Crazy Man Writes Long Sentence
I love you, but my judgment has been questioned before, there is a history of mental illness in my family, people who are crazy don't tell you they hear voices in their heads, they just do the crazy assignments that the voices give them, the voices in my head unanimously agree, now we know what it feels like to feel like we know what it feels like, reading minds without the use of a barf bag, I can’t even read my own mind, one man used his penis as an eraser and another nearly stapled himself to death, but other than that we’re accident free here in the loony bin administrative offices, when the tornado devastated the mental hospital, the patients were surprisingly calm, it made perfect sense to them, walking the halls giving people weird looks and studying their responses, but why leave the room when delicious and nutritious morsels come crawling in through every crack, please turn on the fan when you’re in the bathroom so that we can’t hear you talking to yourself, my highest achievement in life is to keep myself out of a cage, I was born, I will die, in between I will have some troubles and some joys, hi, my name is Bobby, and I ain’t never been in jail, if you try to out-fail me, you know you’re gonna fail, I’ll meet you outside the shower curtain in the morning, if I never look another person in the eye, I'll become a ghost, there are so many ghosts swirling around you every second, but there’s not any one ghost who can claim a spot next to you for very long before she gets caught back up in the world swirl, but ghosts can get in and out of cages with ease, my brother was in the emergency room of the hospital and my mother was checked into the psychiatric ward of the same hospital - at the same time - my brother’s eyes were open just a slit, but he was deeply unconscious, my mother would not make a sound, though the day before, she had been screaming and writhing, my brother was in a bed, my mom was in a wheelchair, they were now in the same room together -the emergency room- my father had wheeled my mother over from the psychiatric wing to see her son, they both happened to be in the same hospital at the same time because of a cruel coincidence, tightly linked events, my brother had tubes hanging out of his mouth and nose, he was attached to machines that kept his heart and lungs pumping, a drug overdose had halted his heart beat for approximately twenty minutes before paramedics arrived and restarted his heart, my mother was heavily medicated and catatonic, her mental health visit had been interrupted by the arrival of her son in the emergency room in another wing of the hospital, but I don’t know if she comprehended the situation, it would be the last time my mother would see my brother while his heart was still beating, she didn’t say a word, her expression didn’t change, in fact, I think I saw a hint of a smile, like, “Oh, my son is here, it’s so good to see him,” not comprehending, she reached out and grabbed his hand and held it a while, and then my dad wheeled her back to her room in the psychiatric wing, I try to sort through these memories, I try to figure out when all of this started, who was in the hospital first that time - my mother - I know that, but who had their problem first, when did these troubles begin, maybe there was no beginning, maybe I should begin with my own beginning, I was born in that exact same hospital, Maryview Hospital, in Portsmouth, Virginia on January 27, 1971, everybody in my family has gone there over the years for some injury or illness, a doctor in that emergency room stitched the top of my head up when I was four or five years old, my sister had chased me down the hall, and I ran into a door knob and split my scalp open, my sister once had to have a massive, horrible splinter taken out of her foot at that hospital, my brother had been there many times, he had overdosed before, he had wrecked cars and motorcycles, there were no painkillers in existence that would relieve his pain, he had built a tolerance to all painkillers because he ate them to get high, my brother had been in the psychiatric wing, my other sister had been there too, both visiting and ‘residing’ she smuggled pills into the psyche ward - to my brother - so that he could have his maintenance high, my mom had been there, my dad had been there, I have many memories of the hospital, ghosts won’t visit me, my thoughts are too vile, I love you, and even though my judgment has been questioned many times, it’s still love ain’t it, dummy love, young fool, so soon old fool, quiet in a loud room, I love you so much, I will take care of you even when you go nuts, there's nothing more terrifying than going crazy, but even worse is being all alone when you do it, so I’ll be there, I know you don’t really hate me, I know that -this- all of this - is just the crazies talkin, and when it gets to be too much for me or any one person, and you have to go 'away,' I'll come see you every day, I'll be there every day after work and all day on weekends until you come out of there, because -you know- you WILL come out of there eventually, there's nothing YOU could do that's bad enough for them to keep you in there forever, and they got other crazy people that gotta go in there, they need the room, and anyway, what if I went crazy, if I went crazy at my desk at work, whose job would it be to remove me, people are allowed to go insane, gradually, in their long careers, in their dusty old cubicles, some folks for example, the company officials could convince them that they are being paid with gravity, if they stop doing their job, they will fly off the face of the earth, if I climbed up on top of the cubicle wall, the wall separating my neighbor's cubicle and mine, and I balanced up there, if I stood up there, took out my dick, and started pissing into my neighbor's cubicle, that motherfucker would never forget that shit, never, on the day he dies, he'll remember, even if he lives to be 115 years old, there will still be that vivid memory of the lunatic who stood on the cubicle wall and pissed on him, it might be his oldest, clearest memory, it might be the last thing he thinks of before he passes away, it might define his entire life up to that point, everything that ever happens to him from then on will either be BETTER than getting pissed on by a lunatic standing on the cubicle wall, OR WORSE than getting pissed on by a lunatic standing on the cubicle wall, he'll even mention it in times of crisis, for example, he'll say, "This hurricane is bad, but it's not as bad as the time I got pissed on by that crazy motherfucker at work," he'll come to rely on his memory of me pissing on him, depend on it, it will set the low end of his expectations for human behavior, it will be his gauge, it will mean a lot to him, we might even become drinking buddies after that, in an odd twist of camaraderie, maybe on drunken nights in crowded, noisy bars, he will put his arm around me and exclaim, "This crazy son of a bitch pissed on me from on top of the cubicle wall, but goddammit, I love him," maybe some day in a moment of pure candor on some long drive home when only sincere and sentimental things are being said, he will turn to me and sigh and say, "Bobby, tell me the truth, why did you piss on me," and I’ll reply, “Because I hate your fuckin guts, you cocksucker,” and then I’ll shit my pants just for effect, I heard it said, or maybe I imagined it or dreamed it, that sometimes when editors seek to hire assistants, they run ads in the newspaper announcing the position, but they intentionally make errors in the advertisement, they spell something wrong or use incorrect grammar, they hope that some discerning candidate will spot the errorr and mention it when they apply, thereby passing a preliminary test for employment, I replied to such an ad once, I typed them an e-mail and attached my resume, I pointed out the errror from the ad, and I suggested a correction, and I hit ‘Send’ on the e-mail, and I went to bed, and I don't know if I ever woke up, or if I’m drugged, or if this is a horrible dream - I don’t know if I even got the job I originally applied for - the job that I studied for - I just know that there was a drug induced haze - and here I am at some kind of job, they bolted my hands to a keyboard and demanded that I type every single memory I could recall from my entire life, eventually my typed account reached the present time, and the words I was typing at this confluence were these, “I was typing, I was typing, I was typing --AND NOW-- I continue to type, I'm typing, I'm typing,” typing so hard my fingers are flying off, I'll pop the buttons out of the keyboard and eat them, I'll bolt wheels to this keyboard and skate down the road, when the man wants to use your paycheck to wipe his butt, it’s time to get direct deposit, I have hated every job I have ever had, the supervisor was laughing so hard that she farted, and that made her laugh even harder, she laughed so hard her false teeth popped out, but she was too fat to bend over and pick them up herself, so she told the temp to do it, “Pick up my durn teeth, dammit,” but by this point the temp was like fuck this shit, so he just kicked her false teeth down the stairway, and then she let out this incredible -- you can’t put a fart back, they wouldn’t know a good idea if it reached up and resulted in their dismissal, I am trusting my mind less and less so that I can trust it more and more, awkward situations are my specialty, is phone sex ever really a good idea, phone sex in pig latin, instead of ringing, my cell phone squirts blood all over me, when calling in sick for work, I jerk off, that way, I truly sound sick - especially if I time it just right, calling in sick, calling in burnt, calling in INSANE, it’s a contest to see who can be the nicest person in the office - the loser gets electrocuted, it’s a constant effort to hold back my vomit, it eels what it eels, I don’t have any friends - just people I hate less, sometimes you just ask yourself: who is a friend and who is just some asshole who I’m in close proximity to, I have discontinued friendships, other people have discontinued friendships with me, sometimes it ended in a draw, an orthodontist once pointed out the asymmetry of my face, my nose curves slightly away from the centerline of my front teeth, a cubist ghoul, sometimes I believe I have a memory of my own birth, it is a vision of a setting that occurs to me occasionally, it has been with me as far back in time as I can remember, this vision has just always been there, I don’t know how I came to recognize this vision as the setting of my own birth, but in the vision, I am in a hospital room with lots of equipment around, as I view the room, I am looking up at everything, as though from a bed, this vision is so old, I am not sure whether it is a memory or a dream, I have a lot of memories like that - that might actually have been dreams, I have had dreams, that when I think about them, I think that they might have been memories, (memories I remembered during dreams, dreams of memories), all of these images, settings and situations fade into a past that - while I can think about it - some of it is solid, some of it is soft, I have dreams when just barely asleep, shallow splashes of sleep will not wash over them, I have had realities that I could not escape by going to sleep, I know one thing for sure - I didn’t get enough sleep during family emergencies, I am selfish, it is selfish for me to complain about how poorly I sleep during times of family crisis, the reason I spent all of those consecutive hours and days in the hospital, after all, was to be with a family member who was in a much worse predicament than I was, how could I worry about my own sleep and dreams, my brother died at 39, less than a year later, my mother died -- mental illness tortured my mother for many years, my father died five years after my mother, he was diagnosed with cancer, and he had two years to fight it and dread the inevitable, for two years he lived with the certainty that he would die very soon, he said he even dreamed about it, he dreamed about his fight with cancer - in those times - during those two cancer years - in the times when he was actually able to fall sleep, he couldn’t get away from it even in his sleep, how can I complain about my own sleep and my own dreams, what dreams does a person have when they know they are going to die soon, what dreams does a mentally ill person have, “Oh, I noticed you are trying out a new laugh today," when the boss walks away from his desk, take a bite out of a chocolate bar, and chew it about six to eight times, let it get nice and moist and gooey, walk over to his desk, and spit that chocolaty mouthful right in their chair, or on their keyboard, I’d go insane if it wasn’t so embarrassing, you must first obtain a mannequin, sometimes department stores throw away partially damaged mannequins, or you can buy one from a wholesaler, the tricky part of this stunt, really, is getting the mannequin through the parking lot and into your building without causing a stir, arrive early, if you use public transportation, well, just, get to work early, put your mannequin in a closet or a store room, wait for people to arrive at work and get settled in, wait for your boss to get really into his work, wait until he is really concentrating, then go retrieve the mannequin, and slide it right up behind the his chair, but don't say anything, the mannequin should be dressed in either a stylish pant suit, a practical dress or just naked, anyway, the mannequin is standing there and after a while, your boss will eventually sense that somebody (something) is standing there and he will turn around and look up, and bam, gotcha, ha ha, and then he says, "How the hell did that mannequin get there, I thought that was a real person at first, ha ha,” laughing, laughing, laughing, everybody's laughing and pointing at the mannequin, and right at that moment, you spring out from nowhere with an ax, and you chop that mannequin into a million fuckin pieces -right in front of everyone’s incredulous eyes, I sprinkle a little glitter on the floor of my cubicle, it’s magical, if I only sprinkle a little bit of it, people will maybe see a few scattered grains of it, but they won't be sure what they're seeing, sometimes you just see sparkles in the carpet, like fibers or something, and you don’t think much of it, and your co-workers won't expect glitter, they won’t expect there to be glitter on the floor, and like, maybe it's a trick of a tired, tingling eye, but maybe they'll mention it, and I'll say, "Glitter, I don't see any glitter," and in that way, it will indeed be magical, it will distract them when they enter my cubicle, I'll have an edge on them, magic, but generally, there will be somethin magical about visiting Bobby's cubicle, and visitin’ Bobby is fun, follow me, I know the way, fake blood in the hand soap dispenser in the bathroom, empty out the hole punch in somebody’s umbrella, buy about a hundred packs of underwear and come to the office early and go to each chair in each cubicle and each office and stretch a pair of underwear over the top of each chair, when everybody comes in Monday morning, they’ll have underwear on their chair, there are certain times when I really wish I had more friends, I don't have any friends to go drinking with, I have nobody to grab the other end of my couch when I have to move it, friends are handy during times like that, and moreover, you need friends around for other important events in your life, I made a mistake and got married once, and the only people seated on my side of the aisle were family members, my best man was a friend from the long gone past, I had no other friends there, at my wedding, except my best man, there was another friend I could have bused in from a place where I used to live, but he's crazy and he's a handful, I don’t have many friends now, either, here, currently, in this state, which is the fifth state of the United States that I have lived in: North Carolina, before that: Florida, Maryland, DC, Virginia, certainly, by now, at my age, with all the places I have been and all the people I have met, I should have more friends, a normal person would have found friends, forged long-lasting friendships, maintained friendships, even with your back turned on somebody, you can tell they’re looking at you, that is, if they’re running their mouth, you can tell that their head is turned toward you by the directness of the sound waves shooting out of their face, it’s like sonar, anyway, I will call some random extension in the building where I work, and when the person there picks up, I instantly transfer them to another extension, and then that person will pick up, and he’ll have the first guy on the line with him, I will have hung up, and those two dummies will sit there saying confused stuff to each other, “I didn’t call you, you called me,” and, “No, you called me,” and also, I will photocopy the building maintenance letterhead and print out my own memos to the building tenants, like memos about small animals with rabies in the parking garage biting people and the symptoms to look for, erratic behavior, foaming at the mouth, redness, itching, and in another fake memo, inform tenants that the building is actually sinking, and starting in the next month, the number of each floor will decrease by one, the second floor will become the first floor, etc, my father yelled and yelled to me that night, I was sleeping, but eventually I woke up, he was calling me from the other end of the house, there was a struggle, he was struggling with my mother, he needed me to hold my mother down while he called the doctor, he had been wrestling with her for half an hour, she had brought a big steak knife to her bedroom, my father had looked in on her before he went to bed because she had been acting weird, she had long before claimed a separate bedroom because of the growing rift with my father, her behavior was freaking my dad and me out in the days up to that night, when he looked in on her that night, he saw her laying in bed -- clutching the biggest knife in the house, he went to take the knife away from her, during the struggle she grasped the knife right on the middle of the blade and would not let go, my father broke off both ends of the knife leaving just a portion of the blade in her hand, I held my mother down so my father could get away - so he could dial 911, I restrained my mother to keep her from hurting herself or somebody else, she begged me to strangle her, I was in high school, I was on the wrestling team, she said I should use a wrestling hold to just strangle her, my mother went to hospitals a lot, the doctors tried many different drugs on her, sometimes the drugs would work, sometimes they would not, sometimes they would work for a while and then stop working, sometimes they would work very well, and she would feel great, and then she would stop taking the drugs, and then the problems, of course, would resurface, on my desk at work, I keep pictures of my liver, my bladder, my colon, my pancreas, and my intestines, they really keep me going and I love them, nowadays instead of cutting you open, they give you a pill, the pill seems like candy, but it turns your guts into gravy, as soon as things get stressful for the lady in the next cubicle, I start to hear the pill bottles rattle, I obtained prescription drugs for recreational use by hanging around the variously afflicted people I have worked with, percocet from the guy with kidney failure, vicodin from the girl with the serious stomach malady, ritalin from the jumpy theater student, lorazapam from the anxious guy, I suppose it would be more accurate, and indeed more thorough, to say that I do not maintain friendships, that is getting to the root of my social situation, when I do have friends, I do not keep them for very long, five years, eight, it is hard to measure, exactly when a friendship ends, there is not always a clear ending, I wonder about the friends I have lost touch with, would they still consider me a friend, maybe some would, some of those friendships seemed to end badly, somebody was sick of somebody, I was sick of them, or they were sick of me, what about now, would they sit and have a drink with me now, restart things, surely things couldn’t have been so bad that, if they saw me in a bar, wouldn’t they sit down with me and get drunk, maybe some friendships never end, I seem to only enter friendships that do end, I don’t have any friends, and I do not make friends very easily to begin with, I don’t think that I am overly shy, I am not afraid to talk to strangers, I have the ability to break the ice, I have a decent sense of humor I think, I can spark an interaction, I just don’t have the follow-through, I don’t have any friends currently, but sometimes I do indeed manage to make friends, often when I become friends with somebody, this new friend of mine - unlike myself - this new friend of mine already has plenty of friends, so in effect, I have befriended a human hub - an individual who temporarily incorporates me into their social network, their friends become my friends - but only temporarily, my friendship with all of them ends because it soon becomes apparent to all of them that I had no friends at the time that I gained admittance into their circle, I did not belong, (perhaps I committed some subterfuge to gain admittance into their circle, acting like I was cool or something - sharing anecdotes from old, defunct friendships), it would be better if I became friends with somebody who was more similar to me - somebody who doesn't have friends, but it seems like most of the people I meet do have friends, if I meet a person who quickly begins to talk about all of the friends that they have, I usually see this as a negative sign, how would you like to arrive at your workstation tomorrow morning and find me standing there licking your pictures of your loved ones, “Why don't you make a little paper airplane out of it and bravely fly it up your own ass,” suddenly sniffing at the air I say, "Supervisors, two, and they're close,” I was in a meeting, but instead of paying attention, I was wondering what the craziest possible thing I could do would be, spraypaint my genitals and call it art, sitting in the emergency room with my mother during her last crazy episode - the night before my brother’s fatal overdose, she wailed and writhed in her bed, she was to be admitted to the psychiatric ward, we were waiting for her paperwork to clear, my brother and I were trying to talk to her, trying to calm her, screams from a mutilated voice box, did these hospitals really help us, hospitals are just places where you go to suffer and die, you either have your family around you in these times or you don’t, our family was always around for emergencies, my brother and my mother were so close, so very connected, seeing our mother in that situation - screaming for hours in restraints, eyeballs bulging and crazed - it upset my brother deeply, he sees this and he becomes suicidally reckless, he sees a possible future for himself in our mother’s condition - heredity, but he also sees the torment of a soul who was very close to him, my brother and my mother were so close, so synchronized, they had conversations that frightened me when I was young, so these were the climaxes that they’d promised us, really though - we're all connected - we're all unified into the one - it's one thing to chase somebody down the street with a knife, it is totally different to chase somebody down the street with a knife and a fork and a napkin tucked down the front of your shirt and a bottle of barbecue sauce in your back pocket, I'm googling the names of all the folks I done wrong, instead of streaking - instead of running down the street naked, I want to run down the street ripping my own guts out, swinging them around: my intestines, my stomach - I wanna yank em out and streak down the street swinging my organs around with all the gore splattering everywhere, many people take great pride in their ability to spot sneaky behavior, so I act like I'm stealing water out of the water fountain, all I have is the present moment, one time I disappeared -but I came back, certain car wash tunnels swallow up bad people forever, selling the last supper table on eBay, I never trust the ‘off ’ position on major appliances, I don’t have any friends, and I don’t keep friends very long when I do have them, I don’t stay in jobs for very long, transience in various workplaces might seem like an opportunity - an opportunity to meet batch after batch of perspective friends - and that would be a good thing if I was looking for friends, it could also be seen as a detriment because I am constantly severing bonds, I don’t have any friends, just people I hate less, there are people I work with - I talk and joke around with them, I suppose it would be possible to strike up a friendship with one or more of them, but I don’t do it, they would not be an ideal friend - just some random asshole I’m thrown in with who I’d never hang out with if it wasn’t for the job, they’d grow to dislike me, probably, or I’d grow to dislike them, why waste the time, I don’t have any friends, but there are people at work I could go get a drink with after work - I guess - but fuck that shit - those are work people, I don’t have any friends, but I used to, I have had periods of social brilliance, my college years were full of friends, I can identify the peak of my sociability - the very night that my social success peaked - the very moment: I walked into my favorite bar, Friar Tucks, across from Old Dominion University, it was packed that night, and it seemed like everybody in there knew me, they called out to greet me, “Bobby, what’s up man,” “Hey Bobby,” “Damn Bobby, do you know everybody in here or what,” this was not a coincidence either, these were the people I had worked with in restaurants all over Norfolk and Portsmouth, it was not coincidental that they were all there - that they knew me, I knew them and they knew me because I was in wide circulation then, quitting and starting up many waiter jobs - working my way through every restaurant in town and the town across the river, getting to know other restaurant workers, not only did I get to know the people who worked in a particular place where I worked, I got to know the staff at all the restaurants in that whole district, for a while, I knew every waiter, waitress, cook, dishwasher and manager in every restaurant in Ghent in Norfolk, every restaurant in Waterside in Norfolk, and every restaurant in downtown Portsmouth, whether I worked in their place or not, whether I ate or drank in their place or not, we eventually crossed paths, restaurant workers can easily identify each other, and they keep the same hours, many of these people were in Friar Tucks that night - which was not an unlikely thing, a favorite local band was playing, and the place was packed - packed full of people and many of them knew me, a bunch of them came to my place after the show, my tiny apartment had about forty or fifty people crowded in and around it, people in the parking lot - just a bunch of folks who knew me - who wanted to come to my place after the show, kicking off my slutty phase, I lost my virginity at age seventeen, but I started jerking off much much earlier, I wish the object in the mirror was larger than it appears, I wanna put my dick on your glasses, all of my sperm have a mission, and that mission involves you ma’am, why don’t you wash your mouth out with my sperm, sperm of the moment, Elvis has left my scrotum, imagine my slobber dripping off your goodies, your pussy looks like some weird pastrami sandwich, penis food, your mouth is your cunt and you fuck it with food, nipple eyes crying milk, saving masturbation for marriage, maybe a couple out of the group would attain some kind of glory on the pool table or on the dance floor, Chris had the best chance of walking out of the bar with a new love interest, some unwary thing who could not decipher the disaster palpable on Chris's person would stagger out into the night with him, Chris would be gone for hours, maybe days, he would turn up eventually - with wounds - like slices about the wrists or scratches on his face, or a black eye, or with a brand new set of clothes, or he'd come up to somebody and say, “Hey man, come back to my place, I gotta show you something," and there would be a mural, or an entire wall of his apartment painted in such a way that all a person could do is just sit down in front of it and take it in and try not to go immediately insane, insane with the beauty of it, dumbass Chris is capable of this, you wonder - you realize: Chris - Chris would walk around sucking desperately on a joint as you looked at his painting, he would pace behind nervously, like he was pacing next to the body of person he had just killed, I’ve known some crazy guys in my life - guys who would punch me in the stomach but give me a bite of their sandwich, guys who would throw a slinky into the fan belt of my car, a lack of a topic has once again yielded a topic, we build musical instruments with bits of metal and rubber we find, we claim carts listing in windy hardware super store parking lots, we ride with stolen chainsaws in our bicycle baskets, we collect golf balls shanked off driving ranges, we steal windows from construction sites at night, we memorize edible plants, sheep sorrel and milkweed, we crush acorns into flour and roast dandelion roots, it's easy enough to kill your own dinner, but how easy is it to revive it, hugging trees - but only because the police helicopter searchlight beam is sweeping through, having memorized key passages in US Army Survival Guides, I am ready to begin my outdoors survival challenge in the woods behind major strip malls, especially if there’s a Barnes & Noble, I’ll live in the woods behind Barnes & Noble, and I’ll become smart, I saw somebody's shirt on a park bench in the dark, and the sleeve was hanging down, and for a second I thought a person was still in the shirt, make love to the great nothing to say, write nerd poems to prison prom queens that end up in cry puddles, shanking off the great two hole golf course, I remember all of the places where I died, my forever is hole to hole, in a past life I dropped dead, where’s the flower shop, I need to do some damage control, one of the inhabitants of my scrotum is larger than the other, on your mark, get set, lubricate, hand me my tools, I feel a serious orgasm coming on, let's take a bus to a really dirty place and just start cleaning, jingle bells jingle bells I'm handcuffed to a chair, the last time I tripped, it was 1998, and my mom had just died, at some point in the acid trip, I suddenly got it into my head that I absolutely had to go see my mother's grave and my brother's grave, it was 3:30 am, rain and sleet pounded the house like bullets, it was freezing outside, I was tripping my guts out, cartoon world, everything I saw was melting, everything was distorted, I was alone in front of the TV, I hadn’t moved for three or four hours, everybody who lived in the house was either gone or asleep in their room or fuckin or whatever, I was upset about my mom, I had this friend/housemate: Brett, he had lost his mom a couple of years before that, his mom was buried in the same graveyard as my mom and brother, that night we had both dosed up together with a some other guys, four or five of us took the acid at the same time, but then Brett left to be with his mysterious lady friend, I knew that his lady friend drove a white Mustang, and I saw a white Mustang just like hers parked on the street a few houses away when I looked out the window, but the door to Brett's room was open, and he wasn't in there, I really wanted to talk to Brett, we were pretty tight up to then, he was a good friend back when I had friends, and since I was compelled to go to the grave yard, I decided I had to ask Brett to go with me, I was so fucked up and grief stricken, wasted, an acid trip is really not something you want to undergo alone under any circumstances, tripping alone a couple of weeks after your mother's funeral - I don't know, not too smart, I was almost positive that Brett was down there in that car with his lady friend, why would he be entertaining his lady friend in a car in a winter storm right parked right near where he actually lives - Brett's lady friends tended to be married and much older than he was, and I guess that had something to do with why they were out there instead of inside the house where six guys resided, I was decided, I went outside to my massive Ford Econoline extended body cargo van, the sleet stung my hands and face, and it felt really weird, because I was still tripping my balls off, I figured I'd just pull up to the car and try to see if I could get Brett's attention, I really wanted him to go with me, I thought maybe he'd want to go to see his mom's grave too, acid turns you into the psychic compadre of those you begin the trip with, so there is no such thing as an imposition, you think the same, you see the same whacked out crap, as I drove away from our house, I pulled up to the white Mustang and slowed down, trying to see if that was, in fact, Brett and his lady friend in that car, the windows were all steamed up, I didn't stop, I just rolled by really slowly, then I went up the block and turned around and made another pass, finally I realized that what I was doing was a really stupid thing, what if that wasn't Brett, I might get shot, what if it was Brett, and he was in his lady friend's car fuckin and suckin at 4:00 am in a rapidly worsening winter storm, and some maniac comes and taps on the window and says "Do you want to go to the graveyard to see our moms' graves," pupils so dilated I could give birth through them, so I began the drive to the graveyard without him, it was about a half hour drive to the graveyard, and I was still in the thick of a torrential acid trip and an escalating ice storm, I took it slow and easy, driving while tripping on acid requires incredible concentration, you really have to struggle against your very own senses, you have to squelch all drug induced distortions and see what is really there, do or die (or cause someone else's death), you have to focus on your motor skills and reactions, and also, there's the fear, THE FEAR, the underlying acid tripping fear that's always there, you are in an alternative state of mind where you really can't be sure whether every atom in your body will suddenly unravel and fly apart sending electrons spinning off into space with the release of such intense energy that your brain can't even comprehend what the end is like, but, I made it out there - to the graveyard, I stood there in an ice storm looking down at the graves of my mom and my brother, there were other ghosts out too, I didn’t pay any attention to them, 1998, it was a crazy year, a month after my mom died, I met a lady at work on a smoke break, I talked to her a couple of times out there, I got bold and I asked her out, I asked her for her phone number, she didn’t have anything to write it on, so she asked her coworker, her coworker pulled a slip of paper out of her purse, it was a coupon for some Virginia Slim cigarettes, she wrote her number on it and gave it to me, we went out on a date, afterwards, she gave me a handjob in that same van that I drove to the graveyard, this turned into a thirteen year relationship, that setting - those times - those circumstances: those were probably not the best conditions in which to launch a long-term relationship, the length of time that I was together with that woman: the thirteen years: the 13 - the significance of that number - I know, but I am not superstitious - so I mostly don’t give a fuck, I am terrified of life, and I need someone there to share the terror with, that would be a great headline for a profile on a dating site: “Looking for someone to ride out the terror storm of life with, must be a good cuddler,” the current headline on my dating site profile is: “Ready, set, go!” - I’m not joking, that really is my headline: Ready, set, go -- Ready, set, go ruin your life with me when I latch on to you and make you my EVERYTHING - my reason for existence - you are it - without you I will simply die - everything I need in life, I derive from you, without your guidance and directions and common sense and authority, I will take acid and drive to graveyards during ice storms, I will wander around dangerous neighborhoods in murder capitals after washing down tranquilizers with beer, I will smoke crack with hookers who have blind babies, do you want to date me, no pressure, saving up for my funeral and spreading a little DNA as I do it, write the following on my tomb stone, ‘Some of what they said was true,’ blue underwear today, and you, how cute is your wrapper, I could barely hold up my corner of the coffin, so I used two hands, once, when I was young, my father dropped my mother and me off at the grocery store, we were walking up to the entrance, and this young man came running out of the store with some items under his arm, he was around my brother’s age, there was a cop running right after him, my mother started praying for the young man who was running away, "Lord, please let him get away, Lord, please let him get away," my father had driven out of the parking lot, as he was going down the road, the runner had made it diagonally across the parking lot and across the same road, the cop was right behind him, the cop ran right in front of my father's car and he slipped and fell, my father had to jam the brakes to avoid crushing him with the car, I woke up from a deep sleep to travel to the hospital, I drove to the emergency room the night my brother died, my father paged me over and over that night, my pager vibrated right off the dresser and crashed to the floor, he left me a voice mail, my brother had some sort of overdose, and he was in the emergency room, I could sense it in my father’s tone, it was bad, it sounded like the worst, in the months before that night, my brother kept dreaming of his own death, he had the same dream over and over, in the dream he is sitting in his wrecker at an intersection, somebody runs up to his window and shoots him dead, he lived his life around visions like this, I drove to the hospital, the wild sorrow and fear took my attention from my driving, my car bounced up curbs and swerved, and I screamed and cried and pounded on the steering wheel and cocked my head and tried to mash my face up against the windshield to look up into the sky to scream to my brother, somewhere above my car in the night, in the dream beside the graveyard with the golf club and the bucket of golfballs, I start hitting the golfballs into the graveyard, and they bounce around crazily off headstones, like pinball, and I yell to all the dearly departed resting there, “It’s not fair to you and I love you,” five tranquilizers and the night that was fuzz, writing a book and calling it how I’m doing, a crop duster - but with spray paint, never wreck your car in front of an art school, why don't you ask security guard at the art museum something, why don't you ask the janitor at the art school, ask them something about art, they've been lookin at art thirty years, cleaning up the residue of art, protecting art from the Booger Hand, ask those in closest proximity to it day to day, those exposed to it the most, the mutilated freaks hit by the radiation of it, and then, at the end, at closing time, when the floor's buffed real nice, and all the doors long been locked, and you run out of questions to ask about art, and he tunes in some funky beats on his boom box, and he breaks out the bottle of 180 Proof Day Softener, and he starts to unfasten his utility belt, then is when you might learn somethin about art, I submit my literary works to the bathroom walls, if a piece is good enough, the janitors don't wipe it off, janitors=good, editors=bad, during those peak social years of mine, it would have been difficult not to know masses of people, between the many jobs, the classes, the college activities - but - after those high times, I had an amazing slump in friendships, I guess it occurred naturally because I graduated from college, and all of those glorious friends scattered, people from high school had scattered, I had no new pool of people my age from which to build friendships, I don’t have any friends, just memories of them, I don’t have any friends, and I am quite a job changer, I do a lot of temporary jobs, one time I had a temporary job processing loans at a mortgage company, shortly after I began my employment there, an area manager asked me about my myself, how I ended up temping, “Why temping, I mean - don’t you have any friends,” friends that could get me a job, I guess, is what he meant, perfect, it was a perfectly valid question, it was incredibly cruel of him to ask, and I hate him for it, for his cold assessment, I hate him for his ability to freely lob such a query, right into my face, because he must occupy some kind of super social position - surely he must have an army of friends - to ask me something like that, I hate him for it, I hated him instantly that day, his first words to me upon introduction, “Don’t you have any friends,” it was a perfect question, a perfectly valid and appropriate question, it’s not that I hate the truth about myself - it’s that I hate him for summing me up without really understanding me and spitting into my face some spot judgment and not understanding and not even caring to make the effort to understand and thinking that I was somehow less of a person, he summed me up in his little brain, and he despised what he saw on sight - I don’t have any fuckin friends, nor do I have any fuckin employment connections, freestyle not hostile, standoffish, not armed standoff-ish, quitting my emotions like I quit the cigarettes, cigarettes – like emotions – are transient, they’re here and then they’re gone and then they come back, you have never been truly uncomfortable around a person until you tell that person that being around them makes you truly uncomfortable, fire the ghostwriter of your autobiography once you arrive in the future, he is constructing your present rather poorly, if I write about somebody before they write about me, does that make me the winner, if I buy a blank certificate and fill in the certificate myself, “Certified to perform open pants surgery,” if I buy a trophy and have it engraved, “World’s Greatest Human,” and award it to myself, if I disappeared today, only the people I’ve met in the last few days would care, I don’t have any friends, but sometimes I wonder if it is partly a sign of the times, my father had lots of friends, he was a different man than I am, he had his poker night with his buddies, he was in pool shooting leagues, he went to church and stayed afterwards for the activities, he was a member of the Moose Lodge and the Catholic Club (which did not have as many Catholics as one might think), my father worked for GE for many years, he made countless friends and acquaintances at GE, my father was much more connected than I am, I have no friends, it takes a lot of effort to win friends, some friends that is, some friends find you, the friends I have had - they came to me - they sought my friendship, when the only friends you have are friends who came to you, default friends - friends you did not choose but who happened along and found you - continued to seek you out - dropping by all the time - well then you’re kind of dragged down to a lower level, some might say, a cold and calculating person might say that, but somebody else might say this - if I have to pursue a person’s friendship - like really make a serious effort - then it doesn’t seem like a real friendship, it seems like something I have to earn - like it’s a job - it’s like earning money - it’s like earning and paying money for friends, I don’t have any friends, not anymore, and as I sit here alone thinking about it, I realize that I was lucky those people from my past found me and decided to make me their friend, I was lucky they dragged me out of my hole, I wasn’t being dragged down, I was being dragged up, there won't be enough room in the ground for all the coffins by the year so and so, but it’s still kind of funny to see your old car, the car you sold so long ago, to see it parked somewhere or just broke down, and you know it was yours because of the dent that happened that time you made that ‘misjudgment,’ my banged up old car, I'd drive it, and when I beeped the horn, instead of beepin' she'd go ‘LOVE, LOVE,’ I can hear the ambulance engine outside, I can smell the diesel exhaust from its idling engine, when I get up to look, however, there’s nothing happening, the ambulance is just parked there idling, the doors of the ambulance are closed, the paramedics have already come inside the building, I go back and sit down, ten or fifteen minutes later I hear the doors slamming on the ambulance, and the engine revs up as it pulls away, I have no idea who they took away, it could have been somebody I’ve never seen before - somebody with a totally different schedule - whom I never see in the course of my day - but I just caught sounds and glimpses of what could have been their last or only ambulance ride, my brother towed cars, he didn’t tow cars for hire - like if a person broke down somewhere, and they wanted their car towed to a shop - to be fixed - because they wanted to eventually get the car back, no, or if someone owned a business and people parked in ‘No Parking’ zones outside of their business, and they needed somebody to come tow a car away, no, he only towed cars that people had given up on - cars they wanted to junk, he would actually buy the junk car, he’d give people twenty-five to forty dollars, and he’d tow it off of their yard, he’d tow it to the junk yard and sell it for scrap metal, sometimes my brother would be on the road, going to tow or coming from a tow or with a car currently in tow, and I’d be out driving around, and we’d see each other, I would park my car and get into his wrecker and ride with him for a while, we’d ride five or six hours getting stoned and listening to the radio, he’d point to the radio and say, “I bet you don’t even know who this is,” he’d tell me stories about his wilder days, sometimes he’d get a page to go tow a car, and I would go with him, we would ride around way into the night, long after the calls for tows stopped coming in, then he’d take me back to my car and I’d drive home - which - he might be staying there too - at our folks’ house, a touch is no more than a clumsy venture toward something, we never really touch, if I turn both of my gloves inside out, will they fit on the same hands, or will I have to switch them, I spent ten (10) years of my life stoned - almost every day - all day, think of it: in the grocery store, at the convenience store, at work, at school, at the career guidance center, at the division of motor vehicles, at funerals, driving cars, but I'm okay, you should call me, I don’t have any friends, and here’s how it affects my schedule - I have lots of time to think, and this is good, I’d rather spend time on my own thoughts instead of listening to somebody else’s thoughts, moreover, when I spend time with other people, I often dominate that time with explanations of my own thoughts - which tends to drive other people away - so it all works out anyway, I don’t have any friends, and that makes sense to me - most of the time, I don’t have any friends, and I won’t even bother describing how it was for me in high school, I actually did have a few very good friends in high school, but I won’t even bother describing how it was for me in high school - it was that bad, I don’t have any friends, and sometimes it hurts like hell, Saturdays are bad, during the week, I’m too tired after work to care, I don’t have any friends, and here’s what it can be like - the best I can do to satisfy the occasional craving for human contact, is to just go and sit in a crowded place, a mall, a park, the interaction is not intimate, it is not mutually dynamic, it is not mutually appreciated, but some aspects of human interaction are there, I don’t have any friends, and sometimes I just want to scream, “Fuck life,” life hurts when you're not cool enough, rich enough, socially skilled enough, but life exposes so much of its self when it strikes at you, I don’t have any friends, and here’s an observation - when you are drinking alone in a bar, you are scum whose only human contact is with the staff, the staff acts so superior, I feel so inferior I decide to act superior and really excel at it, weaving through the crowd whispering exotic love making techniques, the dead - some of the dead - they kept some bit of their life together, some current, some group or sequence of electrons they kept in the shape of their soul somehow, like wet sand packed in a bucket and flipped over onto the beach, you pull away the bucket and the sand is still there in the shape of that container, the soul still intact when the shell is gone, folks either figure it out or they don't, they look up at you from their death bed, and they smile, they know, it is a physics instinct, electricity conductivity, they identify and isolate their life signal, they direct it, maintain its integrity, it is too complicated to explain, like telling somebody exactly how you make your own heart beat and how you make it stop, but really all you are is the awareness, I always keep the receipt from the last fast food restaurant I ate in, I keep it right in my pocket so that if I drop dead from food poisoning, they'll know where to begin the investigation, my father and I knew a lot of the restaurants near the hospitals where my mother received her care, one time my father, my sister and I went looking for a place to take a break from the grief, away from my mother’s room at the hospice, we went to a little place that was usually quiet to get a beer and a burger - to just sit there in silence - to rest a little, it happened to be karaoke night at the place, but we didn’t see the sign when we walked in, karaoke may or may not be the most foolish pastime there is, but the sound check before the actual Karaoke contest begins - that is definitely the most absurd undertaking imaginable, we smiled a little, laughed, my father paid our bill, we choked down our burgers, and we made it out of there as the first contestant began to wail, life has no reliable context, you are flung mercilessly from one situation to another with no time to adjust, the new situation often is the opposite of the situation immediately before it, I often ate food out of hospital snack machines, because sometimes I'd rather do business with a machine thank you, I lived life away from home, at hospitals, in waiting rooms, in hospital parking lots passed out in an automobile seat, I lived life on the way to the hospitals, I went a little crazy while everybody in my family was dying and going crazy, there’s a grinding instinct to replace life as it departs, to visit a hooker on the way to the hospice, to close out the cycle, to cycle around again, to overcome obstacles during the cycle, grasping the merciless momentum of life, it drags us, or leaves us stuck and plows us under, stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital at some critical point in mother’s hospitalization, maybe death isn’t such a penalty, archeologists will love my bones, squeeze the day, value every moment - even in line at the grocery store, today I’ll find out something very important, but it will have no immediate impact, why don't you explore the fascinating and rewarding world of SHUT THE FUCK UP, I don't necessarily HAVE to talk, not really, I mean, I don't HAVE to contribute measured, proportionate amounts of speech to each and every conversation, my WORD COUNT your WORD COUNT, I might just be standin there with some people not even talkin - just watchin something happen, or doing something, like playing hacky-sack or throwing a frisbie, or listening to the preacher at a funeral or something, the silence won't eat me, I don't have any friends, and I think there are others like me, but we never seem to meet, these other friendless people, we pass each other all of the time probably, in the grocery store or wherever, oblivious, I think there are people out there who would be great friends - who would like me as a friend - maybe a lot of it has to do with luck, maybe I just need more chances with more people, maybe I just need more time to figure out the type of person I want to be, and then I can try to meet people who would be like that, maybe my luck will change, and I will indeed meet people like me, people who are desperate enough - I’ll meet them just at the right time - on a Saturday, I bet, I don’t have any friends, just memories of people who stayed with me as long as they could - until my babbling or my silence or some other behavior of mine drove them away, why have I lost all of these friends, if I knew why, I guess I’d fix it - if I cared to, I guess, but why did these people abandon me, I guess I pushed too hard sometimes, and sometimes I gave up too quickly, I assumed they hated me when they didn’t, I assumed they were interested in what I babbled about, but they weren’t interested, I showed too many signs of instability, I scared them, I disgusted them, I bored them, I pissed them off too many times, I borrowed too much, I took too big of a share, I didn’t share, I got weird on them - too often, I didn’t keep in touch, I didn’t show enough interest in them, I cut them off while they were speaking - too often, I showed off too much, I was too much of a know-it-all, I visit libraries and I write my own biographical notes - about my own life - and I insert these entries between the pages of encyclopedias, by most 'normal person' standards, I lead a pretty sad life, but I have all this time left, and I'm pretty healthy, and I like writing, I like leaving notes everywhere, my thought budget, cuss words not pass words, jazz hands not gang signs, I don’t hate with any of the types of hate that truly matter, you can do better than most people by simply refusing to offer advice, when they invent a time machine, you can go up and down through your lifetime time continuum, recruiting the best possible versions of you, a staff of you’s, a perfect peer group, a perfect circle of friends, just you and you and you and you and you, in the months before my father died, I kept asking and asking about our family history - did I ask enough - did I get enough information - will I remember enough - did I ask the right questions, I should have asked sooner, I always heard my father and mother reminisce and say the names of our ancestors, I didn’t realize how much I would crave this information later in life, I used up a lot of crucial time - the weeks before my father’s death - on these questions, were these questions and the answers he was giving - these question and answer periods in his last weeks - were these a fitting afterword to his life, was I terrifying him by asking him for this information, was he just being brave - sitting there answering my questions, each question was a reminder to him of his own impending death - a reminder that information would die with him -maybe- if he did not relay it to me, each question was a last chance at preserving pieces of our family history, will I remember any of this information, will I have children to pass it on to, how much will I remember, I have failed, I wasted that time - those last weeks with my father, I don’t remember any of the family history he told me, there wasn’t much history to remember though, really, I guess, what’s to remember: guys like me with the same last name existed before me, I’ll predict the future - guys like me will exist in the future, they will have my last name, I have cousins who are reproducing quite rampantly, three sets of my great grandparents were Polish, the fourth set was Lithuanian, I knew a lot of it already, I needed to be reminded, I needed it confirmed while confirmation was still possible, I am the kind of man who can cry and laugh while he's doing it, with ghost pain in my ghost ovaries, it’s a constant battle to hold back my barf, what ways do I define my days and with all the glass shattering brain activity, I can’t even look through the window without scumming it up with thoughts of crosses and bombs, when you’re a little lonely, and you’re driving around, dropping in this drugstore, the bookstore (if it’s still open), that grocery store, that gas station, you’re just lonely out there, driving around, dropping in these places, and the people working there are yacking to each other, joking around, gossiping, complaining about their jobs, wishing it was closing time, making plans, etc, when you hear all this going on, and you think you can inject yourself into their world, their conversation, their scene, inject yourself just because they are there and you have this access to them because of the nature of their work, dealing with the general public, a social void, I have met people who were avoiding new friendships because they felt they already had enough friends, I’ve even heard people say it, “I got enough friends,” I don’t like people like that, I don’t know if it is because I dislike the fact that they are so popular, or if it is that they are denying me the chance at friendship (which I would decline anyway - I like to at least have an offer of friendship to decline), I don’t have any friends, just memories of people I could only stand so long, I don't have any friends, this statement can stand on its own, just as I stand on my own, I don't have any friends, attendance at my funeral might be low, I pick out a few people I hate, and I begin loving them, but I continue to act like I hate them, it's pretty weird when somebody gives you a dirty look, and you get a sharp pain down your side at that exact same instant, I pointed to my own forehead and said, “Sometimes it gets a little scary in here,” a smart guy told me that I am never upset for the reason that I think I am, having a highly active inner emotional state is great - here is what this glorious condition does for me - Whenever there's an emotional disturbance of any kind inside my brains, it can trigger emotional troubles that splinter out in many directions - to the point where I don't even know which thing to try to address, it's great, the best I can do is just crank down on the valve that says "Too Much Thinking. Close Main Valve," sometimes that valve will not close though so I have to hit the lever that says "Divert these thoughts into this observation chamber," and next to this observation chamber is a sign that says, "Warning! Do not dive into this chamber! Toxic," it's like a little factory inside my brains, it's a thought processing plant, sometimes we pollute, and we're sorry about that, I was walking to class with all the other somewhat clean and somewhat studious and sober pupils on that foggy morning, and then here comes this guy I know, Kyle, he’s been up all night smoking crack - walking out of that neighborhood that everybody says to stay out of, and his hair’s all fucked up, his eyes are evil and protruding and angry and black underneath, cheek muscles twitching and jaws clenching, creepy glaring bulging eyeballs scanning the street, a zombie, looking for brains to eat or somethin, he’s wearing the same clothes I saw him in last night - his waiter clothes, his Oxford shirt is a complete loss, is that blood or grenadine, and, fuck, he’s walkin up to me, and I’m still on time for class but barely, and that smell, what is that smell, and, nah, I don’t have any cash on me, and dammit, he was just bragging the night before about how he made over two hundred bucks in tips, and how some lady he was waiting on - some older lady of independent looking means or whatever grabbed his cock, so he said, wistful while you work, at the beach there was a small swarm of dragon flies hovering and darting around us, visiting, not really bothering anybody, looking here, hovering there, circling, zig zagging, then a gust of wind came, and they were all gone, further down the beach, I guess, checking in on other people, people are at least experts on their own lives - you’d think, changing my name to a brief moment of silence, spelling it with underscores, I want to be a better person even if it makes things dull, mining our own dumps and landfills, my history, I must keep my family history, my mother met my father while they were both in the Air Force, my father lost his wallet, my mother found it, she returned it to him, and that was that, my history, I must keep my family history, we didn’t cling to our language at all, we’re Americans now, I never was anything else, neither were my mom or dad really, I heard Polish words occasionally, none that I can recall now - pieces of furniture, food, insults, my history, I must keep my family history, my father was from Miners Mills, Pennsylvania, the town has since been annexed by Wilkes-Barre, when a town gets annexed by a bigger municipality, and the people from that town have since died, or their families have moved on to other places because there's no more coal in the hills, and the only place you'll see the name of that old town is on the sign for some florist or some realtor or some graveyard - Miners Mills, Pennsylvania, it existed, my father was from there, I must keep my family history, the very last time my father spoke to me, he was in a bed in the hospice at the VA Hospital in Richmond, Virginia the day before he died, they had started him on the morphine drip, he was semiconscious, stirring, he suddenly opened his eyes, and he grabbed my hand, and he said, “Home, Home,” it was the last thing he said to me, I was there to the end, the things they say from their death beds, my mother, from her death bed, I was reading to her, I was reading to her from the Bible, she said to stop reading the Bible, “Read me some more O. Henry stories,” the cat is softening up a comfort spot in the sad hole in my chest, the cat is licking a looking hole through the fog on the window, what exactly would your cat do about it if a bear broke down your front door and came in, as a child, I hid myself in the middle of the clothes racks in department stores - I would leave notes and drawings in the pockets of the new clothes, once, when I was eight or nine years old, I was walking down my street, I reached a point directly across the street from my house, I didn’t intend to go home, I was not on my way to any specific destination, I was just out for a walk, I stood there across the street from my house, I decided to pick up a rock and throw it at my house, I don’t know why I decided to do it, it was just one of those dumb things a kid does -completely without thought- playing around, I was trying to hit the roof of our house, throwing a rock at the roof wouldn’t damage anything, on many days before that, I had stood for hours, bored, throwing a tennis ball up onto the roof, waiting for it to roll back down to me, I threw the rock at the roof for the same dumb reason -for no reason- for fun, it was a little rock anyway, about as big as the last digit of an adult’s thumb, I picked up the rock and threw it at the house, my throw was well short of the roof, the rock pierced a window pane in the front room of the house, I’m forced to consider this prospect - that when it seems like I am surrounded by assholes, when it seems as though everybody else around me is an asshole, maybe the truth is: I am the one who is the asshole, if one or two of your pubes pops out of your panties, they’re not going to give you the death penalty, my big brother ran over my action figures with the lawn mower because he was on hardcore drugs, and I’ll admit - I was kind of a brat, I didn’t know it when I threw the rock at my house, but my mother was laying on the couch in the front room where that window was, the rock didn’t hit her when it broke through, but little bits of glass landed in her hair, I realized my throw hit the window, I ran across the street and jumped up onto the porch, I saw the hole in the window pane, I saw my mother inside, I went inside and apologized repeatedly, I was so sorry, I cried, my mother was dazed by the weirdness of the incident, she described how she witnessed it, she saw me walking by, across the street, she saw me pause there and look at the house, she thought I was looking at her, but because of the shade and the distance, I couldn’t see her, she saw me pick up the rock and throw it ‘at her,’ she saw it pierce the window, and she closed her eyes and ducked, she felt the bits of glass land in her hair, I tried to explain to her that I didn’t mean to hit her with the rock, that there was no reason for my action, I was fooling around, and I had no idea that she was laying there, I don’t know if she believed me, I have walked right through a ghost before, I just knew it was a ghost, the feeling was warm and cold at the same time, definitely alive, I froze, the story of how I became a failure is much more interesting than if I had succeeded at something, my whole collection of stories is not who I am, I DO occupy a seat on the bus, and I DO occupy a desk at work, and an ambulance WILL be called for me at least once, I come up out of the woods at night to write my story with crayon on the center line of the highway, when talking to normal people I try to impose a word count on myself, I like sunglasses that change the color of the world instead of just darkening it, standing next to a cop and listening to his walkie talkie, letting other people's foolish moments take years off my life, if I put a gun to each temple, would the bullets meet somewhere near my fondest memory, use my clothes for the scare crows, I’m used to functioning under various types of buzzes, and no, the address on my license does not match the address where I currently reside, I am you, you are me, we are everybody, they’re all us, filmed before a live yet imaginary studio audience, I’d go insane if I thought there was some point to it, in the hospital, the other patients stole my mom’s cigarettes, they screamed at night, my mother was so scared, when she got committed to a psychiatric ward, she immediately wanted to get out of those awful places, but the decision was made, the thing had to run its course, she had to earn the trust of the workers in the hospital, she had to jump through their hoops - play their game, it seemed like they didn’t actually treat people - they didn’t provide care, they just kept people, what could they do, what can they ever do, sometimes I look at my hands, and they’re just shaking, I drew a bar code on my hand and passed it over the cashier's scanner, beep, just give me myself, I’d like to shake your hand, why don’t you mail it to me, keep a light on in a little party in a little room, don't let The Thing get too far from your mind, it will charge back at you, and you won't be ready, I want a life consolation prize, an interactive grave stone, audio recorder, soil thermometer, a barometer, a rain gauge, and video file footage of my life highlights, or maybe I will just have a television set for a gravestone, my gravestone should say, “RUINED BY TV,” if I was a flasher, I'd practice on my TV, the TV does not have to be on, my father designed various things for GE, he designed TV cabinets for a while, one day he brought home a TV cabinet he designed, it was beautiful, but it had no TV in it, I opened it up and said, “Where’s the TV, Daddy,” I went inside the cabinet, and sat down, I closed the doors, I would not come out, I remember when TV was as tall as me, my earliest memory is standing before a TV, inches from the screen, touching the screen and receiving little static zaps on my fingers, leaning in, to give a kiss, or is it to whisper somethin, sliding Polaroid photos under the door to you, your pepper spray not your asthma medicine, I am not a perfect person, but I think perfect people do exist, can you just call yourself a writer, and poof, you’re a writer, writers write, fuck it, I’m a writer, there, done, glad that’s decided, I don’t always write the reality, but I always write BECAUSE OF reality, [herehere] in the last ten months of her life, my mother seemed more sane than ever, in July her son died, in January she learned that she had lung cancer, and she died the day before Mother’s day, maybe she was so sane in those last months because that was the time when she needed her sanity the most, I have this swirling brew of memories, dreams, and questions - and emerging realizations - about my late brother, my late mother and my late father, I try to sort out the memories, I try to keep them assembled and complete, sometimes, with certain memories, my recall is much clearer, sometimes I don’t remember the whole memory, DO I OWN THIS MEMORY OR NOT, I can’t understand why it is that I can’t remember everything each time I try, maybe I’m just too tired sometimes, sometimes I remember and I cry, or I laugh, sometimes my brother or my mother or my father is present in a dream, and it’s a precious extension of the time I spent with them while they were alive, or it is like they are returning to the stage to take their bows after the performances they gave while they were still living, I wish I would never die, I don’t want to die, I get scared when ever I think about that shit, it’s enough to make me cry, it’s enough to make me want to design my own afterlife - connect my timeline to a previous timeline from a history book or a diary bought in an antique store or newspaper microfiche - connect my timeline to one of those timelines - connect it like you are connecting toy train tracks, I want to live forever, you can help, finish reading my story and tell all your friends, I hope you have friends, I’m jealous if you do, I wish I hadn't fast forwarded through the in between times, in my thinking, in my life, I wonder how many people I have talked to -TOTAL- I wonder exactly how many people I have said words to, how many people have I spoken as little as one word to in my whole life, people in three different colleges, in thirty-some jobs, too many bars to even count, the games of pool, the jukebox observations and summations, "do you have a light," how many times have I asked that or been asked that, how many people have I asked whether they were using that chair or they asked me, and “excuse me” and “hi” to strangers, and cashiers and customers, passing by people at work, did I say more when I said nothing at all, did I say a lot about how I felt about them by not saying anything, they have no idea that I don't even work there, I just walked into the building off the street, I just picked out an empty cubicle and sat down, I find somebody every Friday to sign my time sheet, I tell people my boss is out of the office a lot, it takes more than a hatred of Starbucks Coffee to be a fringe hero, how many words do I have to utter in order to order a cup of coffee, can’t I just hand over my three dollars with one hand and hold out my other hand in a receptive, crescent-shaped grip, ready to receive the coffee cup, you can remake yourself every day if you have the energy, that's what I do, I have started and quit so many jobs I have trouble counting, if you quit more jobs than you get fired from, do you win, do you beat the world, really though leaving a job under any circumstances is a personal victory, why stick around, why scum it up, learning the business of some company, becoming an expert in the slightest sliver of nothingness that is in this great big beautiful world, I get by temporarily by making clever remarks, not knowing the business, but knowing what's going on in that business at that particular moment, always in training mode, but always moving up, use up your dental benefit for the year and quit, everybody wants to buy you lunch when you first start at a job, everybody wants to throw you a going away party when you leave the job, I’m not a slave, there are lots of slaves out there, seventy hour per week slaves who can’t even think their own thoughts, I may be stuck in a full time job, but I’m no slave, the managers are slaves, the directors, the vice presidents, the chief whatever officers - the people who sit there every second thinking about company stuff, fuck that shit, I’ll sit there, I’ll do the work when there’s work, but you don’t have me 100%, you don’t have my soul, I work in a place for a while, and then I quit, whatever, I’m free to do what I want, I don’t care about money until I run out, I have had many jobs, crazy people jump jobs A LOT, I guess my first job was mowing lawns, I mowed lawns all over my neighborhood, I worked a few days as a telemarketer, I worked at a greenhouse, I worked at a country club, I worked at a college dining hall, I did construction for my brother’s construction company, I was a truly terrible waiter, “I’m your waiter not a stalker,” I worked as a dock boy at a yacht club, I have wrecked every promotional vehicle I have ever driven, every hot dog shaped RV, every puppy dog shaped sports coupe, SUV’s with sized up beverage cans strapped to the roof, billboard trucks in high cross winds, slick pavement under partly dopey skies, a temp agency got me banquet jobs and a job assembling booths at conventions, I applied for shit jobs that I saw them in the newspaper, some jobs I got because I knew somebody who already worked there, moving furniture, an internship at the computer center at college, some jobs I don’t remember how I got them, assistant news editor at the student newspaper where I earned $25 per week, overnight motel desk clerk, janitor - my first paying job after they mailed me my college diploma was as a janitor, I needed cash and the career search was taking too long, and I had quit my student’s job (desk clerk at a motel, midnight shift, perfect for a student) - I quit that job, however, because that particular workplace got all shot up by an angry customer (I think), the customer became angry because I said “FUCK YOU” to him over the front desk phone because he was complaining about his TV not working, my dad had honorable jobs - design jobs, sometimes he worked in defense, he attended his Atomic Energy Commission shock treatment meet and greets, I asked him if he had any personal ethical problems - helping to design missiles, “If I don’t do it, somebody else will,” I worked in a theater box office for three days, I worked in a call center, I worked in health insurance company - a temp agency assigned me to it and I went permanent, I worked for the a company (as a temp), I worked for a bank as a temp, I’ll stop mentioning temp status now because all of my jobs anymore are gained -through temp agencies, a trucking company, the National Institutes of Health shipping and receiving department and on and on and on, one time my job was to make check marks next to people’s names when I learned that they had died, one time I worked in a place where they tried to figure out ways to get premature babies out of the incubators faster, I would cash my paycheck and raise the money over my head and shout to everyone else in the bank, "This is a two day stay for a premature baby I'm about to put up my nose here,” legal tender, repeat offenders, I worked for a few weeks setting up a brand new coat and clothing store, and then more insurance, and now I work for brand x whatever company, I work with data, and I worked at a few other places I am sure I am forgetting, over thirty jobs that I can remember, part of a special task force assembled to fix my own errors, I have been evicted twice, I have had sex with X amount of ladies, I have been in about ten physical altercations -FIGHTS- (with guys) the older I got, the better I got at choosing my battles, and I didn’t chose battles I would lose anymore, I got beat up as a kid a few times, and then I started doing better in fights (by fighting dirty - I punched a guy in the balls five or six times in a row one time - I kicked a guy in the ribs one time and I swear I heard a crack, I threw a guy in a wrestling hold one time and I was choking him, and now I don’t fight anymore, ten fights is not a lot, a few of those were just shoving matches or wrestling match type deals, I have had x amount of cars, nah, I’m not going to count how many piece of shit cars I’ve had, they were all pieces of shit, I have played all of the following sports, some only once, some many many times, some organized some not, I will try to list these in order of ‘played most often’ to ‘played least often’ or ‘only once,’ - soccer, skateboard, wrestling, golf, football, volleyball, rugby, tennis barely, bike racing, foot racing, wind surfing, wind surfing was the coolest probably, the coolest thing I ever did in my life was wind surfing, I never had any ‘real’ reason to be depressed until one day I did, and when the sensible thing to do was to feel depressed -after the reason for true depression arrived- I felt better, things made more sense, my mood finally matched my situation, so I felt better in a way, so then I felt guilty for feeling better, and I became depressed from the guilt, I write certain people off when they piss me off, and I avoid eye contact with them, and I avoid speaking to them, I will remain very quiet, abnormally so, I think, like at work, I will remain so quiet for so long that finally all my thoughts burst forth all at once, I will talk way too much, I guess you could call me erratic, emotional, I don’t hide my emotions -or- I can’t hide my emotions, they force their way out, it must be so awkward for people I work with, I’m emotional and incompetent, but, I can’t help it, I have to exist, I have to work somewhere, I have to make my way somewhere, I have to live somewhere, I have to fuck somewhere - I have to fuck someone, they have not been able to lock me up yet, they have not been able to find enough reasons to lock me up yet, I’m not that bad, not really, I’m just not very socially skilled, I don’t adjust well, I’m not socially flexible, I am an emotional person who is easily rattled, my thin skin punctures easily around the thick skinned people who flick their sharp tongues out, people tell me to lighten up, people tell me they are worried about me, people ask me if I’m alright, a once clown sitting next to me took a big swig from his beer, a little whirlpool developed inside his bottle as he guzzled it, he set his beer down and asked me, “What’s better - laughing or making others laugh,” I’m so pathetic, I use a flashlight at home instead of turning on the lights -- chocolate, vanilla or strawberry - that seemed like an absurd question to ask my dad a few days after telling him his disease was terminal - but it was a question you must answer, fire a bullet through a dictionary for your answer, fire a bullet through the phone book and catch the bullet with chopsticks when it breaks through, its momentum will diminish that much, it will be seared with fame, it will be tasty on the tongue, and you’ll notice that the phone book pages feel silky smooth on the genitals, and back at the office, small radios mumbled all weekend in cubicles because people forgot to turn them off, I wish I could go back in the time - back to each and every one of those weekends - to sit in each and every one of those cubicles - alone in the dark all weekend - I would sit there and listen to each of those radios - and I’ll look at the family photos hanging in the cubicles, and I’ll eat candy out of the candy trays, and I’ll use the lotions, motion detecting in my sleep, I feel so inferior that I decide to act superior and really excel at it, I went in the bathroom, and I took a roll of toilet paper, and I unrolled it and, sheet by sheet, I started writing down every single bad thing that had ever been done to me, when I was done, I flushed it all down the toilet, by some loose definition this is a poem, and this lone statement can stand on its own, by the time you read this, I’ll be thinking of something else.