Monday, October 28, 2013

Depression is such a cruel punishment. There are no fevers, no rashes, no blood tests to send people scurrying in concern. Just the slow erosion of the self, as insidious as any cancer. And, like cancer, it is essentially a solitary experience. A room in hell with only your name on the door.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Empty Platitudes

Empty platitudes scribbled on a bar napkin by some poor guy who was probably just trying to get them out of his system. The kind of stuff printed on posters and shipped across the country to schools and office buildings, the words that promise an impossible future. The handwriting is sloppy, but this makes sense given the number of napkins that feature a ring of condensation, the only memory of the drinks consumed, beyond any regrets this guy has tomorrow.
The bartender is flirting with a young man who is waiting for his friends to arrive. The young man is handsome, but in a conceivable kind of way and the bartender acknowledges this with both his wondering eyes and steady, affected voice. The young man laughs politely at a joke the bartender told, but his smile is strained and empty. The bartender does not seem to notice this and walks away with a look on his face that shows his belief that the young man made up his friends as an excuse to stay at the bar and talk to him. Minutes later, the unimagined friends arrive and them and the young man leave. The bartender does not betray his previous, silent burst of pride. He cleans a glass and asks if I'd like another drink.
I collect the napkins and sort through them, rolling my eyes periodically to assure those around me that I find no comfort in such shallow banality. I pause at one napkin that reads, There is no time like the present. This is a very stupid thing to believe. The moments which predate the current time are identical to the present. They were created and lived through, ten swallowed by the chasm of time which is currently working to collect this very moment and consider it the past. The future will likely work the same way, though, as another napkin dictates, The future is unwritten.
I try not to check my phone and am unsuccessful for a matter of minutes. Then I see that he has not responded to my messages and I place my phone back into my pocket and stabilize my collapsing head on the palms of my hands, leaning towards the bar, beckoning for someone that does not exist. I sigh, finish my drink, and eye the bartender. I do this somewhat flirtatiously, now that I know his loneliness. The method is effective.
The bartender gives me my drink and asks what a guy like me is doing alone and I am granted a sudden understanding of that man's false laughter. The man is more closely related to the series of napkins than someone like myself. But I am too alone to be judgemental and tell him that I have been stood up. He tells me that my drink is on the house and gives me a patronizing frown that costs me more than the rum and coke ever would.
An hour later and the bar is nearly empty. The bartender breaks the tragic news that it is last call to us and I pay my tab and consider the door. I turn to the bartender and ask him what he is doing now that his work is done. He flashes me a cheesy smile and, after all the patrons have gone, pours us both shots.
We have been talking for around thirty minutes but he has not left his side of the bar or invited me to join him. So, I sit and he stands, a barrier between us that insists on classifications that no longer apply at this time of night. By this time I have grown sick of his voice and either want to move this thing along or depart. He has only spoken of his friends or work. These are both dull topics, for his work seems to consist mainly striking out with guys and his friends have names like 'Danger Dan' and 'Big T'. I consider kissing him to shut him up, but then he excuses himself out the back exit for a cigarette and I'm bored of the taste of cigarettes. He makes me promise to wait for his return. I don't.
At this point of night, the street is mostly clear of the herd of obnoxious 30-something drunks, but the young drunks are still collected in packs, hoping at this time the 4am bars will deliver forgetful experiences. Such a bar does not exist, which leads to the existence of the 30-somethings that are only now returning home.
I forgot to turn the heat on before I left so my apartment is as cold as the night surrounding it. I turn up the thermostat and grab three heavy blankets and resign to the couch. I flip through a novel that drips with pretension and then I flip through channels that hold nothing but infomercials and reruns of shows I didn't care about the first time around.
After a while the heat is functioning and I shed my blankets and stare at the ceiling. I began to whistle the shitty pop song that was blaring from a cab's radio outside the bar. I stop whistling and think of the bartender. He was likely sad when I left, for both the lack of conversation and the physical aftermath he considered implied. He likely picked up the stack of napkins, sorting through them and finding some solace in their simple words. Perhaps he will finally be capable of appreciating the journey in lieu of the destination, or realize the percentage of untaken shots he will miss.I suppose there are worse things than empty platitudes scribbled onto napkins. I suppose there is the bar with the missing guy without napkins that reveal the lives you could be leading.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I asked myself a long time ago where I'd thought I'd be in five years. Or I should say, the question was posed to me and I had no answer and I went home and thought about it over Lord of the Flies, a fresh pack of smokes, and a pot of coffee. What I decided was this: I would still be myself in those five long years from now. Not to say I'd thought they'd be long, but more that they would go slow until it was time to look back on them.
I didn't see the point on trying to change. Sure, change can be good, but I thought I was doing okay: some money, a place to live, and some friends to drink with. Some music, the internet, a typewriter and a laptop. Clothes. Happiness, however that is measured (I found out from others that I was happy, I guess I'd never realized it) I moved from day to day in the monotony but contented. I spent the nights carelessly. I made love recklessly. I kissed the stars and found his lips like silvered spoons. They were beautiful and I was stuck on the ground.
We'll see what tomorrow or next week or two months from now or my deathbed has for me. I guess I'm anxious to find out, but not enough to see a psychic so I know. I don't like conjecture about the future. I like to live it. I like to take each sip of coffee like the Egyptian artifacts they are. Rarities meant to be found in the future by people who weren't me. My life a mystery I'll write in small sentences until it ends. Maybe someone will publish it, someday. Maybe I'll sink beneath the waves and I'll find peace. Someday.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fear the Inevitable

There are some things that are meant to be seen, but never felt.
Sensations we understand come first by knowing their presence lurking in alleyways like forgotten trash left to dwell in between those triumphant, tall buildings. We understand their necessity, yet we ignore them. The human impulse to understand gets thrown aside and we accept the things we see, the gutter people, the litter, the signs of life we don’t even look down to see.
The way raindrops skip against puddles. The way smoke from fall cigarettes mingles with clouds as its welcomed to stay.
The way a ten foot piece of rope can be used to disguise our understanding of each other. To create chattel, to hang the people we refuse to understand.
To pull each foot tighter and tighter around a thin, slender throat, feeling the rough fibers coming undone and creating friction against skin, the veins and tendons clamoring for understanding and growing at their upset, the rope clinging to rope, the fibers clinging to skin, the pressure widening eyes.
And for once you understand what death feels like. Sudden, gruesome death. Both its inception and its aftermath, its beginning and its end.
Death knocks on the door and by the time you’ve let it in it’s already left. Finished. Moving on.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it stare at me from across the street, or linger in my cup of coffee, breathing its promise to find me in thin, wispy smoke. I can’t tell you why we’ve never met. I can’t tell you why I hold my breath.
But I’ve seen him laugh, and I fear for the day that rope is around my neck. Because I always fear the inevitable, I just wish I knew when.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Insidious Wreck

I gave it everything I had. My chest heaved and my body rocked. The tears flowed faster than I knew was possible. I threw everything I had into that cry. All the rage, all the frustration, all the pain. I threw the loneliness too. And the disappointment. I threw happiness in there as well, what little bit of it had managed to pierce the veil of my life these past few months. I put it in there because thinking of it, thinking of how foreign it seemed to me, threw everything else into sharper focus.
It was exhausting, crying like this, but I kept going. I needed this. I needed it out of me, because if I kept it inside of me any longer I was going to implode. The sadness was going to swallow me whole, and there would be nothing left. Nothing at all. This was me fighting against that nothing. I had been starting to go numb inside, and that’s not what I wanted. No matter what happened, I didn’t want to disappear from the world. There was always collateral damage when someone did that. I knew from experience, and I refused to do that to anyone. Ever.
So I cried. It was harder than I thought. I felt every moment of sadness from the past few months as it came back up. I felt as though I was living it all again, in sharp succession. But it was okay. I had survived it all the first time, so I knew I could make it through again. There had to be something else on the other side of this cry. So I kept going. I cried past the point of tears. I cried past the violent, heaving sobs into a softer, murmured cry. Then, eventually, it stopped.
I was proud of myself for making it through. I felt empty now. Not numb, but empty. Empty was good. I could fill the emptiness with something. This time, I'll try to fill it with better things.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Monday, October 07, 2013

a simple progression

I stood outside the shop thinking.
In my mind I pictured a simple progression: a smoldering cigarette catches the floor on fire, the fire spreads through the house, eventually reaching him, who would be too drunk to notice.
Hey bitch, what are you waiting for?”
I looked up, but he was already walking away.
I hate his smug walk. I hate how he took up too much of the sidewalk. How his hands were always fists.
I stubbed out my cigarette and followed, wondering if tonight was the night.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

A Mirror Darkly

I think the best thing about it was that you thought you’d gotten away with it.
You just appeared pretty much out of nowhere (and trust me I’m not exaggerating here because everyone was shocked) and then tried to act so naturally like it wasn’t strange that you’d said goodbye forty-five minutes ago and yet somehow here you were again.
That’s probably the greatest part about the whole thing actually.
Your casual reappearance; a stumbling fool emerging from the shadows wearing a grin I just wanted to smack off. You were so smug with yourself, swanning around with your false sense of achievement. It was wonderful to watch because everything about you was a dead giveaway - the sway, the slump, the slur, the stench - and yet you tried so desperately to maintain some semblance of coordination. We watched as you spat out a beer-soaked monologue no one could make sense of. We all shook our heads at you and laughed under our breath and tittered to each other and you didn’t even notice. Either that or you were too far gone to give a shit.
It got better when you followed us to the next bar and trapped someone in a confusing and illogical string of words and sentences too jumbled to be even called a conversation. Especially seeing as the other party did nothing but look distressed and attempt to retreat. You kept talking and talking in his face. I literally heard you say the words “he rips her arm off and beats her with it” and I’m pretty sure that’s when I choked on my drink.
I couldn’t stop staring. It was like one of those horrific car crashes that is so spectacularly bad that you can’t look away. I think I was just so mesmerised by the whole thing after all the jokes we’d made. To have someone finally embody the ridiculous enigma we’d all created in our minds. This concept that existed purely for our amusement.
If I really think about it, I’m kind of jealous that you got to be the one to strip me of my title but to be fair, it’s so befitting it would be selfish of me not to relinquish it. I dunno, maybe I’m still shocked I got to experience it. A run in with an imaginary idea; the real surprise trashbag.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Why him?

Thursday night: I’m sad sometimes, but it doesn’t rev up and swallow me like it used to. It sort of sneaks up on me at inopportune moments and leaps out from under me. It goes slow.
Slow like your movements in the tavern booth. The smooth steady pulsing of your temple as you tell your sixth beer how it all began to fall apart. You don’t blink. My fingers follow the water droplets on the table as I hear you, and I hear me too.
You weren’t enough for me.
For a moment we’re friends again, like being almost lovers never happened. Like we’re two lonely people, coincidentally sad and drunk.
You’re bold and concise with your words, but I know you’re hurt. I do the same with mine because it hurts that he wasn’t enough for me. And when I tell you, you smile and slowly shake your head. you tell me I’m difficult and I know that you of all people know. I start to shake as you remind me.
We’re drinking like a sleepy summer’s just starting, words slurring and heat rising. You have the same stupid jokes. you put your mouth to my ear, fighting ambient sound. I do the same with mine because I know what it used to mean to you. You haven’t changed, and you pretend like I haven’t either, ordering me bottles of sol like it’s 2010 all over again.
Outside the streetlights and new autumn night remind me I’m alone, even though you’re walking beside me. You put your mouth to my ear, fighting ambient 1am silence.
"I’ll just never understand — why him?"

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

If You're Gone

If you’re gone the days will go by faster, since the minutes won’t be so tied up with waiting for you to come home. If you’re gone, the skyline that has become my fortress will shine like heaven, will clog the black hole you left in my confidence. It won’t be until I lock myself into my bed for sleep that the independence, the invincibility I feel at having rebuilt my life will vanish.
If you’re gone I’ll feel small and disposable, I’ll start walking with my head down and singing songs about clinging to lost love. My morning shower will take fifteen minutes longer, because I had to stand under the hot water to sing the words to one more song you would never have understood the meaning of. My morning coffee will be drunk with my fictitious companions who visit me in the form of old 90’s sitcoms. I will sit back and laugh at the way life’s many obstacles dissolve with ‘I’m sorry’ or a martini and a muffin.
If you’re gone you’ll free up space in the soul of my existence to turn you into something that you’re not. You will give birth to a new self, and I will be the one to own this new you. This new man you’ll create will smoke cigarettes that don’t make me think of cancer and death. His willful ignorance about the world around him will be charming instead of the catalyst to another fight. When he refuses to hold my hand, I’ll believe it’s because he was trying to protect me from something, maybe himself. And instead of asking him about it, I’ll thank him by not resisting his desire to make love one more time.
If you’re gone I’ll forget you. But you won’t leave.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Scribbling Holes

I slam my head against the pages
hoping that the words will bleed out.
Crying because the Muse doesn’t return
and I have these emotions swelling in my brain.
There’s no release, no way out.
No getting rid of this feeling.
Scribbling holes into notebook paper,
trying to sling together how I feel
but there is no relief for those who try.
My eyes burning with each second I stare
and I’ve already dried my tears.
The lines on paper pulsing like veins,
taunting me with every beat.
Oh word, oh word, just take me now.