Fred had suggested "The Percocet Diaries" three or four months ago, but I was already making on and off attempts.
Sentences here and there – undated, from around April to a few days ago. May seem stuff is missing, but it's not – felt some things not worth writing about. Trying to be in the moment, not in past or future (tall order). Also tried not to "write" (tad easier) – usually go by "less is more" (in terms of words, every one counts against you) and "make it strong" (either a caress or a k.o., no in-between). Not here.
Didn't edit for content, flow, sentence structure, spelling – not my thing, anyway, which is one reason I could never be Writer.
Submerged in pod, machine gun staccato shooting from machinery up my back. Technician’s demeanor demeaning. Headphones slapped onto ears beforehand set to oldies – You Make Me So Very Happy, Walking on Sunshine. Latter reminding me of the Spring it charted – ‘Titi’ Letty’s baby shower (Napoleon cake) and my cousin Joey was born two days after she, my mother and I saw The Goonies instead of Fletch cuz my aunt hated Chevy Chase.
Three MRIs. Each takes twenty minutes. K waits outside, reading People, Entertainment Weekly – her favorites. I memorize these thoughts as a reporter might, to chronicle time and emotion, but also to detach.
Peace is inside.
I blame environment – rational.
I am compassionate and gentle, except when it comes to myself; astute with everything but my own life.
I live in fear and have since turning twenty. More loss, aging, dying – dying here.
Seguir adelante, seguir adelante. Told K other day, most people live their whole lives not being Who They Are.
The greater the suffering, the greater the peace when achieved.
Minutes like hours, hours like days, time and experience here not fluid. Zen does not exist in New York but for perhaps the Riverdale rich.
When I was outside of its walls it was easy to see A Way Out. Within them foresight and calm are gone, replaced with regret and panic and, as of late, patches of inertia, perhaps prepping for the inevitable pull of this dis-ease I've been in play for.
My body is screaming at me, turning in on itself like in early Cronenberg.
Punishment for ignoring it in my adult life. Pushing it to beyond limit, nevermind pain, discomfort, hunger, exhaustion. K had to explain to me what symptoms of dehydration are and it turns out I've spent years as such.
Wrote to a friend: Fact I'm considering suicide if I have to lose body parts means I deserve to lose them – many, many people have done so much more with so much less than I've been blessed with.
K got two wisdoms out today and it was harrowing.
She on edge – often to point of tears – for a month with knowledge of date looming. Week before, she reminded me of her history, people doing things to her in her sleep or while drugged.
She goes in alone at first, then comes back out and grabs me, wringing my hand as she did that time they sliced into her over three years ago, on our fourth or fifth date, and it's become a running thing for us when she gets nervous or terrified: "Squeeze my hand, Sweetie. It's ok."
(Deplores doctors in a way I've never known before or since, trusting only her mother – a nurse lives in KY – and myself.)
Comes time for me to leave and she's crying and I bring doctor out to hall and tell him what little I need for to be "got", calling him to be thoughtful, responsible in a way the other doctor present is not (fellow in yellow socks K and I overheard on phone in room directly across from where they pulled her teeth, door wide open, bullhorn voice, using words like "faggot" and "cunt" – after they finish with her, as K mumbles sweet gibberish makes nurses swoon and call her "Sweetheart", I whisper to them and doctor if the guy in yellow socks is going to speak his mind, he should close the door and lower his voice; they turn their heads in unison to the room across and look down, then act embarrassed; soon find out he's their boss).
Stumble to waiting room, uncomfortable, irritable, thinking, this is what love is like. Minutes later, a scream from corridor makes some chuckle nervously, while others cringe.
Familiar, pained I hate doctors cry. My cue. Stumble back to door, hover with ear to it, vigilant.
Twenty minutes later, doc pops out – not expecting me to be right there – and says he needs my help. I know, I say, and do. Help.
They fall in love with her, of course – times of stress, she, like me, at her most charming. We use quick humor as defense, same time reverting to childhood innocence, a disarming sweetness these hardened city professionals rarely see.
Carry her out best I can in my condition, anxious but not letting on, protective of her, defensive of brusque, invasive environs. She is babbling on sweetly, drooling, vulnerable, trusting, and I have to take care of her. Hate the city most in these situations – the indignity of subways, shouting, shoving, obscenities. Hyper vigilant, gentle with her. On cliff edge of tears whole time. We get home and I give her drugs and she sleeps and I breathe in and out and cry a little cuz my Love for her scares me. I'd have to torture, maim, dismember anyone hurt her.
Writing this very hard.
Two more out in two weeks.
No amount of painkillers can make Main Street palatable.
"Being here is killing you," K said to me on the bus and I whispered back that I knew.
Can hardly move all morning and afternoon. We eat together before she leaves, first for Bally's, then work at Studio Dante. She feels distant and I tell her so. Her response is denial. At the elevator, she turns back and we talk and it helps. No time for Bally's now, so she asks me to exercise with her on newly acquired yoga mats upon living room floor. I say yes and it makes her happy. We do some stretches and she loves that I am strong and I love that she is limber. The Cobra Pose has always elicited strong emotonal response from me, and today is no different – it is visceral, physically painful, and I start to want to cry. In a switch of our roles, she holds my head, the two of us together on the carpeted floor. She kisses me and it becomes more. I touch her and she is drenched – I'm sure this makes me moan. She gets on top and it's clear this was meant to be. After a time and various positions, she asks me to taste her and we go to the bedroom and I do. A few minutes later, she tells me she just might and is it ok. I beg her to and she does and it's everywhere.
I hold her head while she cries out loud under me, shaking, clutching. I kiss her forehead, eyes, cheeks, chin, lips, softly, feeling this moment, feeling this moment. I am dripping on her as we lay in her wetness. She grinds against me and I inadvertently slip inside – we gasp together, whisper love for each other and she asks me to, so I do, pouring all of myself inside of her.
And in doing so, she fills me.
Surreal. A breakthrough. Her first GSO – first of any kind and we both knew when it happened, it'd be that big. In its wake, as predicted, shame and disgust, despite my efforts (not even therapist was told – doubtful anyone else will be, either), and at least I got her to write about it.
We should've had a party.
May need two-three week IV, re. ID doc.
Series of deep, steroidal injections, re. rheumatologist. Latter also says sleeplessness, stress will make pain worse, to which I snort.
And: "Short distances only."
To which my reply is silence; I am confused – short distance for me is West 4th to Harlem (why suffer public transportation when one can walk?).
She picks up on this: "Meaning, from living room to bathroom and back."
Of all pills, this is the toughest.
Think of Chrissie's uncle.
In fact, think of him all the time.
It is, to be sure, a cruel summer for blue collar Artists.
On streets, sunglasses always on. On streets or off, headphones or noise-reducing earplugs always in. Muffle out environment, even as I remain hyper-vigilant.
Done with cities and human race. What's left is my relationship to the world outside of both. Nature – sky, water, other living things. God. (And, just as pornography and making Love are separate entities, so too are church and God).
Remember being submerged in those waters one year ago, sun on face, breathing. B r e a t h i n g. Smell of beach wafting in warm air breezes seven months ago.
Try Beach Waves CD in bed few times, as I lay in darkness next to K. Sounds just make a brother freefall into that hole, a Kierkegaardian sickness unto death-style despair. Take earphones out and reach for K – she whimpers, coos, clutches me to her heart. Her breathing helps mine. Eventually, I doze.
She's almost eighty-five pounds down on Weight Watchers. Weigh her every Thursday, record the number, she being terrified to do so herself, forever positive she's gained five pounds in a week and whole thing was a fluke.
No fluke – she's amazing. Wish I had her willpower.
Thinking, but not believing, that I, too, have something to do with it – what one can do with a little support, understanding, acceptance.
Again, we should have a party.
Lauren came, spent day (and night – just us two in kitchen, connecting like we do). Necessary.
Christmas in July gifts. Dinner with family. Her presence tragically sending K back to before, with regard to insecurity and self-deprecation. None of my words, actions manage to assuage her acting out and it hurts to see and feel, but I don't let on.
That she knows she's being irrational only makes her react worse and I do my best to lighten her load, to no avail.
Later, try in vain to reach out to L about old business, nothing less than mySelf – what with deteriorating mental and aural abilities, fail miserably and feel supremely sad and vulnerable after she leaves. Thinking I am bound to forever feeling alienated with regard to certain important, festering things. Talked to K after putting L in cab and she always understands, but only to the extent she's faced and reached understanding and forgiveness for her own shit.
Towards the end, tell L about my having slept with M years ago and she doesn't take it well, though who did? She and Fred only witnessed M when drunk and so both thought her a baboon's ass (Fred sent me a text while in her company said she was the most miserable person he'd ever met, no doubt excluding hisself).
But we've all issues – only people I judge are the unmitigated wolves, those smiling predators I can spot, eyes closed, and M was not one.
(In my worst moments, judge self based on the opinion of the person dislikes me most and, for awhile, this was M.)
Anywho, L left very shortly afterwards.
(Three weeks later.)
Walk slowly toes turned slightly toward each other slowly and once again I am invisible. Occasional high school girl or gay boy looks my way (it's the sunglasses and small silver cross catches their eye) before noticing my gait.
Sometimes entertain thought of certain young lady but it's fleeting – I've nothing to offer her now but kindness, smarts, wisdom and humour she often brings out in me. It's not enough, especially for her. Moot.
Drugs bring sex drive down for first time in my life, though I push it, as it's always been one of the ways in which I've defined myself – to myself, anyway. This comes from half a healthy place (being deeply sensual being) and half a past of abuse (having been sexualized at such an early age).
Used to wonder where exactly I lost the way. But I've always been lost. What I did own yet now don't is ambition, drive. I was told something could not be done, I made sure to do it. Today I feel old, obsolete. Hear something can't be done (usually from my mind) and nod in assent.
When did this happen? Boston. No. 9/11. Maybe. Certainly what happened in months, years of it's wake. What happened. Nothing. Not even a holocaust could change us.
Sitting uncomfortably in a Subway eatery (to sit is to feel most pain), alone as I chew and read (The Essential Lenny Bruce), notice three young Latinas talking to a friend works behind counter. Back of my mind recognize their attractiveness (one in particular) without acknowledging it. Behind this I recognize my position to them – my view – is that of an outsider, namely an old man ("that ship sailed long ago") and it subconsciously saddens me.
Minutes later limp over to bus stop and they're sitting on the bench. As I walk by one says, "Mira, tu papito" to the particular, about me, as if I didn't invent the language. I lean against pole beside bench and turn my head to them. They smile, look at me expectantly – perhaps I understood? I look toward the bus.
It continues after we get on, particular standing next to me, teased by her peers.
Heartening to know I am still both responsible and attractive to others; I've not felt either in some time.
Sex drive back. More so, that craving of closeness. Calm togertherness.
Want to live a clean, simple, even spiritual life, free of the violence of gossip, celebrity, social climbing, insecurity, denial, war, corporations and other commonplace atrocities. The mother of my Godson called me "a beautiful soul" and deep down I know I am but here I feel like a loser and a criminal and trapped.
Brother Pete visits, bursting bundle of nervous energy ("you're so calm," he tells me). I miss him and it's nice for a while till he starts drinking and I detach – burnt out from taking care of others and not sure if I'm betraying C by "allowing" it. Slightly angered at being put in the position by someone knows better, but that's why they call these things "addictions".
We eat Subway, he updates me on the state of his Soul, he opens gifts, I burn him CDs, he meets my mother, they hit it off, I take Tramadol for pain, it makes me shake.
Show him Peaceful Warrior (2006, Victor Salva), thinking it relevant to both our physical and existential dilemmas – he gets it, if he doesn't like it and I walk him to the bus stop.
Take Magellan to Fishtown, USA and they're baffled. Implied he should be either better or dead by now. Like his surrogate father, he's got enough fight in him to keep kicking, yet not enough to transcend his sickness.
Also Paul Newman, for whom I am in vigil.
Question for Sarah Palin is, if her daughter got pregnant after being raped by crew of retarded, AIDS-infected crack addicts and decided to abort, would she disown her or "support" her in same way K's family support her decisions – constant insinuating criticism, backhanded compliments, bubbling disdain. Would it come up randomly, passive-agressively, in conversation? Chiseling away her esteem, possibly confusing her (possibly already altered) reality?
Originally started writing without knowing I was. Couldn't journal so it became fiction – what I felt like existentially. Old or dying man. Little boy or girl. Female rape survivor. Vigilante. Vampire. Outsider. This ten, fifteen years ago. In retrospect, empathy in these pieces breathtaking. Know where it came from, but can't believe those words, sentiments my own.
On a subconscious level I was writing what I wasn't finding in books, or life. Pulp I used to read lacked soul, intimacy. As did most people I knew.
Much later, forced self to journal and it became habit, often against will, time, space. I wrote because I felt alone. Add to that my ridiculous concern for justice.
It is the same now. I write because I have to and don't always like it.
Tired of the way we abuse language. Words didn't exist, world would be less confused.
Boys five and up learn to use f-word three-five times a sentence and not creatively.
Word "woman" doesn't exist. "Trick" and "bitch", "tits" and "pussy", used regardless of signifier's age, color, background – common ground. Culture.
Can't be in restaurant, movie theatre, elevator, subway, bus, street corner, bathroom without hearing barrage of "obscenities".
Lenny Bruce and George Carlin said obscenity does not exist ("I want to help you if you have a dirty word problem. There are none." – Lenny Bruce) – words are harmless, it's the users that are not, and it's true. Inevitably, you'll find people spouting such phrases – them cheap, demeaning associations – are immature and/or angry and/or morons.
Lenny: "It's the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness." I agree and have said the same about discussion of rape, child abuse and abusers, etc. – that shame, denial, fear gives predators their power.
But, after much deliberation, it's clear the words themselves bother me.
I get it – it's the way we talk, those harmless words not always said with force, but benignly (Pryor never offends me, even stuff before a trip to Africa led to revelations struck the word "nigger" from his act, but he, Lenny and Carlin had a way with language rest of us don't; interestingly, dislike Eddie Murphy's stand-up and so, too, did Pryor, who called it "mean" and "cruel" in an autobiography). But, to my mind, this is like saying "Boys will be boys" when frat boys drug, then gang rape someone's underage daughter, filming it in HD.
It is a difficult thing for me, same as pornography – deplore censorship, but our freedom is a façade and we are violent, ignorant fools who'll never wise to either fact.
The world IS a ghetto – just like is done in the projects, we kill ourselves to protect a rep and are blissfully happy doing it. In quiet moments, wonder what's wrong with us, so we fill our lives with noise and eight tons of distraction. We all cut, drink, drug, overspend, and fill in the blank. Yet we all think we're badasses.
Go ahead, ignore the point and jump on how I choose to make it. Keep the cycle going.
It gets easier to smile with her in my mix. I'm proud of her, of us. She may be my best friend and that scares me.
Not as happy without her presence in my life.
Perhaps it's because she's happy when she's around me. Least, I think she is.
Don't miss K, but miss intimacy. The proverbial Her's head on my chest. That connection. Conversation. The eyes. Simple.
(It's there with another, but it doesn't matter.)
She understood we were Making Love every time I kissed her forehead or eyelids, every night she laid her head on my heart, as we took our daily shower together...t o g e t h e r, anytime we let the other in.
Sadly, she does not understand herself.
A trap explaining K's departure to those don't know of her past or of Borderline Personality Disorder, mutual friends thought us invulnerable (my friends always knew and hers wouldn't understand).
"You guys were the moral center of the universe."
"You're the Perfect Couple, what problems could you have?"
Text from Vivian: "That is terrible, since you helped her so much when she needed it. I understand the need for change, but leaving you doesn't seem appropriate... I hope she finds what she wants, but I also hope this story ends with you two together."
No, there was no big argument. Yes, she was going to therapy. Love-making never a problem, opposite in fact.
No one understands I understood, helped her pack, carried all her New York belongings downstairs into cab, despite physical pain. Told her, as I told her every day of our relationship, that she should've talked to me, that I would have gone with her, that there isn't anything two people can't get through if they're honest and committed to making it work. She saying over and again she knew she was making another mistake and that I am the love of her life.
If I hadn't been home when she came to pack, she'd have told me on a post-it.
Left next day on plane to Kentucky.
Two nights before, said I was afraid of her leaving because I was sick. Eyes wide, head shaking, "Never," said she. "Ever."
She may have had good reason to leave, but she left for no good reason. What they do. Perceived threat of abandonment. Rash. Irrational. Extreme.
I just want her safe.
L the only knows all of it – cannot tell others things she said, way she acted or they'd think her lunatic and I will not handle anyone saying anything negative about her.
My family did (she was close to them and purposefully never said goodbye).
She happier in the denial encouraged by all surround her.
(Cognitive therapy alone will never help long-term.)
I just wanted her safe.
I do not blame her and never will.
Shortly after we first met, us sitting on the floor, I looked at her with affection and was about to say "I love you" before she quickly got up and walked away. Year later, it came up and she said she'd thought I gave her a look of hatred and was about to say, "I loathe you".
Best I can explain relationship.
Find Cocteau Twins's The Pink Opaque on music blog and it kills me (cassette copy in Boston a decade ago got left behind).
Listen with butterflies in belly, body blushing. Music to swoon, make Love, die to.
A relief – after a lifetime of exploring musics, I'd thought I exhausted my/their interest. Passion, excitement not there for a long while – kept throwing new and old stuff at it, to no avail.
Of course, if I was seeing Deborah (my therapist), she'd tell me I was depressed.
Word "gritty" thrown around a lot, not often accurately, but Barry Shear's Across 110th Street(1972) epitomizes it.
Long after years of Law & Order and NYPD Blue mainstreamed handheld verite, the approach here remains knockout – New York City has rarely been shot as claustrophobically (Shear is either brilliant or a native)*.
On surface, less blaxploitation than police procedural. But bubbling beneath be powerhouse treatise on race and race relations in 1970's cities.
Tough, tight, bleak, brutally effective, it feels like the progenitor of HBO's magnificent The Wire.
Despite relative low budget (leads to poor dubbing, among other negatives), there isn't a character or scene rings false.
Then there's them Bobby Womack songs – Across 110th Street doesn't fuck around.
* exceptions include Schrader/Scorsese's Taxi Driver, Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, and Fessenden's Habit – kind of "Street Cinema" used to turn me on as young man with a camera.
Visit by Bella. Looks/feels happier, more self-assured than I've ever seen her. Attractive.
Conversation flowed. Told me the worst thing I've heard in some time (Scot may suffer more than L's terror Terry, but has done worse, as he's involved innocent babies – plural; jail time or asylum imperative).
Time flew for us both and before we knew it, she stepped onto the train and I was grateful for the hour-long call from Penn shortly thereafter.
Wants to "date". Me. Me. This position/condition, I've nothing to offer anyone (I look better on paper). Untrue, says she, but I done heard it before.
(Used till better comes along and by better I mean flashy – digs, gig, guy. Love goes only so far in this town. A summer, tops. Love commitment faithfulness respect admiration. Their cache in a commodified city has limited value, except to the older thoughtful or the dying. Obsolete far as long term viability – people can only take that kind of support for so long.)
She needs father for her child, therapy for her soul. Solid future.
Plus, after K, paranoid about in-laws. Need find nice orphan girl. Run off to Spain. Or someone over thirty-five - by thirty-five, most folks mellowed. Reconciled and conjoined what they want with what they need with what they can have.
Too, there's this business of that glamorous, celebrity city life I've no interest in since turning sixteen (prospect of hanging out with characters from Sex and the City, Entourage orCalifornication depressing) and it became about the work – why I'd been pursuing editing, as with editing, it's all about The Work.
Also occurred to me K finding out might lead to repeat of old behavior, if not cutting or getting into strange males's cars, then some other form of self-abuse, meant to privately punish me for having loved her.
A girl once told me I was "too enlightened," that this was the cause of my pain (a year later Fred used the phrase "too aware"), and it's true – it's too much sometimes (for/on others, as well) and I wish I didn't give a shit.
Trap for me is in caring.
Same as trap for me with K.
I've JKS (John Kelly Syndrome) – want to save the world, one person at a time.
He remembers how it was.
He swore by her.
The doors he kicked, paperwork filled out, blood he donated, and still it was as if he won the lottery – that kid in the candy store.
Purest it's ever been.
Told today if current treatment doesn't work, may need meds (possibly long-term) have high probability of inducing tumor.
Doctors continue to confuse and depress a brother. One ("pain management genius") didn't know his left from my right, even after my pointing it out; walked into office I'd been sitting in two hours, forty-three minutes calling previous patient – elderly woman with walker – an idiot, remained oblivious to me for three and a half minutes of our session, chatting instead with subordinate nurse.
Another fine reason to leave this country.
Without PT, I'd be buried. Try to let it all go during. Occupy small, private back room, often only patient in mix. My time. No bullet dodging.
First relief in six months (making Love with K painful, but profoundly necessary), but it doesn't last long.
I've been scarred.
Even if I do get better, I'll be starting, at thirty-four years-old, from behind zero. No house, home, woman, children, car, driver's license, career (to speak of).
It's occurred to me there is freedom and opportunity in this, but it doesn't feel that way here, in this place, plus future of my health is a question mark.
I've convictions, ideals, leftover scraps of passion. I've plans, with no way of implementing them. I've a few friends-like-family I keep coming back to and who keep coming back to me, no matter what.
Keep distance from what family I have, as they're part of the reason I am where I am – taking care of them has hindered me.
Want to be Father, but not in these circumstances. Want to be Husband, but not to a lunatic (key for me was in realizing all women are not such, though coming from where I'm from, easy to see why I spent most of my life thinking this).
Figure out what's dormant and what's dead. Think of that sun, those waves and of my Godson, Atticus Declan Gregory. Think of what you've been through and why.
Small joint, intimate, "open", unpretentious (computer printed sign above toilet in tiny bathroom: If you sprinkle/When you tinkle/Please be neat/And clean the seat).
Ex-football player/wife-beater, now he has massage, meditation, money. Irish working-class racist, sexist, homophobic ("some things fit and some things don't, know what I mean?"), he nevertheless is helping me.
One of five daughters (and four sons) works front desk and puts me at ease with weary smile and deadpan sense of humour.
Also, the music: Dino, Frank, Chris Botti, Eva Cassidy (one guy: "Slike walkin inta Vegas when I come here sometimes.") .
Sixty three years-old, rotund and Republican, PT tells me dirty jokes during treatment, often repeating hisself. I smile but can't deliver a phony laugh to save someone else's life and so don't. For this I am labeled "Tough Customer". To show appreciation for his efforts (no doubt part of treatment, as first session I walked in looking "like a war veteran" re. them), I set off slow barrage of remembered one-liners:
I wouldn't say mine was a tough school, but we had our own coroner. We used to write essays like: What I'm going to be if I grow up. (Lenny Bruce)
Last week, I stuck my head out the car window for some air. I got arrested for mooning. (Rodney Dangerfield)
A snail walks into a bar and the bartender throws him out. A year later, the snail comes back and says, "What'd you do that for?" (Lauren)
Why don't Portoricans have bank accounts? Cuz you can't use spray paint to sign a check. (My Uncle Dennis)
They go over well – after each follows the exclamation, "Oh, shit!" from him.
I run hot and cold with you and I'm sorry. Hard for me to get to That Place.
Keep mySelf from You. Procrastinate.
(Beginning of letter to God)
Writing breeds more writing – important not to stop the flow. Used to tell K, "There's something that happens in the process, no matter what you're writing – just do it." Never taking my own advice. Till now.
What happened between L and J morning after my birthday slightly traumatic, but also made me feel I was living life.
And she did for me what no one ever has, birthday or no (hard to embrace, lest I get used to it and it be promptly snatched away).
She's hurt me in the past and, well...it hurt.
We are at our best when we are most open. Tall order.
This is all bullshit and I'll tell you The Truth.
Ten or eleven PM, come out from bedroom to living room. Open and sheet futon, Windex clean surfaces, set up headphones, DVD player. Put chair before computer desk to "work". Check email accounts two dozen times in next two to four hours. Download music from blogs and bulletin boards (fill that void fill that void) – out of print/hard to find film scores/soundtracks, audio books, old-school standup, classic radio shows (Jack Benny was Larry David before Larry David), (very old) blues, jazz, punk, metal, Goth, electronica, salsa, New Romantic, club remixes. Reload new 4GB iPod (my first). Transfer writing from pudgy pink hardcover 4x4 notepad with multicolored smiley faces to iMac. AIM with mother of my Godson. Rarely photoshop pics. Search for another career. Lament without fanfare. Two, three, four AM, decide on a movie, stop it halfway to get an apple or pop tart or popcorn, eat while film plays out. Roll up headphones, replace DVD, push through page or two of book before iPod headphones go in, few minutes of Lenny Bruce, Steve Martin reading his Pure Drivel or Vangelis's Opera Sauvage, slow fade. Half asleep, stuff earplugs in, cut noise of forty-six Koreans (mostly children) live next door. Sleep fitful, movement causes pain and I awake. Each time check instinctively for blinking red light signifies new text. Up before cell alarm. Masturbate, whether I want to or not (nevermind "no means no"). What turns me on hurts to think of so, with regret, sadness, shame, I choose to get off on ugly. There is no love and no one looks each other in the eye (interesting to note I am not even one of the participants). This helps me escape (hide, medicate, procrastinate) for a time, while digging deeper that grave – getting off on porn (imagined or otherwise), for whatever reason, means I am part of the problem and not only that, but willingly playing out my role as victim. Check email, computer-help bulletin boards. Camera not campatible with iMac – beat a dead horse, try anyway. Check for jobs I cannot work. Reach out to those don't reach back. Feed Magellan. Alternately celebrate fact he's still alive and kicking, feel bad for not being better father.Happier father. Sometimes eat something, sometimes masturbate again. Take shower, rush overpass, few blocks to bus stop. Physical therapy Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Primary (a DO), pain management, rheumatologist on other days. Library visit, drop off, restock – books, DVDs (ignore Travel section, ignore Travel section). Depending on session and funds, treat self to Subway sandwich or salad, sit in corner, facing wall, read, breathe (much as I can in public). Depending on session, walk two miles home, trying to get feel back. "Home". Change, brush. Stretch, exercise, lest I'm told not to (condition wavers, subject to stress and other factors – often times I'm "back to one" re. PT). Take two Tylenol Arthritis (650mg each), lay on stomach, body throbbing. Read. And read. Eventually fall out. Till ten or eleven PM.
Productivity without direction.
Maladjusted way(s) of dealing with grief.
Said schedule lasted two weeks before I wrote it down and sometimes awareness of bad habit(s) is all I need to stop.
Feeling better. About Self, anyway.
Don't have addictive personality, but obsessive one. Sometimes beneficial – one of the reasons I can be a good artist (and Michael Mann a great one). Sometimes detrimental – decide to undertake project and won't stop till it's done, nevermind sleep, food, bodily functions. Or start to look for something lost, won't stop till I find the muh fucka.
Coupled with compulsivity, can become difficult. If not legally or ethically, certainly soulfully and spiritually.
Almost felt It today – no way can a brother listen to Willie Hutch's I Choose You and not croon along; or Nas's new Hero and not bust a muh fuckin move (especially whilst standing on corner, waiting on red light). Nice to know I still got Soul if not drive and dough.
Kissing her would be brilliant (more than she could ever know) but it just ain't in the cards.
Graduated from "Tough Customer" to, simply, "Handsome". As in, "Lemisee you do those thrusts, Handsome." (If I had a nickel for every time I heard this line.)
Each time, look around quizzically and ask, "You talkina me?"
Tire of PT's "everyguy" sexism ("if they'd just give us the pussy, we wouldn't need to look at porn, right?"), but enjoy his daughter, location, treatment, encouragement toward yoga, meditation, self support.
Those poor to "middle-class" New York natives over thirty talk about never being able to live anywhere else are in denial. I know – what a presumption. But, to me, it's akin to women using the word "bitch", black men using "nigger" – embracing that which mocks and degrades you.
Those live in suburbs and come in for the day, those migrated have been here a decade or less, or those consistently commute by car even to go three city blocks all live in a different city than I – you haven't lived in this city until you've had to struggle within it, not float on its surface in a yacht.
Anyone taking mass transit from "outer borough" every single day for more than thirty years says they love it here is either insane or a fool.
I know – this fight is with mySelf. But I do need to get out of here.
New York is played out – that speech in Spike's 25th Hour (straight from Beniof's novel) made me weep when I viewed it five, six years ago – a visceral response shook me, had me pause DVD and breathe. Sick of the players, everyone a walking, stumbling, bumbling, willingstereotype and I can only imagine how abhorrent LA is if NY is comparably "real". Yuppies, hoods, wannabe hoods, actress/models, "high society", corporate suits, everyone on iPhones, Blackberries, carelessly in a hurry to Nowhere, bustling in frenzied, ferociously depressing monotony.
Show me individuals, transcendent.
Infamous fast pace dreary, pointless, tedious as my complaints about it. And I am in the minority, if not utterly alone in this knowledge. Others occupy a different space than I do – my experience wholly unlike theirs – I've not met a kindred soul, and I've looked. Unlike the herds, New York's never been a choice. Everytime I've gotten close to an out – Florida, Canada, PR (settled for Boston nearly a decade, which was same but much whiter – that sense of entitlement far more blatant than the UWS I worked in after 9/11, whose inhabitants I quite liked) – there's been tragedy keeps me here. Here. Death, sickness, breakup, unemployment, roommate(s) backing out, like that.
Sometimes think if I left and came back, or had a handy escape hatch I could abscond to when necessary, but I don't know.
Not that I am in play for it, or ever will be, but think about raising kids here and am against it – there are things others who want to do this don't know that I do.
In New York I am neurotic, ungrateful, petrified (in truest sense of the word). It is my Kryptonite.
Took bus to Florida last December and farther I got, lighter I felt. Even L.I. feels better. Too familiar with NY, seen too much, lived too hard here. Ghosts don't hide in shadows but flaunt in daylight, on every street corner, park bench, storefront and alleyway, now more than ever, I kid you not.
Habits live here don't outside its perimeters.
Flounder in attempts to shift, make change here. Always feeling five steps behind.
Cry in my sleep three nights in a row – a first. Near impossible for me to cry while awake, though I've wished to – understand and accept its cleansing properties – that shit nevertheless just burgeons, begging release.
Email B links to jobs – I can't do much, but I do what I can. Want what's best for her, whatever that may be. Like many, not sure she wants same.
Chrissy suggests sending writing for publication, but no one's interested – in what I write or how I write it (though on occasion, I've been asked why). Only two pieces published were for long defunct lesbian erotica rag. Rest "not right for us right now".
What's right be banal, pretentious or flashy – I'm only one of these and it's only because I don't live near a beach.
Worst enemies now stress and immune system (or lack thereof – why the Humira/Enbrel push). Told therapist today (first session in six months) I'd probably get AIDS just by watching porn. She laughed, then apologized, which wasn't necessary and I told her so – it is a good line.
Suggested career as counselor for not the first time. Means schooling and money I've not got. Plus, volunteered at Women's Center in Boston eons ago, yet still remember only the losses.
She tells me I'm "a really good guy" and I'm taken aback, but don't tell her so. Carry it with me all day, though, as kind words, positive reinforcement feel like the cure for cancer right now and come to think of it, always have.
(Best compliments I've ever gotten came from L [genuine, without ulterior motive – be it to stroke, gain, appease] and I doubt she knows it. She's also said some of the worst things anyone's said about/to me – before M. Before M, no one's made me feel more hideous about myself, though admittedly, this is not too hard a task.)
Watch Scorsese's After Hours, first time in a decade, and it plays like documentary of my life, only difference being I've never been out to get laid.
Great little film, shot for peanuts entirely at night (DP Ballhaus shot this just after the quirky, perceptive, gorgeous Heartbreakers – top ten material), everyone top of their game (adore every actor involved, plus writer Joseph Minion, who later wrote Vampire's Kiss, another coal-black, edgy, elegant New York City yuppie feverdream cum social satire, companion piece to both After Hours and Mary Harron's American Psycho).
Interesting is how uncomfortable it gets as I get older. In the best way – years of glib, hateful, adolescent American crap like Hostel, Wedding Chasers, et al, have led me to forget how galvanizing and transformative subversive, (pitch) dark material can be when done intelligently, thoughtfully ("We all need periodic releases from the tyranny of good taste." – Ralph J. Gleason).
In this moment, I am in this moment. Breathing. Happy.
I shake. All the time. Hands, knees. Not drugs – haven't taken painkiller in weeks and what's left is Nexium (for ulcer) and vitamins (save percocet for when I've company and need to appear more spry than I am).
All the time.
I am an only child, latchkey kid, ghetto-bred bastard son of a sociopathic spic, an alkie con man unseen since '77.
I am a needy Obsessive-Compulsive with PTSD was raised by a slew of Borderline women and an alkie abuelo died from it.
But I am lots of other things.
Right now, occupy uncomfortable space. Breaths of solitude sometimes solace, but not these.
There are mosquitos in my mind. Mosquitos or hamsters, plural, in wheels, too fast, going going, no wait – rats, scuttling into shadows, prying and hiding. They keep me insomniatic and rueful.
A challenge to feel calm or joy, but sometimes I do.
Sometimes. I do.
Always, I present it to others, never keeping any for mySelf.
I need some. For mySelf.
Hate what happens to L and I. She no doubt used to it by now, but we're both to blame.
Understand where it comes from – defensiveness, skewered perception/perspective, projection, transference, expectations, simple misunderstanding. Past b.s. informing present wariness, easily overcome by communication and there's the rub, cuz it's a draw as to who is more stubborn.
Tragic. Cuz I miss her.
Occurred to me that, if Johnny left L for Mayte Michelle Rodriguez and Ray and Rene left the country for Alaska and Iran, respectively, and all the Cuban men in America died of some Cuban male disease and Jeff died in a DUI accident and no other guys were interested in commitment or children and so she and I decided to marry, Jerome the Idiot King would have to be Best Man.
Thinking of B, who is far too elusive for me to be thinking about.
Stewart Copeland created a sound – though the impressions are obvious (reggae, punk, African), he actually found the sound of irony and hisself directly influenced not only every rock and ska band, but everything Danny Elfman has recorded (them ever-popular film scores, especially).
When it seems I feel nothing from music, go to Rapa Nui or Rumble Fish scores, The Rhythmatist, or most anything by The Police and if it doesn't excite me, things are really bad.
Call to mix sound, which I cannot do in my condition, perhaps ever again. Say yes to Set Photography gig (that Hilary Duff digs what I do is baffling) – doctors say no, but wallet and spirit say differently.
Hard to get around, harder for me not to.
People surely depart when one becomes seriously sick. Perfectly ok – anyone knows how to be alone, it's my ass (getting narrower, tighter by the stretch, incidentally) – but makes me think about my own priorities: hear a friend (or friend of friend) is sick, I'm first in hospital waiting room.
Chrissy emails daily, even what with her current ordeal, otherwise, (insert SE: cicadas chirping at night). But I'm still the best company I've ever had – on my own, I dance, exercise, write, read, laugh, explore and dance some more.
Lost fifteen pounds. Fear of Dismemberment and/or Death Diet, not to discount quasi-yoga stretches, exercise and a bleeding ulcer, latter of which goes with diet.
Also, sciatica gone – came on strong four or five days, stretches and relative sanity leading it to flee the scene.
PT asks if I could have any dance partner in history who would it be. Volunteers Ann Margaret for hisself ("no question") and I'm sure she'd be flattered. Tell him I'll think about it and after a while, he says he sees me with Demi Moore – "someone dark and good lookin', like yourself…and with big tits."
Tell him Geena Davis more my speed. Smart, classy.
Unfortunately, he likes me too much (naturally – I attract lunatics like pedophiles to playgrounds), often overtreats, which leads daughter Carrie to not, though not necessarily.
Hour and a half sessions have turned to three.
"So what?" he tells her. "We're bullshitting – exchanging information."
Apologize on way out for causing trouble. "I just listen," I say.
"I know. It's not your fault he likes to talk – he's like a woman. But he likes you."
I assure her I've done everything possible to keep that from happening.
"You're a very likable guy," she states, smiling – second female to tell me so in as many days – and I tell her to start a fan club, put the Jason Should Burn in Hell (JaSBiH for short) one out of business.
She says ok, but my fans are too passive and I know it'll never happen, so I say bye and walk out into the kind of autumn cold doesn't exist in Spain or Down South.
Want to do more for B. She's lovely and so, of course, is he - so, of course, is he. We, in these point-blank-dire situations, lacking tools to build firm lives from within them, getting It from all sides and It keeps coming.
She, too, has expressed big love and similar feelings of wanting to "be there".
And if it wasn't this hard, it wouldn't be called Life.
Turns out it is a burden to see shit others cannot or do not wish to. Not just the usual, but the extra sensory: one can learn – or be forced – into hyper awareness of others' minds, emotional state, as well as that of places and ghosts. What they call "vibes".
Pictures not often pretty.
Eschewed that healthy dose of denial early on – what I once thought conscious choice to do so was not (why the PTSD diagnosis).
Occurred to me I probably am old as I feel, what with having had insomnia more than half my life. That's two to eight hours a day for more than seventeen years.
Some years ago, said to mother I was born old (reference not important) and she replied, "No – we made you old."
The Cramps's Goo Goo Muck makes me very happy.
Just needed validate the fact.
Overheard in PT: "Obama's gonna win. See all those college students registrin? They're gonna vote ferim one day, go back to their drugs an drinkin the next. But askem who the Secretary of State is an they won't know."
"Loneliness is thee worst," says my PT later on and I know he's talking about me and not who he's supposed to be talking about.
Read term today kind of made me sick: "global humanism". Catchphrase. Mainstreaming of any movement always dulls its power, leads to obsolescence or commodification (see: Feminism). Plus, labels suck. Create categories. Black-and-white. Term "Feminist" alone doesn't start to begin to attempt to describe Who I Am.
Indescribable the joy felt in seeing Magellan happy. To continually see that bubble nest grow makes me ecstatic as a kid at KayBees.
It's ridiculous how pretty he is.
Touch myself (deplore the word "masturbation" and always have – clinical, ugly) for first time in a while and it feels ok. Self care?
Wasn't about body pieces and parts, power and humiliation, but the intangible: smells, textures, breaths, in-to-me-see.
Fake soothe. One can never get one's need for loving physical affection from oneself.
Miss holding hands.
Loved the calm after making love. Her head on my chest, or mine on hers, two of us just breathing, b e i n g.
If I could live in a moment, I would choose that one to reside within for awhile.
Same feeling I got floating weightless in an ocean last summer or sitting on sand, staring at a sunset.
Want to feel insignificant in the right way.
There were times it got close with L, as well, both of us staring at each other after a shared or revealed Truth. Times she smiled at me – to me.
El Gran Combo's "Acangana", The Four Tops's "Standing in the Shadows of Love" and "I Can't Help Myself", Beanie Sigel's The B.Coming (all mini-masterpieces of production). Dancing again, though it hurts like a muh fucka to shake my hips way I need to. Made K insecure, self-conscious, so it rarely happened and when it did, I was on my own – tried to slither her out of that shell, to no avail. Again, necessary.
Need carry warmth with me – Public Enemy, 45 Grave, Sisters of Mercy, Coil, The Distillers, Philip Glass, Hole all well and good, but Ani DiFranco, Aimee Mann, Paula Cole, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Donny Hathaway's (stunning) 1971 Donny Hathaway, David Holmes's Code 46, Mark Isham's The Cooler score ("Leaving Las Vegas" makes me kneel to the ground every time), mix I made for L (she'll likely never get) are necessary.
I am not, under any circumstances (and certainly there've been some hideous circumstances), afraid of commitment. I am afraid of infidelity and/or being lied to.
It has never not happened.
After thirty-three years of never having been sick (though I flatline-died twice as asthmatic child, over a minute each time - they've told me this may explain my "special position", the relationship I have to the world, ability to "see"), I am contracting every condition in a relative short period. Past catching up to me.
Don't discuss pain – physical or emotional – except in this venue, but it's there, always.
Making valiant efforts towards change under circumstances that are forcing me not to.
Handling bum strikes with aplomb, certainly on surface – only occasionally, privately, sink or panic. Fear I'm being taken out before time – desecrated while the coroner waited.
K said I was either a marine biologist or surfer in previous life. Want to do both. With longing. Want to box and sing in a punk band and also do solo torch songs (another calling missed). Want to start shooting my film tomorrow and wanted to write that book (you know the one). Want to never have to wear socks again.
Recurring dreams tell me I'm doing better than I think I am. God sent.
Web research on them confirms rapid progress – psychologically and emotionally, if in no other way.
A fucking feat in this climate.
Told K in July I didn't still want to be this way by the time Halloween came round.
D.O. today. Platelets low. More tests. May be Truth to school says if one don't go to doctor, doctor can't find anything wrong. Would that I could go to The Beach instead.
Watch Paul Brickman's Risky Business first time in twenty-five years.
Piercing, prophetic satire, with that undertow of sadness. Appreciated its dark existential heart. And Tangerine Dreaminess.
Cruise good here, as in Eyes Wide Shut and Collateral. He is vacuous vessel, in constant need of skilled director. Magnolia performance showy, but perhaps the closest evocation of hisself – compare it to oft-mocked bi-polar Oprah performance; same fellow.
"Misviewed" as both teen sex comedy and corrupt, cynical, mysogynist, classist white male-fantasy (most people – critics, especially – don't know how to watch movies), it's the last word deconstruction of both.
Real Art tells us more than we're able to see.
Insomnia. Read Stephen King's novel of same title five, six years ago and it's sadly telling how even then I related to eighty-five year-old widowed protagonist had trouble sleeping and longer he was awake, clearer he could see others' auras, true character, spirit – some ailing, some youthful, some benign, some truly evil.
Troubled sleep. Wake up weeping again. Hobble to toilet, spent. Remember dream as I piss. Me, crying, talking – to my Self or God (same?) – saying how weak I am and have been, begging to live. Kneel before toilet and cry again, gently, for two minutes. Hobble back to bed/floor. Eyes bloodshot, cheeks wet, grab camera in hopes of capturing something beautiful but all I get are shots of my bloated face with tears on it.
I am so fucking afraid of dying I've barely lived. Now I want to and this sickness hinders any attempts. More irony.
Life means everything to me.
When sleep does find me, recurring dreams are about defecation (act of, or it's all over my [usually naked] body and I'm trying in vain to wipe it off), impending death (always my own), crying (within dream). Supposedly very positive signs, movement towards change and health, subconscious brother tryna work it out. But goddamn. God. Damn.
Ahem. Uh. On occasion – and always very well timed – they are about new women. The kind I've never met before, even in dreams (until now). Sane. With senses of humour (L, notwithstanding). Playful. Forthcoming. Attractive.
Have all my life woken up from sleep hard and wet, but not with hope and belly butterflies. Hope and belly butterflies.
I deserve better.
New news knocks me off meager makeshift perch I've worked hard to build:
Any number of things I might have (leukemia, for one) would make this the beginning of the end for me, re. docs. Taking me out against my will, and painfully. Least they might do is turn me into bonafide invalid.
Worst fears coming true too soon in life. Life.
Rest has to do with K and I can't get into it because it doesn't matter.
No one gives a shit about you or your pain – physical or otherwise – and no one should butyou.
You want to live, heal thyself. Heal thy muh fuckin Self.
Listen to that natural silence, boy.
There are places quiet like this all the time.
Add to that the sound of birds b.s.ing about the day, or some worms they ate.
Add to that maybe the distant sound of the surf.
Listen and breathe and hear God say, Chill out, kid, I haven't given up on you – you have.
Listen to Him welcome you back to the rest of your natural life.
(later) You shouldn't worry, Jay-Jay. You're gonna live forever. ("Thou art God, baby" – Sarah M, c.2005)