Saturday 21st June 2008

these pills i'm confused these pills aren't working we'll need to consider options. what if i stopped completely? never mind that you found me in the empty bathtub i was just resting, it's quiet in there, the drip of the faucet at the edge of hearing soothes i'm on

edge most of the time now, i'm on the edge looking over i can see forever see through everything but you remain opaque, you're the one solid thing but divergent fuzzy around the edges and not well defined, it underscores the need

for change, we've been over this your presence complicates things, you muddy the waters, you divert me. please will you stop whispering. this this is what i'm talking about, there's a voice in the next room it sounds like yours and i my mind makes you real i wish you'd stop whispering do you understand me? do i understand you? it's a

mystery this person i am, i am speaking as clearly as i can i can't seem to wake up. no i don't need your help, i'm fine i just lost my balance further evidence that these pills are just placebos it's a common problem these days, these

data the data they all point to the same thing


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Sunday 9th March 2008

just the pain this time, once more with feeling, feeling just the pain feeling everything, feeling

bleak again, opaque, are you my shadow? am i in yours? if i am it's fine don't move, the light hurts me just

now, slow down you're going a mile a minute, i'm having trouble i'm having trouble focusing i'm having trouble i don't remember exactly how i

got here, this meadow is unfamiliar the wind is wrong here, here here you are, you are we are all aspects of the same, it's important you hear what i'm saying, the same entity do you understand? our names the line separating us is so small and so arbitrary, like us, degenerate so fragile i have so much to say and so little

time and world, turn me upside down shake me i'll forget it all. do you understand? i'm sorry if you do i'm sorry if i let you too far in. i need something for the pain. what are you putting into my cup, what have i swallowed, what am i on? i am on radio, i am on holiday, i am on fire, when my fever

breaks help me help me pick up the pieces.


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Thursday 21st February 2008

it's just blood, you have it you have it too so why are you looking at me

like that? i'm fine, i'm just tired i never sleep, dreadfully tired but if i close my eyes the walls change, if i close my eyes i see everything, if i close my eyes you'll drive us off the road, i'm keeping us alive with my open

eyes, open yours. can't you see the values? the progressions? i'm keeping us alive. the permutations unfold and expand to exactly fill the container, replace the emptiness of the container, nullify the null, this far and no

further. the container is me so try to understand my interest in the topic, simple interest, never say obsession, never imply never imply the straightening of carpet tassels, never imply the need to contain, the need to staple, the need to parse, the need to make discrete, never imply whispering voices, i hear and feel

your voice coming from the next room i come running you leave you leave before i get there, remembrance comes back, this has all happened, will happen

again, i hear you again and see you, right here, i know this cannot be real i ask you to leave

again, i hear you again and see you, right here, i know this cannot be real i ask you to leave

again, i hear you again and see you, right here, i know this

is not a good dream, i can never sleep. i know this is not

a dream.


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Sunday 5th March 2006

fire and brimstone

subtitle: zen and the art of sneaking one whilst the wife is asleep


out the door. sixty yards. right turn—second guess; about face. one hundred fifty yards. left turn. to the end of the road—i pass another hooded figure; i am you and what i see is me? across the street, under the streetlight and into the blackened park.

if my mother knew what i was doing here tonight she'd maybe cluck her tongue at me. maybe.

i see the picnic table in the center of the park's single light, but the very fact of its visibility rules it out immediately. tonight's work suggests shadow. i lean against a wooden construction barrier covering a muddy hole where too many construction trucks have driven. fascist object, taking away my civil right to step haplessly into the filth if i damn well please, i'll show you.

i tear open the paper/plastic wrapper, pull out one of what i came for. click, puff, puff. for moments all i see is an afterimage of the lighter's sparks and tenuous flame. click, puff, puff. kindle, baby. click, puff, puff.

i had forgotten the taste of this particular brand. acrid to be sure, no cubano, but not wholly unpleasant and linked in memory to far more pleasant nights than this. i fill my mouth again and again, and try and fail to blow smoke rings. some of the foul stuff leaks into my lungs, and oh how i cough. some hobbit i'd make.

who originally thought of this? who decided it would be a good idea to pick some stinky weed, dry it, wrap it in paper, burn it, and breathe the smoke? and in spite of the lungs' immediate and intense instructions not to do it again went ahead and did it again? i conclude it must have been a teenager. probably looking for a way to piss off his dad.

puff, puff. at this short distance the combustion is audible. is it the actual oxidation, or some residual water flash-boiling out of the dessicated leaves and escaping into the entropy-addicted universe? at any rate it's beautiful.

and you: i watch you not seeing me see you trundle down the sidewalk, hands in pockets and mind in who knows what. have we ever been here before, you and i, roles reversed?

i dare a cop to spot me, approach and smell the smoke, ask questions. in my head i'm oh-so-brash, agreeing to produce my identification only when he produces the warrant, and only if it has been signed by the attorney general himself. puff, puff. what a troublemaker i'll never be.

and you: i see you jogging, see the thin white wires connecting your consciousness to some hidden marvelous device and wonder if i'd enjoy what you're listening to, if i myself have listened to those same words jogging that same road, syncopating steps with the same rhythm of inhale/exhale. i decide it's as unlikely as anything possibly could be.

puff, puff. i spit, trying to extinguish the burning that always fills my sinuses when i perform this foolish self-poisoning act, the burning that triggers so strange a response, the burning i hope i never get used to.

there, the school where so recently i made my slow four-year migration from front corners to rear corners. there, the water tower in whose shadow i have lived so long but which i have never climbed. there, the field where i made my first real football tackle. there, a house worth possibly more than all the money i've seen so far. puff, puff.

and you: i can see your balcony from here, can see how he's holding you, and think what you have might last.

existence in every direction, i think. i exist in space and time, always will exist. existence forever, in every direction. this does not comfort me. by ways nothing ever ends, but by the same ways nothing ever begins, does it?

uncharacteristic thoughts, even for such uncharacteristic circumstances, i think. perhaps i've been here too long. puff.

i crush out the cherry-red tip. i'm tempted to leave the ashen remains on the swing set for some naïve elementary schoolkid to find and titter over. the temptation passes.

on the walk home, the chill and the essential loneliness make me feel like a character in one of my own off-center stories. i consider how this one will end, and just who's doing the writing.


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Monday 16th January 2006

the final question

the words next to the telephone number read 'call for questions.' so i call it.

'how can i help you?' the voice says.

'hi, yes, i'd like some questions, please,' i say.

'beg your pardon?'

'questions. i'd like some questions. is this the right number for questions?'

'yes, sir. what is your question?'

'oh no no, i think you misunderstand me. i don't have any questions; all i have is answers.'

silence, then: 'how can i help you, sir?'

'what i really want is a good question. i miss the days of uncertainty, of puzzlement, of flummoxation. where i am in life now, i've figured everything out.'

'perhaps you should instead speak with—'

'what i really miss is the thrill of the chase. that exquisite moment of valuing all variables, fleshing out all details and being able to say, "yes, here it is, the truth i have sought." i haven't had that experience in years. decades.'

'sir, i don't—'

'look, at this point i could settle for just explaining something to someone. do you want to hear about evolution? gravity? tolkien? existentialism? antimatter? RAID levels? mathematical uncertainty? ask me something, anything. honestly, i'm dying for a conversation, you have no idea.'

'clearly not. look—'

'oh, not when you're on the clock. i see. absolutely. surely though, you can understand my situation. kindergarten was fantastic—the colors! the shapes! the celery and peanut butter! the new faces! a million new connections every minute! but by grade school i had already mastered things my teachers hadn't even heard of. high school and college had nothing for me except going through the motions and jumping through the hoops. what homework there was i did in my sleep; i solved all the real problems in my enormous allotment of spare time and the ridiculously large number of vacation days. my career has been a long string of stopgaps whilst trying to maintain that tenuous balance between sanity and physical survival, but insulting in its lack of new questions. that's the pattern, don't you see? all answers, no questions. no prodding. no problems. it's alarmingly dystopian. i'm a round peg in a square hole and i'm near tears here.'

a very long pause. some typing, some breathing.

'all right, sir, that is the correct password. please hold; God will be with you shortly.'

some elevator music.


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Tuesday 4th October 2005

manual

congratulations! you are now the proud owner of your very own matt waters. since this is probably your first experience with matt waters, the makers have provided you with a list of things you can do and avoid in order to maximize your enjoyment with matt waters.

for best results, converse with matt waters using facts and linear ideas. matt waters is powered by a neural net cortical processor, which learns at an optimal rate when offered specific, concrete notions. when conversing, avoid shouting, labelling, unsound arguments, and jumping to conclusions. never physically or verbally attack matt waters, as this will cause matt waters to grow agitated and irreversibly introverted and may lead to permanent isolated loss of rational function.

treat matt waters with utmost care and love. matt waters is designed to act rationally and will do so whenever possible in every situation, but possesses a residual amount of emotion as well. matt waters has been painstakingly hardened against emotional outbursts of all sorts and has been trained to turn such emotional reactivity inward for additional processing. do not mistake matt waters' silence for lack of caring—suggestions to this effect will not be met positively.

allow matt waters to make jokes.

if you elect to use matt waters in a romantic fashion, allow matt waters ample time to understand his role in this respect, and understand that certain related circumstances may cause significant, widespread loss of rational function. once matt waters' role is established and understood, squeeze matt waters at every opportunity.

do not drop matt waters. matt waters contains certain very fragile components, and though encased in specialized protective tissue, excessive forces may damage vital elements of matt waters.

understand that matt waters will attempt to bring order to immediate surroundings in a very peculiar fashion; it is recommended that matt waters be allowed to do so without obstruction, as this leads to increased happiness and productivity for matt waters.

allow matt waters ample access to media of all sorts (including popular music, film, and literature; electronic games; the internet; television and radio; etc.). a sense of connectedness with the world is crucially important to the well-being of matt waters.

never force matt waters to interact with strangers.

wrap matt waters daily in sensible clothing befitting the weather, without concerning matt waters with popular fashion. never wrap matt waters in clothing that advocates any particular sports organization—matt waters does not contain programming to allow him to fully understand sporting activity. do not pull matt waters' trousers up farther than matt waters desires.

insert high-quality, highly nutritional food into matt waters; however, occasionally allow matt waters to ingest substances that have little nutritional value, such as sweets, pizza, or certain illicit beverages. if matt waters appears to be ingesting alarming amounts of any of these, disallow the activity immediately.

if matt waters' temperature rises significantly above nominal 98.6°f, place matt waters in a darkened room and provide matt waters with water, vitamins, aspirin, books, and warm blankets until temperature returns to normal.

when powering down matt waters, allow at least an hour for matt waters to complete routine cortical processor maintenance operations before entering a hibernation state. hibernation periods should last at least seven hours nightly. each morning, allow at least an hour for matt waters to power up all components before expecting optimal performance.


with proper care and upkeep, you can expect many decades of mutually beneficial rational interaction with matt waters. thank you for purchasing matt waters. enjoy matt waters responsibly.


the matt waters name, along with matt waters' genome and programming are copyright© 1981-20xx the makers. all rights reserved


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Wednesday 4th May 2005

obsession

that game that game we used to play and you always won, i can see now why you always beat me i can see the top of your head over the top of the desk shelves again and i don't know why you hide when i get up. have i told you about my dream? forgive me but i'm

getting the poking tingling feeling again in the point at the back of my head that means either i'm seeing time and space unhindered, e-i-e-i-o, or i've forgotten to take my

lithium again. i don't know how you make the phone ring so that only i can hear it but i wish you wouldn't, you're disturbing the

order of things round here, here, here's tom with the weather the fallout is spreading headed west highs in the mid ten millions and, here, i'm rambling again but i digress, i have

this dream, again and again where you you're getting into the car and i'm saying stop, stop, i don't have i told you this before? i

don't want to be scared anymore, my head is hurting again, i want to wake up and it's only after i've thought about it a while here and only after i see and hear my mom biting her nails by the ekg machine when i realize i have



n't slept for weeks. i don't think i'm sleeping
well.


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