14 August 2021
Or on some night, say when the viscous August heat strips every shower you take of avail, while elsewhere and
elsewhere the fires unleashed at this our twenty-third hour, Midnight anigh, roll merciless across the planes,
it may happen that you recall, of a sudden, looking to the window, that your Frigidaire filter is long due a
cleaning. All day this quiet, insupportable grief lay upon your chest like some hypnopompic demon seated upon
the sleeper. Hour upon hour of such nothing. But now, almost mechanically –your mind, scraped out and gunkless,
oddly attuned to the menial duties around you– that same grief ushers you toward the air-conditioner, which you
remove from the window, clean, and reinstall without purpose or forethought, but simply as a vacant thing doing
what the years have trained it to do.
You shower, and when done toggle the handle until the water is at its coldest, then linger.
You will return to your room and let your body fall leaden upon the bed, your heartbeat still mildly
accelerated from the recent labor and from these many months of torpidity. Having exhausted today’s stores
during the afternoon video-call with your therapist (as with other periods of the worst deprivation –each time
it is the worst deprivation– you had clocked over the allotted session time), you will have no tears, will
neither cry now nor the rest of the evening. And you will feel hopelessly alone, without a clue of how to get
back to people, to peopledom.
And you will have reached another day’s end. The numbers of those who do not should horrify us. One should
Your stupid life, bleached out and worthless, you will think.
Yet still you will repeat the effort tomorrow, this striving to endure, as one suckles or claws at earth, if
not for your sake then for the sakes of others, to get back to something for which you have no name, nor of
which a memory, but maybe it was there, once, in one of those aging school bus seats upholstered with brown
leather, where you bent over in lawless, irrepressible laughter provoked by the friend you held unequivocally to
be the funniest person alive; it must have been there, somewhere, in a song, or letter, or while in love or at
play; or perhaps it was quite late on a night no one thought to calendar; or yes, someone bore it in mind, then
decided it was enough to be there, without ceremony or goal, beneath some tree, this one perhaps an oak,
sprawling and elderly, and let us say there appears an amiable wind, which cools the skin of those lying in the
grass below, and it makes this old oak's branches sing.
12 August 2021
Probably not a good sign when you are unable to muster even the requisite desire to go buy booze or to even
masturbate, much less to appreciate sunsets. It's taken me a while to be able to open up the browser, go
through login steps, so many insignificant and simple actions (at least given that I am able-bodied and
relatively able-minded) which in my psyche's current state become, individually and together, so arduous as to
nearly incapacitate. I am forcing myself to compose this drivel only a handful will read, just as I will have
to force myself to eat at some point today. Though I do hope some happenstantial readers may find here at
least some validation of the pain you are experiencing - I want you to know that's it's alright not to be
okay, and you are not the only one, - mostly I am writing simply because I think goading oneself toward some,
any activity is a step in the right direction. The paragraph you're reading may well prove to be my sole
accomplishment this day, though I suppose I did manage to brush my teeth and shower. Hopefully I will
successfully convince myself that indeed, this is okay.
11 August 2021
After I had moved out of state, upon my visits home my mother would take her needle and thimble and repair my
favorite denim pants, which threadbare would reliably allow themselves to come undone. Were it a shorter
visit, my mother would mandate that I leave the jeans at home so that she could sew them up and send them to
me by post.
I see her now, seated in the rocker beneath a flimsy floor lamp, peering through her reading glasses as she
pokes a fold of pant.
We could easily comment on the generosity, or the labor and all its implications.
But now, in this moment of recall, I am drawn to a more prosaic detail: her delight, at first glance nearly
untraceable behind the pursed focus. It is this quiet scene of pleasure which stirs me most. The gift, the
labor, will be acknowledged. I'd like to sit with her pleasure, let it breathe.
11 August 2021
To have the wound come from someone you had trusted to inflict only minor traumas.
To hold that pommeled heart before you, a thing once with tongue and singing.
All this, and to know: in this room history makes no difference.
You will endure or not.
In your hands the cup rests, yours alone.
10 August 2021
It's like lifting a sandbag at the middle: the surrounding parts - head, shoulders, thighs - repose,
obstinate and limp, until hoisted from above. My body is one long aching, which aching now and then I merely
forget is there. I manage to sit at the edge of the bed, lean into standing, shuffle to the door and out
toward the bathroom. I place elbow to wall, press my forehead into my arm and, so buttressed, expel an
acid-stream, pungent and goldenrod.
Some unconscious sequence of executions produces a cup of black coffee and a bottle filled with faucet water,
both of which I take to bed, covered -save a section wide enough to accommodate my body- with books, t-shirts,
electronics, and empty bottles. Dust dresses every surface.
Dust settles the caverns of my mind.
In a moment I must summon the wherewithal to go out into public and be among people. I know less and less how
to be among people.