Melodramatic Stroboscopic Picture Show In Words: A Love Affair

bloody plate

She had always been unhappy. And it couldn’t be helped. He loved her. And it couldn’t be helped. She fought with him that he didn’t really love her. And it couldn’t be helped. He fought back with her that he really did. And it couldn’t be helped. For ages she told him that they needed to take a break. And it couldn’t be helped. And for ages he resisted her saying that they needed take a break. And it couldn’t be helped. To try to spice things up between them, she brought an old sex book she had owned to his bed. And it couldn’t be helped. He tried to ignore the oily stains that had been on the book’s cover. And it couldn’t be helped.

She told him all her problems she had with life the next day on the phone for half an hour. It couldn’t be helped. Unable to speak a single word himself, he listened to her problems and felt exasperated listening. It couldn’t be helped. The next day after that, she did it again, filling him with her problems. It couldn’t be helped. He felt beside himself, listening again. It couldn’t be helped. She felt that they were finally at a new beginning, that she was opening up to him again. It couldn’t be helped. He told her that they needed to take a break. It couldn’t be helped. She broke down and sobbed. It couldn’t be helped. He listened to her sobbing for an hour on the phone. It couldn’t be helped.

The next day, he sought to recant their taking a break. It couldn’t be helped. She denied his request that they not take a break. It couldn’t be helped. She skipped his birthday when it came. It couldn’t be helped. He felt pain. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him text messages indicating that she was inclined to let the whole thing go. It couldn’t be helped. He panicked and missed her terribly. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him a picture of her wearing his locket. It couldn’t be helped. He felt love seeing her wearing the locket, the same one which he wore, too. It couldn’t be helped. She messaged him a picture of her engagement ring, now carefully placed in a little house of sticks and bark and stone he had once built for it for her. It couldn’t be helped.

He felt love for her, holding onto hope from that sweet picture. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him more texts telling him she couldn’t talk. It couldn’t be helped. He felt despair. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him text messages that she felt relieved and had discovered a new, happy social life. It couldn’t be helped. He felt deeper and deeper loneliness, missing her. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him messages that said she would let him him know when she could talk to him. It couldn’t be helped. He respected her request for space. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him more messages telling him to let it be. It couldn’t be helped. He sent her messages that told her he loved and missed her. It couldn’t be helped.

She sent him messages indicating that she had no intention of returning to their relationship the way it was. It couldn’t be helped. He felt some hope, that indeed they could change the way their relationship had been. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him texts that she wanted their relationship to be over. It couldn’t be helped. He sent her messages that indicated he was lonely and missed her. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him texts that said she was worried about him but would not help him. It couldn’t be helped. He arranged with her to pick up his belongings at her house. It couldn’t be helped. She agreed and told him she did not want to see him and to be gone with his belongings by the afternoon. It couldn’t be helped.

He was stunned to find every stitch and scrap, from his tube of face moisturizer that had been in his drawer in the bathroom, to his running shoes in the closet, had been already neatly bagged and boxed in the little, dark room he had worked in down her basement when he got there. It couldn’t be helped. She weeks before had removed from her sight any sign and any remnant ever associated with him from her house. It couldn’t be helped. After packing all his belongings into his car, he bought and lay dozens of roses for her in her house—in hallways, in the kitchen, on the staircase, upon her bed, and wrote her short love notes telling her he would do anything to be with her again, and drove away. It couldn’t be helped.

After therapy and work, she came home and changed out of her work clothes to go out with her date for dinner. It couldn’t be helped. After he had left, he had turned back to see her in person and to beg her to speak with him. It couldn’t be helped. Having left the front and the back doors of her house flung open, she shouted down the staircase from her bedroom that she would be right there. It couldn’t be helped. He’d rapped on the back glass door, just open enough, and called out to her. It couldn’t be helped. She came downstairs and when she saw him, she screamed and screamed and screamed. It couldn’t be helped. He followed her outside where she was screaming and screaming to her car. It couldn’t be helped.

She screamed and screamed for him to leave her alone. It couldn’t be helped. He begged her on his knees, “Please! Please! Please!” It couldn’t be helped. Her date appeared behind him in the driveway and claimed the police were on their way. It couldn’t be helped. While he believed this was not true, he also didn’t care if it had been. It couldn’t be helped. She ran to her date’s car waiting for her on the street. It couldn’t be helped. Afterwards, he struggled and fought for her for weeks. It couldn’t be helped. She held her ground against him. It couldn’t be helped. He sneaked into his friend’s house nearby who had plenty of guns and put a bullet through his beautiful head. It couldn’t be helped.

Earl Johnston

I had lain in bed junked up on as much legal pharmaceutical junk available at any hip enough health food store to warrant any legitimate FDA investigation for days on end stuck in a hopeless rondo of Netflixable fixes to quell the fine and delicate balance I held onto between heartbreak and the sort of rage that would kneecap an entire band of innocents just for crossing my path by accident. That I could almost embrace the world in my arms and feel its immutable torque was like the torture of misapprehensions that I had continued to endure and could not pull myself eventually away from even as I felt myself being pulled repeatedly into the lowest and worst bardos of human existence deserving of the worst of mortals having made the most grievous missteps in life and definitely not fit for those whose footsteps were still being made somewhere above ground in the veldt, the tundra, the desert, or upon the soft blue shores of North Africa. I was like Hamlet who only he himself self-reflexively seeing his own madness self-contrived, self-invented, self-made, self-anointed, self-mocking, even he now cannot walk away from his poetical celestial prison of self—his peerless mind, so noble so true, now murderess. Instead, I had had to drowse myself to death, to Lethe onwards, into the good night, into the good morn, into the good empty day at hand like another and another and another, stultified like a poisoned man whose only final utterance will be to write the words neurasthenic cow, neurasthenic cow, neurasthenic cow over and over until he has stuffed his sweet American conscience into a thimble that sinks, when his good arm will have tossed it into the great ocean’s sublime embrace of nothingness.

Mallory McGiven

I had been lying in bed blue and depressed. Even the pills did nothing. They didn’t make me sleep. Just even more immobilized. And that had made things even worse. The ruffled hawk feather from the dirt hills of Arizona. The bar of hand-poured silver from Eureka. The smooth Petoskey stone from the shore of Lake Michigan. Stashed away. In a shoebox. In another shoebox. All the other shoeboxes. I had had an entire row once that had been thrown away. Automatically. Even those. Hopeless. And even his colorful striped woolen blanket. Folded and dumped in the curbside dumpster. Even my notebooks. Dumped out in the same dumpster. Even there I could not bear witness to, bear to read my own testimonies. My self-deception. Amazing! The one! In love! At last! The same thing. Ad nauseam. Depressing. Even my own confidences with myself had been wistful inventions of the imagination mostly. Mostly like pretty, colorful decals a little girl had once pressed onto square glass bedroom windowpanes to make herself feel better about her grimly lived life—there’s a rainbow! there’s a unicorn! there’s a windmill! there’s a four leaf clover! there’s a smiling sun! Imagined. Made up. Pretty. Make believe. I had disconnected the landline, blocked my cell, same for any messages. I had lain in the lavender oil bathwater and had remembered how beastly he had been, crouching on his elbows lapping up water with his tongue by the lake, who had, it seemed, completely loved me from his ruined castle which love I had not I felt, dozing eventually into oblivion, nor had I accepted had been my own before I had completely slipped away myself.

American Snapshot

holga

Something to do with the 7/2/15 Slate article reviewing the film “The End of the Tour” about the life & death of  writer David Foster Wallace.

Nobody’s really interested in the long game. It’s the short game that gets us. Even if the rights to the Garden of Eden themselves pass over to your own name, the fruits are never again enjoyed. When you’re alive, you can spit them out if you don’t like the taste of this leaf or that shrub very much, too. Nobody’s going to complain or harass you for it. Had I been able to point out Kafka’s own delight when he saw “he was able to substitute ‘he’ for ‘I’” in the short stories he wrote, I think I could have kept David Foster Wallace here a while longer on our good earth. Nobody’s really interested in careers or money. People are interested in the things these things seem—careers and money—to represent. Such as ‘energy’ or ‘freedom’. But they’re not, or they don’t.

When you look at stubble-faced photos of DFW, he comes off looking like a homeless beggar or a hobo most of the time, like someone who has traded in the magnificent, glorious “I” for a “nobody.” But the sadder irony of this is that that half-grinning hobo became well-enough known, well-enough recognized, that no train conductor would beat this freeloader off his boxcars. Conductor Ernest Borgnine gave this “A” Number One bum a free pass to ride his trains. I think the guy just wanted a boost to Seattle, perhaps, and somebody to join him on the trip there. And on the way, between the clackety-clack sound of train ties, or “sleepers” underneath, and eating dumpster carrot stubs and turnips, to read maybe a couple goods books by a little campfire with a friend in the woods when they’d hopped off the dizzying monotony of the rails to rest their weary bodies for the night.

‘We don’t need another narrative.’

deer

There was a time when he had brought her coffee in bed. He had, while she slept, ground the beans, heated the water, mixed the grind in the glass jar, and, after it had sat for a few minutes, pushed the French plunger down gently. Then, he poured her her cup, and carried it upstairs where she was sleeping in. He did not wake her. And, later when she had come downstairs, she had said, “Thank you.” Eventually, he made coffee downstairs for himself and did not carry a cup for her upstairs where she was sleeping in, or weeping, or suffering. Over time, he could no longer bear that. The blandishments of suburban life became like window putty that never exactly dries but which seems to keep out some rain and moisture. Nothing seemed to really work anymore. He would make a second pot even, and await her descent, gauging by how much her mouth was turned down or how straight she held her lips, and by the downcast way her eyes themselves were turned, how bad she was. He became himself sarcastic and honest at the same time, speaking of himself in the third person and how, like finely pre-ground coffee beans in a bag from a grocery store shelf, he had himself become ground down, pulverized to next to nothing. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I don’t want to be this way for you.” “I know,” he said once, and would sometimes touch her shoulder, even though he was a little afraid to.