Monday, October 15, 2012


What happened to this thing?

When did I decide to let it whither and die? Am I giving it life right now?

As a couple sits to my left, possibly engaged in sexual interactions. Her hand, possibly on his member.

Is that the life this thing needs?

Or the gentlemen to my right debating how hard it actually is to quit smoking? To cease breathing smoke into one's lungs?

Is that the life required to keep a blog alive?

To keep my fingers moving on these keys?

I'm not sure.

But I've been a victim to a toxic relationship that has fallen apart and I've been sticking my days out with hope for better days in the future and I've been here.

I've been here.

I've been here.

Is that enough?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stark contrast. Complete opposition.

Beauty, right.

So, what's beautiful about tonight?

What's beautiful about not being able to go home? About not feeling ok at home? Not feeling alright with a loved one?

What's beautiful about finding comfort alone, leaning on a bar, with a beer in hand? Sitting next to strangers. Staring at the television but not registering what all the pictures mean. What everyone else is talking about.

What's so beautiful when the people in close quarters are laughing and singing and it does nothing but cause irritation? Agitation. When the music playing overhead just fills the silence. Provides no emotional response.

When finding joy seems more troublesome than anything else.

When hope seems like a waste of time.

Where is the beauty?

What is so beautiful about all of that?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

And there is the beauty I yearn for.  It catches me.  It finds me.

When I'm on my way to the gym on a Thursday evening, after working for twelve hours.  After schlepping from one job to the other.  From brewing coffee and serving espresso drinks to brewing coffee and serving espresso drinks somewhere else.

After all that.

It finds me.

Somewhere before North Avenue.  Outside a church on St Paul.  

It finds me.

Five people.  Three sit.  Two stand.  Three violins.  One banjo.  One acoustic guitar.  They're playing folk music.  The kind that makes you want to strip off your shoes and go dance in the grass with a friend.  They're playing it and I can feel nothing but happiness.

With each step of my feet I feel buoyant.  A rhythmical bliss.  A sense of belonging.  As if these five people gathered on the steps of this church to play music for me.  To wait and wait until I decided I'd like to walk to the gym on this Thursday evening.  To select the songs according to my mood and my spirits and play them as I pass by.

Yes.  There is that beauty.  Even if I've fooled myself into feeling it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

So what's wrong with enjoying a bit of sadness? A little melancholy? Depression?

What's wrong with it?

This crisp white wine, as the box tells me it is. This hot shower. These defeating lullabies.

What's wrong with it all?

Why can't I like it? Why can't I look forward to it? Why can't I yearn for the few hours of night I have to just lay around my apartment drinking shitty white wine and listening to disheartening acoustic tunes?

Why can't I just have that?

Why is there so much guilt associated with it? Why is there so much shame and revulsion?

Why do I type these words behind the large white door of the bathroom?

I don't know. I don't know at all.

But damn if anyone is gonna stop me from this delicious crisp white and some tub time. Damn it all.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

So I get sick of my own voice. I get sick of reading my own words and thoughts and typing them daily. I get sick of submerging in myself.

Get in. Get out.

But I can't. I can't escape.

Everywhere you go, there you are.

Someone says this to me as I hand him his skinny vanilla latte. And I've heard it before. I heard it in Sheppard Pratt. The social worker said it in that cool deep voice of his.

And yeah, it's true. And yeah, it's a profound statement. And yeah, it sounds beautiful.

But shut up. Just shut up.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I see friends. I drive to Bethesda to see them. They're standing around the bar in a corner of Union Jacks.

I approach and smiles and greetings erupt. They explode with joviality.

And I'm warmed. Enriched. Fulfilled.

All that.

It feels good. I haven't seen these folks enough lately. These folks that I've shared my life with. That I've joined in experiencing and learning what this world is all about. What we're all doing here. How to make it better. How to make ourselves better. I've journeyed through my days with them. Years. Lives.

I've journeyed with them.

As the night moves on I step outside to smoke a cigarette. They appear a few minutes after and announce how the party is moving. How they're relocating to a wilder establishment.

And I have to decline.

Sadly, I have to decline.

But they understand. They're supportive and caring as usual.

It depresses me when I'm left sitting on the curb as they drive off in drunken glee. But I'll see them again soon enough.

God, I hope I see them again soon.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I get home at four in the morning.

I'm sober. I'm with the Girl. I'm content.

We've just returned from my first night at a drive-in movie theater. We sat in the cooling heat of summer and watched three movies on the largest screen in the US.

We're hungry and I make us veggie burgers with lettuce and tomato. Pickles and onions. Broccoli sprouts on a whole wheat bun.

On the bed we watch stand up comedy shows as we silently chew our food.

We smoke a cigarette on the back porch as the sun comes up.

My life has certainly changed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I get headaches.

And I recall when my psychiatrist told me that the Effexor may send sensations of electric shock throughout my body. Waves of uncomfortable surges. Pulsations of pain.

But maybe it's the lack of sleep too. Maybe it's the fact that I'm only unconscious for a few hours a night. Only resting for a brief period of time. Barely recuperating.

Or could it be the stress? The constant strain of worrying about my future? My security? My happiness? My progression as a person?

Or the caffeine? The fact that I now work at Starbucks? That I can consume an unlimited amount of coffee for free?

Maybe it's because I think too much. Or some fault of my brain that is unable to handle a normal amount of activity. Maybe I killed too many cells by drinking too much alcohol. Maybe -

Ok. Yeah. That's enough.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The fourth. It doesn't go so well. Things don't really pan out.

Our trip to Lancaster. Our attempt to stop by a friend's. The bottle of champagne we buy.

None of it pans out.

So what do we do instead?

We spend time on the back porch with the myriad odd bugs, smoking cigarettes and wiping years from our faces.


At least the night ends well enough. With a box of cookies and a pint of ice cream. With Honest Teas and intertwined fingers. With both our bodies beneath the comforter.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What happens? What happens on these awfully quiet days? The days that resound so painfully with silence? With the speechless conversations that last far too long and permeate far too deep?

With the tears that leave me depleted?

This is such a pleasant morning. This coffee. This cigarette. This curb.

But where is She? Where is She?

The streets bear no cars. The coffee shop holds no customers.

So alone.

And then it starts to rain. Then I get wet.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The search continues.

We approach a historic building in Mt Vernon.

A man is to show us some apartments.

He turns out to be a famished black man seated on the front steps of the building in a torn t-shirt and paint splattered pants. He's toothless and seems to have incredible trouble keeping his eyes open. He fumbles with a plastic bag full of keys that he drops as we walk around. As he trips going up steps and mumbles unintelligible words.

He shows us units that look like holding facilities for the insane. One in the basement seems more like a maze. A collection of rooms linked together for some odd reason.

Afterwards he takes us in the maintenance room a few doors down for an application, where the manager and owner sit around a cluttered table of miscellaneous junk in the heat.

The owner is a plump tan skinned man with a European accent so thick that I base all of my responses off social cues. He has a hard, gritty handshake.

We say we'll show ourselves out.

We rush down the hall trying door after door trying to get back to the world.

I throw the application in a trash can outside.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I wait in my car, in a line of cars at the Halethorpe dump. I wait and I sweat.

So much water lost.

Today I view an apartment in Charles Village. See if it strikes my fancy. See if I'd like to live within its walls.

That's the excitement. That's where it stems from.

And I'd really just like all this to be over. I'd really just like to stop searching. For a house. For a profession. For a purpose. I'd like all these things to be established. Resolved. Finished.

This heat is driving me mad.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I'm not sure what happens, but suddenly it's July. Suddenly it's July and it's hot and I have no money and I don't have a home and I'm tired constantly and I drink more coffee than water and my days go by with little nourishment.

Suddenly these things happen.

I spend yesterday sweeping and mopping and lifting and moving and carrying and setting and laying and thinking and sighing and smoking.

That's a day. The last day of June. The last day I'll spend in that horrid townhouse.

But where to now? Where to live now? Where to work and what to do now? How to fill my life now? How to be happy now?

How can I wake feeling so defeated?

My bed has betrayed me.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

She says I don't know how to "sleep in." That when we attempt to do such things I always rise too early. I get up and move about much too soon.

It's past noon now. Almost one o'clock. I imagine it's sweltering outside but I wouldn't know. I'm in a basement. Blinds closed. Shades drawn. Air conditioning flowing.

The Girl still sleeps and I wonder if I've satisfied the notion of sleeping-in or whether I should lay back down and try to fall back under.

And there's so much I need to do today too. So much to get done.

Oh well.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The heat. All anyone can talk about is the heat. It boils us down. My clothes get drenched.

I debate showering before work. I think about it.

But I don't do it.

Instead I stay in bed with Her. I call realty agencies. I smoke cigarettes on the back porch in my underwear. Nothing else.

Too hot for anything else.

Am I drinking enough water?

And these days pass easy enough. I'm concerned. Overly concerned about too many things. But it all passes. I wipe it all from my brow.

I hate the summer.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

There's this moment. Always these moments. But there's this one. And it strikes me while I'm driving towards Clarksville on 32. While I'm driving to Roots Organic Market because She said She wanted to go.

Because we had nothing better to do, and the salty mood I relapsed into was making Her anxious.

So, Roots, She said. Yes, let's go.

So as I drive there. Thinking how depressed I am and how hopeless everything is and how dark and bleak and grim the future is and on and on and on, I stop.

Something stops me.

And it might be the cool evening summer breeze or the way the sunlight is making the clouds turn orange. It might be the hypnotic repetition of the white painted lines my car zips past.

But I stop. I stop and I turn to Her.

And the lighting is so mild but it still manages to radiate within Her hazel eyes. And the wind is whipping Her brown hair playfully about Her face. And Her skin looks so soft and She just looks at me with the most tranquil expression and I know I'm traveling sixty miles an hour on an open highway, but I can't look away. I can't look away.

I just can't.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I search Craigslist for most of the day. In between the hours I spend smiling at customers who could careless for my smile. For my attempts at friendliness. For my conviviality.

They just want coffee. Just as I just want a place to call home. A place to settle down. Relax. Inhale. Exhale.


Why is it so hard to breathe?

So I hound Craigslist for something of the sort. Till that vein that runs along my temple pulsates with such intensity that all of my attention is diverted towards it. Till I have to place an index finger there in fascination. In bewilderment that my body is capable of producing such an occurrence.

Then I realize that the Girl is sitting across from me. Sitting across from me in a Starbucks in Canton asking if I want to leave. If I'd like to get something to eat.

And I must not be fully forming words because She keeps leaning closer and closer and asking what? What?

So I just hone back in to the waves of blood or fluid or wasted thoughts or whatever that are surging down my face.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Right. Words. Must write words. Must write daily.

I painted once. I did it while stoned or drunk or whatever. Mainly while I lived in Bethesda. When I was drinking and smoking regularly.

But I painted this one piece. It was just streaks of colors. Carelessly lathered onto a canvass. With big black words over top.

Always words.

But they said: Did you write today?

And this painting has hung on one of the walls that have made up my bedrooms for the past few years. Hanging there. Asking me. Daily. Questioning.

Did you write today?

Now it rests in a black plastic carrying bag in the corner of a basement as my place of residency teeters on the edge of a cliff.



This head ache is destroying me. It is definitely destroying me.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I wake this morning before the sun rises. Before life seemingly bustles to life. The house is quiet. Roads are vacant. Wind is still.

I breathe smoke as I navigate my way to work.

And I'm so exhausted. So very exhausted. The three hours of sleep did little for me. The nightmares. The disturbances. The nagging realization that my life is spinning out of control.


The sun rise is gorgeous though. Something I haven't seen in quite a while. Something I've missed.

Something to get up for.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tears. The tears come easily today. They hang about my face. I drive around Baltimore with them. I drive and they fall and fall. The sunglasses I wear to try and disguise my anguish do nothing.

How silly. How feeble.

And my head pounds. It won't stop pounding. An incessant thud. A twenty four hour pain.


She asks if I want Her to carry out all the tasks we've lined up for the day. Canceling a gym membership. Retrieving a scale and towel hook to return to Ikea. Running to the drug store.

And I say yes.

Yes, yes. Let me sob in the car alone. Let the sorrow take hold of me by myself. Let me crack and tear as one.

She tells me a text I sent the other day reappeared on Her phone this morning.

It read: this has been one crazy week.

Indeed. Indeed.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I send texts to a friend I met at Sheppard Pratt. She tells me when it rains, it pours.

And now I'm soaked. Now I'm drowning.

And this backyard is so beautiful. So very beautiful.

I look up at the white candle lantern I hung under the porch the other night. The wind chimes. The solar mini LED light posts I dug into the ground.

All I ever say now is goodbye.

How sad.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I sit in the car. I said I would wait.

Just be a minute, She said.

So, in the hundred degree heat, I wait. I wait for Her to grab some Beatles albums so we'll have music for the ride to Ikea. For the ride to go pick out some furniture. Some new housewares.

Because the day before we made the decision to move in together. Because we decided to live together.

So, in the car, in the heat, I wait.

I browse my phone. I lean my chair back. I close my eyes.

I wait.

It's not long before the heat gets to me. The heat and the time.

It's been too long. I'm sweating too much. I can't take it.

So I get out of the car. I walk up the driveway. Up the steps of the patio. Into the kitchen.

I walk towards the stairs. Towards Her room, but I see something in my peripheral through the dining room. Something of interest.

It's Her. She's standing in the bathroom before the sink. Splashing water over Her face and staring at Herself in the mirror.

I smile and move closer. It's a hot day. I understand.

But everything changes as I close the distance. Everything always changes.

There's another body in the bathroom.

It's Her mother and she stands there in a blue flower dress with tears in her eyes.

And suddenly I realize the Girl isn't hot. Isn't splashing water on Her bright red cheeks because of the heat and humidity.

I freeze. Gawk silently.

I watch as the mother tells her daughter that everything will be fine. That as long as her daughter is fine, then she, herself, will be fine. Not to worry. It won't be easy, but these are good things. These are good things.

They embrace. They stand locked in each others arms. And I'm soothed into such a state of joy that I don't even realize when the mother turns to me and thanks me.

Thank you, she says. And as she hugs me I feel the tremble beneath her skin. The shudder throughout her being.

And I feel honored. I feel truly honored.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I smile today. I wake up and smile.

There's this Girl beside me. There are these woods outside my window. There is this comfort in my chest.

I feel good.

So I sit up and kiss Her on the cheek. I raise Her with my lips.

And She stretches and curls under the covers. She yawns and moans then says how She needs a cigarette.

I need a cigarette, She says. And I nod my head. I agree.

So we rise from the bed and push aside the sheets of palm trees that I pinned over the bare sliding glass door leading to the back porch, light our smokes and climb on the wooden guardrail. Swing our legs and talk of dreams we had. Of plans for the day. Of the future.

And I feel good. I feel good.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Words. There is nothing to write here.

I spend last night driving in circles. Listening to music that peels away at my skin while smoking cigarette after cigarette. I sip the old chai tea latte I made myself earlier in the day and even pull over to the side of the road at one point. Push the button for my hazards. Sit and let traffic zoom by.

My sleep is broken and provides little nourishment.

It's supposed to be one hundred degrees today. I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Drugged. Everything I do is drugged. My movements. My thoughts. These words. All drugged.

I am dowsed in honey.

And maybe this would've been something I yearned for. Maybe this would've been something I'd drive distances to find. Meet with people I've never met. Exchange green paper for substances in plastic bags. Maybe there was a time as such.

But not now. It's not so now.

But it's currently expected of me. It's what was assigned to me by a man of medical stature. A man who seemingly knows what he is doing. Knows what's best.


I can't function. I waver between two different planes. Uncontrollably. I toggle back and forth sporadically. I can't stay grounded.

This is awful.

I wonder if the cats suspect anything.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day comes and goes and I'm relieved I think nothing of it. I'm relieved the entire occasion slips my mind completely. That no one asks the question, what did you get your Father?

Yes, that's pleasant.

I still have dreams of him though. He still penetrates my thoughts. Conscious or unconscious. He's still there. Will always be there.

I tell Her of a dream I had the other night. How he wasn't trying to kill me, but another common scenario was played out.

In this one, he simply returns from being absent for an extended period of time. He simply left for some reason and is back for another. Simple as that.

And it always feels so real. All of them always feel so real.

I tell Her these things and ask how one can truly get over something like that. How anyone can truly get over anything that scars them. Anyone that scars them.

She says She doesn't want to talk about it. That it'll make Her uncomfortable. But it rustles about in my mind. It still uneases me.

No, I will never get over these things.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Work. A slew of lifeless hours. Uneventful hours. This is what I wanted, isn't it?

I make frappuccinos into the night. Over and over again. Pouring ingredients into a blender and watching them turn to mush. This is how I spend my weekend.

And it's not so bad. I could think of worse times. I definitely have some worse times tucked away somewhere.

Like when we leave One World Cafe and we're sitting in my car at a red light and She turns to me while smoking a cigarette and says, I want to tell you something, but you can't get mad.

And I laugh. I chuckle and tell Her that's an awful way to preface whatever She's about to say, but sure, I won't get mad.

So, She tells me things that make me cringe and forget the roads we take to get home so She has to point and direct me when we near a turn because my mind is far, far off.

Yeah, there are definitely worse times than hours of making frappuccinos.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I sit in an office watching videos on how great Starbucks is. While sipping on a red eye and battling sleep. Battling the urge to topple over in my chair and curl up on the tile floor. Unconscious. At peace.

However, I remain in my chair and make quirky comments whenever an employee stops by to clock in or out, or grab something from his or her jacket or purse. I appear amiable. Jovial. Alive.

And now I lay, always laying, fighting sleep once again. My eternal enemy.

And it's not just a bout with sleep; it's a bout with time. If I win the struggle I have with staying present, then I'm met with an endless amount of minutes to use. To fill. To do something with.

And what to do with all these minutes?

I'm so tired. So very tired.

This weekend towers over me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I wake to the smell of burning hair. To an acute pain stabbing through my thigh.

I shoot up in bed. Bend forward and grab my leg. A small pile of ash sticks to the site of the sting. Of the pang that startled me to life.

I sit baffled for a second, disoriented and confused.

What is going on?

Then clarity washes over me.

Of course, of course.

A cigarette hangs between Her index and middle finger. Smoke slowly rising from the glow.

Yes, of course.

I wipe the ash from my thigh. A bald, red patch of skin resides underneath. I stare at it before removing the cigarette from Her fingers, taking a drag or two, then extinguishing it in the coffee cup next to the bed.

I debate waking Her, telling Her what She's done, but Her closed eye lids flutter and lips tremble in the most subtle manner. So, instead I kiss Her forehead

Then I go back to sleep.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The shells we become. The people we're capable of suppressing. Of holding in and down till we forget why we did it in the first place. Why we chose to escape who we are.

I'm on the phone with my mother when I get to Her house. I pace the driveway as we speak. As the conversation ends, Her mother appears on the deck with a cigarette.

Do you know what's going on with Her? she asks.

I shake my head. Furrow my brow. Look concerned.

She just rolls her eyes and heads back into the kitchen. I follow. Inside she tells me that her daughter isn't having the best of days. Isn't coping too well with whatever. So, She decided to take some meds. An excessive amount of meds.

Lorazepam, she tells me.

And I google it. I read up. Learn as much as I can as I ascend the staircase.

The room is dark when I enter. Blinds shut. Lights off. Spider-Man plays on the television.

She sits with Her back against the wall smoking a cigarette. With heavy, uninterested eyes.

I move cautiously. Watching Her. I remove my shoes and sit down on the mattress.

I smile at Her and get little in return.

The room is freezing, as always.

Her movements are sluggish. Her hands rise and fall as if they're receiving falty signals. As if they're lost in a fog. Her jaw is tight. Tense.

I reach out and touch Her forearm. Trace my fingers down to Her palm. To Her finger tips. Then back up.

I wonder how much of this She can actually feel.

But I don't tell Her what I know. And She tells me nothing in return.

So we sit with Spider-Man, pretending that this is just another night. Just one more night to get through.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I am miserable. A whirlwind of misery. Don't come too close. Don't get swept up.

I will consume you.

She tries to pull me from the depths I've dived. She tells me not to worry of my insecurities. She tells me it's all fine.

But I ignore Her. I get up. I get dressed. Tell Her I'm leaving.

She tells me to text when I get home. I say nothing. Walk from the bedroom. Shut the door behind me.

Once I back out of Her driveway I speed down the street. Fast. Far.

Keep going. Keep distancing. It's the only thing I know. It's all I know.

But when I arrive at my house nothing has changed. I've saved no one. The torment actually spread farther and farther with each mile I drove.

I stare out at the sky as it turns grey and darkens. As my feet settle into the pavement.

Then I text Her. Tell Her I'm home.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I sit on a bench in Fells, sipping on hazelnut coffee. There are two men sitting on the curved stone bench before me, smoking what I'm convinced is marijuana.

A group of four young white girls in skirts that playfully flap in the wind walk by with paper cups of ice cream. Two dogs out for an evening stroll with their master bark at a tree. Or something in the tree. A squirrel, perhaps. Or a bird.

The engine of a motorcycle groans like an upset belly.

Taxis peruse the square, searching for a source of income. A helicopter passes overhead.

I drove up here for a reason. I believe there was a reason. I'm not sure I achieved it by sitting alone on a wooden bench, sipping on coffee I don't recall paying for.

No, this could not have been the reason.

But it appeases me. Regardless, it appeases me.

The constant breeze. The warm tones of blue from the sky. The glow of the street lamps. The unintelligible, soft flow of conversation. The faint smell of sea water.

This seems good enough. A good enough way to spend the evening.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What to write of these mornings?

I take steps. I progress as a person. As a human being. As a growing consciousness. As someone who cares to go beyond the point at which he finds himself.

Beyond where I find myself.

Yesterday I find myself sprawled on the carpet of my bedroom. Toying with my iPhone. Browsing websites that hold little interest. Debating whether to watch movies I've seen too many times. Pondering whether to spend the entire day like this.

On my belly on the carpet.

It doesn't sound so bad. I'm exhausted. Fatigued. Beat, as they say.

But instead I get a text from Her. And it beckons me to DC. To the national mall.

So I rise from the floor. Hop in the shower. I drive us down to our nation's capitol. And we spend the day amongst the museums.

Bettering ourselves. Enhancing our lives so we can enhance others. Pass it along. Continue the flow of knowledge and personal wealth.


It's too bad the night ends with Her sobbing in the passenger seat of my car after She's received an overly aggressive incongruous message from Her former best friend demanding that interactions between the two cease.

So I wind up stopping at a gas station where one ragged man is slumped on the sidewalk, leaning on plastic pallets, and another approaches asking for gas money, all so I can purchase more cigarettes to ease the tension.

Right. Bettering ourselves.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

These lives we're leading. All the lives we're leading. How they bustle about and move around. How they evade each other and coexist. How they collide and destroy themselves.

How a past life can shatter a future life. How something that has happened in the past can annihilate possibilities later on. Things that haven't happened yet. Will never happen as a result of one unforeseen occurrence.

Mind boggling. Simply mind boggling.

I sit sweating in my car this morning. My left foot rests on the dash and the sun burns my ankle. I look down and see a scar there. A scar I was unaware of. Looks like a scrape. A rug burn, maybe. When was I rolling around on a rug?

I've just bought a root beer and a coconut water from a small market on the corner because the minimum charge for credit was three dollars. I have no cash because I haven't worked in two months. So I wound up buying two beverages.

All I wanted was the root beer.

Too bad I chugged the coconut water first and now I sit bloated and perspiring in the heat, thinking of how many lives I've lived and how many will never come to be.

Sunday mornings.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I see someone I haven't seen in two months. I see him outside the AMC theater in Columbia. He stands there with his girlfriend, who I also haven't seen in two months.

They spot me first. I can tell when I recognize them; they've been looking at me for a few moments. Surprised. Baffled.

I smile and close the distance.

I don't have to think too hard to remember the last time I spoke to him. I remember well, actually.

It was the day I never returned to work. It was the day I sent him a message instead of showering and changing into my uniform. It was the day I drove myself up to Towson. Nervous. Anxious. It was the day I parked my car and headed into the walk-in clinic. Told them I needed care. That I was a reason for concern. It was the day I took my future and laid it out before me. Laid it out and began toying with it. Experimenting. Prodding. Poking.

So, I approach them and I shake his hand and I give her a hug.

She asks how I'm doing and I say ok.

I think this is the truth.

We make small talk on the movie we walked out of and the little things we occupy ourselves with.

His girlfriend tells me to come and visit sometime.

I tell her I need to.

He tells me my beard looks good.

I thank him. Laugh.

We part shortly after. With another handshake and hug, we part. And I walk away thinking only of breathing.

Just keep breathing.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Days trickle by.

I wake to four missed calls from a friend. We're all not doing so well. We pass it on. We let others have it when we're done.

How vague am I being?

And my nights are too heavily sedated. The mirtazapine has become my enemy. My dreams are so long and intricate and vivid; I've grown to hate them. I hate that I can't escape them. I hate when I wake in the morning and feel so groggy. Feel so heavy and movement feels so foreign. I hate when the best idea I have is to close my eyes. Rest my head back down. Return to the fantasy I just left. The other realm. The plane that entraps me.

Right. Well, at least I'm not hungover. There's always that. There is always that.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I drive to Fells. I park my car next to Hers. In that parking lot we sat in for so long one night, debating where to go. What to do. As some Hispanic guy vomited a few yards away. Over and over again onto the sidewalk.

I park my car there.

And there are still other odd characters on the walk to the coffee shop. The child walking around in jeweled high heel shoes. The homeless man digging through the ashtray atop a garage can for unfinished cigarettes. The girl arranging coins in a particular order on the front steps of a closed store. Her boyfriend standing beside her, waiting. As if he's waiting for her to finish tying her shoe.

I walk past them. Get to the coffee shop. The barista asks what she can get me. I ask for Her. I ask to see Her.

She's in the bathroom cleaning toilets.

I wait. Circle the shop. Browse through the drink case. Look over the muffins and pastries.

Then She appears. With a spray bottle and a roll of paper towels. She appears.

And for the first time in a few days I feel at ease. I feel calm.

She makes me a drink with six shots of espresso. It's called the Jitter Bug.

I drink it as I sit and watch Her roll garbage receptacles to the curb. As She wipes off the counter tops.

As She makes me smile.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I stop by a friend's on the way home from Columbia. After I've rock climbed for the first time in two months. After I've sat with a loved one over pizza and root beer and discussed where our lives are headed. How they're dividing.

But I stop by a friend's. He sits at the kitchen table, playing with his iPad. I pull up a chair.

We start with light conversation. Jobs. Living situations. Weekend vacations.

But then he turns to me. He leans toward me in his chair. Pushes the iPad aside. Looks into me.

He tells me about positivity. About exuding it into the world. About embracing it in any circumstance. Standing by it when it stands alone. Fighting for it when it's outnumbered.

His girlfriend enters in a white bathrobe and rests an elbow on his huge shoulder. A roommate walks over and stands in the door frame of the kitchen. They watch as I sit and absorb wisdom. Take in the gifts he is giving. They observe how deeply I'm processing this information. Whether I'm worthy of such things.

This is me putting positivity into the world, he concludes. This is me passing it onto you.

This is him being a good friend, his girlfriend adds.

I thank him. I don't know how many times I thank him. I offer some sort of reimbursement, but he refuses. I offer my hand and he shakes it. I don't know how many times I shake his hand.

I stand and continue to spew gratitude. Everyone smiles and wishes for the best.

I move backwards toward the door awkwardly. Saying parting phrases and thanking and thanking.

He heads downstairs with his girlfriend. The roommate sinks back into the kitchen.

They've done what they could.

The rest is up to me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ok. So how to deal with this now?

How to deal with the wrenching nausea pushing up my throat? How to deal with the pressure squeezing my intestines dry? How to deal with the spasm shooting down my jawline?

How to deal with this pain? This distress? This encompassing sense of anguish?

This wound. This wound. This wound.

I'm no gentleman.

Grizzy Bear appropriately plays from the speakers across the hall. How appropriate this all is.

The incessant twitch of my foot. My sweaty palms. My empty stomach that's been ripped apart.

How utterly appropriate.

And the weather's been so beautiful lately. Such splendid days.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, June 4, 2012

A part of me is missing. Maybe multiple parts. Maybe a whole section. I'm just not sure.

And I don't know what the significance of these parts were. I don't know what purpose they served or what tasks they carried out. I don't know why or where they existed.

All I know is their absence. All I feel is their absence. The lack of them. The space that now resides within me.

The space that feeds off attention. The space that beckons me to fall in. The space that continuously reminds me that I destroyed something. That I took the power I have, that I made the decision, of my own free will, the conscious decision, that I raised my hand and crashed it down on something. That I caused death. That I am capable of such a thing. That I am just as horrid as I always feared.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

I just need a little time to make things right. Just a little time.

My words have never meant less.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I want to write of Her smile. I want to see Her smile. It's all I want. It's all that needs to happen. It's all I need.

But I sit across from Her in One World Cafe and watch as She slowly scoops a few black beans and an olive from Her vegan quesadilla onto Her fork, then stops.

The motion ceases.

And all of a sudden there are tears streaming down Her cheeks. They stream down and drip onto the green button down She's wearing. They make dark circles on Her green button down.

I tell Her to look at me. That things will get better from here. That the worst is over.

But the tears are relentless. They form and fall with such ease. With such efficiency.

The waitress approaches and slows as she realizes what's taking place. That she's walking into something painful.

I try to grin at her. I don't know what expression I manage. Something strained and pitiful, I'm sure.

She asks if I'm finished and I nod my head. Throw my napkin on the remaining tortilla chips. She takes my plate, but leaves the quesadilla sitting before Her. With the black beans and olive still on the fork. With the tears still falling.

With me still praying for that smile.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I kill myself. I do this throughout the afternoon. Into the evening. Into the night. Into the early hours of the morning.

I kill myself.

Not deliberately. Not so. It just happens. Just as the rain falls atop my gray, worn hat as I stand, soaked, before Her Chevy Blazer. As Her ignition runs and She sits sobbing, pounding on the steering wheel, telling me how She can't leave because She's too worried about me. Too concerned for my well-being.


Funny how, minutes before, She pushed past me when I tried to dissuade Her from leaving my room. Tried to convince Her to stay. Tried to make things better.

Oh well, okay.

So after standing there. Glancing up at the sky as it pours down on me. Rains down on me. Pounds me down.

She coaxes me into returning indoors. She persuades me to do so.

But it's all a trap. I realize this far too late. When I'm in my room with my housemates eagerly staring at me for some rationale. For some composition.

But I can't give it to them. I can't give them anything.

So I leave. I venture out into the storm. Into the treachery of the night. I go out. I welcome it.

What awful ideas. What horrid notions. What foolish ideologies.

Let's hope I forget these moments. Let's hope I forget me.

Let us hope.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The parrot squawks from downstairs as sunlight peeks through the blinds. The air conditioner pushes the smell of stale smoke throughout the room. Her Chihuahua's warm body is curled against my leg, under the blankets.

A door opens in the hallway, uttering a drawn creak into the morning's silence. Brisk footsteps make their way to the bathroom and the turn of a lock follows.

I lay, as I always lay, staring up at the ceiling fan. At the blotches of white on the wall from where the blue paint has peeled. At the cobweb in the corner. The pieces of tape that presumably once held something besides themselves.

I should be sleeping. I think of how I should be sleeping. I mull over it. List the reasons I'm awake. The possibilities as to why consciousness currently presides over unconsciousness. Why I'm trapped with open eyes and bombarding theories and scenarios. Why I can't just relax and melt and drain and dry out and sleep.

Why can't I sleep?

I don't settle on a satisfactory cause so, I just lay.




What terrible way to start the day.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I look over the most common side effects of Effexor, the anti-depressant I’ve been taking for the past week.

    I read the list.  

    I check off the easy ones.  Dry mouth.  Changes in appetite.  Tremors.  Decreased sex drive.

    Yes, yes.  I have these.  Let’s continue.

    Then I get to strange dreams.  And I think over the past week.  The dream with that giant mutating spider in my backyard.  The dream on the support beams of that cabin, hiding out from flesh-eating evil elves.  The dream of sexually engaging with that two-headed woman.  

    I think of the auditory hallucinations that have stirred me from sleep almost every night recently.  The conversations I swear I’m having until I spring forward.  Find myself next to a sleeping body.  In a dark room.  No one to converse with.

    I think of the moments during the day when someone says something.  Let’s get some coffee.  Or, I could use a nap.  Or maybe, where is that kid’s parents?  And I have to stop.  I have to cease motion and stand there and scan my memory.  Scan my hold on reality.  Scan why this all seems so familiar.

    And I think of whether I’m progressing.  Whether the steps I’ve taken have moved me forward.  Have increased distance from where I deemed I needed to leave.  From where misery was consuming my life.  

    Have I changed any?

    Am I capable of such a thing?

    Is it possible for me to be happy?  Actually exist, as one, with happiness?  In happiness?  As happiness?

    And of course there’s that fun section - contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following.  And yeah, I experience them.  Who doesn’t?

    Mood or behavior changes - check.
    Anxiety - check
    Trouble sleeping - check
    Impulsivity - check
    Agitation - check
    Restlessness - check
    Hyperactivity (mentally or physically) - check
    More depressed - check

    Right.  Looks like I should make that phone call.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What to write?

The Depression gets me. I fight it. I battle it over the weekend. As it lurks behind me I find ways to evade it. To prolong my decency. Prolong a sense of normalcy.

But it takes hold. It immobilizes me. And eighty percent of victory is immobilizing one's opponent.

I believe I read that somewhere.

Regardless, it cripples me and digs in. Begins devouring whatever positivity I was cultivating. Tears through the layers of optimism and vigor I had been generating. Ravages the remnants of hope within me.

So I do what I've been trained to do. I do what I know best. What I've perfected. What has seemed to get me through every other time.

I head to the liquor store. I drive there mechanically. Robotically. Lifelessly.

I walk in with programmed steps and tersely interact with the cashier.

I leave with a pack of cigarettes and a pint of Jim Beam and take no time to consume the two.

It's only after a few cigarettes lay in the ashtray and the whiskey bottle sits half empty that I come to. That I become me again. That I get to feel once again.

And I feel wretched. I feel so wretched.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

She asks me a question. It's between three and four in the morning, if I remember correctly.

It's after I return from the bathroom. After I stand there in front of the mirror. Peering into my blue eyes for some sort of self worth. Some sort of significance.

My pupils are dilated from all the anti-depressants flowing through my body.

I turn my head down. Relieve myself then leave.

She's smoking a cigarette when I crawl back on the mattress. The room is freezing but we stay atop the blankets.

As I take the cigarette from Her and place it in my mouth, She asks the question.

Are you okay? She asks.

And I've heard these words before. I've heard them throughout my entire life. Daily from my Mother growing up. From concerned loved ones throughout the years. From colleagues. Classmates. Strangers.

But it's this single time that stops me. That makes me pause. The bass in Her groggy voice. The regard in Her tired eyes. The patience of Her folded hands.

With smoke in my lungs, I pause.

And I don't remember the answer I give. All I remember is laying awake for the next several hours, staring at the ceiling from the floor.

Monday, May 28, 2012

    As I write on my iphone, She sits beside me on the mattress reading quotes from Honest Tea labels.

    She has a bag before her full of them and takes them out one by one.  Peels them apart.  Peels them open.  The adhesive makes that sticky parting sound.

    I lay there and type words on the digital notepad.  Writing words about Her.

    She begins reading the quotes.  One after the other.  Places them in a pile to Her right.

    I don’t listen to anything She says.  I hear Her voice.  It’s balanced and calm.  Low and contemplative.  Soothing and safe.

    I hear Her stumble over the pronunciation of a few of the names.  I hear Her try to sound out each syllable.  Pensively.  Cautiously.

    I pause and rest my head on the pillow.  Wonder if She’s reading these things to me or to Herself.  Wonder if She realizes I’m ignoring Her.

    What is the motivation here?

    What’s something you take with you everywhere you go? She asks.

    I shrug my shoulders.  Stare at Her.

    Give me your phone, She says.

    And I hand it over.  Without hesitation, I hand it over.

    She grabs a pair of scissors, some tape, and after a few minutes She returns my phone.

    On the back it reads: The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall - Marianne Williams

    I read it and smile.  Spread myself about the mattress.  Exhale one long, full breath.

    A few hours later, after I’ve left Her house and have ventured out into the heat, I remove my phone from my pocket.

    The words are gone.  

     I dig my hand back in and pull out curled, wet versions of what once was.

    Then I fall.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

She kisses me so sweetly in the night.

I think this happens. I feel like this happens.

In between one of the chronic dreams I have of my Father trying to kill me and a dream I have of capture-the-flag with wild animals.

She kisses me.

Once with her lips over top my upper lip. Once with her lips over top my bottom lip.

She kisses me.

And it's all so hazy. It's all sprinkled in mist and fog. It all sneaks in and rests, then escapes. Rushes out. Leaves.

But I'm left with this sensation. This fulfillment in the absence of Her. This sustaining warmth that lasts and lasts and lasts.

And I may have created all these things. I may have conjured them up with my imagination. They may all be me.

And I'm not sure it matters. I'm not sure I care.

I have the impression within me.

I have it.

And I like it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

    So, it doesn’t all have to be bad.  The days don’t have to be dripping with sorrow.  With melancholy.  They can turn out alright.

    So I let it be so.

    I move through the day.  I glide on the minutes that pass.  I let them float under me.  I let them go.

    And it’s easy enough.  Sure, there are moments I stagger.  There are moments I stop.  Pause.  Bend down and pry through the seconds.  Pick apart each passing fragment of my existence and analyze whether it means something or not.  Whether it has value.  Whether it’s worth it.

    That happens.  I can’t say it doesn’t happen.  It does.  It most certainly does.

    But I let that go too.  I start dropping everything.  I start dropping and begin floating.  Up and up, I float.

    And sure, the ground is still there.  Sure, with each foot I rise I bear the weight of the fall.  

But who cares?  What is it they say about ships?  About where they’re safe?  About why they’re built?

Well, yeah.  That’s true too.

I come home today feeling good.  I come home from Takoma Park covered in sweat and hope.

There’s a package between the storm door and the front door.  A thin cardboard box.  And it’s for me.

It has my name on it.

So I tear it open inside as a cat settles down to watch.  Dr Suess’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go falls out along with a letter

Life is a balancing act, it says.

And I absorb the words.  The meaning.  I hold them.  I hold it.  I balance it all.

Then I read the book.  Right there on the floor.  

I read the book,

And things are okay. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

    Right, so, words on the page.  Here they are.

    And not much has happened.  Or maybe too much has.  Always so unsure of what’s going on.  Always thinking far too much.  Always bouncing around in my cluttered thoughts.

    I put on my shoes to leave the house yesterday.

    Where are you going? a loved one asks.

    To Her, I say.

    Oh yeah?  How’s that going? she asks.

    And I just stand there.  I look out the storm door.  At the dead potted plants lining our walkway.

    And I say nothing.  It’s still going.  It’s still there.  Life is still moving on.  It still goes and goes, even at the times I wish it’d stop.

    Even at the times I buy a half pint of Jim Beam and a pack of American Spirits and drive around Columbia listening to Elliott Smith.  Radiohead.  Anything that will make my heart writhe.

    Even at the times I return home and my housemates block the exit to my room when I attempt to leave.  Even as I push and squirm past them, all to use the bathroom in the hallway alone.  All to just be alone.

    Even at the times I wake in the night, on the floor, and erupt with terror at how I’ll have to wade through another day.  That the sun will indeed rise and I will have to greet it.

    That there is something inside me that relentlessly pitters and patters and won’t give out.  Will never give out.  Will keep me going without my consent.

    Even at all those times.

    Right.  So.  I guess that puts me here.  Here writing again.  Here doing it again.  I guess, that says enough for now.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another day.  Begin it well and serenely.  

    Well, at least we’ll try.

    I spend yesterday hung over.  I spend it in low spirits.

    I speak with my Mother, over the phone, as I sit in the driver seat of my Honda Element, with the door ajar, my legs hanging out, smoking a cigarette in the rain.

    You may have some more back and forth, you two, she says.

    And I cringe at the words.  I pull smoke in.  Blow it out.  A white sedan passes and I stare at the couple inside as they laugh about something.  A joke perhaps.  Maybe an observation.  Maybe they’re laughing at me.

    You’re too trusting, my Mother says.  You give people everything and leave nothing for yourself.

    My bare feet have pebbles and strands of grass stuck to the bottoms.  The ends of my pants are damp from stepping through puddles.  My neck aches from passing out on the couch last night.

    Half glass full, remember? she asks.

    Yeah, I say.  I remember.

    But I never see it that way.  I never see it at all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I was in China once. I received a phone call. One of the translators told me so while I was in the forest.

Justin, phone call, she said.

And I was so excited. I knew who it was. I knew.

So I sprinted up the hill. Across the courtyard. Up the stairs. Through the doors into the lobby. To the red phone on the wall.

I was panting when I answered. With electricity in my voice, I answered.

Hello, I said.

It's bad news, she said.

And I knew the rest from there. Everyone knows the rest from there.

So I hung up the phone. I walked out, to the edge of the hilltop, I walked out. I clenched my fists. Dug my toes in the dirt. Gritted my teeth. Glared out at the smoggy sky and cursed all I knew to curse. Cursed it all. Spewed anger from my being. Exploded with rejected energy.

A few minutes later I walked, shaking, to the nearby shop. Grabbed a beer and sat at a table. The owner was there knitting a pair of socks. She asked if I needed any. I told her no.

No, I don't need any socks.

And now I'm in Maryland. Rejected and in Maryland. Dejected. Discarded. Put down. All in Maryland.

And it feels no different. The feeling still burns within my chest. Still pulsates and bubbles within my veins.

I'm still punctured and bleeding. I'm still alive and dying. Still here and parting.

It doesn't matter where you are. Life will find you. It will find you and it will tear you to shreds.

It will leave you bare and cold.

And my Mother always tells me to write such happy things on here.

Oh well, ok.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No one is home when I get to the house this morning.

    I haven’t slept there in almost a week.

A mess of shoes lies inside the front door.  Flip flops.  Sneakers.  Boots.  Assorted envelopes and bills, most likely all mine, are scattered about the living room table.  The kitchen sink is filled with dishes, as it was when I left, and a few empty beer bottles line the counter.

I grab a bowl from the cabinet and pour in some Frosted Flakes.  Some milk.

The french press is still on the table from when I stopped in over the weekend.  The grounds are stuck all along the glass.  I sit down before it.  Begin munching on my breakfast.

One of the cats comes in and pleads for some milk.  Begging.  Dragging her body across my shin.  I ignore her, but she jumps up and sticks her face beside my spoon.  Begins lapping it up.  And I let her.  I frown when I have to pull cat hair from my teeth as I chew, but I let her.

The windows have been open the past few rainy days and the air in the house feels heavy.  Thick.  Like moving through syrup.

I remove my button down and toss it on the kitchen floor.  The male cat arrives and settles down.  Naps on it.

   Once I finish the cereal I sit there with the female, licking her paws in satisfaction, as my tummy rumbles with the first sustenance it’s received in almost a day.

    I’m so tired and get the feeling the cat on the floor has the right idea.  So I slide off the chair and spread out on the sticky tiles.  Dream dreams of better times.