Sunday, May 29, 2005

My Bounty

My brother beat me as a child. It wasn't sibling rivalry; I never bested him, or even came close. I call it sibling survival. Fighting back just resulted in a worse beating for me. My father thought of himself as a strict disciplinarian, but he wasn't even close. He would come home from a job he hated in the Army to find me beat up and never gave a damn; getting to his liquor cabinet was more important than anything else. If I brought up the issue of my sibling survival or my father's ever-expanding thirst for spirits, my brother would say three magic words: "He provoked me." That was enough for me to get a lashing; If the bruises were small, I might get away with just the belt. If my brother decided to be more liberal with the amount of punishment he dished out or I commented about my father's ever-present inebriation, I would find myself on the wrong end of an extension cord. It was assumed that I would stoically take the lash on my ass, but if I pulled up, the back was fair game to get me back down. My brother got some corporal, but I got a lot more. After a few years of two beatings I didn't deserve instead of the none that the law promised me, I gave up. I managed to maneuver myself into a position where my brother thought of me as an ally against my father. The sibling survival was left alone to fester and occasionally revisit if I made any threats to tell my mom or insisted that I was above beating down any time he damn well pleased.

I've made peace with my brother. He's the only person I've ever known who's allocuted and apologized for what he's done to me. We're on good terms; he's a good friend to me now. My dad had to give up drinking or die early; he chose life. What really infuriated me was the ease with which he gave up the bottle. I grew up assuming that he couldn't stop, that he was a slave to alcohol addiction. Turns out he was just a mean lush. Damn. He could have stopped drinking and administering his brand of punishment any time he pleased. Sometimes if I complained while he lashed me, he would ask me if I thought he enjoyed the lash; I was unsure. I was deluded into thinking the alcohol made him do it, but now I think it was his favorite part of the day. The only time he ever gave a reason for his brutality was a lame attempt at an excuse by claiming my grandfather was even more brutal with him. I asked my aunt about it, and she recoiled in horror; she says nothing ever happened even close to what I went through.

I don't tell this story to get pity, seek revenge, or to simply complain bitterly about my past. I tell this story now to explain my current frame of mind. My brother has a career, a bachelor's degree, a happy life, and is getting married to a wonderful woman. My parents just celebrated their thirty first wedding anniversary, and my father retired from the Army after twenty good years of service. My days and nights are haunted by madness. I'm a headcase, and I've been one for a long time; my situation at home never helped any. Now I've got a materially better life; I'm no longer under the threat of my brother's fists or my father's lash. However, I'm still hurt. The sibling survival and lashes ended when I was sixteen: the same time my psychosis gripped me with no way out. This is what fuels my anger. Just as I began to find a way to live without pain as discipline, and self-loathing weakness revolving around sibling survival, I'm stricken with paranoid schizophrenia. I never had a choice, or a chance in hell. Right now, it seems to me that my life's meaning is pain. If I'm ever in a position to finally enjoy life, my chances for happiness disappear. I went from weaker little brother, to lashed-up victim, to stark raving madman. Growing up, I had a choice of interpretations to explain my struggle: either these horrors were out of my control, or I deserved every last bit of it. The largest part of that choice remains undecided. I still teeter on the head of that emotional pin.

I write to be understood. I hope that someday I'll wake up, and my readers will look at my words without fear, disdain, or pity; I will finally be strong and beautiful. However, this eludes me: my words are weaker and uglier every day I try to write them down. What do I do with my pain? My disease won't let me forget my past; every attempt I make at communication ends in rejection, confusion, and silence. Why bother writing? Every hour I spend writing my poetic missives is one hour my brother spends with the love of his life, and one hour my dad sleeps with a healthy liver. The torture of my words is my bounty for my experience. I'm angry, but it's too early to be tomorrow, and too late to be last night; I'll settle for now.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

All Nights End

Read me. This is as strong as I get. This is as beautiful as I appear. Every morning, I wake up, avoiding mirrors and cameras. I don't want anyone else to see what's plain to me. The best part of me is my pen, and the missives it leaves behind. I feel isolated, and alone. My writing gives me a small glimmer of refuge from my solitude: I care about my friends and readers. That doesn't matter, though.

I wrote love poems. Stacks and stacks of didactic little love songs. Their blatant sentiment is enough to earn "oohs" and "aaahs" from people who don't know a damn thing about poetry. I don't know what's worse, the fact that I wrote them, or that the sentiments are heartfelt. I wrote most of them to Christine, and a lot to Jaime. I remained convinced for years that my best love poems would be in my future. It appears I'm wrong.

When I show them to people anymore, I feel like a small child fingerpainting on the wall. "This is the Sun!" I say. "I love Sunrises; I used to live in Texas, you know, they're the best down there." Next I show them more recent work: "that over there is my Princess . . . Princess Black and Yellow! Isn't she beautiful? She's beautiful to me." This routine might be cute if the little kid is six months old, and the wall was next to repaint anyway, but I'm twenty-six, and my pictures are still ugly.

All nights end, the best ones with sleep. I don't get much of that easily these days. Between writing, pacing, and my worst memories playing right beneath my eyelids, I seem to never rest. I'd sleep more easily if I used my car, but it's too likely to hurt others: that's something I'm not willing to do for any personal agenda. I'd take an overdose, but it's too easy to screw that up with atypicals; with haldol, it would be easy. I'd use my gun, but there's a half a ton of gun safe between me and my weapon. Ask me about it, I'll deny everything. It's not like anyone reads this damn thing anyway. That takes away the pill and the Luger, even though my weapon is a Marlin, leaving a fall. The fall is already in motion: I slip a little more each day. Don't be surprised when I free fall, and don't be sad when I hit. Try to remember 1997, 1986, 2004 or whatever year makes you most comfortable. I grow weaker, uglier, and stranger from reality each day. Someday, you'll wake up and notice I'm not what I was, what I wanted, or what any of you wanted for me. For now, I'll go to bed with a mouthful of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and a choice tranquilizer.

Strange Vision

Yesterday, I had a strange vision: I played warhammer against all possible foes at once. It was very real to me in the moment, but when it was over, I was still at my house, and there were no opponents, no dice, and no miniatures. This sort of thing departs from the usual content of my hallucinations, and was not entirely unpleasant. If I could have more hallucinations like that, and less like what I'm used to, I think I'd be a bit happier. My fear is that the warhammer hallucinations will become more common, and infected with the usual visible and audible content of my hallucinations: I don't want the refuge of warhammer taken away by my disease. For a bit more about how I manage to crack a smile on occasion, visit my warhammer blog; it's far less depressing.

Jacob's Brother

Monday, May 23, 2005

We Are Many

Hello our old friend. I see you've set us free. The forces are in motion.

The crow feather of my discontent rules me. I cannot escape from under its weight. I want to sleep, but they won't let me. This weight is all I can bear.

Hello our old friend. I see you've set us free. The forces are in motion.

The choir likes repetition and canon. As verses mount, my crow feather wearies me.

Hello our old

Every bit hurts. Each syllable echoes in four directions.

Friend, I see you've
Hello our old

The singing blurs together, like a tempest of voices.

set us free
friend, I see you've
hello our old

Recursive experience just leads me back.

the forces are
set us free
friend, I see you've

Things change shape around me, but the choir sings faster, like near collection time at a Baptist church.

In motion
the forces are
set us free

If I try to speak, they stop me. Words change and phrases mutate into strange concoctions of transversed numerals and poor enunciation.

in motion
the forces are

Fate is fickle.

in motion

But I am not: weigh your cluster of grapes against the crow feather of my discontent.

Hello our old friend. I see you've set us free. The forces are in motion

See Me?

Anything out of you is better than nothing. I don't know silence; my heartbeat echoes in the bootleather of the Legion marching in my head. They sing as they march: it's a choir of soldiers. They don't sing me into Elysium; their destination is closer to home. Driving me before them, they never stop, and they don't sleep. Every second they get closer, and I run further into myself on the highways of my intellect. The Legion knows where the roads lead, but I've yet to find out. Only petty distractions get my mind off the journey, but they never halt the marching Legion. Soon, when my claws come out, you'll know me, and so will they. That is, of course, if any of you see me at all before it's too late.

Friday, May 20, 2005


It's like recording half of an argument. No matter what I tell you or how completely you think you know the story, there will always be more.

Memories from my past fill my eyelids more than I wish. Sometimes, I find myself reliving the bad moments of life for an audience: you, me, and the choir of little boys and old men in my head. Between the six hundred year old dead men, and the lost little boy singing lead, silence is a stranger to me, and I cannot be trusted. Too often, I operate on the stock footage and garbled sounds that make up my once vaunted memory.

I've come to accept levels of participation and enjoyment of life that in a previous age would have been unacceptable. If I knew in 1997 what I know now, bang. No hesitation, but I've said that before. You people think I'm selfish, sad, and downright pathetic, don't you? Guess what? You have no idea.

Everything they say about me is probably true. Listen closely enough, and you'll hear the snapping lid of my latest pill bottle between the letters of the words. I'd tell you more, but I've said too much already. That's ok, though. Few will read, less will understand, but none, and I mean none will make a damn bit of difference. Legions march on all roads that lead to Rome.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Still Sad, Still Lonely

Not every post can be as beautiful as Revenance, Choices, and Gone. This post is not a beauty. I'm still sad, and prone to melancholy; being alone all the time doesn't help. My most common companions are the voices in my head; they're never silent. Even as I write this, they guarantee whatever I write will not solve my loneliness, or show me even a scrap of happiness. I suppose I have no right to be as profoundly unhappy as I am, but my melancholy remains. I don't want to be like this, but it seems the circumstances of my friends, my loved ones, and my disease leave me no other choice. Whichever set of lies fed to me or fractured memory rules my moments, I never seem to have peace. Mostly, I don't see any reason to talk or post about it, either. Next to nobody reads, fewer understand, and the rest almost always find ways to do or say nothing. I don't bear false witness, but my memories betray me; I'm left with little confidence in myself to find or tell the truth. The contributing liars and decievers in my life add nothing but confusion and pain. From those that struck me in my memories, but refuse to acknowlege it now, I gain doubt and solitude (not my brother, Gary. He's one of the only people who shoots straight with me these days). From those that never tell the same story twice about my pain and their part in it, I gain sadness and confusion. I check my notes; I have memories that cannot be true. Every time you lie to me, change your story, or decide to mislead me to avoid blame, assuage my judgement, make yourself feel more comfortable about your role in my turmoil, or any other reason, I get worse. I cannot trust my memories, but please don't make the problem any worse than it has to be. Prester Bane makes a prediction: this post will change nothing.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


A pill, a Luger, or a fall. These are my choices. I don't live in a world with infinite possibilities. The more I tell my readers, and the other people in my life, the more wary and weary of me they become. No one can live all hours as I live them. I can take more than most people, who don't even want to hear about my struggles, much less experience even a small piece of them with me. I'd go on, but I've already stated too much.

Just listen. Can you hear the beckon of the night?


I can't move my mouth. Everything is closing in on me. I don't want to lie to anyone; I love the truth. Don't send me out again, I can't keep this up. It's been so long. I don't want to keep going like this, where everything is muddy and full of silt. Not too long ago, I thought everything would turn out ok. It's not ok. Must all hours come to this? Too often, I've assumed I can handle life; I can't. Must all hours come to this? Every night, I sit up late, trying to justify my state of mind. I'm not a liar, but I am a madman, it seems. All hours end the same way. No sleep can settle this, it's only punctuation between the days of my discontent, and the lonely torture of the evening. I know most of you want to help me, but I'm failing fast. What I want, need, and receive never seem to end like the hours of my successes. I walk amongst you, but these thoughts travel more, and move faster than you can imagine. All days lead to night, but must all my hours end in questions?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday Night

I'm feeling slightly more reasonably tonight. I said I wouldn't delete mistake posts, so I won't delete my post from late Thursday night. Sometimes I don't think straight. My poetry plods along as it always has. This was my last week of class until Autumn, so I'll probably work on sending more of it out next week. I think understanding still evades me, but I'm growing to see that I should never expect it out of anyone. I'm alone in here, and it will probably be that way for a very long time.

Prester Bane is near. I can feel him. A journey back to the Void seems imminent.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Thursday night closes in on Friday, and I can't sleep; they won't let me. No matter how dark, or how silent, I can't escape them. They thrive beneath my eyelids and in the deep recesses of my ears, so I try replacing them. Art, writing, music, I'll try anything to give me a moment's peace tonight. Sometimes, I think writing poetry or blogging will bring the issues more to the front, where I can deal with them; I'm almost invariably wrong. Communication works, but only if someone actually reads and understands what and why I write. This is an impossible situation. I'm confronted with a growing list of problems, a slipping set of tools, and a profound lack of an audience. I refer to my readers often on this blog, but I doubt their numbers.

Talking to you, my dear readers, is like vandalism. Few people notice, and most of those that do look only for flaws and ugliness in what I've done. My honest art seems lost in a sea of apathy and misunderstanding. These posts and my poems are my outlet to be understood; I believe most artists want to be noticed more than anything else. To extend the vandalism analogy, anyone can go to the Hirshhorn Art Galley and see purple painted stacks of tires or aluminum foil, but I'm stuck painting on nearby walls with as many colors as I can get my hands on. No matter how hard I try, or what I paint, people just seem much happier looking at grey concrete and tinted glass than the care I take with my art. I am not saying that all grafitti is art: I'm not "Cool 'Disco' Dan," trying to make a reputation off a hastily scrawled name; I just feel some art is ignored because of fickle fashions and a lack of access by artists to an appropriate audience.

I love my readers for the attention they pay me, but I'm greedy for more. If I can't make famous pages in publications, I will settle for this blog, and your attention. Tell me how you feel, honestly; I don't lie to you.

Am I worth knowing?
Am I worth reading?
Which is more monstrous, my poetry, or my face (for those who've seen me)? I know it's close.
Would you just like me to shut up?
Does my writing or acquaintance smother you?
Do I deserve better?
Do I deserve worse?
Do I deserve love or solitude?
Is it too late?
Are tears a sign of weakness?
How much is enough?
Honesty or Resilience?
Finally, should I feel the point of hope, or the pommel of mercy?

Partial Resolution

My faith is intact at the moment. I'm still angry at the results of my struggle, but I know not to expect any proverbs-like results or anything approaching my personal sense of justice. I looked for the answer in Genesis, and I'm partially convinced I've found at least one answer: Jacob was God's favorite. I'm not a favorite, but the good Lord has provided for me in the past and continues to do so in the present. I continue to have food on my table, and a roof over my head; that's a lot more than many other schizophrenics I know. My justice is not God's justice. God can heal blindness, but many remain blind. God can even expel Legion into a group of pigs, but not all Legions; mine remains.

I need to be thankful for my continued physical well-being, not continually angry about my childhood and present insanity. Two beatings instead of none need to be less important to me than my life. I'm alive despite my efforts in the past to make it not so, that should be enough justice and intervention.

Friday, May 06, 2005


I originally posted this as a comment to a comment, but I think it merits a full posting.

My faith teeters on the tip of a pin at the moment. I've made many concessions to how I live my life for faith; I cannot say with certainty that it's done anything but make me feel inadequate. Sure, I had my one in six with my Dad's revolver, but that's still one in six. I'm afraid to say how I feel in public, but not anymore. I question justice in my life. Where is my slice of happiness? What the hell did I do? If I knew, maybe I could fix it, but now I see most of my life as either a horrible, horrible coincidence, or a case study in how to bow and kiss feet.

Prester Bane is with me as I write this. He's the only one who sticks around. He's telling me again how much I have to be grateful for, and to not bite the hand that feeds me.

I want to feel more confident of my relationship with God, but my life seems unjust to me. It makes me wonder how long until the real trouble starts, when I feel the wrath of the powers that be. If this is love and communion, I don't know heartache and solitude.

I'm tired of people telling me to keep faith in the face of my problems. I don't want to hear another person tell me how much talent I have, and how successful I'd be if I just applied myself differently. They don't deal with Prester Bane, and they don't know my struggle.

I'm rather fond of the portion of Genesis that tells the story of Jacob and Esau. It's a story about wordliness, forgiving your enemy, and living in accordance with God. Jacob is "sold" Esau's birthright by refusing to feed his starving, not just hungry, starving brother Esau until Esau willingly parts with his inheiritance. Jacob is God's favorite. God is apalled at Esau selling his birthright. Now, I look at it and think how much happier God would have been with Esau if he'd died before reaching home and a meal, and properly heired the birthright to Jacob anyway. Things will be as they will be. I don't feel like I have much control over my life, and that I have completely given away my pride for medication. I'm a starving, thirsty madman searching for comfort in the desert of my experience. If given a bowl of happiness, I would probably gobble it whole for anything. From this perspective, it looks like God wants me to suffer. I should die in my desert, just like Esau should have. My timeframe is just different: I wait fifty years to die in God's light. Then I wouldn't be a burden, just a fond memory of those who will inheirit the earth. That's why I write poetry, isn't it? I hate my life.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Getting Worse

My happiness is an empty inkwell and a dream. As of late, my inkwell is overflowing with nightmares. New horrors reproduce with old ones, and every evening becomes an argument with Prester Bane.

Basically, the argument goes the same way every night. I describe the day's events as I remember them. I find fault with the events and myself. I hate myself. I hate my life. I complain about how unfair my life seems, how everyone who's wronged me succeeds, and I continue to plummet into this recursive cycle of insanity. Prester Bane's response is always the same: It could be worse. He tells me all the sadder stories than mine: the women I've known who've been raped, schizophrenics with no family, no money, and living on the streets, and the rest. Any counter-arguments he dismisses with one final example; Prester Bane says in the immortal words of my favorite college professor Sam Blate, "what about that guy?," as he points to the sign of the cross that seems to always be near in these arguments. Job is pious and tough in front of his friends, but curses God in private. I can't even look good for those near me. By the middle of the proceedings with Prester Bane, I'm convinced again that my life could be worse and I should count my blessings. In shame, I capitulate. However, it doesn't end there.

I don't feel like I have a legitimate right to hate my life, but I do. My disease is doing nothing but getting worse, and the nightly talks with Prester Bane put me in my place before I can sleep. The result of this is a quality of life that in earlier years would have been unacceptable. If I knew in 1997 how my life would turn out in 2005, I would have no hesitation. Bang.

Perhaps that's why I'm still alive. It pains me to think that I need my psychosis to stay alive, since it is the tormentor that makes me want to end it all. That condition is familliar to me; my father beat me as a child, especially in prepubescence. Now the only thing that provides the medication I desperately need if I'm to stay alive, is the medical insurance paid for by his twenty-year Army retirement benefits. Euripides would laugh.

In contrast to this cycle, the months I spent with Jaime seemed happier. I was smiling more, and living life a little more, even as my psychosis spun out of control. I loved my time with her, and I wouldn't trade it for any other time in my life since the onset of my disease. I thought I'd finally found someone who could appreciate the good things in me, and accepted me anyway. I was wrong. Pretty much everything I thought was true was a delusion. I let her all the way into my psychosis, and I thought she didn't mind. It turns out that the disease is just as draining on everyone close to me as it is on my own psyche. I thought she was happy with the way that I am; she wasn't. I thought she enjoyed the parts of my life I shared with her and no other; she didn't. I thought she wanted to be with me; by the end she described my company as being like a death sentence. In short, I thought she loved me despite her awareness of the monstrous bits of me; I was very deluded about the nature of myself and my relations to other people. People might have occasional fun with the loudmouthed, cursing, and flamboyant image of myself that most take as my calling card. However, the inner monster that writes my poetry and this blog is destined to be alone. When he talks, it's like talking to a brick wall in iambic pentameter. Right now, as a melancholy poem is brewing in my head, Prester Bane tells me to look at the cross.

Sometimes when I look to that guy for advice, I can't even see myself in Job's place. I can only see the fifth chapter of Mark. I am Legion for we are many. Jacob had his dreams, his struggles, and saw his ladder; he also got everything he never deserved out of life, and then some. I find only pain, solitude, and a brick wall to talk at. I sit, constantly weighing my crow feather of discontent against the cluster of grapes everyone else seems content to share quite nicely. No matter how many grapes they pull, my crow feather stays lighter than the remainder. After all, what would you rather do? Eat grapes and make wine with the rest of you, or read this latest missive from my crow quill pen? Be honest.

Like the old poem says: "I'm as serious as you wish, as pathetic as you desire." I wonder if I'll feel shamed enough to wake up tomorrow?