Darwin Never Had A Driver’s License


The theory of evolution states
Those unfavorable traits we carry in our genes
Will be eradicated by means of selective
Extinction by a very slow process
Of making those genes unavailable
Basically,
If it doesn’t help the species flourish
It eventually dies.

I know I have a lot of unfavorable genes
Depression, anxiety, Asperger’s, and bad joints
Meds, therapists, and psychiatrists
All sort of make me feel like
My soul went shopping for its chassis and engine
And came out of the lot with a certified
Lemon.

I’ve had relationships.
I’ve come close to relationships, too.
They all end in similar fashions
With the girl doing the dashing
Whether I did grabbed the heart
And did the smashing
Like a football against the turf

(Even though you get a penalty
For unsportsmanlike conduct
When you spike the ball
If it ain’t yours, who cares?)

Or she tied every heart string
Around her finger like a she wanted a reminder
And when the tension got to be too much
She clenched her fist and rushed out
So fast, it took only that part of me with her
But left me living to survive with that pain.

Listen, I wonder sometimes if I
Was meant to die lonely while I watch
Everyone around me find out what it means
To at least be momentarily overjoyed
With the rings on their fingers and
Kids popping out every which woman

I am not, nor have I ever been built
To know what that is like in a sense
Other than one that is unique to me.
And if that means facing Darwin’s
Stoic perception of how traits die out
In this world then I will fight him to
Every last hair in his beard

Because as much as we agree
On certain things I don’t think
He’ll come out of this fight breathing
He is not the master of my destiny
And evolution was just a small picture
In this great landscape painting
Long before he described
The evolution of the species

Truth is, I don’t know what I’m doing
Don’t know where I’m going
Right now it seems prudent just to do
What is required to survive.

That’s hard enough most of the time.
Besides, if I had stopped my life
Every time I’d fallen in love
I’d feel even farther behind.
I only did that once
And it was the biggest waste
Of three years of my life

But sometimes, I ask God,
He being greater than Darwin
What it is I’m supposed to be doing
I don’t have a concrete answer yet
But like I learned driving from
Nebraska to Wyoming to Utah
To Nevada to California to Arizona (Fuck you)
To Kansas and back home

When you’re surrounded by open road
It’s way easier to go forward than back
Or to wait on the shoulder
For someone to save you

Fill up that tank,
Replace that tire and put miles behind you
And thank God Darwin can’t drive.

Nickel-Cadmium Battery

lightning-night-sky1

Running myself down like an old nickel-cadmium battery
Charged at the beginning of the day but with the energy
Of a twenty-four hour a day memory
Remembering the length of time I spent yesterday
Spinning my heart and mind over the bumps
And creaks my body speaks,
The groans and the braille tell the story
And this hi[s]tory is trapped in the chemical reactions
That give me energy after
Forgetting if I fell asleep the night before
And waking with the pools of my eyes dried shut

Must keep in mind to make the battery run dry
Before feeding it more or it will give me less to go on
Tomorrow.
Or tomorrow will be shorter than the last.

If depression is a rock
And anxiety a hard space
I’m stuck between an ever-narrowing valley
Of the things that broke me
And the things that maybe will
The electricity in my body is running so dry
That the desert of my skin misses
The rain of my body
Dry thunderstorm in no one’s arms

My battery is running low with nowhere left
For this last bit of current to go so I can sleep
And the desire to feed it to you is so short
An upturn of the palms would let it arc
Like I am always the third rail
The pleasant tap on the tip of your tongue
From a nine volt,
Looking out at skyline distance, capturing lightning bolts
I swear for the fleeting moment I was there
And then gone again.
Camera flash
The millisecond passed
Then I was gone again.

A NiCad battery should never be plugged into energy
Until it’s drained of all its stored capacity
Or it builds up a memory
And run out of its electricity more quickly.
I have a long memory.
Don’t plug me in unless you plan on keeping me.

The Goodbye at Union Station

I can recall watching ER when it was being broadcast. Of course, I was too young to care about certain facets of stories. Love, relationships… All this was lost on me then. The science and medicine were more important to me then.

Now, I’m 29. Enough time has passed that I’ve developed a love for story and character. I recently started to revisit this show from my youth and was reminded fondly of the love story that never quite was. It seems, now, so perfectly orchestrated. 

I won’t go into details because it’s meant to be seen, experienced. See how you feel when the train pulls away. 

Feels like I Got Run Over by a Red Editing Pen.

Edit my life

I should have listened…
I should have listened to my best friend’s father
when he told me, with great love and affection,
“You can’t rely on people too much…
Eventually, they’re going to fail you.”
I have seen my fair share of failures from people
through these 28 years and
there are definitely nights when I tumble around
memories of those kinds of lessons learned
in my mind
like shoes left alone in a dryer.
They kick the inside of my skull like
petulant children wanting out of their rooms
because I have not yet muster the courage
to let them go
They are grounded.

I just wish I could say the same for myself.
Then maybe I could stop having dreams
that figure out my problems faster than my
mind does at its waking speed
assisted with pharmaceutical concentration tablets.
I have a prescription for them, I swear.
Obtained them legally for a treatment of my
many ill diagnoses.
I’m a mess.

And I have been a mess for longer than I ever dreamed possible
My mom always told me it takes at least half the time
you were with someone to get over the fact that they’re gone.
Well, Ma, it’s been over that period of time and part of me
still misses part of her that’s gone
At least now I can think about her with as level a head
as I can generally muster,
marching through these cold months,
waking up alone, in a cold room in a warm bed
the polarization of these simultaneous events
is enough to give me a long pause and think
about my eventual rising from my mattress and pillows,
emerging from underneath my comforters quilted by my own mother
and, some mornings, I battle the dark demons
of a depressive state
weighing all my options on whether or not I want to go to work that day.

I have only failed once because I have learned the art
of talking to myself and the effect of music
to bring my spirit back to the edge.
A friend turned me on to the Gaslight Anthem’s “Handwritten”
and It’s Brian Fallon’s guitar
that usually sinks hooks into my deadweight body
then pulls me to my feet to begin the day.

Because I can’t rely on people anymore, not really.
And I don’t think I made that decision consciously,
there’s a surge of electricity that courses through my every cell
throughout my body every time I think about social interaction.
So, while everyone is getting into relationships,
engaged, married
I’m watching old TV shows that remind me that there may be
hope in my story yet.
And in my dreams I am just a punk kid who runs from his friend
when things change.
I learned that from my subconscious today and upon waking
I reached a moment of clarity I had not seen for at least 9 months
and I’m hoping it’s the start of a better path than I’ve been walking.

I’ve been alone. A lot.
I learn my lessons the hard way.
My head must go through the brick wall
before I realize it is solid and I must burn coil marks
into my hand
Before I realize the stove cooks food (and my hand), so it must be hot
And telling one person (aside from my therapist)
all the thoughts I have and all the things that scare me,
then have that person excise themselves from your life
like a new body part ripped from its grafting site,
tearing the stitches from the skin of which it had been a part of
for over a year and a half…
Leaves a lot of wounds and, eventually, scars
And so I haven’t spoken much to anyone,
I don’t leave my apartment much
and I battle with depression like the Southern states
deal with bouts of ice.
I shut down sometimes.

And there’s so much I want to do that I can’t.
I feel like my strength has left me completely.
Hello, my name is complacency.

Celebrating with “Her”.

Her

“Sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I’m not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt.”

I moved into an apartment about a month ago after spending a few years living in my parents’ basement again. I did what I had to do to get through college, I guess. This move has had its ups and downs, mostly ups because there’s nothing wrong with living here. I like it in fact. The downs come from me, usually. The apartment just facilitates the space and the time alone for me to let it sit in my head to fester and metastasize. I’ve struggled with being on my own and feeling isolated from the world and the depression that hasn’t really left me since June of last year.

I guess you could say I’ve been lonely.

Today is my birthday and I did everything I could to avoid any sort of interaction with people. I don’t like celebrating my birthday and I like being around people in a social setting even less, lately. So, I stayed in my room and tried to fend off my brain with what I could find for entertainment on Netflix and tried to find some way of getting out of going to my parents’ house because they want to celebrate my birthday. I eventually gave up trying that, just so you know. Anyway, I remembered there was a movie I wanted to see and decided to go alone. I decided to go to the 12:55 showing of this movie and when the time came I tossed on my clothes, my boots and my leather jacket and went to the theatre.

Going out in public by myself has always been easier in a lot of ways. Most people like to talk, but I don’t like to talk much. Talk is so cheap sometimes, especially to me and especially on my birthday. I guess I was disappointed too many times as a kid and this is another manifestation of the psychological damage done by my father when he abandoned me 15 years ago. Or maybe it’s just the winter. I don’t know. Whatever the reason, I was really happy to have gone alone. I bought my ticket and went in and grabbed my seat.

[Unrelated to the topic at hand but I’m pretty sure I saw someone I went to high school with and had a thing for. It’s weird to see people you knew when the years have caused them to swell and balloon]

The movie I had come to see was a Spike Jonze film called “Her”. I was hoping for something good but, instead, I got to see something special.

Never has the future looked good dressed in red cardigans and plaid. The movie’s premise is that of a melancholy writer named Theodore. As the film progresses, you discover that he is going through a divorce and is having a difficult and lonely time of coping. He spends his time playing video games and having what amounts to kinky phone sex (where his partner asks him to strangle her with a cat) to fill the time. He has some friends and he attempts to date but nothing seems to work for him. In the midst of this he is introduced to a new product that is the first artificially intelligent operating system called OS 1. A clever little nod to Apple, I felt, considering their integration of Siri into their mobile OS.

Theodore installs this new operating system and, almost immediately, you are charmed by her warmth despite the fact that she is part of his computer. Scarlett Johansson does a wonderful job as the voice of Samantha, the OS. Very quickly, she begins to learn more about human nature and her own and she and Theodore develop the closest thing to a human relationship as possible. At moments it is sad because, as part of the audience, I felt like Samantha could be real. In the story, both Theodore and Samantha mention how much they both wish she had a body and could be next to him.

As they tend to do, doubt and jealousy begin to strain this relationship. This is where everything fell into place for me. Good films are artistic. The films that matter most are the ones where you can see yourself in them, the ones you can relate to. I found myself very much in Theodore’s shoes through most of his story. This movie was not one about technology for me and how its replacing social activity in our society. An argument could be made for that but, for me, this movie was about distance. It was about caring for someone who is essentially just a voice at the end of a line and wanting them, so badly, to be there with you.

It reminded me of my own experience with long distance relationships.

I can’t spoil the ending for you because I want you to see it for yourself and make your own judgements about how well put-together this movie is. I will say this: I know what it’s like to love someone who is, in one capacity, far away or inaccessible. And I know the problems it can create with jealousy and communication with that person and I know what it feels like when it all falls apart and you’re left with nothing.

My heart felt stimulated for the first time in a very long time. I think good art will do that to you, no matter the medium. In a world where classic movie remakes and TV show reboots are the money making scheme in film, it felt really good to see someone taking the time to assemble a cast and write a script that created a unique experience that tells a tale I’m sure almost anyone can relate to. It felt really good to be inspired again. And, for some reason, it felt really good to experience that by myself. I didn’t have to give my opinion afterwards or try to instantly analyze what I saw. I got to soak it up and process it.

And that has made all the difference.

Forbearance in Lieu of Acceptance

NoControl

In some situations there are no good options. There are no solutions readily available to move you forward in any sort of meaningful way and so you must sit with the ramifications of the decisions that have been made. In this situation I had no other choice but to go through everything with the help of some friends and having to grit my teeth through the pain as I tried with all my might to move on with my life all because of the decision of someone else.

Having absolutely no control over what happens to you in a situation like this is by its very nature one of the most painful things I have ever had to sit and accept in my life. You aren’t the only one who has left me in the dust to accept my fate with no real explanation. Experience, in this case, doesn’t make things any easier to understand or to try and get past. In fact, knowing what it feels like only made things hurt even more.

I’ve come to understand that people are going to do what they feel like, regardless of how it affects anyone else because it’s much easier to look out for number one than any other number you might think of. It’s a lot easier to feed someone nothing but lies than to tell the truth because the truth hurts both parties involved.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is a process. This pain, this heartache only disappears with time and there is no set paradigm or set of steps that will tell me when I have finally passed through the blaze and the downpour to the other side of all of this. I will continue to see you in my dreams where my subconscious tells me you still have control over a good portion of my thought process and all of it is an aching melancholy that I can’t quite escape yet.

Understanding now is the fact that I have not cleansed myself of you completely and that affects me in too many ways. I don’t like it because you don’t deserve the space in my heart and in my head that you still occupy because you obviously didn’t care enough about that in the first place. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here outlining my experiences in hopes of some sort of catharsis.

I’m not looking for a reaction.
I’m just looking for a peace of mind
Something that will make it all stop.

Knowing what I know, I will likely weave my way in and out of everything I’ve already described more than once, over and again. Eventually, it will go away like you did and I’ll be free and unafraid to feel again. But for now, I’ll continue to live my life without a destination in hopes that I’ll truly accept what happened and it will disappear from my thoughts like a dream upon waking.

My hope is to be healed.
And you can’t help me.