Playing With Fire.

It first happened at Nick’s Divorce Party, while I was vomiting in the bushes. This was all thanks to Waldo, by the way — that pudgy, pasty, poison-pushing bastard with the blow-horn voice. He buys people drinks when we’re at the bar, mixes drinks for people at parties. Sounds nice enough, right? No. When he’s around, people vomit.

I heard the door open and close, the noise of the party inside blast through and then be cut off at the throat as the door clicked closed again. I heard soft footsteps on the grass towards me. It took me some time to realize that Nathan’s girlfriend, Angie, was now standing right beside me, saying things to me and trying to hand me a bottle of water. Through talking, in between yacking into the greenery surrounding the house, my hand somehow starts touching her feet. Somehow this serves as an anchor in the swirling vortex inside the confines of my severely inebriated mind.

At first it was just like that: I needed to hold onto something, and she seemed to offer her foot. She has boots on, I suddenly notice. High boots. My girls-wearing-boots fetish kicks in. Her boots are like those cool shoes, only they’re boots laced up to the fucking knee. There was a girl who wore those very same shoe-boots in one of my college classes, and she always sat right in front of me and I would watch her as much as I tried not to. Just seemed so fucking sexy. I wanted her naked, with just the boots on, and I’d plow myself in and out of her like a goddamn jackhammer right there in the lecture hall.

As my hands went further up, up her dress, she didn’t stop me. Seemed to actually lean in to allow more easy access. Laughing, giggling, finding those hungry fingers on my wild and roaming hands as somehow cute. My hands went from the ass cheeks, across the taint, to the cushion of panties and nylon concealing her lovely lower lips.

This went on for perhaps ten, fifteen minutes. Its ending was memorable enough. It was when she said, laughing, “Just wait till I tell your sister about this,” that I stopped.

That’s right, I said to myself. She graduated with my sister, Eve. She was friends with my sister. Fuck. As I turned to continue vomiting, she pat my back and told me she was just kidding.

I saw her next at Terra’s Halloween party. While I was drunk, this time I was not violently emptying my guts into unsuspecting shrubbery. The first time I caught her out of the sight of Nathan, I promptly and sincerely apologized for my molesting behavior at the last party, but she just laughed and brushed it off. And then, not missing a beat, she asked me to slap her ass.

With a moment’s hesitation, I did.

“Firm, isn’t it?”

I touched it.

“Squeeze it.”

You could hardly squeeze it. Indeed it was firm, and no doubt from all her horseback riding. Or other riding.

“Do it again.”

I did.

“Harder.”

I did. I did slap her ass harder. And she liked it. And judging from where I myself was getting harder, I did as well.

“Now,” she demanded, “pull my hair.”

Now it was getting unbearably hot. So hot the radiation almost drowned out the discomfort I felt from the fact that we were not at all alone in Terra’s basement. She was playing with fire so nonchalantly. I thought to myself, “Just let me bend you over the beer cooler and rail you.”

“What did you say?” She asked.

Evidently I was drunk enough to be thinking out loud.

“Nothing,” I said, and bolted out of the basement door and into the darkness of the yard. I wandered a bit, trying to ignore how unbearably horny I was, which was difficult even in the simultaneous presence of profound guilt over doing moments ago what I had just finished apologizing for having done before.

Eventually I found refuge by the bonfire, around which a small group was revolving. Conversation began. In time, Nathan showed up behind me. At some point, Angie herself popped up beside him, and a while later Nathan says to her, “Why do you always end up getting molested by Ben at these parties?”

He said it casually. Annoyed at her, but not in any truly threatening, violent or even angry way. And towards me? Nothing.

I was utterly confused. Not only had she quite clearly told him about what had happened, but he seemed to hold no scorn about it.

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Useful Illusion.

We don’t live in the world, we live in pictures of the world we make and keep inside our heads. People often talk about where they’re at as if they would like to be somewhere — nay, anywhere — else, but perhaps they seek something on the spatial axis that they will only find on the psychological axis. Psychology just isn’t another ingredient in the cake we call reality, it is the predominant one. The essential one.

Most of life is driven by reaction to something based on an interpretation of the stimulus, the consequence of which is most often attributed to the stimulus itself, freeing us of responsibility, but with it a powerful form of liberty. Our reaction is just our answer to the question of experience, which may come across as an abundantly cheesy statement, but I say it to offer contrast with the popular notion that reaction is just a button pressed by the finger we call the stimulus. This being the case, merely changing one’s state of mind can transform reality, as if your brain were a flask in which you preformed some existential alchemy with the prima materia offered by the cosmos through the conduit of your bodily senses.

This does not need to be hopeless and futile. This does not need to be so dismal. Confidence can be found.

So I tell myself, if only to offer a useful illusion.

Nauthiz.

In the dream I had on April 16th, I was with someone in a store and they got what they needed and went to front counter, with me following close behind. The woman at the register said that she could help me, but I hadn’t gotten anything to buy. I didn’t want to just buy anything, and I wanted to take my time checking out the CDs and books before settling on buying something, but I felt cornered, trapped, embarrassed, frantic, pressed for time, and I didn’t know what to do. I then woke up to my alarm in a bad mood, thoroughly irritated. At some point in the dream, I also remember explaining Nietzsche to someone, his philosophy as well as his nearly chin-length mustache. And dreams about Nietzsche can’t be a good sign.

On the 22, I remember only a single scene in my dream. Standing, I am holding up Jennie, who’s legs are wrapped around my waist as I pin her up against a wall and dry hump her in what seems to be an area rather crowded with people. The following morning, the 23, I remember a dream scene in which four of us having sex, two on two. I was having sex with this disgusting horse-like dog creature that, as a climax, vomited over the back of the couch. I was disgusted throughout the entire experience within the context of the dream. At the end, someone voiced that at least I had gotten some.

To my perhaps slightly overly-analytical mind, all these dreams seem to fit together as a key in a lock (to intentionally not use a fitting sexual metaphor). The first, even the morning after I had it, I suspected stood as a sort of metaphor with respect to my urgent need for an intimate, meaningful relationship with a girl and my coexisting need not to chose someone frivolously.

The dream of Jenny, which by no coincidence is a girl with whom I have often engaged in rather aggressively sexual activities with during the fantasies that fuel my masturbation, is important for several reasons.

Nearly every sexual dream I have about a girl I know, and during the only two wet dreams I ever remember having in my life, is not so much a sex dream as a dry-humping dream: our cloths are always on. I see this as a sort of condom, only not one that merely covers the junk. Its a barrier against being open, allowing yourself to be vulnerable to the person you’re having sex with. It seems to be indicating my fear of intimacy. The interesting aspect of this particular dream with Jenny is that despite the fact that we were both clothed, I had the distinct sense that there were others around me, that we were in public, that anyone could and perhaps everyone was seeing us. So with the cloths you have a fear of being seen or opening up, but with the crowd you have pure exposure.

The only thing I can think of so far is that this might indicate a fear of being intimate in public, and though that interpretation for some reason doesn’t settle as complete to me, I did just recognize a startling coincidence tying this dream to an issue I’ve been facing in the waking world.

At work, I have to clean the dining room at the end of the night. I usually go out there around nine in the evening and start cleaning tables and sweeping up. For the last two weeks or so, this girl has been coming in on her laptop and after awhile, this guy always shows and meets up with her. They sit on the same side of the booth, giggling, groping each other, whispering, and making out like it’s the final day either of them will have access to their own tongues and mouths and sense of ravenous desire to mash their own against the other’s.

They either want voyeurs, they simply don’t care if they are seen, or in the toxic aroma of their interactions they temporarily forget that other people fucking exist in the vicinity of the space they occupy. Sometimes I start off by avoiding them, but even if so, I must inevitably overcome the awkward feeling it gives me and just clean and sweep around their area. I feel as though I can sense their attention on me in at least some of these moments, which are, of course, moments they aren’t doing their best to meld into one contorted blob of a hermaphroditic being.

As much as I try to not notice or at least look at them, it always turns out that both occur, in sequence, and not always the same sequence. After all, I’ve often found myself looking at them first only to later realize what I was doing. Even when they aren’t in my direct line of sight, though I often cannot help but notice them in my peripheral vision. It’s like that burn in your mouth you can’t stop tonguing — or better yet, as has been my experience today, it’s like tonguing this sore fucking tooth of mine. It’s like a wound you just can’t stop picking away the scabs of, so as to allow the damned thing to heal already without making a bloody, awful mess everywhere.

I’m angry at them for doing it in my presence, I feel guilty for not being able to ignore it: it just produces this awful tension in me everyday. I keep wondering why I cannot just ignore it. I keep wondering why it bothers me so much. And perhaps it’s not so much about me here as it is about a society; maybe its not so much a complex of mine as it is about a cultural archetype I inherited. Or perhaps it strikes upon the same plot of land as the dream, and perhaps the dream was even borne by my issue with these two nauseating tongue-wranglers.

That’s the feeling that what they’re doing is fine and dandy, but why do it here and force me to watch?

Again: why does it bother me? Perhaps for the reason that it acts as a mirror for my own fears of intimacy. In the dream, I was shameless, undaunted and unconcerned by the potential onlookers, calmly and comfortably focused on and engaged in the act of enjoying her presence and the activity we were engaging in.

I had contemplated writing this all down, but had been feeling just dandy about putting it off until reaching for something in a small box I keep some stones and my handcuffs in. I don’t go in the box often. I saw the handcuffs and then two small pouches. I knew one contained stones I’d picked up off the beach, but couldn’t recall what the other contained. Looking inside, I found dice with runes on them instead of numbers. I put my fingers in, sort of mixed them around, and then pulled out one at random and placed it on my desk.

On the face of the die facing me was the rune I later thought to be called Partnership. I thought the meaning was clear. Again, intimacy.

Later, I looked up the runes on the internet again and found that I had been mistaken. The rune was not in the form of a straight X but rather an X falling over, or a crooked lowercase t. This rune was actually called Nauthiz, a rune that indicates forces in one’s life that manifests in fashions “inimical to human desires, and that its laws are set in stone, so to speak, whether we like them or not.” The more I read, however, the more the same message I thought inherent in the rune I thought it was. It is a rune about our relationship with our needs and how they will be met, whether we recognize we need them or not.

Of course, it is almost certain that I see the same underlying messages in both of the runes I thought the rune was because they are only serving as a screen for my projected thoughts and feelings anyway. Even so, considering what my mind sought to find within the structure available to it within the context of both runes, it seems to point to the same conclusion anyway.

I’ve been feeling it lately, I won’t deny. Being that close to someone was amazing, and it changes me. I feel connected to her and, through her, to everything. This intense desire for a child, this itch to be a father, has also become relentless as of late, and it is undoubtedly connected. Consciously, I have taken an approach of scorn to both of these things, but I feel my walls chipping away, my resistance breaking down. Though it still scares me, I also feel what I’ve hidden beneath the fear more and more often, as when people say, “when you’re a father” as opposed to “if you’re ever a father,” or even “when you get married” as opposed to “if you ever get married.” The feeling is one of warmth. Its like this ache arises to consciousness that has always been there, like I was dreadfully, deathly thirsty but somehow just forgot. And then its clear of day. Those relentless, growing pangs of loneliness. The pains of incompleteness.

The fact that I feel like a plug without a socket. And that’s not just meant as a sexual metaphor.

Beyond Blood.

Despite my soul,
stained Gray,

I’m not looking up to you.
Grew beyond worship
a lifetime behind.
I’ve got a lot of revolutions
weighing in my heavy shadow
and I’ve grown used
to the odor of bullshit.

You’re not taking me down
without a fight.

Breaking open
this box of secrets,
I only want what is mine.
I’m not asking, I’m taking back,
clearing the path for the march ahead,
burning it all down
to rise in the glow again,

hinged to this with open eyes,
picking apart, piecing together by mind,
hand in hand
with family beyond blood.

The Purge.

Dawn comes, burning away the stars.

Fixation on want dissolves
as screams of need reach their pique,
drowning out the trivial.

Embracing this erasure,
this urgent urge to purge.

Feeling heavy, bogged down,
like all this is holding me hostage,
anchoring me here,
leaving me spinning in dizzying circles

bound to this deep-rooted line.

Feels as though
I’ve latched onto all this
just to bury something
that’s growing restless in its grave.

Gather it all up,
cast it into the pit of burning flame,
bid a final farewell.

Feel the cleansing, this enema of the soul,
this blessed exhale,

clearing the way onward
through the tension
to another chapter,

fearless,
vulnerable yet again.

A Result of Many Factors.

I hate how my brain tries to trace everything back to that one, core, originating factor. Why couldn’t it have been the interaction of many things? Why must it always lead back to that origin of one, that almighty domino numero uno? After all, if there is allegedly at the base only one cause, this cause itself could not have been caused, and if something can exist without a cause, the very notion of cause and effect that brought you to identify the alleged cause to begin with must be brought into question, as it is evidently not an absolute.

In Defense of Offense.

Out in the dining room of the fast food joint where I work, I’m changing the trash when I hear someone call my name. The summoning comes from the group of teenagers situated at the booth in the corner. It turns out its a skater kid that comes in all the time, one affectionately referred to as Tackle-box by his friends.

When I go over, I find him playing with a wad of silly-putty that he wastes no time fashioning into a penis. He keeps pushing it back into the erect position with his finger, but it keeps bowing down limply every time he takes his finger away. Eventually he lets it hang off the table and stretch. Then he stands up and lets the putty testicles hang from his crotch, where he holds them.

The rest of the kids at the table are laughing at him as they chat amongst each other about other things, playing their Magic card game. I only laugh and shake my head as I meander about with my broom.

As my sweeping moves me to the area just in front of counter, I see a tall gentleman, perhaps in his mid-fifties, get up from his table and, holding a tray full of trash, make slow, confused circles in the area to the side of which I’m sweeping. It was clear to me he was looking for the trash can, so I kindly said, “It’s over there, around the corner. I know they’re hiding.”

He thanks me, dumps his trash and then goes up to counter, where I hear him ask the girl at register for the manager. From what I overheard him say to the shift manager coupled with what I later learned from her, the guy complained that he found the hoodie Tackle-box was wearing, on which was the word FUCK, “to be very offensive. I’m very offended.” He then added, as is often the accusation when people complain, that he happens to know the owner personally.

The manager is quick. “I’m sorry, sir,” she said, “I’ll talk to him and have him removed.”

She made herself sound as if she was a member of the Mafia and was ready and willing to wax the kid for him, and I found this ridiculous.

People just don’t seem to get it at all. If you value personal freedom, you have to accept that people are going to exercise their personal liberty in ways which you judge to be dangerous, obscene, or stupid — and that people are going to judge the way in which you exercise your own individual liberty as perhaps dangerous, obscene, or stupid. You have every right to your opinion and you have the right to voice it as much as anyone else, but to try to make another person align with your individual values by force is blatantly unethical, and that was exactly what this guy was attempting to do. People like this aim to legislate their own taste as if it actually has inherent worth over the tastes of others. This is just the kind of person that will hear something they find offensive on the television or radio and then complain and campaign for it and all like it to be censored from television or radio — when all they had to do was lean over, turn off the television or radio, or change it to a different station. Or, in his case, avert eyes away from the back of a kid’s hooded sweatshirt.

There is no special status for what you hold sacred. And why should we patronize you by holding back offense as if you are some child that truly cannot handle it?

Poster Children.

Evidence is on the highways. It can be found in the television shows, movies and video games people like to engage themselves in. People flock to the scene of a tragedy like amphetamine-fueled flies to shit, gawking away like vultures hungry for scraps of horror. And so it was with me that day when one of the girls, Marla, was leaning out the back door of the restaurant to smoke a cigarette and called me over. We both stood there, zombie-like, transfixed on the ambulance. With all those pretty lights, how could we chance a look away? Even the swiftest of blinks, especially when we might miss a chance to glimpse a dead body?

That girl over there by the car, pacing, gesticulating as she yelled into her phone, we had to gobble up the display of drama. It was quite enough when it was all a vicarious exercise, but when she made her way across the parking lot, clearly aiming towards us, she blasted the fourth wall to high hell just to drag us into her world.

I did a short debate in the confines of my skull before settling on the fact that I did indeed know this girl, and that she used to be an employee here at our fast food establishment. With her I did what I had not done before and have not done since: snort a smashed pill. I had gone to back drive through, where we stuck the straws to our noses betwixt orders.

When she got off the phone — frantic-sounding, repeating the mantra, “this is not cool, not cool” between sentences — she turned to me and asked for a cigarette, which I gave her as she spilled the story to Marla and I.

He was getting better, she told us. He was clean. Then he hung around with her today. This was all her fault, she told me. This is not cool. Not cool at all.

Eventually it became clear that a guy-friend of hers had just overdosed on heroine in his car. She tried to resuscitate him and failed, calling for help, and a stranger stopped and called 911. As she told us bits and pieces, a cop car pulled in and parked near the ambulance. Then another. She began getting more frantic.

The crowd grew. More hungry eyes before a meaty drama. An older guy, a regular, walked over slowly, smoking a cigarette. Marla spilled the story to him, which rendered my plans of playing dumb to the exact circumstances to prevent an invasion of privacy and the growth of rumors impossible to execute.

“Its sad,” he told us. “Its sad that it comes to this, but sometimes people are caught in circumstances where they feel they have no other option.”

As we continued to speak, it became clear to me that he looked upon incidents such as this as symptoms of a failing culture, a perspective with which I strongly agree and have only come to adopt within perhaps the past year or two.

I felt terrible for her, for him, but I simultaneously had this dismissive voice in my head calling them retarded. Them, not the drug. I don’t feel that it is helpful or appropriate to look down upon a drug like heroine as dangerous. After all, its not attacking you with knives. Its impersonal. It is the choice to use it that you could consider dangerous, but I usually focus on how stupid it is.

And, yes, the judgmental nature of that gets to me. Makes me feel bad. As perhaps it should.

Two people I know have gotten addicted to heroine and two people I know have gotten thrown into jail for both using and selling it, and all within the last two years. Just the other day someone had said that the drug has gotten big in this town, but this town is populated by the poor, so how in the hell could they even afford it?

And why would you want to? I’ve heard of casual smokers, like those who only smoke a cigarette every now and then, or when they drink. I’ve heard of casual drinkers, even those who can do coke only once in a while. Never in my life have I heard of a casual heroine user. You only hear about heroine addicts.

How is that for a good advertizing campaign? And its success despite the sickening sales pitch: how is that for a sign of the times?

Origins of Anarchy.

It seems to me there can only be four forms of government: monarchy, where one rules; oligarchy, where a minority rules; democracy, where majority rules and anarchy, where everyone rules so no one rules. Some seem to add other forms of government, but they are, under close inspection, just a manifestation of the four listed above.

In a Theocracy, for instance, an oligarchy is hiding behind the masque of a monarchy.

As another example, there is the Republic. I myself have often said that the US is not a democracy, but a republic. A Republic is the “rule of law,” but one has to ask who decides on these laws: one, a minority, a majority? The US is clearly a republic, then, but that does not tell us much. For instance, it does not tell us that the US is actually an oligarchy. It is officially ruled by a minority, yes, but that’s not the full extent of what I mean, as that minority was elected to power by a minority. Most people do not vote. Only the majority of the minority who vote rule. As a consequence, it is an oligarchy.

The unethical nature of a ruling minority is easy for most to see, I think, save for perhaps the minority in question, but personally, I feel no better about the concept of majority rules. Imagine that you are trapped on a deserted island with two other individuals who decide its their right to brutally and continuously rape you and make you their slave because they outvoted you two to one and you can probably catch a whiff of where I’m coming from.

A quality of two of the four forms of government also bears mentioning; namely, the fact that both monarchy and anarchy are either transient or illusory.

Take a good look at monarchy. Even if a single individual manages to enforce his own, private decisions for awhile, he must eventually rely upon advisers who not only provide him with relevant and vital information but offer him educated suggestions on what the best course of action to take might be. Decisions are therefore borne out of a group effort; they are the unholy love-children of a select cabinet gang-bang. As a consequence, minority rules — it becomes an oligarchy — even if a single individual such as a king or a president continues to function as a figurehead.

Anarchy is also either transient or illusory. Most tend to perceive it as a transient state between one set of rulers and another, but it would have also had to have been the original, and therefore one might say natural, way of life for our species. After all, if man cannot live without government, he would not have lived long enough to form the first government — unless, of course, government was either born before him and thrust upon him or was built into him and so naturally arose out of his interactions.

We could also see many of our ancestral bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers as living in a state of anarchy, without established law and rule. Despite this fact, those ancestral bands managed to survive long enough, as our species lived that way of life for 99% of our history. And we did so in good health, with minimal labor and we experienced abundant leisure, all by the standards of our current civilization. To boot, that lifestyle was sustainable, unlike our own.

Of course, there should be no misunderstanding: just because there were no officially-established processes, laws and rulers does not mean that rules did not exist and that people didn’t tend to rally around a single individual or group of individuals. It simply means that the structure of these groups arose naturally through the interactions of group members and were then subject to evolution by means of natural selection.

Rules were followed only so long as they worked, and there was nothing there to enforce them but social pressure. Leaders only led so long as they could prove themselves to their followers. It was not limited to a presidential campaign ending in an official election, after which you could remain in your position for at least four years, your public support ratings dropping well below half, so long as you did not do something so horrendous that you were subjected to impeachment.

The problem with official government, official leaders and laws, is that everyone beyond the first generation is born into strict contract. This may not make social change impossible, but it certainly constipates the process, and it does so unnecessarily. And yes, certain rules in bands would be inherited through enculturalization in the form of traditions, which would stand as time-proven techniques for living successfully, and trends, which would be popular techniques currently being subject to experimentation, but overall, new and improved adaptive measures (laws) would be adopted and old, dysfunctional ones would be discarded far more swiftly and justifiably outside of officially-designated systems.

Anarchy as we often see it today — as a violent, chaotic vacuum that exists between the crumbling of the old social structure and the construction of the new — exists in this condition because we have lost touch with the traditions we practiced 500 generations ago. We could survive long enough to redevelop them, but we have been conditioned to rely upon a government. Due to this conditioning, a lack of government causes chaos, and a government is what inevitably arises out of the chaos.

There is perhaps the additional possibility that we only require government when our population concentrations are large enough. Much as the human working memory can only hold seven (plus or minus two) bits of information at a time, there is an upper limit to the number of individuals (plus their relations) that we can keep track of. Beyond that, people become background characters, strangers, mere numbers. We cannot handle large population concentrations, so the traditions that worked so perfectly before our population explosion during the agricultural revolution become nonviable. They break down and we establish officialdom.

If this is indeed the case, in my mind it only serves as one more reason we should reduce our population size.

Right to Live, Right to Die.

Ultimately, my arguments for personal freedom and responsibility come to some fairly difficult questions, even to me, but they can’t be ignored. Your body, your meat, is your personal property. How should one approach suicide? My intellectual instinct is immediate here: everyone should be able to end their life if they so chose. My emotions for the individual in question are the same. But how do I tell a girl I deeply care for when she comes to me crying, afraid her sister might kill herself, that if her sister wants to terminate her life, that’s her right? She would probably argue, if she elected to ever speak to me again at all, that her sister would be making her choice in a compromised state, specifically depression, and would not be thinking clearly. That’s where the conversation would get worse, but I can’t deny the logical extension of personal freedom as its found here. I mean, at what point will we realize that if we start designating certain states of mind and mood as dysfunctional, we’re eventually going to wonder what it is exactly that constitutes a “normal” and “healthy” mode of thinking and feeling? It gets too easy to justify people’s choices by relegating them to a dysfunction: he was drunk, she is bipolar, she was high, he was sleep deprived, she was depressed? And who are you, ultimately, to police other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions? When Bill O’Reilly was barking at Sam Harris during a conversation on his show, Bill-o tried to communicate to Harris that anyone who wants to end their life isn’t thinking clearly, and since suicide cannot be the result of anything less than depression, suicide should be illegal. And that’s what I’m talking about. Where do you draw the line? Ultimately, the choice is in the hands of the individual in question. There’s no way for me around it in either my heart or my head.