A few hours ago I saw Melt Banana play in downtown Oakland because some girls I like invited me and I wanted to be around them. Afterwards I felt deaf and tired and weird (but not so much in a bad way). When I got home I made tea and drank a bunch of water and looked at old pictures. I found one from December 2006, which was the winter after I had graduated from high school. In it, I have the same longish hair I have now and the same amount of “man, who cares” facial hair. I took a picture of the November 2013 version of myself and put them side by side.
The only real difference between the two is that now I look skinnier and sadder . . . and the dark rings around my eyes have deepened and darkened. Also I look dead inside.
(I would put the pictures up, but I don’t trust the world not to be cruel.)
FOR GOD’S SAKE
PLEASE COME BACK TO ME
AND WE’LL GO FOR A WALK
DOWN THAT OLD CHURCH ROAD
It can’t be healthy to feel like this 80% of my waking life. It’s killing me, isn’t it? It must be killing me. How could it not be? It’s been over a decade now. A decade! It’s wearing on me. It’s destroying my body from the inside. It is manifesting in my bones and in my face. And it will for a long time. For-ever and ever. UNTIL I STOP BREATHING.
HOPEFULLY THAT’S SOON.
(I am not kidding at all!!!! I am also 13 years old apparently!!!! You have discovered my secret diary!!!!! Mom, don’t look at it!!!!!!)
I WOULD PROBABLY LOVE YOU
AND I HARDLY LOVE ANYONE
I USED TO LOVE EVERYONE
BUT IT HURT A LOT
BECAUSE I’M NOT COOL
AND NO ONE LOVES A LOSER
BUT YOU, BABY
YOU’RE THE ONE FOR ME (MAYBE)
OR AT LEAST A NICE PERSON
TO BE AROUND
WHEN THINGS ARE TERRIBLE
(EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE)
I WOULD PROBABLY LOVE YYYYOOOOOUUUUU
The perennial apocalyptic glow over Oakland
And cat wounds on both my hands
Reluctantly I had gone across the Bay for warmth and friendship and found it slumped against a lamppost on Montgomery and Market. She was smoking and looking at the sky. I told her I felt like a dope and a loser and, rising to her feet, she smoothed out her enormous sweatshirt and told me it was OK if I was those things. She walked briskly toward an Irish pub and I put a half-skip in my movement to keep up. There she drank a cider and I had two beers. In her little white car we sped over the new bridge and laughed like psychos until we were in the place where I am most comfortable.
“This is Oakland,” I said. I pointed at everything in view. “This is where I live.”
“It’s a real city after all,” she said.
“Where people walk around. And things happen.”
“It’s true. It’s all true.”
She had a vodka sour and I had an IPA and we sat stupefied under the ruby light near the back. We were alone and we felt all right just then. I knocked over my auxiliary beer and, perhaps in a moment of pity, she gave me a cigarette. As I joylessly took the smoke into my lungs, I used the device in my pocket to say a thing to a girl I like and she said a thing back. It made me feel OK, reading that thing, because I was fairly certain it meant she found me agreeable and maybe even nice to be around.
Madness and swirling colors. Singing by the fire. Another beer from the kitchen island—who had bought these?—and I knocked another one over on the walk home. She asked me to touch her back and when I told her I wasn’t very good at it, she showed me what to do with my hands. She took her sweatshirt off and said something about modesty and I was pale and duct-taped together and feeling skeletal. I breathed heavily, her bones beneath my fingers, moving her flesh, and she laughed and said I was probably fine the way I was. I touched her spine and said it was a nice one. I lied and said I had felt many before. My eyes went dim before the sky was flooded with light and in that place where only I can go I thought of someone else.
The other day I watched an 11-minute video where a guy just stood in front of his bathroom mirror and talked about pomade
I don’t wear pomade and never have
Maybe it’s time to die
I WILL PROTECT MY FLESH
TILL THE DAY I FUCKING DIE
BECAUSE WHAT THE HELL ELSE
AM I GOING TO DO
WITH MY FUCKING TIME
Whipping through the whirling mutant city
I grabbed my balls and said a prayer
A widow cried
A child died
While Jesus combed his hair