failure

Into the heart of darkness


“I raised my head. The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky–seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”
– Joseph Conrad –

Sometimes when I write here I feel like I am  tossing clandestine notes out through a hole in some great wall. Hoping they be found by someone who’d care enough to read them. Maybe care enough to feel what I am saying is worthy enough to cross some imaginary divide and climb a great hill to set a signal fire. Set it alight in the dark night and shine through the darkness “I am here! I can hear you!”. And maybe just in that hope I keep writing. Though often I don’t know why.

I have been quiet lately. I have been shaving the pitch and throwing off the bodies to cut down on the drag as it were. I have gone through a strange period of reminders, birthdays, anniversaries and even dreams. I am currently off work due to a temporary shut down. Yesterday I laid down on the couch and fell asleep. I dreamed I was a kid again, back home, my father was alive and my mother was still there. My brother was the dopey kid I both protected and tormented. And it was summer and I think it may have been my birthday. I was happy and I was home. And I didn’t need or want for anything. It was home…And when I woke up I was so sad, so overwhelmed by it all I sat on the floor and couldn’t bear to cry, because if I did I thought I would bray and howl like a child. Lost and scared. I just ached so deeply, like nothing I can describe. I have longed to be back again with someone I loved, to find them again and have them love me again. But it couldn’t compare to the pain of wanting to go back to a time and place. To an innocence and possibility. So I just sat and shuddered and felt even more alien here. More the animal/machine.

I wrote to someone this week that anyone who says you mustn’t live with regret has truly never experienced regret or guilt. And if you can experience it and still dismiss it and leave it behind then you are truly an abomination…And I thought about it and there is a world full of people who can do just that. Who can look at the past shrug, mumble, salute and step over the carcass. The rare ones are them that feel it. Them that suffer the weight of truth, living, dying and the mistakes we make. Who have skin not galvanized. But get cut and bleed. They are truly the few. And while most ignorant things will tell you how they are deep wells of thought and feeling. It’s an illusion. A lie and a fraud. The secret ones who ache don’t speak, because it feels awkward, it feels wrong and it feels misunderstood. And the truth is that when they do speak there is always one vain and stupid beast close by who will chime in, in some nasally and over-whelming voice “Oh I know, I get the same thing”. And the depth of the insult is never known. They ignorant feel enlightened and the pained feel dulled and robbed.

So this leaves me in a place I knew was coming. A paradox. Where I know I want nothing anymore, but I need everything. I would not miss anyone anymore, save one little girl. But I cannot live without the contact, the input and the touch. There is knowledge in me that I am an utter failure as a human being, but I long to be close to another one. I lust and want and still repulse. I am becoming the curmudgeon. The lonely man, the eyes that see but really never speak.

Life isn’t made for me. It’s not something I can negotiate, any more than a blind man can drive a car. It’s a truth, attach all the “what if we…” to it you want. He’s never really driving. It’s just an imitation of an action that in truth he is incapable of. And that is exactly what life is for me. Something I am incapable of doing. Am I in the wrong time? The wrong place? Is there some thing I could do? I don’t know. Honest. It’s far past the point of a Oprah approved vacation and book reading. This machine is rusting and crumbling. A little more each day. And eventually it will stop. It will go still on the tracks. And the night will overtake it and envelope it. The decay will exceed the ability to regenerate. As the ancient old engineer looks at the pieces and parts it will become obvious it’s just shut down, that’s all that’s left. To turn the engine off and let it go cold. The machine has run it’s course. Has served it’s usefulness out and now cannot be asked for more.

Such as it goes I am not sure this scares me or saddens me. I just accept it. Sometimes I wonder if this feeling is what a condemned man feels as he watches the time pass toward his moment of execution. A sort of acceptance, clenched and scared. But carefully balanced on finger-tips because if the tray turns and it spills the connotations are going to be horrible.

It’s a little disappointing. There are things I wish I could do. But for reasons (often financial or legal) I never will. Or I just cannot find a way to it…

  • Learn more about classical music. Not just read about it. Not just listen but learn from a great teacher. Not how to play, but the stories behind it. The terminology, the names, the parts. I have only ever seen a symphony once and I felt like an alien more than ever. But I would love to see and understand what I am seeing. I once went and saw Handel’s Messiah at Christmas by myself and was nearly brought to tears but refrained from it because I saw a big hall full of people who looked like they just wanted to get this damn thing over with and get to their restaurant reservation where they’d preen and eat a meal that costs more than I spend on food in a month.
  • Visit Vienna, it sort of fits the classical music thing. I want to see old streets that bled music.
  • Germany, France, Italy, Greece…I always wanted to go to a place where mankind is ancient. Not just a couple hundred years old. Where culture and life exist in every stone and cloud. I cannot even afford bus-fare right now…And because of my history I cannot get a passport. So instead those places will be filled with asshole American tourists who see nothing and soil everything.
  • I have little left in me for God and faith, but I always wanted to go to Israel and get baptized in the river Jordan. I figure if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.
  • Galway in Ireland…I want to visit there and take my little girl. Walk the strand. Down to the Salthill Prom. And show her all the pretty houses there.
  • Before this becomes a travel wish list…I always wanted to do a job that didn’t involve using my back to get paid. You know you paper pushers don’t know how lucky you are. If you have a rotten day you just fluff a little more and play with your cubical distractions. But men like me, when we have a bad day we got to muscle through force our bodies to do more than they want and then keep going, we strain against limits in the same way a marathon runner does. I guess I always wondered what it would be like to not need to wash the day off in a shower.
  • This one…I dunno…Walking into a bookstore and seeing my name on the cover of a book. But the truth is the written word is dying. And I have nothing I could say.
  • Here’s pie in the sky…A day where my life doesn’t physically cause me pain and discomfort and the scars and breaks don’t make me ashamed. I’ve beaten myself up pretty good. And every day I am reminded of it. And the truth is some of it could be fixed, but once again, the all mighty dollar prevails. Misery never bests profit and upwardly mobile need.
  • I wish I could make enough to be sure my child never needs.
  • The freedom to run…To get in a pick up truck, toss a sleeping bag in the back and go till it’s time to sleep. Then wake up and go again. Until I hit an ocean or peace, whichever comes first

I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Anyway. I’ve got one future, the grumpy old guy in some shitty one room apartment with a cat and a pile of books. Who no one notices except to scoff at.

And for the love of all things holy…Save the “nothing is impossible” speeches. Seriously Tony Robbins…That’s the bait you throw at the ignorant to keep them chomping, chomping, chomping at that carrot…Come on little fighter, work a little harder, produce a little more, consume…You’ll get there. It’s a fable just like Goldilocks. It doesn’t happen. Go take a drive through a ghetto. Go hang out at a bus station. Tell me nothing is impossible for these people….Oh wait! I read an article about this girl in Kansas. She made good…La la la la…One in six billion…The poster child, the string holder for the carrot…

Maybe I’m a little angry. Because I can’t believe the lie.

Maybe I just don’t want to delude myself enough to believe the lie.

Maybe I just want release.

Be well.


The squeaking wheel…

“It isn’t enough for your heart to break because everybody’s heart is broken now.”
– Allen Ginsberg –

Sometimes I think I know what I want to write here, I set out to say something specific. This ain’t one of those times.

So here I am sort of dancing around the pieces and thoughts. There’s no music and nobody to see. I feel like Dylan calling for his Tambourine Man. Maybe I have no one to meet, And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming…You know how I mean?

There’s a loneliness that has settled on me. It’s not heavy or difficult. But it is listless and tired. I find myself unable to reach past it and connect very much anymore. I look at the calendar and chose dates for some great escape. Something I may never do. But take comfort in the planning. A big run at the sunset. Maybe I am too cowardly, maybe I’m too selfish. Maybe much to my own chagrin I am hanging on to some vague hope. That there may be a lightning bolt come down on me. A re-awakening of Frankenstein’s monster. Trundling and falling alive. Why is this so hard? Seriously. Without the fancy words and the crazy prose. Why is life never easy, not even for a minute. Sometimes I even find myself looking at the commercials for antidepressants and thinking that maybe that’s my play, maybe that’s what’s wrong. But I have tried that. And it just fucks my libido and empties my emotions in some bland homogenized stew of nothingness.

I’d rather live in misery than  live in that medicated shade of gray. You can send that quote to Pfizer. My God what a terrible place to be. Living in that dullness. I believe I was built to question, to struggle and turn over stones and examine the secret words I find there. To turn boldly into the Beast, the thing that most people run their whole lives from. The black places, the deepest nights and darkest urges. That’s the Beast, I reach for it and get dragged into the fight. And I want that. But it seems the one truth I know about myself is that I have to give up to live amongst you. Medicated and placated. A dial to be turned. Man what a miserable thing to be…And the most troublesome part in all that is the people I see swimming in all the bullshit, all the acronyms and diagnosis’ and the symptoms that they manifest simply out of obligation to some label. It’s a crazy world folks, to be crazy is to live.

I think too much and my head races and I can’t find anyone I truly can talk to. So I feel lonely. It’s the trade-off. I get lonely, but man do I ever think up a universe. When I was a kid they were testing me for all kinds of intellect ratings and the emotional pieces that get nailed to it there was a teacher who broke the fourth wall and spoke to me like a human. And what he told me is that “There is a fine line between genius and madness and you must always be careful how far you tip either way.” And he was right. In my whole life there have been very few truths told to me and that was one of them. One of the others came from my old man who used to say “Boy the only way you can do anything is the hard way…And I don’t have a clue why.” He was right too. As a matter of fact I have come close to getting “The Hard Way” tattooed where I can always see it.

And in this all I find I miss the company of the fairer sex…But I got to ask. Are you all completely loopy?

No elaboration there. None needed.

Be well.


Up jumped the Devil

“The blues, is a low-down achin’ heart disease
Like consumption, killing me by degrees”

– Robert Johnson –

Johnson sang that in his song Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped The Devil). And brother I do believe he was singing about me. How a poor black man in the Mississippi delta back in 1936 could have done this? Well I suppose we both done went down to the crossroads and made our deal. And the Devil has his price you got to pay.

You know the blues when you got them. It ain’t just a cloudy day or a bit of disappointment. It’s a low feeling that creeps in on you and makes itself at home, wrapping its cold fingers around your heart. Taking whatever it pleases and laughing at you when you try to fight it off. It wins…It always wins. My blues will win. Maybe sooner rather than later. Who knows. I just know I am hanging in between living and the other thing. That’s the blues man, it don’t shake down and go away. It is a life.

Lately I have been thinking on God, the nature of man and the weapons we build when we sleep just inches away. I want to believe in God, I do man. I have seen miracles and had hope wash in on a black place. But that was long ago. God seems to have moved on. Maybe like Job he laid a 20 to 1 odds on my ass and the other fellow won. And if anyone has his price to exact it’s God…Think of the Sopranos but with stained glass windows and chants.

As for man. Well here’s the dice as they fell. You’re mostly fucked…No it’s okay. You are. That’s just it. Most of you are discouraging and frightening. I find you baffling and questionable. I like you sometimes too, that’s the scary part. Like petting a tiger. It’s soft and the sensation is wonderful, but you just never know when it’ll turn. And you know them teeth and them claws will gut you sure as shooting.

And then there’s those things, the things we do to each other. Things in the name of love, heartbreak, justice, lust and Sunday mornings. How we cut into ourselves. Ol’ van Gogh was just more literal than most. But I’ve cut out pieces of me and dropped them in butcher paper to give as an offering to someone I wanted to see me bleed. A bloody mess left in the lap of one quite incredulous. Only to find out later that the choice cuts were to be made against my will. It all sounds like burnt offerings and the smell of sex left hanging in a room, the bedding in a heap on the floor and a strange look of astonishment on our faces. Ah beauty, it’s hideous and grotesque!

So there I stand. Fucking empty. A broken vase. Really, that’s a great description. A vase serves no purpose really, except to hold something. Flowers or sins, you see. And when you break one, there’s no reason to keep it around. At least that’s how I feel. So I continue to linger, feeling like a ghost. No one sees me till I make my presence known. And them that seek me out tend to do so out of fascination or mortification. Some experience to relate later around your kin and kind. About the time he did this thing you won’t believe.

Spending my hours alone, trying to commit myself to life. To stay put, to stick to some material thing because that’s what’s expected. But constantly wanting to be free. To fly away, to know what it’s like to feel the absence of chains, grief and the burden of languages.

Someone tell me it’s going to be alright…I dare you!

Hey you…out there on your own…

Be well.


Losing…To lost.

“Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough”

– Jean-Paul Sartre –

Sad Sunday night. It’s become a regular thing. I go through it every time I send my little girl back to her mother. I cry  every time, after I give her back I retreat and sit alone and cry. I mutter an apology, to her and afterward to time and fate. I never meant for it to work like this. I never meant to set her up like this. My guilt and my responsibility are tangible there. There in the delivery room in some gushing and frightened exhaling statement of faith and truth I swore to her I’d never do this. I’d never fail her. I’d never let her hurt because of my actions. I would never fall short in the ways that I experienced.

Yet that’s what I did, somehow. I am not sure of who’s to blame. Exactly. But mostly I am sure it was me. I gave her a broken home. I never cheated or strayed. In fact I tried the hardest I ever have to get myself into a place of sincere and ferocious dedication. But things were so decayed and the erosion so complete that the relationship caved-in anyway. My crazy machine spinning it into the sun.

My father’s death, my emptiness of faith, my flawed being, my violent being, never quite at rest. Like  a simmering pot that rattles and steams. And the actions of the universe and the organisms that act in selfish attraction all combined to destroy the home I wanted to have my child grow to and know. If you do not fully understand yet, I can say it without prose and flowery sentiment. I fucked it…Badly.

And now my penance seems to be these tears, this loneliness and this feeling of failure. And in that I feel this great shame too. I know many people who live this way. Who are parents who only visit as parents. And yet I seem to be the only one who hurts like this. Who goes through this. And maybe it’s because I am just too fucking sensitive. Too introspective. Too fucking messy. I just don’t seem to be able to grow the callousness to let it pass. I fucked the one thing I swore I wouldn’t and I can’t forgive myself. And nothing anyone can say will make it better. The stupid feel better speeches and the idiotic one line fix-alls “Turn that frown upside down” , none of it will change my feelings. My failure.

This is just another on the list of things that have shoved my away from the river of life you all seem to move in. I feel drawn back to grow thirsty and dry. My experiences and my battle damage…All of it. It adds up. Like an old soldier sitting in the very back of the barroom staring off into some unseen tragedy, I have hundred year old eyes. And nothing in language or gesture can share with you the experience I have had that has left me this way. Sore and sensitive, cold and misfiring, angry and frightened. No matter how I try I cannot relate to you and yet I still hope and pray that you never feel these things. the flawed existence. The lonesome so deep and permanent you cannot blow it away with a hundred mega-tonne bomb.

I can tell you what it was like to stand over my father’s lifeless body, the livor mortis discoloring his shirtless torso. The smell of foulness and death in the room. The feeling of overwhelming disgust that filled me with shame. But you would never really understand.

I can tell about watching a car pull away from a curb, in the back seat she looked back at me crying. Because she swore she’d never leave, but always knew she’d have to. The heartbreak that drove me to linger on a bridge too long and contemplate the feeling of flying you may get before you hit ground. But you would never really understand. Though you probably have had your heartbroken too. As it goes we all got or breaks and scars.

I can tell you about the nights where I could feel my life slipping away and not giving one good god-damn if it did. The warnings of doctors and family that I would died if I lived this way. But they meant nothing. A slow suicide really knows no shock. But you’d never understand.

I can tell you about jail cells, hospital rooms, institutions, bedrooms that smelled of expensive perfume and false hope, streets where hunger and need are all that you really own, I can tell you about the battles, the fights, the feeling of holding your organs in your body, of the blood collecting in a paling shocked hand. I can tell you about all of it..But you wouldn’t understand.

And here’s why. Because I don’t understand you. Because your lives are all so enigmatic to me. How do you save money? Buy a house? Own a car for longer than it takes to wreck it? How do you love and keep it alive? And failing that how do you heal your broken heart and just move on? How do you buy patio furniture? And how do you talk to a God you are so sure listens? Or how do discount a God you’re sure is folly? How the fuck do you live inside the neatly painted lines and stay sane?

Me I am fucking crazy…I am a broken-hearted father with a strong urge to…Fly away. Bye bye. I feel like only Bukowski, Earle and Burroughs really saw the world I know. And spoke of it in  language I know.

Good Lord this shit is too heavy.

Next time I promise I’ll write about my top ten favorite CDs or the sunsets I’ve seen or about naked women, that might lighten things up…Maybe I’ll put up pictures of kittens. Kittens prancing. Kittens prancing in flowers….Next to naked women. This is the internet after all…It’s all out there.

Be well.



Out of blue and into the black.

r

“In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.”
– John Steinbeck –

Often I will have these ideas for writing and I think they are brilliant and good, then I’ll sit down and they’ve evaporated or just seem silly. I think today I thought about writing about the difference between men and women. Because you know no one has ever written that stuff down before…It’s be groundbreaking! Ha yeah! Right…And there was some intensely important and emotional uttering I had in mind. But fuck me if I can remember what it was…So much for depth and meaning.

Lately I feel like nothing stays with me. Nothing is here, it’s either coming or gone. I don’t know security and I don’t believe in the future. Man I haven’t stayed in one place this long since I was a kid. Always running, always moving, the velocity shaking off the bodies….Reducing the drag. Nothing to carry with me but what’s in my pockets. Now I am too old to run and I got weights holding me down. Man I almost feel resentful when I picture what it might be like way out on the coast or where the city is still awake. How do you do this? How do you live this still life, the day-to-day, where you put your time in and try to give it meaning on the weekends? Is the posturing and posing all about trying to make it bigger and shinier than it really is. When you pretend you are one of those chicks in a television show or a guy in some two-bit movie. Is it really just taking a shot at feeling out of the cage? Fuck man, it’s for the birds.

But in my most puzzling paradox I panic at the thought of goodbye. I don’t take farewell well. I cry and grieve, I ache and long and I try to go backwards, or make you leave walking backward, so I can fool myself. It’s maddening. I wish I could be cold, be forgetting, be cavalier, like so many I seem to have known. Just cut it away like a strangling vine. My father has been gone for two and a half years and not a day has gone by that I don’t spend a bit of it sad and wet eyed.  Yet I see some that just sort of accept the inevitability of death and move on. Not me.

I am a fucking mess, a loser and a train-wreck. I cannot imagine ever being too close to anyone. And if I am really and brutally honest I can say it is because of me. Because of my damage and my insanity. I am awkward and discordant and after a while I just seem to vibrate apart the machinery of love and friendship. I am ugly and dark. Why should you care really? I’m a bridge jumper looking for a foothold on the railing while you watch.

And sometimes even my positives just get all ass over tea-kettle. I have a huge heart, no really I do, I ache and sigh and love so much. But it becomes this fault, it manifests as weakness. I cannot be cold. I cannot just be flippant. I want to feel the big thing. But it seems that makes me odd. My intellect is called weird and it is seldom understood. Instead I am supposed to grunt and scratch. I am male after all.  And forget even talking about loving my child unabashedly and without reserve…That’s a huge hammer I am hit with.

Nothing makes sense. No one thing…So how do you do it?

Being this gets harder every day. If you have a God, talk to him for me…My spirit is dying and my body is catching up. I am not going to play the GOd game anymore. And I am not going to pretend it makes sense to try.

So here I am…Two weeks from a birthday I never ever planned on making. And it feels like I deserve parole…I’ve done my time.

Be well


Disintegration

“I have been the worst of kind
A sorrowed heart and a cluttered mind
And I’m thinking that I could change this
That I could change this, but I can’t change this”

– Matthew Ryan –

As of late many of these entries have been kind of bitter sounding and probably more than a little fucked up. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I was trying to say something, maybe I was just being an asshole looking for a reaction…Who knows anymore?

Truth. I mean real truth…I am at my end. Now as I write this I have spent the past couple days ill. And being who I am and living as I have, being sick makes me feel really vulnerable. So keep this in mind.

But this has been settling in on me much lately. I have tried to find an answer for this craziness. For this loneliness. For this brokenness. I tried your medications, doctors and therapists only to see myself crippled by your labels. I have tried your faiths, your Gods and your holy men, only to feel desperate and reaching for something I cannot and do not want to attain. I tried addiction, sex and violence, only to see myself as the walking dead.

Now I feel I have done it all. Like Dylan sings in a weary voice “I’ve seen newborn babies, wailin’ like a mourning dove, An’ old men with broken teeth stranded without love.” And I am left to wonder what else could I do? I don’t have the drive or energy to continue to be strangled by the mechanisms of lies and the roles we play for each other.

I have seen such terrible things and seen some pretty great things too. And it all just sort of balances. And my balance seems to never come out of the red. I just feel…Weary. Yeah weary. And in that weariness I figure I have earned the right to my own answers. I won’t begrudge anyone their resolution so I sort of expect it from others. Though there is always someone trying to sell a faith or a pill that’ll make it all better, at least according to the commercial on television they saw shot with a blurry lens and sweet music.

But what if i tell you it don’t get better. Not for some. Not for me. I have had brief reprieves. Like a fighter between rounds. I sit on a hard stool in the corner and try to remember ‘Is this the fourth or thirteenth round?’ and then the bell rings I am up against it once more “In the clearing stands a boxer, And a fighter by his trade, And he carries the reminders  Of ev’ry glove that laid him down,  Or cut him till he cried out, In his anger and his shame “I am leaving, I am leaving”, But the fighter still remains” Simon and Garfunkel sang that in the Boxer. A song I have had a great empathy for, for many years…Because I know exactly what the boxer feels. To leave but remain. I even know what it is to be so lost and lonely. Hell I was 15 when I left home, just a baby really. I had no idea what living meant. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the things ahead of me. Sleeping sometimes under bridges or in tragic rooms where the cost to stay was more than I could afford. The whole time I naively believed that somehow, someday it would be okay. That there was a better future. I was meant for something more. I sat in your filthy jail cells and walked the streets where you’d spend more on some flight of fancy than to fill the emptiness in the stomach of young men like me. I would claw back from illness and woundings that would kill most of you but wouldn’t me, like somehow I was cursed with life. In time I would even attempt to retry to become a “citizen”. I wed, I divorced, I got credit cards and I owned cars….I got divorced, bankrupt, I crash cars. I drank myself blind and called it having fun. I fucked and fought and laughed at you as you played the hard and tough Friday night ramblers. Because I’d been there, the real thing, I have lived with them that have no tomorrows, just a dwindling life, like a bleeding down the drain. I would tumble down again, into handfuls of pills, bottles of rusty water and powders and potions.

And that kid that raced out a door one Friday night after he’d had enough…enough… enough…Well he slowly went crazy, he went slightly jaded and mostly he just became something that doesn’t quite connect. And probably most of the blame lays at his feet. He has tried, holy Christ has he tried. He goes to work and resists the urge to scream at the egotistical stupids that whatever they feel they have a right to and whatever is so damn important is really insignificant. The fucking world is dying and I am dying too. The kid has tried so hard to hide the fact that many years ago he gave up on ever being part of a world he didn’t understand. Maybe somewhere between trying to decide if tonight he’d sleep in a stairwell again or rob someone so he could crash in some dirt-bag motel. Real people never make these choices or decisions. Real people don’t ever find themselves in these places. Real people don’t really understand anyhow.

But he tried, I tried…

I was given teasers. A woman here or there who would swear love and commitment to me. Like some Hollywood dream it was supposed to have a happy ending. Until they realize that there was something really wrong with me, some need that can’t be filled and some ghost that can’t be chased away by a walk on the beach and some pivotal conversation. I am broken in a very real way.

Now I have to bear the consequences and scars of a life lived so fucking badly that it fills me with awe that I have survived. And in that survival, I feel that it is a punishment. I feel every good thing is just something that can be used later to take away, to remind me “You’re fucked and don’t deserved anything” and every blessing really is a curse. Even the greatest ones come with a  jagged tearing side.

Woe is me huh? Yeah I guess…I’m sorry.

When I started this blog my goal was to have something solid, something real that could be read later…For later. Something that maybe explained a few things. That wouldn’t disappear. I am not good at staying in one place for too long and when I go I leave much behind. And I wanted to say my piece, to have some tactile thing to show.

An ongoing apology I guess…

Be well


Exorcism and forgotten names.


“Walking outside our old house
Tragically dressed trying to coax your ghost out
There’s some things I’m ready to confront
Some that I didn’t do and some that I’ve done”

-Matthew Ryan-

I stand here, out on the sidewalk, out in the drive. In the same spot I stood a thousand times before. It’s the terminus point. Or it was. The spot where to the left or right I could still run. Off and away into some other reality. I hesitate. I did that so many times before too. I would shudder and tremble here. Afraid of what was there inside. It was not a new feeling. Not a new fear at all. As a child I would stand in one certain place outside my father’s house. There I’d fill with a fright so deep I couldn’t feel anything else. I’d lose my breath and whimper in the way a frightened puppy might. I was little else there. A scared animal. The machine hadn’t been built yet. See there I would prepare for battle. There I would tense myself for the inevitable blow, the beating and the shame.

That was one I never whispered to you in the dark at night. How you scared me so. How you made me that child again. How I would wait at the spot outside the house. Waiting to find if my leaden feet would move forward or I would run. Run away. The way I did when I was still just a boy. A child without the means or mechanization  to survive in a world I didn’t understand. I must have run from you too. Why else would there be so much left unsaid? So much left in anger and pain. Why else would I have never said goodbye.

So now we touch the edges of our anger. Mustn’t ever wade fully in. The battles have been fought, the picture frames smashed. The vases hurled and the names called.  And to get back there we’d have to dig through the bones and dust of a closet we’ve closed, looking for the armour we wore. The weapons we sharpened from the secrets we told. The faults we laid bare. The weak spots only a lover still covered in the fine sheen of intimate sweat and the smell of sex would know. Those terrible knives we hand to our assailant in blind faith and a naive trust. The belief that this time..This one…They wouldn’t ever turn the gun on me.

What have you got now. The gossip and slanderous asides? Well love, I am here to say most of your accusations are true. And are rightful. Most…Not all. but the 1 in 5 that is wrong, need I plead my case? Should I fight you for that little bit of ground? No I won’t. Not anymore. I am the animal/machine. I am a foul thing. I try to live as best as I can and I try to do what’s right. But find always myself in the wrong. I am truly indefensible. You are right. I am all those things…The names, the shames and the disgusting slights. But I try, I always tried for better. I honestly tried to be better. For you. Yes for you…Does this shock you? I am sincere when I say this. I tried to live past my scars and the tumbling rocks of a falling mountain that is my history and my learned dances. But I failed. I always fail. But I always try.

See maybe you never understood. Yes dear I know you said you did. But you never really understood. I was raised by wolves, I timed my breathes with the tides and learned by laying my palms against the walls and feeling for a hum. Like some mute demolition man. I know how to fight only because I forgot how to care what happened to me. I am the end result of a complete loss of a sense of self-preservation. I learned how to fuck because I could make you close your eyes and shudder. I could hide inside your body as I stared at the back of your head. Animal lust is easy. I knew no truth there. I learned how to lie because I was so full of incomplete links and shame. I couldn’t dare tell you the truth. I couldn’t be who I am. I couldn’t just be like everyone. Because I was always less than everyone. So I gave you the Hollywood version. A creation I idealized. The thing I wanted most to be. But could never really maintain. And so when the facade fell and the dirty windows came clean. You saw. I was the mess in the middle of an empty room. But I warned you. I did. In the beginning. I always warn them that enter the cells and cages. That they really don’t want to be there. That they must keep their distance. And I even showed you the scars. But in some act maybe worthy of sainthood you chose to carry on. To step in closer. But you never really believed, never really…Understood.

Does it matter now that I am sorry. That as a man who has come through hell and found it to be of my own making. I am sorry. I made my messes. I did my own cutting. I have learned. That’s of little consolation and probably no benefit to you now. But the man standing here now. He’s different. Scarred and afflicted with a terrible case of  battle fatigue. Any movement of the heart makes me fill with fear and I flash to terrible yesterdays. But I am learning. And now I try to live each day a little at a time…An inch an hour, two feet a day. I don’t expect too much from life. There is no grand parade, no victory party and I will never drink from the cup. The myth I was is dead. And all that is left is the living sum of my errors. An equation that is still solving itself. And that you are not here for this, I am sorry. I honestly am. I wanted so much to be this before our house of cards fell.

But here I am anyway. Out on this spot waiting. Waiting to see a light in a darkened window. Even though I know you’re not there, you don’t live there anymore. But just in case…I leave these words out here for you. In case you should come by, in case you should toe over the rock I hide them under. In case you need to close the door one last time. In case you need.

I will choose this time to turn and walk away calmly, with poise and dignity. The stride and cadence of a man who has been to war and come back limping and lost in far away stares.

Be well.