You have to realize two things at once. That you’re doing the best you can. And that you could be doing better.(I don’t remember who said this to me)
Some days you’ll have five biscuits and some days you’ll have none. Luckily, there is labor this month. You’ll eventually buy another box.
You think about that a lot. The ability to replenish. Or for a desire to extinguish itself but then to make a beastly return. You will never be free and you know it.
The bar for ‘good’ is exceptionally low these days. As long as you want to be better, you are good. This is a higher bar than you had expected. You signed no contract on your 20th birthday, and yet here you are. No one told you about this decade, that you would have to try to be better all the time, even when the whole world is made of sugar and dopamine.
Some days you will be jealous of those who were born religious. Most days you are not. God, too, is an instinct, and you were not programmed to be rested. All this talk & spit just to be the same kind of dumb & unhappy as everyone else. All this condescension just to be an animal. You wish you were forty and wise. Your writing just keeps getting worse, putting on all the wrong complications and contraptions. Why must you choke yourself?
Rest one leg on the other leg because you have chosen concentrated fatigue. Everything is short-lived when it comes to our generation, so you’d rather rapid-cycle through the tides. Total corruption, total cleansing, repeat. Surely there must be 20-year-olds who know better than this.
Some days there will be nothing worth waiting for. You’ll keep waiting still. Waiting until there’s something worth waiting for, then waiting some more. Keep reading your own words until they feel like a stranger’s, and dawn might break.
Some things you will try your hardest not to write about, but they will find their way onto the page anyway. This day, you imagine someone taking you by the head and cracking it open against the sidewalk. You imagine the sharpness of that jagged concrete edge. Can feel exactly where on the skull the fracture should be. It would be a clean and cathartic unbolting. You picture something rapturous, stunning. Nothing truer than this. Nothing more reasonable and plain than this visceral desire, but you still feel crazy admitting it.
You hear ‘complacent’ as an insult but take so much pride in your calmness. In being perceived as calm. But some days you have to picture being bruised and bloody just to get by, and what sort of texture do you imagine your bones to have? You want to taste metal so bad. Want to break glass against glass and accidentally step on it. You’re not sure when you last took out the trash. You’ve always been a fan of dramatic prose. This all feels connected, you swear. It’s gotta mean something.
You used to play this game with your friends; you invited only those who felt exciting to you. You would ask them how they would kill you, if they had to. The answer is never immediate and always intimate. You’d cherish their answer no matter what, and come up with a creative death for them in return. You have died so many times and want to keep playing this game until a few more years of maturity and tragedy take away the privilege.
You’re afraid of your violence. Afraid what all this restraint might do to you, all this crossing of arms over tummies. All day you fantasize of snapping and breaking and hurling and tearing and your best quality is still your ability to forgive.
Some days you’ll go to the local temple and realize you want to be better. So you’re good. You’re good and everything is in your palms. The shape of your body and the song of the swallow are in your palms. The tender spots of a mango and your fight or flight instinct are in your palms. Ink on your skin. The origin of the cosmos. Even the general futility of things. Urban stone Buddha stares down and says, that’s facts. Good on ya. You feel, once again, that calmness is you.
You ride the subway during rush hour. You don’t really feel the need to keep going. But here you are.