Now she’s asking if you’ve got a girlfriend.  

“Tell her I just haven’t met the right one yet.”

Tom laughs.  

I should be working on something.  Instead, I’m writing this. But maybe that’s okay.  Things on the brain. My head aching. Two days straight without the usual cocktail.  

Maybe I should get back to learning Japanese. Maybe I should learn to play the banjo, like I’ve wanted to, for so long.  

Maybe I should take better photos and write better sentences.  

But I keep on doing this Same Old Thing.

I think about telling Garrett to give me Olivia’s address so I can ship her a print.  

But he’d just tell me to ask her for it myself.  But I can’t be trusted to not say something horribly stupid.  Can’t be trusted with phone numbers, either, anymore. Just gotta keep away from other people, or avoid direct communication at all costs.

I’m all eaten up inside with rotting loneliness.  And I’m sick in my gait and speech, and the way I look and talk to other people.  

If I were an animal, I would be avoided by my own species at this point.  But I’m a person, so I have to keep up a front of normalcy.  

I keep thinking about asking.  Or taking.  

But it would all end up the same way.  

It would start out great, and go on for a while.  Til everything crashed and burned. Til it bought the farm.  

Deep down, I know I’m not anyone, really.  A pit stop at best. Maybe a derelict building on a lonesome stretch of desert highway.  Where no one stops anymore. Except the hopelessly lost types. Until they find their way again, and keep on moving.  

And why not?  The well has run dry.

Revolving around in my mind, tumbling around over and over, manipulated, is the idea that one day I might amount to something.  

But only wishful thinking.  Incorrigible, fucked up. A “fixer-upper” as one of my exes put it.  

Just something out there on the periphery.  

And maybe it would be better like that, just that kind of person, always.  And feeling the pain, and turning it over in your soul and your bones, like a coin dancing along knuckles.  And sticking close to the beautiful things that slowly kill you and draw you into Hell.  

Who will wail for you in death?  Will you hear it from oblivion?  

What gets left behind?  A string of images, hopefully, that carry a message.  But the words that would frame them in context carry away on wind, and lose themselves in the ether.  

A real pretty face.  A laugh that melts ice.  Eyes that dance. A body I want to touch and hold and caress.  Late at night until the dawn sky eats the darkness away. And the warmth of her body against mine.  The smell of her hair. The taste of salt and sweat on her skin.  

Things I could know.  

Ugly and twisted, strange and different.  Nothing normal, nothing right. Nothing to give, nothing to lend.  No reason for anyone anywhere to desire my company.  

In the night I stare up at curtains of rain forever coming down.  And I poison myself a little more, for the final painful payoff. And I think about what it means.  And what worth one could draw from it. But all there remains is pain, and sorrow, and the unwavering hurt that I wear like a second skin.  

It doesn’t matter.


For my day job, which pays the bills.
For my apartment, where I stay up late cooking, and sleep in on the mornings.
For the sunshine that comes through my windows, bright and warm.
For the cold and the snow and the wind on my scalp.
For the quilt my mother made for me.
For Tom, who keeps me company.
For Kit and his 1 am phone calls from Pittsburgh.
For Garrett, who makes me want to be a better version of myself.
For my family members, who seem to love me.
For my nieces, who make me smile when I see them.
For bourbon, mixed with coke and a lemon.
For the sound of rain.
For a cigarette in the morning before work.
For a cigarette in the evening after work.
For memories of people I am no longer close to.
For memories of women I used to love.
For memories of childhood.
For the silhouette of a bird, flying high above skyscrapers and landing in the eaves of churches.
For the words of prophets carved into subway seats.
For sundowns, and moonrises.
For a good joke.