I was overjoyed when my editor and dear friend Eric Cooke first asked me to write a book with him, but, as I should have known, it was no simple task that he was asking me to partake in with him. Eric, who is currently working on his PhD in Criminology (and is probably one of the smartest people I have ever known), wasn't just asking me to write a book about the anxieties of youth, as I am akin to, but something much more complex and demanding. Without giving anything away (if there is much to give away at all at this point in the process) I will say I have never embarked on a writing project such as this. With topics ranging from crime syndicates, human trafficking, Nitzschean Ethics, Post-modernity, and a score of others this novel will require both a breadth of research and a meticulous attention to detail that I have yet to experience in writing fiction. Luckily, for my sake, I won't be going at it alone. As daunting as the task may seem I am overly excited to see Eric's writing style in full force and to see where he takes his brilliant ideas for this story! But in the mean time here's a short teaser for the book. A short glance into the mind of our man antagonist, the Baron.
A cancerous Elysium consumed me as cigarette smoke danced over a pallet long drenched in the blood of red wine. With every inhale I expedited my own demise. With every exhale I smiled. There was a certain impotence to the habits I pursued. A certain blissful folly that most confused with stupidity and ignorance. But I knew what I was doing. I know what I have done. What I have done and continue to do. They say there is no sin in the heart of a good intentioned soul. Well if that be the case count me a sinful man. A soul ever so damned. Horror. Disease. Moral Famine. Of these I count my friends. The devil in man is the devil in I. And oh how charming I can be. Seduction. Erosion. Both I use to play my game. But in the end the sin is all the same. I use you, you don't use me as we dance the dance of satanic serenity.
I don't know how much explanation this particular piece needs. Just came from the heart of one very blessed grandson. Love ya Grandpa.
There was an easing silence between the two of us as we drove along pleasant suburban roads. Our destination was nowhere in particular and our purpose was quite unknown. Well at least that’s what we like to tell each other. Yes, our plans were quite random from time to time and rogues we might have been, but our intention was all too clear and we knew why we were here. We were friends, my grandpa and I. We were friends and being with one another was a celebration of that. Whether it was driving aimlessly by neighboring structures or pontificating out on his front porch together, the only thing that mattered was… that we were together. And when we were time’s expanse slipped away for a moment as youth and age old wisdom became one in spirit while we smiled and we laughed in one another’s company. There is much I learned being with him. He was, if he was anything, a breathing genealogy of all which had come before and all which was on its way. A birthing point of knowledge that I but tried frantically to witness. There is much I learned being with him. Hell I like to think I might have taught him a thing or two from time and time again. But all and all we were friends and that’s not something everyone gets to say. For we were always blessed with each other’s company. Where youthful laughter was shared and life’s mystery were summoned forth and christened by the presence of our joy.
Corbin, Kentucky, a small town of about 10,000, has turned out a wide range of exceptional people. Perhaps best known is Colonel Sanders of Fried Chicken fame. But what I remember are the great football teams of the 1950’s that produce All State and All American football players. There was a spirit in that town. I was about ten years old when move into Corbin and I first felt is presence. I then experienced that feeling for the next seven years. That feeling has never left me. This is a short story written from memories about the spirit and homemade ice cream.
Southeastern Kentucky harbors a town named Corbin. Around 1950, a clearly defined place, Hart Hollow, lay just southwest. An infectious spirit inhabits the area, making great residents greater, lesser ones less so, and the mundane a near impossibility. The infectious spirit first struck the holler’s front end, then spread to the back where my family lived. The spirit, as miniscule as it was powerful, and so fine, a laboratory scale would struggle to measure a microgram, spread and marked us for life.
A boy named Hart spread the infection. He taught me and my brothers about football. He only taught us once, but the micro-spirit, like flint striking steel, showered sparks that kindled fire in our souls. On the way to church, we visited the Hart boy, his mom and dad, and their hound dogs. They shared homemade ice cream the Hart boy’s daddy made. The ice cream, a yearly treat, and friendship, the finest, beats today’s refrigerated and churned vats coldly served. Old man Hart had electricity, but cranked his machines by hand. He possessed unrelenting hound dog spirit. He mentioned his oldest boy was attending Morehead College on a football scholarship. We’d never heard such a thing.
My family moved from Hart Hollow, that heavenly enclave with angels watching over it, or so I reckoned back in 1970, when I took my wife and children to see it. That’s before the Devil took a giant spade and knocked down the south side hill. He’d extracted coal needed to keep Hell burning hot, then covered up the deed with a bypass. I wept, with only the spirit to sooth.
We’d lived “storybook” lives. Dogged by the Devil and strained economics, we moved often, attending South, Central, and Eastward schools. On Ruby Street, behind something called a stadium, we heard, for the first time, drums and trumpets announcing a Friday night football game. Church members said it was the devil. We ignored the comments and played on Eastward’s grade school team, the Green Wave. We sneaked into Friday night football games. With the spirit strong and the Devil in pursuit, we moved to a farm on Cumberland Falls Highway where I could see the backside of the holler, a premonition. Rightly so. The Devil found us. I wondered aloud if we were cursed, my brother’s suggested offering me as sacrifice, instead, my parents spirited the family across the Ohio River, north to Kokomo, Indiana, “a half-hour before the Devil knew we were gone.”
We arrived in Kokomo one week before school started. With 50,000 inhabitants, one high school, and 2,500 students, they cut more freshmen players than Corbin’s team numbered entirely. The spirit was strong, two of us made the starting lineup, one joined the Marine Corp. I remember beating the state’s number one team, Logansport High School, 13 to 6. After season’s end, we quit high school and joined the Air Force and Army. The spirit lives on.
We all struggle in our coming of age. Struggle in ways that aren't fully clear to us in the moment. That become even more mysterious as we grow older and begin to reflect back on all that has happen. Life, our own infinitely complex experience, unfolds itself in manifold ways. Complexity, if anything, is the essential adjective for all that is human. I guess this is what this short piece is about. Its about the ambiguity of the past. Our inability to reconcile with that which has long escaped us, yet an utter necessity to strive towards such an end. That the struggle might not just be growing up and continually growing older, but making manifest a self, a life, that communes with itself a little more fully and sees itself a little more vibrantly.
Light fractured as it passed through cracked glass. Most of the windows were shattered and boarded up except this one. As shards of luminesce danced across me I peered out and into a portal of a life now passed. It was odd looking out at the backyard that was now being ravaged by time and nature. It was odd being in this room again, in this house. I was half expecting my return to this place to reckon forth some semblance of closure, some level of peace that had evaded me all these years. But the other half knew there was great risk in returning home. I had no delusions that my earlier years of life had been completely joyful or completely tragic for that matter, just complicated. So I knew returning here was just as likely to complicate things as it was to set me free, but it was risk worth taking. I needed to find whatever I was looking for if my life was to go forward. For entrenched in the past I was with no future to be had until the past was laid to rest. Laid to rest where the sins of youth could finally be forgiven. Where I could be forgiven. Forgiven… Forgiven for all I had and hadn’t done.
He wanted to hate me. He wanted to hate me because it was easier to hate me than lust for something he couldn't have. I didn't want to have romantic feelings for him. I didn't want to admit that I loved him because it would mean that I had made the wrong choice and that I'd fallen for my best friend. A cocktail that, in this case, wouldn't end well. This poem depicts the magnetic tension that kept us apart and, at the same time circling around each other because, having each other in a dissolute way was better than nothing at all. We danced around our feelings to ignore our desires; an act that bonded us in an unusual way but in the end, lead to our tragic ending.
I quite honestly don't know what drove me to write this piece. Maybe for catharsis in my own entrance into fatherhood. I honestly am not quite sure, but in it lay something I think will be worth writing to a fuller extent someday. It needs a little development and I feel even deserves some extension to get from one section to the next. But alas writing is never completed, even when it is. The eternal recurrence of dispondence in one's creations.
There was stillness in the air, disturbed only by a calm breeze that rustled in from time to time. It was still and you were smoking that last cigarette of yours. While most men take to cigars in moments like this, you found comfort in these just as well. You, then again, have never taken much of a liking to cigars. You don’t know if it was the way they tasted or the perpetuity they encumber themselves in. Too much time invested in what could be more swiftly achieved, achieved in a cigarette. This still night… it was lit only by hospital lights and the ember that now danced closer and closer to my fingers bare. No stars to be found in this moment of new life.
I was bereft of thought in this moment. Bereft of words they too might have engendered. It had been this way the whole night as you and the rest waited. You had all been without true direction this night. Lost in new lands as you had but to wonder what this different frontier might be.
You’re a father… You have a son. You keep saying this to yourself, but it hasn’t quite taken full meaning yet. It hadn’t since you first discovered you were going to be one. It hadn’t even when you held that lil boy in your arms for the first time. No, nothing filled that moment other than awe and utter fear. Awe at the miracle of a child begot and fear of all that could go wrong in a child’s life… all the wrong you could do.
There was joy as well. A joy unknown till you grasp that tiny body for the first time and know that he is yours. But this ecstasy of fathering a child is quickly engulfed with a terror. A terror that dawns on you when a father you truly are. For this whole bundle of life... it is in your hands. And that for every pain he feels. Any neglect he burdens. It’s all your fault or at least you know that is how you will feel. That the tears of the child drench the father’s hands and scars the mother’s heart.
His mother. The woman you were still getting to know. So much had happen between you in the coming of this day. So much confusion. So many mistakes. So much you didn’t know. But in this moment you knew. For all you could know as you watched her hold your baby boy… is that she is perfect. The perfect mother for your son. You may not know her, but of this… nothing could ever be more clear. That she was in love with all that lil boy was and was to be, and was gracious enough to include you in such.
You take one final drag of your cigarette, thinking it will be your last. Your last solace in a substance foreign. That all you’ll ever need again lay inside that hospital waiting. Your family, larger now with the coming of child. Your friend John who, though seemingly just as nervous as you, has been diligent in his love and comradery as the night did progress. Your mother who can barely fathom the exciting days to come as a grandmother. Your brother who is too young to grasp the situation fully, but loved you enough to hunker down with you in the waiting. And then there’s her and there’s you.
Both of you exhausted from the anxious struggle, as the anticipation came to fruitful term. This process had weighed on her more than you will ever know and you could never compare her lot to your own. But even so, as you stood there holding him in your arms, she looked upon you fondly as if she knew you too had worn your burdens up to the coming of this day. You are thankful because you know she doesn’t owe you that. You’re just lucky she even told you about him. That she let you have the chance to be a shitty dad, as much as a good one too. That you got a chance at the prospect of fatherhood and all that it can be, for better and for worse. She let you have that. This was her gift to you. And as you flick that last cigarette and at a slow pace move towards the lighted doors, you breathe. You breathe… Knowing. Knowing your breath will now go on.
I was talking with my Grandpa a week or so ago and he started telling me about his friend that had recently loss his wife. I heard it and I felt the need to write, write about something I myself have never experienced. I guess that's what writing is all about, creating that which you've never seen face to face, empathizing with those you've never met. It's a mystery when it happens, but when it does the mystery unfolds. This I guess is an attempt at such. I only hope I did some justice to that which we all must face and that is the loss of those who we cherish most.
There is nothing romantic about dying. As much as the movies may sell it to be, it just ain’t so. That whole archetypal, Romeo and Juliet crap… well… it’s just crap. It’s not true. Not when it’s the love of your life laying there dying… my Grace dying. She tells me it’s ok and there is nothing either of us can do. That it’s best if we just muster up all the joy that we can in the time we have left. You know this is her trying to comfort you, but in all honesty it’s what you loath most about the situation, about yourself. That you’re helpless. That you can’t save her. That here she is dying and doing her best to save you and part of you hates yourself for that. But then again she had always been doing that for you. Being your savior, your divinity, your grace… Your Grace. And now she’s dying. She’s dying and you’re not.
We thought we had months left as months shortly became days. And as she lay there in that hospice bed, frail, but so damn beautiful to you… We just did our best to survive the grief of her coming departure from this life we had shared. We did our best to create a living space, a brief lasting moment where such grief could be cherished as much as it was scorned by this heart of mine. We did our best. You know that now. And as we did happy things in those last days, happy and tearfully sad, we sought everything special that could be summoned and salvaged from the coming moment of her fading on. We found laughter as much as we found woeful cries as the two intermingled from time to time.
Bitter was your joy. But you did your best not to steal from her the last chances she had to smile in this life. To make the time left not about you.
What broke your heart most of all though… was that this was your honeymoon. That honeymoon we never got around to have. That’s what she called these last days. You know she wasn’t joking too. She was the embodiment of all things sincere, she never said anything out of pure jest. That’s was why you loved her. Everything she was and did was utter sincerity. Not a word said or a movement made that wasn’t genuine. You still struggle with how much stronger she was then you, stronger than you could ever hope to be. All while I stood in the terror of letting her go, she found love. For her this time together. These last moments were the christening joy of a marriage long lasted. That for her this was the time for love and joy. You don’t know how she did it. How she sought not the presence of fear. How she carried on knowing we would soon have no more time with one another.
Don’t go. Please don’t go. This was what you beckoned to a God you never really paid much attention to over all the years. You weren’t mad though. You were to scared to be mad and she knew that. That’s why she held on as long as she did. Through the pain that this dying brought her, she held on. She wouldn’t let go until she knew you were going to be ok.
After you couldn’t bear it anymore. After you had seen too much suffering in her eyes, you slowly bent down next to her and kissed her on the cheek. You said, “It’s… I’m ok, it’s time for you to go home beautiful girl.” You heard her laugh one last time and say, “You better not be lying to me because I’m not leaving till I’m sure.” You know you were lying, but you couldn’t make her stay. Lying for the first time to her in 50 years, you said this false necessity and promised her it was so. “Will you wait for me?” You whimpered. The last thing you would, in this life, say to her. “For eternity.” She whispered. “For eternity. I promise I will.” She smiled at you. She just smiled in those last seconds, not once moving her gaze from yours. Smiling as the light flowed and then finally dimmed from her eyes.
You sat there wanting to scream, but you were so shattered… So shattered that your voice could not move. You couldn’t shout, as bad as you wanted to, because you were no longer there. For when she passed, you might as well have gone with her. Your soul left for that she was. Your soul, your essence. It all lay in her. For all that you were was gone now. Life’s death. Her death. Nothing now but perdition and it was yours. And terror… terror was its stay.
In the end… all things perish. They become frail and withered. Lost and eroded. Laughter fades as smiles too do dim in their joy. And as time passes and those who bear them become forgotten all the same as we, the remnant, are left to reckon with our own mortality that will soon and inevitably come to pass. We are the dying. Dying since we took our first gasp of life into being alive. We are dying and only our deaths will absolve of us this cross. What then does it mean to be a being of deceleration? Slowing down till we move no more. What meaning could this life have? What purpose? Thoughts such as these have danced in my mind’s eye for some time now. Questions present that I sometimes lack the courage… the fortitude to answer. They carry no more despair than joy, but only sobriety. No, the unending persistence of human frailty no longer fills my heart and mind with the anxieties as it once had. Only the sobering thought of its simple truth. Finitude. We lay amongst the finite, the short-lived, and only absolution can set us free. Set us free from the one thing we wish to cherish most in this life… life itself. Is there not more to that which we are than beings towards death, pockets of abyss in the making. Is there no hope that the light of day may once more shine again on us even after the light of this world should dim? To these I have no answer to give you and it’s probably best that I don’t. Death and the meaning it carries on one’s soul is a question each person must grapple with themselves. I have no answers I can forthright give you and any notions I have on the matter, I must hide to myself. But I do not covet these secret meanings I give myself. I so wish I could share them with you all the same… but this I cannot do. I cannot… I will not for the simple reason and that be that you may find your own. That you may beckon out into the void of our condition, our joyful human weeping and begot that which allows it to shine. That which makes it blossom where around it once was only ash. Your meanings, let them stay secret. Hidden from the rest of audible spheres. But illuminate! Illuminate! Brighten this life with your actions and not your speech so that others must but look your way to know your truth. That life is one of plentiful bounty. Unceasingly luminescent. A spring of unquenchable serenity. That there is beauty to be had and made by these broken hands of ours. That there is hope for those who wish it to be. So though I have no answers to garnish you with and make you feel at ease. No medicine of mine to which I can just prescribe and share. But I do only pray… Pray that you might strive alongside me in this… our human twilight so that the darkened shall not consume the light of our days.
People take different roads in life. Some lead them around the world to exotic, exciting places, other roads taken do less, sometimes a lot less. Some roads are one-way, an escape route, down which the traveler never returns. Then again, some roads are used to return home, for good reasons, maybe a short visit, burial of a family member or friend, a wedding, maybe your own. Young William Stiller returned home, not of his own volition. He was killed serving his country and was returning permanently to be buried in a public cemetery, a small one with gravestones dating back to the American Revolutionary War. There are other gravestones from all of America’s following wars. This cemetery is a burial place for patriots, and other folks too. Sergeant Stiller never planned to return home, but he has and times are sad.
FORT BENNING, GEORGIA
Someone has laid a magazine on my bunk, it has a picture on the front. Not sure who took that picture on the front page of Popular Magazine, but it’s me hitching a ride, my backside, age 17, running away from home. Probably the driver that offered me a ride took it, a writer for a magazine, a wonderer lost in the backwoods, with a camera, so he’d said. He’s given me a ride into town about ten miles up the road. That road you see in the picture is Sawmill Road, leading from the holler that I left for good. We’re Kentuckians, my family lives there. We farm, hunt for food, dig coal, run a sawmill and make moonshine. All the men run off and joined the military, most do anyway. So far, no male has ever returned to the holler and I have no such plans.
My sisters all married off young, the oldest was 18, the youngest was 16 and lied about her age to a Justice of the Peace just over the Tennessee state line. All four sisters ran away and married in Tennessee to local boys, coalminers not much older than them. As a family, that’s what we do, girls marry young and the men run off and join the military. For most, it’s the shortest road away from a hardscrabble life.
As I recall, the writer’s car was late model, a 1960 Dodge, blue colored with a strip of chrome leading to big fish tail lights in the rear. His clothing was decent, not in bib coveralls like me. His tie was loose, shirt unbuttoned, the colors drab brown. He had no hat to cover a mop of unruly, straight black hair in bad need of a comb. He’d looked straight ahead, careful to watch the road and said, “I’m Ed Cullum, I write human interest stories for Popular Magazine.” Smiling, he added, “You look human.” Broadening his smile exposed straight teeth, except for one on the right side that was chipped. I remember thinking it added character to his face. He’d asked, “Mind if I ask where you’re going and why?”
I’d said, “Reckon I’m human, alright. I’m joining the military, whichever one is in his office this morning, that’s the one I’ll pick.” He’d looked over, his tone serious and said, “That’s a big decision, maybe you want to think about it. It’s a dangerous profession. What’s your name?” He’d ask. I motioned for him to pull over, “Not more dangerous than coalmining. There’s the recruiters office. Stop here. And thanks for the ride.” He’d ask again, “Your name? I want to write a short piece about how and why people move on from their roots. I need a name to make it authentic.” “Stiller,” I said, “William, my friends call me Bill.” “And why are you leaving?” “My options are coal mining, moonshining, or military. Don’t take no genius to make the right choice.”
The loud speaker at Fort Benning blared the starting ceremony to life. “Stiller, William H., front and center!” Captain Martin gave the commands. He was head of the sniper school at Fort Benning. He’d first approached me in Basic Training on the firing range at Lenard Wood, Missouri and handed me orders that led me to sharpen my shooting skills. Now he was presenting me with an award, a plaque that read TOP SNIPER, Corporal William H. Stiller, Third Army.
Southeastern Appalachia is split by Route 25, a concrete road running north to south into Tennessee. Each side is the same. The low lying foothills of Appalachia make it that way, unchanged for a thousand years. Even the coalmines, stills and sawmills hardly make a dent. The portion of side road we’re on is macadam coated but soon turns into winding gravel and dirt roads leading off to low lying foothills. That’s where you find the hollers. I’m Ed Cullum. I’ve been here before and I know the Stiller family, too well, I’m afraid. I know the deceased whose casket rides in a black limousine following the state police car leading a short funeral procession. I’m bringing up the rear.
Somewhere off to the right, I hear a radio blaring a song from the mouth of a holler, not the one we will soon enter. As we pass the entrance, the sound grows louder and I recognize the voice of a well-known country singer, Wagner, I think, and the lyrics ‘we got company coming, we got company coming…’ The music trails off as the trees and undergrowth bring silence. Even a gunshot wouldn’t travel a hundred yards around here and I glad, for I’m thinking this is not the type of company the Stiller family had in mind.
A SOLDIERS BURIAL
Lights flashing, the grey Ford Crown Victoria leads an entourage of Stiller family members and friends of the deceased to a small cemetery located a half mile from here. On approach, I see there’s a military color guard waiting, along with a minister preparing to give last rites. A Major is there holding a tri-folded American flag he will present to the family. His name tag says MARTIN. The funeral is sad, the women and men wailing, unable to hold emotions checked. I move off to the right and take a few pictures, making sure to include everyone.
I spoke in a low voice, solemnly asking, “Major Martin, I’m Edward Cullum, reporter for Popular Magazine. Do you have anything you would like to add to the obit I’m writing for the deceased?” “Did you know Bill?” “Yes. In fact, I gave him a lift two years ago to the Army Recruiter in Williamsburg, Kentucky near his home.” Cullum flinched at the 21 gun salute. Major Martin stood fast, a tear in his eye, and with deep pride and emotion in his voice, said loudly, “Mr. Cullum, you can report the Sgt. William Hedrick Stiller out-shot and out-soldiered 99 percent of the men in the United States Army! We are proud of Stiller and saddened by his loss in combat.” There was loud wailing.
Major Martin strode with majestic military fashion and approached Ben’s mother where he reverently presented her the folded flag. Both his tears and hers blessed the emblem of freedom her son died for. From a distance, I took more pictures. I’ll get their permission before printing my byline and obituary, especially her comments that Bill was the first of her sons to return to the holler, the first and only one buried here. A couple of brothers and all four sisters were present for the funeral, a sad commentary to a young life lost too soon.
I plan to write my story with a theme about an unintended war hero and his long road home.
Writing a book is a precarious and mysterious thing. Yes, mystery, fucking mysterious is exactly what it is. Where the words come from, where they go, and where they end up. Just a mystery. You sit there staring at blank screen or piece of paper and then next thing you know all this shit just starts spilling out from the tips of your fingers. It’s like something battling between the demonic and the angelic has possessed you. You’re sweeting. You’re intoxicated. You’re scared as shit. You’re smiling with insanity. You’re doing everything in your power to fight off the urge to piss or shit because you know how easily this moment can fade and oh yes it will fade. One moment you’ll be pumping out prose that would make your mother cry or your dirty ole uncle chuckle and then the next thing you know it’s gone. Like I said, writing is mysterious. It ebbs and flows to tides unknown. All you know is that you want to be somewhere with a fucking pen or near a goddamn computer when it hits. All you know is that you wish it was always this way. Inspiration is a fickle bitch. When you have it you feel all warm and fuzzy. You feel in love, but the second it’s gone you’ve never felt a loneliness like that ever before in your whole damn life. Writing is mystery and with all mystery there is a longing, a pain that only the creative soul beholds. You almost want to curse the almighty when that river of ink runs dry. Runs dry just as quick as it began to spring and rush forth. Where the fuck did it go? Why couldn’t it last one more hour, fuck five more minutes and I just would have had. I don’t know. I guess I’m just complaining at the moment because I was on one hell of a roll with this one piece I’m going to share with you and then it just stopped. Just fucking stopped. Mystery. Mystery I tell you. I don’t know, but here’s what I was working on. No it wasn’t for the book I’m supposed to have finished by the end of the month after next, but like I said you can’t control this shit. It just fucking appears and you got to snab it while you can less it be but to fade into the black of memories long gone. Mystery, fucking mystery I tell you…
IM NOT AN ADDICT
First off, despite anything you fuckers may think or come to believe, I’m not an addict. You need to know this from the outset. IM NOT AN ADDICT. Addicts aren’t people, despite everything you’ve been taught or read. Addicts aren’t people, they’re figments of a bland societal imagination. Bland and fucking blind to my suffering, to those whose suffer. Don’t get me wrong… I take an egregious amount of drugs. Maybe much more than one should. Maybe not. But that’s not the point right now. Again I’ll say it. I’m not an addict. See I’ve said it three times now. Dispel this bullshit notion or put this book down and put it down NOW. I don’t have a problem with substances, just a problem with being here. Don’t get me wrong… I numb myself in more ways than one. Speed, weed, boos, etc. but we’ll extrapolate that list later on. I seek the numbing and that I won’t deny for a fucking second. There is an emptiness of purpose I face at every waking moment. An internal vacancy that has pushed me to externalities to fill the void. I’m not chasing after some high, I’m not after setting my nervous system a flame to delights. Don’t get me wrong though, the highs, as few and far between as they have come to be, weren’t ever a downer, but they were never the point of my endeavor either. My yearning is existential at its core. Some serious weeping Nietzsche, Kierkegaardian ironic laughter type shit. Ya that’s it. The drugs they’re just a means to subsistence. A vehicle that lets me cruise along with the rest of you fucks and friends. They help me get along in all the love and nihilism this world slings at one’s face. And I don’t know which of those two things freaks me out the most… But if you still doubt my convictions on the matter. I guess I understand and I’m glad for you. Your life has meaning and I don’t really mean to take that from you. I don’t want you to feel like you should be me. Think my thoughts. Mimic the Ken Sen Mantra as if it was the true. No I just want you to know… I guess I just want you to not hate me, hate me for something I didn’t ask for because I promise I didn’t ask for this particular take on life. It was cast on me like herpes in the night. Participating in an act most do, but caught something foul in the process. The act… living. The herpes… my despair. Ya I guess I could uh, would uh, should uh been wearing one of life’s many ideological condoms. Maybe I was just being reckless. Exploring to much with the wrong people and their infectious thoughts. Maybe… Maybe. But my despair like the herp da derp… It’s for life. I have it now and it burns on the soul’s crotch like a son of a bitch. Again, I’m not an addict… I’m just alive.
- Thane Hounchell