The scum of the earth are not the lowest paid or the fast food “burger flippers” but the ones who sit in ivory towers staring down Pinocchio noses at their minions. Wages are just a way to control the rebellion which grows as fast as the gap between rich and poor. Minimum wage is set as a bar for class by those who would never work for it. When the people speak out they are seen as ungrateful by their overlords while the work of these employees is never truly recognized as anything but a process of expectation. Most of the time these jobs serve no greater good nor do they positively impact the ones being given scraps as pay. It’s simply a way to make the kings comfortable while projecting a false reality of being part of a family dangling silly rewards and minuscule raises like golden carrots creating a competing environment of survival. It’s controlled chaos at a disgraceful rate of pay.
It’s been nearly a year since I bid farewell to my life as I knew it. Marriage defined by church and state was just a partnership gone bad. Chapter 11 bankruptcy liquidated and busted out with little remaining to remind me of the experience. No offspring resenting and wishing for better days when things were happy. Just two lone entities sharing what’s left of a surname defined by legality. The paperwork was stamped and signed with a swiftness stealing all the sacred symbolism of an imaginary covenant between god and man. Now just a vacant shop on a ever desolate street.
The sin set on love like a late summer night. No fireworks or court room drama, just a fading light on a lonely horizon. Boxes were stuffed with devalued memories that really just represented how fleeting feelings are. Some say “Remember the good times!” but those might just fill a box that I would keep under my bed, to pull out in a regretful nights breakdown. This end has been a longtime coming, most likely well before it began.
So now love is something I wish for but no longer trust. The sands of time washed away through its grainy truth any resemblance of hope. I’m left battling school boy crushes on long distance ghosts who are just photos and words on a screen. No real contact or intimacy but why would they? I’m a shell, a tossed away empty vessel with no real place to be. Life is just mechanical, eat, work, sleep, repeat. I have not the looks or social abilities to make anyone truly want my company. Flirtation aside it apparent that I’ve wasted the best years on chasing after a dream that I didn’t have. So now I grind away with blood dripping from my pen just hoping the darkness will be interrupted by some fucking light. A light I thought I knew but I was just imagining it so.
Sometimes you can go home again….sometimes you have no choice. In my life it seems I’ve been on a wet slide trying to climb up but ultimately end up slipping back down. After leaving my home and marriage of the past 13 years I found myself transient, bouncing between Cleveland, Nashville, Memphis, Atlanta and Harrisburg I find myself back in Cleveland. It’s the city I was born and raised in and the best spot to continue my healing and recovery.
I found myself jobless and broke living with my family. After my failed attempt to return to Harrisburg came to an end I came across a job doing security for the Cleveland Browns. It’s a cool place to work and is unpredictable, like the weather that has made my job even more interesting. As I make my way back I’m enjoying the once feared lack of a social life, using it as an opportunity to focus on saving money and writing.
As I push forward I’m leaving the past behind and planning for new adventures. I want to visit the western US as well as write a new book. I still don’t know where I want to live but the wanderlust in me is painting a picture of a gypsy life. I’ve made some incredible friends who are far away and I’d love to visit them sometime. It is going to take time but I’ll get there. Thanks for supporting my chaotic journey.
After spending months, inside myself, traveling the Southern US in search of my soul I returned to Harrisburg, the discomfort zone of much of my pain. A bittersweet return brought forth by lack of funds and a desire for companionship. Though my time in Nashville and Memphis was amazing and healing I needed my people, which I found were not soley the ones I left behind but new ones. It was a beautiful accident.
After a few months in Harrisburg PA my luck has not been great. Anxiety, PTSD and general misfortune seemed to overtake me, leaving me hopelessly poor and frustrated. At my age, starting over is outrageously stressful. Jobs are not easy to find, especially when you have limited skills and experience. I’ve found myself relying on people and being creative in ways to make money.
So my frustration grows with my uncertainty. I’m facing a new chapter where I’m completely broke, soon to be homeless and writing better than I ever have. I’ve published a book for another writer and despite my obvious trials I’m burning with creativity and passion.
What’s next? Harrisburg could draw me back in or maybe I’ll do what I can to travel again, maybe west? I’m actually at a point where I’m reinventing myself again, lost weight and finding new people to surround myself with. I have big ideas and things to do, while money still looms over me, I’m trying hard to make it all work.
You don’t stab yourself unless you intend to bleed. I bled everywhere, in every part of my adolescent journey without any care for the effects of the loss of self it caused. The idea of pain was such a normal feeling that any destructive quality I found seemed to add to the sensation of being hurt. My stomach began to burn greatly as a child but in the blue-collar world of Midwestern winters you learn to bury your feelings out of respect of foolish pride. Manhood is arranged for you in the traditions of old world thought and an hourly wage. Emotions are said to be for the weaker beings that amount to nothing in a dog eat dog iron existence. Love is a family quality but the outside world is solely there to represent enemies of that fragile structure. Nothing matters but loyal friendships or blood related kinship. Such ridiculous notions of human interactions cause the young to build walls that are unsettled and crumbling. When those structures fail us it causes us to bury deep inside. Our rusted steel traps cut us from the inside leaving scars that never fully heal, instead they rip open over and over until we begin to numb as the nerves die.
The moderation of vice is lost on we, the broken dolls, who reek of sadness undefined. Our relationships fade like sunshine in autumn, well before they ever realize the deeper human inside. No one loves the bastards like we do and no one loves us like we hate ourselves. Internal torment disguised as mere loathing drives the wickedly stable from our grasp and leaves us with broken bedpost trophies who, like us, are just frantically searching out freedom. Spiritually the gutter dwellers pray to heaven only to feel it rain on our sewer fed minds. The idea of true peace is as foreign as the gods we choose to belt out our sinner’s prayers upwards like transmissions of pure filth.
My darkness is no greater than anyone else yet it’s mine to suffer alone. Community is lost in this chasm of addicted minds and emotionally fucked up children who just want to be left alone. Our cynical existence was lost to college bound venture capitalists and picket fence home buyers. Careers died with the industries that built our towns, leaving us with wounded futures filled with rusted out pipe dreams of moderate artistic success. Our reality of despair began long before our more privileged counterparts found out the ugly truth. Our debts were less about crushing college loans as they were about fractured lives. Healing became coping and coping became a life long struggle with mental illness and addiction. Sex, drugs and rock n roll was the cliche but fucking ourselves was indeed all we were doing, whether in the physical sense or the many self destructive ways, we gained any feeling of fleeting pleasure in our pain. We are the dead living atom bombs of left over hippies and a generation that still believed in the idea America was going to save them from themselves but ultimately divorced them all, leaving scores of bastard children searching for reason.
I believed for a time I was invisible then invincible but now, in this time, I feel indescribable. I’m completely abstract and almost incapable of true definition. The labels and boxes we have created to fit our mortality into are so incomplete that I’ve rendered myself a mere ghost among men. I float between realms of reality and soulful expression tainted by anxiety-laced dogma passed down as safety nets from the establishment that beckons us to believe in things beyond our own selves. Whether religious of political in nature, we flocked to hallowed halls of justice prescribed by powers that we had no control over, yet bow to. Now we stand naked and ashamed before a morality that is fed through straws of traditional values that do not match the realities we find ourselves in.
The mistakes and failures of youth created a real beautiful mess in which I flew into eyes upon storms that buried my flesh in every type of vehicle for human expression. From the dirty grime of anarchist punks to the delightful nature of raunchy drag queens, my life has had many curves and few right angles. This therefore created conflict in my spirit between the sacred and secular that ripped and tore the very fabric of everything that is real and unreal. Grey has developed from my early black ad white world and distracted me from the ideals of only full color visions. Embracing all that is not and all that can be, in a wonderful paradox of lovely mystery. That is fucking living, regardless of the fear that develops when pushed beyond oneself, pure wonder. Gutters are often wet and desolate but above them, when on your back, is an open sky just as vibrant as that which the penthouse dweller enjoys.
My friends were always equally broken gems discarded in the “as is” piles. Whether the skateboard punks of Cleveland or the vagabond poets of Philly or the progressive preachers of the South, and the bar fly rebels of Harrisburg. All are the outsiders who find each other in the vices and virtues of life, deviant spirits to the puritan world, giving little care of what they think. In their sanctuaries of liquor and smoke they are proud sinners among saints. The louder side of life gathers where they are exiled too. This is often a street corner, a parking lot, a basement or a barroom, either way it is home. This is where the walls come down and the volume turns up. No matter your story the one thing you have in common is you are fucking here. Have a drink, a smoke and relax. This is mantra of the rowdy rebels of society. The outcasts always welcome, as they know the feeling of being abandoned.
So in this sub-cultural landscape of American misfortune we find everything we need to scrape ourselves on the sharpest stones of life in hopes of shedding our tattered skin. Bloody truth spills from our guarded hearts drenching the sponge like concrete that surrounds us. The good life is when we have moments of laughter or a good show, other than that it’s rare, as the fires never go out. That adversity pushes us further into ourselves but builds up into eruptions of fantastic art, music and writing. That sacrifice is worth it because without our creative pain the world would never have anything to exploit in order to teach them about being cool. The trendsetters steal from the trend ignorers. It’s the cycle of life when it comes to culture. You need the outcasts weirdo’s and freaks to create the style and art that eventually becomes mainstream. The give and take is crucial to societies growth as well as the pressure to create new things from old and keep the mainstream guessing.
So the artist and creative human is essential to survival of society yet is relentlessly shunned when they decide to just be the artist or creative. To not take the plunge of the 40-hour workweek and the nuclear family structure is sacrilege. It is impossible for the normal world to even think of life outside of work, well at least until they are 65, and can finally rest, create and die shortly there after. When we the weird and freaky say, “fuck it” and steer off road into the unknown forests of creativity the world is sickened. We are labeled lazy, unproductive or even just wastes, yet we create more then the average human being and produce things that are full of just as much blood and sweat as the assembly line worker. To say we are fools is in part correct but no one ever said fools are wrong for being fools. The idea of just working to work and then hopefully save enough to enjoy yourself when you are old is saddening truth. Many of us rather burn up before we ever get there anyway.
So remain a burning ember of a midway generation, cynical and absurd. My broken windows were beautiful stained glass but now just a mosaic of shattered beauty on the dirty sidewalk. As the feet crush it the light still glimmers with in the prism of colors left in the dust. My dusty rainbow is fading as I reach further into the second act of life but I’m still projecting color. Until that ends I feel that I have a chance to still create something magical and perhaps impart some grey haired wisdom to the younger renegades looking for a reason to catch fire. If they do catch the flames of past infernos I pray they engulf the entire world.
This culture of reinventing the existing idea and ideals of morality, sexuality, fashion, and art has become less about making something new and exciting, instead just making it easier and more accessible. That is not the point in my opinion. Creative things and subcultures should be harder to discover because they take a certain kind of person to navigate. To wander into a vanilla suburban shopping plaza and transform you into an interesting person is the worst way to be anything. Find yourself in music, art, nature, sex, drugs, or something more. Fashion is just a reflection of someone’s original idea stolen, mass-produced and sold at a premium. Spend money on things that actually can change you and make your true self come out, buy books, records, art, pens, pencils and paint. Fuck up a wall with your idea of self, turn up your headphones and drown out the regular world’s awful ideas about success and self worth. Go into the woods to find darkness with in the light, stand out in a vacant lot at midnight, run into the ocean, or just surround yourself with people who differ or maybe scare you a bit. Embrace your weirdness and quirkiness. Fuck the traditional American standards of everything, do what you think is best for in the end you will be on your own more than not.
There are always those people in our lives who crave drama and injury. The scavengers that swoop in to claim the carcass of a fallen relationship, business, or even a person. These types of personalities crave to not only stir the pot but spill it out, boiling, on your bare skin. The destructive quality of the bottom feeder type is often mixed with a magnetism that invites forgiveness of sins and a willingness to let them in.
These devilishly clever beings might not be smart but they are true foxes. In times of struggle they are the first to attach themselves and then take notes to use later when incriminating you. Much like a private investigator or sleazy lawyer, they feed off bleeding hearts. In between the lines of them talking incessantly about themselves there are hints of empathy but too often it’s just selfish games
Friendship is an overused and underrated thing. We have such a want to belong that we will let just about any toxic and fucked up person into our circles because we often want to help others feel the belonging we feel. Problem is, we are just asking for the poison to flow and in my experience, one bad apple can wreck an entire orchard if it is allowed. Being in a painful place right now I am seeing how people can use it for there own gain, which is disturbing but also almost diabolically genius. I simply hope we as people learn to discern better because too often the bad apples are the first picked and the last to get thrown away.
“Anger Is A Gift” is whispered during Rage Against The Machine’s 1992 single “Freedom” about the oppression of American Indians and other minorities in America. I by no means am an oppressed minority or a displaced ethnic group. No, I am just a 40 year old white man who is barely getting work and a means to survive.
I am angry. I am fucking pissed. My heart is hurting, my body aches and I am so damn tired of being rejected over and over. I have rejection issues, and the main reason is I’ve dealt with a lot of rejection. From jobs, to friends, to school and yes, relationships. I’m divorced, it sucks and I am sad still. Some folks think I should be over it, I am still healing. I am lonely, I hate sleeping alone after 13 years of sleeping along side someone. I hate not having someone to talk about their day with, that shit sucks. All that is life right now but that is not why I am mad.
I’m mad because I am feeling forgotten, despite my race and gender, I am in a class hole, a gutter reserved for the unschooled and underemployed. I gave much of my adult life to noble causes of serving others including the homeless, the outcast and the marginalized. Many applauded me but now I am no better than the ones I served. If it weren’t for kindness I would be homeless and probably in bad shape. I am almost 4 years sober and in these times of strife its a blessing and a curse. I an angry I can’t get drunk or high but I am glad I don’t for mainly financial reasons. Maybe I am a “Dry Drunk” as the AA brethren call it, but whatever, fuck that, I am just being honest.I quit drinking and my life went down the fucking toilet.
I am angry at God or whatever it is that made everything and is up there. I spent a long time trying to figure that out, that God stuff. I was a pastor and a servant of Christ so to speak. Well I’ve prayed and been preyed on, been told God would provide a way, well he hasn’t. Sorry I referred to God as he, I am too mad to get into what pronouns make you happy, deal. I am hurt by church folks but I am more mad at myself for wasting so much time fighting for a thing i can’t grasp anymore. I appreciate peoples sincere prayers and miss aspects of it all but damn it, it sucks being on the other side of things and seeing how messy it all is.
I’m angry at myself for being angry. I am not wanting to be full of angst or regret but life is a bitch man. It is a fucking asshole right now. I am not oppressed but I am depressed and not impressed. That is a big enough deal. I am sad because I thought I was a better adult and that I would be better being on my own. I guess in 15 years with a person you forget how to do life alone. I am broken and broke, literally. I lack skills and education as well as the years to make up for it. I love the encouraging words that are out there to help but when you get turned down for a minimum wage job by a person who is younger than you, you want to jump off a bridge. Lucky for me the bridges here are high enough and I am too mad to to do it. I am in a scary place and anger is the gift that keeps on giving. Just trying to focus it in the right direction.
I want to find a place to be happy, maybe a nice girl to be happy with, or a just a job that gives me something to look forward too. I’d love a shot of whiskey or something stronger but I’ll stick to coffee and cigarettes. I am tired anyway. I need the caffeine, and I need to get past this.