Emetic Diuretic

touching every nerve on repeat
ad infinitum, ad nauseum, ad vertisium
straw men on infinite scroll
binge and purge, singe and durge
the anger, the righteousness, the fearmongering
the masturbation
we can’t see it
i can’t believe it
constant waves crashing over my head
taking on water, swallowing it all down
not wanting to drown
salt, tears, gurgling for a lifeguard
but the guards are all fired
this libertarian beachhead
has got me counting
one two three
drifting out to sea

Amen

Adverb for agreement and consent. Amen.
Statement of “so be it”. Amen.
Punctuation to a long prayer. Amen.
That is the past. These are our hopes. This is our intent. Amen.
Please let us move on, dream on, go forward into the dark night. Amen.
Pushing to the sunrise of our souls, of our world. Amen.
Leaving all our shadows behind. Amen.
It’s time to turn the page and love again. Amen.
Lifting up our prayers like a billion lights in the sky. Amen.
The past is gone for good. It’s time to say: Amen.
Amen. Amen.

On the Stories Being Written

In 10th grade, I sat next to a guy in marching band named Chris. Chris watched a lot of “Doctor Who”, back when the only place to find it — in 1987 — was the odd hours on PBS. He was the only person I knew in school who openly admitted watching it; owning up to your nerdy nature meant ostracization was certain. Chris also listened to a lot of Depeche Mode and gleefully explained to me the deeper, disruptive meanings of the lyrics (this was pre-“Violator”). Chris was also working on writing a serial drama; every day, he’d tell me the gossip of what happened that day in this fictional world that he was creating (it was partially autobiographical). I tried to follow along, but couldn’t always do so because I was either a little bit bored, a little bit lost, or I was otherwise worried about the band director busting us for talking during practice. But it felt good being a trustworthy listener (several of my bandmates saw me as that someone they could just talk to). So yeah, Chris and I had a camaraderie because we were both outcasts, of a sort, in a world of misfit band nerds. The weirdos among the weird.

There was a lot going on under the hood, and my naiveté being what it was at the time, I didn’t see the struggles that Chris was going through. He was a well-established kid (had his own car in 10th grade) and was trying to make a name for himself by being a great student and a respectable guy. But some of our classmates had already sniffed him out. He wasn’t, shall we say, a straight guy. That put him into a certain class of outcasts. I, being a neophyte in the ways of society, didn’t detect that. But whatever.

Eventually, my Christian zeal of the time would grow and recast me in a different mold, and people came to know me as this kid who became a Fire For God. Eventually, people like Chris faded from my sphere. Some years later, when I had graduated high school and moved on to OBU, I had significantly loosened my straps and had learned to be more human in my faith. I learned, basically, how to stop being an asshole.

One nondescript Friday night during my second year, I rode with my roommate Stephen to Texarkana to rendezvous with his girlfriend at the rest stop, the midway point on her drive from Dallas to Arkadelphia to see him. Who, of all people, do I cross paths with while there? Chris, of course, who was there with some of his buddies. I was happy to see him again; delighted, in fact. An old friend! Unfortunately, he wore a shocked, wide-eyed stare and was incredibly uncomfortable as he shifted his eyes between me and his friends. Our conversation was stunted and I left without a smile. It was like I had missed some big social cue that things were afoot and didn’t pick up on what was happening until later.

This sort of encounter is not the first or only time this has happened, but apparently he saw me, based on his memory, as this holy light of God that came to expose him for his sins. That’s a hurtful feeling, but it really highlights the idea that people remember me for being this holy warrior in high school and that’s all they know about me. It short-sheets the idea that people can change. I later had other encounters with former classmates who either turned to God and wanted to tell me all about it as a new brother or who went on being themselves and thought I was there to cast judgment, neither knowing that I myself had walked out.

People change, and there’s nothing you can do in a five minute street encounter to convince otherwise.

So yeah, I was thinking about Chris earlier tonight for some reason. I remember liking the guy, as iconoclastic as he was. I hope he’s doing well in his adult life and has found his voice, his true voice. As I hope for us all.

Twist and Burn

Dancing in my darkened kitchen to DKMD’s “On the Other Side” at at 12:30am while heavily drunk on whiskey is the best my day has been. I’m busting moves I didn’t think I had.

Honestly, I think I feel shitty through the rest of the day because I burn my brain’s dopamine at night when I’m drunk. There’s not enough for the rest of the following day. That or my life is just that shitty.

Either/Or.

Anyway, DKMD is one of the projects Marie Davidson has been involved with, and tonight is my first night following that thread. She’s a great musician on her own, and I’m now seeing where she came from. Shit’s great.

Bump and Grind

Really feeling it, the existential nature of my own reality. So bedraggled. Not enough sleep, not with my need to live a worthwhile life conflicting with my need to hold down a job. This weekend, I finally caught up on my sleep and am well-rested. Unfortunately, I’m rested and awake enough to realize just how fucked I am. The truth is just too…true. Y’know?

So, I’m bored and petulant. Angry because all weekend I’m reminded of just how shitty it is living in a crowded city. Like, every turn I make is met with someone in my way. I know that’s the “bump and grind” of living in a large city, but it feels personal — like the city’s out to get me. Man, what a bullshit thought, right?

The seed of paranoia is the thought that randomness has an actual evil intent. That’s a bad conclusion to make, a wrong line between the wrong dots. That’s where paranoid people get it from. In truth, the halted steps, the road blocks, the red lights, the missed turns, the long lines — those are all due to random movements of random actors in a random playfield. I might be personally inconvenienced, but that’s all it is. I started thinking that because I’m following social protocol and yielding instead of putting myself first, I’m being trampled and held back. That might be partially true, but general public doesn’t know me from Adam, therefore, they cannot possibly have evil intent.

My love for this city is unrequited. I need an escape. A relief valve. A friend. A real friend. That fire inside.