Thursday, March 31, 2005


I sit at my computer in silence. I am afraid of closing my eyes, and I can't look into a mirror. This is my suffering hour. I don't know who to talk to, or what to say to you, my nonexistant readers. Too often I get like this. People don't see me this way, so they assume I'm ok most of the time. I'm not. This is my state of affairs. I can barely see the screen from the worms crawling out of my pupils. I know that nobody likes to be around me in this state, but that doesn't change my madness. Every day I'm more alone than the previous. I want to go to Austin, where I can maybe steal an audience. I remain unheard, unread, and unrecognized. It's got to hurt to look at this, but imagine the pain I'm in while writing these little words. I can't give any solutions for my affliction: it seems to be with me for good this time. A year I've spent in this relapse, and I don't even want to do five more minutes. I want to cave; I want to give up. I promised my Dad I wouldn't, but the only thing on my mind is freedom. Mock me as you normally do. To most of you, I'm probably just that whiney, selfish, crybaby. I seem to be, how did Jaime say it? Crosseyed?

My capacity to take pain is huge. When I was four, I ran around my house, and tripped on a doorframe. I landed teeth-first into a brick, curbstomping myself. That was painful, but more painful was the root canal afterwards. When I was a child, I was allergic to number (novacaine and others), so I had no pain relief for the root canal. I didn't even cry. I give this anecdote as an example for my resilience. However, this thing I'm bearing now is far more painful and heavy than the worst moments of my life before it came to me. My pain never seemed to stop growing since February 2004, but my threshold is finite. I'm near the end of my rope.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Dung Heap

This is where it all ends up: the refuse of my life. Somehow I always find it dribbling off the tip of my pen, making itself into letters, words, lines, stanzas, cantos. I've written enough didactic poetry to instruct ten classes in how not to write. I hate how it all turns out: I don't need any help sharing the loudmouth jerk everyone knows. I need help sharing the written parts of me: the refuse not strong enough to make the prideful cut of arrogant jackass. Somebody talk! I feel like a talentless Demosthenes, shouting into the ocean with rocks in my mouth. If this is just practice, I suppose I can't ask for anyone to pay attention or respond to this madness. The past few weeks lodged themselves in my head in a chaotic fashion. I can't tell the difference between what I hear inside my ear, and what I hear from outside my ear. Everything is a mess, and I don't know if I'm making any sense. I make more drivel than I can handle sometimes; this is one of those times. When I wake up tomorrow, another day will come, and I will shout at the ocean again. When my sword of hope is polished, I wish someday my words compel more than silence. When my sword of hope is blunted, I suspect it never will as I eye the bull of fears, unarmed.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Confusing Letters from a Friend

Sometimes, it's all I can hear
words similar to mine
but not the same

This is the handwriting in my ear:

Hello our old friend
You should know our names by now
he doesn't want your help or your love
not anymore

countless poems later,
He sees them as a profound waste of words

He wants only our mercy

Don't worry, we won't hurt him

And you'll never hear him scream

We all have been weighed, and found wanting . . .

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Prester Bane

It's been over a week, and I've said nothing of our friend Prester Bane. He is the King in Void: the psychotic wasteland I inhabit in my darkest hours. I don't write much about him for fear of strengthening his hold on me and his realm. When I'm lucid, I can reason with myself as you do, and see Prester Bane and his Void for what they are. It might seem easy to ignore Prester Bane or deny his existence to most of you, but you must understand: I cannot. It doesn't matter how much therapy I go through, how much or what I'm taking for the psychosis, I see him. None of you have ever been in the tomb with me, keeping the Many Armed Knight barely in view as a faceless king tells me accurately how my life will turn, and why. I've heard him for eleven years last Friday. He dominates the Void, and part of the reason why I've not posted about him or written much of him is to keep his power in check. To me, when I speak of him, or let someone else in on his predictions, the result just hits me five times worse. He told me how, why, and to a month, when Jaime would discard me. He's easy to deny from the outside, but he is very real to me, especially when he's right. I wrote the poem at the end of this post in 2002 on Prester Bane. I thought I could break him. I was obviously wrong.

I'm tired of hearing lectures on how Prester Bane isn't real and how the Void doesn't exist. I'm sick of people telling me how false his predictions are, and telling me to just ignore them. If this world really wants to help me, perhaps you should all stop hurting me. I ingest your pills, I go to your therapy sessions, but in the end I'm just another crazy person worthy of pity at best. None of you have ever been inside with me; you don't know a dammned thing about how I feel, and I'm tired of hearing how much you care when all you do is hurt me repeatedly.

The worst part of it is not your fault, it's still mine. I put myself in painful situations, and expect this burden I carry to lighten with shared effort from you. We all have moments in our life that hurt. The difference between you and me is that it happens to you once. I live my moments again and again. My involuntary memories never permit me to forget my pain. If I have even one second without meaningful sensory input, the memories flood back to fill the gaps. Gaps in my memory fill with psychosis to the point of constant, dramatic change. Every time the memories replay, they change. I'm unsure of all events; my memories contradict my notes and the expressed memories of others. Still, my father didn't scourge my back with an extension cord, leaving a welt for a week once. He's done it three to five times per day every day since. I didn't win my game of russian roulette once, I win it every day. Jaime didn't prove Prester bane right once; she proves it several times per day, every day. Memory is the twin of experience, and mine won't let go or fade.

This is why schizophrenics commit suicide; I am sure of it. It isn't a cry for help, or an evaluation of depressing circumstance. It's freedom. I want to keep my good memories, and leave while I'm still a semblance of what I was eleven years ago. Fear of hell keeps me alive, and precious little else.


With intellect in exile
And hobbled by a dream,
The always present Madness
Is shackled to a king

Whose name is Prester Bane.
He promised so much more
Than ordinary rule
Dispensed upon a sword.

This dynasty of Void
Succumbed to decadence.
Regalia consumed
The pride the Void became.

Transfixed upon the past,
The king remains within,
Dispensing regal edicts
Upon indifferent ears.

Friday, March 18, 2005

A String of Letters on a Common Theme

A friend sent me an email, and listed some stuff about her in an alphabetic acrostic. I've addressed the same issues with my own answers.

A age I got my first kiss: 24 (ugh, sad but true)
B band I'm listening to right now: Prester Bane on a bed of Alison Krauss
C crush: N/A
D dad's name: Gary
E easiest person to talk to: Prester Bane
F favorite movie: Seven Samurai or silent Ben Hur; I can't make up my mind.
G gummy bears or worms: As a kid, I lived near the Haribo factory in Germany, so bears
H hometown: Out in the sticks north of Killeen, Texas
I instruments: a deep voice
K kids: I'm not passing this on
L longest car ride: Derwood, Md to San Antonio, Texas
M mom's name: Meridel
N nicknames: I'll put anyone who calls me "TJ" in a body bag
O one wish: someone easier to talk to than Prester Bane; he's one of the few constants in my life, and I loathe him.
P phobia: I fear nothing but crocodiles
Q quote: "Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin"
R reason to smile: It's usually fake
S song you sang last: badly, but "The Lucky One" Alison Krauss & Union Station
T time you woke up today: the crack of noon
U unknown fact about me: I love my scars, all of them.
V vegetable you like: carrots, hands down
W worst habits: telling people what I really think.
X x-rays you've had: a lot, including one of the wrong ankle immediately after I tore up an ankle running track.
Y yummy food: biscuits and gravy
Z zodiac sign: I think I'm an aries, that's April 18 right?

Who is Prester Bane? I'll tell you later.

Scraps Of Me

Scraps of me make it into my poetry. Little pieces creep into the cracks between the lines from every angle. The inverted inventory segment of "Dull Five" began as a list of things important to me that I could do without.

respect for anyone
a thousand didactic love songs
ambitions for greatness
a honey tongue
care for the world
blind faith
senseless love and admiration
the urge to get things done right the first time
time to talk about your problems
anything worth writing down
a wicked knuckle callous
a picture of the face that launched a thousand ships
how I feel about Rigoletto and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
the guts to treat others as I treat myself
a chaste disposition
the will to stay faithful
a way to make myself heard
this list

I long sometimes to see the world in numbers; words hurt too much. Beneath every face, I crave a summary. I want to insist on odds in the caption of every photo in the newspaper. I want more sense in the world before my muddied senses and ever more altered memory. I long for cold, hard logic to prevail with proof while I can still enjoy it. The scraps of me in my poetry should be hidden by a wider pattern of code; instead, I build ugly frames for the windows to my torment. Sometimes, I imagine my poetry as a well-read, regular newspaper column that chronicles my daily existence. I imagine that everything comes in cycles, that things have been worse, and that my column will be less burdensome later. Mostly, that version of the truth prevails. On rare occasions, I can put these local trends in long-term context. A picture can be worth a thousand words; I don't draw, so I work with the tools I'm given. I see a photograph of my face on page six of the metro section of the newspaper. The same picture has been published before, but without any accompaniment: no story, no caption, nothing. In this newspaper, however, the authors and editors have more to say. My poems stretch out around the picture, skipping over column breaks, folds, headlines, and into the hair of anyone stupid enough to notice the picture and stop to read what's next to it. The caption reads:


Those are my odds, folks.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

No Apologies

Yesterday's post is a little wierd. I obviously wrote it deep in the throes of my psychosis. Although I've deleted a few posts from my blog in the past which leaned in that psychotic direction, I will delete them no longer. Part of knowing me is knowing how I act and how I think while actively psychotic. If I reach out for understanding, I cannot reach out with a lie or even a scrap of shame.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


I have two hearts. The first pumps blood, the other: aether. Black and oily, I put the aether pump in place myself. It seemed stark and powerful at first, but my habits avail myself to its presence. Only I seem to see the blemishes on my skin from where the aether escapes. They grow daily. You can't smell the aether, that's something only I can do. However, if you're smart, you can see the same effects I deal with in all my social situations. No matter how heavy, strong, or sharp the sword of my hope is forged, I remain out of place. You've all seen it. I don't match my environment; I have little to nothing in common with any of you. That's a reason why I write: I want the rest of you to know how unahappy I've become, and experience at least a small piece of it with me. How horrible is that? Art should serve a wider purpose than the brutish display of my unhappiness. After all, countless poems later, I have yet to meet any goals save quantity and publication. It doesn't seem to matter how often or incessantly I display my verses, the words never stick, and I am still alone. I keep hoping to wake up next to understanding and love delivered at the point of my pen, but every day, I only wake up with more poems, ever more aloof from all of you. The true air passes in and out of my lips, drips from my pen, and leaks from my skin; mutual revulsion and solitude follow closely.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Good News, my gentle readers: I am officially in print! I'm going down to Austin, TX in April for the Austin International Poetry Festival (AIPF). My poem, "Crow Dance" made their anthology, Di-verse-city 2005. Finally, I have some vindication for the hours, days, and weeks I've heretofore wasted in front of my computer, composing verses in my voice. I might be read yet.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


In my poetry, I designed a world similar to mine, but probably very different from yours. The images painted and repainted in my head drive me and my characters to thoughts and actions often out of place in your world. I pace, oftentimes for hours, arguing with the factions in my head, and the animated memories of people I've lost. People appear in front of me in the appearance for which I remember them most. I see my Dad in his army uniform, staggering around drunk and demanding me to bend over. I see my brother stirred to action by a cruel word in a white t-shirt. I see Christine's uneasy smile framed by red hair, my mom cooking chili in the crock pot, and Jaime's eyes. The rest of your descriptions are too long to list here.

In my world, the eyes are literally the windows to the soul. When I look into someone's eyes, I see a whole person probably more my imagination than truth. Jaime's eyes beguiled me; I never fully found out who was behind them, or fabricated a person in my mind to match my perception. Sometimes, I wander away in my own eyes reflected in a mirror; my memories play back over and over again as I quickly lose track of time while sifting through thoughts best left alone. Sooner or later, I'll meander back out of the window and return to this world I loosely share with you. I want to forget and move on like the rest of you seem so able to do, but I cannot let go. My memories tug me back, and sometimes pull me under. It would serve me well to not dwell in my thoughts, but that becomes increasingly unfeasable as more and more memories insert themselves in the rotation.

Since I finished the first draft of Stitches, my epic, my condition has done nothing but worsen. For small periods of time, I can put on a good show of recovery, but the whole time I'm just deluding myself. I cannot trust any emotion, thought, or memory as genuine. I want to dismiss them as just a dream, just foolishness, or just a hallucination, but I cannot; I have no control.

Some people tell me to survive and hold out hope for a new drug, a new treatment, or a new anything else. I've long since known hope to be the last refuge of the foolish. Madness comes and goes as it pleases, it doesn't plop in and flush out of my system like the contents of a pill. It's unfair and impossible to ask others to help share my burden, but repeatedly I haul that unfair impossibility to the doorstep of everyone who cares about me. The journey would be less if I just bore it alone without comment or complaint, but I'm always seeking companionship. Most people just dismiss me, but some pause to chat. The chatting never lasts long; it's too painful to watch me struggle. That's why I write, you know. I can't think of a better way to make people understand than the words dispensed at the tip of my pen. Those words will bring me nothing.

The cruellest act is to give me false hope. Don't fill my thoughts with counterfeit love, or unreasonable optimism. We all know well that I am not getting better. I will fill the Void inside me with the same excrement that drives me to write these brief thoughts; more poetry will come, the burden will be heavier, and there will be another person left behind, unwilling to continue with me.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


I want to be read. When I was in high school, I read poetry voraciously, especially Keats, Byron, and Shelley. I have a collection of selected works from all three entitled "The Great Romantics." I read and reread Byron and Keats until the book's spine broke. Keats' poetry to Fanny Brawne was my yardstick for my love poems since the beginning. I imagined students reading my poetry to dim lamps past their bedtime, or at least too late an hour prudent before an exam on the morrow as I did. Every little phrase was important, every word worth reading, and well worth the lost sleep. Poetry should enlighten, not beguile; I wrote with abandon to a greater understanding of my struggle, once private, now public in verses. With Keats as my guide, Byron and Shelley baiting me onward, I wrote. I wrote not just to be read; I wrote to be recited. I wrote to be shouted at the top of each lover's lungs, to be pealed from the top of every chimmeny, screamed in the streets, and passed through the lips of every wedding toast for strength, for beauty, and for love! Let me into the rhythmn of your breath, or the harmonies of empathy. Wish for words stark enough to describe me in any other way than mine. Take my verses to heart and whisper a line into your lover's ear to find the next repeated into yours. I didn't write any of it to be a secret, as the vainest poets often contend about even their most minor works; I wrote it all for you. I want eyes unlike my own to scan my pages, and find enough to remember as mine. I want to be read.


It's been five days since I've posted. I haven't forgotten my blog or my readers, but I have nothing new to say. I could write a post on how lonely, misunderstood, and crazy I've become, but I've said as much before. I'm going to go read some poetry; perhaps later today I'll post my thoughts on it.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Central to this blog have been my madness poems. It's the only thing i truly know anymore. Every voice, vision, and phantom scent builds upon the last. However, they don't only build more madness; since the beginning, my romantic feelings go with verses and psychosis. I wrote much to Christine, and a lot to Jaime. These are my worst poems, as I look back on the sum of my words. I always thought that my verses were redeemed by the love that spawned them; I was wrong. My love is ugly, and its poetry is worse. Art should be strong, beautiful, and itself first. My love poems were always proxies to the real thing, and never turn out the way I want them to. My love is suffocation and pain; Jaime hated my love poetry. If you don't believe me, I've prepared some examples.


With Jaime, i find happiness
In places I thought lost to me
In ways that seemed impossible
A forest grows inside my heart

I stalk those woods alone again
With open arms and lesser burdens
Accepting all the love sent me
I speak in verses, flurried, hurried

So thorns can still entangle me
And haul me down, entwinined with words
It’s good to clear the undergrowth
And let my lovetrees grow

A brush of bodies stops me
As whispers fill the air
I utter with full meaning
More words to say “I love you”

And Jaime whispers back “I know”
With smiles I see in all the lovetrees
Still beautiful and wonderful to me
I now see her and only her

Inviting every lucid moment
To stay with me in poetry,
I walk this forest made of love
That long seemed lost, but just was waiting



While Jaime’s out of reach,
I turn back on the pages
Spent tracing silhouettes
And chasing broken dreams.

The violence in my past
That’s absent in her arms
No longer rules my inkwell,
Now changed and for the better.

I painted vulgar colors
In blues and shining red
Imagining the sunrise
While lost without a light.

It seemed right at the time
In my infatuation
To stylize the world
Around hallucination.

Each morning before sunrise,
I saw the silhouette
And colored in the darkness
With dreams that never were

But now I have new colors
To use in writing verses
Like brown and green and purple:
Two hers, one mine, all vibrant.

In my maturity,
At last I set me free
To draw back on the curtains
And see what I’ve been tracing

I found two open arms
In unexpected places:
A friend, now something more
And shoulders, now painless, once hurt.

It’s comfort in a sense
To love, to lose, to find
That love is not a stranger:
I found it in my friend.

We both have memories
Of what life was before
In youth we can’t return to:
One dead, one gone, both painful

But now with every moment,
I color in my verses
Not with a sense of longing,
But simple satisfaction.

So now she sees my fury;
I fall in her embrace.
I wrap my arms around her
And trade my past for present:

I touch where once I saw;
I love where once I wondered;
I write from truth and beauty
Where once I wrote from pain.

Maturity proves real
Where youth became a lie:
My love is now beside me,
Not colors in the sky.


There are more Jaime poems, but I am so ashamed of them that I cannot post their limitless lameness. If you think my poems of Christine could be any better, I will show you only one of the missives I felt compelled to put down on paper, the rest are of approximate lameness.


I dreamt that I could see you there
A source of light that shines on me
Reflecting light upon the waves
Your light is all that I can see

So kiss me softly, waves of gold
With hair that's red, and eyes of blue
If I could speak across the distance
I'd tell you now I love you true

The watercolor whispers here
Are telling me to reach anew
Without a flaw, my amber eye
Can't see the weak things I can't do

If I was more a lover then
And less a hate filled lion now
Perhaps the span would be much less
And I could know the where and how

Of where you went, of why you left
The Sun retreating on the beach
Towards the west, and out of sight
And like the Sun, you're out of reach

So come be near me dear Christine
Whose love, in haste, I threw away
Psychotic hubris, red and gore
I heard you tell me you won't stay

So love me now without a doubt
If only with a whisper's hue
On paper with a wetted brush
For all the days I'm loving you


You can see how and why I hate these damn things: sappy, didactic, dry, passionless. Unfortunately, Love remains part of my practiced craft; I can't stand myself sometimes, and it drives me to write more senseless love poems. For what possible advantage am I writing? Who will be swayed by this horrendous emotional drip? Am I going to wake up one day next to love provided at the tip of my pen? I don't think so. Perhaps I'll garnish pity in the poetic ampitheater, but not love. My verse is not as beautiful as Petrarch's, and not as cunning as the Bard's. I am not the very butcher of a silk button, or punning the golden laurel breeze. Every day, I supect more that I know only madness well enough to write it, as love seems further from my poetic grasp. Some days are longer than others.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


A former poetry professor of mine, Janet Hamer, once advised the class to only write love poetry after our fortieth birthday. Being young and stupid, I insisted the right to write love poetry should be on everyone's poetic grocery list. For a few years before receiving this advice from Prof. Hamer, and a few years after, actually, I wrote a ream on one woman. I knew her in high school, and we were good friends, that's it. Needless to say, with a young poet's vigor, I wrote her. I wrote her and rewrote her, always looking for the best possible words to describe her, to inspire her, and to admire her.

Over the years (what's 2002 - 1996 again?), I created a set of ideals and images I called "Christine." That was her name, but around 1999, she was clearly no longer a person, and became the most important character in the mental morality play that is my perception. I loved Christine so much, I took her name away, and gave it to a portion of my own psyche. It was also in 1999 that I found Petrarch, first in English translation, then in Italian. He did much the same thing to Laura as I did to Christine. We were partners in crime, stealing names, and giving them to impossibly pure and impossibly virtuous delusions. I stopped reading Shakespeare because it didn't speak to me like Petrarch did, and I thought the Bard was simply mocking Petrarch in his sonnets.

At first, when Christine left, I was heartbroken. I found my voice mute to her. I wanted desperately to tell her everything, and share this poetry with her, but I did nothing: nothing but change. I used her name, not only as a shrine to my memory, not only as a launching pad for my poetic ambitions, but also as a measure of convenience. If I was thoroughly in love with Christine, why would I need a relationship away from her? That was how I thought, lived, and wrote.

In December of 2003, things changed. I actually got the courage, with a little prodding, to ask out my friend Jaime. As you can probably tell, I fell head over heels in love with her. Verses flowed; flowers bloomed, and my love grew with them. Yeah, Jaime wasn't as pretty as Christine was, and did not have the same degree of distinguishing features of my lady-love in the sky; but she was real. I was closer to Jaime than I'd ever been to virtually anyone. She kept trying to tell me how fat she was, but I told her the beauty I saw in her with my own eyes, and confessed much of my life's previous regrets. To this day, there are things that only she knows. The best part about the relationship, to me, was the reciprocity. I loved someone, and that someone loved me back! This concept was totally foreign to my world. I wrote Jaime. I wrote her hard. I'd created two epic poems (no exaggeration) on Christine, and I wanted something at least as profound for Jaime. The epic's title was "Princess Black and Yellow," her two favorite colors. By June 2004, I produced a sizable volume of verse under the Princess Black and Yellow banner, and the rest was planned. We went out for nearly six months, then she dumped me; wah wah wah. Turns out she hated my insipid love poetry as much as the voices in my head. The soft underbelly of my existence, so guarded in times past, I always assumed to be lovable and real. It's not; it's a paincushion: I am the monster, not them: the voices in my head. I thought I knew love, and love knew me. I was wrong. The same infatuation follows me around now with Jaime as it did with Christine. I can make a lot of Christine's long, red hair (capelli lunghi rossi), and her blue eyes (occhi blue), but there's only so many things one can write about a brown-haired woman with brownish green eyes.

What does this have to do with Hamer, the Bard, and Petrarch? Professor Hamer's sentiment was right: I didn't know love, I only knew the very basics of how my mind and body reacted to the presence of the opposite sex. The Bard was right to mock Petrarch in his sonnets. Petrarch knew less than I did; his love was even more tied up in his ego than mine. About Petrarch, I still love the guy, and I love his books; I just can't have another Christine on my hands with Jaime. I am determined to stay friends with Jaime until I feel nothing for her. Seven years from now, I don't want to choke on love again because I couldn't get over an average to below-average relationship. Maybe by he time I'm forty, I'll know a little more about love.