Devil’s Advocate

Sunday, May 28th, 2017 – 1:46 am

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? – (Matt. 27:46)

I scanned the small herd of Southampton Methodists for a hint of connection or substance to the God they sang about. I remained fully unpersuaded.

Toward the front sat my fat middle school gym teacher. His glare proved he still spotted me these years later and the furrowed brow showed memory of my misdeeds. They were manifold and many, of course, but in particular included helping trash the gym over summer break. The janitor had left the front door of the school wide open as we were driving by one afternoon on our bikes. We never considered resisting the temptation to enter uninvited and take possession. We sprinted into vandal mode with the efficiency and timing of soldiers. We were in and out of the school in minutes. We did vile things to that coach’s office and desk.

Ever the people watcher and student, it took me a few minutes in church that Sunday to decide that nobody of note had spark or proof of life. None could even mildly interest me with their good news. I struggled to tune out the hymns and nausea from the beer and whiskey of the night before.

A month before that, my father had leaned in with ultimatums. He offered to send me to military school, a psychiatrist or kill me. I suggested a fourth option of church. My older brother Paul was pulling it off for real and I could fake anything.

In between lines of Wesley and the last of the coke, I heaved and weaved in my stink and pew. With the dismissal, it was like I was born again and I was the first to hit the door. I lit my cigarette and walked across the street into the North End Cemetery. I knew it well as I strolled it with no sound mind or sight on many a lost New York night.

More comfortable with bones and headstones, I pulled out the tab of acid I bought from a stranger behind the museum and I stuck it on my tongue.

I meandered back to familiar sight of dad’s crossed arms and furrowed brows.

He asked why I walked to the cemetery. I said I was bored. He told me it was time to go. I said I decided to walk home.

I figured it would give plenty of time to gauge the strength of the LSD and enjoy it a bit before I got back home and to deal anew with dad’s bullshit.

It was a four mile stretch fit for a hurricane and fifteen year old.

Hours or maybe years later, I climbed up near infinite steps to my house with seizing calves and steeped in salty regret.

I walked in on a mother not unlike many of my own. She sat silently at something akin to a sewing machine, the only soul showing in an almost living room.

She asked how was my walk.

I told her it was fine, but she could see I was lying. I was drenched and scared, pulling punches on lies to throw out a few tells.

Keep an eye on me.

I layed down on the couch next to her and tried closing my eyes, but I kept feeling soft thumps on my chest and back that were out of sync with my racing heart. Invisible checks and balances to my hubris and self destruction.

I looked up to a mother figure hoisting a white collared shirt of her blue collared husband. She lifted it high for a view of her sewing handiwork. Just outside the window in front of her bloomed the biggest and bluest rhododendrons.

Then I opened another set of eyes.

Diving and weaving around the room at breakneck speeds were several small blurs, more marked by absence in our reality than by their presence. They were faster than bats in speed, able to stop in midair. They were impossible to look directly upon. Once my eyes focused where they floated, the swooping shadows would shift afresh from sight.

Each time one hovered nearby, I would watch it slam into my chest and fly back out of me.

Mind the expanding.

Some weeks before this, my dad and I had watched the Exorcist together.

My brother Paul did not like it. I insisted I loved it and that the book was even better. I ran upstairs to my colored pencils and within minutes had hung over my headboard a strikingly accurate version of Regan possessed. Inspired. Almost impossibly accurate from mere memory. I taped it just below my poster of the grim reaper and the number six six six splayed in gothic font.

That night, I half awoke to black clouds hovering above my bed. They asked if they could enter into me and I agreed.

Family said I really changed after that. My father told me years later that was around the time he realized someone would die soon if we stayed on Long Island. He knew we had to leave before my self destruction claimed his life or my own.

That acid washed Sunday, mom stared for a moment at my twitching and tossing and asked what was wrong.

I closed my eyes again and said “it’s nothing, I’m fine.”

A year later, I told the Lord that if He was real, I was sorry for ruining my life. That morning, I had heard a voice say my father had killed before and I shared the same fixed fate.

When I prayed, an Ocala hotel room that I thought was silent suddenly emptied with a rushing sound like a swarm of bees. It exposed a peace and quiet I’d not felt or heard for years.

My heart was filled for the first time with love and forgiveness. I prayed God would forgive my father for all he had done. The times he beat me bloody. The time he strangled me unconscious while screaming he was going to kill me.

My heart felt a grace and peace unlike anything I’d ever known.

A week after that prayer, I utterly ignored my dad’s insistences to not get baptised at a pentecostal church in Port Charlotte. When I got home, I cornered him on the couch and told him he needed to “pray the sinner’s prayer, whatever the hell that is. I don’t know, but Paul will lead you.”

Dad started to stand, but hovered in an almost seated position a few seconds before collapsing again into the sofa. Paul prayed with him. He told us months later that he was about to tell us to go to hell when he felt an invisible hand on his shoulder forcing him to sit back down.

Two years later, I was lying on my parent’s couch in their Fairview, Oregon living room well after midnight. I had wept for hours, asking the spirit of the Lord why He had left me.

I had been studying the Bible voraciously for years, researching and praying many hours a day, parsing Greek and Hebrew. We left our first Portland church for not being evangelical enough for us. The pastor refused to let me start a door to door ministry or homeless ministry. We started attending another charismatic church in Portland where I started both those ministries.

That night, I had a dream. God had shoved two burning torches into my hands and told me to follow a path before me. As I followed it, others in the dark fringe turned to see my flames. But everything suddenly faded to black.

I awoke to my first ever seizure. I was eighteen. My head was rapidly shaking up and down. I reached up and grabbed the sides of my head to stop it from convulsing.

I quit drinking a year and a half ago. I was not gracious about it. I sat on my uncle’s Florida couch and informed God. He broke His decades of silence to tell me three things.

He reminded me of my dream at eighteen. He told me I would burn brighter than ever before, but my race would be cut short.

He reminded me of a verse in Luke that “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” He warned me to quickly reach out to as many people as possible.

Then I saw an image of old man walking with a small group of women. They were helping him finish write his books. In the vision, I was hunched over and walking with a cane.

Six months later, a friend at my daughter’s wedding asked why my hands were shaking.

With fear and trembling, I looked away and said “it’s nothing, I’m fine.”

Thicker Than Waters

Wednesday, May 17th 2017 – 3:54 am

And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. – Mark 9:22

“Time Tyrant”

May 17, 2017 – Oregon City, Oregon

Here I am again, just before four a.m. and my legs wobble and bend like streams in an errant fountain. I pour laundry sink water from a blackened pot or two and my tremor turns on real bad to the last drop. Towering, brooking the babble from my maker of coffee or the just right pitch of a creek or crick will spin me and my seizures into worsening.

Another frustrating effect of my conversion disorder is that I no longer need food or sleep.

This is a lie of course.

The power of men to bend laws and logic lies here as well. We can do more than believe in our lies. We make them true. We are magic.

I might no longer stay awake for five days at a time like when I got off oxy and morphine and fentanyl and methadone and dilaudid and codeine and percocet and vicodin and again and again and again and thank god the good guys gave me the safe stuff. Thank government for you, gods of the right.

Now I split into shifts of twenty one and under, and up and at ’em again with the final three or four hours, I drag your love for the count. Staying still more than an eighth of my days feels wasteful and remiss. My brain is friendly foe again, snuffing the candle out from the inside. How can I survive in time?

Magic cost and world building price.

“Diver Down”

August 15, 1985 – Ocala, Florida

I woke to a drum beat and a pain in the neck. I was wakesleeping again and a fierce foe friend assured me it was the end. Let go. Let’s go. Let. Go.

No!

No, it’s okay. You broke your neck and are paralyzed. Don’t fight it. Go back to sleep. This is your last day. Go in peace.

No! No! No! No! No! No! Fight it! Get up! Get up! Get up! Get up! Get up! Get u

I woke up for air and pushed away the concrete pillow and floated up to a survival position. I puked chlorine water and my bloody face broke the skin of the deep end. My little brother was jumping up and down and screaming, his eyes red and swollen. That didn’t make sense. I thought I was only a few seconds gone. He should not have had time to cry that long. What’s happening. What happened.

What who where am I.

I dove in the deep end of the pool at our Holiday Inn and upon face to water, I blacked out again, like too many times since.

Prescott thought I had died and said I was laying at the pool bottom for at least a full minute. Right. What do kids know.

Blood ran down the deep gash in my forehead, nose and chin.

I heard his scream again as I fell in a final time. Then I swam over to grab the ladder and I pulled myself up and out.

“I had to rinse the blood off my face. Calm down.”

“Runaway”

October 30th, 1993 – Oregon coast

He said don’t run away. He ran anyway. He said stay in the van. He said stay in the fucking van. He ran. He didn’t do what he fucking told him. He fucking told him. He told him, didn’t he. Didn’t he tell him. Didn’t he. He said what was coming next. He told him what would happen if he ran. He ran anyway. He’s fucking sick of this. No more.

We spotted Prescott running up the logging road away from our failed morning hunt. Dad gunned the van and mom screamed. I never make a sound or flinch. That’s a thing with me. But I can slow down time. You ought to see it. And I knew dad was not trying to run Prescott over, just catch up with him. He did and then slammed the brakes and crunching gravel was shortly replaced with a gravelier dad screaming get in the van.

As my brother climbed back in, dad surprised everyone by pulling out his belt. Every eye widened this time as the youngest never got that.

He was only even wandering and running away on our hunting trip because he could not be trusted at home with just mom.

My brother had been awake for a long time. Longer than even me. For over two weeks. He passed from daily hallucinations to severe psychotic breaks and finally OHSU restraints. For almost a month.

A pure white wolf would appear in every mirror and pane. It’s name was Mammon, neither good nor evil. It all depends on how you use it.

Prescott attacked confused nurses several times and they were forced to increase security restraints. They were inexplicably undone twice. Mammon did it. It can move men and mountains, beside bands or buckles.

Prescott was too strained to leave at home, but too sane to escape punishment for running.

The final notch in dad’s buckle erred into the van. The four metal prongs took Prescott full across the face and he screamed. I was used to that and far worse. But this was his first. Dad usually kept all that from baby brother. Only the big boys got that. For decades. But not him. Not Prescott.

He was nineteen.

He kicked dad in the stomach and ran out of the van and back up to the cul de sac in front of us. I sprinted after him.

I was always the fastest kid on the block, way back when I had legs. I caught up and simply tackled my sibling, lowering us gently into soft turf of rock and dirt. We were literally on the edge of the second Oregon cliff to almost claim me.

When Prescott tried to break free from my grip and run again to the cliff, he screamed he wanted to die. He said Jesus was calling him and was ready to go to heaven. I wasn’t sure we were up high enough to guarantee he wouldn’t survive. He might outlive the fall, unable to feel his legs. A little like mine.

I tackled him a last time and said if he tried to jump once more, I would knock him the fuck out.

He laughed it off and tried to pull away. Just until he saw my hand going up. He recognized my fist. A decade before and for months on out, I had punched him more times than men try to make count.

I promised my brother I had knocked people out before and he could either walk back to the van or be dragged.

His demon slowed just enough to stare into my eyes, begging for a sign of bluff. It was not there. It never was. I have never made an idle threat. I can’t. That part of me is broken. When I talk about what I will do to your throat, it will be in the past tense. I promise you and swear to Jesus above.

Do you dare doubt me?

We drove in silence for twenty minutes, out of the Oregon forest and a hunting trip ruined. The first pay phone crested our path, tied to a gas station divorced from regular passing of time. The fifties called and wanted their nostalgia back.

I dialed Amy to check in. Austin was just five days over a year. Big sister was almost two and a half. I just wanted to tell my wife we were almost out of the woods.

I hung up the pay phone and slowly walked toward the driver side door.

I told my dad to get out of the van.

My mom jumped out after him.

It’s always go time.

The adrenaline was easily reignited and accelerated and the tension still weighed every face from the welts and screams of just a few minutes before.

But dad’s angry glare rushed away with all pink in his cheeks when I shared the news Amy had just given me over the phone.

“Your mom just died,” I told him.

He froze and wavered, feet and soul.

Mom asked if he was going to be alright. His look dropped and flopped from gutted to sad and lost and back again. The fight was up and long gone. We didn’t plan ahead or know what to do anymore.

I took a short step forward and asked my father if I could give him a hug.

He let me.

Static Enemy In Me

Sunday, May 14th, 2017 – 3:43 am

“Static Enemy In Me”

The first clouds moved too fast then. Still still, steal me when I’m almost awake. The blood on my cheeks bake and bounce in your nameless arms. I ran too fast and lost hot, cold and all hold on harm.

Again and again, I played hit and ran side wars on sidewalks that slowed us down and stalked me cold. Blurry children laugh ever after, once upon a tie score, my scars and sleep. I paid and prayed for saving grace, a higher class to kiss the ground and bow less deep.

I chased the fraught and fray further than I ought during day. The highs and lows loved to lay waste to indy tweens. Buzzed and burned by hands my age before most were even weaned.

Then They arrive.

Just on time. Both pulled me each night. Commanding new numbs with nowhere to stand or see, I walk past last lagging light, to twins and needles. No one to stab but me. From then on, we promised to change me for the bedder.

We killed time and sins in foreign lands. In reserves we walked, those pocked and locked by men much more lost to law, a lot like me. White is less right under the brightest lights of half hidden history. I can never run again after today. I was told to sleep and wait while pins needlessly saved us.

Invisible fans faithfully fanned such fires. They still spill red and white and pit black and blue. Just another brick corner to keep their heads down. Dig and gouge and dream and pray and feel and flee and fight and freeze, deep in eyes with fingers, search and play. I finally awoke you two too, to you true awash in blood and loss and songs of solar sleep, my final fate for future days to seize, c’est la vie and say Lovey.

Back there, back where I keep dying to leave Their there, they’re shaking foundations and bricking the air with Their airs and heirs and errors like last doors leading the hells out of there. I reason with Them now and then, when They can hear a friend forging fragile truce. Few days left, runned twain, terrored and mundane. Almost standing on my own, I’ll bow out soon, boasting such breadth by a boy with shattered feet of clay.

Purer Poetry

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 – 7:42 pm

Fuck your fiction, fanboy. I’ll tell you too much truth to face your fears or trust again mere eyes and ears. Knowing better, we wise in years, or so we ought. Do you believe in gods and monsters? How could you not?

My philosophy evolved rapidly after finding my first Playboy at four or five. When I first spied every curve and pink and soft and strange, I thought I heard angels sing. I still do. Lesson learned. Adults greedily secret the best treats for themselves, but we devout dig hidden treasure from riddled trash.

Still in tender shoot, I mapped every inch of my first of many homes. I was born an already old and wounded soul, fated for sparks, fits of rage facing upward for each stunted stage. I was not born merely curious. I was herded by brunts and bents unworldly.

I found the quality of dad’s razor blades top shelf. I hid the slices of vandalism and her bleeding vandal with aplomb that was equal. I later found a few of my favorite future decades drenched in a liquid gold, magically hidden in cans, flat, never cold.

I am your ghost, slipping silent between day and night, dream and reason, charmed and invisible. I found new and timeless trouble under the covers and in grainy comic horrors. Vaults of vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons and witches in black and white called to me to steal a cold peak by day and then debrief in dream each night.

I told my dad of visions of lakes of lava and lumbering, rotted corpses poisoning me for eternity with a touch even slight of their corrupt destiny. He brushed it off. When I told him of ghostlike girls transparent and duplicitous, waking me without a word, he suspected my high fevers or those two head hits that carried concussion and loss of consciousness.

Moving from the military base to the apartments by the university, I went through rapid, marked changes, both behavioral and cognitive. Are you a sinner or a saint? How about a savior, sinned by grays, a skeptic killed believer? Do you suspect my crimes are neurological or spiritual?

Enlighten me, professor or prophet.

A special education teacher, my father knew something was special with his two oldest. At five, I asked dad to teach me his favorites, chess and guitar, and I was rapidly beyond him in both. His precise, timed tests showed Paul and I both had genius level IQs. Had it not been the Seventies and our rocking drunk tank excuse of a home such an empathy vacuum, dad might have noticed that Paul had autism and I had severe PTSD, birthed by his own bloody beatings.

Had he already become the suddenly forgiven Pentecostal, he might have suspected I had a demon. Some saints whom I’ve watched sway in the pews beside him still think I possess some potential.

What does my dad who recently died think now from the other side? Does he feel a twinge of regret at his broken boy? Is there still any pain left over after soothe of ether? But then again, how could lows measure without the highs of pleasure?

My first deliberately set blaze large enough to require a fire truck was born in the dumpster I daily, dutifully dragged dad’s trash. But luck be a fucker tonight, I was busted by a broad in daylight. Blurry eyed and surely stoned, the anonymous snitch in the apartment complex witnessed my felonious genesis and attempted exodus.

That ushered a special spanking where red and raw remained long and white turned blue overnight. Weeks later, dad witnessed my blatant coercion of Paul and the neighbor to throw rocks at the passing… wait for it… wait for it… I said wait… NOW… the passing Ferrari. Four decades hence, Paul well remembers our beating as particularly epic.

Almost all my ghost stories are easily sorted in both grades and grand new cities, for each one was married anew to yet another. In the third grade i.e. Rhonert Park, dad first heard familiar screams in the night and saw me wondering and wandering in dark as easily as light. He read somewhere, assuredly scholarly, to not wake up sleepwalkers, but the next morning enjoyed broadcasting the details of me peeing in the tub and flushing the toilet before my walking back to bed.

He later caught me shocking myself repeatedly, deliberately with paper clips and bobby pins and bathroom sockets. It did not occur to him to ask how or why such pain and stark stimuli would give a child a twisted sense of release and relief.

He saw me charge bloodied and blissed into Paul’s gloved punches, sometimes ten at a time, if it meant I got to land just one hit. My berserker passion can be dispiriting and disorienting to the recipients.  I can conjure whole worlds where I redefine pain as a pause, albeit pregnant. I feel exactly what I choose to feel and when I choose to feel it.

I choose.

Not you.

A father witnessed his wounded boy walking for weeks, calmly climbing into closets, dark nights each. He did not know about my invisible friends, the visitors inside. How could he possibly know about the dire presence in the back, the one with the cold and the gray, the pins of past and future of needles, the esoteric static shooting through body and soul?

Do you believe in magic? Do you buy into other worlds and deeper dimensions, that prayers open portals? How could you not?

Paralyzed in word and will only, a zombie with eyes of understanding, I was forbidden even a scrap of stray scream as the presence called me and stood my feet, walking me in to a deep freeze, again and again and again and again. Back in black, it would test my resolve. Was it an angel or alien, deity or demon? Or perhaps past versions of sin and self crying for freedom, begging for a normal human touch, one without typical sting and shame.

The stubborn spirit called to me each new witching hour and I watched my own body betray me, over and over. Once in a closet, it would slowly wind and work to erase and usurp. For weeks. Maybe months. I fought it each night. I knew little of its intent but was aware of a malevolence. Each time it touched me, I would lose my sense of self and consciousness.

I was eight.

What do you do with your third grader who’s astute enough a student to complete the class assignments compiled for your college kids? Throw at him enough mystic and missed information and he might map the meaning of an almost lifelike life, just like Monty Python tried. A hitchhiker disguised to the galaxy claims the same understanding of our purpose, but in number only. For deed, too. Maybe he speaks in rhymes and riddles, assuming he is the only one worth listening two.

To the left of a door to another reality, still hangs the poem I would decipher each morning. Carefully crafted cries and clues, penned with glitter and gold Artex tubes. Of necessity, I invented and overscheduled meticulously, everything from death and life and art and love and music and mayhem and prophecy and punishing into each newest twenty four hour iteration of me.

I even set aside time each day just for this poem. Something tangible beside myself to hang in my cell, the fabric verse of goop and glitter was mine to read and reread, decode, collate, parse and strive for meaning behind the magic, salvation beyond spirits black and white, gray and static. Outside of the closet lived aged maxims and nagging questions.

Each sunup, a cheap parchment would beg an answer to the hypocrisy and irony and confusion, taunting me over obvious tyranny and trauma and tragedy.

To the left of a drab universe, disguised as a door mundane, a promise of dreams and needles, pinned terrors soothed only by the calm of shadow.

The walls longs torn, there yet hangs my vain, vague verse. I still study it silently each sunrise:

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

 

journey entries

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 – 4:11 am

twenty fifteen, july
a father falls to final care. a son stumbles into suns, burning news, driving from the truth, lost and confused. worlds are no longer the same and fifth a day can’t drown that bright a pain.

twenty fifteen, october
a son receives the final call dad has died. he can’t breathe right. but he only coded and is brought to life. both our hearts stop and restart that night.

twenty sixteen, june
pat, why are you shaking

twenty sixteen, july
keys trade me for canes

twenty seventeen, april
our father is gone for good, for now, for sure. but I’ve roamed someone else for almost a year. pain and quiet buy a peace and final release, easy to endure. if faith grows cold, just hope and hold my heart even more.

Catharsis

Thursday, April 20th, 2017 – 1:12 pm

I don’t remember her name. She starred in the opening scene and wasn’t even a regular in North Sea. I just remember she was a new girl, ridiculously cute and petite. I know I really wanted to sleep with her.

Her summer job was watching a house or dog or baby or other helpless object at the end of Fresh Pond Lane. When she invited me over, I assumed it was for my great looks and charm. Once all my weed turned to ash, it magically refreshed her memory of having a college aged boyfriend.

Awesome! What’s his fucking name?! Hahaha!

Ever the gentleman, I mostly held my tongue and huffed off to the party already in progress at the end of memory lane. It was no longer light inside or out and I felt a familiar itch for destruction.

In the best winters, Little Fresh Pond freezes over and infests with skaters, drunkards and even a foolhardy truck or two. The ubiquitous bmx boys and I would pedal for hours, fishtailing about slipping sots with our ever toxic levels of freedom and hubris.

I had cash as I worked full time at nearby Sal’s Market. Google Maps now says Sal’s is a Schmidt’s Seafood. I remember driving by it in a rental car in March of 2015, the last time I saw my father alive.

While the store was still Sal’s, it gave me a brief haven to mature. I cut steaks, perfected New York deli sandwiches, bagged ice, stocked shelves, broke labor laws, and even opened at sunup and locked up at night. I treated it like my own place.

You will learn I have been blessed my whole life with unusually strong women friends of every age. One such matriarch owned Sal’s Market of North Sea in the eighties. She took me under her wing and offered sanctuary and slightly raised chances of surviving my teens. Not quite old enough to be my grandmother, Evelyn Honnett had short brown hair and mischievous, striking blue eyes, light and full of life. She was stern, but fair and ever kind. I could not recall many days missing her laughs or smiles.

The first time I asked her for a raise, she bearhugged me, lifted me off the ground and cackled with our faces way too damned close. I did not like this joke. I felt it lacked something, like maybe the joke part. But I still cared for her and admired her greatly. I worked hard, mostly to make her proud. Forced to courtesy laugh at her “give me a raise” pun, I calmly repeated, “Haha great, I still want more money.”

After my cute weed moocher broke my heart earlier in the night, I predicted part of me and that week’s paycheck were doomed to form frozen, rancid puddles of beer, bile and burning spirits.

I hear the demons clanging their cages near the ice and snow. I see a figure like mine falling face first into the fire at the edge of a lake. The orange and blues flicker and refuse time, either to dim or dry. My ghosts gather and stumble there each full moon, their clear countenances ever bowed with concern and confusion.

I woke up some hours later to the sound and feel of scraping below. Slush and mud trenches were gouging fresh under my boots’ steel toes as two midnight shadows floated with me through the most familiar yard. All of me hurt. My jean jacket was both torn and burnt. My hands and face were swollen and bleeding.

Key key door get his key door get the door open it just I got it shut the hell up grab him lift get him up the steps move okay now set him down on the kitchen floor oh god what’s he doing stop him grab him fuck what the fuck is he doing shit fuck fuck get his parents get out of here run run where the fuck are his parents

“What the fuck are you doing?!” someone eventually screamed.

I returned to earth just long enough to see our new glass flooring gleaming throughout, accented with sheetrock and blood. Then I slept again, deep with the rest only the wicked enjoy.

In a fevered dream, I watched a young man’s hand dive in the cool surface of one more window pane. Then the boy was raptured. He flew upward to heaven for the briefest dream. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he was more weightless than he had felt in most his youth.

But we always crash back down.

A hundred year old chair surrendered to the impact of my ribs and back and yet barely woke me. I looked up from under the kitchen table and recognized my night’s newest assailant was my father. He quickly escalated to body slamming me and breaking furniture.

I looked down at the splintered legs, back and antique seat splayed under me and had an epiphany. I realized for the first time that night, I no longer felt any pain. I welcomed the irony and burst into laughter. Before I blanked, I spit blood and taunts once more at my attacker.

I woke up minutes or hours later in my bed. To my right, a caveman had left wet fistprints on the side of my dresser. They begged an answer, like gory rorschachs in red and unread messages. The sheetrock to my left boasted many fresh punctures, wormholes to every possible trauma, carefully kissed with just a hint of red lace around the curved edges of a dozen new wounds.

Convincing a true monster to leave is impossible after inviting them into the light. They somehow know they can never quite find a way back home and remain ever vigilant, however wounded, deaf and blind.

Stop jesus oh god why is he doing that is he even awake oh god stop him we need to go the hospital alcohol poisoning what did you have what did you take did you take more acid did you take more LSD we want to help you stop him he is doing it again jesus stop him stop him look at the blood hold his arms down before he breaks his hands

I woke once more to my arms pinned and dad yelling at me to stop punching. My mom quickly appeared with his pipe. He lit it, put it in front of me and asked me to take a hit to see if it would calm me down. After a few hits, I looked up and tried to force him to say the one thing I needed to hear my whole life.

“You… you never fucking loved me,” I accused.

I still remember the look of shock on his face and how it would never be enough. He leaned down to awkwardly hug me for a moment, the first in a decade. He muttered the most his pride could afford.

“That’s… not true.”

Dear Dad

Friday, April 14th, 2017 – 7:55 pm

Dear Dad,

You passed away eight days ago.

I have not really cried much. What little I have done, I do not know if it is for you or because of my disorder. I think I have a lot of grieving still to go through, but I am not sure. We are still watching things very closely because of my condition.

Wait, you didn’t even know about my condition, did you?

Of course not. Sorry.

Because I also have been so sick, I sometimes forget you were on life support for over a year and a half before you died. We both missed a lot. Would you believe I went through so much this last year that I forgot to worry about you most days?

You taught me to drive a car over thirty years ago. You did not know that I have not been able to drive since July of last year. I really miss it.

I no longer have a job. I have been fully disabled for over nine months now. I am writing a couple memoirs. I am surrounded by some amazing friends. I hope you would be proud.

You did not know that I can no longer walk without a cane. Sometimes, I need a walker. I am two years shy of fifty.

You did not know that I cannot go into public for more than very short periods, no more than a few hours. Because of my disorder, my body and mind are severely disconnected. My body is mostly numb and I can no longer feel it. We have to set reminders to go to the bathroom and eat.

My seizures make the imbalance and lack of connection even worse. It makes walking very difficult at times. It makes functioning in public almost impossible except under severe controls and small time limits.

You did not know that whatever remaining tenuous connection is there can quickly be shattered from even a little bit too much sensory input. My mind crashes so hard that I can no longer breathe or think linearly. My IQ literally plummets and I become as defenseless as a child.

Because of that, I should warn you that I may or may not be well enough to travel at all to your memorial service in July. We do not know for sure yet. I certainly can no longer travel without someone going along with me and taking care of me, just like a kid.

You were even more helpless as a child on your bed the last few years. You know what it is like to be fully dependent on others. I hate even asking for a car ride. I would want to die before depending on someone else to change my damn diapers. Two motherfucking years.

That is a lot of sleeping, Dad.

What did you dream about?

Did you dream of the terrors you wrought in the day that birthed my demons and ghosts of the night?

Where are you now?

Were you trying to yell in your sleep to wake up and say goodbye?

Did you desperately want to say sorry just one last time?

I wanted to talk to you so bad in the last few years. You were the smartest person I knew and I cannot remember the last time I was able to have an intelligent conversation with you. The dementia had already started to debilitate you severely when I flew out and drove you to Brittany’s high school graduation. That was in 2009. You must remember now? You are whole and in your right mind on the other side now, right?

You quickly realized that I vowed to survive with or without a Dad in my life or heart from the youngest age, back when I flew inside my mind from your cruelty. With your help, I was driven into desolate places one shouldn’t speak about in the light. I dallied in hells the mind cannot contain. I broke my brain and my body and infinite worlds followed.

You should have been there.

I was about five years old when I discovered magic. That is when I started reshaping reality. The doctors call it Dissociative breaks. I redefined pain in the 3rd grade when you put boxing gloves on both us boys. To this day, l want to run face first into the fray and become fast friends with fever and pain. I still punch walls until my hands break. I only need to feel my knuckles cracked and bleeding. There is no greater feeling.

But lately, I cannot feel much of anything. Not anymore.

What are you feeling right now, Dad?

You didn’t know I tried to treat my disorder for many years with crutches and churches and pills and prayers and skepticism and sex and violence, truth and lies and light and darkness.

Anything to stop the pain. So much blood.

You didn’t know I quit drinking in October of 2015, again while you were on life support. I was drinking a fifth of whiskey a day for the last couple years. You might remember back when we had our last shot of bourbon together at the reunion upstate New York in 2014. I still cherish that moment. I think they got a picture.

The doctors recommended I quit the opiates last year and fortunately, the cannabis has been amazing at helping my condition. I thought you might get a kick out of that.

When I quit drinking the morning of October 29th in 2015, God told me three things.

He reminded me of a dream from eighteen when I had my very first seizure. God said I would burn brighter than ever and my race would be cut short.

Then He reminded me of a verse from the book of Luke and He said to reach out to as many friends as quickly as possible.

Finally, he showed me a vision of myself, surrounded by a group of friends helping me with finishing writing my books as I walked around with a cane.

Pretty specific images, right? They made little sense until the last few months.

You didn’t know I had to do an opiate detox in 2010 and another in 2013. They fucking broke me, Dad. I am not the same person anymore. Then this disorder came and crumbled the rest of me without a care. It swept away any remaining sense of self in the last year.

I’m not sure who I am anymore.

Dad, you should have been there.

You didn’t know I was diagnosed a year ago with PTSD from your violence.

You did not know I was then diagnosed six months ago with Conversion Disorder with Abnormal Movement, also a result of your brutal, daily abuse for almost twenty years.

My nonstop tremors and seizures are so bad, they treated me for Parkinson’s the first three months.

You slept through all the news, Dad.

Now, where are you?

You didn’t know any of these things. But I think you knew I loved you and forgave you.

I miss you. I hope you are at peace.

We have a lot to catch up on, someday.

I love you, Dad. I always have.

I’ll see you soon.