"Stanley, see this? This is this. This ain't something else. This is this." -Robert DeNiro as Michael in The Deer Hunter

Somehow this phrase gets stuck in the back of my head when I am trying to concentrate on things. The beginning of this movie plays in my head, reminding me of a midwestern childhood where weekends were spent in the lower level of the Knights of Columbus hall. I would explore the bathrooms, hiding behind folding chairs, and testing the doors to storage closets while my parents drank cheap beer out of high-ball glasses.

This is this. This is not something else. Concentrate on what you are doing, your nostalgia flows like weakened briny syrup through your sinuses, it is apparent and it makes you cry, I tell myself. Yours is not the first heart to be taken away and replaced with such salt. It weakens as time passes and comes out as tears. The world does not need to see this, and I can't help but show it.

This is not something else. This is not the past, and it deserves undivided attention. The past has its time, and it has its place, in a dry age where there are musty sleeping bags and wood paneled basements.

This is everything, and I keep mixing it with something else. I keep tasting the past in the back of my throat, making my life a saline blur.