soli deo gloria

June 1, 2010
Been building snowmen in the spring with everyone i meet just to have something to do. Been sowing fields just to burn them. Yeah, we’re friends today. Maybe we’re friends today. We’ll move on.
I love everyone. This one is glimmering saffron, that one is pale, soft spoken rose, and both kill me, differently and perfectly. Together they fill my life with azure like the smell of spring fills my nose, but alone i see only the not-black of closed eyes. The shadows others cast upon my life are beautiful, but they are so much more than shadows.
Other people’s lives are more important than mine.
Somewhere there’s a party going on, and someone has gotten his guitar, and they will talk all night, and the stars are bright and haunting, and it is a good night, and i am not there, and it is a bad night.
When i was six, they put on a special movie showing at the museum. I was wasting time like a little brother, and when i got there the doors were already closed and they couldn’t let me in. The show went on and i sat outside the door crying because i’d missed it. Been feeling that way ever since.
I believe in everything. I believe in angels, but they don’t like me. I disappoint them. I invented hell. It welled up inside me from the pool of all the expectations that had ever gone unfulfilled, and it spread like a virus to everything i touched, and now every sinner falls into it. I guess i’m technically the devil, but i don’t want to tempt anybody. I’d really just like someone to call me for once.
I’m the devil, and this is my confession. I still say my prayers every night.
Someday i will ignore your calls. I’ll try not to think of you, and you won’t think of me. We’ll spin around to new ones and nothing will change. Spin, spin. We’re nothing to each other but whores. Projection screens in darkened rooms. When things get hard we’ll run away.
Cassandra is the most important person in the universe. All the distant stars and all the vastness of space and all the life on the earth were created for the sole and simple purpose of allowing Cassandra to exist for a few short years, and she spent some of them with me. I know exactly how much God loves Cassandra, because He stored it all in me, and that’s all I’m good for.
The day i met her was the first day of my life, and i hardly even remember it. I didn’t think anything important had happened at the time. I meet girls i can’t have every day. Looking back the ordinary things were the most important things in my life. The most important alarm clock woke me with its noble screeching while the cloudless sky was still dark. Neither the sound nor the sense of obligation could have woken me, but I didn’t need to wake to live. For a moment I was outside somewhere in the cold, then i was coming to my senses at the bus stop, and i shouldn’t have been alone, and how long had i been waiting?
Then the storm struck like a fire hose and flooded the streets, surrounding me with startling noise, and i sprinted to the side of the road and ducked under an awning- to find myself face to face with the most beautiful girl i’d ever seen.
“Uh, sorry. I can, like, go somewhere else.” I was dripping wet, she was dry. She laughed at me.
“Not unless you can swim.” Her eyes were impossibly blue. “I could be stuck here a while. Think I’d rather have someone to talk to.”
I managed, “Christian.”
We talked for a while.
The rain stopped.
She picked up her bag. I wanted to hang out, since the professor had canceled class, but she had to go. I liked the way she smiled at me as we exchanged phone numbers. Then she left and, a while later, so did i.
I tore off my sheets and grabbed the clock off my bedside table, knocking papers all over the floor, then threw myself across the room to the window. It was still dark out. Struggling, i put my shirt on with shaking hands. I burst out the door and took off running down the street. It was a cold morning, but my cheeks burned.
Rounding a corner i tripped on a gray blur. I scrambled back to my feet and kept running.
Finally i came to a stop; a bus stop. My heartbeat pounded in my ears, the sound of my breathing loud in the quiet night. In the distance, a dog howled. Patches of sky showed through the clouds. Puddles of street and sidewalk stood out from the curtain around them. The wind rose up, and died down again. I waited.
The storm struck suddenly. Rain poured from my fingertips and the ends of my hair, and cooled the skin of my face. I ran to the side of the road and ducked under an awning-to find myself face to face with the most beautiful girl i’d ever seen.
Instantly i felt warm.
“Uh, sorry. I can, like, go somewhere else.”
“Not unless- oh my God, are you okay?”
“What?”
“Your hands are completely covered in blood.” They were.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I fell.”
“That looks painful. How did you not notice?”
“Uh,” i said.
“Here, I’ve got something. I hurt myself running sometimes.” She produced a black can, and sprayed my hands with it. I made a sound like an animal caught in a trap, and my hands starting shaking again.
“Aw shit, what is that, mace?”
“I’m helping! I didn’t know you were gonna complain.” My throat tightened, but she was only joking. I laughed uncomfortably.
We talked for a while. Her eyes were impossibly blue.
We exchanged numbers and she left, and a while later, so did i.

July 16, 2010
I’m in college to learn to write poetry, but i can only write poetry about being in college.
My granddad killed himself. Mom never talks about him. I think about that sometimes. The fact that suicide is in my blood. I think i got it, whatever he had. There’s this song i listen to sometimes, as if it was about me, that goes “it’ll come for me eventually.” It’ll come for me eventually.
Sometimes i find myself counting calories, even though i don’t need to lose weight. It just helps, you know? Knowing for sure that i’m contributing more to other people than i waste by existing. Otherwise i think i wouldn’t be able to eat. Sometimes the sound of my breathing pisses me off.
Happiness is a debt. Take more out, you owe more. Put off paying, pay more. The taller you build your towers, the more spectacular their fall. That’s the moral of genesis, right? God’s always telling us to forgive our debtors, but He never does.
Love isn’t a choice. You’re fighting against your own interests from the very start and there’s not a single thing your friends can do about it.
Been hanging out with friends i don’t have. Been giving advice i wouldn’t want to get. Been turning around on a world that stays in one place while i alone try to get somewhere better. I desire gold but live in a world of iron. I desire trees but live in a world of concrete.
You live your life in circles until they run you into the ground. I’ve walked thousands of miles since i was born. That hospital is still a hundred yards away.
God damn the patterns that control my life. God damn the air that i can’t breathe. I’ve got not enough boldness, and too much apathy. Locked up in golden handcuffs of comfort and ease with way too much to lose to risk living. There’s gotta be more than this.
Hey, i thought, look, it’s her again. I’ve been seeing a lot of her these last few weeks. I wonder if she’s following me. Nevermind, that wouldn’t happen. That’s a laugh. A girl, follow me. You might as well follow some migrating crow. It might not be so bad, if you ignore everything. I’ve always wanted to go south, somewhere these bitter winters don’t cut so bad. Six months out of the year i can’t even go outside. What type of shit is that?
We had a lot in common. At least, we both hated the same people, which is nearly the same thing. Sometimes i agree with people that something is great, or that something is shit, when i don’t actually have an opinion about it. I just like the way they smile at me when they think we have something in common. Sometimes i’ll make up stories to impress them, or make them right; to make them like me basically. The truth is what i am is a liar. Not the kind that tricks people into doing things that are against their interests- i just lie to them so they’ll be friends with me. But i guess- i guess that’s the same thing, isn’t it?
Maybe i should, but i don’t feel bad about it. Hardly anyone ever catches on; how would they? You can always protect a lie with another lie. But that’s why the more you expect to see someone, the more honest you should be with them. You’ve gotta keep track of what everyone knows so you can stay consistent. You don’t want to get yourself trapped in a pointless story early on, still be covering for it years later. You can’t just recant down the line. It feels very unfair sometimes. People don’t give you a chance unless you lie to them, and that’s not my fault; that’s their own need to judge. If i lied to Cassandra that day so she’d get dinner with me, so what? So fucking what?
But now she thinks i’m a vegetarian, so i guess i’ve got to become one. I’m fine with that, honestly. Half of my interests started that way; I care a lot less what I’m doing than who i’m doing it with. The interests, the clothes and the practices take on the scent of the person i did them for. I keep doing them long after the person is gone. It makes me feel better, like they’re still here.
So what, dammit? Cassandra didn’t fall for me because i was a vegetarian. She got dinner with me because i was a vegetarian. She fell for me because of what happened at dinner. Must this be my fault too? Everything else already is. Can’t this one thing, just one time be not my fault?
Jesus, i swear everybody inhabits this imaginary world where their friends never lie to them. Here in the real world, everybody lies to everybody every goddamn day. But i still try to be more honest with my friends. It’s easy to lose yourself in the lies if you’re not careful. You end up surrounded by best friends and family who all love someone you’re not and hate who you are. Shit, i don’t know that yet.
Did i lose myself in lies? Am i lying to myself? How would i even know? I don’t remember if i’m lying: that’s my authenticity. I know it was my fault. I shouldn’t have lied to her. In the end you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.
“Did you hear about Lackely?” she said.
“No, what happened with Lackely?”
“He’s just been fired.”
“You gotta be kidding! He was one of my favorite teachers! What the hell is the school thinking?” She looked offended.
“Probably that he was a blatant sexist.”
“What, how?”
“Every other time a girl would speak in class, he’d make these infuriating comments about how it isn’t proper for a lady to talk too much. I mean, I reported him myself for it. The school’s trying really hard to do the right thing. I mean, granted this isn’t exactly something you can test for in a technical interview, but as soon as they found out…”
“Jeeze, i’m glad you reported him them.” She made a sort of pathetic sound.
“Ugh, I’m not sure if I am. It sort of feels like a personal problem. I guess I just- what if he’s been doing this to a lot of people? They did kind of imply that there had been other reports. But I don’t know.”
“You were definitely right.” She didn’t react at first. Then, a spark of something almost threatening flashed in her eyes. The moment lasted a fraction of a second- and then it had passed.
I walked across the floor like a ghost. Cassandra was my prey. She never stood a fucking chance, it wasn’t fair. The faceless bodies at this party couldn’t have meant less to me. I’d have left them passed out in the beds upstairs with the doors unlocked, or handed them their car keys falling off their feet. I knew they didn’t kill me, they were nothing more to me than meat.
“Did you hear about Lackely?”
“Yeah, it’s about time. I’ve heard he’s a sexist.”
“Seriously. Where’d you hear that?”
“My friend Alice was getting it from him all year, he kept going on about what’s proper. She reported it a dozen times. Guess they finally got enough of them they can’t ignore it.”
“Oh, shit. The same thing happened to me.”
“Sounds like he’s been doing it to a lot of people.”
“I can’t believe they’d hire a guy like that,” she said.
“It’s probably not the school’s fault. Not something you can test for in a technical interview. Still fucked up, though,” i said.
“Yeah. Exactly. Nobody gets it.”
“People are stupid,” i said. And i meant it.

December 24, 2011

“Cassandra!” I screamed. “Cassandra, wait, please. I’m so sorry for everything. Please, please don’t leave. Cassandra, wait! Listen, this was all my fault. And i know that. I can’t change that, but let me make it up to you. I know i’m not good enough for you, but having you in my life is the only- is the only thing that matters to me! Cassie, please!” She walked off. “I will literally do anything for you! Ask me to drown myself! Ask anything! Just look, please, look at me!” She didn’t though, which is too bad, because i’m pretty sure when Cassandra’s not looking i don’t actually exist.

March 1, 2011

“I did awful.”
“You did great, all things considered.”
“Shut up. Stop being so easy on me. Stop lying to me. I know how I did.”
“I’m sorry. I wanted to help.”
“So help.”
“I don’t know how.”
“Then why are you talking?”
“Yeah. Sorry.”
“Stop apologizing. Do you seriously think saying you’re sorry changes anything? You’re not doing anything differently.”
“I’ll do better.”
“I can’t wait forever.”
“You won’t have to.”
“You always say that.”
“Sorry.” For the rest of the night she wouldn’t respond to anything i said.

April 8, 2011

“Hey, are you gonna be at the thing tonight?”
She looked at me like an idiot. That hurt. Good.
“Um, I think I’ll be there.”
“Oh right, of course. I’ll see you there, then?”
She seemed relieved. “Yeah, sure. Meet me at the tree, okay?”
“Oh, uh, where was that again?”
Blank eyes. “You don’t know? How do you not know? Have you even been there before?”
“Uh, well, i haven’t personally been, but i know all about it from my brother.” That was an enormous lie, by the way.
“Okay, whatever. We’ll, uh, see what happens. I’ve got to go to work.” Oh, right. She was in the thing. Idiot.
“Oh, yeah, of course. Do you want a ride?”
“I’d rather take the bus.”
“Okay, yeah. I’ll talk to you soon?” She didn’t respond. She was already halfway down the street, with her back to me. I was standing still, perpendicular to the sidewalk. This happened sometimes. Pretty often, actually. What an amazing girl, i thought. Then i went home and cut myself.
It had been three days since Cassandra had said more than a few words to me. We woke up in silence, she got dressed with her back to me, and left the house before i got up. She had other arrangements with her friends, who I wanted to strangle so i could be her only friend. She texted while i was in the room, and gave me those looks when i tried to make conversation. I’d never admit it, but i had no idea what she was mad about. So much to choose from, i guess. Not being good enough for her? That’s what it would really be, right? There would be some date I’d forgotten, or some thoughtless thing i’d said, but that was all it would amount to. I was a dick who had somehow ended up with the best person in the world, and i was doing a pretty unconvincing job trying to hide it. Fuck. I really hope i don’t lose her.
I came up to her on the couch. “Hey, cutie. How was your day?” She said, “Fine?” then silence. I hesitated.
“Hey, can I talk to you about something?”
“Do you always have to have something to talk about? God.”
“Yeah, sorry. It was stupid.”
“You don’t even have anything to say,”
“No.” But I couldn’t control it now, tears were already rolling down my face. She saw it, and straightened up. She started using her nice voice, and maybe on some level I knew it was a trick, but it was too deep to come to the surface except as a sort of dull aching. I could still convince myself that she loved me, for now. For now.
Cassandra had been in an accident a few days earlier. No one was hurt, but it scared her enough that she didn’t want to drive home. She took the bus instead, and her head ached in a concerning way the whole time. She decided not to tell me about this. I had a habit of making everything about myself. Just once she needed to be the one reassured. Or at least to get some sleep.
She got home that day, fell straight on the couch, and didn’t say a word. I asked her how her day went, and she shrugged it off. Then i got upset that she wasn’t talking to me and threw a fit. Her head was pounding and she felt sick. She apologized, and turned her attention back to me. She could still convince herself that she had been unfair to me, for now. For now.

May 30, 2011

There was a note on the front door. “Look, Chris, I’ve got stuff to do, so I’ll make this quick. This relationship isn’t making me happy. Actually, it’s making my life hell. So I’m moving out.
This may make you sad. So, I’m leaving you my sad mixtape, and I hope it helps. No contact please.”
She’d said no contact, but i knew she’d be texting in a few months. If i’d deleted her number, she’d be upset. She was always testing me like that. She wouldn’t be coming back, though.
I deleted her number.
But i’d be listening to her sad mixtape.
The house looked weird without her stuff. I felt hurt and vindicated, and i kept imagining her reaction; no, the reaction she should have had; if she could’ve read my mind. I passed out on my bed.
Next morning i woke up, and for one brief moment life was back to normal. Then i remembered everything.
I have to live without her, something might have said. And something, somewhere, that had been holding on for a long time, finally broke.

July?

They say if you really understood someone, you would love them. But i understand myself, and i don’t love myself. Cassandra understands me, and she doesn’t love me. If you understood me, you probably wouldn’t love me.
I only get sad on my best days. Those are the only times i’m capable of something as hard as sadness. I don’t care enough to do drugs.
I hate when people leave. Everybody else wants shorter goodbyes than i want. I’m so sick of seeing the backs of people’s heads.
I don’t care how late it is. You empty my veins both day and night. I don’t care about breathing. You took half the sky along wherever you went, you took it with you when you left, and the rest i callously erased when i destroyed my only way to you. Expanding my empty lungs is no easier than not. Why do i do it? Force of habit. Oh, Cassandra, why don’t you see that i did it for you? You were the one who wanted no contact. We both know why i had to delete it. Oh, Cassandra, your anger is nothing to my horror. I always did love you more.
I don’t care about getting better. You wouldn’t care if i got better.
I could probably stay clean for tonight. Yeah, probably. Why should i?
You will always be a part of me. To imagine that i could move on is absurd. That was never what this was. That is not what i am.
I don’t think there’s anything worse than loving and hating someone who doesn’t care about you one way or the other. I’ve thought of Cassandra fifty times today. She probably hasn’t thought of me. Cassandra is central to my life. I am peripheral to hers. They say the devil lives in hell; i do.
The torment of despair is the inability to die. I wander the earth like Cain. Dear God, let someone kill me. Did Cain ever realize that you cursed him twice?

Last Spring

“The truth is i don’t like you much.”
“Yeah, i don’t blame you. But i at least recognize what you are, and that’s something. Most people are too caught up in themselves to see it. I don’t have a self.”
“What am i?”
“An angel.”

There’s snow on the ground.

What the hell is with me? Why can’t i ever think clearly?
Go on and be far away from me. I won’t say a word. I’ll pull my nails out every night and drown my devices and never bother you. Wish you’d never crossed my path. Wish i’d never waste your time again. Wish i’d never crossed your path. Hope i never waste your time again.
You were the first, you weren’t the last. But you were the first. I will never, ever tell you that; i’m vindictive, but i’m not a monster. I will never let you find out that. No one who hurts me is ever alone, you with silence, and i with steel. It probably would’ve happened anyway. Please don’t feel bad. I didn’t tell you. I’ll never tell you.
Write these words down just to keep from screaming them. Everything that’s ever been with the exception of me has been good. Such a beautiful world, and only one imperfection. Imperfect like you thought you were but weren’t. A gaping hole in a beautiful universe. Goddamn it.
Black. Black. Black. It’s an empty goddamn night. I’m just like you, never had nothing to say to me. Finally there’s nothing left of me to say anything.
By talking you show that you’re alive. By my silence i will show that i don’t deserve to be. I’d finish it tonight if i thought it’d make any difference. Nobody would be glad; nobody would even notice. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.

I don’t know.

She came up to me and kissed me. I came up to her and kissed her. She tried to kiss me, but i turned away. I threw her down the stairs, grabbed a lamp off the table, and hit her with it until she stopped moving. Then i leaned over and kissed her. She sent me a letter in the mail with the impression of her lipstick on it. Fuck, i was really missing her. She came up to me and slapped me. I begged her to do it again; it was the first time she’d looked at me in weeks. She came up to him and kissed him. I tried not to look annoyed. I came up to her and kissed her, then tried to walk past her to the door. She grabbed me and pulled me down on the couch. I came up to the computer and checked facebook. I think there was some kind of notification from her. I don’t know, we’re not really friends. She forgot to tell me that she kissed him a couple weeks before we started dating. They hung out a lot afterwards and i should have been jealous. Oh wait, i was the one who kissed him. Actually, it was someone else. He did kiss her, but later. I came up to her in the rain and kissed her. I stayed home and played video games. She called me desperate at 2 am and we talked all night. I let the phone ring out. I got some sleep. I stayed up anyway, watching cat videos. I tried to sleep, but the sound of the train kept me up. I didn’t even bother trying to sleep. All i could think about was kissing her. I went and jumped off a bridge, but i didn’t die. She found me lying there because i had picked up after all and i’d told her where i was going and what i was doing and she dragged me out of the river and while she cradled my head in her lap she kissed me because she didn’t know what else to do. And i remember thinking that i’d do it all over again just to get that reaction. Oh wait, it was her that jumped. She lived. She died. She didn’t jump at all. She came up to me and i kissed her.

June 1, 2013

She’s not what I wanted her to be. Cassandra ran out on me, and she yelled at me on the couch, and she called me for no reason. Cassandra left me stupid love notes. Cassandra hurt me at the best of times.
I long for the moment of bliss before waking; I would burn everything to keep it. Will i burn her?
I met her outside my eyelids; i’m sure I didn’t dream that. Then what good are dreams? Outside of a dream i met Cassandra in the rain.
She will always be a part of me. To imagine that i could move on is absurd. If i will not have her as something mine, and then not mine, i will always be miserable. I’ve never cared about my own life, not really. I wonder what it would be like.
What i didn’t create, i couldn’t keep. What i created wasn’t worth keeping. Would i love her if she hadn’t surprised me that day? I love her because she’s more than mine.
The moon is pursued through heaven by wolves. In the end the wolf will devour it. What will he do next, when the goddess is dead? He will die in the end of all things. Oh, Artemis, i have loved you. I have always tried to capture you. But you can never be captured. You will die, and i will die, for the imperfect ones. Joan of Arc burned at the stake, Aphrodite sent away to live below the ground. The magic of Iphiginia, so beautiful a lie, exposed. I have betrayed poetry. Have i ever loved Cassandra? I love her now.
Maybe He didn’t store it all in me. Maybe there’s even more.

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