HOPES ARE NEVER UP: an autobiographical mixtape

The following are excerpts from an autobiographical novel that I have been working on piecemeal & may never be completed.  Here are a few “chapters” (in no chronological order).

         Radiohead – Motion Picture Soundtrack

I don’t know what any of this is but I trust my own thoughts.  I came into this world healthy, whole w/ 2 eyes 2 ears 2 nostrils a solitary mouth & one self called skin with which to take in all through senses.  There were two more openings in the form closer to the earth & above the congenitally bifurcated mind.
I remember when the mind was one & all extensions were found therein: no me no mine no I no you are not that much different at all in your mama’s room crying asking her why you remember music asking her where it went & if all you cannot remember can be considered a dream.

        Jeff Buckley – Grace

This is everything I can do to be honest. I break journals up in lines so that it appeals to some still-living sense of aesthetics in me & call it my very own quelque chose a faire
& I don’t know if my own reasons for going on are worth it to anyone but me anymore
& I don’t know that they matter enough to me to keep going so for one last thing to do I’ll say the things I didn’t bother putting down plainly.

         Joanna Newsom – Go Long

I am my mother’s daughter with a lion’s heart & I am no good at hiding but I will hide away in my room if that is how they will hear me.  The voices in my head are all loving & female & I have too much loose skin hanging off me to believe that they believe me.  I am better off outside of their rooms & their stories.  No face to the voice no voice to the words no words that you don’t want to hear only bumps in the night something creeeeeeaaking open opened something out of the corner of the eye something left there something terrifying in the thoughts that we think something terrifying in the thoughts we do not think something terrifying outside of ourselves in the dark could be something anything we do not know.

I know what you are usually thinking when you see me & you hate it when I point this out to you so I have taken to remaining silent. If you care at all here is what I am thinking when I am pacing in my room at 1 2 3 5 am trying to write another suicide note, the one that shows me I am brave enough to write one to completion to come upon the page as I go so quickly everywhere else in my mind that I am more than my many ideas all at once that I am strong enough to wrangle them focus them into this here now & to put all my heart & soul & mind & strength into the task at hand which is teaching my hand to mean what I write as much as I mean what I say & to teach my mouth to speak no more if it hurts another & to focus my intention into one final action consistent with the most persistent logos & to marry thought to deed O to no longer have a self to doubt myself with forever & ever amen.

I haven’t hung the rope yet & I haven’t moved my hand in minutes. To bind or to release…I am too full of too much & I am asking myself the same questions I ask myself every time I think of someone actually doing it – the note the words the tears the whole choking sleeping sheBANG! I do what I fight so hard against: I compare myself to my betters (‘To my friends/ My work is done/ Why Wait?  -GE) & I hate myself comparing as if lives were like apples in the market & I cant move or write or think clearly or cry & I can’t smoke a cigarette unless I leave the house & that would make my parents suspicious so the elders that smoked til they croaked at 82 look down upon me with heavy hearts/sad immaterial eyes & wish as I do that I knew the secret to clean mouth & healthy lungs.  I doubt myself again & I remember that I am weak to my habits like culture pop bang flash hot topics media trends walkman discman iPod whatever puts music in my ears & why do I have to be a follower even in death & would I have made them proud even if it would break my poor mothers heart? Why can’t I be something special or even convince myself that I am like the others do & why can’t everyone just see that I’m not that different but I am.  I am what I am & that’s a branch of the Family Tree & a soldier in the LORD’s Army & like every good little sheep washed in the blood of the lamb I feel conflicted & confused & like everything is wrong all the time.  Maybe it’s me & they were right about rock music side B of the Blue Album in my ears is making me want to end it all & I feel the angry bitter tears of knowing how my hardworking father expected me to live & move & act my part out dilligently & how part of that was outliving him but what if i did already & Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. my abba is a mensch & I am flesh & blood like him.  I read my own words & I edit myself for no one & I struggle to say it all as I have never been able to & this should be enough for now.

         The Gloria Record – A Lull in Traffic

I am neither limber nor nimble
my back not flexible enough
for all of these burdens
I am a tense back
& a choked heart
the parts of myself

& the collected whole

I am more soil than flower that buds in spring
I am more rock than flame that burns impurities away 
I am less than most have & more than the least need
I am 4 with wing of 5
I am true to my numbers & true to my name.
I am a happy hopping puppy glad to see you
I am always wracked by guilt & stress
by my very own unique tension
of one & yet the same
of everyone & yet not
I am one of the masses
& we have become too weighty
massive numerous
& we no longer agree on anything
but ‘life is suffering’.

I will opt out for everyone’s sake,
the Holy Greater Good.
Tomorrow should be brighter
for my family & devoid –
if I may do anything about it –
of worries about my well-being.
I am well enough to see clearly
that I was not built for this world
& that this is all for the best.

 The National – Graceless

I have always been a bit of an asshole.  I never got used to respecting boundaries & I love the people that love me for seeing beyond that to my idiot heart. I used to tell my little brother that there was another brother between he & I named Sam but that my parents got rid of him (I believe the reasons changed…he was bad, he was unwell, he was put up for adoption before he was born because they couldn’t afford another).  I don’t remember why I did this but I do know that kids can be cruel & that end-of-the-millennium boys show love is strange & roundabout ways that should probably be excused no longer.  I think I probably liked being able to change the story however it suited me so that I could warn or teach some lesson or just generally intimidate my little brother.  If I had known what an abortion was back then, I probably would have worked it into the story somehow.  Maybe I did.  I don’t remember many details about this early propensity towards storytelling but I remember doing it & I still feel a bit bad about how it might have caused his small brain anguish & contributed to the anxiety he feels as part & parcel of the experience of being.  I am sorry I did it & if I could go back & halt the fool mouth of that younger me, I would.  I would cut out his tongue in accordance to the law & I would put his hands to the scissors one night & bring him close enough to put the blades around the organ & to be too strong in his body to do the deed.  I  believe I have addressed this issue with my brother.  I don’t need him to read this.  But in some concrete way I think I’m seeking some absolution.  The question: Would they give the note the time of day the time it takes to read ones final testament from their own hand or would they deny or pretend or get bored?  Will he see this in real time? Will he see it on a screen or on a page?  Does he know that I love him?  Does he know how much?   Do any of them?  Am I always putting myself into situations that have little-to-nothing-to-do-with-me (like America & its Economy)? Do I ask for the weight that I feel upon me simply by becoming aware of it?  Is this what they mean by responsibility?

To everyone I’ve known & loved:
I’m sorry.

My love is strong & strange
& I don’t know if I can lessen it
& I cannot be grateful
without feeling awful

about EVERYONE who died for me
& I cannot believe you love me
if our faces only ever darken when we meet.
You have never been afraid
to tell me that I am dark
I have never been afraid

of the dark

I think we all understand that we hurt each other & that it is beautiful that we have something called love to call upon to look beyond the smaller pains & prolong relationship another day but I cannot bear to continue to feel that I cause all of you pain, like the next thing I say will make you withdraw will make you turn away.  I grew up like you all did & I have always felt a certain stripe of alone & I spent a lot of time in my head & thought a lot of thinks & axed a lot of questions imitated MJ in the driveway & would quit before I was taller than Mugsy Bogues. I have an idea of those things I have not agreed to & I don’t know if you know that you have agreed to anything at all but it is lonely out here & I could use a hand to hold & a warm body that wants to be next to me in the winter but I am afraid I’ve come so far for something other than to simply seek the living flesh.  I want more & I am not afraid of that want: simply afraid of not getting it.

This shouldn’t scare people but it will: the intentional title & knowing that somehow somewhere in some place that they might not be able to understand I mean it & I mean it just as much as I meant it then at 16 if I was strong enough to see that I was just as scared as most others but mote willing myself to admit it.  I was a good Christian American boy then, Protestant work ethic up-by-the-bootstraps with a newspaper satchel slung over my shoulder at 5 am in 1995.  I was doing what I understood & trying to learn to take directions & I only could when it made a certain sense to me. I was only a whitewashed tomb then only seen as good because I was scared of the unseen eyes watching me all the time & judging harshly.  I was not brave enough then to even dare write the words lest the Lord might see over my shoulder that I may feel shame at questioning this good good gift of life liberty & the dream of American suburbs to find happiness in.  O pitiful teenage wretch unwriting: the LORD knows your heart & that pit in your gut when your schoolmates tease you about is not lying to you. They are as right as you.  You are just louder & more full of gratified joy as they laugh at you.

I had my resources but did not know how to use them so I meekly flew on homemade wings in God & Church & Holy American Family through them terrible early years:
the ‘tweens & the teens & the unending tweenties.  Honesty burns like the sun
& only some of us are Icarus.

I learned something on the way up though it cannot be spoken of & it remains hidden
though we speak of it.  It can be heard through words but never spoken of: the truest truth expressed is only called ‘art’ & ‘fiction’ to spare the hearts of the weak & quietly follow in the obsession of subjectivity. This is art & fact. This is fiction if that’s what you need. This is how I’m spending another lonely night: Killing the only resource
that every living body shares: the time we get before we go.


No sleep til New Jerusalem & I am already so very tired. They tell me I have to wait until this river has run its course or until the sun returns. If that is not our very own up high above, whose is it?  I am tired of the constant questions.  I am tired of the common story.  I am tired of losing friends to what is called normal life.  I am tired of them leaving the place I call home to grad school & Portland & better schools for their children in the suburbs.  I am tired of watching eyes dull with trading their creative energy to their creation for the echo chamber of other-love for them to love & others to love them & love them through & through all that love no change but new necessaries to consume & they’ll need a dog to play with when they are big enough or a new baby brother/sister.  I am tired of wearing this on my face so I will write it out & be done with it.  I am tired of people taking it personally when I talk about “children” & they immediately think I am talking about their children.  I am tired of people thinking I didn’t think it through or that I resent a thing they possess.   I am tired of such fearful projections.  I am tired of being the object of another’s sacrifice so that they may please their own parents. I am tired of the mindset that you love others because you love your own progeny.  I am tired of parents not listening to their children.  Let the little children go to the kind poor man smiling at them.  Let you see your own fear on their faces when they hide behind your legs & you have to compassionately apologize lest the man be hurt.  The man will not be hurt by their snubbing.  The man was not hurt by your snubbing when you didn’t have a child behind & between you.  I am tired of the politicized family.  I am tired of the 2-color nation.  I am tired of the blended family that makes us warm & fuzzy.  I am tired of my parents generation hating my gay friends & I am tired of people spending holidays with their families & swallowing differences in ethics for the sake of choose-your-own-narrative.  I am tired of people believing in money & the state when they give up on something greater.  I am tired of compassionate capitalism & the emergent church.  I am tired of people believing in business so much that they vote a .  I am tired of family secrets. I am tired of being a body with organs a mirror expected to clean myself. I am tired of feeling the exhaustion of others.  I am tired of not having written this 15, 11, 7 2 years ago sealed it & been done with it.  Civilization is falling apart & we are all supposed to work our 40-hour work weeks & humbly thank our superiors for a bullshit bonus as we are supposed to silently admire the rich for (at some point long ago) having had family that may or may not have earned it.  I am tired of being prepared for a revolution that is upon the shoulders of everyone & I am tired of being too weak to lead it.  I am tired of believing in art more than people.  I am tired that people are not as believable as art.  I should not feel sad that I have given up the dream that so many I love cling to that better life for their children dream that it all works out in the end for the Christians through capital-fueled neoliberalism & the imminent second coming.  I am tired of feeling like I should feel any kind of way about their small love.  I am tired of feelings being called judgments as if there is a choice.  I am feeling everything at the end of the world.  I am tired but so are we all.  I am working 70 hours a week to avoid scaring away those last few who love me here.  I am keeping to my own work until it is done & I make androgynous desire cease.  I will kill what is the problem, the division between them & me.  I have declared myself deity if there is no other.  I will swallow this up in blackness.  I will burn out not fade away.  You will have stopped reading this by now.  Like all of my work I am never sure when I am finished like all of my stanzas & lines it feels arbitrary & without grad school there is no other voice to tell me what is too much.  Others voices have told me plenty of times in the past that I say too much, that my voice carries.  I have grown used to being too much for people.  I burn through people tear through them exhaust them with my process & their projections of my projected ego & I am tired of so much misunderstanding despite clear communication. I am tired of feeling like I am most loving to others when I am not communicating what is on my heart-mind.  I am tired of being in my own way.

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