Walking Velvet, our eight-pound black Maltipoo, through the neighborhood—with my speaker blasting and some neighbors looking upon me with approval and some shaking their heads in annoyance. Velvet barks too much but, like a baby, she just wants to be held. She always has to be in the middle of me and Michelle when we cuddle in bed. Makes it hard to be intimate with each other when she is always nudging her head in to be a part of it. We push her to the end of the bed but she is so sweet that it would seem gritty and shameful to do it while her curious, loving eyes fall upon us like they always do. Sometimes she falls asleep, but other times she gets lonely and restless and decides to pounce. It’s really a mood-killer, so we relocate her to the floor. Last week we came downstairs to find a Christmas ornament chewed up, with the broken pieces all scattered around the living room. Another time, Michelle went downstairs for a glass of water and I heard her scream: “OH NO! WHAT THE FUUUCK!” I said: “What’s going on?” “Velvet ate a DO NOT EAT packet!” “Where did she get one of those?” I said, running down the stairs to make sure Velvet was okay. Velvet was sitting in her favorite spot in the house—in front of the fireplace. She had a grin on her face that said: Serves you right for kicking me off the bed. She’s a crazy dog. She used to lick electrical outlets when she was just a pup. One time she was standing by the door with something brown and mushy in her mouth. She was so tiny, we’d only had her for a couple weeks. She eats everything, so I went to take it from her. I grabbed it, then dropped it, and shouted: “That was poop! She was eating her own fuckin poop.” We had to sprinkle a probiotic in her food, which would make the smell of her poop unappealing to her. I’m pretty sure if it smelled at all, like anything good or bad, she was thrilled to eat it. On walks Michelle would hold a dandelion up to her face and Velvet would sniff it, like she was marveling at this magnificent specimen, then she would lean in and chomp it down. Walking her is the worst on days I just want to be a mute. Most days I don’t want people to talk to me. Nor do I want to talk to them. But trying to say no to her when she wants to say hi to someone is impossible. She pulls and pulls and cries and cries, and I try to direct her away but then the person in her sight looks up and says: “Oh, Velvet. You’re such a good girl.” Velvet pulls me toward them, and jumps and yaps and scurries around their feet. I just stay quiet, and then when Velvet tires out I nudge her in the way of the walk and she goes, and the person standing there says: “Thanks a bunch. She’s so sweet.” I nod my head and hurry off, until someone else leaves their house. She stops and pulls so much on walks that at one point in the summer I was trying to lose weight and I would walk without her and everyone came up to me and said: “Where’s Velvet? Is she okay?” and then I’d have to explain that I’m just trying to lose weight and Velvet is okay but she slows me down and I need to do this on my own. Then they would say: “Well, I’m glad she’s okay.” One time Michelle took Velvet to New Hampshire without me and I was so lonely without the two of them here and I’d have to take the bus to do errands, and people would be like: “Where’s Velvet?” and I’d say: “Not today, she’s not here today.” I’m such a messy eater that Michelle would be up in bed with Velvet while I’m in the kitchen eating something and then I’d go upstairs and Velvet would smell the food on my breath and she’d go right to the end of the bed and cry because she wants to see what crumbs I left on the floor for her to eat. If I eat anything poisonous to her, like chocolate for example, I eat it over the sink so I don’t drop any pieces on the floor. When we watch TV in the living room she barks at the screen the whole time and it’s so annoying so now we can only watch TV on our computers in bed, and Velvet loves to sit there and watch it with us. She has this intrigued, upright look that makes it obvious that she is watching, now that the screen is closer to her size and therefore much safer to be around. Her bark is the most annoying bark. Saying no to her is incredibly hard because she barks so loud in the middle of the night that we’re afraid it’ll wake up the neighbors, and when she does it right next to me, my ears actually sting. When she was a puppy she would scream when she got hurt because she didn’t understand this strange land and she was scared. Once, my stepdaughter Annmarie dropped her and she howled; it sounded almost human but as loud as a sasquatch, and it just rang on until Michelle picked her up and held her so she would calm down. Now she is four years old. She runs when we go to pick her up; it’s just a game to her. In the last year, I started saying: “Stop running,” and she’d immediately stop so I could pick her up. This one time she got out in New Hampshire when I wasn’t nearby, and I heard Michelle screaming VELVET, and I ran to the door and Michelle was out there trying to catch her and she saw me coming through the door and ran straight toward me and leapt into my arms. That’s why it’s my job to catch her if she gets away. She got out the back door once and ran around to the front of the house and then I came out the front door and she ran straight to me. When she was a little puppy I had to chase her around the parking lot for 20 to 30 minutes when she got out. I only caught her because one of the neighbors was walking to her car and she ran to greet the woman and I asked her to pick up Velvet, and she did, and she handed her to me. She doesn’t run because she wants to get away, but it’s just how she plays. She didn’t leave the parking lot that day, she circled around the grass, and the garages, and the lot, while I would dive in the mud to try and catch her but she’d always slip away from me. I’m glad those days are over. When I come home she gets so excited to see me. She barks her loud nasty bark, accusing me of abandoning her. I get it, I have abandonment issues too, so I understand; and that is why this dog, she is the second love of my life.
I am listening to Gang of Four right now. The college I went to, I chose only because the drummer of Gang of Four taught there. I didn’t like Gang of Four much at the time; they were not fast & aggressive enough to hook my ADD-riddled mind. I sat in the intake and the woman I met with could tell I listened to Punk rock. She asked me if I knew Gang of Four. I said yes. She told me the drummer taught here. Right away I was onboard. At this college is where I had met Andrew, who later became the guitarist of my old band, Lethal Erection. I went to this college for three weeks before I dropped out. Andrew went four. It was only a mere detour in my life, but a very important detour because this is where I met my best friend. I wonder about the choices we make, the reason we make these choices, our motivations and whatnot. If that woman had never told me the drummer of Gang of Four taught there, I would have gone a different way. My band had recently broken up and there was this Indian guy named Rohan who had answered my Craig’s List ad about needing a new guitarist. Rohan and I hung out a bit; he took me to this party where artsy kids drank keg cups and talked about existentialism. It was quite boring for me; I didn’t want to talk, I wanted to live—I wanted adventure excitement & romance. Rohan showed me this band called Gang of Four but I didn’t really like them very much; but now I knew who they were and when I went to that intake, the woman asked me if I knew Gang of Four and I said yes and I chose to go to that school, where I met Andrew and we stuck together like glue….
I always wonder what life would be like if I took my future more seriously. I’m a capable person. I always showed promise in everything I’d ever done. But now, at 36 years old, I have no marketable traits. I’m a writer, and a half-assed musician—kind of ___ it’s a long story. I thought I had no future. Isn’t it so much easier to think you have no future before the future comes? 36 years of fucking up and what do I have to show for it? 36 fuckin years! I have paper, and I have a pen. But that’s it. Nothing else. No priors whatsoever. No promise. Do you remember when the future used to be better? Brighter. Bigger. Whatever. It was the drugs, the booze, the depression, the nihilism, the existential angst, you know. The fuck all! I can write a story about wasting away like it’s no one’s business but my own. Then what do I do? I set the pages on fire because I have no future and there’s no use in trying. No one buys my books. I wrote created & designed these books myself because I had fuck all else to do, and no one cares. So if I were to write a note to myself five years in the future, I’d say one thing: Remember when the future used to be better? But then I’d set the page on fire because there’s no point; I don’t have a future, I never did…. Do your homework. Study. Set goals. Do something. I smoked my homework, and I shot my goals. The future only gets better if you plan for it. But I don’t see the use in preparing for it if it doesn’t get better. This is what I told myself 10-15 years ago: Nothing ever gets better, it either stays the same or gets worse. Future Self, if you’re reading this, just know, you’re a fuckin idiot for believing me!
When I was 18 I carved HATRED IS PURITY into my arm (only it was more like HATRED IS PU——, because I passed out at some point during the procedure). At the time I did it to be edgy, but now I think I get it. Having passed from being a hateful cretin to an alleged loving individual (I say “alleged” because I don’t always feel like I’m there) I realize now why hatred is so pure. When you live by the gun there is no reason to stop and question your motives. As soon as you put down the gun, all the moral questions come flooding in, the inner torment that keeps us up all night, torturous dilemmas of right and wrong; but when you live by the gun, none of that matters. It’s the purest state you can be in. I yearn for that kind of purity but I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore and as long as I don’t want to cause harm, I will never reach that state again. Love causes loss and regret, hatred gives us a sense of surety, and when we know what needs to be done, without question, boy does that sound like a heavenly state///
We view the world through a narrow lens. We only see what we are capable of seeing, or give ourselves permission to see. I sit here at this new hipster coffee shop in Burlington and I ordered the most expensive cup of coffee I had perhaps ever paid for and they had only one size and let’s just say it was not quite what I had expected for five dollar and I look around me and see people looking at screens or staring into their own imaginations while reading a novel or talking- - -yes, perhaps talking, to friends—this is what I see as I sit here and sip my drink. So I wonder: What do they see? I could ask someone but that would seem creepy. Hey, what are you looking at? I mean, who does that? I remember walking in my hometown when I was much younger and I passed some tough, angry older boy and I was spaced out and I must have been looking at him but I didn’t realize it and he turned to me and was like: The hell you lookin at? I snapped back to the presence, shook my head, and stumbled away. So I’m here at this new coffee shop called Vivid Coffee although the inside doesn’t look too vivid to me. More like a wide atrium with beat-up, wooden tables and chairs and the one worn couch I’m sitting on and the scruffy hardwood floor and the station in the middle where one can order their expensive coffees. People minding their own businesses. Hipster, I’d call them. Minding their own businesses. But I would like to mind someone else’s business and find out what it must be like. Like, the other day, a Facebook friend wrote: BEING A DUDE SUCKS. Two comments under said that, basically, it’s worse to be a woman. I wrote: BEING A LIVING, BREATHING HUMAN BEING SUCKS. And it does. Everyone has their own reasons to be depressed, their own struggles. Mine happens to be life—that’s my struggle: the fact that I hate being alive and growing older and blah blah blah, you know, the boring shit that most people do and take for granted, but for me, I can’t because I’m not that vapid. I think about these things. Like the kid who puts the block in the hole again and again, or the dog that hurries after the stick and brings it back to its caretaker and then scurries off to collect the stick again. I don’t really have too much of a routine but sometimes I feel like I’m flogging a dead horse. Trying to be something more, and I feel like every day it’s the same old same old. Wake up to a gray sky and scour the sheets for my e-cig and take a few drags and then work up the strength and energy to rise out of bed, already dressed for the day, and lumber over to my medication and take a dose and fall back into bed and pass out again. Every day it’s the same old same old. Once, I woke up in the passenger seat of my own car in the middle of nowhere, with no recollection of how I had gotten there or who had been driving my car—if it was even me. I hope not, for I must have been way beyond poisoned that night. I found out later that I did not in fact drive that night—well, not really- - -thank God. I got a call from some dude—the only thing I remember about him is that he had blond, shaggy hair—who I had met in jail or something and he asked me to come pick him up and let’s smoke some weed. I was so drunk when I got the call and I might have already taken some sleeping pills to go to sleep but I said hey, why not? He drove and I fell asleep and the next day I woke up on some strange side street, late for work. Of course, I don’t have mornings like that anymore. I’m just grateful that I don’t have to search for my own mind anymore after waking up and facing the ugly morning. Today I wake up and all I have to search for is my e-cig so I can suck nicotine into my lungs, and then I feel somewhat better. Have a coffee and feel even better. No messy face full of vomit, no heavy, nasty hangovers, no cold sweats or finding out my body had been ripped apart by barbed wire. So I guess it isn’t that bad. We all have our struggles. All day I sit in front of my computer and listen to my headphones and I hate my life because I’m still alive. Does that make sense? A few weeks ago my old best friend died of a drug overdose. I wish it could have been me. I was the one who had brought him his first line of cocaine. Maybe there’s a reason I’m still here. Remember my old girlfriend Samantha? I wonder if she’s still around. When she started drinking again, she was so suicidal. But we always fought every time we talked. Last encounter with her was her messaging me on Facebook after she first got an account because I kept showing up in her friend suggestions. I ignored her. She said she didn’t mean to message me; it was an accident. After Andrew had died, though, I searched for her Facebook page to let her know—because she might have cared, she might have wanted to know———but I couldn’t find her anywhere. Maybe she blocked me so she could move on. She once admitted to Facebook stalking me when we weren’t together for a period. Maybe it was too hard for her to see mine and Michelle’s life flourishing. We’re happy together, most the time, and maybe it was too difficult so she had to, essentially, hide my page from her so she’d stop seeing me in her friend suggestions. Or, maybe she’s dead.. That’s a possibility too, I’ll admit,,,, and it makes me very sad to think about it. Everyone dies as they get older, it’s inevitable. Some people die young, and others grow into it. But we all die in the end. It’s the only way one’s life can lead. So maybe I am an important person if I’ve outlived everyone. Maybe my story must be told. This is my story and it seems to be dragging on longer than it should have. I’ve expired. Cut the cord and let me go. Everyone feels like the star of their own story, we all have a different way of viewing things, and we are all our own protagonists. It’s why it kills me. I want to be in a different story. This one sucks and has gone on for much too long. That’s all from me now. Till the next time.
Last week I got a mohawk. I think the gay gothic boy who cut my hair was flirting with me. He was in his early 20s. I’m not gay, I’m just vain—I liked the attention.
My high school best friend is texting me every 10 minutes for the past couple months and eventually I had to stop responding so he would stop texting.
I’m 35. I figure that with all the damage I’ve done, I’m about halfway through my life.
A year younger than me, my old best best friend died of what I believe to be a drug overdose this past Christmas.
I have another old friend telling me to come to Mass and visit him. He misses me. Last time I saw him he tried to sell me his own medication. I declined.
I got another old friend sending me pictures of the good ol’ days. Everyone’s talking about the good ol’ days, like it means something. Like I wish to relive that horrible, horrible past of mine. In the good ol’ days, yeah I had fun, but that’s only because I hated myself and I wanted to die all the time and I did everything I could to escape this fact.
People thought I was fun. Now, I’m boring, they’re boring, we’re all so fuckin boring. There’s no fun anymore, no adventures to be had. Some of us still drink, but at least we’re not destroying other people’s lives and making ourselves feel like shit. At least I’m happy—er.
Sometimes I have breakdowns. I have fits. Sometimes I don’t trust the people I should be trusting the most. I’m a sensitive boy who wishes harm on no one, but sometimes I feel like I’m being tested. Like my patience is being put on the testing block.
Sometimes I still hate myself. Sometimes I still do want to die.
Sometimes I wish to relive my glory days too. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine and I could do it all over again and I wouldn’t change a thing. Just rewind and I’m back in the shitter.
Then I look in the mirror and I’m like fuck, I’m an adult now. Better start acting like one. But what does that even mean? Can someone tell me, please? There used to be, like in the 50s and 60s and 70s and 80s and 90s, a standard for adulthood and I assume when they hit the age of 18, they were forced to grow up. Every adult when I was a kid knew what they were doing. Me and all the other millennials are openly clueless.
We live in an age where all standards of living are being challenged. Including adulthood. It’s like we’ve been having a midlife crisis since our 20s and we’re still deep in it, 10 years later.
How does an adult act? I think they’re supposed to be serious all the time and take care of business. The problem with that is I’m physically incapable of taking anything seriously and I don’t seem to have any business that needs to be taken care of. So how do I grow up if I have no purpose? I don’t think I’m alone here. Everyone my age, or younger, feels like they have no purpose.
This fake brand of ethics that got the past generations through, has now been challenged and without it we are lost.
Everyone my age seems to agree with this when I talk to them. In the movies, the adults are just as openly clueless as me, because these movies were written by people who’d grown up in my generation.
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?
Many eons ago I was in a dual-diagnoses work/treatment program. Looking back on it, it feels like a whole different life, like I was never even there and it was all just a dream. We lived on a farm and we worked in the woods, with the animals, in the garden, and in my favorite place: the auto shop. I was good at auto-mechanics, especially small engine repairs. When I left the program, I stayed in a halfway house and Mike, the shop leader, let me come on as a paid apprentice. I did that for a year. I lived in the halfway house and I discovered spice and no one knew because spice, although it feels so similar to pot, doesn’t show up in piss tests and I was beating the system. Every night after I came home from work, I smoked spice. After three to four months of living in the halfway house I got to live in my own apartment. I was court-ordered to stay here for a full year and although most residents had to stay in the house for at least six months, I was moved to an apartment because they knew when my time was up, I would run; it was my plan all along. They wanted me to have some experience living in my own place before I took off. So I started drinking again and smoking weed and they all knew about it but I didn’t care and neither did they, it seemed, because they knew the alternative; it was either here or 10 to 15 years behind bars and no one wanted that for me. After a while they were just like: We’ve Had Enough. Although I didn’t claim to be a drug addict/alcoholic, I was using like one; and they could not keep me here if this kept up. I received a letter from my parents that said when my probation was up, I could not return home. I was so fucked, and alone and lost and hopeless. So I started going to meetings. I got a sponsor. I told the world I was clean because I was: except for the Ritalin and suboxone I was using. Ritalin—because I was already prescribed to it and they had no way of knowing. Suboxone—because it doesn’t show up in piss tests unless they are advised to test for it specifically. This program did not test for it and I got high, so high, every night I got home from the meeting. I went to some meetings and nodded off throughout. I was so speedy I wrote like a maniac in my journal for the entire meeting. I chaired a meeting while doped up and manic. I watched the floor turn to water and move like the ocean. It was working; no one knew. Then Samantha responded to my email and she told me she was clean. She was clean and I was trying to get clean but nothing was enough of a reason for me to stay clean. Until her, of course. I came clean about my using. Told everyone. Agreed to do it for real this time. Because she was back and she was clean and we started going to meetings together. She lived in Boston and I lived in Rutland, VT, and on the rare occasions I’d see her we’d go to meetings together. Then I found out she smoked a ton of weed. I mean: A Ton. But she was clean and she didn’t consider weed a drug. But I did. Anything I can abuse is a drug to me. She was as sick as always and I was trying to better myself. Every time we fought I got high because she was my reason for getting clean and when that reason failed me it was: There Is Nothing to Lose. I had nothing to lose. I got so high every time we fought. Of course, she started drinking again and I found a much better reason to get clean which is: Stick Around and You’ll Find Out for Yourself. I started to do it for myself. I worked the Steps. And I worked them hard. Even if I was spun on my own medication, vivance. How else was I going to stay up all night and write? How else was I going to work the Steps? Last time I abused my Ritalin I was lucky I didn’t die—so lucky my heart didn’t give out!—but I was always honest every time I took extra Ritalin. Honest with my sponsor—he never fired rejected or abandoned me. Honest with my therapist—he was always so accepting and understanding. Honest with my doctor—she was always so forgiving. Until I took enough to kill me. She immediately took me off of Ritalin and put me on vivance, which is supposedly better and much harder to abuse, and said if I tried to abuse it she’d take me off of all stimulants—for good! But I needed a stimulant because my ADD was so bad. So I took a little extra here and there, just enough to stay awake longer, and I ran out early every week; but it was no issue because I was happy now and I was doing so well and perhaps everyone knew and just looked past it. I came clean about it after I moved to Burlington because the doctor said I would have random pill counts and I knew I had to come clean. He didn’t condone this behavior but I’m pretty smart and I made it seem like what I was doing wasn’t as bad as it was. It was bad! I wrote the doctor a long letter justifying it. He bought it. I continued to beat the system. I got married and a year into the marriage Michelle said she couldn’t do it anymore. It was either her or vivance. I chose her but it was hard because my support system was stripped away from me. I had to do this and over time I learned I did not need this stimulant anymore and over time I was back to normal, or closer to it. In the end we are all drug addicts. Someone once told me that if I went the same lengths I went to get and stay high and did something else instead, I’d be surprised at how far I would have gone. At the time I didn’t understand what he meant. Because when he said it—I was high as God.
Music is my life; it always has been. The first musician I ever listened to was Weird Al Yankovic back when I was 9 or 10 years old. Then it was Green Day, Smash Mouth, the Beastie Boys. When I met someone for the first time, I’d always ask: “What kind of music do you listen to?” I’ve always been so restless and hyperactive my whole life, and music could keep me occupied for hours. I’d listen to it and all the problems of the world. my problems that had plagued me since I first could walk, vaporized—just like that. Gone. See you later. My first job was in a DJ studio; I worked in the warehouse where I sorted through inventory. It was a big company called Gibson Productions and they had lots of gear and I was so stoked about this job. I was only 14. In my free time I’d come in and set up the dual CD player with scratching capabilities—like an actual record player (they only had one dual CD player that could do that)—and a couple of monitors and just Go for it. I’d be there for hours mixing tracks, scr-scr-scratching songs, doing it up.
Finally I got the owner of the company to give me a shot in the field. He said okay, but warily, as I was only 14 years old. I had to do my first two gigs with an experienced DJ, and for free, and then he’d see how I did. The first gig was great: I made a 30 dollar tip, and I got a very complimentary phone call from the client when I returned to the warehouse the following Monday morning. The second gig—not so well. That would be the last time I DJed, but not the end of my career as a musician.
I was always very anxious and quiet and most of the time I preferred music as my only company. I liked to crank it when I was drinking because nothing beats it when your vision blurs and the world spins and the roaring guitar kicks in. I was addicted to it—more than anything. Every time I went out with my friends, the moment we’d start drinking I’d flip my headphones over my head, click PLAY on my discman. The music would flow so smoothly as my head swam in a sea of liquor.
Until my angry, blunt friend said to me one day: “You know, it’s kind of rude to hang out with us and then put on your headphones and act like we don’t exist!”
What a dick! Well, I suppose that’s why they make boom-boxes. So the surrounding world can hear the movement. I’d bring my boom-box everywhere. It was sort of my signature, my contribution to this pre-apocalyptic world where we sometimes exist.
Picture this:::: You wake up in the morning to the sound of a bass drum being kicked. Boom! And then again, it’s kicked. Boom, boom! Every few seconds you hear that bass drum, a rhythm that knocks you awake. Then there’s feedback as you make the coffee. The coffee maker rattles a bit. Buzzes. Rattles. You take the pot and pour it into your mug and the guitar cuts in like a buzzsaw with your first sip. The bass guitar gets plucked. There might be some sort of synthesizer being keyed as you sip your coffee, becoming more awake. But it’s not enough. So you have another cup and the vocals chime in with beautifully poetic lyrics that give your life purpose, and now, you can go about your day.
That’s why I had to start a band.
We lived faster and we played louder--that was our motto. Being onstage and releasing your emotions in a rapid-fire succession was almost comparable to taking an automatic assault rifle and gunning down a line of presidents and world leaders. With one long, raucous roar, each head would explode Domino-style, one after the next. Some venues were packed, and some were barren, but it didn’t matter. We’d play in front of a measly mirror, for all we cared. We played--for us! We played because it was fun. We played because it was a major release. We played because we … played;;;; and not to mention it was a fun way to release your emotions on an unsuspecting crowd.
It was the best part of life, the only thing I looked forward to. When I wasn’t onstage or playing with my band, I was sitting on the curb playing what I later referred to as my Stink-Box—a large red construction-worker boom-box that I carried with me everywhere I went; it was my baby. I only bought it—for 120 dollars—because all my previous, cheaper boom-boxes would break in some disastrous but humorous act of destruction. They would never last. So I saved up and invested. It stayed with me for five to six years.
I always had to have my music.
Can’t remember exactly how Burt and I had met. He’s a poet, too. I was fairly new to Burlington and I attracted a small group of people, all of whom were complete strangers before I arrived, and now we’re just acquaintances as life had surpassed our time together. First it was Jared. We had met outside of the Radio Bean. He's an amazing photographer and he showed me some of his Instagram photos. We also exchanged phone numbers. We got along quite well. The following night he called me and asked if he could crash at my place. It was raining and he was camping out on the beach that summer and I said yeah he can spend the night. I didn’t know him very well so like most nights I stayed up to make sure I didn’t find myself ripped off in the morning. Not that I had anything worth stealing at the time. That was when we became good friends. Next was Mike. Jared and I were outside talking about how the world would burn one day and Mike chimed in. He told us that he liked where this conversating was heading. And then from there, the conversation flowed. Sometimes I would sit outside of the Bean all by myself and share poetry with strangers and talk about dark, nihilistic subjects and very few people were intrigued. But Mike and Jared were. So the three of us hung out most nights. One night, I think it was Mike, asked us if his coworker could come along on our venture. Neither Jared nor I cared, so Burt joined us that night. He was a poet, and he asked me if I could help him put together his book. I said I would. The following day I met him at the library and when we were done with our session, we walked around together. He and I had quite a bit in common. He was camping out in some graveyard, which I would never do by myself. I think Chuck was staying in his tent too, although I can’t be sure. I brought Burt to Monday night Lit Club and he read his poetry and it was damn good. Very visual. I remember sitting in the park with him and it started to pour. Like really pour. We ducked under a tall tree and stayed completely dry. Most people were scrambling for real solid cover, but Burt was like: Let’s stand under that tree. I never thought a tree would provide so much protection from the rain, but it did. There were lots of other trees there too and no one even thought to commandeer one for themselves. So Burt and I hung out quite a bit for a whole week straight, probably every day, and we’d just walk all over the place and talk about stuff, some conversations were deep and meaningful and others were shallow and pointless. Then Burt decided to leave, I think to New Mexico or something. We continued to talk for a bit after he had left, via Facebook and Facebook Messenger, but eventually the amount we talked started to dwindle and fade away and now we are back to being strangers. It’s just amazing sometimes, the people you get to know closely in life. All the people who’ve touched you in some way or another. All the people you remember and will probably never forget.