Monday, April 29, 2002

An unsent letter.

Wow. I think this is the angriest thing that I've ever written. It kind of bothers me to read it.

it's been one day home and i already can't stand this house.

tried following advice today. here's an idea: why not be honest with your father? you can interact with him as an adult, right?

wrong. things are just easier when i decieve him. he doesn't respect my ability to make personal decisions about who i interact with and i should just keep on pretending that i'm the "good son" that i've tried to portray for the past 18 years. developmental problems? hell, yeah. maybe there's a reason i hide things from him. maybe it's because when i don't, he doesn't like the result. in this house, i have no agency. i never have and i probably never will. i could never talk with him about personal relationships or what i felt about certain people. if the answer isn't the correct one, it has to be crushed. and as long as he can hold finances, bond, college, and career over my head, i don't know if i'll ever be able to become independent.

i never rebelled against my parents when i was younger. sure, i was interested in radical things, but i always hid that from them. we never really engaged each other about those issues. i hid abbey hoffman under my fucking bed and we all pretended that i was a good student who would continue the tradition of our family's liberation from our old impoverishment.

well here's a fucking clue: i'm *not* that good student. i'm not an asexual machine who goes to bed at 11 PM, gets straight A's, never drinks, wins debate tournaments, pursues an academic goal as an english teacher, enjoys attending the university of pittsburgh, doesn't have feelings, doesn't see the drama in your personal life, and obeys the law. i'm the fucking disjunct that you never wanted to believe you created. we've been repressing all of this anxiety for years because it's just too "painful" to look at and now, when we finally might have to come to terms with the dogshit painting that is who i've become, we can't even look at it. it's too horrible. maybe it tries to burst at the seems and transgress the imaginary threshold that we all use to pretend that i'm perfect, but no one wants to accept it.

i told you one little thing tonight, dad. well, it's actually something that's very significant to me. i tried to expose a small corner of what i want and the way i live my life, and it visibly upset you. i don't think this is about the sanctity of your house as a concrete space. it's about the sanctity of the imaginary representation that you've constructed of my identity. there's a whole circus of flames and blood behind that curtain. today you saw that one part, which i think is beautiful. back in december you saw another part when i responded with rage and violated cop cars. doesn't matter. it's all ugly to you.

i dream about leaving my current role and just running far far away
i have strong feelings for people.
i don't give a shit about getting a degree.
i hate pittsburgh.
i listen to music that celebrates street violence
i hate organized religion
i read horrible, violent books
i think sex is great
almost every class i've ever taken bores me. i'd rather read whatever the fuck i want in whatever order i want, regardless of what someone else thinks i should do
i spend more time hating debate than liking it
i've fantasized about illegally destroying vivisection laboratories.
i'm pro-choice
i have no hope for our species. i don't think we'll be saved. rather, i think history is a confusing maze in which we keep hurting each other over and over again because whatever strange force created us just fucked up
i used to be terrified that you thought i was gay.
i'm unhappy with what i've done with my life. i had everything available to me and i just didn't care enough to use it to my advantage. i wasted it all because i stopped being passionate about most of the things that i do.

i don't like where i put myself to please you. it's just like when i did judo back in junior high. remember that? those classes were my weekly burden that i dreaded going to. i wasn't comfortable with any of the people left in it. i hated going home feeling like shit all the time. i was tired of doing vigorous workouts because i'm a LAZY PERSON. i complained to my sister once and she gave me one of the best pieces of advice i've ever heard: if you don't like what you're doing, then don't do it. why would you waste your short life on things you're not passionate about? abby, chris, and my counsellor have all said the exact same thing in different ways.

so i tried telling you all that i hated something everyone thought i enjoyed. i tried so many times and could never manage to say the words. even on the few times that i did, i was never greeted with an affirmation of my feelings. i'm not sure if i was even believed. finally, i managed to talk seriously about it with mom. she withdrew me from the classes and for a whole summer i never told you that i was no longer in judo. tenth grade came and we could just ignore the issue by saying that it conflicted with debate and PE courses at LCCC. i don't think the question of what i wanted to do ever came into the picture. i was too scared to say anything about it to you. a few years later you asked me if i missed it. i told you, "kind of." here's what i really wanted to say: "no! quitting judo has brought me more happiness than most other decisions i've made in my life."

or the divorce. did we ever talk about that? at the time, i didn't even realize it was happening. i had to have an older kid at school explain to me what a divorce was and how that's what my family had gone through. i still have no fucking idea what happened. maybe i don't have a right to know everything, but in the 14 YEARS since it occured, we have never sat down and tried to address that painful part of our lives in a serious way. the stupid kids can't handle it, even when they're almost 19 years old. sure, you sent me off to a counsellor to "talk about it" when i was in fourth grade. it was an idea, but we still never *really* talked about why i have such a huge need to conform to your expectations or why social interaction terrifies me.

this is all part of the way i think about myself. and you know what? i'm going to continue down the same path of never revealing a fucking bit of it to you. because we've all always known that it hurts too much to talk about these things or to be honest with each other. occasionally, you'll see eruptions that shatter the fantasy frame. next time, it won't be in the form of vandalism. maybe it'll be more subtle, but ten times as self-destructive. you'll see the flares, but you'll never see what's really going on, because I WON'T TELL YOU and you can just believe and mandate away the source. you may respect me as an "intelligent young man who makes you proud," but you'll never respect me for myself, on my own terms. i'll just keep doing fucked up shit that demonstrates how false that lie really is. but through all the repressed horror, we're just going to keep crawling through the shards of broken glass and smouldering carpet in the living room and i'm going to keep lying to you over and over and over again, because neither of us wants to talk about what's really going on.

newsflash: i want to have the chance to screw up in the world. i want to gamble and have fun. i'm too young to play someone else's game. maybe you should just tell me to fuck myself and send me off to prison. at least then, when i get tortured, i'll know i earned it all myself for what i really did, not because i was putting on a pretty show for you.

i had a long talk with mom about all sorts of stuff today. we talked about things that i'd always been too scared to tell her. did she criticize me or call my feelings into question? no. she said that she respected me and wanted me to be happy. she was glad when i told her about abby. did i get a barrage of accusatory questions and demands? no. remember how when we got home, she mentioned all of the stuff we'd talked about and how much you and i had to go over? did we ever have that conversation? you don't want to hear it and i don't want to tell you. as far as i'm concerned, we will *never* have that conversation because it's so much easier to just sneak in the back door and hide my life from you.

Friday, April 26, 2002


tapped my fingers against the desk.

just clipped them
so the ends burned and
each tip jolted as it
hit flat surface.

patter patter patter...
chills skin,
creeps up your
arm and hugs your neck.
taps on your nose
and eyelashes,
leaves dimples
that glow red tomorrow.
little charcoal briquettes
under your eyes,
grease marker puddles for
puppy baths.
pay call girls to lick them up
and try not to vomit them back
into the bathtub.

they were plastic dolls
until they couldn't hold back anymore
and i made them sick.

traced fingers down the burnt embers
in the fireplace,
two fingers down a charred log.
held them up and

sucked for hours in the corner.



i've wanted to hurt people before. i'd hear about something horrible that happened to someone and just wanted to channel my rage by destroying whoever was the source of the problem.

but not anymore. that's not my role. i don't have any right to do that. i always thought i was responsible for fixing things, but i'm not. there are times when you don't have any agency and you just have to accept that. i can't hurt the cops who beat up my grandfather. i can't touch the guy who i thought ruined me last semester. even if i could, it would only make things worse. there are a million people commiting atrocities right now and i can't make them stop. people don't want me to act on their behalf and i was stupid for ever thinking that they did.

i can't fight the world today. run over me with a bulldozer if you want. i'll only greet you with open arms. drag me through the street and wave your flag. i can't stop you. not today anyway.

Thursday, April 25, 2002


i watch lots of shows about the criminal part of the legal system. if i see something on TV with someone being arrested, booked, standing trial, living in prison, etc. i have to watch it. law & order, shawshank redemption, nypd blue, escape from alcatraz, oz, those dumb cop shows, half baked, anything.

it always terrifies me, but i have to watch it. things like that didn't interest me that much until i experienced the whole process. in my opinion, incarceration is one of the worst fates that could befall someone. when i was in jail, everyone just seemed dead. all of the life had been sucked out of them. here were grown people eating the most disgusting mush you could ever imagine, watching rodney dangerfield movies and giggling about jr. high quality rape jokes every single day for years upon years. they occasionally read magazines to look for pictures of womyn, but that was mostly it.

i met a kid i knew from elementary school in there. he asked if i could deliver a note to a girl he knew. i told him i wouldn't be able to get out of my house for a while. he seemed so desperate to see her.

they shut off the phones while i was in jail. the guard did it because he was having a bad day or something. no contact with the outside world. you just sat in freezing cold, shivering and hoping you wouldn't spend the next year sitting in this lobby, eating regurgitated baked beans and deformed hot dogs.

can't think of many things worse than imprisonment. they really take you apart... let you know that you're not an individual anymore. the state and a group of convicts own your flesh and your mind. just horrifying. i got lucky because my parents had money. can't even imagine what it's like for people who don't have resources like that.

so i just keep watching those shows. at the end of every law & order episode i secretly hope the defendent gets off. is that a messed up? maybe a little. but the more i see of the penal system, the less i'm convinced that it works. we don't reform people. we teach them how to be even more cold and desperate than ever before. whatever. i'm not ever going back there.

yeah. i keep telling myself that. but it doesn't change the small thought in the back of my mind that i could spend 10 years in prison. it's all up to one judge. he can do whatever he wants with me. if he has a hangover or something, could be screwed. gives me a lot of reason to enjoy life and the people i love as much as i can until then.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

no reason.

lately tons of stuff has been freaking me out.

nothing really scary. it's just weird stuff. tonight when i thought for a little while that i was going to fail a necessary class, i really didn't care. banks in the northwest may get blown up, but that doesn't bother me. i'm going to go cash some checks tomorrow and i'm not perterbed in the slightest (i know... no one's going to blow up the little bank that services college kids... but still...).

i get scared of stupid stuff. like e-mail. it terrifies me. i have an inbox jammed full of crap that i don't want to read. some of it's from people i know. some of it's from stuff at school or from various listserves. a few are from people answering my requests for a place to live. i waited a week to read one of those. i about had a seizure trying to look at the screen. it didn't really say anything, but it took tons of energy to look at.

going to normal functions is scary too. seeing people. talking to parents. studying. reading. eating. anything. it just makes me want to stay home all day sleeping (which is pretty much all i've been doing this week). if i could have my way, i'd sleep 12 hours a day and spend the other 12 hours talking to and hanging out with a small handfull of people who i know. yeah, ideally i'd read a book or watch a movie per day too. those few people, music, books, movies, and sleep are the only things i care about anymore

but by the end of the week i have to move the totality of my posessions across town and fly away for the summer. i know this is really stupid, but the thought of it is unnerving. weird.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002


woke up this afternoon
from a nap
and muscles ached,
pressed by hours under wood
chair, desk,
and a pile of hardcover books.
stretched out on closelines,
drawn out by pens
pig intestines
across the pavement.

looked up at the ceilling,
eyes focused a second
on cracks and
out of nowhere
there was your face.

you smirked,
blinked off mascara and
told me i was a fool.


smiled back and reached
out a hand,
wavered in air and mouthed

but then a splash
of lightning wrecked
the room

and you were gone,

left me with myself
and a black doll
under a pile of blankets.

pulled them tight and
thought to myself:
"only eight hours left today."

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

was created by an evil god.

tonight i decided that i want to consume reality.

i just want to burn and reorient everything, the way radiation changes molecular structure. mutates particles and makes them move in new ways. poetic rays that real around skin. you shiver and bathe in hormesis metaphors as pictures of saints and dragons eating pigflesh dance around your eyes and you remember what it felt like when you met your first best friend in pre-school, the kid who talked spoke to you in a timid voice when everyone else told you to get lost.

or that girl who shocked you when she said you weren't ugly after all in junior high. she's gone now but your skin's still flaming.

let's get alive, yo. shower in hydrochloric acid that streams down your face and burns off skin, that part of you that made you weak. like the taxi driver that held his hand over the flame and wouldn't let go. you are kishatriya, warrior god that knows no good or evil. you are the artist in the theater of cruelty who delights in spectacularly horrific performance art just to make everyone happy. you are shiva. the world is destroyed in wake of your terrible dance. buildings burn and glass is broken and you burst super nova style because clothes can't take the heat.

let's love everything. yeah. the world is horrible. people die and do mean things to each other. even you are the epitome of evil. but that doesn't mean you can't cherish it and kiss everyone you see. hug a friend until they think you've gone off and ask what on earth you're doing.

hang on and sing. laugh even. roll eyes at mathmaticians and political pundits who want to tell you who "you are."

to hell with that. you don't know what i am. i am and that's too much for you. my burned skin and layers of scars just don't jive in your world of equations and logical proofs. it jacks the code, a virus injected that breaks down everything you ever considered real.

the world is on fire tonight.

Friday, April 05, 2002

the cook.

Afternoons spent in front of the stove,
Countless onions simmered with minced bulbs of garlic.
Potatoes grated with basil,
Olive oil drizzled over shallow gratin dishes with bread crumbs.

I watch the news on TV and want to kill.
Clutch butcher knife and grit teeth while scientists
sew shut infant eyes.
I plan raids on oil drills,
but never leave the kitchen...

So I cook.

My dull cleaver chops carrots to tiny pieces,
slams against the ceramic cutting board.
It clatters and bangs for hours,
so loud that no one can hear me swear when
the knife slips and saws off my thumb.
I boil pasta once a week.
The violent roar of a high boil ignites the room,
The steam rolls in my face and blisters skin
as parsnips drain in the colander.

But eyes can't withstand when red onions
are sliced.
They jab at my face and release tears.
Sulfuric acid scorches my cornea every night.
I used to let a food processor do the work,
but now it's my burden.
I have to face those violet membranes when they're
ripped apart by the knife.

I read investigative reports while the marinara sauce simmers and know
what rots behind my closed pantry doors,
I make the vegetable stock and the fried Spanish Paella,
I steam the asparagus and the wilted summer greens.
I rip the hearts out of artichokes and
boil the parasites just to watch them


Cookbooks and TV shows,
Underground manuals and models,
I've read them all.

Flayed the slabs of firm soybean curd and rice tempeh paste while slaughterhouses
Peeled off the skins of tomatoes while the rapists screamed,
I've run from the wraiths of mad cows and trichinosis worms.

But I don't have a choice.
I am the cook.
What else can I do?

Monday, April 01, 2002

doing the unstuck.

sometimes you feel alive, ya know?

i used to begin my sentences with capital letters. i used correct punctuation too. but then that stopped mattering. other things are more important. yeah, it's dumb. ah well.

heard about a friend today who'd found something he liked. something i didn't hear about and had never imagined. that's so cool.

another friend also told me something that made me feel really good. sure, life is really fucked up and ugly. i think i'll always think that. but sometimes people work with that and make things better.

and belive it or not, this isn't some dumb april fool's joke. i've had enough of those.

i didn't write this. robert smith did. it's what i listen to on the occasion that i feel good about something, even if it's small.

It's a perfect day for letting go,
For setting fire to bridges, boats
And other dreary worlds you know,
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for making out,
To wake up with a smile
Without a doubt.
To burst grin giggle bliss skip jump sing and shout,
Let's get happy!

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now,
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show,
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know,
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

It's a perfect day for kiss and swell,
For rip-zipping button-popping kiss and well,
There's loads of other stuff can make you yell,
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for doing the unstuck,
For dancing like you can't hear the beat
And you don't give a further thought,
To things like feet,
Let's get happy!

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now,
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show,
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know,
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

Kick out the gloom,
Kick out the blues,
Tear out the pages with all the bad news.
Pull down the mirrors and pull down the walls,
Tear up the stairs and tear up the floors.
Oh just burn down the house!
Burn down the street!
Turn everything red and the beat is complete,
With the sound of your world
Going up in the fire,
It's a perfect day to throw back your head
And kiss it all goodbye!

It's a perfect day for getting wild,
Forgetting all your worries,
And everything that makes you cry,
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for dreams come true,
For thinking big
And doing anything you want to do,
Let's get happy!

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now,
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be,
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

Kick out the gloom,
Kick out the blues,
Tear out the pages with all the bad news.
Pull down the mirrors and pull down the walls,
Tear up the stairs and tear up the floors.
Oh just burn down the house!
Burn down the street!
Turn everything red and the dream is complete,
With the sound of your world
Going up in the fire,
It's a perfect day to throw back your head
And kiss it all goodbye!