It’ll Blow Your Mind (audio)

I don’t know you and you don’t know me but sometimes I wish that were different. Sometimes I wish I knew what you were thinking. What the air feels like up there with all that perspective on the bigger things, the wider world we hold inside. When shit gets too loud do you get so quiet you could hear a pin drop in an empty room across town? I don’t know why but when I look into your water sky eyes and listen to you say the words I have been dying to say for half my half-lived life, I feel like maybe you do. Maybe in the strength that is you there is a way out of the trembling bits that are me.

It’s the beginning of any given Monday in a city with no claim to anything famous or even noteworthy, really. It’s too dark to tell you how I actually feel because you are so lovely it ruins everything inside my otherwise laser-focused mind. When the sun rises I guess we will know better but right now before the curtain comes up I don’t know what I don’t know and that frightens and excites me in equal parts.

It has been so long since I felt this way. Maybe I never have. Full of a fuck ton of energy I don’t know what on earth to do with. Do people get to live like this? With possession of all of themselves all the time? From sun up to sun down and all inbetween? Can you tell me what friendship actually means? Self care? Because I am not sure what I have been doing but maybe you could call it avoidance. Maybe you could say I’ve checked out in circumstances where I couldn’t bear to handle whatever shit I was actually in. Or thought I couldn’t bear it. That’s the thing about clarity I guess. you know what I mean, the things you thought would crush you suddenly aren’t so big a deal. But other things – the most beautiful, kind, soft, miraculous things – come out of nowhere and you cannot stop the way they suck you in.

Shelf Life

Circling the block for the thousandth time, I pay close attention to my thick boots hitting the frozen pavement. The sounds of outdoor things are so much clearer, sharper, in the winter but I couldn’t tell you why. Perhaps it’s the way the blackened trees can only stand skeletal against the white clouded January sky, motionless and without sound. The way the air stiffens your face to glass.

The hour is earlier than it should be but I have stopped imposing the world’s way of keeping time onto my own. These days my body tells me what it needs and I listen. When she is tired I put her to sleep. Even if it’s nine p.m. Even if it’s eight. When she is wide awake with wild dreams, thoughts, ideas, words scratching at her little morning bed head, I let her get up and drink coffee and write to her heart’s content. Even if it’s five a.m. on a weekend. Even if it’s four.

The heavens blush a rosy peach as I tug my wool hat down over my ears. For a few minutes, the coffee slides down my throat and warms almost every bone in my frail frame. In the silence I can hear the clatter of my own radical hopes and my own desperate fears as they battle it out someplace inbetween reality and illusion. It’s all in the mind but then sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s right in front of you, as tangible as a loaded gun pointed right at your brains. When you have been lying to yourself for a long, long time about what is saving you and what is ending you, it can be surprisingly hard and unexpectedly painful to try to separate the two.

Sometimes the very thing I want the most feels so exhilarating that it pangs in my stomach like a terrible sickening dread. Sometimes I think I should turn back and undo it all but I fix my eyes on a flock of geese soaring high overhead. I snuggle my empty hands into my pockets, put one foot in front of the other, and walk one day at a time instead.

Slurred Speech

I tell her too much but I thought all people were poetry. I have burdened her with my humanity. My unchecked openness. My sloppy sloshing heart. She shuts down so I do, too, but for me it doesn’t stop feeling swollen inside. What at first was a swell of succulent affection is now an infected throbbing slash of rejection which underneath is a self-loathing that burns so deep it will stay with me for three decades to come. When you are eleven years old, the wide soft field that is your life gets eaten and eaten and eaten until it becomes a rotted sort of gray all around the square patch of life you are left to inhabit on your own.

You are afraid. You learn to do it the way you learn to do it.

Are you sick of it yet? Exhausted of how I want to tell you how fucking good this feels to be me again. The same me who was five years old and then ten and then fourteen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty one. After twenty one, of course, it gets so blurry I could almost vomit the way I used to so regularly back then. So thin, so thin, so pretty, so easy when shit gets hard. Twenty years of blackouts and red screams and “I’m fine.” And we’re fine and we’re fine and we’re fine.

You’ve got the life, baby, you’ve got the life but I’m not so sure this time.

The sun comes up slow in a powder blue winter sky. The bare trees are golden in the light. Still cold as hell but illuminated like wooden stalked electric wire. When you tell the truth you can’t know what will happen next which is maybe why more of us don’t do it. It is not our fault that we want to and it is not our fault we don’t. The vultures out there are real and so is the bony hand of death although to be fair that’s true either way. You can say it or not say it all you want. Time and life and feelings we didn’t bargain for churn and press against us as deep down we only knew they would.

You wanted out but not all the way. You wanted out and you almost got there, Christ. It almost took you right away. I pull on an old tee shirt and pour the coffee and write all about the person I want to become someday. If you do not escape into the words you will find other ways to do it.

He wants a kiss but all I want is to hold hands. All I know is I am scared of something I do not understand. He takes more than I offer and I hate myself for not knowing I even had it to begin with. And right there, in the molten center of the hot bothered truth of that, is why I fell down the rabbit hole and why I’m trying to climb out. The way in is the way out, and this is true of all things. I loved everything about myself at one time long ago before I can remember. I crawl backward to move on. I am trying to get back everything I never got to know I was.

It is a quiet morning all around my thoughts which fill six pages in a spiral notebook and began before the dark had even faded out. The self I couldn’t have known before comes forward like a tiny pale ghost, passing into daylight. I take it to my chest and stroke its fairy phantom head. The life I tried killing off wouldn’t die. The truth and the lies are faces in fog, now coming into view.

Spare Me (audio)

The light begins to move as leaves of shadow slope sweet against the bare walls of my mellow mind. There is something out there which has its origins inside of my bloodstream. I am so certain of this it aches, but I have yet to find words which even come close to expressing this seemingly impossible phenomenon.

But I can listen to the sky no matter its color. There is a way to become the darkness if you can search yourself for all the reasons you are afraid of the light. Did you know that the universe is mostly darkness? I contemplate the vastness of cold empty space. I imagine myself as a single burning point of distant turning light.

Eventually, it all fades. I run my hands through my hair and stare blankly at its strawberry waves. There is a scent which becomes an alternate reality. It is the beach and the ocean and the way his body wants to stimulate mine. I was a child once and I ran through the fields. I was a feathered creature who could bring messages to the saddest ones of all.

I once read that sobriety would give you everything alcohol promises and I thought that was the most obnoxious thing I’d ever heard. The problem is that it is true. The other problem is that it is all I want to talk about because nobody talks about it because nobody listens. The lies we are sold are so thick it is tough to see through them to the other side. I know only because I have made it here to a place which may or may not be all the way, but which is changing me all the same.

At twenty-one days sober, my mind is crystal clear and even old memories from childhood which I never remembered before are returning to my awareness. It is very surreal. My anxiety has plummeted. Alcohol was causing the anxiety I was trying to cure with alcohol which is the most genius sadistic capitalist trick I never realized I was falling for all these years. You get caught in the cycle because it is designed that way. And people will roll their eyes about all of it. I know because I always did. The problem is that we have no idea what we are capable of. The furious fits of drunk ass rage. The highest heights of sober serenity.

Of course, the truth is that three weeks clean isn’t gonna undo decades of poisoned destruction. I know that. I get that. And a very big part of me is screaming, even as I type these very words, to please just shut up already because “you know you are so full of shit.” The thing is, though, that there is another part of me – small, just a flicker, but very determined for whatever reason to turn into a wild all out blaze – which cannot seem to help but open up its weary throat and speak.

Hilariously Enough (audio)

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.

Everything You Run From (audio)

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.

Ride It Out (audio)

Like a tiny foal on wobbly little legs, I stand in front of him tired and undone. He wants to turn up the music and down the whiskey and I want nothing more than to play the role I have played along with my whole life. I can hang, sir. I can match you pace for pace until I can’t. Almost certain I want all the way in, which is not entirely true but my brain is a matrix of well coordinated lies I mistake for truth, all manner of exaggerated distortions buzzing around each other into a maddening blur of silent shriek. He looks into my eyes and tells me I am beautiful. It feels like warm honey for a split second and then rolls to the back of my rumbling thoughts. I hold onto it with all that’s left of my withering might.

If I make it through this night without poisoning myself it will be the fourteenth in a row not that I’m counting except that I am absolutely counting the days the evenings the hours the minutes. Not always. But sometimes. And those times are so loud I can feel them beating against my organs all the way up through my throat. Thoughts are knives and try as I believe I must, part of me is on my knees begging for the pierce of their stabbed gushing release. I just want the pain to stop and I don’t know how to pull that off because I don’t know where it starts. I don’t know why. And the why, though, that’s the thing. That’s the holy grail I build up in my mind for better or for worse.

If only I could understand this shit I could pull it apart, lay it all out on the table of my manic mind and re-structure it. I am a fool sure, yes, but I am not entirely ridiculous, am I? Addiction is a motherfucker. It’s got sexy claws and glistening fangs which are laced with a euphoric kind of heavenly abandonment. You want out, sweetness? Come here, baby, I’ll get you out. That’s right, angel, give me those pretty hopeful bambi eyes of yours and all that virgin flesh, inside, inside, inside in dark places and spilling out all over. Drink me, suck me, fuck me, I promise I’ll give you everything you crave so badly you can’t breathe or think or move or speak. Poor pathetic ritualed thing.

He has always been the kind of guy who rolls with the punches and I adore that about him. The cold doesn’t phase him nor does the heat just as long as he can be wild. He sips red wine and lights up his fancy cigar as I sit by the fire smoking a cigarette, wondering if any of this matters at all in the end. The music is so good that somewhere inside of it all of my questions dissipate like a fog gently lifting off of a wide dark sea. I kiss him hard and sweet and proper. He tastes like a past I am trying to run from but when he lets me ride him through the fear I come out like a feathered angel creature, floating high on the other side.

Otherwise Beautiful Things (audio)

Sirens scream off in the distance as the blackout trees stretch empty toward the heather gray sinking sky. A lady neighbor yells something out her front door to her husband who is bundled up so tight in a coat, scarf, and hat that he can’t hear a word she’s saying. I smile to myself watching because domesticity is so often comical but no one seems to notice because they are so damn stressed out about the next email they need to send or the kombucha whatever the fuck they need to choke down before they run off to whatever else it is they do next. I sip my tea and feel a little judgey and then feel a little bad about it but then really not too bad at all.

A scattered electric pink stripe washes across the cloud cluttered horizon and suddenly what’s left of the twinkle lights along the block blink to life despite the razor cold. The lady neighbor yells another something I can’t make out but it is surely in earnest and the husband just lumbers up the driveway with their empty recyclable can, staring dead ahead at his open garage. People are absolutely hilarious, and oblivious to it all the while, which makes it even more so.

I haven’t had a lick of booze in thirteen days and while in some moments it feels like I could shred my own skin from the inside out, I couldn’t care less in this one. I sleep like smoothest, warmest silk and the anxiety has all but plummeted to damn near nothing which is wild because I never imagined that such a thing was even possible. It’s bananas the things we tell ourselves we need to survive until one day we give it a go without and find we are better off entirely in ways we never would have thought of before. We think we know so much. We think we know it all but really we should stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to get shit right we were never taught right to begin with.

I’m reading a book about love and limerence. It’s a real torture for some people, to live with a sickening all-consuming obsession like that. To want someone so badly that you can’t eat or sleep or concentrate. So terribly that every time you so much as brush your gritty teeth you want to cry just facing yourself in the mirror all alone. You want to carve their one silly name into your poor weepy bones if only for one chance that their eyes might drink you in just one more time. It’s rather strange, really. The debilitating tragedies we let corrupt otherwise beautiful things.

There May Be Blood (audio)

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.

How to Suck at This (audio)

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.

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