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10:47 am | 22 June 2004 | "i am lying"

The day I bought a ship's barometer the glass cracked a jag through Change. I woke up thinking about that logical fallacy so beloved by freshman philosophy students: "I am lying." Truthfully, I didn't wake up thinking about it: I woke up feeling like it. I walked redundantly into the bathroom, still lying even though I was upright.

. . .

My parents' eight marriages distress me less than the half-hour when my dad was first dead and the eight years since he returned, pale and random. Unlike Jesus and most tourists, he brought nothing back.

. . .

You know that incredulous feeling that washes over you in the early wobbly days of new love, the days before your trust has been skinned and its pelt nailed to the wall, sick trophy of brokenness? You walk around, adoring the minutiae of someone else's life as though you can't believe the sheer magic of his existence. He uses Chapstick, you think. You trail a dreamy finger over all the dear embarrassing practicalities of life, canonized by association with he whom you've made your idol. Bactine kneesock bookmark. The doodles crawling on the margins of your dreamland are runes that say Destruction.

. . .

I have lonely like the metal-detective wandering the beach, and the same hope of finding something. No, I have it like the stuff too far buried for detection, and the same hope of being found. No, wait, stop, I have it like the beach itself, wandered upon, hiding, aware and unaware of what's beneath.

. . .

After so long on my own, I've isolated the things I need most. They wait in handled bags for the fire I can't stop expecting. The evacuation list, in order of necessity, is this: dog, records, diamonds, and black t-shirts. I used to practice grabbing them and fleeing, doing dry runs for survival. The first time I ran sixty-five miles before I stopped. Then it was a thousand miles and two years, then fifteen hundred and eighteen months, and four months ago the mile count hit 1883. I could have had ten children by now. I run faster and harder each time. I travel lighter. The fires follow me, little sparks sleeping in my suitcases. The little fires are inside me, your portable arsonist.

. . .

Nothing I currently own is mine, this is someone else's refrigerator idly humming, this ancient powerbook resents the new heavy incoherence. This city's bums have grown silvered tongues from Dumpster dining. I get accused of trying hard to look so hard, to which I retort "You'd never say that to an advanced trigonometric function." I get accused of trying to act so tough, and I spit on the ground by his feet, looking like young Brando, feeling like meringue.

. . .

I never have boring dreams. It's as though a string of easy hours would shock my system with novelty and my clever brain, having deduced this, flurries up a screen-saver of disparate, stressful elements every night. My friends' nightmares consist of the following: "I was late for work and I forgot my cigarettes." After hearing that over the Mr Coffee machine I don't really want to get into how last night's so-soap-operatic frontal-lobescape featured my little brother turned zombie and biting my finger and me trying to pilot a 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera through a war zone while simultaneously sawing off the infected digit and keeping my brother at bay in the backseat. Knowing I'd have to kill him with the shotgun on the passenger seat of the dying car when we'd gotten wherever we were going to. Cutting off my trigger finger, as though that would absolve something.

. . .

Then I thought about the phrase riddled with bullets. As though there were anything confusing or equivocal about being shot.

. . .

The idea of rest is more and more important to me, in the sense of being able to just let go, although I thought for some time on Tuesday about its other meaning, that of something left over after the important bits have been taken. And then I thought about the rest of my life, and how in sense A that probably referred to the eventuality of death, but that in sense B it meant the remainder, the years between now and then: its leftovers, coagulating somewhere in a sort of abstract anticipation of use. And then I thought: I don't need anyone to love me for the rest of my life, but it might be nice to be loved for a rest stop of my life. And then I stretched the roadtripping analogy of living further, and realized that my car has no fucking brakes.

. . .

Last month I squandered 600 drunken nighttime minutes whimpering crabbily on the Boys Town National Hotline. I said, "I demand to speak to the mayor of this 'Boys' 'Town'!" I said, "I demand an explanation, or at least some kind of visitor's guide, with map and valuable coupons!"

. . .

On 21 February I had a dream about ____ from the band The _____s, which in itself is weird since I not only don't particularly like The ______s but since in the past I actively disliked them, but so anyway I had a dream. And in it he came up behind me and put his arms around me. At that moment (as happens in dreamlife) he kind of instantaneously loved me, and I remember feeling conflicted about it, probably (as in real life) since he seemed as though he really did love me, which historically I don't deal well with. And he said to someone: "Even when I am in my life, I think of her. She makes everything _____." And there was more to the dream, too, of course, the disjointed stuff (projecting faces onto hills to turn back ogres, flying over bricked-up fields, winter maps, dark-blue walls), but it was mostly about love. I woke up with a handful of snow, touching sacrifice.

. . .

My bag of tricks has run out. Accused of editing, of manipulating the presentation of who I am, I acquiesce to its truth. And doesn't everyone? Every story I tell begins with the understanding that it is over. Every story I tell begins with the truth of understanding that, even when upright, I am lying. clm.


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