well. a crazy busy week. a lot of alcohol and silliness & strange twists & turns. i am trying to take a new approach to life -- more spontaneity, more acting on that voice in my head that urges me to take the plunge.
music is the best thing. where would i be in my misery without elliot smith? how could I feel expansive and timeless without neutral milk hotel? How could I feel vulnerable & kaleidescopic without coco rosie? where would past relationships have been without the velvet underground and kind of like spitting? how could I ever remember my highschool boyfriend without rancid, the casualties, & leftover crack? drinking's not much fun without murder by death; could i ever have deep feelings for someone who didn't find the fruit bats or regina spektor as pleasant? and if ever i need to feel as if i'm being resurrected, the appleseed cast is there for me. could i remember the dirty thrill of my first trip to camden without ike's horrendous gangsta rap mixtape? and i certainly cannot conceive of god without xiu xiu and the decemberists.
I know what it's like to anoint my inner tides with synthetic sweetness. I know Valentines Day is a popular day to visit the graveyard. I know what it is like to sleep on my feet, while talking, or even while loving. I know how sleep abandons you after you abuse it, and I know I will never wake up the way I once did as a child, when I was on intimate terms with the sunlight and the natural good and slowly golden rhythms of desire. Instead now I drink my weepy strawberry wine, in the graveyard or the parking lot of a chain grocery store, with boys who rise with the sun and disappear with the dew.
They say write what you know, but they don’t mean it – they mean write what they know. What do I know, anyways? I know how to steal. I know how to slip down aisles in Walmarts, malls, and supermarkets, absorbing razorblades and Nicorette gum into my sleeves, I know how to line a bag in tinfoil so as not to set off alarms, I know the exits, I know not to run to the getaway car if I am chased. I know if I am chased, I'm on my own. I know if I'm caught when they chase me they will not be gentle, and they will mock me, and I will suffer all the myriad torments of withdrawal and incarceration. I know if I am thrown in the clink, I will lay there musing upon the beauty of the word “bail,” the bail no one will bother to post for me. I know where to bring the goods I risk my freedom for, the bodegas run by Domincans, Columbians, Mexicans, most of them have killed fiends who tried to rob them, and are very proud of it.
I know I will never again pass a prison without choking on my grief-bloated heart, and tasting the rusty water I sustained myself upon, feeling how I felt when there was nothing to see but suffering walls. I know how to sleep on a rubber mattress on a steel slab, I have known nights endless and bleak my God, nights that stuck in my stomach and lined my throat with bile and stuffed my veins with concrete I will never extricate.
I mean, Jesus, you see my point? Who the hell wants to know things like that? Such things stumble through my memory galleries, these crippled images, all night long, while the trains sob and the trees wave their arms, in ecstasy or horror, who can tell? My skull is filled to the brim with these orphaned images, so they get into my blood and circulate through my entire being and somehow escape in torrents from my fingertips. So here it is and I’m sorry that there’s so many battered and broken children in this story, but I’d rather you focus on the light that leaks from them instead of their bruises.
It’s scary and there’s a threatening scent, but I am acquainted with the land of Nod, the land of whirlwinds where criminals and maniacs dwell, the shadowland of beggars and thieves. I will take your hand, and show you where to step -- the boards are dry-rotten in places, you could break through the roach-eaten wood and plunge down into whatever depths dream beneath the foundations of this “city of endless night.” We don't want that. I have something to show you -- I want you to notice what they never did, and what I never did either. I want to show you how I became a ghost who haunted supermarkets and disreputable neighborhoods.
Once I thought I could just take off, but then the morning would be carried up with the birdsongs and hit me like broken glass and flat beer, I’d hear some voice from the previous night: “We can share blood like cigarettes, all shot out, those whom the gods love, die young, there’s nothing here but air to breathe,” etc, etc, etc, and I knew that change was just another delusion. I was spending my youth with the kind of cut-up kids who could find God in a dose of acid, and sustenance within the contents of a shorted Newport and an Olivia Tremor Control song. I’d changed a lot from when I was little but I still took the time to pick up the drowning worms out of the water when the sky got gray and gushed lukewarm holy water.
Only very recently has it occurred to me that these four years, which have passed in a chemical haze of brutes and bricks and blissless blankings, interrupted by the ugly snarl of sirens and the patient presence of institutional walls, must have had terrible beauty inlaid through it that I, the removed observer of this reality that existed just for me, failed to notice. Now that I've removed the silver layer of charmed sleep from it all, I sense faces rising up through the primordial muck of my mind, through the silt that lines my blood.
Goind through a rough time, reading of course is my relief. The following are passages from "Candy" by Luke Davies, a book introduced to me by the incomparably screwy Amy Renz, in a cinderblock box. I relate to so much of the narrator's lack of sense of self and feelings of extraordinary empathy for the trap we're all stuck in. Here's some that are particularly intense to me, in case you care to bring yourself down. (This is probably one of the most depressing books written, ever. And as a conneiseur of depressing books, you can trust my judgement on this matter.
"In the end, life can be seen to be inconsequential, in the way that nothing matters on some vast evolutionary scale. But everything matters, and we know that most when life seems most horrific, when at each instant of time, all the space around us is everything there is.
Suppose this, Candy. Suppose all time was not the way it is with us. Suppose its mellifluous curves and parabolas, its contractions and contortions, the furious or sedate blood of its pulse, were of a different mathematics altogether. Or say the eye that views could view with the remoteness and the slowness of rocks growing, continents being born, galaxies roller-coasting through the universe. Imagine if we could stand above the flow of time and look down on it just as we stood on Mount Danenong and looked down on the dots of traffic ten miles away and below.
But there is a blackness all around. We can't imagine anything. We can't suppose. We are trapped inside the thickest of boundaries.
But it's best not to trust clarity. Better to welcome and accept the mist that seeps into our life, that clings to our clothes, that soaks us to the bone in the scrapyard we are lost in. The mist. Absence looms like a mountain, I tell you.
There is only the relentlessness of coping, punctuated by naked singularities of bliss. In the middle of such moments contentment is absolute; there is only h, there is only Candy, the three of us adrift on the endless sea of love. We carry the ocean within us and with us wherever we go. Suicide is therefore not so much ridiculous as impractical, since Candy and I are immortal.
Waking up with leg cramps, it is possible to envision a plane of such endless proportions that every atom contains specific scenes of interest. Stone pillars crumble. This takes place over centuries. You have that much time. Follow the path of an eagly, wings spread widw, as it traces in an infinitesimal rate of curvature a swoop of beauty so painful it takes your breath away.
It is possible to follow this thought through to others (emulating, with some grace, the path of the eagle), even when stomach cramps come on. For a while, in the gray bewtween sleeping and waking, for seconds, or even a minute, it can feel okay to be alive. And then you wake properly.
And it all comes rushing back. You ask the question, Who am I? And the answer is always the same. I am nothing butn eed. I will hate today like every other day. It's so hard to experience beauty when it all stands in contrast to a great unbeauty.
Candy is beside me, drenched in sweat. She's breathing gently, long slow breaths. I imagine her soul going in and out: wanting to leave, wanting to come back, wanting to leave, wanting to come back. The day will soon harden into what we need to do. But for now we have each other.
We run a bath. In the faint phosphorescent light of the storm, we submerge ourselves to our necks and our legs intertwine. Nothing could ever be this close. Everything is the best, or else, "I can't go on living like this. Oh, God, it's all such a mess." We stroke each other softly and feel entirely dislocated from the earth, which has never existed.
But I think in the end, with all those holes, you kind of do something. It's like you have a container to hold your soul, and you turn it into a colander. So much of you leaks out, until there' barely anything left. And you just keep lowering your standards, to deal with the barely anything.
You just leak away. And if you're lucky, then one night in the silence ,in the deep heart of the dark, you'll hear the distant trickling of the blood in your veins. A weary world of rivers, hauling their pain through the dark heat. The heart like a tom-tom, beating the message that time is runing out. You'll lie there strangely alert. You'll actually feel the inside of your body, which is your soul, or where your soul is, and a great sadness will engulf you. And from the sadness an itch might begin, the itch of a desire for change."
I got 2 A's and 2 B's for my last semester, my next semester starts September, I have a lot of interesting classes like Hatha Yoga, Intro to Addictions, PsyStress & Time Management, Intro to Human Services, etc, which I can't wait to get lost in. I really wish I had school right now to distract my mind. I'm going to Deleware for the weekend, I hope it won't be too mournful. I'm reading Bukowski, Candy, and Harry Potter all day which is a ridiculous mix. My cousin came over, his summer semester ended well too, so we had a few beers and games of pool with a pretty decent mood. Again, a welcome distraction. The morning's always the roughest for me, I'm always the most vulnerable and raw after waking, so I'm especially careful to do something immediately to divert my thoughts from a downward spiral. I spend a lot of time writing in my journal, letting all the vitriol just flow out through my fingertips, and I feel cleaner afterwards. A hole in my gut the size of a harbor. Adrift. I wish I knew how to reach the kingdom of invincibility. Clocks run in one direction only. Luke Davies has invaded my mind, summing up all this angst in words far more loaded than my own.
I had a copy of Candy with me at Hampton House (or Hotel Hampton, as disillusioned patients refer to it sometimes) and a girl named Christie took a real liking to it. Everyone was terrified of her and kept their distance because she was a walking skeleton. She was obviously dying of AIDS. I spent a lot of time talking to her on smokebreaks. She was infected by a boyfriend years ago, has a house, wishes her parents would leave her alone. She was not angry at all. I was quite impressed by her composure and strength and wanted to give her the copy of the book, but she refused vehemenently. She said she could do that one thing, buy a book she wanted. She said she hadn't liked a book enough to buy it in a long time and I think it was important for her to do it herself. She resented the gift of the book because it implied that I thought it unlikely she would buy it for herself. I had a copy at a 1/2way house in Lakewood, I gave it to some girl who relapsed and never got it back. I had my jail copy, the absolute most sacred copy I had because it was the old cover, before the movie came out and all you could get were movie tie-in versions of the book. Also it was the book Amy had underlined her favorite passages, flipping to them from memory and dictating them to me with furtive, excited glances to see how the words were affecting me. That copy got loaned to a young mentally ill girl, who was 17 and 2 months clean at the time. She had the book maybe a few days before she died in her sleep from a heroin overdose. I never got that copy back. It would have meant the world to me and I asked her sister for it but it never found its way back to me.
Joe's been really nice to me, it's good to have him around for support, he's turning 21 really soon so we'll be able to go out together, which is cool since I have so few friends.