A pair of size 7.5, lime green "water shoes." The things smelled to high heaven, dragging in the noxious mixture of teenager foot, pond water, sweat and earth - compounded at some asymptotal angle towards "completely intolerable" to anyone but the owner, as t approaches "throw them out." And what a silly number to remember, sitting on boulders shoring up a lake that never floods to warrant the work of the Army Corps of Engineers (and yet), worried about bugs, interested mildly in toads but never really owning that, never wanting to really grab them, just content to interact after someone else does the hard part. That's a thing too, isn't it, the point at which you realize you really have to handle certain things, like a paint brush on a fence, in order to get them to work the right way. "Who's in control? You or the paintbrush?" Well, most of the time it's probably the toad. The only thing I hate more than washing my hands is having to wash my hands.

7.5. This number stays with you like some room in the house of your brain that is organized specifically for perfect acoustics and endless echoes, long statements lost in some lengthier Lucier's Room, but short quips kept if provided with sufficient Ar Tick You Lay Shun. 7.5. So this is what the world thinks about me. This is what the world calls what I have? At this stage in the game you are a foreigner still to your own body, a bit like Adam and Eve finding out they are naked you are starting to realize this existential bit and new pieces of information have a strong signal : noise ratio. This thing that is growing, it is now 7.5.

And this learning and facility is not just informative in the vague sense, but in fact this way of knowing is crucial to your success. These things you have outside of your brain aren't "you" per se, they are the apparatus that sustains you and allows you to have agency in the world but they aren't really you, in the sense that you know yourself. Your ability to interact with these other components, to know them, to understand them sufficiently, this is what will determine your success in this world, either because of vanity, or communication, or dumb luck.

40 Long. This is a suit size, years later, and just knowing the number, off the cuff, transmits exactly the right sense of being #blessed, which is to say privileged without really accepting it.

"The first numeral is 1, push the button. Good!"

Walking on the esplanade, wondering when you're going to receive some call from somewhere, something that will give you a better sense of lat/long in the global sense. The way that machines struggle with the movement of time and you struggle desperately with those dimensions past 3 -- there are more than enough optical illusions at 3, once you get to 4 there's honestly no way of telling who is even in the game, much less who belongs anywhere in particular. Eschaton, long lobbing shots of skill honed with time and care before you know you're making a choice to learn them. Electing a road of sacrifice before you know what that means and what you could be giving up. Embracing a world that is unbelievably different than promised before you even know how to read the contract for the standard agreements laid out in front of you.

"But you were there... and so was I"

Ha, but oh hot damn were you ever. If there's nothing I have learned in all this time it's that you were there. Part of some cultural web that defined things that we can agree upon, impossible wrongs and untouchable rights that are so easy to accept as long as they are never breached - and at that point we create distance "this situation is different, it's easy to think that way with nothing at stake, you don't know my experience." And no one does, but mostly everyone does. Laser-guided, black and white, strategic points of interest, focal points where light perfectly illuminates with the least work possible, the noise that comes next. And you were there. And you did this as much as anyone. You don't get to just pull the ripcord and wash your name off of the register. "This isn't my battle." No go, Private. Try again.

Well it's coming to your doorstep, didn't you here? The Save the Date is in the mail on beautiful card stock. The photos were done by Jeff Michaels, you simply MUST use him, did you see his photos of Amy's brand new baby as it fell into the world? Did you see his photos of the Schaffer's on their wedding day? Have you heard about his special camera?

FYI, you should pencil in the vomiting / panic attack combo roughly three hours before the ceremony, and the therapist about a week afterwards. Some flashback to early dance sequences, falling in a snowbank, reasonably certain of death, waking up on a floor in someone else's apartment building Eireann, the quiet consumption of drinks and waiting for some sign (if learning about yourself is hard my god trying to find someone else that you aren't just running into at full speed hope for forced osmosis), "Oh my God, Mark, how could he do this to me? How could he do this to me?" full of sobs on both ends because of course, with some red dress on the floor, literally covered in time, and wasted moments of efforts to seem more meaningful to make up for soft whispers that never carried over the noise in a room, looking desperately into someone's eyes to try and see yourself in the reflection. Where am I? What is this, anyway? Sometimes just being at the exceptional place is the achievement, friend. Once you are there it is better to do the job right, rather than try to be exceptional at this place. There is a limit to what is possible, and it is very rarely found with gentle strokes, and this kind of force, exerted sometimes over so little surface area is no joke. It's a bullet, if you're lucky.

5'. 6'. 7.5. 9.5. 11. 100lbs. 135lbs. 165lbs. 185lbs. 170lbs.

These ways of knowing the apparatus that holds us in. Always self-optimizing to try to work in our favor. Feed me. Rest. Empty me. We are poisoned. Drink. Sit down. Rest. But then signals come in that we don't process well. The optimization isn't working. Flickering lights. The pieces are breaking. Gears that moved so smoothly, so MIT designed, start to rub themselves into blades. Cracking a tooth as you try to find the place that is generating these systemic mistakes. Wood. Nails. Glue. Saws. Sleep. Rust. The observations that fall outside of six sigma. The statistically significant rate of failure, realized. Falling on the wrong side of #blessed. Crying on the wrong side of the window. Passing out face up. Two inches too far to the right. 3 months too late. Waiting for a sunrise that just won't seem to show up. So exceptional.

Just do the job.



Someone drops on you the concept that from the day you are born you die a little every day. OK, fine, but no one owns that, not really. It is funny then that we just react so strongly of the thought of dying just a little bit faster. Your life is terminal, but this cancer is even more terminal. Your life is leading at a free fall to some yet to be determined place on the map, but this disease is just speeding up your descent towards the crash site. Some graph where you leave the womb at some flat velocity, first derivative of acceleration flat, until the day that you find out, oh hey, that derivative is ramping and you are reaching higher speeds, trickier patterns, no more doctored data or denials, terminal velocity.

Sinking into a bar chair, sawdust smell mixing with the smell of spilled spirits and music loud enough to displace the dust on the paintings and even the stiffest Dewar's drunk. Cousin Maudlin, down from New England for the summer, eschewing easy evenings on the Esplanade, now standing here I, hat in hand, asking for some kind of cold comfort in black like physiognomy is such a common reference point that other people should read into the context clues--carting around scotched-up red eyes on a IT department plastic cart with a broken swivel wheel and a background chorus "Amy, look at this black mark! It comes all the way from the door towards the stairs... what got in here? Can you call Jimmy over, please, it's unsightly." Oh my god, oh my good god, laughing from the sidelines of someone else's life, spectating free of charge getting the glimpse into someone else's broken moments. Hey Elle, where did you go after our sorority summer? Who is your best man now? How many more downward dogs until Zen - Pax? How many more salads until you get to ring the bell? I'll be in the back room, drinking my half of the beer, right out of the fucking bag, ya know? eyes turned up to Heaven's Gate in mid-flight. But our dear cousin isn't having fun. Learn to wear sneakers and take a deep breath, it just doesn't matter anymore. You'll be fine, and then you won't be, and either way it won't matter in the interim how much you enjoy it, so wear a smile at least. You'll get fewer wrinkles.

And maybe this is what it feels like. Not gutshot pain, not even the pain of a papercut, but an ache that you couldn't point to on a doll but you can visualize as something that is no longer the right color, signals from neighbors ignored, a comical Lucy in the chocolate shop with a more bittersweet ending. There's no pause button on the conveyor belt so the mistakes only compound. Objects with fancy names that you only learn when they have a gun aimed between your eyes. Give me all your money and good sweet lord you will give them your fucking money and everything you've got, Hero, you will weep for mankind dear Hero, you won't save anyone today, darling Hero, and when you wake up with makeup still caked on your face like some literal manifestation of the lies you scattered behind you like some kind of Hansel and Gretel shit trail back to the house, precious Hero, when the day comes when you are just to tired to do the very basic things required for entry into the VIP you'll hear the deafening rumble of sounds that are outside of your sonic range, something that is well higher than 60khz and lower than 10hz and is at some decibel level that would make even the most molly soaked Burning Man attendee fall from their welded precipice of imagined realization in the form of a giant statue of a Priest with a simple man on his shoulder, whispering the truth, the rumble that you can feel in your ears not as a sound but as pressure, sweet Jesus do you feel that pressure, all of the sudden aware of the way you are wearing your clothes the way Adam and Eve became aware of being naked or the first time you went to a party and realized you had no idea how to dress, clothing shifting in the pulsing air of the sound and you, sweet Hero, breaking down into silent tears, a martyr for nothing and for no one. 

I have my own problems and I don't care. Here's my number.

No one told us how to breathe but we sucked for air until we broke through. No one told us how to play but we know how. No one told us how to love but we figure it out. No one told us what it will feel like to die, to feel the slow pull of gravity, ignorant of mass or design, will its realization come in time or are we millenniums away from evolving to the point where we can handle the most basic of tasks, the grand release as the curtains fall and our act comes to a close? Or will we be left to try to put words behind something so simple and binary, that you day you are here and the next you cease to exist, and your only job is your only superpower: to do the best that you can with what you have, as long as you are so lucky to have it, because They can take that from you, and you had better fucking believe that they will.

Good show ya fucking legend! Now a bit more'da brown and tell me a story about life back in Eireann--and Jaysus no fucking Galway Bay this time, OK? I want to to remember it like the stouries, not like the visions, I can handle that on me own. 

And Good God what is that noise?


These are the barely noticeable faux-victories that pass for accomplishments now. Trophy lives.


The tradeoff.

No one tells you that as you move up and to the right, there is a not a clearing, as Heidegger would have you obsess on, but rather a crowding. There is a crowding that suffocates the ability to show your feelings at work, to tune them in outside and to get them down on paper.

I wave my hand to dissipate this stale air to bare a stolid facade but my hand is slow and the stream is thick and the flash of the camera hits thick particles, forming a blinding wall like headlights in a fog, leaving me sitting, alone, in silence.


"She loves the singer, every song can bring her close to tears
But when she talks about his band it just confirms her mother's fears
A little crush on the singer but in her heart she knows it's true
Everything is different when he's singing right to you

Her mother says honest, it's alright to be a singer
But don't you love a singer whatever you do

Let the crowd press on the stage
And let the lights wash out their eyes
Sixteen years ago I was completely mesmerized
And then the night was done and the singer disappeared behind the stage
And the roadies came and picked me out from on the barricade

Honest, it's alright to be a singer
But don't you love a singer whatever you do, whatever you do

I wouldn't change for a moment my life or my ideals
But once I loved a singer and I know just how you feel
For him to say so plainly what your heart can vouch is true
Means something is connecting you, something is connecting you

Honest, it's alright to be a singer
But don't you love a singer whatever you do, whatever you do
Don't you love a singer
Don't you love a singer"