How do you decide what to take from a burning building? Objects? A ring? A Journal? Your father? Your daughter? Your grandmother? Your birth certificate? How does a child decide who lives and who stays? One day there’s a fire, and it’s your house, it starts in your room, you can tell yourself you’ve already packed a bag, but who can say where it is?
Since I was fourteen *** has let me feel like I was alive, I always thought that great *** meant somebody cried, that somebody got hurt, that if you weren’t hiding from somebody else than you had to be hiding from yourselves. That’s when I pulled out an old notebook and began reading back the lips of lovers, running my fingers over their handwriting like brushing my mouth over the raised ink of my lover’s tattoos. Who decides when everything you call your life uproots itself and walks away from you one morning while you’re still laying in bed? Who decides when every rule and mannerism you’ve become acclimated to shifts and changes and the way you felt anger is now the way you feel fright, the way you felt lust is now what you call sadness, the way you lived in happiness is now what you know to be all on your own, and what you told yourself was love is now nothing at all.
There is a bed with the sheets nearly hanging off, the blankets lying on the floor, three pillows colors you’ve never seen. This bed is in a room you’ve never walked into, in a house you’ve passed a million times, in towns you’ve visited but only to top off your gas tank or looked at while riding through it on a train. It’s in this room, on this bed where your whole life is unbound, it’s here where the cover on the book of your life falls off and disappears into a story of someone else’s, and while you still bite your dedication page as your own, the publisher’s page, the dedication page, and even the title page are all altogether gone, and no matter how old you are or how quickly you move, nor how attentive or well prepared you might be, there is nothing you can do except curl yourself into an ammonite and lock up everything you’ve ever claimed to be yours, light your candles and cigarettes, and put a record on the record player. There is no place like home that couldn’t become yours anymore.
You drink hard liquor from the bottle until you can touch the faces that you’ve lost, you can turn the hot water up in the shower until you don’t hear their voices anymore. There’s nothing like the sound of quiet that peels off the skin, or the sound of loud music blaring into your ears that you can play if you need to hold it back in.
You can **** the war and hate and heartache out of the brains and legs and holes of someone you barely know, but in a burst of snowy sunlight you’re only adding numbers to a score that heeds no winners at all. There’s no one that never shivers, no one that has never gotten splinters, there’s no one who is never been sick, there’s only the one’s who know what life is, and the one’s that lie about it. Only when you’ve lost your head can you see with your ears. I’ve found faces in my underwear that run fierce with rivers of tears. This is the waste that makes waste, this is the nerves that end nerves. This is the patch I placed on the moon, and the cold that stings every part of the body I know.
There is a bed somewhere, there is a town of people waiting to **** the person who lives in that room. There is the fire that consumes the bed, there is a child waiting there that’ll someday have to choose.