This blog has moved to Tumblr for all future posts. This version of the blog is being left up for posterity, so old articles and comments will remain here for eternity (or, until the great EMP pulse knocks out all power to the Earth and we have to hunt with bows and ride bicycles everywhere).
I am now posting daily over at http://blog.joethepeacock.com -- go there for the newest stuff. All the old stuff is there, too. If you would, kindly comment there. If you comment here, there's a low likelihood I'll actually answer.
Update your RSS feeds also (they should have automatically switched, but just in case, it should be http://blog.joethepeacock.com/rss -- so update that, too.
See you all on the other side.
Was like eating glass.
I didn't want to do it
And it hurt the entire time
And ultimately, nothing come from it but pain.
I'm not sure why I did it, even
Except that I have this pesky rule
About telling people the truth when they ask.
If you think it hurt to hear me tell you the truth,
Think about how much it hurt to hear you ask me
And know what was coming.
Think about how the question itself leaving your lips
Was like watching you take a glass
And place it in a sack
And smash it against the table.
Think about how when you asked "Please?" after I tried to say no
It was like watching you take your shoe
and smash the shards into tiny chunks.
And when you looked at me that way
That way you know I can't resist
It was like watching you open the bag
and offer me glass to eat.
And because you asked
Because YOU. Asked.
I reached into the bag
I took a handful of broken glass
I placed it in my mouth
And I bit down.
I could feel the sharp edges pass my teeth
I could feel them slice into my lips and my gums and my tongue
I could taste my blood as it poured from my mouth
And none of that even compared
To watching your reaction as I sat there
Chewing the glass
And attempting to make you swallow it.
If pain is a teacher,
That was a powerful lesson:
Never ask a question
You don't want to hear the answer to
Because you're not the one who's going to bleed
When the pain hits.
There was one second in one minute of honesty one night
I saw a glimpse of promise in you
Where you saw yourself for yourself
And you found, for the first time,
The truth about who you should be.
But you weren't strong enough to follow through on that.
The memory of that night is forever burned in my mind.
When I think of you, I don’t think of dinners
Or long drives
Or any of the things we did.
I think of that night, and that one second in that one minute of honesty.
The look on your face as all the tension left it.
The way your eyes went soft.
The way your lip quivered.
The way you fell into my arms.
The way your tears felt on my chest.
Then, it was gone.
Like a prison door shut
I could nearly hear the steel as it slammed closed in your heart.
Your face smiled a practiced smile
Your eyes dried up
Your body took on a soldiers posture
And you were “fine.”
And you still are “fine” as near as I can tell.
We don’t talk much.
We don’t see each other.
But I hear about you from time to time
And the few times we have talked
You use words that sound like they mean all sorts of things
But all I hear is “fine.”
I hope that one day, you find that place again.
I hope that you are able to clear the rubble
from the wreckage in your head
and find a way
and to be loved.
And that’s why I won’t be there for you when you do.
But I still hope you find that place
and realize what you really are.
Because love never leaves when it’s real
And in that one second of that one minute of honesty one day
I fell in love with you
And I realized then, I will always have to love you from afar.
It’s a shame that someone I know
will always be nothing more than a memory to me
Even when I see you next
When I talk to you next
I’ll be looking at and talking to the embodiment of a memory.
I hope that you can become that person again, for your sake.
For my own, I choose to remember you as that woman
Who was real
For one second of one minute
That one day.
I dreaded the sunrise every morning.
It meant the night was over
and I was that much closer to leaving.
I cringed when I saw the dim light
slowly glowing brighter
in yellows and oranges.
It clung to her skin
like its only job
was to wash away the darkness
and highlight her body.
And as I watched
early morning poured through the window
it landed on her
I soaked up every minute.
Every second, even.
I counted them
trying to slow them down.
I hoped that
by counting the seconds slower than the clock did
I could slow down
and maybe even stop
And I could just hold that moment.
Just hold it.
Just a little longer.
I could keep it from slipping away from me.
It's the same reason
I think of her
every minute of the day these days.
Because I don't want her to slip away from me.
I won't ask you to perch the moon on your fingertip, so that my nights glow brighter.
I won't ask you to hold up the sun at dawn by the threads of sunlight that stream over the horizon.
I won't ask you to run great distances or lift heavy objects or solve great riddles.
I don't want anything from you.
All that I ever ask is that you let me love you for who you are, honestly and truly.
Maybe you still cry in department store bathrooms when you hear that one song playing over the intercom.
Maybe you can't bring yourself to go into that one coffee place because it only smells like memories.
Maybe you drive blocks and blocks out of your way to avoid going through that one neighborhood.
That's all okay.
For today, that is enough.
(This is an experiment, a combo post from both my blog and my Notes To Self.)
Life comes at you like blocks in Tetris. The pieces fall and you stick them where you can, and gaps form. You try to fill those gaps with external crap (like love, alcohol, video games and other distractions).
And then one day, it all just...
...But you still have all the pieces.
So you get to rebuild. Narrower, deeper, and much more solid.
And you realize the gaps can't be filled by anyone or anything else besides you.
In every house, there's that one room... You know the one. It's filled with junk and the door's always closed, because you can't stand to look at it.
There might even be old food in there.
And your solution is to close the door so you don't have to deal with it. You might even lock it, so that when company comes over, they can't peek in. And you do "fine" walking around your house, living in all the other rooms.
Until one day, someone convinces you to open that door.
"Man… all the potential… I could do so much!" they exclaim.
They could paint it.
They could build shelves.
They could even put stained glass on the window, so the sunrise is beautiful as it shines through.
All these promises… But first it needs to be cleaned. And that's a huge issue. They are not you. So they have no idea where the stuff in that one box goes, or if it's junk and should be thrown out. And they have no clue what the stuff in any of the boxes even means to you. And they certainly don't have the permission or the authority to just scrap shit on their own, or put shit where it doesn't belong (and if they do that to you, they are abusing the privilege of being invited in).
So, you realize, they can't make all those promises of what could be, true. Because they simply cannot get in there to do the work. Because it's not their work to do.
So, they leave, and you see all those promises of what could be leave with them, and that room just sits there, cluttered and messy.
You can only see all that could have been. And it hurts.
AND THIS IS THE BIG THING SO PAY ATTENTION:
Instead of getting to work cleaning it out,
You close the door.
And eventually, you forget (or, at least, get numb). And you do "fine" walking around your house with that door closed. And you meet another person and another and another, and you think "could this person do what the other person promised in that room?"
And mostly it's "no" but eventually, it's "maybe..."
So you show them the room, and the promises are made — only this time, bigger and even better, because you get to join in the conversation from last time.
but first… There's cleaning to do...
Until you clean that room out, you're stuck. There's no way to do any of that work anyone you meet promises until that room is handled. So you are going to have to do the hard work of opening that door all by yourself, walking in there all by yourself, and begin shuffling through all those long forgotten boxes full of long forgotten memories.
But here's where things get really interesting... Once that job is done (and it takes a while, trust me)... Suddenly, you realize YOU can paint that room. And YOU can build the shelves. And if you so choose, you could even make some stained glass to put in the window that faces the morning sun.
And the next person to visit can walk into that room and just enjoy being in there with you.
That's love, pretty much.
You might be looking for someone... Someone who gets it. Who gets YOU. And so you'll go on some dates, and some are good and some really good. And then there's that one person you liked so much, you go out with again, and again, and eventually end up in a relationship with.
And then, it ends. Like all relationships do. A day, a week, a month, a year... 14 years, 2 months, 27 days, 17 hours and 12 minutes (not that I was counting)...
You're going to be alone and sad and broken and you begin wondering, "what's wrong with me?" Right question, wrong reason for asking. You're asking because you think that you are broken and undesirable because these people come into and then subsequently go out of your life. You're asking "why can't I keep a mate?"
The real question you should be asking is, "Why do I feel I need one?"
You might be "fine" when you're single. Sure. True. You are able to survive. But when you date someone, you always end up broken and remorseful and wonder what's wrong with you.
Well, the truth is, there's nothing "wrong" with you. But there's definitely something going on that you need to address. You're not happy with yourself, and you need validation from someone else to feel worthy and happy.
They can't make you happy. They can only remind you of reasons to be happy. Even at their most charming and most witty and most thoughtful and most loving... They're not MAKING you happy, they're giving you reasons to remember why you are happy.
Happiness is not given, it's shared. Only YOU can make you happy.
I'm on a tour up the east coast, visiting friends on my way up to my for-the-holidays-home home in Boston. Tonight, I'm stopping in Carrboro, NC where my friends Heather and Fraser live. Heather is a writer and Frasier is a talented photographer... And very Scottish.
We decided to play a writer's game I kinda halfway just invented: Each person writes a paragraph, then hands to the next writer. The next writer can only read the last sentence of the previous paragraph. After three pages, the Scotsman narrates the whole thing.
You can play this at home. All you need is a pen, three pieces of paper, and a Scotsman.
Here's what we came up with. Blue = me, Orangish = Heather:
If you could measure disappointment in pounds and ounces, then Mick would have weighed so much, the chair beneath him would shatter. He had been sitting at that table for hours, waiting... Waiting. Alas, the only thing that had arrived that he expected was the tater tots.What's interesting is that, with two writers, you see continual loopbacks into their particular thread -- with Heather, it's undead, and with me, it's absurd notions of crushing disappointment and fun sized candy. It's also interesting that, when the theme became halloween, both things made sense somehow.
He was determined that this time, it would work. Previous attempts at ingesting anything, solid or liquid, had only ended in the employees inviting him to leave and not come back. It was endlessly frustrating to contemplate. His clothes appeared to be made of the same stuff as the rest of his body -- The outfit he was wearing as his life ended abruptly -- but while the pockets could hold whatever he shoved into them, the body just... Didn't. Whatever went into his mouth ended up in a pile on the floor. Today was the day though -- he was determined he would eat now, or never try again.
He knew if he never tried to eat again, he'd die. That's how much it meant to him: he was risking starvation for this to work (of course, he also knew hunger would probably override his dogmatic conviction to his hunger strike and, if he happened upon a stray piece of cereal or a rogue french fry left beneath his seat, he'd give in and eat it. That is, unless you could measure disappointment in dry weights and his chair broke and he crushed it before he could eat it... So let's thank God that's not how THAT works...
He might be dead, but at least he could enjoy something about being stuck planet side. Honestly though, he found that he didn't see what all the fuss was about. Memories from his former life were hazy and fleeting, but he knew a good meal when he saw one. The consequences were sure to be... interesting. But his new mission in un-life was to find the actual best ones ever.
"These ones are the ones of princes and kings!" he would exclaim... If and when he found them. Other ones would be inferior. And ain't nobody want some inferior ones, you know? I mean... Fuck that, right? Only the BEST ones will do. He will settle for no less. This is what he thought while sitting there, well into his third hour, waiting... Waiting. And not crushing his chair, thankfully. Also, he might have been drunk.
Damn, it was great to be drunk. Way too munch is free to bounce around your mind and fuck you up when you no longer have to spend so much energy just maintaining a body. Being dead is enough of a bummer. Being dead AND depressed, you don't even want to go there. Drunk though... Drunk was good. He was numb in every sense of the word. The only thing to do now was test the limit. Could he actually pass out anymore?
He sure hoped so. There was an entire bowl full of Halloween candy left. If he couldn't pass out any more, he'd be forced to eat it all himself. And thus, as three hours turned into four and the weight of his disappointment grew and his chair strained to hold him up, he began picking out the best ones: Snickers! Kit Kat! Reese's! "These brats... They make me wait and wait... THEY GET THE MILKY WAY! THEY GET THE THREE MUSKATEER'S! Mr. Goodbar, Smarties... They get ALL THE INFERIOR ONES!"
Discrimination! That's what it is! His... Life-ism! "Fucking zombies had to ruin it for all the rest of us. And don't even get me started on Vampires!"
"Fucking Vampires..." he said aloud. He took another drink. "Laziest costume next to ghosts... Just roll around in some glitter and put in plastic fangs... I swear, if a SINGLE Vampire shows up, I'll--" Just then, the alcohol and the fun-sized candy bars kicked in and he fell over into a diabetic coma, and consequently broke his chair, ultimately from disappointment.
I laughed out loud when I read the Vampires bit. I am 90% sure that if I published this, middle-aged unsatisfied housewives would buy this and masturbate to it by the census-load.
If you play it, please share your results!!!