I have been pacing around my house for what feels like weeks now. Nervous energy, a taste like burnt offerings and burned bridges lingering in the back of my throat. Wind and rain rattle the windows, but it’s forecast to be in the high 70’s in the mountains next week. Good ol’ spring in … February? Tree frogs singing at night, blossoms pushing through the winter blight. In February. A comfort and a sense of impending doom at the same time. Three nights this week, coyotes howl across the valley. I lift the needle from the turntable. Turn off all the lights, step out onto the porch and listen. I don’t know if it’s a trick of my imagination or not, but I hear the soft padding of feet scampering through the meadow. The wind whips wisps of clouds across the horizon, and everyone wonders just how much vinyl chloride made its way here from Ohio this week.
I wish I smoked sometimes, a contradiction for an asthmatic with an anxiety attack for every shortened breath. Smoking would give me something to do with my hands. A burning, a raw searing sensation settling my raw nerves while killing the ones that live in my lungs. (Yeah, I don’t know if that’s actual science, but it sounds cool, so fuck off.) A decade ago this summer, walking around this shitty little tourist trap mountain town at during one of the lowest of the lows, I saw graffiti on the back of a construction sign, all thick and bold lines.
“Smoking kills, but I want to die.”
I get it, and I hate it at the same time.
All my dreams are haunted this last week. The past and present blur together in a nightmare miasma of troubled sleep. Anxiety dreams where I never left Pennsylvania. Worries about the future. The past creeping in from beyond the wall of sleep, late at night, vulnerable and laid bare. The black of night gathering outside my window knows all my secrets and has no mercy to spare. Then there is the downright bizarre: the dream where my best friend and I found ourselves in a strange amalgam of the present and a fictional past. We were on a suicide mission, baby. Loaded down with explosives, ready to strike a blow against the fascist state. We aborted the mission at the last minute, for reasons that were lost to me upon waking. Then, then, I got distracted by wanting to steal a weight bench.
Which is just maybe the most on brand shit for me, ever.
I submitted a story, some of the best work I’ve done in a long time. Then I considered withdrawing the story on account of how tired I am of the same cycles and shady characters drinking the ink from all my pens.
I don’t know what else to say.
At one point did all your living become surviving?
To all my friends and enemies, running from death, I love you, wherever you may rest.
Except the fash.
Never the fash.
This is for the hearts still beating.
Annihilate This Week #3
- Converge – First Light
- Converge Last Light
- Disfear – Fear and Trembling
- Planes Mistaken For Stars – Say Not A Word
- Against Me – Even At Our Worst, We’re Still Better Than Most
- Cold Cave – You & Me & Infinity
- Future Islands – The Chase
- X – Under The Big Black Sun
- Peter Murphy – Cuts You Up
- Lebanon Hanover – The Moor
- Slugger – How Much More Can We Take
- Unfun – Rain City
- Coliseum – Sunlight In A Snowstorm
- Evil Conduct – Time Is Running Out
- Thou – By Endurance We Conquer
- Wear Your Wounds – Shine
- Etta James – All I Could Do Was Cry
- Percy Sledge – At The Dark End Of The Street