Visions of grandeur develop inside of me like film. The good stuff, the black and white and grainy shit. For the record, I am aware that the correct term is ‘delusions of grandeur’ but honestly I’m not so sure visions are much different when you get right down to it.
When you imagine your life from the outside looking in, would you say it is serving you or cutting you off at the knees? I won’t blame you either way, trust. The clutches of acute boredom and the sheer white-eyed terror of panic have gripped me so often I could write a book about it if anyone actually wanted to read about all the shit that was tearing them apart from the insides of their otherwise cleverly disguised neuroses.
But nobody wants all that.
People don’t know what they want and you can tell this is so by looking into their bloodshot eyes and searching for any kind of meaning swirling around whatsoever. It’s all gloss and empty circumstance without engagement or spark. There is a veil we cling to and refuse to remove. What’s more is that we do this to ourselves. I know because I have done it time and time again. Stimulated myself into the far reaches of numbfucked oblivion in an attempt – hilariously enough – to make something more interesting of myself.
I have yet to decide if it has or hasn’t worked which probably means the sorry truth leans toward the latter. I’m off the bottle eighteen days now. But it hasn’t let go of me and this is clear because I’ve just told you how many days it’s been as if I were a kid counting down til Christmas only I’m counting up and up in the hopes of reaching a higher place I cannot possibly know about until I get there. It’s not over until it’s over, I guess is what I’m saying.
And we never will reach a point at which we can be done with the struggle until we are dead as nails pounded into the coffin of everything we thought we were supposed to believe in. Sobriety is clarity and clearly I’ve got work to do on getting my shit together. Which is another ridiculous thing to say because why on earth would it make things any better if shit is assembled or not. It’s still shit and shit is shit no matter how you line it up.
But at least for now, the bright full moon seems to shine her glittery eye on the hot blue blood in my clean, clean veins and the coffee is absolute heaven in a garden overgrown with unexamined traumas behind the pretty pearly gates of hell.
It’s in the way the snow is coming down like white crystal rain, nestling against the statues of angels in the garden. I can feel the cold sloping off the window glass and onto my skin. Did you know that is where I came from. Off in the distant dark I can hear my footsteps falling soft as feathers on an unsure path. In the end there is no end and the beginning is an illusion, an impossibility. Life and death being spiraled and incomplete. You and I entwined like perfect circles, ringed for a time undetermined.
In the corners of my mind which are just at the start of lighting up like sunrise, the life I meant to choose but couldn’t reaches out its never-aging hand. There is a child who can only dream of what she could become but didn’t dare. She is the eye of eternity. I can see the rainbowed wallpaper and the canopy of unicorns in clouds. Have I told you that the dreams are returning. I sleep in the night and I am awake all day, as though I am learning what was intended.
I once heard that each snowflake is unlike any of the others. I watch as they fall so close to each other but rarely touch. Have you read Sappho. Have you ever held a heart in your palm and trembled. Thought perhaps it was your own in a time long ago. Everything you run from stays until you do. I light a candle and sip the prayers in my chest. I was never taught quite correctly. What I thought was escape was a trap and I believed. Can you imagine such a fragile thing. Maybe if you try you could. Just because you now see the bars of the cage doesn’t mean you know how to leave.
I can stay dead center in the middle of the chaos, baby, I’ve done it before and I can do it again. As long as it takes. As deep as the goddamn current drags. There may be tears. There may be sweat. There may be blood. There just may be the greatest fucking moments of your life spent unwavering in the quiet calm as the world around you spins so fast the others are slung right off the map of the rest of your life.
I’ve been lied to, angel. Stabbed in the back, cheated on, torn into ten thousand bits as though none of any of me mattered. I have been so terrified that the sun could show me nothing but sickness. I have been hurt and hurt doesn’t even begin to cover it, you know what I mean. I bet you do. I am, in fact, so sure you understand that I don’t even feel afraid to tell you anything because I can see you clear as glistening golden daybreak. You in your beautiful busted up humanity.
Pose for me. Kneel for me. Turn toward me and away again. Take your hands and touch yourself. I’ve seen just about everything, sweetness, the last thing I need right now is someone too afraid to ruin it. Pour your soul into something which begs for you to finally fall all the way apart. Do not ever look back. Do not ever let up. I can exist here in the eye of the storm for centuries. I’ve already done it. And here you are in the palm of the words which I write just now. You come to me. You come for me. You bow that reverent splendid head of yours and read.
Caressing a fresh smoke between my lips, I suck a beautiful deep drag and savor the way it clutches at the insides of my tender lungs. Delicacies. Harsh pressed against the helplessness of soft. The fire is blazing hot as my eyes take it in, the dancing scorch of orange flames which lick the wood and crackle with a low simmering noise. We play old records and talk about what it’s like for me to trade sickness for health. Self harm for clarity and affection. It is almost frightening how alien it feels. I am still working on how to align all the complicated parts of myself. I am still searching but I am less deranged about it.
I dig the richness of the sound of vinyl. I run my fingers through my hair and wonder about my own sound. I am curious about my own inner tapestry in a way I struggled to fathom before. It would feel poetic I guess if I didn’t have the itch beneath my skin to annihilate myself and everything around me. But the fucked up thing is, that is poetry to me, too.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and I think that’s just about as true a statement as there could ever be. There is the reverse way of saying the same thing which is that until it’s gone you don’t know what you’ve got. You see it depends what’s gone. Was it good for you or bad to begin with and how did you decide. Can you trust yourself to decide.
Can you re-imagine a future where you become someone else entirely, or maybe more accurately, you become less of what everyone else seems to expect of you and more of the self you already are, though it is too often quivering like an abandoned animal left for dead. It’s a bit of a bitch to get sober, depending of course on where you start, but if you do manage to do it, a lot of shit comes to the surface which you had until the present moment been able to numb or bludgeon back to invisibility, as it were. The trouble is just because that shit was invisible does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that it did not still exist at all.
I pick up a heavy metal tool and slowly readjust the logs, think about what it means to breathe. To be here at all among the wilderness, the uncertainty. I know it’s random and undeserved. Nobody asked to be born into this madness so I will thank anyone who seems to think I should be better at this to fuck all the way off. As I scratch and push the coals around, suddenly just the right amount of oxygen rushes underneath and sets the whole thing raging bright, flashing and hot as the light reflects upon my face. It is so glaring and fierce it almost scares me. I take the last drag of my cigarette before tossing it into the fire. It burns to ash in no time flat. Everything that ever hurt me seems to sing in the hissing of the wood. I feel the eyes of future me turn black and white and back again. I watch like a stone and stare right back.
What to do with the rose blushed horizon line which skims across the water in my winter veins. How to inhabit the warmth of this strange contentment. Without scratching at the walls inside. Absent the agitation. Independent of the crush. Without tearing into my secret sick reserves. All of the shadows I worship, the beautiful pain I seek. If I let go of the rage, who would I become and how would I go about unthreading trickery from truth. What if the bottom of the ocean suddenly reversed its mind, out of nowhere became infinite sky. I can almost reach it as though bending my body back into the forward motion of time. If I trusted the color in my own eyes was meant entirely for me. A silent universe spins soft against my thin-ribbed imagination. How cold this wandering, how glittered, how pristine. Footsteps in the open air. All the world brighter. And even the chaos is, at least for now, clean.
She never shows her face. I can’t help what happens next – I get jealous. I mean I wonder why, of course, why she never makes an actual appearance. Is she afraid to be seen or is it about freedom. From judgement by this cruel world. Is it that if we could go out there faceless, bodyless, we could bear to spill our secrets in a way which also allows us to leave them behind. The sweet benevolence of detachment. You can say anything and nobody can pin it to your flesh. It isn’t nailed to your bone.. If my body is withheld from your view, from your touch, from your gaze, you perhaps imagine it more beautiful than it could ever be. And in the anonymity, I have you clutched in my false hands. I can say a word and wrap my mouth around all the fears you swallow about your own inadequacies. Your own prayers and needs become mine as you desire not to see my eyes but in them the reflection of your own. Making me pretty makes you pretty. Making me the devil makes you hell. I have been wanted, desired, fantasized about. Jerked off to. Didn’t think I’d say that did you. Didn’t think a lot about me as you sit calculating. Flush with empty power. Twisted inside a fantasy web or your own prismatic design. You will never see her face, I bet. I bet she keeps it hidden for all eternity and thus will remain flawless, unchanged, untainted, no matter how much time passes by. No matter the weather. I wonder if she is hiding or if it is part of a truer kind of revelation. I admire her commitment. But first. First I’m jealous.
The truth is I thought it would all be different. That it would end or not end and I wouldn’t care either way. It’s so scary to believe it might matter. It is so frightening to know I could be present with all of this and not numb it out. Not choke it off. Like that’s an option. One I always thought was kinda bullshit. Who doesn’t want the fuck out of this place more than half the time? Most of us do I think. We have not learned to live only to run, run, run. Bury, hide, lie. I see her smile in the bathroom mirror hanging over the sink. I see the lakes of gray pain in her wide wet eyes. Touch the glass. Fall through to the other side of the mouth of the fear. I like the ones who dare at least to destroy the distractions. I have been so good at building them all my life. And underneath this white dome sky, breathing in the damp cold mean January air, I can sense those distractions for the ghosts they really are. Not out there or in here. But oh so haunting close by.
Hot tea pressed into the melting throat of a cold, cold night. Breath of vapors, bone thin ghost. I drink and, hand to hand, we touch. Heady hissing heat. So much to lay to rest, my sweet, so much to bed for the last, last time. My head is clearer than it’s ever been. Scorch like honey candle wax. A tug at the wrist and my knees drop as summer meadows bow beneath the moon. My heart a crimson cage, blossoms. Rich. Thick with roseblood soft as silk. He tastes me in my dark imaginings. He slides those hands upon me everywhere and I fall arched against his tousled sheets.
Out beyond the winter snow, descending heavy upon a distant hollow , the perfumed peace I once embodied long ago. Soft with graysoaked abandon. I dig my needy fingers in. To have been a thread I’d forgotten I pulled and I pulled with my milky kitten teeth. Wild huntress eyes, naive. At play and crouched, determined. Tiny tempt. Pitter patter paw print beats. Little savvy scratch-tongued thing. Claws at the back of my tenderest voice. My desire soars high on a splintered wing, far above the white wide sea. Icy, jagged. Illicit and deep.
She crouches down to take a piss on the outside of the old city building in which I sit, on the other side of the glass, sipping a glass of wine. Her hair is a knotted mess and she’s wearing only a bra despite the freezing winter temperatures. This poor deranged woman, now desperately trying to get a car – any car with a merciful driver inside – to take her heavens knows where. They continue, however, to drive on past. The sight of her in such a vulnerable, helpless state, in full view of the cruel public, is wrenching.
The rain is coming down hard now, slashing against the mirror-windowed high rises in the heart of downtown, running in thin rivers along the sidewalks and streets, washing away the dirt and the tears and the piss, as if the falling water could somehow baptize even the saddest of strung out creatures. The woman is young, so young it is jarring, although I’ve no idea why her age should matter. My bones clench even at the thought of it, someone so young in such a situation as she finds herself, let alone the actual sight.
Christmas has come and gone in a flash. The holiday parties continue, however, and I scroll through my phone to see where I need to be and when for the rest of the week. In what kind of world do such gross disparities exist side by side for ages. Where some should have far more than they deserve and some should have none of it. We make our plans and close our eyes. We hurt and ache inside and never speak it for fear of the quiet panic leaking out, echoing the sickening sound of reality.
As the masked waiter pours me another glass of wine, the woman on the street picks up her sopping wet dog, rain sliding off of its matted fur right onto her bare skin, and moves off down past the laundromat and out of sight, into the cold dark night. The relentless traffic rushes past as I stare, a bit stunned, a bit numbed, up at the garish naked yellow bulb of the corner street lamp which glows as though it’s helping anything, like a nauseating man-made sun.
Thinking of the ones we spend our days with and the ones who haunt our nights in dreams. If you have spent any time at all with my words this year, thank you from the bottom of my little Christmas tinsel-ed heart. For some this day is happy and for some it is not so very happy. I understand and feel both at the exact same time which can be lovely as well as excruciating. For the poetic souls, for the ones who hold the beautiful and the crushing in both hands and somehow still believe in magic, I send you peace and love. I am so deeply, deeply grateful you are here.