move.
In my eyes, she chose to use something I used to treasure about her as a weapon against me. I felt very conflicted that I wasn’t using weapons against her. There was the truth, for one. There was power, number two. I threw them away. I wouldn’t use anything against Lana. Never. Lana might consider me a masochist for not treating her like an enemy, but I kept her words in a bag beside me. She had said she wanted my friendship. Her actions, as usual, contradicted her words as much as possible. I should have seen it coming. I usually do. I suppose I didn’t want to look forward ten moves. This time, I chose to walk in blind because of trust.
I trusted her…
even with eggs on my face.
Her fucking friends poisoned her. The took a beautiful girl, and they made her feel unworthy of herself. So she pretended she was someone else, someone she was not. This angered me so much. Unlike Lana, I didn’t turn to my friends with my anger. Nobody was better here. I was just filled with self-indignation, something I don’t usually fear.
I’d been warned, and I’d ignored the warning.
I wanted a new line of work but my work wouldn’t let me go. The past has a way of grabbing onto you when you turn away from it. I think because I didn’t see an end in sight, I didn’t know how I could go back there. And without Lana in my life, I didn’t know how I could deal with the baggage. Sure, I was really good at what I did. And if I tried, I could be the best. But I wanted to put everything on hold. In the end, I did. I watched the clock move onwards. I put one foot in front of the other and counted the days. Until I stopped counting how long it had been since I saw Lana. Until every Wednesday wasn’t characterized by the fact that it used to be our Wednesday.
Still, in the back of my mind I remembered. I’d get brutal cravings to send her text messages. Harmless? Not to me. Because for every message I sent, I wanted to kill my ability to reach out to anybody. I wanted to punish myself for being so brazen as to act on my impulses. And I had a record. Even if I deleted what I sent Lana, there was the record in my brain. How many times I called. It wouldn’t go away.
Finally, I felt like it was a lose lose situation. If I didn’t call her, I would lose her. If I did call her, she wouldn’t pick up, and I would squander what little belief I still had in my self-control.
To reach out, to yield as far as I could, to turn to water and let her float in my surrender. I’d fight these cravings by turning my stereo on, closing my eyes, pouring time and place into some meaningless Buddhist pool.
Sometimes my friend Dale from the army would call. He said I sounded really sketchy. He got me to talk about Lana. I ended up ranting to him about Lana, which was strange, since I now spoke of her to no one. I didn’t want to burden anyone. He was the exception. After I talked about her he said I sounded better now, less “shut off inside.” I trusted his judgment. Who else was I going to trust, myself? That was a laugh.
Lana had effectively proven her case- I would never be able to trust myself again. I was too prone to spontaneous gestures, to whims and impulses few people understood the meaning behind. All they could see was the desperation on my face. I was transparent. To make matters more complicated, I never saw shallowness in others. If anything, I took it to mean potential. Impressed by their presentation, something I never had, I took what they said as if it had a special meaning to them. I saw potential in everybody.
I wore the same clothes days in a row, or forgot to shave. Stumbled out of bed and didn’t bother to shower. I dressed like a gangster, with larger jeans and shirts with cigarette holes on them. Couldn’t bring myself to throw out my favorite sweatshirt. I got attached to everything, even the simplest possessions. I cleaned up real well. So well that Lana never understood why I dressed the way I did. Why didn’t I “grow up,” she wondered. My dress code didn’t sit so well with her friends and family. Never mind that I would have “cleaned up” if she’d taken the chance to formally introduce me to her relatives at a dinner. Fuck, I would have taken them all out and paid.
She said the rebellion wasn’t really me. Her presumption! As if she’d known me longer than I’d known myself. Yes, I admired her presumption, and for her, I might have worn a suit every day. I might have found a nine to five job. But we will never know now, will we.
I gave up… It might be the biggest mistake I’ll ever make.
But then there is tomorrow.
I don’t need to love again anymore. Nobody else. She was enough for me. But I wasn’t given enough time. And for that, I will remain angry.
So it ended badly, you are thinking.
But maybe, that’s all you need to know.
Maybe someday I will find somebody who shares my interests, and she will bear my children. I would like a son. Time is still clicking, but I’ve been ignoring the clock. I need to start paying attention. I plan on changing soon enough, but nothing is demanding it. In the meantime, I’ve stayed as far away from the recruit as possible. Teaching, paying bills late, and considering whether it’s worth it that every cent I make goes into my rent.
Rent has never made sense to me. I keep making money, it keeps getting funneled into this hole. If you took all the money I’ve paid for rent over the years, you’d have enough for a house. It’s sick the way people actually charge for rent these days. My idea for society is different, one that I’d like to bounce off somebody else somebody.
My time with Lana made me over-cautious. I wear latex gloves anytime I open any doors, in case somebody traces for prints. I’ve gone from being made of steel to being invisible. I’m not sure it’s worth it. Any of it. I’d ask for my money back, but I don’t want to ask. They should just give it to me, but I’m not stupid enough to believe they’ll ever do that. I want the old days back, and I miss the days from the army, when camaraderie was more than a word. It meant everything, and without it you were alone without anybody watching your back. Sure, you could become a sniper, but somebody could find your hiding position and take you out. Without anybody to protect you, you were AWOL. No benefits, no pay, no friends. This was a little like how Lana thinks she wants to live life. But like everything Lana says, her actions go against her words.
She reminds me a bit of a Dale, who can fill me with hot boiling anger. Hypocrisy is something I can live without. It makes my blood run fast, and suddenly I am working overtime just to stand still. Standing still in the same room with somebody who doesn’t know themselves is hard for me. I start yelling at them, showing them big pieces of a mirror. They keep repeating the same blackmail. I don’t like their argument, it breaks the mirror into slivers until I don’t have much of a case left. I can’t show them anything with that kind of high-pitched wrecking ball in the office. Well, you should have thought of that before, they tell me. No, you should have looked at a mirror dammit. I don’t like mirrors, they tell me. I don’t care what you do or not like, you make it a priority to see what you actually look like instead of what you think you should look like. They argue some more until I just nod and gesture. Face goes down, hands point at things. Motor skills. Second thing to lose in these arguments. They are such close friends, but they argue me to pieces. The adrenaline that was straining against my vessel walls starts to break down into something toxic. They understand toxins, they always do. Suddenly it’s me who needs them. Testify at the trial, I tell them. They refuse. Another example of your hypocrisy, I tell them, too warn down by the circumstance and the dialogue to watch my words. They don’t turn on me, but they take out their black book and draw a big black line for the times that I’ve become “unpredictable” or “unreasonable-” not to mention “unfathomable.” They tell me that they love me- except for this one percent of the time- and they show me the lines in their book. I continue to nod and gesture. They take this as a measure of agreement. Evidence for their pretrial motions. They can now say they don’t want things suppressed. Motion granted. This is a complex stature of limitations, after all. Time marches with them in the room. When they leave, I see it start to slide.
I go to my favorite diner. Who knew it still existed? Margie is there. I drink coffee sludge. Extra cream. as always.
“They are going extra hard on the felony convictions this year. I don’t like it Margie.”
I read my book. I turn the pages. The days pass. The bills pile up. The rent is due. I don’t like it.
I have no idea what I will do, where I will go, but that’s always how it is. Even as I know myself, as deeper and deeper I go, I can’t do a thing about the time.
PROBLEMS WITH THIS STORY- how do I solve them?
cold abrasive chills running down my back like the last vestige of
staring at the black window that shouldnt be in my back room
i dont know which architect put it there
didnt they know?
IT DOESNT BELONG
IT DOESNT BELONG
IT SERVES NO PURPOSE
nobody was kind enough to tell them they
designed a window that doesnt look out at anything
im a window that doesnt look like anything
the cobweb the spider deserted
clovers tied and dried
like those ugly ass envelopes your ex girlfriend
spent all her hours making
just so they’d look so nice and good and normal
to hide the fact that it ain’t
to hide the futile contact that even you cannot explain- with all of your analysis and
i cant stand no more, humpty dumpty
all of the clouds i put for you guys to tamper with
it wasn’t appreciated
you ungrateful bird wing
so sick of everything making sorrow
so sick of everyone turning to numbness
to provide for them in times of crisis
apathy is your best friend
and i am just there to pay for your ticket to the white house
it’s still white, isn’t it?
i wouldn’t know anymore
time comes in short, short interludes between her wet face in the pillow
take a few grains from your stash, then
combine the numbness with the fantasy
what do you get for your trouble, applejuice?
my goodness, the reveries into
what wasn’t supposed to be, what
could have been
an abdomen turned
into a swerve that narrowly avoided the death penalty
once charged once fated once stated
the deal was not made
the plastic surgeon was disappointed
no work today
no turning people into other people
they liked to change the masks up
lift the cheeks, square the jaw
embellish the eyelids
how far can you change a face
what do you feel when you have to make a
beautiful person ugly for the sake of
answer the damn question you sleeping curse
show a little respect!
you’d think that shelter would be enough but
hiding from our enemies is tricky business now
internet trails turn to coconut mango lotion commercials
the real thing is never exposed no matter the cost
keep my princess away
cant write fugues
cant write rap songs
all that i write
He sighs as he turns off the alarm clock. The motions come to him automatically. He drifts awake. He blocks the chorus of kids voices out of his head. Spins the noise in his head to a minimum and stops, like a choreographer. Remembers to say what he usually says, takes the things out of the cupboard that he has to, and is reassuring when he’s supposed to be. Gets into gear. Drives the car. Stops at the sign. Feels a sudden urge to turn the music up really loud. He holds it back, but doesn’t like holding it back. So he turns the track up loud. Hears a question about why the music is so loud. Looks out the window. Notices that it’s sunny. Clenches his fist, then releases it. Something important. He drums his finger on the dashboard. Looks down at his phone but doesn’t hear it ring. A meeting. He is the boss. Thinks of the show, The Boss. Thinks of money and draining fluids. Wonders about his bank statement. Looks to make sure that the childproof seat is childproof. Is pissed because his stupid ex will think that he didn’t brush their teeth. Like the world stops with him. That’s a nice idea. The idea is like a cloud on his horizon. He calmly exhales. Lets them out. Forgets to kiss them goodbye. Is angry with himself on the way back. I forgot to kiss my own kids goodbye, he thinks angrily. I suck. Then he looks out and sees a boat drifting. Whatever. It doesn’t matter today. Perspective in motion. Like geography. I’m a discoverer about to see the world. But, as the meetings go, it seems to lag. Finally, he thinks, work is done for today. I’m not going to work late tonight, not again. He opens the door. Notices that the dog has eaten his shoes again. And his toothbrush is old and disgusting. His beard is grown out like a madman. He likes that. He grabs his tobacco and wonders if he could eat that for dinner. Sighs. Gets on his computer. Surfs pictures of pretty girls half his age. Chats one of them up. Flirts harmlessly and aimlessly, tuning his ability. “You are so sweet! I’m turned on,” the pretty girl types. So he shuts the screen down. “Goodbye,” the computer says. He laughs. They always get so involved. He wonders if he is a jerk. Asks his dog out loud. “Am I a jerk? Am I a jerk?” He elongates the words. The way he says it the dog pants and tries to jump up and lick. He pats the dog on the head and scratches its ears. The dog wants more, the dog always wants more, so he shoves the dog away, taps him hard for being so annoying. The dog whines. He shoves the dog away and yells at the dog to go back to its bed. The dog circles around pouting, and he hates the dog for being such a bad sport. Realizes the television has been on for three hours and he hasn’t heard a darn thing, but now he wants to sit down. He sits down, scratches his own crotch. Glares at the dog to see if the dog will notice. He doesn’t. Fucking phone rings. This time is loud and intrusive. Is it her again, he wonders in mild but interested annoyance. What is wrong with her. Like I’m so glamorous, he thinks. Her head is much more exciting than mine. Knew she didn’t have enough of a fucking life. But geeze. Compared to his. As if I’m so interesting and important. If only she knew. She wouldn’t want me anyway. She just needs to think she wants me. I didn’t get to enjoy the sunshine, he suddenly remembers with a pang inside. The pang surprises him. Regret stings. I should have stopped for lunch. Coulda shoulda woulda. The door opens. He is grateful at the distraction. His friend is over and time goes by. Later, he has no ideawhat they talked about. Empty space. He doesn’t care. He makes faces at himself in the mirror. Pretends to admonish himself in the mirror for being a bum with a beard. He likes not having to care. Isn’t that what he learned? He takes a shit and looks at motorcycles. He looks at the clock and realizes it is way too late. Should have gone to bed hours ago, he reminds himself. Takes out Plato. Reads some philosophy. I should really read something sometime, he thinks to himself. Maybe play the piano. Turns his head over. Takes his clothes off, puts his pajamas on, puts the laundry in a pile. Turns his head on the pillow. His head aches. His eyes feel strained. He feels mildly disgruntled. Passes it off as indigestion and turns the light off. Another day. Done, he thinks.
im so filled with anger
and sadness and anger
and music inside me music that is raging and raging so bad
i just need to get on a stage and blow
i’ll blow myself to pieces in front of an audience
over and over
so they understand what this place is doing to them.
nobody gets it
i cant stand this alienation
i hate it so much
i hate the fight against it
i feel like crumbling at every moment
nobody gets it
i am torn apart im not a soldier im in too much pain to fucking fight this war
but im going on forward
maybe that is something
just so sick of everything
and the shrapnel in my heart all twisted around all those faces
that embrace, completely lost to me now… no memory of it
because it would hurt to remember
it hurts to not remember! so on the days when a flicker comes in
i imagine B’s arms around me enfolding me in a gentle paternal love and i dont feel the threat inside me about to explode
because really, fuck E… he was trash.he goes out in the trash. the only worthwhile thing about him was what i saw inside him that he chose to neglect.
i cant hate somebody for living how they do, can i?
is it FAIR?
is it REASONABLE?
am i a REASONABLE PERSON?
i need to get on a stage.soon. and it needs to be recorded this time or i will get homicidal.
She looks like an ant, with her weathered leather skin and her scrawny but long neck. She has folds on her forehead and she sits there as if she is daring me to say how bad she is. But I never do. I just continue trying to make her work. A busted car, an engine that won’t putter on anymore. I sit in the car and imagine the feel of driving.
Riding in one of those new cars, there was lots of power, not so much finesse. But the driver revved it up past 120 miles on lone dark roads and it felt as if my feet were floating above the ground and I was spinning without getting dizzy.
None of that with the ant lady. I don’t know what happened to her but I did things right, and I’m not right a lot of the time. So her lack of creativity in responding to my streaks of memory make starting over with somebody else all the less appealing. Your first time you really give it your all. But then after a while you keep comparing your all to that first time.
Before you knew you had limits.