Sitting at my secretary desk:
There is a beauty to the unwashed that I have always noticed; when I played with other children that is; in the dirt and mud; grassy stained knees, rummaging through dumpsters, whittling sticks into nothing, just sharper sticks, catching frogs and chasing bugs. We are all dirty little kids at heart. Just children, kids, kids pretending to be adults, adults that fight like children, anger like children, and hate just as passionately, only now, not for the kid who threw a juice-box, or the girl who said you have cooties. Anger as adult children has consequences; hatred is purer, loathing is more crystalline, deviance is more defined, and all shame goes hidden and drowns deeper in self-harm. I like whiskey and fist-fighting. I judge no one. But I now see that the beauty from the dirt on “Big Kids” is gone, and the stains on adult-children are hard to wash off. The smiles just fade year by year and the stains cake us all up, flaking off at weird moments, when someone screams at their partner, or declare war on another group of adult kids.
I was living for three months in a rented room that cost me 17 dollars a night. I did so because I found myself, as always, suffering the pangs of debt, and needed quiet to focus on finishing some writing, as well as a deep analysis of scotch and tobacco, how it combined with various mixers, and for the latter, the best tasting blend that burned my lungs the most. I was very comfortable in the specter of Waterbury Connecticut, better said by some: “the bones of the city.” I sat, quite often, on the porch of a dilapidated home, listening to quads and mopeds scream by me like the crack of lightning, usually incredibly twisted from a concoction of Even Williams, Fernet, Vermouth, Sprite, and coffee. It was disgusting, but if one appreciates the artful nature of getting hammered off 2 cocktails, then it was a life-altering work of genius.
There was a young female graduate student who rented a room alongside mine. I disregarded the obvious, and more subtle overtures—two adults alone together for weeks brings opportunities—since I cannot fathom a 38-year-old man casually, or seriously, being linked to a 24-year-old woman. I am not an ageist. I just couldn’t do so in good conscience, because of Ophelia.
I read “Reviving Ophelia” by Dr. Mary Pipher a few years ago. She introduced, to my nascent male brain, the consequences of trauma in female development, the horrifying exploitation they face, and the repercussions that beat on and on and on through their lives; a tinnitus of memory that throbs feverishly forever. I do not ever wish to be one of those rats that tears someone’s soul up. It terrifies me. I have always kept that in mind. Now, in the present world, it leads more towards social awkwardness on my part; but I have a fear of hurting others’ hearts and minds. However, I can, and do, justify acts on my part, of incredibly prejudicial and extremely violent bodily harm on “persons” who hurt others. That has never been a hardship. I enjoy it with whiskey. It is my shame and dirt. I’ve found the trait of exploitation in more than a few men which I have attempted to ameliorate in my way, sometimes successfully, other times at a cost of broken bones, teeth, and a rib or two, knuckles; the usual slices from blades and such. (This is verifiable if any proof is needed.) I am not a man to fall foul of.
Ravens cackling in the dark
I see these same struggles play out daily with important women and men, and kids now in my life. I must be honest and say that I’ve tried my best to be supportive and to help those with trauma. However, I do carry my own, deeply and coarsely, flaming into lapping fire at the trauma of others. I find it inexpressible that we all are hurt little kids, dirt-babies, that keep in the deep seat of their hearts, fears, and nightmares that come around when one is most vulnerable. I always think that I should be more patient, more caring, and more open to wounding. One who does his best to listen. But when there is the confusion of love, or fear, or solitude inside two people, thus both confused, finding themselves sitting together trying to understand each other, yet never using the same discourse, language, or mimicry. One or the other party is primed, ready for fire at a secret word, or a look that brings back that pained memory, if only for a moment. That memory sparks in them the flock of crows that take off to the left, from danger, or perceived threat. Like a wheat field in the Netherlands. But if our caws and cackles were of the same raven, then there could have been dialog. I hope one day to be able to peck at my bird, she pecks back, wings a flutter, understood; we can figure out how to fly through the storm, or up and up and up until we float over and through cedar branches on a night with mercury clouds, dripping galaxies, and a fat and heavy October moon.