“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…
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.