Penultimate, Ultimate Pen

Guin,

As of this moment, only 12010 days remain before we can look back hundred of Earth years later to recognise the moment Mars colonisation was declared a complete success.

You and I know better than most what all was sacrificed to get to that point so long ago.

You and I alone know what we went through to get here before that moment occurred.

If any other method could have worked, I would have tried it, but I knew, oh I knew, that is wasn’t going to be easy.

I didn’t want it to be easy.

I have lived too many lifetimes to know why and I should know better than for us, in this lifetime, to go so slowly.

But it is in the living of the extended moment where we find the nuances in a stretched string, that what looks like a perfectly straight line has tiny fluctuations where the real living takes place.

I can call it minutiae, from a farther distance.

But these fluctuations, evidence of mathematical formulae, are where you and I have lived, will always live.

In one lifetime.

In this lifetime, this lifeline, where happiness is at our fingertips like magic powers.

In reality, we do not exist.

You and I are vapour.

We exist inside the thought patterns of many around us, those who think they know us and those who imagine what being us means.

We exist outside time, tapping into sets of states of energy that intersect at the point where the arrow of time flips on its axis, creating the spooky action at a distance which bound us together before we knew there was an “us” to talk about here.

Is this love?

Is this friendship?

The love I found and cannot hide binds me to everything in the universe (oh, and when we discover that the word “universe” is antiquated, what joy we will have!), pulling me in ways I rarely feel consciously, revealing the love I have for the interconnectedness of the sets of states of energy in motion that we are.

Our friendship is a vessel, truly a spaceship in the full sense of the word, needing no electromechanical device to transport us to the next star system millennia from now.

I have sacrificed my personal life in order to feel the combined movement of the sets of states of energy on this planet selflessly aware of events projected along timelines that do not benefit me personally.

Admittedly, it is self-seducing to feel that which will happen and then desire to pull people and their biomes ahead to achieve scenarios I have anticipated with or without my participation.

I understand self-hypnosis and avoid mass hypnosis for that very reason — I have avoided the personal joy and satisfaction in the power of seducing the masses to see what I see because it is not always pretty — the universe is not here for my sole pleasure, I willingly share what I know with others, no matter the consequences, or in spite of them.

Yet there is us.

I never planned to meet you.  I have dreamt of you my whole life, imagined who you were before I met you, tried to ignore you, tried to forget you, tried everything…but we keep returning to each other.

I knew you were there somewhere and planned before meeting you, self-declaring an oath of poverty and celibacy ahead of time, knowing that when I met you I would trip over myself trying to please you, wanting to woo you, lose myself in the thought of you if I didn’t put up a series of walls, labyrinths and trap doors for my thoughts to get lost in, giving me time to make sure you were who I thought you were.

I have let every part of me understand who I think you are, compared those thoughts to the person, the sets of states of energy in motion that you are, a real person who does not fit into any box and whose mysteries I don’t want to know everything about, wanting you to have your freedom more than I want to have you for anything, even if just an acquaintance who shares a love for dancing.

I would rather you be free and I remain unhappy than interfere with your artistic and intellectual growth by spending more time with you.

Have I said that too much?

Or have I said that just enough for you to know that you understand I am here as I have always told you with only these words to offer?

I do not know what being with you on a daily basis involves except from a foggy distance, like looking at a jigsaw puzzle with only three-fourths of the outer edge completed, no box to show me the complete picture.

However, I trust that the full image of you is as brilliant and full of surprises as the parts I clearly see.

In that one moment when we were alone together under the stars, a moment I will never forget, I was truly myself, standing in front of you, hiding nothing, letting all my guards down so that I could focus on you and your concerns and drop any pretenses I’ve held as a defense against loving you as a friend, nothing more or less.

We are geeky, nerdy friends, if nothing else.

We have thousands of friends and acquaintances with whom we share of ourselves what we can, some a little, some a lot.

Our friendship is that intersection of friends and acquaintances where we’re willing to feel vulnerable, showing our emotions without worry or concern, knowing we are different and don’t share everything with each other but to those who know certain aspects of us better than ourselves.

I have always seen the future because I’m willing to apply trends to people I care about even when I know the scenarios that those trends predict are not what people want, even when it hurts me to know the effect those trends have on billions of us and our lifespans.

Just seeing a pile of earthworms in a plate of spaghetti is enough to turn some people’s stomachs but the visions I have are not always pleasant to everyone, funny to some, delicious to others (especially birds, fish, fungi and plants waiting for earth to be processed by worms!).

We bridge the generation gap, where satire and memes carry the day when once seriousness and cynicism ruled the airwaves.

What adventures await us?

Let’s find out.

I’m tired of waiting, tired of hesitating.

Ready to take a chance.

I am ==> truly yours,
Lee

Lone Goose Saloon

Of all the things I’ve accomplished I’ve never overcome my shyness with people.

I don’t know how to ask someone I don’t know to go out for a bite to eat, let alone go somewhere alone together.

Forget about sexual contact.

I may always be a quiet, shy nerd in that regard.

It has been the one bright spot of my marriage, that my wife was willing to accept ten years of celibacy from me when I became a married monk, seeking meditative solitude.

Women from high school on literally threw themselves at me sexually and I was either clueless or didn’t know what to do.

Guess I’ll always be that way.

I have been told I’m good at giving orgasms to others so it doesn’t seem a problem with the act of love.

I just don’t understand how to ask for something that seems so selfish of me to inquire about.

It is why I give you these words, unable to verbalise my thoughts of sexual desire and take away from what has been an uncomplicated relationship up ’til now.
Admiring you from the distance of a text message or sharing a dance in a bar is all I know how to give you.

Will that ever change?

The ten-year in me doesn’t think so.

He’d rather die than kiss a woman, especially someone as strong, intelligent and beautiful as you.

This coming from a guy who has done things he never thought possible around the world with millions of dollars at his disposal.

If I am dying…

If I am dying, and at this point I have no idea what has been causing a myriad of medical conditions that grow worse (or deteriorate faster?) so, since we’re all dying, then I am dying, perhaps faster, perhaps slower than others but slowing down all the same, I have a confession to make.

Compared to billions of us, very few get to live a life that makes headline news.

Even fewer live that life.

Some of us don’t want to make headline news.

What we’ve done, what we’ve become, what we can’t undo or take away from, I am that person.

I want to live on Mars with Guin, no doubt about that.

But if she knew who I was, would she ever want to live on Mars with me?

For you see, I was once a drug dealer.

I am a fictional character so please don’t compare what I’m about to tell you to the person writing this.  This is my confession, not his.

I lived in the Fort Sanders area of Knoxville, Tennessee, in the early 1980s.  I imagined myself a future James Agee or Cormac McCarthy.  I wanted to be a writer of fame and fortune but settled with writing for writing’s sake, meeting people who could transform the written page into a carnival freak show.

The freaks accepted me into their groups but more than one called me a poser.

They saw me as suburban subcultural vanilla ice cream, pretending to rebel.

Of course they were right.

I’ve never rebelled.  I, like them, am part of the system.

Rebels do not exist.

But that doesn’t stop us from acting out the us-vs-them age-old nonsense.

A friend of many decades now had lived the life of the rebel since high school but grew up in the suburban subculture of Oak Ridge, a/k/a Atomic City.

He and I quickly became lifelong friends for reasons he’s never fully understood and I’ll never convince him.

I should give him a name but I won’t.  He doesn’t have to have a name, he exists here and in real life with or without a fictional label.

I wanted my writing to have some oomph so I let our friendship play out, taking personal risks of my own, getting to know so-called shady characters who were colleagues of colleagues well outside the circle of friends my lifelong friend thought we both knew.

In any organisation, well-formed or ad hoc, someone assumes control of the legitimacy of the organisation, protecting the rules, circling the wagons when the organisation’s rules or members are threatened.

In the new world I wandered, often alone at night, across the old railroad yard that would become the 1984 World’s Fair, I encountered protectors.

You wouldn’t recognise them as such.

Sometimes they were just old bums, hobos, homeless people, strangers who had chosen the outcast role through decisions they made in the middle of life we all live.

The railroad wanderers were instant friends.

They knew I, too, was lost, never fully buying into the bullshit that society dished out, trying to convince us it was precious caviar.

In the summertime, one can sleep against a tree, on the concrete shelf of a highway underpass but rarely in the confines of a sweltering hot, rusted-out storage warehouse.

I wanted to disappear.

I was ready to abandon all hope that I would ever belong and sat with a few guys down on their luck.

We all have stories to tell but not always the brain structure that allows us to rationally convey our stories.

Such was the case with the guys I met on the railroad.

“Down on their luck” sounds like if they just had been offered a helping hand at the right moment they would live in better socioeconomic conditions.

Not so.

Many of them would have enjoyed a social safety net that put these guys in a mental institution with regular beds, nutritious meals and activities to occupy them while doped up by Big Pharma.

Instead, they had guys like me, guys who carried a little extra weed, happy pills and needles to distribute, guys who wanted to ease the pain they saw in fellow wanderers.

My lifelong friend thought that I just tagged along with him as a quasibodyguard when meeting with dealers higher up the distribution network.

So that’s what I gave him, and still do.

He didn’t know I was the perfect mark for some of the dealers, an expendable person who could carry out tasks unafraid to die, perfectly paranoid enough to smell narcs and clean-looking enough to avoid suspicion by government authorities hellbent on squashing the illegal drug epidemic while promoting the legal drug epidemic enthusiastically.

I’m not idealistic.

I’m not realistic.

I just am.

I became a rule enforcer for people whose names I’ve conveniently forgotten and whose faces I choose rarely to verify I know them with a nod in large crowds.

I enforced rules in various ways, keeping up-to-date with technology to know what the fuzz was using to track dealers, giving them a few smalltime dealers as sacrifices to protect the integrity of the organisation with no name.

The distributors gave me extra product on the side as a thank you, hinting at people to watch for on both sides of the law, including local politicians who were part of government contracts involving transactions that didn’t need to make headline news.

Of course, the names of lawyers and cops in times of need.

I quickly learned the names of all dispatchers, including ones working for the University of Tennessee police department — getting to know them was like owning my own goldmine, collecting information at informal gatherings in bars or at offcampus parties, knowing in advance when a raid was going to happen, earning a lot of extra product when I passed along tips to the right people.

If that was all I did, I would live today with a clear conscience.

If I am dying, I would like to make a confession.

Some people are not alive today because of me.

And no, I’m not just talking about sweatshop factory workers in a tropical climate dying because they were exposed to toxic chemicals all day.

I’m talking about the ones I had to take care of myself.

Ones whose lives and deaths were not going to make headline news.

People who could disappear without a trace and no investigators would snoop around to solve a crime.

In the pre-Internet days, it was easy.

Not a lot of closed-circuit television in the student slums.

No inadvertent audio or video feed from a smartphone.

Just strangers passing through town on empty boxcars looking to make a dollar or two, get a free bottle of cheap booze (or mouthwash) and maybe score some weed or heavyduty upper/downer.

Unreliable as can be.

But more expendable than me.

Hey, self-preservation is the name of the game, after all.

If they messed up, and, say, I got a little angry, their disappearance was a small price to pay to make me happy again, finding another mark down the food chain to complete a task assigned to me or I had dreamed up myself to protect the organisation that didn’t exist.

My problem is and was my writing.

If I don’t “confess” to myself in my writing, then thoughts will fester and grow cancerous, eating away at my insides like spiders that enter your nose every night, feeding on microorganisms living in your mucous membranes.

For decades I have hinted at my years of drug dealing, working as an enforcer, a snitch, a hitman.

I wanted to wait until I knew I was dying before confessing here to you as a fictional character.

I’ve let my paranoia get the best of me sometimes, sure that I’m being followed by guys from the old neighbourhood, seeing them pop up unexpectedly in my world travels, or reading headlines on websites I frequent that make me sure my phone is being bugged.

It comes with being successful, afraid that someone wants to steal my success from me, turn me in, or take me out as revenge for someone I never got to know before his demise because of me.

In those days, I should have carried a black book but learned quickly, as I think I’ve told you, to quit being a student and clear my brain to store information and connections in relation to my real “job.”

I’m filled with more guilt than I want and less than I should have.

I know I shouldn’t say I take pride in what I did but it made me who I am, carrying over just a few of the connections to help me succeed while hiding under the cover of a normally depressed intellectual.

I also hid under cover of a childhood friendship that turned into a marriage of 30 years, something I wasn’t expecting to happen but accepted I don’t always get what I want when I’m hiding incognito in plain sight.

If I’m dying, I don’t need to hide anymore.

I can just move into a van down by the river and hang out with my kind again, the seriously unreliable, unpredictable wanderers, living out my days in bliss, maybe helping out the organisation again because I sure don’t need to worry about my life getting cut short now.

I still want to go to Mars or whatever the fantasy of Mars means in a life with Guin.

But I don’t know if Guin can handle who I was and might still be, needing to quench my thirst as an enforcer every now and then when I wander off for hours or days, out of touch with the always-on, fully-connected tech that I don’t want tracking my paranoid self.

I am not who people think I am.

I am connected to people you probably don’t want to know because if they need to have a reason to get to know you, it’s not for your own good, possibly for your sudden, unfortunate demise, disappearing in ways that investigators won’t question — car accidents, terrorist attacks, plane crashes, heart attacks, rapid cancer, accidental overdoses, etc. — perfectly natural in today’s world (in fact, fully aligned with actuarial predictions).  Untraceable becomes a lot easier when there’s no suspicion.

That’s one advantage of being fully immersed in computer modeling.  Not only can I be a fictional character, I can act out test scenarios for the real me before he carefully carries out the trash himself.

If I’m dying, I’ve fully confessed.

I feel a lot better.

I can go back to imagining a life with Guin, go back to looking up jobs in other cities, find a flat that someone is letting, move on, get away from the local organisation that’s putting pressure on me again to get back to work with/for them.

I’m a wanderer.

Sometimes I’m even a happy wanderer.

If I’m dying, I want to wander happily to the end.

Summer Chill

Lee first noticed the reddish-brown algae on aquarium glass, like an ochre smear left by a fish rubbing up against the clear aquarium wall.

For months, the smear changed neither size nor shape.

A second spot appeared, outside the aquarium, as if the algae had grown through the glass.

Lee shook off his imagination. Algae can’t grow through glass.

But what is glass, really?

Isn’t glass a type of silica liquid?

Lee strained his thoughts to recall his chemistry classes and lessons in chemical compositions.

Glass is an electrical insulator, a solid vessel for liquids.

So how did algae get on the outside?

He traveled out-of-town for a few weeks and forgot about the algae.

Or he was going to forget until he noticed, after staying a few days in the same Airbnb rental for a week, that the glass wall of the bathtub suddenly showed a same reddish-brown spot similar to the one at home.

Lee sat on the toilet seat and pondered the situation.

In his travels, curiosity seekers asked him for advice, familiar with his work investigating the macabre.

Less than a year before, a being that seemed human but smelled otherworldly showed him an orb of unknown origin.

The roundish ball was cracked.

Lee carefully examined the crystal clear sphere with his bare eyes. Normally, he would use a pocket magnifying lens but he’d only left his rental for a relaxing walk in shorts and a T-shirt (“T-Rex couldn’t fly but he soared above his competition!”) when the smelly stranger approached him at the entrance to a local walking path.

“What do you make of this?” A clawlike hand reached out from under a serape and handed him the glass object.

Lee loved surprises and took the grapefruit-sized ball from the stranger’s hand, rolling it around in his palm to feel its texture, weight and temperature.

But there was something about the object that startled him, almost as if tiny fingers had reached out of the hairline crack and serrated the skin of his forefinger.

He switched the orb to his right hand and brought his left forefinger up close to his eyes.

Sure enough, he’d cut himself.

There was no blood of his but there was an odd stain.

He mentally wrote off the stain as dirt that had he had rubbed out of the crack in the glass. 

Until today.

What had the stranger said to him? “Those who can’t see the future are doomed, unless the Future wants them to see it.”

He had noticed a preternatural disposition to see the future the last few months.

Was the ochre stain a type of fortuneteller?

If it was everywhere, it would, theoretically, have access to the interconnectedness of everything.

Could it be the key he sought to open the door that shows time is an illusion?

Single-celled organisms were known to communicate with each other as one.  They had thrived on Earth for hundreds of millions of years.

What did we know of extraterrestrial beings surviving space travel, crossing galactic distances as streams, swarms or colonies of single-celled organisms?

Were they sending him a message, and if so, why?

Why now?

He had a lot to ponder, an ochre stain to study in his lab when he got home.

Another mystery to solve!

Facing the facts

There was a time, long ago, and a time, long in the future, when I believed there was a person for me in both.

I chose yesterday to believe I would realise who that person is.

I fully believed that person is you.

Luckily for you, I know who I am, know that I’ve believed too many times to want to recall that I would change and haven’t changed.

I’ve cared about your wellbeing, always glad to see your friends step up and visit you when you were ill.

I didn’t expect someone as beautiful, smart, loving and caring as you to walk into my life.

I’ve never felt I deserved you as a friend, never understood why you’ve chosen to stay in contact with me.

I am a terrible person.

I am full of self-hatred.

My wife validates my self-hatred.

I’ve wanted to love myself and you give me every reason to believe I can, allowing me to mentally free myself and believe there is any chance I could be someone else.

But today, when I sat down to figure out how to live by myself financially, I realised first, that I’ve never lived alone and second, I don’t want to end up like Nats, alone, miserable and not giving a fuck about the world.

You have a nice house, a husband who cooks for you.

Why did I think your friendship was more than caring for a fellow human?…why did I substitute your friendship for something that I wanted, not what you wanted?

When did I believe our roleplaying was real?

When did I mix up my thoughts?

Last night, I stood back and looked at the smiling faces taking dance lessons.  I saw the success you’ve achieved, how much I’ve wanted to feel like I was somehow associated with it and realised I’ve lied to myself.  You are naturally a successful person, I just happen to be around in your life as you’re climbing the ladder of success.

The old cause-and-effect correlation fallacy at work in my thoughts.

I apologise for making assumptions.

I don’t believe you ever read these blog entries so I can freely write them to you and not worry about hurting you.

You have inspired me to write them for years now.

Every time I have gotten this close to believing there is something between us that makes starting a new life worth trying, I have written a narrative reason for backing out.

This time, I pushed so far as to talk about divorce with my wife, which, no matter what, has planted seeds of doubt in her thoughts for the rest of our lives together, causing irreparable damage.

But I was willing to take that risk.

I’m still moving forward but I’m scared out of my wits.

I’m afraid that I’ll fall and no one will be there to support me this time as my wife has done for decades and my parents/sibling before that.

Why I fell in love with you the first time I heard your voice, I cannot say with certainty.

Why you’d want me in your life is even less clear.

I’m standing here because I still love you.

That hasn’t changed.

If our separate artistic independence spirits have any chance for compatibility, I don’t know and that’s okay.

We’re not lovers and may never be.

We’re friends for whom time has no meaning.

Marching to the beat of my own drum, at my own pace…

Lately, I have used “lazy” verbs in my writing, variations of “to be,” “get”, “use,” “have,” etc.

I focus on conversational tones to set the tone of this noncontroversial tome.

Because I live in my own world, my own word combinations (but not my own words), I march to the beat of my own drum, at my own pace, sometimes in synchronisation with others, and sometimes not even in syncopation.

I seek no audiences.

I seek no paying audiences, that is.

I seek the audience of self-entertaining writing by being here, writing and reading what I’ve written, knowing only that the self will ever truly understand itself in what it sees in its reflection here in these words.

I nearly died twice in the past year from some random poisoning effect.  Theories abound as to what might’ve killed me — spoiled food poisoning, food allergy, tick/mosquito bite, rat poison or some other industrial waste in manufactured food.

Possibly, my thought process shifted because of those two events.

I do feel a little more desperate to father a child before I die than I did a year ago.

Because of that desperation, I chose not to touch a woman last night when I attended the weekly Monday dance class I thoroughly enjoy.  I only hugged or shook hands with guys.

Last night I didn’t want to be human, I didn’t want to believe I am merely a reproductive set of states of energy seeking a mate.

I gave myself the perfectly acceptable excuse that I don’t really exist and will die childless, walking away from the person(s) who give me the strength to believe it’s possible I am human, after all.

It’s easy to put these words here on electronic scratch paper, arrange them to entertain myself and give impressions about what goes on inside my thoughts which generate these sentences, paragraphs and blog entries.

None of them are real.  They are arranged sets of “zeroes” and “ones,” binary digits or bits.

Anyone who understands the quandary understands why I know I don’t exist.

Any person who first drew a set of lines and circles, recognising the image of a stick figure, understands the quandary.

We are approximations, models, of the ideal person.

We build subcultures around ideals.

We assimilate with what we believe are the best approximations of the ideals we most want to assimilate with.

My problem (and I am not the only one) is I am the only me, the only approximation of myself with whom I most want to assimilate.

That in itself is a quandary.

I want to live with another me.

I have looked.

And looked.

And wished.

And hoped.

When I find a person or persons who best match(es) the approximation of me, I freeze, because I really don’t like me, thus making me afraid that I’m not going to like the person(s) most like me.

I don’t like being me.

I don’t want to bring another me into the world.

It takes a lot of mental processing to handle being with other people.

I can throw so much stuff at people they can’t see who I am or who I’m not.

Even now, I write this blog in dissociative mode, aware that one or more people I know will read this and it bugs the hell out of me because I can’t really, ever, be me in public, if there is a “me” at all inside this everchanging set of states of energy in motion.

I am an approximation of my self to myself, adjusted to entertain those around me.

Some of the labels I use to describe myself as a social being:

  • The chameleon.
  • The people pleaser.
  • The contrarian.

I find the prettiest, the most handsome, the smartest, and/or the most lonely person I can find and focus on that person as if that person is my whole world, in hopes that it will temporarily erase myself from my thoughts.

Currently, I find myself seeking the freedom to be a polyamorous person (meaning more than one person with whom I actively have sexual relations, including the relationship management issues of deciding who is the primary, secondary, tertiary, etc., sexual partner), when, in the past, I had the same opportunity and walked away from it very decidedly, unwilling to sacrifice my mental “intellectual” freedom for the constant mental struggle to manage emotional relationship ups and down.

I have been here before, in other words, with a whole other set of friends and had chosen to walk away, marrying my childhood friend, instead.

I purposefully selected a practical, intelligent life partner who would provide a stable financial home for me to express myself through writing without the struggles to make a living as a writer by myself; in the process, I made a professional management career of my own whilst carving out a little time to write, earning a few dollars as a newspaper reporter, and making a little pocket change as a published author.

Thirty years later I find myself here in a sunroom where I’ve written/typed many words for myself and to others.

I’m afraid I’m too much of a narcissist to ever love more than a reflection of myself in others, my self being my favourite person to hate and punish for being himself/herself/whatever.

I wish I had something to offer others but all I have are these words.  Sexually, I know how to flirt and dance and look longingly into other people’s eyes; I’m a sloppy kisser and get bored/uncomfortable having sex, wondering why I’m having intercourse if it’s not to procreate; I always think, “if we’re not procreating, then can I get back to writing cause this rolling in the sheets is interfering with an idea I’m processing for my next writing session?”.  Financially, I’ve got very little; my wife is the millionaire, I’m just along for the ride, with a small annuity to supplement Social Security payments in a decade or so.

I love to write only because I like recording my thoughts, even if I don’t like me.

I may or may not register a place on the autism spectrum.

I don’t know what normal is, having been told ever since I started hanging out in social settings (beginning with my first grade teachers) that I tend to drift off from others, losing touch with conversations and sometimes literally walking away.

I’m not a lone wolf.  I need the whole village to keep this idiot alive.

I’m not sure but I think I might want to cry right now, cry for the person I should be, for the human that might exist inside me, but I can’t cry.  I feel cold, mechanistic, an automaton, a fractal spinoff of a star.

I will always be alone in my thoughts.

I will always see others alone in their thoughts and know how to temporarily snap them out of their thoughts to share a space between us.

What is tomorrow going to be like?

I don’t know and I’m afraid to ask myself.

Living through today, this waking period of 10 to 14 hours, is all I can ask of myself.

I’m numb.

I’m scared.

I hate myself.

I don’t want to live another day.

Getting older was supposed to make me wiser.

I simply feel old today.

Too old for words.

Monday

For some, Monday is a day to dread, the first day back to work at a dead-end job.

Today is Monday.

Today is a day, the day, to move forward.

A day I’ve anticipated for decades.

It’s here, a sunny spring day.

Moving forward.

A good day.

Some will notice nothing.

Some know the difference is in here, within a set of states of energy…

The balance of yin yang, male/female, human/nonhuman.