Woke up this morning on Wacovia bank ledge. Not too cold, not too many people passing by. Talked to my friend Bill, who gave me a hundred dollars as a housewarming gift. Very excited about getting my new place, and getting me off the streets. Told my social worker about getting kicked off my church steps; she was nearly incredulous. Apparently, according to her, the real problem with me and City Shelter is that I make other people feel inadequate. Interesting...

It was a hoax.

Apparently, the guy I was trying to rent the room from was trying to illegally skip out without telling the landlord. Oh, well....

Had a consolatory lunch of port wine, Stilton cheese, whole-wheat bread, and walnuts, put most of my stuff in my "office" in Yale Library, and spent the day striking up conversations with random strangers.

Back in Yale Library; going to sign off.

It has been over a year now
Since I last saw her
She has moved on
And yet
She still visits my dreams
Sometimes as a friend
Sometimes as a lover
We rarely speak
(in fact never, unless
you count msn which I don't)
I no longer know what she is to me
Maybe just a symbol of brokenness
Reducing me to tears
And to angsty poetry
(which on the surface I know is rubbish;
almost a parody in its own way.
But deep down I still hope
that this crap with too many
line breaks will get chinged)

For a time, I thought myself incapable,
Unable to love again
But I crushed and hoped to bed
Other girls. (and by
Bed, I mean use as a pillar
To cry against; and to talk to
As I talk to my cat -
You are the only one who cares
I tell him - as I would tell
Her if she were there
And if she actually cared)
But the crux is that finding
girls is not easy. My only certainty
is that a random girl
will find me unattractive on
the outside. And on the inside
all the good is balanced out
by the fact that I am broken.

I have tried to heal myself
And yet my dreams and constant thoughts
Are but part of the proof that I have failed
I am now worried that I am looking
for a girl who will heal me.
But when she leaves -
For this hypothetical healer
Is obviously imbalanced and will
No longer want me when I am whole -
What will be left of me?
And more importantly
What will be left of her?
And what if The One
Comes along? She is not a
Healer. She is whole and
Repairs her own cracks
(Yes, Halspal, I know - that lets the light in)
Will she kick my bum into line
And stay the distance.
Or will she give me up as a bad job?

Either way - hopefully we will find
Something better to do at 23:30
Than write meaningless (but deep-down brilliant)
Poetry because the Broken
One of us is afraid to go to sleep
For fear that his dreams
Will again feature proof
Of his brokenness.

Lately, my eyes have been brimming with tears for what appears to be no particular reason. I don’t know if there’s a word for that or not but if there isn’t, there certainly should be.

I mean, I’ll just be sitting there reading a book or watching television and all of a sudden I’ll have to turn my eyes away and wipe them with my forearm or a tissue or something in order to clear the mist.

It’s weird, I can feel them coming but I don’t know where they come from or why they’re coming in the first place.

I'm going home today. Yep, back to my own place with my own stuff and my own rituals to attend to.

Although my place pales in comparison to the place I’m staying, I’m still happy to be heading home. My place has no air conditioning, no cable television and 150 channels to choose from or no Internet access. It doesn’t have a modern kitchen or a dishwasher or a washer and dryer or a bathroom on the first floor. For the most part, I have to climb either upstairs or downstairs to attend to some of those needs.

There are no gardens, no koi ponds, no front and back decks, or no gas grills. There no butterflies or no hummingbirds with which to distract me or keep me company. There isn’t the silence of the country or the view of the occasional deer as it skips by the back window. As a substitute, my place offers a pretty steady stream of traffic and the occasional squirrel.

For awhile, I couldn’t figure out what the rush was, why was I so eager to get back to a place that by modern day standards, doesn’t have much to offer? Then I got myself to thinking.

I thought about those little marks on the wall and why I stepped in the puddle. I thought about hugs and helplessness and the closeness of my neighbors. I thought about money well spent and how that most of the time good things rarely happen after midnight. I thought about some of my neighbors and how she wanted to go to Paris and the turd world war and the quiet girl. I thought about that musty smell and afternoons spent on my tiny little porch, just sitting there, nursing beers and watching the world go by. I thought about a good kid and what it must feel like, just sitting there until the phone rings.

I thought about dusty bookshelves and broken in furniture. I thought about photo albums and stopped clocks and a child’s drawings scotch taped to the front of the refrigerator. I thought about armies of stuffed animals and closets full of board games. I thought about the pile of clothes hidden away in a closet that don’t fit anymore but I just can’t seem to get rid of.

I talked to Anna last night. They won their soccer game 4-2 and she got herself a little bloody nose when she got hit in the face by the ball. I asked her if she cried and she gave me one of those “Oh Da-ad” things that she does when she’s frustrated with me and said she kept playing until the referee’s noticed and they stopped play.

We may have more in common than I originally thought.

She’s coming to my place tonight. She wanted to spend an evening with me and her mom will pick her up in the morning and take her to school. Maybe I’ll feel well enough to take in one of her games this weekend.

My eyes are brimming up again.

This time I think I know why.

I get to go home.

...I am reduced to wandering sadly through the shadows of the happiest moments of my life:

July 20, 2003:

You are beautiful beneath me in the morning. Beautiful deep in my ear and arms at night. Beautiful from first committed kiss (never tenuous, we). Beautiful with "Tell me what you like...." Beautiful on the phone, silences full of shared delight. Beautiful with unnatural (so you say) turnout, white against white, thighs upon thighs, legs and arms and feet and OH-SO-BEAUTIFUL neck in your kitchen, in your bed, in your office, in my life.

I thought all weekend of your skin, my god, so flawless, even in the slow, courteous light of our first dawn together.

Thought of you, breath so sweet, voice so soft, hands so smooth against me. God, I thought of you and thought of you and thought of you.

I thought of you at the ceremony, old as Buddha, fresh as "Yes, I will, yes." Thought of you dancing with the choreographer of Moulin Rouge, John, stopping all the others dead in their tracks with envy and delight. Your hair, your body, your rhythm. Thought of you, dancing with me, slow in the night, among the trees that inhaled the smoke from Henry Miller's cigarette not so very long ago.

And later, in my bed in the hills, alone with only vivid memories of us to keep me company, I thought of you, of us, in many beds, in many lands, on many nights, in many dawns.

I am told *thinking* makes it so.

I miss you like the mountains miss the sea.

xrro

**

All of this remains to this day the truth.

I am craving stability.

Today I had a talk with one of my profs. I'm currently a Junior undergraduate, working on a History B.A. I've been thinking a lot of graduate school, and had for the past few years harbored hopes of someday becoming a professor myself. You know, teach a few classes, translate a few ancient manuscripts, and generally enjoy life while getting paid. The good life.

I'd heard some vicious rumors about a job shortage for PhDs, especially for jobs in the humanities. These were mostly from the uneducated unwashed masses, i.e. my family. "You'll end up a taxi driver," they said. "You'll end up flipping burgers." And I would mentally respond, "I'll show you!" And as the facts on the matter became more and more clear, I gradually shifted to "I may fail, but it'll be cool!" I didn't really know the full extent of things until today, though, when I had a chat with a venerable old hippie.

He told me about the glory days when he was just out of graduate school, and universities were rapidly expanding and adding more tenure track positions. He was one of the lucky few of his friends to get such a position. Most of the others became itinerant scholars, like ghosts of academia, forced to wander the earth without rest. Eventually they all settled down to teach high school. Pity.

While I'd like to think that no learning can ever truly be a waste, it sure seems damn close to waste when you spend 8 years accruing debt, living below the poverty line, and chasing a graduate degree that in the end can not get you a job. If you're going to teach high school, just get a degree in teaching high school. Get yourself a wife, get yourself a job. That sort of thing.

I'd had a few backup careers in mind. Journalism, Law, Actuary. These all seem like high-pressure, high-competition, high-workload jobs. Not my cup of tea.

So I'm doing a 180. I always liked math, and I've just now completed a math minor, along with my halfway-done History degree. I think now I'll pursue a Mathematics Education degree, which will take me to a fifth year here at Purdue.

It's sad. But it's time to stop blithely assuming that my future will work itself out. Abandon silly dreams and face the music.

So it goes.

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