On Focus and Structure in Daydreams and Writing.

After having written about it recently, I’ve come to wonder if my automatic thoughts, specifically those regarding explaining or justifying my behaviors towards authority and visualizing myself being interviewed, function for me in much the same way that I have found writing a letter to someone seems to. I remember how Vonnegut once said that whenever he writes, he imagines writing to or for a single person. In my experience, it helps my writing, my thoughts, gain focus and structure.

This makes sense, as communication first developed in a face-to-face context rather than the kind of abstract way we are capable of imagining, or even speaking on
stage in the form of a monologue or soliloquy. It is more natural for us to have a particular person in mind — real or imagined — to whom we are writing. This may also be why I default to explaining my motives to authorities or interviewers spontaneously in my daydreams: its a means of self-analysis, with focus and structure further provided by the questions involved. I’m asked question and actually strive to provide an honest answer (unlike, for instance, a fucking politician), as challenging as it might be for me to formulate it.

Of course, it is also true that I much prefer this explanation to the notion, at least with respect to my justifications to authority, that I am some spineless slave with a pasty, empty sack hanging below me, flapping in the breeze…

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How Nora Broke My Heart.

It was about two years ago when Claire, the love of my life, suggested the show The Leftovers to me, which was then, if I recall correctly, at the very beginning of the second season. I was a bit wary at first, as this seemed to a bit too “rapture” theme for my atheistic taste, but after the first episode, I was hooked. Having binged on the first season, I then began watching the second, though quickly got frustrated with having to wait for the next episode, having grown used to watching the show in bulk. My only option was to distract myself, to ignore the show for awhile — which I did quite successfully until a few weeks ago when I finally came back to the series. It had been so long that I felt it was best to start at the very beginning and work my way up to what I discovered was the third and last season of the series.

It was an epic show.

My most beloved scene in the entire, three-season series comes at the very first scene in the second episode of the second season, entitled “A Matter of Geography.”

“Look, this — if we’re going to be, um… We can’t just,” Kevin pauses, considering his words, digesting his emotions so he can better articulate himself, inevitably landing on: “We don’t really know each other.”

“Okay,” she says, with an apparent frown, and at this point I expect her to either get pissed off or tremendously hurt, ready myself for her to make a scene or convey herself in a more extreme fashion by saying nothing at all, and in any case ultimately exiting the house in response. Instead, she does this unexpected and somehow vaguely sexy maneuver of the neck and head and continues with, “What do I need to know?”

And bam, he tells her. Lays it all out on the table. That he’s been walking in his sleep. That he had been taking medication and, thinking that this might be the cause of it, tossed his pills — but then he had woken up in his car in the wood to find that he had kidnapped Patti Levin while “sleepwalking” and brought her to a cabin with the intention of killing her. When he tried to release her unharmed, she ended up killing herself, and so he had buried her in the woods with the help of Nora’s brother, a preacher.

“And nobody else knows,” he was sure to explain.

Just when you thought he was done with his confession, he added — not arbitrarily, either, but as if he were saving the worst for last — three gentle words: “And I smoke.”

Cut to Nora and Jill sitting on the couch across from him, silent and unmoving, the expressions on their faces dangerously ambiguous, reflecting both your hopes and fears simultaneously as you view the scene and anticipate their response just as Kevin would have.

Nora’s response? “I hire prostitutes to shoot me,” she replies, and then turns to Jill and confessed that she lied to her about the gun she kept in her purse, promising to never lie to her again. Looking her in the eye, Jill says that it’s okay, with Nora echoing her words involuntarily in a voice that conveys the extremes of both surprise and relief. And Jill’s response — “it’s okay” — seems to make up for any confession she might have made on her own part, and there was certainly a good deal of material that she might have drawn on. Regardless, it all manifests as the perfect expression of the general consensus in this holy fucking trinity of dire fucked-upness, a fact that became clear when Nora then turns to Kevin and tells him, “it’s okay.”

And yeah, I cried. Fuck you, I wasn’t sober.

So Kevin left out shooting the dogs. And hallucinating Patti, the woman he buried, if indeed that was happening at that point in the series (that’s what I get for indulging in The Leftovers over a single weekend like I was cramming for a goddamn exam). In any case, it was Kevin who really ignited this group confession. He broke the ice of honesty and delivered the heaviest load to the collective depth. He accepted them as he was accepted by them. It made my ocular cavities ooze fluid because it’s all one could hope for in the social sphere: to have a sense of community like that in which everyone accepted the wounds and mutations they fought with every inch of their might to conceal from the eyes of the greater society. They had a tribe in this maddening wasteland where they could be honest and yet somehow still expect support — not through pity, either, but through mutual understanding.

And then Nora just had to fuck it all up.

She had to handcuff him the bed-frame in a not-at-all-kinky-and-therefore-inexcusable way during the seventh episode of the second season, “A Most Powerful Adversary.” Why? Because as difficult as it was for him, he was upfront and honest with her. He told her that he sees and speaks with Patti. Her reaction was to simply condemn him as crazy and take his family away from him as he slept.

He interprets this as her being mad at him for having lied to him, but her ultimate response, as exemplified in the “deal” he made with her that assured a route by which he could come back to her, necessitated him getting rid of Patti. It was not that he had, at least by omission, lied; nay, it was that he had the experience in the first place. She left him because she considered him crazy because he was talking to someone no one else could see — a hallucination, a dead person, it made no difference, and that was plain and simple to see. After all, he had to get rid of that clingy ghost before Nora would accept him again. For Nora to abandon him and — albeit unknowingly — seemingly validate the perspective offered by his heckling hallucination in the process, increasing his trust in this seeming ghost to the point that he subsequently risks his own life in the hope of getting rid of Patti just so that he can honestly tell Nora she is gone all to get Nora back… it strikes me as betraying the trust that seemed to be generated and mutually embraced in the earlier, tear-jerking episode.

You broke my heart, Nora.

Inconceivably More.

Garden of countless, diverse seeds,
do you dream
of stars in the visible spectrum
of the sky

and would you innocently laugh
at the notion
that it represents the infinite?

Equipped with sudden, direct
eye contact
and a seductive grin,
she says, “Take
the power

I have awakened
in you and concentrate,
open your inner eye,

keep it steady,
so as to see
that you are inconceivably

more than you took
yourself to be.

Rise above yourself.
Listen to yourself.
Question yourself.

Become who you are.”

Alchemy of Heisenberg.

Intended to unfold
the path from Mr. Chips to Scarface,
what you got in the end
was a character carved from the blade

of far more realistic means,
the world, the path you came to follow
just in order to reshape him:

black and white organically
bled into gray, revealing the spectrum
underlying the rigid polarity:

consequence of open eyes
coupled with honesty, I suppose.

Protagonist transforms
into antagonist:
insight,
synthesis.

Post Glen. 

Blade to jugular.
Moment of truth has come.
What side are you on?

Barbwire bat bleeding.

Ignoring sharpened steel
to the skin, he speaks
his mind, screaming:

do it. Bring
it if you
have the balls, just

know I never crumbled
beneath the pressure,
that I chose
integrity

despite the consequence.

It grins, pushes
me down. Beats and cuts
me, yet leaves
me breathing, bleeding.

Suppose I deserve this. 

My rampage has left
a stick
in your eye,
but ultimately:

I will kill you.

By my hand,
you will fucking die.

Folly of a Preemie Precog.

She became everything.
The excuse I needed.

Her death
was the biggest
conceivable blow
to me, and I lurched
back, wind
knocked out

of me, and I came to rest
in a comfy cushion of: 
Well Then,
Fuck It.

Everything is gone.
Return to dust.

Nothing left
for me here. Gloves
are off. Everything
is permissible.

My future
is already history.

I know when I’m going to die.

So right now,
I own everything.

Drumpf.

Yeah?
Good for you.
Now:

Eat my asshole.
Pox on your first born,
scum of the earth.

Don’t just bite
the bullet:
no, no:

fucking eat it.

Narcissistic
puppet-master. Savior
of the paranoid

ears fixed
on conservative
talk radio. Go ahead,
widen the divide:

it will only lead
to our demise,
inevitably
leading
to your own.

Empathy
could have saved you.

Selfish and shortsighted
aiming towards
blind arrogance:

sure to get
there: in an important
way, subliminal
self mutilation

along the path
to unconscious suicide.

Make your choice,
sociopath:

I’ll be busy loading my gun.

Six Six-Word Stories, Chapter 2.

7. News Flash for a Narcissist.

Trumpty Dumpty never got his wall.

8. A Timely Tale of a Baker’s Dozen.

Twelve stories, all written while stoned.

9. Power.

Grinning, she growls, “I own you.”

10. Green.

Green-eyed monster. Seductive, beautiful beast.

11. Strange Anesthesia.

Table cold. Warm, numbing feeling grows.

12. I.B.E.

Sensations on the skin: poking, stabbing.

Six Six-Word Stories, Chapter 1.

1.
Glenn. 

Survived apocalypse, finished off by bat.

2.
I Am Jack’s Enlightenment.

Listen, Tyler: my eyes are open.

3.
Tale of a Dead Man. 

As all dreams: weird in retrospect.

4.
Jack Asphalt.

A dolt, self-aware, took responsibility.

5.
Virgo California Girls.

Miraculous entry, bliss, an agonizing exit.

6.
Quest for Truth.

Reality rebels, he suffers through lies.