mri

sometimes i’d think of the coast and how i’d never really been there, not the way i’d have liked anyhow, and the ways it could have been different. i could have been different. i’d recall this one dreamlike moment when i looked up and my feet were in the atlantic and your eyes were dark. was that real? and in the pacific, did we find a surreal ocean paradise surrounded by mountains?

were we ever really there? were we ever actually real?

did we taste the salt for ourselves? i can’t remember tasting it, but i feel certain that i would dip my tongue into any ocean given the chance. my lack of this memory feels jarring. then there are moments when all of this feels fantastical. sometimes i still wonder if we’re lost in the mri. i think you wonder too.

bodies separate from souls in mirrors that are gazed in too long, so we don’t look closely.

villain

i think there are reasons i don’t want to get into this. you know what’s allowed. you certainly know what isn’t. the moment i actually cursed myself was when i finally wiped that childlike grin off of my horrid, wound-covered face.

“could we even see who we were?”
“i could,” i promised.

my resting face comes off as jaded, my smile jagged and unsettling. wear and tear resides where innocence once flourished. the natural spark amidst the deep brown of my soul’s two windows has faded. i am hollow-man. i am your “scream” villain. i am your emptiness on a mission to haunt you should you dare to look even a moment too long.

the discovery of a very old video clip brought the actuality of my evolution to my attention. i witnessed some old, visibly tortured self naively, and quite horrifically, giving a vocal rendition of a cheesy justin bieber song accompanied by a borrowed guitar. i crowed loudly in all of the wrong keys. i strummed like a baby bangs a high-chair, my arms covered in sores. i was positively shameless.

but my smile lit up the moment. my laughter was pure. and i knew nothing. i saw myself knowing nothing. i watch this clip now and this girl that’s supposed to be me knows absolutely nothing. and i yearn for her.

“could we even see who we were?” you’d ask again as the abrupt ending of the video left us in a strange silence.

i’d changed my mind.

“i don’t think we could see at all. maybe we were better for it.”

you’d grimace then. and i’d wish this all away.

garage

she locked me in the garage. i loved the smell of that garage. unaware that i had the insight to open the garage door using the red-lit button and walk through the front door, my mother thought she had me pinned. you couldn’t blame her. i was that kid that wouldn’t shut the fuck up. ever. i was the baby you’d still sometimes want to shake even after i’d turned seven.

i counted to thirty before i pounded the button and waited as the garage slowly screeched open. i burst through the front door, my eyes wide. my mother gasped, shocked at my arrival. we both immediately collapsed into laughter that quickly turned into tears until we could no longer contain ourselves. we rolled around on the carpet holding our bellies until it hurt. we’d joke about it for years to come.

she never locked me in the garage again.

encore

they dance around their questions as ordered. i do take note. they lack grace, but i can’t blame them for being afraid to ask me. i’ve never shied away from self exploration in the least, yet even i have no answers with which to feed myself a plate of cognitive dissonance bullshit.

let me guess: you want to know why i don’t do anything. so do i.

i used to feel so much. additionally, i was extremely prone to unhealthy infatuation driven by lust which immaculately disguised itself as love. if asked, i’d claim to be a romantic and i meant it. i felt so “deep.”

when i’d craft the stories, the content was swaddled in emotion. feelers would return to feel more with me and i would feed their hunger for the melancholy and the subtle.

but as i aged, i ceased to feel. instead, i analyzed, theorized. i philosophized.

without feeling, this muted effect hinders my ability to be forthcoming where i once would have been. through my adult lens, it appears easier to swallow frustration while rationalizing. i subsequently document nothing despite an abundance of perfectly worthy topics. i save draft after draft of meticulously edited prose yet i lack the emotional push to send it out to the world.

because why? because for what?

“tell them about the shame.”

okay, sure, yeah, that’s easy. they’re ashamed of me and admit as much during cigarette breaks on my back porch. i’ve been here before and it isn’t new. it does sting, however, and tends to catch me completely off guard. sometimes my stomach twists, i usually drink to gloss it over, and the majority of the time, i dive straight into “fuck everything” mode.

but it isn’t like i haven’t been a secret before and it isn’t like i’m unwilling to perform an encore.

the shame comes in waves due to the dichotomy of deeply valuing my stubborn nature while simultaneously feeling temporarily destroyed because the ones i love most are afraid to confess my very existence.

because i can’t be the way that i’ve chosen if i want them to know i’m a being.

i understand the way in which the entry of role model figures immediately begins deconstructing my value in their minds. to be clear, i do not think this is intended or even recognized on a conscious level. to be honest, this discussion wouldn’t end well so i never allow it to begin. to be fair, i swallow and bury this in hopes that the realization of my importance might outweigh the sting in the end.

after all, it’s happened this way before. and here i remain.

i am aware of a distant nagging in my head regarding backup plans, but tending to that concern will quickly drown my energy, my trust, and any appearance of well-being i may still possess.

to be blunt, my being is not well as i cannot be due to not being what they define as “well.”

something about this all screams ridiculous to me, but i am only some she who cannot be named.

and the nameless are rarely the shameless.

yawn

you can’t cover a life-long empty search with shallow repetitious patterns. you cannot hide your soul from the failures of the flesh. and you cannot come to terms with this, it would seem. numb fingers and cold hearts were metaphorically, and yet quite literally, made for one another.

she deserves rest and a sense of basic decency. you haven’t you been able to be, even at the very least, decent. you’re feeling more alone, aren’t you? well, are you not?

perfectly placed prose do not create truth. keep doing all you can to squash that illusion.

i wished, moments ago, that she would wake up and that she would bring her spirit. i fantasized that, in a flash, any negative aura that might be surrounding my own might die on impact.

i thought, then, “maybe we are alone exactly the way we are meant to be,” but suddenly i heard footsteps down the hallway followed by a muffled yawn.

and i realized that a yawn had never sounded so beautiful.

dare

i propose a dare of sorts in which we fine-tune the manipulation of written language without hiding. we scrawl words across the paper unapologetically as we mold them and master them. we turn a simple provocation into the complete unraveling of a mind while witnessing a masterpiece create itself.

i propose a dare of sorts in which we cease to dilute the ugly. rather, we present it wholly that it be recognized, experienced, and ultimately devoured. we do not shy away from showing the true sources of sickness. we avoid creating coats of sugar clichés to contrast the sour.

we tell them what they really want to hear. we tell them the full, raw tale in its entirety. we tell them about the ulcer and the anxiety and the medication and how i couldn’t live with myself. we tell them about the ash in the bed and the cigarette burns and the wallowing. we tell them how you despised the scent of your own sheets; about the disgust.

and the shame.

i propose a dare of sorts in which, ironically unabashed, we tell them about the shame.

slave

there are two sides of me – polar opposites. for years they have battled one another for power. in the last few months, one side took a brutal hit and consequently left the battlezone. the lack of dichotomy brought peace within and i nestled warmly into this newfound sense of one self.

the winning side gave me calm, yet obsessed over the frivolous, and attempted to erase any sign of the other self. the other self was very much creative, intuitive, and often driven. the current self is addicted to reading about the complete farce of politics. the previous self would despise such ugly behavior and call it out for what it was while ultimately condemning it.

current self is healthier to the vessel but harmful to the mind. it is quick to anger about things which do not, in any way, affect it. the current resident does not wallow in depression, staring blankly at music video after music video. it also creates nothing. it feels little. it takes risks the other self would never have considered – but worldly risks. to be specific, today’s inhabitant wants the white picket fence american dream with two kids and a christmas tree. the other self despises christmas altogether and would never selfishly bring children into this place.

it seems there is a conflict of interest. i know what the majority would say about this conundrum. it is crystal clear that the new attitude is ‘healthier’ and that this self has a much, much higher chance of someday fitting into society. i see that, i respect it, and it is precisely why i am making every attempt to let this worldly self rule.

but there are moments, like the other day as snow fell solemnly and i felt nothing, that i miss the bold, creative, deeply introspective self that dismissed the worldly. i’m tired of the television, of the politics, and of having to choose between two versions of myself.

a slave cannot serve two masters, however.

i suppose it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas.

legion: partone

our mother always told us we had the most peculiar cry. she referred to us as, “you.” she did not know there were two of us, thus, we cried in perfect harmony.

“we’re hungry!” we’d half sing, half yell, our belly already full of snacks.

you’re hungry, sweetie,” she’d warmly correct as she handed us a banana.

“we both are,” i’d reply flatly. she’d hover for a second as though considering something before sighing quietly and eventually walking away.

she wanted us to be one. we wanted mother to be happy.

after some time, we eventually stopped referring to our multiplicity and began using the word, “I,” but that did not change the nature of our duality. we said it as simply and robotically as, “please” and “thank you.”

it meant nothing at all.

one bad night, mother was busy cooking, or so we thought. we were arguing out loud. it was escalating quickly, neither of us willing to budge on our position, but having to share one body. how would this be decided? who would take control?

so we did what any pissed off kids would do. we wrestled.

when mom walked in our bedroom, our body was rolling around the now bloodied plush rug digging the flesh out of both arms with our fingernails. i think we were screaming…in harmony, as usual.

mom screamed then, completely off-key, as she rushed over, pinning us down, holding each arm down with her own stronger, limbs.

“WHY ARE YOU DESTROYING YOURSELF, ADAM?! WHY?!”

“he wouldn’t let me! she wouldn’t let me! he wouldn’t! she wouldn’t! he- she -he – she – he – she…”

as we attempted to yell over one another with one mouth, our speech became complete gibberish and mom started sobbing violently as she released her grip. she fell over on the floor next to us, covering her face with her hands.

we hated seeing mother cry and we both softened a bit inside.

“i’m sorry mom,” we said.

“i just got caught up in pretend. that’s all, mama… i swear,” we lied.

mother looked up into our eyes then. through her own tears, she sternly reprimanded us through her tone alone.

“it isn’t real, adam.”

“i’m sorry, ma…,” we said as we touched her shoulder lightly.

mother wiped her nose with the back of her forefinger.

“i know, sweetie,” and she began to pick herself up.

“just wash your hands, dinner’s almost ready and your father will be home soon, okay?”

“yes, mother,” we replied.

on the things of which we spoke

both of us expressed memories of a sudden, detrimental realization which took place in early childhood. within moments on those horrid, fucked up days, we both independently realized that we would be forced to witness things we were even too afraid to imagine at that age.  we realized we were required to witness the demise of those we loved the most lest we caused our own demise, thus causing them infinite pain.

then we spoke about holding hands as we jumped off of the golden gate. because i love lyrics, i joked,

“i just want to jump into the general pacific.”

but it wasn’t funny in actuality. i never wanted to leave her alone. she sobbed because she could not be here without this. she sobbed because she could not be here without us.

“i’d love for you to come with me,” i suddenly heard my voice proclaim. sometimes my voice surprises me.

i spoke toxic words then. perhaps i was spellbound, but something in those words may have attempted to kill us both. i don’t remember the look on her face, but i think that i’m sorry. i do think she was pleased to have been invited.

this is where we would normally pause and think “critically,” like respected self-important critics, slapping ourselves around verbally until we either changed our minds entirely or just held hands and let go.

she asked me, then, “how is it that world records keep being beat?”

and we knew that there was an elsewhere.  and we knew that we belonged there.

“what dreams may come?”

bait

i met a man once who swore to me he could perform supernatural things and that he would. and that this would all be shown to me over the course of my lifetime. and i was to wait for these events to occur and i was to respond, as yin to yang, as light to darkness, as husband to wife.

the bullet to his head shattered these beliefs.

the narrative wasn’t fully shared to begin with. i wasn’t prepared to wait and who would be crazy enough to wait… and these things, all of these things, surely, were evil…were they not?

and i would ask my father and he would rage as he would preach and i would cower and i would pull the blankets over my barren shoulder as i recollected his haunted story about the suicidal demons attempting to lure me.

me, in particular.

pathetically, i’d sob as i attempted to bury the mental image of myself as, quite literally, demon bait.

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