Maybe it’s because you got the impression early on that they didn’t want you around. Maybe it’s because they never said it but you read it in their actions. Maybe this put you a little on edge for the next twenty or thirty years. Whether it was true or not doesn’t even matter. That’s how fucked up and flawed we really are. You know that now. But maybe you’ve known for some time and it’s made it hard to see too far past it. Maybe you’re sometimes so sad because happiness has always felt so fragile and constantly falling apart. Maybe you’re afraid that the warmth will shatter you. And maybe you’re right. But maybe that doesn’t justify the cold. Maybe the cold you feel all around you is the result of a choice you’ve made, and not something you’ve inherited from the Earth. Maybe the dividing lines you’ve drawn are signs of weakness, and not of strength. Maybe the isolation you’ve gravitated toward and cultivated has done you more harm than good. Maybe you’re still just a child running from the trees. Maybe your utilitarian ways are a testament to your sorry attention span. Maybe you’re embarrassed by your lack of knowledge and acumen and that’s the real reason you stay away. Maybe you’re lonelier than you think. Maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe you’re sad because you’re lonely and you’re lonely because you’re afraid. Maybe you don’t want them around because you’re still so terrified that they don’t want you around, and maybe you just want to beat them to it. Maybe you’re just a coward. And maybe it tears you up a little when they call you brave. But maybe you just need to go for a walk.This entry was filed under Essays, Quickly.
Dear Brian, You are angry because so much of life is a bore. Crushing and dull. That’s one reason. You are angry because you see in others an easy happiness that you will never know. And you have certainly tried. Haven’t you? Tried to be like them. But it only made you feel foolish afterward. You are not angry because they don’t feel what you feel. No, this is a good thing. You want very much for their happiness. You are angry because you have this lingering thirty-year-old problem that takes up so much of your time. So much of your thought. And they just want to talk. They cannot see the horrors that you are draped in. Or all the ones that you have already shed. And the last thing you want to do is expose them, or infect them. But the sludge sometimes has a way of dripping out anyway. Doesn’t it? This is also one of the reasons you like to be alone. But that’s another book altogether. You are angry because of every last tragedy. And you are angry because it takes a major one for others to feel the things you feel on a Tuesday. Or on a Sunday. Or whenever. You are angry at all the books you will never read or understand. At all the foreign soil you will never walk on. You are angry at the slow and tedious days. And at all the wasted time that they engender. You are angry at all the years you’ve spent trying to figure out something that changes by the day, by the minute. You are angry at the things that you are willing to die for, because they aren’t all that interested in you. Anyway, don’t ever lose this. You’re going to need it. Thanks. BrianThis entry was filed under Letters, Quickly.
Dear Brian, Goddamn you are angry. Sweet Jesus, man, you are mad at the whole world. And more so at yourself. But why? Why? I mean, I know why. But before all of this, why? … What hurts your ears most is the bullshit. It screeches like fingernails on an old chalkboard and constantly swoops past you. It circles all around you like a blind and dying beast. Always flying, though. Always there. Always everlasting. It’s a constant wail of words that screams and jets off of yellowed pages, read by everyone and written by no one in particular. It’s a script from some movie that’s not being filmed or released. It’s a bloodied monster stomping skyscrapers and invisible to all. It’s five hundred years old, it is at least. … You’ve spent more time in bed with history books than with women. And yet you’re the strange one. You’re the one who’s supposed to feel bad about this. What’s strange are those women. And how well you knew them. And how little you still know about history. … You haven’t sparked a single pinch of tobacco since two thousand and four. But the sight of smoke curling up through the air still haunts and purrs at you. Buying the paper and pouch instead of the pack this time seems to almost justify a new and smoky beginning. Maybe it will start tomorrow, even. Yes, maybe tomorrow things will be different. Maybe tomorrow you will roll your own and light a match and your eyes will close and your heart will slow and the sadness will finally subside. Or maybe this is just the wine talking. Love, Peace, Torment, BrianThis entry was filed under Letters, Quickly.
This morning I saw the new carpet. I guess it was there last night, but I didn’t really get to soak it in until this morning. It’s one of the many interior renovations that some of the eager individuals in my building have put their minds and our money into. For about the past month, the entire front entrance to the building has been closed. But now I can walk through it again. And it’s really quite terrifying. Like a haunted mansion or a house of mirrors. Inside it, there are these large wooden panels with little circular holes scored all over them. And behind those beady, menacing eyes, are a series of lights that just barely form the numbers “2000.” My street address. Pretty fucking gay, huh? (Incidentally, I say “gay” with all due respect to the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual communities. But as I’m sure you will agree, this is really very gay.) So as I was saying—This morning I saw the new carpet. It is two tones of gray (one dark, one light) and has a pattern like that on an EKG screen. Repeated all mocking-like and down the length of the hallway. When I walked my bike out onto it this morning, I looked down and said out loud to myself, “Sweet Jesus, that is so fucking ugly.” But then it dawned on me that I had no right to complain. Not just like the saying goes or anything, but I really had no right to complain. I don’t go to the board meetings. I pay almost no attention to the notices I get in the mail. I’m a little better by email. But still. I did not vote for or against the gay front entrance, or the death-screened hallway. But somebody did. So now they are there. And I have no one to complain to but myself, like I did I when I saw the new carpet this morning. Oh. Also. Chicago, who did you vote for yesterday? (Incidentally, I am not judging or criticizing the sixty percent or so who did not vote. I completely understand that sentiment. All I’m saying is, shut the fuck up. And to everyone else, please speak louder. Thanks. Brian)This entry was filed under Quickly.
Last night I dreamt I had a son. And he wanted to go play basketball. We were at my grandma’s house for some reason, and she didn’t have a basketball hoop. So we went looking through the neighborhood for one. It was sunny. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt and jeans. Maybe somewhere between six and nine years old. I don’t know, I’ve always been bad with ages. His hair was light brown and almost buzzed. A little longer though. He was messing around when he ran out into traffic. There were no cars, but I felt the terror anyway. I pulled him away from the road and tried to explain how important it was that he not do that. He said he understood but I don’t think he did. It wasn’t his fault though. He was so young and I don’t think I explained very well. I was holding back tears the entire time. I don’t know for sure if we ever played basketball or not, because the next thing I knew, we were back at home. Not my apartment or anything, but wherever home was in the dream—we were there. The sun was setting and the lights were off in whatever room we were in. I think maybe we did play basketball because I was tired. And so was he. He was asleep with his head on my chest. I was dozing off myself when I put my hand on his forehead and noticed it was warm. That’s not good, I thought. And then I woke up. In my apartment. And I thought for a minute about all the roads I’d run into. And how they were more like runways. And how much stranger it is to be awake than it is to be asleep. And then I heard church bells ringing across the street. And my son (I never got his name) was not there. And I felt relieved. For both of us. And then I made some tea.This entry was filed under Quickly.