I am not like ordinary men. I think in a way that makes the mass populous shudder. My thoughts and dreams are banned from most libraries, my ideas and schemes forbidden from any textbook. I’m just a human being trying to navigate my way through a world crammed tight with let-downs and setbacks. I write because I need to, not because I want to, but there’s a magic beneath the pen as it scrawls word for word, as I scribble my internal drama between the lines. It’s almost like giving birth, painful to let it out, but boy does it feel good that it will fester inside you no longer, and now you can raise and nourish it. That’s a magical thing, isn’t it?
The Sky Is Black Tonight
I’m home now I’m sitting on the couch I’m thinking too much
Today I shared that I am struggling at an AA meting I am struggling with depression
I’m in a deep dark nothingness I don’t know why I write maybe it’s to numb the voices or make them louder
or to capture the tension I feel when everything around me breaks
with words I struggle to relate to be a human being in such an insidious world
There’s never a point to the things we do I want to say it’s all her fault but when I do I feel sad because I’m not taking full responsibility
but you can’t blame me for being a little jaded I run from my problems rather than face them
I’m unworthy to be here I’m unfit to be there
I’m so bad at being a person
Everyone gets it they understand the way things work but me I sit on this couch trying to digest the past and face the future
Together they thrive maybe I was meant to struggle everything happens for a reason right
So my purpose is to suffer that doesn’t seem very fair
Last night I went to class and nobody got what my piece was trying to say I didn’t understand theirs so it’s okay
Maybe no one understands anyone and yet I feel so left out all the time
I have no morals I have no class I’m broken inside
These situations make me feel stupid I feel so cold I don’t know why I keep taking steps toward reparation when I keep getting knocked back two times the amount I put forth
I’m just so cold the fireplace is on and yet I feel so cold and hollow like if you saw me now you could see through me like I don’t exist or maybe I really don’t
I’m an enigma poison purposeless I try to find reasons but nothing seems satisfactory enough to keep me going
But still I keep trying I keep trying I keep trying and I’m bound to fly one day they say but the sky is black tonight and tonight I will fall
It was a New England winter. We were hunkered down in the Copley train station in Boston. It was me, Russel, and Lacey. When the night ended, I would have a new girlfriend. Russel was the youngest; I thought he was at least 18, but looking back on it I realize he was probly more like 17. He really liked Lacey--a lot. He lived on the North Shore, which is a long way from the city. Lacey was from LA. She went to college near Fenway. I was the oldest. I was 21. When the whiskey bottle ran dry, as it usually does, I braced myself for the cold and trekked out of the semi-warm train station and crossed the street and bought another bottle. I’d known Russel for a while. He and I went way back. I met Lacey, however, the same night Samantha and I had broken up. In the morning I had Lacey’s cellphone and she had mine. No one remembered how or when the swap took place. In fact, the night before I exchanged only one or two words with her, before Andrew led her off in the night with his arm wrapped around her shoulder. We were so cold. The brick-walled station didn’t offer too much protection. But we didn’t want to pay to get in the station proper because then if we left we’d have to pay to get back in. So we huddled together on the steps leading up to the street and down to the station. It was not as cold down here, but still it was brittle. We could feel the excruciatingly cold wind breeze past us whenever the doors opened : : : we all shuddered. Our teeth tremored. We were shaking. The whiskey made everything better. We laughed a lot. We taunted the people that walked past us. We had our fun, albeit fueled by the whiskey. When the bottle ran dry, I’d leave and go buy another bottle, until I was too drunk and the clerk refused to sell me anymore. It was almost like the liquor store was the bar and the station was our stool. They had to cut me off. I really wished they hadn’t. It was so cold and we had nowhere else to go. Nothing else to do. Of course, we could have just gone home. Sleep it off, so to speak. Fuck that, we were granted a gift. A gift of self-destruction. The point of life is to defy physics and see how far we can push it. Test our limits. Presently I’m sitting in an AA meeting and I recognize why the clerk had cut me off, but in the moment I looked at it like he was ruining our good time. Maybe he saved our lives, now that I think about it. I hated everyone who had ever saved my life. Those who didn’t want me to die—fuck them! They were not doing me any favors. Life is a state of mind. If you’re not living, then you must be dying. I was on my way there. I was living only to die. Once I was in Connecticut and these two young boys asked me to buy them liquor but when I showed the clerk my ID he didn’t believe it was me. He and his wife were Indian and they spoke poor English. They said they didn’t believe I was the guy in the photo. In the photo I had black spikey hair but the guy trying to buy liquor at their store had half-green, half-red spikey hair. They didn’t understand that I had dyed my hair. Eventually we did get going. Russel hopped on the train to North Station where he would in turn catch a commuter rail back to his hometown. Lacey and I were going the same way so we hopped on the train together. We were both going outbound. Her stop was Fenway and mine was Newton Highlands. On the train we met an older guy with a black mohawk and a leather jacket covered in spikes studs patches paint & chains and he invited us back to his place.
I wish I wasn’t such a big guy. I don’t see myself as a big guy. Mostly I feel small, and frail. Scared all the time. It’s kind of a paradox: this big, scary dude, afraid of the world and everyone and everything it encompasses. My dreams are small, my nightmares immense. My world is mini and my mind is being compressed by the thoughtless reruns I got going on all the time. It’s a waste thinking about all this nonsense. There’s no way to escape my human body, and I’m racking my human brain with daydreams and wishes. Maybe I’m a leprechaun in another world. A court jester. A pixie. A half-witted decomposition. Maybe the consensus is correct; there is every reason to fear me. I’m just a sad sophomoric poet who likes to rant a lot about his problems, and fears and stuff like that. I guess I can dream about what it would be like to be smaller—would I fear someone like me? Maybe I’d try to fight me, because it’d be a win-win, don’t you think. Because if small me wins then he would seem as though he were a hero. And you know, if big me wins, he would come across as an asshole. Well, at least I’m somewhat skinny, but not as skinny as I used to be, remember?
This morning I woke up feeling awful. It could have been allergies, it could have been caffein withdrawals, or it could have been something so much worse. My head pounded like there was someone in there, someone small and mean, knocking nail after nail into my brain. My nose was jammed up, and the postnasal drip was itching my throat. Oh, and my eyelids were dangling from a noose called exhaustion. First thing, I took some Allegra D to rule out allergies, and after showering and walking the dog I promised Michelle I’d drop something off at the Post Office for her. On the way there I stopped at the gas station and bought myself one of those carbonated raspberry-flavored Yerba Mate drinks. I’d say I could use it, all things considered. In the car I popped the tab and the passageways in my nose burst open as a hint of raspberry wafted through. It smelled delicious and the stuffiness was dwindling. I took my first sip and felt the bubbles dance on my tongue and the smell of raspberries reminded me that it was summer now even though outside the car it was gray and drab and possibly would rain later. But inside the car it smelt like summer, like when you’re younger and you pick berries with your parents at a nearby farm. I started to feel a little bit more awake now and I realized the nastiness I felt earlier was from a lack of caffeine. So I drove the rest of the way to the Post Office, and, with the windows down, the air outside licked my skin and swirled and hopped through my hair. I didn’t care that it was colder than it should be for this time of year and the air had that nasty mildew smell before a storm. The music playing released just enough endorphins to keep me going and the wind itself continued to waltz and wave in a brisk cataclysmic buzzing array and the Yerba Mate kept the car smelling sweet and delicious.
On the way back from the Post Office it was the same scene: Wind, Rhythm, and Sweetness, until I stopped at that red light and the first putrid wave hit my nostrils. It smelled of shit, dirty feet, and the blackest of mold. I looked ahead of me and before the car was a dump truck sweating an odor so revolting it made me gag. The windows were down at the time so I rolled them up but I think it was too late, for the smell was stuck inside my car. The Yerba Mate didn’t taste the same, the music didn’t sound the same, my mood plummeted drastically. I was so distraught. I shifted to the left lane and, when I could, darted past the dump truck and when it was far enough behind me, I rolled the windows back down to air out the nasty stench that only comes from rotting carcasses or dumpsters sweating beneath an epic sun.