Well, At Least It’s Raining

I’ve always been comforted by rain. Much more so as I’ve gotten older. As a child, I was really scared of thunderstorms and especially tornadoes. As an adult, I guess they don’t scare me at all anymore. It’s not unusual for people to find solace in storms and rain, it’s a pretty common thing, but less common is feeling depression at the absence of rain. When it goes for too long a stretch of sunny days and beautiful weather I start to feel dry, choked, and trapped. Rain makes me feel relieved, nourished, safe. It feels like the world is growing around me. Like being tucked inside the branches of a primordial tree while the world develops around me, the sounds of rain touching everything, dripping from leaves.

This is a stressful time. I’m writing this on April 8, 2020. For the second time in my life, I am living through a major historic event. The first was in 2001 with the September 11 attacks, and the second is this, the Corona Virus outbreak. This feels different, and in many ways, worse, than September 11.

The thing about 9/11 that has always remained with me is how united everyone was afterward. And I’m not talking about patriotism or being united as Americans. Nationalism was as strange and upsetting to me then as it is now. What I mean is that people were all afraid. Everyone was scared, or angry, or unsure. But nobody felt safe anymore. And the fact that everyone felt this at the same time was comforting.

It’s a similar feeling to being at a funeral, or being near someone who’s dying. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never lost anybody I truly, deeply love, only family members like grandparents and stepfathers. I know that probably sounds cold, but I’ve never had a close relationship with my family, so it was a weird experience for me to be at their funerals and their wakes. The thing is, everyone seems to be feeling the same thing. Everyone is in shock, and everyone all his this air about them. It isn’t sadness, it isn’t depression. It’s the gentle shock of someone raising their eyebrows and smiling and shrugging their shoulders and saying “Well, here we are.” I don’t know how to put it into words, exactly. Nobody is angry, not at each other. Everyone is being… civil. And for some reason that I don’t entirely understand, civility and politeness are extremely important to me. It makes me feel safe when everyone is being civil. At a funeral, or at a restaurant after 9/11, everybody was on the same page. Nobody hated each other. Not yet. As a country we all became afraid of or angry at Muslims due to xenophobia, but it didn’t happen yet where I was, and all the sudden it felt like racist people weren’t racist anymore, bigoted people weren’t bigoted anymore. Of course that turned out not to be true but for the few days, weeks, months, there was a sense of camaraderie amongst everyone. I was also eleven years old at the time so I’m realizing as I’m typing this that maybe my rosy view of things isn’t true, that people didn’t truly come together, but at least everyone was all feeling something at once, even if it was fear and uncertainty. The same way people are at funerals.

And that’s what it’s like during times of crisis. People suddenly stop dividing themselves so much. People come together. It sounds so cheesy and stupid but it is how social creatures work. We unite when we have a common enemy, and the common enemy might be death, it might be terrorism, or it might be fear.

I don’t feel that this time. Because this time it’s a virus, and exposing yourself to other people makes you vulnerable, and everyone is inside with their doors shut, communicating mostly through memes and Facebook posts. And I am here, stuck at my house, which honestly wouldn’t be so bad except that mom chose this moment in time to come stay with us, and she brought with her my aunt and my cousin, neither of whom I particularly want to see for an extended period of time, especially during a crisis when distancing is important.

It would honestly make me feel better if my mom would leave and take the company with her. I’d feel more at peace if it were just me and my brother here and the house were quiet again, while it rains and storms outside. I could go and play piano or something.

This has been a confusing time for me. I’ve been working at a job for about a year and a half, I won’t say exactly what it is because as of now I’m still employed there, but suffice it to say I work in retail. Last week I accidentally overslept by an hour and I was the sole person opening the store, which meant the store opened an hour late. My boss has been incredibly unspecific about how he intends to respond to it, and I haven’t been back to work in a week. At first i had two days off, but then I was told he didn’t have any updates about the schedule, and he’d get back to me when he did. Then another day passed, and another. Today I texted my co-worker (there are only two of us working there, along without our boss) and he told me he was fired on Monday. And that he was told they were going to fire me, and not only that, but fire me in such a way that it was phrased that I was being let go not because of the needs of the business due to the Corona Virus outbreak, but because of me oversleeping last week, and implied that I wouldn’t be able to draw unemployment if that were the case. I don’t know how unemployment works but if so, that’s incredibly dirty of them, bordering on criminal, since conspiring against someone to keep them from getting unemployment during a worldwide health crisis because they came in to work an hour late seems negligible at best and criminal at worst. Again, I probably shouldn’t be talking about any of this, but I’m so fucking frustrated. I’ve been a good employee and done good work. This is the first job in my life where I’ve made a consistent effort not to call out of work, even when I’m exhausted or not feeling well. I’ve called out of work three times, all because I was sick (one of them was anxiety related but the other two were actual feverish sickness).

Today I went to the store to ask my boss about it to find that an associate from another store was filling in for him. When I called him he refused to give me any specifics and just kept repeating “I don’t know, I don’t know, it’s all very confusing right now, I don’t know what’s going to happen.” He wouldn’t admit to me whether or not he WANTED to fire me. I tried to call our district manager and he wouldn’t answer his phone or texts. I called human resources, who told me they’d look into it and get back to me, but they didn’t. I eventually got a text from my district manager saying “We’ll talk about this in the morning, and get it all straightened out.” I don’t know what that means. And even if I DO keep my job, I don’t actually WANT to go to work, because I don’t want to risk infection, I want them to temporarily lay me off so that I can get unemployment until this crisis is over so I don’t have to keep going outside and risking infection every day.

It’s been difficult here. I have a couple of local friends who I go to see when I’m feeling lonely and I can’t even do that. One of them is a friend-with-benefits who I have a pretty affectionate and sexual relationship with. I went to his apartment and he told me he was uncomfortable with me being there because I worked with the public and made me leave. I felt very hurt by that. And apart from someone coming over to visit me, I’ve not been able to see any other friends. I lost a Facebook friend this morning who I’ve known for a year or two because he didn’t appreciate that I wasn’t enthusiastically supporting Joe Biden, which is an entirely different topic that I don’t have the strength to go into here, but suffice it to say I think Biden is a buffoon with exactly the same temperament as Trump and even less grasp of where he is and what’s happening around him. I’m sick of watching the country being run by senile old men who don’t know what year it is, both literally and figuratively.

On a similar topic is that issue of my memory. For the last two years or so I’ve been developing memory issues that seem to be getting worse. I can’t recall what I was talking about or doing a few minutes ago, I need to make lists to remember things, I can’t recall words I need to use that I use on a regular basis when I’m talking or writing. It’s terrifying. I think that if something were to happen to my memory, if I were to lose the ability to retain information… I wouldn’t want to live anymore. It’s not something a 29 year old should be dealing with. And on the topic of being 29, I’ve spent the last year in an existential crisis about turning 30 and having achieved absolutely nothing in my life. I’ve become so contemplative, trying to understand the meaning in every aspect of life and being continually surprised to find that there is so little meaning in anything we do as people.

We just wake up in the world and drift through our lives and then one day we die. I’ve stopped believing we go anywhere. It’s a beautiful idea, that I might wake up in some fairy grove and rub the dust from my eyes and see the spirits of the dead around me, beckoning me to an everlasting paradise of sunshine and rolling green hills and clear blue skies, where all the fantasies of my life can come true, where there’s endless love and hope and adventure. But it’s so silly, isn’t it? So juvenile. So entirely human to believe that the universe owes us an afterlife, owes us meaning. The universe doesn’t owe us anything. We exist and that’s it. There is no meaning apart from the fact that we exist. Some things exist, some things cease to exist. Consciousness is not a magical spirit essence that lives inside our bodies, we are brains firing electric signals encased in flesh and bones. I would LIKE for spirits to be real, I would like for magic to be real, I would like for fairies and dragons and flying on angels wings to be real. But that doesn’t mean it becomes real.

You see, this is the kind of thing I’ve been doing all year. Trying to understand the deep, psychological and philosophical meaning behind everything. I’m going through a kind of puberty that I went through as a teenager, a philosophical puberty where I’m asking questions about existence, only this time they’re not accompanied by the hope that as I get older I’ll understand. They’re accompanied by the realization that not only will I never receive an answer, but NO ONE WILL, and no one has, and that is the state of existence in which we live. It is terribly unfulfilling but that doesn’t make it less true.

So, how do you keep going? How do you keep living when you realize that there are no fairies and magic, that Santa Claus doesn’t bring you presents and Jesus doesn’t monitor your thoughts and send you little miracles when you pray and ask for them? Julia Sweeney inspired me years ago by saying that the fact that we only have this one brief life makes every moment mean MORE, not less. And she’s right, of course. But that doesn’t mean that the sense of fulfillment from before, back when we believed that the universe had a grand order to it, isn’t lost. I’ve never read Paradise Lost but isn’t that what life is, the loss of the lies we believe from the time we’re children? What might life be like if as a child I’d not been taught that God was watching us, that we go somewhere when we die? What if I’d had the chance to grapple with these questions when my brain was still forming and come to accept them without existential angst, how much more fulfilling might my life be? And what better choices might I have made?

I’m angry at the circumstances of my birth. I live in a capitalist society where boys with families who have more money than I do got to get cars when they were sixteen and go to college and make friends and have sex and go to parties, but I was raised by simple, dense, southern baptist Christians who did the best they could but didn’t know any better. I was born smarter than my parents and the people around me and I grew up being told by teachers and adults how bright I was and how I’d change the world when I grew up or I’d be a great writer or a great artist, but I’m almost 30 and I’ve achieved nearly nothing. All I have are hundreds of low quality recordings of me and my piano, and this blog where I’ve written down my thoughts. And also the fear that someday someone will read through my old posts not to better understand me and the journey I’ve been on, but to search for a hint of moral infraction with which to cancel me and try to hurt me. I have to be measured and careful about what I say now, because if I have an outburst of emotion on the internet it will be captured and eventually used against me.

There are things that have happened in my life that I desperately want to write about, here in this blog, that I can’t, because I know from the experience of confiding in people that I can’t trust people with dark thoughts and regrets, I can’t trust people to treat me with compassion or decency. People are so selfish. America in particular is so selfish.

I wish I’d been born in England. I wish I had a family that lived in a nice house with two floors, and a dog, and I had two brothers, and my dad went to work and my mom took care of us, and when I was scared or sad I could go in my brother’s room and cry and be consoled. I wish I had a real family that I could love. I wish I didn’t lay my head down wondering where I’ll be sleeping in two months, if my mom will kick me out again, wondering what I’ll do for work, wondering if I’ll ever be able to go to school, wondering if it’s too late, too late to become a musician, to become a novelist, to achieve something. Wondering if the grey in my hair that used to be charming because I was so young to have grey hair is becoming a part of who I am now. Because soon, I won’t be young anymore. I’ll be young overall, but not really. I won’t be socially young. I’ll be thirty. And I won’t have a promising future anymore. I’ll just be… some guy. This is where my ship has landed, the island on which I find myself. This will be the life I’ve found, and it’s not even a life I’ve built. I always said I’d never be thirty and still living with my mom, never be thirty and still be fat, never be thirty and still have no album, no book, no prospects, never gone to college.

But it’s all come true. And I’m sitting here in my room, with the only comfort being the cool feel of the air conditioner as the rain comes down much more gently outside than it was half an hour ago and I started writing. I want to talk about how I’ve taken up jogging in the last couple days, but I just can’t. Everything feels so futile because despite everything, despite how hopeless my life feels, I can still imagine a life that’s fulfilling, with friends and lovers and people who give me what I want and need out of life, and the chance to go to therapy and to go to school and to have a job I actually love.

But it’s just not here. Nothing is the way it should be. This is not what I thought my life would be, and I’m heartbroken, because I’ve just wasted so much time. So much time that can’t be bought back for anything. And I’m mad because what else could I have done? This was the life into which I was born. Not poverty, but not wealth either. Not a family who loves and supports me, a family who holds me down and suffocates me. Even when they try. My mom isn’t trying to hurt me, but she does. She can’t help it, it’s who she is. And I’ll never truly be happy here. And I don’t think there’s any way out of this situation, out of this life I’ve found myself in. This is just… where I am, and who I am. And how can I possibly be strong enough, clever enough, determined enough, to find a way out?

I’m sad. I’m unfulfilled. And I haven’t truly fallen in love again since the first time when I was fifteen. I don’t think I’ll ever feel that way again, that pure unbridled happiness I felt with Michael when I was fifteen, when the world was so full of promises and opportunity and I had a bright future ahead, and I was going to be a great writer, a great musician, a great person. But I’m just a guy, in his mom’s house, on my bed, typing in the rain. I don’t even know if I’ll have a job tomorrow afternoon. And the world is crumbling around everyone, we’re headed toward an economic disaster because a virus has brought the entire world to it’s knees. It’s like all those apocalypse movies about the year 2012 except it’s happening, and it isn’t zombies, it isn’t nuclear war, it’s so simple. It’s a virus. And I’m stuck here in this house with these thoughts swirling around in my head, and the only thing I can do in the day is go jogging down a dirt road or go driving aimlessly.

I haven’t given up hope, it will always keep burning in my chest, that I’ll find a life for myself that makes me happy. But right now, I just don’t see how it can happen. I don’t see how life can change.

Some Poems I Wrote This Year

So a lot of the poetry I’ve posted this year has been called untitled with a number afterward. That’s because I constantly write down scraps of poetry or short poems and don’t give them titles because they’re intended to be kind of sewn together into lyrics for songs later. Some of these stand on their own, some of them are kind of waiting to be paired up with others. I used to just separate all of these poetry fragments with a little asterisk, but when I cleaned out my notes on my phone and transferred all my old poetry fragments to my computer, rather than using asterisks I tried using numbers. I kind of liked the way that worked because it gave everyone of those poems a designation of some kind to reference later, and so when I started a new poetry notepad on my phone, I just continued using a number system, although I restarted from one. So everything you’ve seen posted this year with numbers in the title is the number that I gave it in my notes. I recognize this is all way too complicated, but organizing things is kind of like, my hobby.

That being said, I’m going to post some of the best stuff I feel I’ve written this year. Some of these will be repeats from earlier posts, although the majority of these (especially from 33 onward) are new and haven’t been seen before. I was really doing this just as a way to have these all collected here at the end of the year, but to tell the truth I discovered I’m actually REALLY proud of some of the things I’ve written, and I think that I’m really growing and that one day my lyrics will reflect this. Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed my poetry before, I hope you enjoy these. Happy new year and all that, everyone.

1 – Home (for Jacob)

And I want to go home but you’re not there
And without you it’s just a house
And I want to get in bed but it makes me remember
The person I’m sleeping without
And if I squint real hard in the morning light
Before I remember that I’m alone
I can think that you’re still here beside me
And suddenly this house has become a home

And even if you only love me a little
A little is enough for me
And I don’t care if I’m wrong and you break my heart
I just need you to come home to me

And I’m making mix CDs for you
And I listen to them by myself
Cause I’d rather share them with no one at all
Than to show them to someone else
And the dogs look around like they still don’t get
That you’re not coming home for a while
But if you told me tomorrow that you were ready
I’d sell everything and drive three-hundred miles

And even if you only love me a little
A little is enough for me
And I don’t care if I’m wrong and you break my heart
I just need you to come home to me

When I lay in bed I pretend you’re there
And I cry because you’re not
And I don’t answer when other friends call
Because I’d rather you be missed than you be forgot
And even if you only love me a little
I’d give you anything you want
And I’m not even dead but I feel like a ghost
Cause I’m living in this house you haunt

And even if you only love me a little
A little is enough for me
And I don’t care if you break my heart
Because it’s broken already
Come home

5 – Delirium

Oh Delirium you taught me how to love desire
And you took me in the dark and you gave me a little fire
I held it close against my chest and walked into the rain
I learned that I can be happy and still in constant pain

Delirium you taught me how to love despair
And when I look inside and I can’t see myself I see you there
And when my voice is broken and you begin to sing
I think that it’s possible that I can say anything

Oh Delirium walking with me in the morning
They can’t hear what you’re painting but I see it all
And I was in my room wrapped in chains when you found me
And you whispered “Aren’t you sick of being tied to the wall?”

I don’t understand a word you’re saying
But I know exactly what you mean
And I thought I had to be quiet until you showed me
That I have the power to scream

And the water was warm as I sank to the bottom
Singing your songs for the hundredth time
And when I reached the floor I dug my nails in till they were bleeding
And I had no lipstick, I had no shoes
But the horses came for me anyway
And my muddy clothes were dripping
And the grey sky looked down
And I crawled from the river
Said I crawled from the river

When I was lonely I rested in you
When I knew I was unknowable I believed that you were too
And if the echoes of you bleeding could reach me through the years
I knew that there was merit in my tears
I knew that I could love my deepest fears

And being human is so dirty but I’m happy just to try
I believe the effort’s worth it when I’m sad enough to die
And I don’t fear the devil anymore because of you
You taught me how to love myself like God refused to do

Oh Delirium you taught me Destruction is alright
You gave me a lantern to keep me warm at night
You barked at the cats and they scattered to the wind
You growled when they tried to let those preachers in
You taught me to love what I thought would make me die
You taught me to look their god right in the eye
And I don’t fear the devil anymore because of you
You taught me how to love myself like God refused to do

7

At night I say goodbye and get into my car
Drive home and unlock the door
Go into my room and close it behind me
Sink to the floor in exhaustion
I pull of my clothes while I lay on my side
Until I’m naked and the air is cool against my skin
Chills run down me and something leaves my heart
And comes up through my eyes and out my mouth
There are such depths within me that I cannot express
It hurts to know that one can see this dark place
If only someone knew me I could feel safe
And always my call at night goes unanswered
Laying on the floor until I’m done thinking
Rocking back and forth
It isn’t time for school
I’ve wasted so much of my life
In this quiet chamber where sadness is an echo
And the sea beneath me is warm


*apparently I messed up the numbering for these next three, so just go with it

8

My love flashes so bright that it blinds before it fades
My love is a deep well that drains so fast
And leave my dry and thirsty
My love is cruel because it does not hold to me
My love is fickle and callous, flitting in the wind
And my heart is always broken and infatuated
These cruel opposing hands make me so dizzy

7

Possess me, possess me
I’ve denied it for so long
Come isnide and stay within my body
Give my bones a ringing song
Lie within these corridors
My echoed halls that scream your name
Raise my voice inside of yours
Break apart this fragile frame

8

I’m dying and it feels so wonderful
It feels so wonderful to die
I’m coming and the heat is intense
Between these many bodies gathered
And all there is is this
His and his and his and his and his and his and his
Sweet delirious fucking
Hair and teeth and skin
Tighten these grilling fingers around my throat
And let me die like this

9

I’ll look after you
I’ll take care of you
Will you look after me
When I am there with you

10

He comes to me quietly
My old friend who understands
He hears what I forgot I said
Lonely and quiet
Sad and at peace
I do not have to say a thing
He already knows
These chills are a blanket
His fingers are warm
Hold me close I cannot hear them
He wraps his arms around me
He takes me home

14

I stopped growing when I was fourteen
I was raised by a television screen
I skipped the bus and stayed at home
Grinding my body into a black hole

15

And you can blame me if it helps you feel better
We all get scared sometimes
And I know you smile when they ask how you’re feeling
It’s okay to tell those lies
When you come to me alone in the dark
I’ll be your silent friend
You’ve been alone for so long
You’re trying to be strong
You just want this pain to end
We both have wounds we cannot tend

You’re trying to tell me what you’re thinking
Saying words that don’t make sense
You say you’d rather cry than be quiet
That sadness is better than indifference
But you can cry for me if it helps you feel better
We all get scared sometimes
And you can gather your thoughts and put them in a letter
Writing words that never rhyme
But no one reads those lines

And it’s okay to be angry cause the world deserves it
And I’m shouting with you and I don’t care if it’s worth ti
When we finally reach the top of this rock we climb
We may not get an answer but at least we tried
And if you promise not to lie to me I’ll promise you
That I’m hurting when you’re hurting and I’m angry too
I may not know the reason but I know this much
It’s that I love you and I know
It’s so hard to live without touch

16 (For Kesha)

And you dance while you’re dying
Every day you’re trying
But the other side of the rainbow doesn’t come today
Just dance while you’re dying
They’re hearing but they’re not listening
No can hear you crying
Over the sound your singing

18

And these nights are rubbing me raw
My skin is itching for touch
And I’m asking and no one answers
I just want to feel so much
I’m thirst, I’m hunger
Contact is my deepest need
I’m breathless and hardened
I want to make a garden
But I have no seed

20

And I’ll learn to live with it if I have to
Because I have no other choice
But it’s such a shame to live like this
Singing to strangers in someone else’s voice

23

We’re playing God and God isn’t playing fair
(I’m coming in to burn you all)
My skin begins itching soon, try to contain the fire
(No weight can hold me back)
Tell them to run while they can
(I will live forever and the sun will die before my fire is quenched)
Don’t breathe, just run
(Feed me with life
Until I am everything)

24

Running through the veins of love
Come on let the sunshine in
It’s finally gonna happen
You can’t even guess at how it feels
And when you hear them singing
You know they’re only trying
To say something that can’t be said

Come out of the catacombs baby
Everyone’s been waiting
And in the middle of the circle stands
The fruit you eat daily
The water you drink
The heat that keeps your heart beating
Freedom will not wait for you to catch her

25

A whisper is inside me
Begging to slip out
I’m afraid to say it
These sweet words hiding in my mouth
Where your tongue slipped in

26

I only know how to be alone
But I’m hoping that you’ll teach me
How do I ask you
To make a new heart for me
Replace the old one that was taken
And we’re meant to touch
I’ll be Jonathan, you be David

27

And my wicked little heart is trembling in your hands
You climbed into my chest and found it beating
And if you want to keep me all you have to do is ask
Will you love me even with my constant needing

32

On this autumn hill
The kingdom of an ancient time
When the birds spoke in verse
When the people of the forest listened
Comes to me at sunrirse

The horses can still smell
The air we’ve gotten used to
Our noses were full of cotton
Flares on a coole vening breeze
Asking me to hear secrets I’ve been keeping

Blue, blue
Soft nocturne like a lullaby
I’m asking the ghosts if they can spare a mother for me
I need to be held against her breasts
I hold an empty cup in my hands

The empty king wears a birds head
He looks down on a cold chasm
I have come to ask compassion
Come with my twisted knots of glesh
Tangled nerves that thirst for something fresh
And pools of blood beneath my skin
Where my heart was beaten

I cross this angry bridge
While you look on silently
With nothing behind me
And a cup of blood in my hands

33

We’re swimming in the clouds
We’re floating in the fog
We’re dancing through the grass
We’re coming
We don’t believe those lies
We bring your secrets with us

34

I tried to learn to love you
But the chances were so slim
I split myself in pieces
Hoping one of them could be him

I put my mask on to go to sleep
But I can’t tell a lie while I’m dreaming
So I taper my mouth shut
I can’t tell you the secret I’m keeping

I’m sifting through the trash
To find the music I was reading
I’m walking on razorblades
And wondering why I’m bleeding

I’m chasing you beneath the moon
I’m standing far behind myself
I’m walking on razors
And I don’t know why I’m bleeding

35

The soldiers stop by and kiss the pin-up boy
On their way to work
On their way to the field
On their way to eat
And especially
On their way to sleep

36

I’ve been having nightmares
Worms beneath the ocean
Ancient and forgotten things
In a submarine inside the belly of the beast
A mouth with many teeth
The clamp and strangle

I saw so many faces
Turning into masks
Their loves one changing right before their eyes
I saw beast that stood beside my bed
No eyes and scales across it’s awful head
I screamed like a siren
Calling for a dog to save me

38

Twin without a twin
Brother without a brother
Here I am again
In love without a lover

39

I want to feel safe
Not lost in an ocean of kisses without love
I want to be warm
Not shielded from a cold wind of loneliness
Blowing down the hill
I want to be loved
As much as I love the world around me
And the hope of changing
I’m tired of feeling vertigo in my cracked heart

And I’m giving up on trying to find
Someone whose scent I cannot track
I’m just trying my best to lose
This heavy weight that bears down on my chest
And I’ll still feel those tears when
I crawl in bed and think of him
I wish the world weren’t so cruel
But wishes are just prayers that go unanswered

42

These lullabies are so familiar
But the footprints are still mine
It could be early in the morning
Standing in the sea when we haven’t slept
The sea is full of jewels
And I think I’ll fall into the sky
I wish you were with me
In the still glass
In the quiet morning sea
Everything sleeps eventually

I don’t want to go to sleep on my own
It would be so warm to lie in you
It would be so good to let me go
So much fear that I’ll always have broken feet
I hope I’m still worth walking

How can so many voices call
In such a small place
I’m so afraid
And I’m trying so hard to be strong
Hold me
I’m so tired from standing

43

The sky is an ocean
And I want to fall high and into it
Where they swim in oxygen
They laugh
And I’m sinking into the air
And it smells like the cold
The snow is in my veins
I’m freezing, I’m a crystal
(Don’t break!)
(Don’t move!)
(Just drink!)
Drink the air
The fish can fly

44

I remember a childhood that isn’t mine
A winter without Elvis in my room
A grandmother that was not mine
There was no smoke in the walls there
My mother was a housewife
My brothers were my friends
My father was a good man
I was not alone when I learned to love
I kept secrets that did not break me
My family called and asked me to come home
They were all so worried
I felt sorry for the boy whose mom had kicked him out
We let him stay with us for a little while
My mother couldn’t imagine that
I wished I could help him
So we took off all our clothes and lit a candle
I said goodbye to my brothers while they slept
He kissed me
I hugged my father
He held me
I whispered to my sleeping mother
I kissed him deep
I promised I”d take her with me wherever I go
He took me in and the green sky swallowed my heart

I was a crying baby then
Taken into the arms of a woman who was not mine
One day he’ll find me and throw his arms around me
And I’ll see my brothers again
And my father will be so proud
My mother will forgive me for running away
She’s proud of both her sons
She still loves us all
She’ll tell me I’m so brave

My friend will take my hand and lead me to bed
Give me a kiss and tell me I saved him
It will be worth it
My car is cold right now
But my bed is warm
He’s patting the space beside him
Come on, Jesse
I believe in you
Come home
The Bed is warm
Find me, follow my candle
Keep driving

 

46

Put you on the drugs then we take them back from you
Now you can’t live without it, now you need it
Now you want the water cause you’re
Thirsty, needing, now your eyes are bleeding
Take a little all you get is what we say you need
So we push this
Take this back from you
But you’re not covered cause you have no clothes
So we’ll take a piece of your brain
Until you pay us back
Wish you’d just break my legs
Instead of cracking each bone to collect

48

I have so little of the joy you weave
My life has been a march of pain
But I still hope I can see the beauty
The blood beneath the vein

49

And what joy, and what pain
To know I found the one and he didn’t love me

50

The sky is a reflection of the sea
My reflection is an imitation of me
Where my eyes end and the world begins
A fog so thick that no one can see in
And I’m reaching into that fearful expanse
Hoping you’ll see and break

52

The orchestra players are not just instruments
Not just breath and tone
I see your eyes and the music within
Body, blood and bone

I know my lover’s staggered breath
I know his gentle moan
The music in his gentleness
The softness in the stone

And I know when he plays for me
His secrets I have known
I hear him talking in his sleep

54

I’ll wake up and wander through the house
Very quiet and the dogs are still asleep
If I open up your bedroom door
Will you let me slide beneath the sheets

57

No one dies alone
The lights in the sky are sleeping

62

Hey there Lucifer
I heard you were the one to talk to
I can’t stop thinking about the hearts beneath the floor
I can’t stop seeing the faces of the victims
And I’ve not lost sleep but I’ve lost waking

Hey Lucifer I know you’ve seen it all
I keep saying I’m not the worst
But I really don’t believe it
I tried to ask your father but he never called me back
I tried to ask his son but he really never spoke
And I wonder if ghosts are even real
But if any god is real I hope it’s you
If I open up, will you have compassion?
Scoop out the thing that makes me black
Leave some hope where it was

I’m trying my best to stare down the fire
But it won’t stop melting my resolve
Would you take my hand and lead me through?

Hey Lucifer I’m afraid
And I want to throw it all up
It hasn’t left me yet
Please god get it out

Hey Lucifer I’m ready
I’m ready to lay it down
Help me to forgive myself
Because it’s eating me alive
And I can’t keep secrets
When I have so much to give

Hey Lucifer do you think
I can wrap my soul around the one I love
When I die
And will I have to lose myself again just to live
I’m calling back the music
I’m trying to command
But I am not a witch
And I don’t have the power

Teach me how to love
Before I start to hate
A part of me wants to destroy everything
But help me to live him and show him compassion
Help me when the world won’t
Help me when God doesn’t answer
People only come to you when no one else picks up
I’m sorry that the world has heaped it’s shit on you

Hey Lucifer
I love you
Hold my hand and lead me out
And cleanse my blood
With sunlight

69

Our sorrow is still enough
And better than a lonely morning
With my wet feet in the grass by themselves
And hoping you’ll come home across the ocean
Though it breaks my heart
It’s worth holding

 

70

I don’t want a wedding ring
I’m not looking for forever
I just want tonight to be better than this morning
And maybe three years is enough
I hope you thought it’s worth it
Love dropped by and spent the night
And left me in the morning

Dangerously Alive

As you get older, years start going by faster. Time begins to slip through your fingers and you wonder how so much could have happened so fast. Or in my case, how you could have wasted so much time.

I’m twenty-eight now. This blog has existed for eight years. I look back on who I was when I started it and see how sad he was, but still how bright his hopes and dreams for the future were. I don’t think I’m the same person I was then. It makes me sad.

Sadness is basically my default state now. I spend so much time in a state of melancholy that it’s honestly where I feel most comfortable. It’s better to accept the sadness and become friends with it than to dread it, and really why dread it? Being sad is kind of a nice feeling. People say you shouldn’t wallow in self-pity, but sometimes wallowing in self-pity is the most intense emotional experience I’m capable of having.

So much of my time this year has been spent in a state of deep, painful self-reflection. I try to be honest with myself, I try not to lie to myself, because I’ve done that in the past and it’s a terrible feeling. I try not to keep secrets, and especially not to keep secrets from myself. When you try to lie to yourself you do a weird thing where you split yourself into two versions: the version of you that believes the lie, and the version of you that is lying to the other one. And you have to constantly navigate life with these two dissonant voices clashing in your head. I’ve spent a lot of this year absolutely hating myself.

It’s something I can’t truly talk about in specific terms. There were some things that happened to me a year or two ago, things that left me feeling profoundly dirty, and guilt-ridden, and ashamed. And I was transformed by those experiences in a fundamentally negative way, no longer able to see myself as the naive, innocent person I’d been before. At a certain point in everyone’s life, there comes a time when you do something that you’re really ashamed of. You hurt someone you love, or you do something petty and spiteful, or you physically strike someone, or you disregard someone else’s feelings, or you take pleasure in someone else’s suffering, or you do something really perverted or fantasize about violence, or you openly admit something shameful to someone who won’t be sympathetic because you kind of want them to expose you and make you suffer. It’s a weird mix of emotions. I’ve done some of those things, at different times, for different reasons. I believe that deep down I’m a good person, but I’ve spent so much time hating myself for mistakes that I’ve made, for things that I’ve done that I have no power to change, and for people that I’ve hurt, knowingly and unknowingly, and for pain that I’ve played a role in.

The thing is, how do you go on living with yourself when you’ve done something wrong? You can’t exactly turn yourself over to the police, cause either you haven’t committed a crime or what you’ve done is just morally questionable but not legally questionable, or it’s entirely something in your head and it wouldn’t make any sense to do that. You can’t always tell a therapist because maybe you’re poor and can’t afford therapy. Telling friends doesn’t always help because sometimes your friends can’t handle it or they don’t understand.

So you spend your time sitting alone in your room, playing video games and drinking soda, going from day to day, meal to meal, trying just to focus on what’s happening right now, because you don’t know how you’re ever going to make it into the future living with the person you’ve become.

Of course I’m talking about myself. I always am. I don’t know if I have any particular skill apart from painful self-reflection.

There have been so many moments where I’ve thought “I’m setting this pain down now and walking away. I forgive myself. I love myself.”

But you know, sometimes even when you say it and you mean it, it still doesn’t change anything.

Sometimes it just takes a lot of time and a lot of pain for you to feel any different. A couple of months ago, I got very sick and lost my job because of it. After that, I stopped taking my antidepressants and fell into a state of perpetual anxiety and self-hatred, where I kept telling myself that the mistakes I’ve made in my life are unforgivable, that I’m not worth loving or keeping around, and that it would GENUINELY be better for the world if I were dead or behind bars somewhere. That my mind is unclean and sick, that I am a bad influence on other people, that I am twisted and warped and I don’t deserve a second chance.

And the worst part is, those weren’t fleeting angry thoughts. I really meant them. I really felt them. I still do. They live inside of me, questioning me, these fears. I’ve had nightmares and been unable to sleep. I’ve been afraid that people I’ve talked to about the things that haunt me will go around telling others what I’ve told them to try and hurt me as a person. It’s happened already, more than once. There are people who’ve made me want to die. I’ve thought over and over again about what I would say in a suicide note.

And you know, this kind of stuff, it’s really easy to look at and say “There’s someone who needs help. This person needs therapy, this person is a danger to themselves.” But when you’re really there, inside your own head, and you can’t control these thoughts and this awful, awful hopelessness, it’s a crisis. You’re in the middle of a hurricane and just thinking “How do I survive?” The wind is whipping all around you and you become acutely aware that you really might actually die. And you grab onto something and think just survive, just for ten more seconds, just for twenty more seconds, just for thirty more seconds.

Some days are unbearable. Sometimes you lie to yourself to survive. Sometimes you tell the truth and it feels good, but then the truth is unbearable and it hurts even more. I think you have to try every road to understand what it is to be alive. You have to experience the breadth of being human. You have to feel love and compassion, and also anger and rage and lust and the capacity for evil within yourself. You have to see that part of yourself and understand it, and approach it with compassion and say “I see you. I understand you. I love you.”

You can’t chain your demons up in the attic. Because then they’re just up there wailing and struggling against their chains. You have to go up there and sit down in front of the demons and hold out your arms and say “It’s okay, sweetie. I still love you.”

Being alive is a terrible, difficult business. When you really get down to the core of everything, you have to face uncomfortable truths about yourself and about the world, and you don’t get to see things the same way you did before.

I don’t know if I’ll ever truly get over the things that I’m afraid of, the things I’m ashamed of, the things that I carry with me. But I believe that I have the capacity to do good in the world, and to help people see things in a more fulfilling way, and that I can make good music or write in a way that makes people feel something profound for a moment, and that all of the people throughout my life who have told me that I’m special are right in some way, and that I actually am special.

I don’t know the meaning to any of it. I don’t know why life happens the way it does. I don’t think anything happens after we die. But I also know that I’ve got to make this life work somehow, for me.

So as I approach the end of this year, I’m trying, like always, to shed my skin, and to love the past and it’s miseries and accept them as a part of myself, without being chained to them and sinking into hopelessness.

And I keep searching for a place where I’m loved, where I feel complete, and where I can do good, for myself and for others.

It’s a scary, dangerous, dirty thing, being alive. But it’s what we are. We didn’t have any choice in the matter. And we can’t decide how long we’re going to live. I’ve been sick for about five days. I’ve got a ton of cold/flu medicines and vitamin C and antibiotics coursing through me. I’m swimming around in my head. My fingers are moving so fast they don’t feel like they’re attached to me.

I’m alive. This is who I am. I’m gonna try to love me for who and what I am, to accept the sick parts and the well parts, to be better than I was yesterday.

Yesterday is over. No matter if it was a triumph or a failure, today is another chance, and tomorrow is another. If you don’t believe it, wait until tomorrow. Eventually you will.

“And Protect Yourself With Fire”

Content warning for some explicit sexual content

I think I’m beginning to develop trust issues.

I’ve had… one of the weirdest couple of weeks of my life. And frankly, it’s all starting to wear on me.

When I tell people about the things that happen to me, they often respond by saying I have such an interesting life, or they say “How are you meeting so many people?” or “I wish I could meet guys like you can.” Well, it isn’t really like that.

I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll start about a week or so ago. The story is very detailed and complicated but to wrap it all up in a brief summary, I had a hookup with a guy in the middle of the night who was drunk and acting incredibly strange. At one point he asked me how much money I had in my wallet, then when I told him I was uncomfortable with that question and I’m going to leave if he keeps talking that way, he laughed at me and said “You really think you can leave? I’m very strong.” That’s probably the most horrific thing anyone has ever said to me. It occurred to me in that moment that the people killed by Jeffrey Dahmer probably also had a similar moment of realization that they were in serious danger.

Despite his creepy behavior, and for whatever reason, I actually ended up staying so that we could finish fooling around because it was late and I was worked up. He did another incredibly weird thing, which is that he found a zit on my back and then BIT IT OPEN, causing me to start bleeding everywhere. Weirdly, I did still stay until we finished, and then left soon after. That night, I went to Waffle House around 4AM to try and get some food and calm down, feeling really dirty and gross. When I went back to my car, I was sitting there looking at my phone and a drunk lady opened my passenger door and sat down in my car, resulting in me calling the cops to get her to leave, which she did, she hopped in her own car and drove away.

A few days later, after spending a day at a friends house more or less recovering from all the strangeness, I got a message from a guy on Grindr who wanted to hook up. When we met, we had a lot in common, and for some reason that I still don’t understand I just started to fall for this guy very quickly. He was charming and cute, and he was affectionate and understanding and very intelligent and well-spoken. He invited me to spend the next day with him while he worked from home, even told me to go home and get my computer and then come back, but later on after I left, he completely “ghosted” me, and never responded to any messages.

Next, another guy who I’d met through Tinder asked to come spend some time with me. He knew I wasn’t feeling well but he wanted to come anyway, and he actually drove two hours to get here. He was in his early twenties, but acted like a teenager and we had nothing in common. He was very rude to me, refusing to look up from his phone, playing on Instagram instead of paying attention to me, and when I tried to liven things up by playing piano for him, he was checking his Grindr instead of listening to me. He started playing piano for me and was doing pretty well, but he kept going on about how his favorite musicians were Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez and honestly I just couldn’t believe how awful his taste in music was, especially for someone with some level of musical ability.

Later on with that same guy, things got sexual but he said he didn’t want to touch me at all. He didn’t mind me touching him, just didn’t want to touch me back. I was a little confused and thought that was selfish, but eventually without really any prodding from me, he DID start to touch me, and then stopped to ask me if I’d showered, and implied he didn’t want to go down on me because I smelled bad. Considering I had come home early from my job, where I’d been standing up in the heat all afternoon, and he hadn’t seen me take a shower, I thought he might have put together that I hadn’t taken a shower, but to outright insult me like that on top of everything was too much, and I made him leave.

I felt guilty for doing it, because the guy has Asbherger’s, and while that isn’t a free pass to be a dick to me, he honestly just looked so SCARED when I told him to get out, and shocked and confused, and I realized that maybe he hadn’t intended to be as rude as he was, and I felt awful at the idea that I might have made him feel unsafe. We spoke about it and I apologized, as did he, but the whole experience is still upsetting for me, mostly because I feel so terrible for even possibly making him feel unsafe. I was angry at him and cussed at him, but I didn’t want him to think I was going to HURT him. I just told him he had been incredibly rude and was being a bitch to me.

After all of this had happened, Gay Pride weekend started in Charlotte. I wanted to go but I kind of chickened out. I never went to the parade or the official celebration, but I did go to a gay bar. It’s a small bar that caters more toward bears and a wider range of guys than our local gay club, and has a better atmosphere. I felt a little out of place there, as the majority of men were large hairy guys in harnesses and kilts, or wrestling singlets. I mostly sat by the pool tables and played on my phone, ignoring the crowds. At one point I start to walk around outside, where people were moving in a line to get through the crowds, and I saw one guy who stood out from the others, but only from behind: he was a short guy with somewhat pale skin, wearing nothing but rainbow briefs and a harness, with blue glitter all over his body and in his hair. At one point he turned around and I saw his face and realized it was actually the guy from earlier in the week who had ghosted me after I had started to kind of fall for him.

I called out his name and said hello to him. He was very nice and easy to talk to. He told me he’s in a weird place right now and didn’t know what to say, and I told him that if he didn’t want me to talk to him it was okay, just to let me know, and he told me I hadn’t done anything wrong. But later on, after I tried to message him… once again, nothing. No response. Ghosted me again. I was feeling pretty down after the whole experience so I went home. I wasn’t fitting at the gay bar and generally just preferred to be at home with my video games and my library of Kate Bush music.

I got a message from a friend who I’ve spoken to online but never met in person that he was drunk and needed me to pick him up. I’d told him earlier on that I was willing to come get him if he needed anything, so I absolutely didn’t mind doing it. I brought him back to my house and we got in bed, started to snuggle, and one thing led to another and we ended up having sex. This was actually a very special experience for me, because the guy in question is transgender and I’ve never been with a trans guy before. As far as having sex with someone with a vagina, I’ve done that once, a very long time ago, with a girl I worked with, and it wasn’t a very enjoyable experience. I didn’t get to do a lot of the things I wanted to try, we had very little chemistry, and the whole thing was over quickly.

So this was really my first time being with someone who doesn’t have a penis, and there was so much I wanted to do and experiment with, and I was finally able to. I tasted and touched things I hadn’t before, and I felt new sensations. I felt like a virgin again. We fucked twice, kissing each time, holding each other close. I woke up in the middle of the night to us already making out, and he climbed on top of me and we fucked again.

In the morning, I tried to reach between his legs and he pulled away. Later on I asked if I could kiss him and he said “I’m good.” We had a good time going out to breakfast, and then I took him home. He didn’t ghost me afterward, but I’ve realized that most likely what we did only happened because he was feeling very uninhibited and excited. He assured me the night we did it that I wasn’t taking advantage of him, as even though he was feeling tipsy, he was still in control of himself, which was why he’d asked me to come and get him in the first place, because he’d been with a guy who was coming on to him too hard and wanted to get away from the situation but couldn’t drive himself.

But I realized that what we did probably didn’t mean very much to him. For me it was special, it was my first time with a trans guy, it was a new experience that I’ve wanted to have for a long time, and it was beautiful. But for him… well, it probably wasn’t that important. And that’s okay, but after everything that’s happened, I just wish it hadn’t have ended that way. I don’t mean that we should have become boyfriends or anything, but getting rejected by him right after we’d had such chemistry hurt.

The next night, I was laying in bed when a guy on Grindr told me he was homeless, his boyfriend had dropped him off earlier in the day and never come back. I knew it was a dangerous idea to invite him over to my house, but I wanted to help, so I picked him up and took him to McDonalds, then to the gas station to get him some water and snacks to take with him. The next day he found somewhere to go, an ex of his came and picked him up. This story doesn’t actually end with sex or rejection or anything, but it was an odd experience to happen in an already eventful week.

And then we reach today. Yet another guy from Grindr (I’m starting to see a pattern here…) asked me to hang out. We’d spoken before. He’s polyamorous and married, and we’ve exchanged photos and generally been sexual with one another. So he invited me over to watch a movie and have dinner. He ordered pizza and he gave me alcohol. We actually spoke for about an hour beforehand and we were getting along well, he seemed like an interesting guy and we had things in common. But about fifteen minutes after we’d eaten and we were just starting the movie, he stood up and started walking around his house, and when I followed him to ask if everything was alright, he told me he needed to get started on homework. I was a little confused that he would ask me to leave right after giving me alcohol, as in addition to being strange and sending me mixed signals, it was also an irresponsible and potentially dangerous thing to do to me. I hadn’t actually come on to him apart from earlier when we sat on the couch and I gave his back a quick scratch and asked if he’d like come and cuddle with me while he watched the movie, to which he said no and just kept his face turned away from me.

After I left, feeling utterly hurt and disappointed, he told me that he was uncomfortable because he could smell something weird in his house that smelled like a combination of cat poop and body odor. I hadn’t noticed it, but his house did smell like cats in general because they’re fostering a bunch of kittens, and it hadn’t bothered me. But he also made a comment that made me feel even more hurt, he said he couldn’t tell if the smell was “Your feet, my work clothes, or cat shit under the carpet.” Wait did you just imply that my feet stank too? That’s the second time this week someone’s made a weirdly disparaging comment about how I smell! I literally had just taken a shower, what the hell?

And now here I am at home, genuinely starting to wonder if I can trust people. I told this guy about my experience earlier in the week being ghosted, and then told him that if he wanted me to just leave him alone all he had to do was tell me. I couldn’t have possibly made it any easier for him, but he continued to be evasive and not tell me the whole story, because his behavior was still incredibly strange and I don’t think I understand it completely.

I know what some of you are thinking: stop going on Grindr. It’s probably good advice. But the thing is, dating apps are the ONLY way to meet people, especially if you live in the South and there isn’t a very accessible gay community. I don’t have much choice when it comes to meeting other guys, and after deciding recently that I might even be open the idea of finding a partner, or someone who might become a partner, I can’t very well just delete all ways of doing that from phone.

I don’t know. Right now I feel crappy, and I feel unwanted, and I feel lonely. Like always.

 

Currently listening to…

Lily
Kate Bush
Before The Dawn