Archive for September, 2012

Little Poor Me 4

Who you are is a palimpsest of who you’ve been. Do a little digging under our carefully curated characters, and you’ll always find the embarrassing scrawl of our immature hand. We’re right to deny the existence of our past stupidities. Soon enough, we’ll deny we ever existed, merely sprung into existence; a parthenogenetic miracle full-birthed with wisdom and insight.

But, still, it’s all there.

Every dirty little bit. Every shitty opinion, and half-thought-through life-hate. Every petty grievance, and shameful failure, and craven desire. They’re us. They’re me. They’re the gratefully forgotten graveyard we built the foundations of ourselves on. But try to take them away.

There’s a neat trick: trying to pull the tablecloth out from under a carefully set life without disturbing the current meal we’re eating, with its just-so opinions, and hand-picked, locally sourced attitudes.

My eyes have so long been on the past that I find myself stumbling constantly into the future, unsure of what I’ve just tripped over until it’s behind me. There is a temptation here to think that I’m saying I live in a state of wistful wishing for the things I’ve done, places I’ve been, and people I’ve known. No…no, that’s not it. It’s only that the future frightens me, and the present discomfits and enrages me. The past is comforting only because I never have to do it again.

Nothing fits.

Nothing even remotely fits.

It all sits on you in a way that suggests your own failures with ever bind and catch. Imagine an ill-tailored suit that constantly tells you that the problem is that you’re the wrong shape to match it. That suit is my skin. That skin is my life. That life is the reflection if myself I catch for a fluttering and silly instant in the eyes of people around me, talking at me, looking for their own reflections.

Of course, there are exceptions:

The mercurial perfection of a great moment on stage.
An intimate laugh with a friend.
A bit of art that pulls me out of myself.
Lying in the arms of a beautiful woman, and smelling her hair, strange and grateful.

And others; and none of them, at the same time. Tomorrow, I’ll feel differently; and the day after, the same.


Keep a picture of who you used to be close to your heart, and look at it often. You could learn a thing or two from yourself.

But you probably won’t.

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Little Poor Me 3

Don’t get me wrong: mistakes have been made.

Love that passive voice, it really denies some responsibility.

But, if we can be honest: I have made mistakes. Many. Many upon many.

Mostly while drunk, let’s be honest. But, to be more honest, enough while sober to be ashamed. The fact is that drunk me knows that sober me has made, and sober me admits to the mistakes that drunk me has made. We complement each other. We give each other meaning.

I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, because it hasn’t told me yet. I’m listening very hard, but my life hasn’t spoken up. So I’m grasping in the dark, and holding on to anything solid. But there’s solid, and then there’s SOLID. The capitalized one is an imaginary solidity that I’ve invented to make myself feel better.

If that doesn’t make any sense, it’s because it shouldn’t. The point here is that we all have an idea. An idea of the real, or the good, or the right. An idea that’s an ideal — and it’s the L at the end that makes all the difference — an ideal of where we should be (and sometimes where we’ve been) or where other people are that we’re not as good as, or what we’re supposed to want.

Or something, or something, or something.

These are thoughts in a vacuum. They’re reflections of reflections; because, unless I can touch you, I can’t really tell you what I mean. I would have to hold you, and transmit it to you like a virus.

But then there’s this:

I know a man. A man who’s better than me. He’s one of many who are better than me, but he isn’t one of many in any other way. Because he’s wonderful.

He’s been through worse pain than I have ever been, and handled it better than I’ve handled the most minor pain in my life. He wears his intelligence lightly, like a hat, but he’s smarter than I’ll ever be. He’s fun and beautiful, and people talk about him when he’s not around, because they wish he was.

And I love him.

And I can never be him.

And I know it. So I try my hardest to be near him, and I try my worst to hurt him. Because, when I hurt him, he lessens, and grows closer to me; because I’m less than him.

This is a person. And it’s a specific person, and it’s a general person, and it’s a man, and it’s a woman. But it’s not me. It’s not even what I aspire to be. Not because It’s not what I want to be, but neither do I aspire to fly — because I can’t, and I won’t ever be able to. So I aspire to creep an inch or two ahead, not to leap the mile to where this man, and that woman, and those people who are so much farther ahead, and human, and warm, and strange, and important than I’ll ever be by a long shot.

So I sit and drink, and think and write.

I read and watch, and want and need.

And I’m alone, because you’re out there and I’m in here. Except you’re alone, too, because you’re in there, too. In your mind.

But I’m more alone than you are. So I win…

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