25 August 2022, 10:38
I made it Up.
25 August 2022, 10:38
I made it Up.
23 August 2022, 13:35
On the first page Of a red book Easily overlooked Amidst paintings and artifacts From the artist’s personal collection A few lines stand written (Var står det skrivet?) In capital letters: WHY DID YOU TEACH ME? HE ASKED... WE TAUGHT YOU
BECAUSEWHAT YOU ALREADY KNEW – Talk to me, Jean-Michel Are you “HE”? Why does “WE” Respond and not “I”? First, you wrote “BECAUSE” in black ink Then, another hand (still your own?) Swept in and struck it through With red ink, writing “WHAT” Did your English teacher Have a bone to pick With the question? When she read what you wrote Did she want to know your meaning Or was she more interested In you knowing hers? How much time passed Between black and red? If I called Gary Could he get me in touch With your dear, departed soul So you could answer my questions? “Freshman Y--- P----- practices In his garage at home to build enough Confidence to break dance in public.” A heroin habit severed their souls From their bodies Died too young I miss him.
Occurred 28 July 2016, afternoon
(Recorded 17 August 2016, 11:49)
He turns twentyone, and the next day she takes him on a twentyone-mile day hike past Ramona Falls and up to Yocum Ridge near Reid Glacier of Mount Hood. It is glorious. He is struck dead in his tracks more than once. By what? Her and her surroundings. It feels like a positive experience, though there is one problematic scene. They are on the way back down, nearing the end of the trail, when she asks, “Do you have a best friend?”
“No, not right now. I’ve had best friends in the past, but I’m kind of on the market. I’m looking for a Jonathan to my David, y’know? Someone to knit my soul to. How about you?”
“No, I don’t either.”
They walk a little farther, and he asks, “Will you be my best friend?”
After a noticeable hesitation, she says, “Maybe, we’ll see.”
. . .
Occurred 12 August 2022, around 15:00
(Recorded 14 August 2022, morning)
The two of them are concluding their conversation. They are placing laptops into bags and cleaning up after their four-hour planning session when she says, “When have I been known to make good choices?”
He does not answer straight away. The retort in his mind needs to be edited, cut away from the script. He laughs and mutters, “Well….” He pushes the door to leave; she is behind him. “I was going to say something sassy, but all I can think of is, ‘You’re friends with me; that’s a good choice.’”
He thinks she laughs, too. Then, she replies, “That remains to be seen.”
. . .
Recorded 17 August 2022, 20:15
All he can do is write. He cannot be honest. Given the unlikely chance that he could speak his mind, what would he say?
“No shot, right?” he shouts aloud, in his bedroom, at his desk, listening to “Theme for Ernie” by Gábor Bolla. The memory dots are connected: “Maybe, we’ll see” and “That remains to be seen.” And that the date of realization is the same: 17 August. Six years later. Ducking irony. No wonder those five words have so occupied his mind. A sarcastic dagger, most likely. She did not mean anything by it. Taken literally, which seems unwise, they indicate indecision. An accidental slip of truth, perhaps. Who knows? She does. He does not.
He has written nothing much but prose recently. James Joyce has captured his attention; he is practicing for the Olympics in boat-rowing on the stream of consciousness. An open faucet. Say what comes to mind. “Men need to address skills deficits to meet healthier relationship expectations” (Matos). Alright, Mr. PsyD, show me how to use outdated statistics to make an argument about how men are emotionally immature compared to women. Gadz, the double standard! An article could never be written about how women might be less skillful in an area compared to men. That would be sexist. The doctor is touching a nerve in him. Fight or flight, baby. How is his emotional intelligence? “The problem for men is that emotional connection is the lifeblood of healthy, long-term love. Emotional connection requires all the skills that families are still not consistently teaching their young boys” (Matos). Why does he find this offensive? His own father, while not being very expressive of his emotions, taught him the importance of emotionally connecting with others. So did his mother. And his parents are living a long-term love. So, what gives? C’mon, Matos, why are you calling out men everywhere? Why paint with so broad a brush? Where is the fineness in your psychological arts? You want men (only?) to do the following:
Level up your mental health game. That means getting into some individual therapy to address your skills gap. It means valuing your own internal world and respecting your ideas enough to communicate them effectively. It means seeing intimacy, romance, and emotional connection as worthy of your time and effort. (Matos)
Mental health is a game? Holy Christ, man, these are people’s minds and well-beings on the line, and you are telling them they can “level up” like it is some virtual reality composed by programmers? Whoa now (pulls back on reigns). Except for the bit about therapy, check, check, and check. Everyone needs it, apparently. What trauma might he address in therapy? (None that he cares to admit in the open.) Is everyone traumatized, or is it possible to escape childhood and adolescence without gaping wounds from parents, siblings, friends, and romantic partners? If it was universally free, he would go. He would sit in a room with a credentialed stranger and say, “I am fine. My mental health is good. I am not depressed or anxious. My parents and my community did not defeat me. I do not think I am psychically damaged.” It is true, but there is no way to say it without sounding like he is boasting. Time for a poem. Let us play.
When Sunny smiles
It brings out the best in him
When she laughs, it is like
The world will never end
When Sunny dreams
He dreams with her
The two are determinedly un-
Conscious, blissfully aware
Of the state of their relationship
They are appositionally opposite
In their personalities and would
Be incompatible if not for
The truth is he loves her
He does not love her
She is a series of contradictory
Statements with a tight waist
Facing east while he faces west
They pass in the night and wave
Hello in the morning at work
Teaching teenagers to read
When Sunny is silent
It allows him a unique
Opportunity to imagine
What she thinks about
She does not think about him
Thankfully, whatever feelings
He has are not reciprocated
She is sericated, queenly
He is plebian and does not
Know how to dress himself
Having never determined
A suitable clothing style
Nothing ever fits
Nothing is ever easy
It all takes so much work
But the Sunnys of the earth
Are covered with pearl-like drops
Of dew and tears, waiting
For themselves to uncurl
From being world’d too much
A poem is a made thing
Art should encourage mannerism
Her stylish style emphasizes
Artifice over realistic depiction
We tread in the footsteps of Old
Masters and paint nudes in comp-
Licated and contrived poses
Have you got acid color in your cheeks?
She breaks with unity
He retains it
She is dynamic
He never moves
The autopsy ends and
The moon coroner packs
Away his saccharine utensils
As Sunny rises.
Matos, Greg. “The Rise of Lonely, Single Men.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 9 Aug. 2022, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-state-our-unions/202208/the-rise-lonely-single-men.
15 April 2022, 22:20
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Welcome to the Black Parade (Good Friday Remix) When he was a young boy in Nazareth His father took him into Jerusalem for The Feast He said: Son, when you grow up, will you save The broken, the beaten, the damned? Will you heal The Patient slipping into stillness? Will you think of your unfortunate father? I will grow old, son, and they will not write about me The inspired authors will leave me out of their narrative And you will become their hero. One day, I’ll leave you— A spectral memory to guide you up Kranion They will break you, beat you, damn you And you will exhale your final breath With splinters in your back And thorns in your head Your mother will watch As bodies fill the streets And your disciples turn away In shame and fear, they will carry on As carrion-feeders circle overhead Hoping to feast on your decaying sóma Those who came together for theória Will return home beating their breasts Your spirit, rent from its corporeal container Will join the Black Parade, as mine did When we are both dead and gone, believe me: Our memories will persist in their hearts and minds. In a world lurching between misery and hate They will paint it black and shout loudly In defiance: Why God? Where were you? Given the choice to do and die You will be both life for the lost And father to the fatherless children In the streets of the city marching Behind their single mothers Who pray in your name As the prescient piano and diminished drum Sound an unexplainable anthem of things to come. He said: My name is Joseph of Arimathea I am a member of the council They call me good and righteous But I am just a man (not a hero) Give me his corpse, Pilate For I did not consent To the decision and action of my peers And I have a tomb cut in stone Where no one has ever yet been laid We will wrap him in a linen shroud And prepare spices and ointments To preserve our decimated dreams. Then, we will head the call to carry on Though he was broken and defeated And weary widows weep in desperation I will not explain or beg forgiveness For I am one who bears a scar My name is Metōnymia Like crown for king, Grave for death, and as in: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interrèd with their bones. No evil did you, son Nor will evil live after you Only goodness and mercy Will follow us as we carry on Through the rise and fall For we are not ashamed Of the good news Of the coming of the Messiah We, too, sing the Black Parade And give a cheer for all the broken We don’t care; we’ll carry on We want it all; we want to play the part Do or die, in sickness and in doubt We will forsake all others And keep thee unto us for as long as we live.
3 October 2021, 14:59
Crouching on the very edge I will say That the Bible could be entirely Made up And when I die, I might become Food for worms And nothing more. I do not believe this is true Or at least I have to hope with all my marrow That it is not For if I slipped off this edge It would be Into a dark and dreary chasm Of uncertainty. Hell, I am already uncertain Of most things Save for this— Verum esse ipsum factum What is true is what Is made We are real not because we Observe reality But because we, image-bearers Invent reality In great waves of poetry.
26 January 2019, 22:02
I’m in Seam Reap now, and I got in a bit of trouble at Angkor. I climbed the wrong thing and was taken to a covered area to be talked to by a security guard and a man wearing a “Police” hat. They were friendly and talked about heritage while also reprimanding me for my actions. “I’m sorry, I did not know,” I repeated.
There are four salamanders/geckos on the walls in my hostel. I’m sitting at a table in the bar area, and there’s some house music playing, but I have my headphones in, and I’m listening/watching LTAT, the Saturday episode of Rhett & Link.
12:12 This is nowhere I ever thought I’d be Beside a tree Sitting on the banks Of Trapeang Srah Sang A little lake several kilometers Northeast of Angkor Wat. I took off My shoes and socks Waded in, snapped a photo. Prayed a poem, wrote it down After fingering the dirt and mud Between my toes.
14:18 Sitting cross-legged on Ta Keo A temple-mountain-pyramid Possibly the first to be built Entirely of sandstone by ancient Khmers. I’ve seen what I came here to see— but maybe there’s more to come. My Giant mountain bike has carried me far— through a dark jungle on roads of pavement & sand. I will read, now, before heading “home.”
17:44 “Am I annoying you?” “Yes, honey, you are.” “Humph.” A bad joke, I know It just sort of slipped out While waiting in Line for Phnom Bakheng (The wife asked a question to her husband; I answered for him, a stranger.) This ride better have a loop-de-loop It was like waiting for something at Disneyland Or the DMV (that symbol of waiting). But this sunset Is worth it (I’ve seen better; Thank you, clear Oregon skies.)