I am closing up. I am shutting down. I don’t have the energy to deal with any of this. I don’t have the desire to deal with any of this.
Waking up from the American Dream, I realized I will be mediocre forever. This country has been out for me since the beginning. It is written.
And don’t give me that crap about “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right” because I could spend all night thinking that I will be in Iceland tomorrow, but guess what? I’m not going to be in Iceland tomorrow. There are just too many other things going on in my life, and even if I left, I’d eventually have to come back and face my shit. I know I can do whatever the fuck I want, but I would have to return eventually. That’s where they get you.
I am afraid of being mediocre. But why? This country has taught me to fear it, taught me to fear the modest life as a nobody. Think of all the nobodies that make the world go. All the minimum-wage workers who used to dream and still do but have learned how to make their bodies cold and their minds numb. This country has taught me that they are nobodies. Sometimes your family gets stuck in a life because their family got stuck in a life and then you’re born and you’re stuck in a life and we’re all nobodies and we’re all going nowhere. Then your teachers and people on the TV and everyone else says, “you don’t want to end up flipping burgers at McDonald’s for the rest of your life” and it insults the very place you came from. Now you’re stuck here because you were born in a country that taught you to fear everything but didn’t give you the tools to brave anything.
I can feel the pain this country is inflicting on its people slowly seeping into my brain and taking over. Why is my knack awareness? I would rather be a math wiz or a computer wiz or any other breed of academic genius, but instead I was cursed with insight. I am the last of a lost civilization.
Taking too much time to get the words right … to admit that this is all wrong.
Before you know it, you’re here. Peeling back the layers of lifetimes to feel something other than trapped. To feel anything other than the nothing I’ve been reduced to.
All of the things that used to sting don’t anymore. Except they do. How can you still feel the pain of someone that you aren’t anymore? No, that wasn’t me all those lifetimes ago. But the thing is, I don’t think it’s me now either.
Life keeps being a truth I don’t want to hear. My life keeps being the last thing I ever wanted it to become. Kind of like that self-realization that hits you in the theatre before the movie starts. That cold, not-quite unity of being another little pinprick in the ignorant masses of America. Playing along. Eating the same chemicals. Laughing at the same jokes. Forming the same ideas as to what we should do with our lives. At least with the next two hours. Fucking wasting time because what else is there to do that any of us actually have a chance at doing?
… and recognize the subtle victories when they happen.”
She quit smoking cigarettes with balloon art. Said every time she got the urge she’d create something new. Crowding the playgrounds with fun hats and colorful animals instead of second hand smoke. Filling the air with laughter and smiles instead of over four thousand chemical pollutants.
Here’s to you! Speaking of music and of my hearts … the one that pumps my blood and the one I’d shed it for. Whenever you need someone to help you open up that door … I mean, I got it written on my skin. And sometimes it’s the only thing that helps me remember to breathe out again. I love you and I all ways will.
Clumsy feet and wandering eyes with a head focused on the clouds, not in them (as some would have it). Bumping into poles and tripping on all the cracks is the way to walk the path to my heart. Stumble over yourself because you cant stop observing. Appreciate the journey as much as the destination. This IS the universe: never a dull moment.
Note the faces, note the places, are we, as humans, happy where we be? Always shopping around for products when something like a hug is all we need. Note the stoplights and the trees, which do you respond more to? Has the traffic and the asphalt replaced nature for you? Note the cigarette butts and the birds, the overall lack of words we have to share. Note these robot lives, tell me, do you care? Note the smog preventing stars from shining, note the fog rolling over hills and crying is my response to both. Note each advertisement and each sign, dead symbols that could never intertwine with what I am or represent. Note the way the light from the sun gets bent, around concrete and skyscrapers. Follow the trail of papers and plastics we leave behind. Note the fractals, the falling leaves, the smiles of our kind. Note the clouds at sunset, the moon in its rise, note the puddle of oil reflecting it to your eyes. Note something, note something, note something.
Want to see how a plague spreads?
Go to Google Maps and type the word “church.”
What starts things
are the accidents behind the eyes
touched off by, say, the missing cheekbone
of a woman who might have been beautiful
it is thinking about
your transplanted life-line going places
in someone else’s palm, or the suicidal games
your mind plays with the edge
of old wounds, or something
you couldn’t share with your lover
there are no endings
people die between birthdays and go on for years;
what stops things for a moment
are the words you’ve found for the last bit of light
you think there is
It was on evenings like this,
in spite of the good talk
and drink, no more love-worries
than usual, and a fine commotion
of crickets in the late summer heat,
it was on evenings like this he knew
his true life lay elsewhere, it must,
so much acceptable pleasure here
yet so much yearning. He was home,
some muted pinprick of unease
prodding him, dully, from afar.
He told a story about a black bear
who swam the Delaware Water Gap
to get to New Jersey, where bears
can’t be hunted, a story of animal wisdom,
survival. As if the bear knew,
as if there were a secret network of bears.
His guests were pleased.
The state of Pennsylvania wanted its bear
returned. In fact, New Jersey owed them
nine bears, there was proof.
Like certain departures, betrayals,
it became a matter for the courts—
the rights of bears, of hunters and bureaucrats …
You can walk out of your life
if sadness properly instructs you.
And can’t humiliation send you,
knees bleeding, over the forbidden wall?
That’s what he was thinking
as his wife poured more wine for the guests,
as a beneficent moon half-lit the yard
and the erotics of friendship
made its edgy argument against despair.
The guests left; it was time.
He and his wife cleaned up, talked,
made sweet, drunken love.
Nothing was wrong. Nothing was wrong
except there was this life,
He suspected she sensed it too, hers,
something more utterly hers.
Elsewhere bears were trusting their bodies
to take them to safety, but what did bears know
about water and wind and chance?
He could see a bear caught in turbulence,
swept downriver, where no law
could keep it from being killed.
It’s a comedy, he thought.
His hand was resting on her hip,
it could be anybody’s hip,
anybody’s hand … In a dream
Stendhal heard Don Juan speak:
“There are not twenty different sorts of women,
and once you’ve had two or three of each sort,
boredom sets in.” To which Stendhal said,
“A man who trembles is not bored.”
Maybe it was all about trembling,
some old trepidation before the next step.
Maybe, like Stendhal, you connive
to give yourself a wake-up call
in the middle of the night.
He kissed her, and in the settled dark
rolled away into the other world
of their bed. It was easy.
No, that was not applause
coming from the crickets.
He understood that relentless buzz, more
than mere desire, less than misery.
The feeling of BACKFIRE BACKFIRE BACKFIRE ALWAYS EVERY TIME.