« My Empty House And Its Visitors | Main | On The Space Between Flowers And The Rain »
Thursday
Sep162010

Broken

Because it’s always everything, it’s never just one thing.

You can’t merely point and say that. It wasn’t the boredom or the rut or the writing or the constantly dirty counter, peppered with crumbs of toast. Not the secret resentments or the insecurities, the abandoned dreams or low self-esteems. It wasn’t our childhoods or the lost ghost of happiness. Who’s happy? Okay, fine. Who’s happy and not stupid? Nothing’s as simple as they say in the AA meetings. It’s not. It’s fucking complicated. A complex web of incomprehensible connections. You can’t reach your hand in to grab something without grabbing it all. Do you honestly think you can sneak out to get the mail in your blue robe without that 14-year-old girl in China weeping for her dead mother? Somewhere, someone’s writing a poem about the connections between brittle leaves and corn flakes and, somewhere else, someone’s jumping off a bridge, thinking there’s such a thing as washing your hands. And it depends. It all depends.

When it broke, so did the car and the computer and the air conditioner and the treadmill. It all stopped working. All the things usually deemed inanimate, inconsequential, fell to pieces in united agreement, reciting Yeats. It can’t hold. It can’t hold. It can’t hold. So it all came apart.

But what doesn’t? I’ve lost all tolerance for happiness. When will we finally have done with all this ridiculous hope? The rules of the game are clearly spelled out in ashes and caskets. Whistle on and try to forget it but that’s the deal. So what then? The worthiest challenge is to work within these constraints, conscious of the fact that all this shit ends badly, and seeking joy in what’s innately broken. Can you do it? Everything else is just a sham and a pitch. You’re going to die. Now look at the sky and the grass and eat pancakes with maple syrup. Chew slowly. Is it worth it? Of course it is. There’s no time to cry over corpses. Lean in. Listen closely. Do you hear them? The maggots. They’re singing! They’re feasting and singing and I don’t know about you, but I want to know the words of the maggots’ secret song.

Reader Comments (29)

Indeed.

Nothing but the same as always: I love you, brutha.

September 16, 2010 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterSweetney@gmail.com

I hope that you soon look back at this post and see it for what it is -- a place in time for you -- and not a permanent state of being. As you know, everything changes, and that includes things sometimes getting better. Life isn't a straight line from birth to maggots, but a roller-coaster with highs and lows. Hoping for the highs to return.

September 16, 2010 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil

we should totally get the band back together! with or without dfj...you can sing this time- we both could! I gots a headset. we could use a drum machine and be better than ministry because we don't need fake dreads!!! we can record shit & send it back & forth...i know you've at least got garageband!

my real old man passed away a couple weeks ago- I was there with him & my sisters, then I took care of everything after- in his room anyways. other shit bothers me more though. yr right- there is no time. time is nothing but a motherfucker. so is gravity....

September 16, 2010 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered Commentergreeze

I'm sorry all is for the shit and the sucks right now. At least the inanimate objects can be fixed. I think the animate ones can be, too, but it may cost more.

September 16, 2010 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered Commentermuskrat

Your words, as usual, are beautiful. Wishing you some peace and yes, even some happiness.

September 16, 2010 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMFA Mama

Does the song sound like the hamster dance?

September 16, 2010 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPenny

Would a song help? A sad song or a rage song?

September 16, 2010 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterLisa

and after all THAT from you BHJ (all that energy, all those words, all that goin' dark) suicide is still bullshit. Fuck you, too, Tigh (my friend who Made A Decision.)
I hope you rebound from the depths soon.

September 16, 2010 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered Commentercynthea

Beautifully written. You don't know me, and I don't know you, but I envy your ability to take a string of words and put them in an order that rips your heart out of your own ass. I, nor anyone else, will ever know or feel exactly what you're feeling at this very moment, but your ability to embrace the darkness and create such an emotional impact for your readers is truly something unique. You're one of a kind.

September 16, 2010 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSine Maiestas

Hope is still clinging to you. It's like the smell of fried food, y'know. Gets into your pores.

Just hang in there, and know that someone you've never met loves you for your words, your thoughts, and your...youness.

September 16, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailis

My family was changed forever yesterday and I screamed and raged and shook my fist at the Universe, but today, when I was hoping it was all a bad dream, it was still there. Life, moving ever forward even when you think the world must surely have fallen off its axis. So yes. I can do it. Even in the midst of the suck it's better than the alternative. Today the maggots didn't get me.

September 16, 2010 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterLisa

You're wrong. Things ARE as simple as they say in AA meetings. You just don't want to admit it, but it's true. You are just another garden-variety alcoholic and addict, BH. You are special ... just as special as everybody else.

Don't pick up. Call a friend. Punch yourself in the head and call God a cocksucker. Go sit in a stupid fucking AA meeting - I guarantee you, you will hear a sentence, a turn of phrase .... that will save you all over again. And the person who says it will probably be the person you hate the most.

Peace amid chaos, man.

September 17, 2010 at 5:18 AM | Unregistered Commenteredenland

So-- what exactly happened? I feel like there's a story that I'm missing. I mean, you're right-- this life, this reality is shit, but what happened? Did you go on a bender? DId you break up with your whatever? Do some mushrooms and see things for how they truly are. Just a thought.

September 17, 2010 at 6:17 AM | Unregistered Commenterm

Your writing always amazes me. Keep passing the open windows my friend.

September 17, 2010 at 7:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterDawn B

"The rules of the game are clearly spelled out in ashes and caskets."

That may be the most perfect description of despair I've ever seen.

Anyhow. I know you probably don't want to hear it, but still: I'm sorry.

September 17, 2010 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterTwoBusy

Maybe I'm getting it completely twisted, but this seems like a hopeful piece to me, ridiculously hopeful even? Strong in the broken places, if you're a Hemingway fan. I don't know. I'm not sad that I will die one day, and I believe there's nothing else. And you're right, it IS worth it. Sky, grass, corpses, ashes, maggots. Beautiful things all. I will cry, because that's real too. And not incompatible with happiness either.

September 17, 2010 at 7:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterafteriris

I don't want to say this is beautiful, because it isn't, but it so is.

September 17, 2010 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterMr Lady

I'm sorry.

September 17, 2010 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMiss Grace

My heart is breaking because you are broken. Thoughts are jumbled, words are elusive, emotions are scattered, my love for you will never come apart....

September 17, 2010 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterMom

The darkness swallows and sometimes sometimes spits you into the light.

September 17, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered Commenterpam

i second neil, word for word. and i'm really glad you're writing through all of this.

September 17, 2010 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered Commenternic @mybottlesup

Deleteing comments that cross the line in terms of analyzing me, my marriage, or my kids. Nothing personal. Some things just don't belong in the comments section of a blog.

September 17, 2010 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBHJ

I've been waiting to see if there's any more ... umm.. definiteness to be found post - post. But - if this is a breakup post, I'm so sorry. Me too... and I wish you all the best in making positives and making it the best it can be for you and yours. x

September 19, 2010 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterJo

I read this a few days ago and have been thinking of you here and there since then, which is weird maybe since we've never actually met, but still. I'm sorry for the despair you're feeling and wish good things for you.

September 19, 2010 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterHolmes

I just went on Daily Mile for the first time in forever and saw your last run was 3 days ago and it kind of scared me. I hope you are ok.

September 20, 2010 at 4:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterFairly Odd Mother

I felt the hopelessness in this, but also? so much hope. How is that possible? Oh, but it is.
Also? I sense that maybe you are going through similar BS as myself. If so: why the hell DOES it all break at the same time? Why can't one of those inanimate objects just cut us a fucking break? Seriously?

September 20, 2010 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterDanielle [Left of Lost]

I don't think it's worth it. Not for one minute. But if I make a date with the maggots it would break my kid's heart. Not that I would probably be able to pull the plug anyway. But I want to. Every single fucking day of my life.

September 24, 2010 at 12:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJaxx

"...Not that I would probably be able to pull the plug anyway. But I want to. Every single fucking day of my life." -Jaxx

-i think if you don't there's something very wrong with your wiring. hanging in there is the tough part. there's an old Hank Rollins quote i've always dug-

"i can die anytime i want. i wish i could do the same with life."

...and then again there's only so much you can take. everyone has their point.

and you're right- it's NOT worth it, and yes- it would crush your children's heart.

BHJ would know- his name escapes me right now, but the man who wrote the book Trout Fishing in America</>- he killed himself. his daughter wrote an awesome book about what it was like growing up with him and how she felt when & after he did it. good good stuff.

September 25, 2010 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergreeze

Hope is what beats my heart. Is it possible to live without it? I don't know if it is of course worth it. I sure hope it is. This is like the second post I've read of yours, and I don't know you at all, but I'm sending good thoughts your way anyways.

September 30, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRachel

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>