If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.

"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chapter IV.4

Back Down Into the Wasteland


Been raining most of the day. Feeling particularly soul-sick. Thinking back to ’92 when I really became aware of this part of me and honestly believed that there would be a way to find out what it was; that it was like a puzzle, that I would be able to find all the pieces and put them together, that through logic and comprehension I would able to reach an understanding. At the time, I thought that the road trip would cap it off. Well, it didn’t; and the understanding, the cathartic release never came.

I want so badly to know; even just to find out that it’s a seasonal depression. Knowing ANYTHING at all would allow me to categorize it instead of feeling like this unknown element, alone in the world.

And then I though that a woman would be the answer, my savior. That having someone able to understand me totally, that maybe she would be the fresh perspective that saw what I had overlooked. But I don’t believe that anymore either. Not that I don’t long for that someone who cares about me/understand me, but that’s not how I’m going to learn what I need to know.

And sometimes I wonder if there ever was/is anything there to begin with. If it was all only some figment of my imagination and that I’ll never be happy until I just accept that and let go. I don’t know, something is there. I can feel it. I can see it by negation, much as a shadow hides something from view.

And I feel lost. I don’t know what else to do. How many books do I have to read? What am I missing? I don’t know.


“I’ll know the way,”

he said

with a certain bitterness

“when I get there.”

Finally kept the promise I made to myself, sitting on the roof of the Anarchy-mobile all those years ago in Canyonlands— have returned with a Jeep to drive the White Rim Trail.



Got to my campsite, the Airport, sill fairly early in the day (noon or one) and set up the tarp for some shade. Not much to do here so after sitting around for a while I decided to go for a hike. I’m all winded at first ‘cause of the altitude difference and stumbling around like a drunken mule and all I can think is, why am I here? What the hell am I doing here? I can’t rightly say. Later I manage to rephrase the question as, what am I supposed to learn here? But I’m still at a loss for an answer.

Driving into Canyonlands last night…the sheer rock walls seemed so ominous and foreboding, like they were evil spirits waiting to drag me away. And today, after a short nap after my hike the fear just washes over me; but of what I don’t know— of being alone, of just being still and quiet without having to do anything?

As I sit here writing this I have the distinct feeling that I’m talking to Gwen.

I was apprehensive when I left work on Friday, thinking that I could just spend my two weeks of vacation at home instead, the two weeks off and the drive suddenly seeming so big and imminent.

I know I was scared the first time I came out here. Hell, everything was up in the air, my life was shit, and I didn’t even know if I’d have a job or a place to live when I got back. That trip was much more brave than this one ‘cause I had everything to lose.

In a way, it feels like this trip was actually set in motion seven years ago and that I was supposed to have learned something in the intervening years to use on this trip.


White Crack:

A while ago I was watching Up Close and Personal… with Sarah McLachlan. During the course of the show she said that she had had to take some time off because in her touring she had kinda lost touch with herself and that she had lost the sense of the place where she wrote from.

I understand that so well. For so long now, writing for me has come to be even physically difficult and it feels like I fight to get the pen to work on the paper; not to mention the fact that it seems like I have nothing to say. It’s like all the crisis and drama that started me writing in the first place is gone and now my life is droll. But at the same time, I can’t say that I want all that mayhem back.

Couple days ago, Monument Valley, I sat there and thought about how a year ago I was getting ready to die in the Persian Gulf and here I was now, alive, staring at this incredible, majestic beauty and trying like hell to force myself to feel something. I couldn’t feel anything.

And it strikes me all of a sudden that I have led myself into a place that is as physically barren and desolate yet beautiful, like my own soul— the external mirroring the internal; totally alone except for Mr. Jeep.

I feel wounded all of a sudden. Nothing specific, just wounded, like I’ve come back home to find a cure… or to die. A wounded warrior. Would the sister’s of mercy, or Athena, or Artemis come and lay by my side in the night, bind my wounds and fortify my spirit?


Coyote has been hounding me

hand and foot

since the day I was born.

At work, not long ago, they brought in a masseuse to give neck rubs to everyone as a surprise/reward. When my turn came I couldn’t believe how tense I was. The massage hurt like hell and during the course of it the lady was moving my head around and she told me to let go and surrender. I tried. God I tried. Rhetorically she said, “You have a hard time letting go don’t you.” And it’s true, I do. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place where I felt I could, totally, ‘cause there’s never been the other person there so I could let my guard down— to watch over me I mean.

Each day so far, around 1600 I start getting angry, irritable— it’s too fucking hot, the day lasts too damn long, I’m bored out of my mind. It’s like going through detox/withdrawals from a life where the senses are constantly bombarded. I don’t listen to music except when I’m driving or after the sun’s gone down— something to invoke a mood.

I count the days and once again I want to leave already, now. Something keeps stopping me though and I’m not sure if it’s just plain stubbornness or some half-baked idea from the Navajo Creation Story, which I happen to be reading, that I will learn something on the fourth day.

Writing today I’m left with the impression of my daughter reading these words, perhaps sitting here, trying to understand them, understand me. Maybe it’s for her (you) that I’m writing all this, maybe that’s why I’m here.

The sunset was beautiful last night; watching the canyons and mesas turn oranges, reds, blues and purples and the shadows crept up them. The moon was almost full and I was listening to the Serpent’s Egg by Dead Can Dance, it was too perfect.

And as I sat there I had the thought/idea/hunch/feeling that, “angels are watching over me,” and there seemed to be a subtle pervasiveness of the Feminine, although not in a mothering sense, but concerned and protective nonetheless. It’s the kind of feeling that allows a warrior to ride into battle, not unafraid, but just so.

While I was watching the moon rise it hit me that my spiritual life has largely died. The kid that sat on the roof of his Toyota seven years ago was so much more in tune with himself and just aware than I am now. Largely, I want to blame it on the Kennedy, and I probably could. But that seems too neat, too pat.

I feel like the eternal prodigal son— always adventuring or wandering off somewhere and returning only with stories and sometimes lessons learned.

White Rim Trail

The moon climbed towards its azimuth

on silver legs

freshly shaved and showered

I played Miles Davis

for the bats

busy eating the bugs I so despised.

The ants however,

couldn’tve given a damn

not being inclined to jazz

in general

or Miles Davis in particular.



Set out a can of sloppy joe to heat in the sun for dinner. Opened it up and realized that you needed to add ground beef. Oh well, I blame the Navy. So I opened a can of chili and had sloppy chili for dinner.

Felt the same urge to get out of here today, though it wasn’t so bad. Today just didn’t seem to last nearly as long as the other two. Maybe it’s because I got a late start or ‘cause the drive was a little longer.

Today’s drive was by far the most difficult, relatively speaking, of the legs so far. I am so proud of Mr. Jeep. He has done so well. I’ve found that driving him in terrain like this is a lot like riding a good trail horse in that he’s got an idea where you want to go and if you give him a little reign he’ll find the best route to do so. Sometimes, going up these loose slopes I’ll feel the rear tires slipping and scrabbling for purchase and it’s just like riding a horse. And then they grab hold and it’s all okay.

You can see a good stretch of the Green River here and it so much represents life. All that cool water meandering through shady green banks— a whole ‘nother world than where I’m at. Might as well be a million miles away.

Rain was forecast for today and tomorrow and clouds are building up in the west and slowing moving this way. I’ve done all I can to be ready. Just hope it holds off till tomorrow rather than tonight.

I think I can see where I sat and wrote that day when I was first here. I remember climbing up there and trying to write about Colleen but I just couldn’t.


Upper Big Bend (off of 128):

Started out as a good day: Found my campsite at Potato Bottom C— two trees and in the valley so it was cooler. Backtracked several miles and found a place to get down to the Green River on the sandstone so I swam and lay out for about four hours. God the water felt so good. Left there and found an even better spot and stayed there for a couple of more hours, but then noticed clouds building up, black and low on the horizon.

Hadn’t sat in camp more than twenty minutes and it starts raining. I’d rigged Mr. Jeep for foul weather and gotten everything squared away and there’s nothing to do but just hunker down. It rains and rains, doesn’t look like it’s going to let up. I start to leave but get up on a mesa and can see better and I think it’s going to break up after it passes. But it doesn’t. An hour later I decide to split. It in fact, looks like there’s more rain behind what’s over me. After I get clear of the canyons I can see that it has broken up. Now I’m pissed ‘cause I was looking forward to this last night; to having some pasta for dinner and drinking some wine and listening to tunes.

Driving out of Canyonlands it’s weird to be back on pavement and already I miss the dirt trails. The whole four days is so vast and immediate that it makes the rest of the trip out here seem like years ago.

I can’t begin to tell you how bad I felt leaving when I saw it wasn’t going to rain and it was too late to turn back. For four days I was fighting with myself and then to leave early made me feel like a quitter— like I had come so far, so close only to miss something because of the dumb weather.

So here I am at Upper Big Bend Campground. I was just going to head for Colorado Springs, I was so pissed. But I saw this and it’s a way of salvaging the whole thing. Although not as nice as Potato Bottom, it will do. I’ll have my pasta, drink my wine, watch the moon and listen to my tunes.

Taking Leave of my Soul

And Mr. Zeep felt his thoughts

and the pain and dismay they carried

but he kept his own to himself

and quietly bore him away to the north.


The two most influential things on who I am right now have been the Navy, which has allowed me to choose, steer who I want to be and do. The other would be the on-going quest that started in ‘91/’92 to discover some lost memory/knowledge— as began to be chronicled in Twenty2 the Hard Way.

The Navy allowed me to restore my faith in myself, in my potential and ability— to find something I liked to do and to do it well. It allowed me to start over and remake myself. 22THW though is a going back and inside, down, to remember, rediscover what had been lost, forgotten, thrown away, suppressed. I have learned more about myself, about my emotions, fears and what makes me tick from this. It is generally terrifying, always painful, and hopefully cathartic. All of it seems to be things you’d rather not remember, think about or even deal with.

Somehow though, the two must be reconciled. I will never know my true, total potential without knowing my complete history— the in as well as the out. If one is the future and a striving for divinity, the other is the past and the all too painful reminder of one’s own humanity. This quest backwards has pretty much been on hold since I joined the Navy and I guess that my road trip in August is what really has awakened it.

I have to go back and it scares me— the darkness, the depression, the hurt— I have to get through all those again and I’m not looking forward to it. And as far as all this goes, I’m still not even sure where I’m supposed to start looking or how to conduct the search.


Three bits beyond


fifty cents shy

of the Devil


Not in a very good mood yesterday or today— too much gray, too much rain. Lying in bed yesterday, got the idea to continue writing 22THW, that it wasn’t just missing one final chapter to tie it all together but many. Now that I think about it, I can’t recall the thought process that led me to the idea. But I know when I was writing last week I was thinking that this whole thing was about going back and that I would have to go through the fear and depression to get to the other side. Only I still wasn’t totally sure what I was supposed to be looking for.

--What am I looking for?

--Where is it at?

--How do I get there?


I’m not exactly thrilled about using myself as bait for whatever it is that I’m trying to catch. Especially since the gist of the trap is to wait till it gets close enough and then to just grab it. I must be some kind of fucking idiot!


And I can hear it calling my name, that irresponsible voice— the suicide reflex. It doesn’t scare me yet but it is a source of concern. Things haven’t begun to get as bad as they were after Colleen but I can feel the weight. Jesus, what the hell is happening to me? Funny, I have the power to take my own life, right at my fingertips yet I don’t have a clue as to how to set it aright. Too fucking funny.

Mercy Killing — A

Johnny (New Light)— The Dream Academy

Gabby Says— The Dream Academy

Choose Life— Born Slippery

Through These Eyes— Social Distortion

Pleasure and Pain— Steve Jones

Showdown at Big Sky— Robbie Robertson

Aura— The Church

Street Fighting Years— Simple Minds

Wilder Wein— Rammstein

Useless— Depeche Mode

Mercy Killing— B

The Edge of Forever— The Dream Academy

Bad— U2

I’m the Ocean— Neil Young

Heart and Shoulder— Heather Nova

The Party— The Dream Academy

Lowlands— The Dream Academy

Mercy Killing— The Dream Academy

Touched— VAST

King of the Hill— Roger McGuinn

Succubus (Wet Nightmare)—

Klavier— Rammstein


With drink and music

we summoned the angry beast

to do him in

before he killed us.


I have such a propensity for being in control, for quashing thins down and keeping them inside. And that makes it hard for me to get at the core of my emotions, to realize them, understand them…since I’m dealing with the by-products of them. I’m going to have to make (at least) one more trip down into this mess and I’m going to have to be drunk to do it ‘cause it will be deeper than ever and it is the only way I can seem to “let go” enough to deal with it. And this time, I’m really nervous for me ‘cause if anything is going to kill me, it will be this time. I’ve had a small taste of the self-rage and hate and it’s going to be ugly.


And one day too

my muzzle will grow gray

and I will yearn no more

to rush outside

to chase a ball, stick or squirrels

but instead will lie by the fire

haunches kicking and quivering

as I yelp and whimper

off after another rabbit

bounding across the gray-green moors.


Last night is now a vague blur. I know I said to Bonnie, at some point, that I didn’t give a damn if I died driving home drunk as long as I didn’t hurt anyone else because my life had become very cheap. And it has. And I’d say that my life has no meaning because I am no longer fulfilling anything for my friends and I realize that is the only way I’ve ever measured my worth— by what I’ve been able to do for others.

I was so totally surprised to realize over the holidays that I have never had a goal growing up. I never said, this is what I want to do and this is the road I need to get there. Not ever.


Thinking on the ride home from work today how I’ve never been very comfortable with conflict between two people and how I have a hard time expressing my anger. And the truth is that I have never known how to do it appropriately because whenever anyone was mad at me they ended up hurting me. And since I never wanted to hurt anyone I cared about, the only option was to bite down on it and keep it inside. There was no safe way to release it, a pressure valve because it was an all-or-nothing proposition and if it was going to come out it was going to come out evil, like a demon and I never knew if I’d be able to control it and if I couldn’t, it would attack and devastate the other person, killing me in the process as I sat there in stunned shock listening to the things coming out of my fucking mouth.

This is what happened with Kim, ‘cause I was like, I don’t deserve this and if I don’t say something, stand up for myself, I’m doomed. But I didn’t know the right way to voice my grievances— and once the genie was out of the bottle, there was no getting it back in.


“I’m leaving

Las Vegas,”

he said,

“even though

I’ve never been


is only so



a man can bear

and I busted a lifetime ago.


It has really made me mad that Chrissy went and told my sister that she was worried that I was suicidal and yet she/no one has talked with me to find out what’s going on. I don’t believe that I’m suicidal. I do not want to die, I am not done living. I have not done everything I want to do. Friends like these…

I am looking for something. I have descended into a strange, dark world that I do not entirely understand and it is filled with some inherent dangers— the first being pain. I have hurt so much, felt so alone and depressed, so scared, so gutted that you finally reach a point where you just want it all to stop. It’s not about getting back at someone or feeling sorry for yourself; you just reach a point where you don’t believe that you can go on anymore like that. All the light, all the things that make life special and worthwhile are gone from your sight and they have been gone so long and the darkness is so hard, so deep, so pervasive that you can’t even remember if the light ever existed.

The other thing is the rage, the anger, the hatred…and this has actually been going on for a long time. There are times when I hate myself so fucking much, where I feel that I must hurt myself or die to make amends for some unknown sin; that I do not deserve to be alive. This comes from the part of me I don’t know, can’t see.

I feel like one of these guys in Saving Private Ryan or Thin Red Line— all there is is the fight and nothing makes any sense. To fight is to risk the high probability of death— so to fight is, in a sense, suicidal. But to not fight, to be a coward, is a thousand times worse than dying. So you fight because it is the only way out of the nightmare, the only way to reach the objective, the only way to gain the knowledge. And you hope like hell that you can hold it together, that you are tough enough, wily enough to cheat death and win the day.

I do not believe that I am suicidal. But then all this could just have been some elaborate rationalization.

Terminal Dis-Ease


It’s not the bullet

the rope

the razor

that kills them

that’s just the end

of something else

much more powerful

that has been killing them

for a long, long time.


It was a year ago Sunday that I stepped between Gwen and a drunk bum on Duval and something in my head snapped and I saw her in an entirely different light. It was a year ago last night that she leaned over the back of the couch; smiling, thanked me and I saw a look in her eye that said she really cared about fucked up me. It only took me eleven months to push her to a point where she is no longer talking to me.


It’s been a strange several months and more than once I’ve felt like I’m living someone else’s life— a nightmare that I can’t wake up from as I watch the things I care about crash down around me, seemingly by my own dead hand.

The Truth


Believe it!


It feels like there is a piece missing from me, my soul, something cut out. All I need to be whole is to find this one piece. It might not make me perfect but it would make me whole; and I’d rather be whole than perfect any day.


Brought the last box of books in from the Jeep, been in storage these years in the Navy. Poured myself a gin and tonic and put on some old Cure. Leafing through the old photo album of Kim and I. All of a sudden I feel strange because it’s like she hasn’t been gone. Suddenly I remember just how it felt. And, oh god, I miss her.

Reading through some of the letter she sent— it amazes me how very strong she was. She was such a trooper. I don’t even know if I truly realized how strong and special she was then. I t makes me smile to think of it ‘cause I have so much respect for her and I now that she’ll be doing well wherever she is.

Her words, they made me realize that I was good for her, that I wasn’t always like I am now— that I did used to be open, care, and able to talk about things. I remember what it feels like to love someone, to be loved and to know that someone does care about you.

Hanging Tree

Left my suit on the highway that day

up from Mexico in a bad kinda way.

“Where you been man—

lost at sea?”


Been swinging from the Hanging Tree.

With a face like death

and a heart like lead

you can’t imagine the things I’ve seen.”

He said.

“Swinging high in the Hanging Tree...

Yeah… there’s a place

for those of us who don’t belong,

I have found it, yes!”


I have felt wounded for a long time now. Some of it I can point to a cause, at least generally. But for most I’m not entirely sure where it came from. I think I’ve always felt shame about my wound(s); that they were dirty or evil, something to be kept hidden.

All I wanted to do was show Gwen my wound(s). Not that I expected or wanted her to heal them or even be impressed, but just to see/know me for who I really am, to be accepted by another, to not be judged by my own eyes. And also, in showing them to her she might be able to help me understand some of them. That’s all I wanted— but I didn’t know how to say it.

The Ferryman

“I am here,”

he said,

“to help you


through the eye

of this storm.

For I have known

great suffering

and pain.”

And with his charge


on the other side

he came about

and tacked back

into the darkness.

Early Morning Conversation

He sat down in the sand beside her and looked out past the breakers to where the pelicans were dive-bombing into the surf for breakfast. A light breeze blew offshore and the sun was about ten fingers into the sky.

“Morning,” he said, taking a sip of his coffee.

She turned and smiled, arms wrapped around her knees. Her blond bangs danced ever so slightly in the breeze.

“So…,” pausing, readjusting his hat against the glare, “why are you really here?”

She looked at him again, eyes questioning.

“What I mean is…you said you were here to see me but I think there’s more to it than that. I mean, I was thinking earlier this morning and the way I see it, is that you’re here because of something bigger. Yeah, I’m a part of it, else you wouldn’t be here. But it’s like a picture can hold a bunch of different, separate things that aggregately make up the whole.”

She nodded slowly, not so much in agreement but as if thinking deeply.

“It’s some kind of crossroad, but I don’t know what,” he continued, leaning back and gazing up at the sky. “The thing I can’t figure out is what role I’m supposed to play, what I’m supposed to do, how I’m supposed to help you. I don’t know if you’re here for advice, for sanctuary, if you’re moving on and here to say goodbye, or I am an obstacle that you have to surmount to move on.” He paused, noticing dejectedly that his coffee cup was now empty. “I suppose it could be any one of these, a number of others, or some combination.”

“…you forgot hero,” she looked up winking with a smile.

“Naa, I just didn’t want to sound too pompous. Besides, if that’s what you need, I don’t know you’d want me. The horse is tired, the armor rusty, the sword dull, and the lance bent. I’m more likely now to spear you or myself than some foe.” He slowly shook his head, smiling bemusedly to himself and digging his toes deeper into the sand.

She stared quietly out past the waves.

“I know you a little better than I used to…” he started, “…and I won’t press, but I had to ask. I figure you’ll tell me when you’re ready…or maybe not.” He stood up slowly, brushing the sand from his red shorts, “It’ll just depend on how desperate you feel— what you’re afraid of losing if you talk, what you’re afraid of losing if you don’t.”

He turned and started walking back to the apartment, “If I make some eggs and toast will you eat,” over his shoulder?

She nodded. “Hey!”

He turned.

“What scares you?”

He looked away for a minute and then turned back, finding her gaze— steady and intent.

“You’ll appreciate the irony of this,” his voice dropping ever so slightly. “Nobody really knows me and there are a few people I’d do anything to help if they asked, even if it meant my own destruction.”

He smiled, blinking both eyes at once, and then turned.


Went to a party at Chad’s boss’s house last night. Pack of assholes. Had a good time. When we got back I went to sit in the Jeep for some reason, don’t know why though. I don’t remember doing it. Next thing I know I’m screaming and punching the windshield; thing looks like someone took a bat to it. There is blood everywhere. Next thing I remember, I’m sitting in the kitchen on the floor, holding my bleeding hand and yelling for Bill. I’m crying ‘cause I hurt so fucking bad inside and I’m unbelievably, hatefully pissed at myself.

My hand is all fucked up right now and that’s why my writing looks like I’m drunk. I don’t even know how to say how I felt/feel— hurt, rage, guilt that have been buried and growing for god knows how many years.

It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been drunk though, because I am so in control that I would never allow any of that to surface.

With a fifth full of courage

and a life full of rage

the cuts on his knuckles

bled on the page


God, I can feel the rage burning just below the surface— still. And I don’t know how to get at it, to tap it, to let it out because I don’t know how to do so without hurting myself. It is so hot, so violent that to merely touch it is to invoke a physical memory that must be acted out. It’s like I’m full of this energy that can only be released through violent physical action, that it can only be appeased by my pain, my blood, my life. It’s a rage that says that I have been found guilty of something and must pay, and pay dearly.

Unsent Letter Fragment to Chris

It’s funny in a way, I guess…maybe ironic is a better word. I remember when we were still in high school/just graduated when you had come back from your dad’s and were unhappy as hell. And I did not understand, really understand, what was going on, at least not until much later. All those nights we spent sitting out in the dark on Lake Michigan, drinking and talking…

And now I find myself with a busted up hand knowing all too well that my demons can still reach out and touch me whenever they want, regardless of how many books I read, how much I write, where I move, or who I do or don’t trust. And all of a sudden, I have to wonder if I have really been chasing them all these years like I thought or if I have been running like a man hunted. And you start to wonder if you will ever find sanctuary, understanding, acceptance…


Couple of vodka tonics— I can feel the anger, running just below the surface. And I don’t know what to do. Behind the anger lies the source, the cause. But I do not know how to get through the anger, how to discharge it, channel it, let it go without hurting myself. The anger, rage, cries, screams, demands my pain, my blood, my suffering, my death as payment. I cannot even test its waters. The only way to get there is to let go totally and it is stronger than I am— my instincts for survival and self-preservation will be trampled underfoot in a second. And so I stand at an impasse— choking back more and more rage, building it, storing it, unsure how to proceed. Guilty it screams; guilty, guilty, guilty!


Some of the symptoms of my soul-sickness/wound include:

§ The feeling that I must pay (with my blood or life) for some terrible sin.

§ The feeling that there is some part of me that I must protect everyone I care about from or it will hurt, kill, or maim them.

§ That I must always look out for the people I care about, protect them, help them, be strong for them, hurt with them (Catcher in the Rye) but that I can never expect or ask for the same from them in return.

§ That if I were to be completely honest about how I feel and what I’ve been through with someone I care about that it would hurt them immeasurably.

§ That no one can understand what I feel, mean, or say.

§ That some sense of honor dictates that I fight this alone; that you do not burden others with your troubles.

§ That I do not deserve that anyone ever care about me and nobody ever will.

§ That somehow I am a fuck-up and a failure.

§ A great feeling of loss of purpose and meaning, of not belonging, of being lost, of confusion and despair.

§ That I will never be able to make amends or be forgiven.

How Would I Classify the Wound?













My fault





Other’s fault
































No Symptoms





Involves others





Involves only Self

Harvest Moon

There is a certain


a chill in the earth

that makes my bones


and the light

of the harvest moon

seem paper-thin and razor-sharp

like the jagged bones

of loneliness



The knuckle on my middle finger, the worst cut of the lot, has been red and swollen lately and I suspected an infection, but I didn’t see how something could get infected under that thick of a scab. Without any though, I pulled the scab off in the shower tonight and the puss just started pouring out. When I finally had it all cleaned out, there was about an 1/8th inch deep hole in my knuckle.

It’s almost ironic ‘cause this is a very apt analogy for me and my wound. A scab has been forming for years and on the outside it may actually look like it’s healing but inside, it’s infected, festering. The scab that separates and numbs me to the wound needs to be peeled off so that the poisons can be drained and the wound cleaned. Then, and only then can true healing begin.



she asked,

“are you wearing a flack jacket?”


I replied around my cigar,

“it still smells like the Ship

and reminds me of a time

when my Demons were

kept at bay

by the deep blue Sea.”


My soul is aching today. Maybe it’s the way the clouds piled up to the east, like they used to in Jax; maybe like some poor junkie, I haven’t got the Navy out of my veins; maybe it’s none of these— still, there’s something that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Thought passed through my head tonight, trying to recapture it now, less than perfect in its form.

I’ve had to live my life perfectly— perfectly unflinching, perfectly standing tall, perfectly unfailing, and in many ways, perfectly alone. This is not to say that I have not made mistakes, errors, poor judgment calls, only that I have taken the brunt of them, that I have muddled my way through everything without turning back; that with rare occasion, no one has seen me cry or known the depth of my ache or pain.

And the thing I long for most is that someone who understand and cares, that person who says, I will stand guard for you for a while, I will watch over you. Somehow I must be able to repay the debt that I feel is on my life. Somehow I must be able to make amends for my unknown sin…without having to die for it…somehow.


Lying in bed one night last week, thinking that I can’t go on like this; that I can no longer be held captive or wait to find out what my demon is.

For some reason, I started thinking about Holly Sue and when she fell off that cliff. Suddenly it clicked— The Catcher in the Rye— how I felt like that, sitting on the edge of the cliff in the fields making sure that no one fell off. It also explains why I feel that I let something happen that I must pay for; with my blood, my life.

I barely remember the incident and I think my memory is imperfect now— but the more I think about it, the more I think it could be my demon.

My dad was there, after she fell and I’d like to know what he remembers, hoping that it would jog my memory. For the life of me though, I do not want to talk to him, not at all.

The more the thought lingers in my mind though, the more I think that this may be the answer. It’s actually a thought that I have considered in the past but the pieces never fit together in such a way as they did (seemed to) last week.

My Heart of Darkness

“I can feel it around the edges of me like a hunter stalking its prey.”

“Put a tie and coat on it,” he told me, “it won’t tame it but it will force it to a higher level of civility— look at the English for fuck’s sake.”

The smoke from his cigarette climbed towards the tent’s ceiling in a measurable straight line— not a single current disturbed the carcinogenic updraft.

“To the Pope…,” he clinked his glass against mine.

I could feel the edge rising through my veins, excited, angry. I was perched on a precipice of anger and hate, the instant before the stall indicator started screaming in red. I could pull back now, but the real trick was to ride it one-step over the edge and somehow maintain enough control through the ensuing crash so as not to kill yourself, hopefully walking away with only minor injuries and some major insights. It’s a lot like driving drunk down the freeway with your eyes closed, steering with toothpicks, and listening to your favorite song. It’s not the kinda thing you want to put your friends through…unless you’re some kind of bastard.

I got up to go, “See ya ‘round,” I said.

He nodded silently.

See ya round.

And somewhere very far away in the black, on the far side of everything…I didn’t know why, but the way back, the door to this side would be thru an understanding woman.


I could just have

as easily yelled these


into the great emptiness

of the midnight sky

because that is where you

have haunted me the most—

in the places

you left empty

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