10.17 free write

Sometimes it’s hard to believe You’re even still there

When it doesn’t really seem You hear my earnest prayer 

What can I give, how much more can I beg

To convince You to listen, to show me the end

Tirelessly my soul calls out from the ground

While these words are nothing, they’re all I have now

I have naught for my countenance

But the breath within my lungs

how long shall I account for this

How long must I press on

For no reason and no sound

And No Changing Seasons now

What’s been and to come are equivocally dead

You see all that’s been done and know what lies ahead

So why do You keep me for another

Why did even You bother

If I was born only to suffer

How could I call you Father

I know Your ways are not ours

So this torment may be my thorn

They say You just want our heart

But I don’t have one anymore

Let me die one last time

For a thousand I have before

Hear my cry through every night

And know that I fought the war

And known no pleasure only pain

You give without measure but mostly take away

No thing can ease my burden

This You have assured

But blameless, as none can question what You set with a single word

But how could a Father

Permit my life in vain

That You’re okay with wasting decades and teaching only pain

What you allow or permit

Now that’s all there really is

All this misery within

And Disappointment’s death wish

My life is nothing to me

And gratitude evades

Hemmed in, four walls surrounding

Where nothing seems to ever change

What do You expect me to do

When I live in a torture

With no future to look forward to

Why have You let me go through

What most can neither imagine nor understand

Who knows if I deserve this hand? 

It’s been no short time that I’ve waited and hoped and prayed

All my young life, but known only bitter taste

Let me know sleep

Let me know dreaming

The kind that never ends

Only You see

Only I mean it

When I say I am Forsaken again. 

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9.30 free write

Was it too much to ask to see some kind of hope

Even if at a distance

But it’s farther in the past the further that I go

Until I’m right back at where I began

God only knows the way that I am

How my heart beats and my soul screams

Where all torture and toil is made as nothing

High up above yet below everything

But could anyone feel the weight collectively

Or too this way feel everything

Who ever can, for I have well seen

We see through our eyes

We breathe our own lives

I fly out to look upon from the other side

And comparatively they’re all even and steady in stride 

But I hope God goes out to look through my eyes

To see precisely how hard I’ve tried

Would I be justified in venturing to say though

that I have known suffering of kinds that most will never know

But I neither doubt nor pity nor hold any regrets

I know so little now, but that I did my very best

Now won’t You look upon and bring an end to what had no purpose from the start

Won’t You come take some pity on the torment in my heart

That’s whittled at my bones, emptied of marrow;

From my eyes hidden hope and forsaken all my tomorrow’s 

No I think no one knows

They don’t need to though

It has ever been an audience of one

Only You I know see all that has been had and done

So consider me pardoned when I meet my approaching fate

Finish what was started; send or take me forever away

For we know what comes

Now let it be done. 

P.57

        I likely didn’t last another two turns before my thoughts grew too persistent and undeniable to not show evidence on my face. 

        “Actually, can you guys leave- please?” I covered my face, and tried my best to be polite. 

“But we’re supposed to be-” 

       “Please just fucking leave. I’m sorry… I’m afraid I’m going to be awful today. It’s a worse than the usual ‘not a good time”. I turned to look out the window, I hated crying in front of people. 

“Look honey, she’s an adult. If she doesn’t want to see us right now, we should leave,” dad conceded.

“OK. If you need your space, I guess that’s OK. I won’t take it personally.” mom said, entirely unconvincing. 

“Well before you kick us out,” dad pulled a bible out of his briefcase. “I figured you could use one- to go alongside the devil books you brought.”

       “Thanks.” The last thing I wanted to see was a bible. 

He set it on the end table beside the alarm clock as they painfully slowly got up to leave.

          I grabbed the book and returned to the back bedroom. My head had been pounding with the pain in my neck and all throughout my body since just after getting up. It seemed the days with no cessation of the nagging pain had been increasing in frequency. Jacob and I constantly tense and fighting didn’t help , but we were still planning to meet up sometime next week because Shawna had mentioned potentially giving me a pass. But even that, I wasn’t sure how I really felt about – other than nervous as hell because at the same time that I felt so strongly about him, he also made me extremely uncomfortable- like he was always waiting to pounce on something I said and pick it apart and throw it back in my face; and I didn’t feel qualified to tell what of what he said was true tough love, or just straight up cruel. I guessed we’d see how it went then, but I didn’t have high hopes considering how it felt like nothing good or even remotely enjoyable had happened in life in years. In fact, in retrospect it almost seemed a bit too coincidental the order of events in which I lost my job, schooling and career hopes, relationships,  independence, and then health- which had been continually degrading and affecting everything else. I had a roof, food, and water when my parents let me live there- so I had that going for me- but most of the time it felt like I had lost a firm grip on even my mind, constantly falling through the spaces of each day in an unsettling and unsure free fall; so I would easily have given away such life – preserving substances to someone who would at least enjoy life sometimes. I had nothing to go home to anyways but to keep  suffering, medicating, and rotting away in the routine of a responsibly selected solitude to save myself and everyone else from the futility of interaction. 

          I flipped through the bible, thinking how I already knew what it said and didn’t care to read anything. I had felt that way for too long, feeling guilt for it. Job was onto something, as well as Solomon in Ecclesiastes- but other than that I could only relate to Jonah beneath his little tree, asking to die- only I didn’t know where I was supposed to be going or what I was to be doing- I just survived and wandered on  purposelessly. Maybe God was making me wander the desert for 40 years for my bad attitude- and a thousand years may be as a day to Him- but I sure didn’t have that long, and 40 years would put me just about on my deathbed. But with my bad luck I just might live to a hundred. 

         I decided to try the cliche of setting the bible on its spine and letting it fall open, of which I then focused on a random section of the page. I recognize the bible wasn’t intended to be used as a magic 8 ball, but I had some questions- that was for damn sure. Not that I at all considered myself “righteous”, but  it only took Job 7 days to curse his birth, and I’d waited well over seven years. 

          “Why? Why did all of this befall on me? Why did I lose so much and everything that really meant anything to me? Why do I keep losing more, and why don’t you put me out of my misery? Why?”

The book fell open and my eyes first fell upon the red letters of John 13 verse 7

        “Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

I was silent for a minute. “but isn’t that what You said a decade ago? I don’t have forty years to wait and wander, I’m wasting my life now.” 

          I was still angry- not angry at God, He didn’t owe me shit- but at myself and everything else; but I was basically in a perpetual bad mood. I just never did anything with it. I got up and walked over to the window, pacing back and forth for some time. I’m not even sure why there was a hammer there- I guess a worker left it there- but not even thinking about it, I grabbed the hammer and slammed it down the middle of the open Venetian blinds, and through the drywall. And something snapped that I’d been ignoring for long enough- I shattered every last piece of the blinds to splinters, and lodged the hammer back in the wall again. I tore out the  dresser drawers, hurled the few books I had brought at the wall, and sunk back down into the bed, catching myself before I went to hell for chucking a bible again. I laid down, letting it slip from my hands onto the floor. 

          Marisa walked in, pausing in the hallway entrance to give me a look that said “My lips are sealed but I wash my hands clean of this,” and turning right back around to leave. 

         “I need an answer now, not in another ten or forty years…” I  muttered. 

Of course I was surprised to happen to open to such a potentially applicable verse, but I believed that my life had been about paying for something I had done wrong- or was going to- and God or fate had nothing to do with it. Maybe that was why I was still on this planet. 

        I got up and picked up the few  things I had uncharacteristically and foolishly thrown- as though it would do anything to hide the damage I had done to the blinds and wall- and picked the bible off the ground, with a small laugh to see that when it had fallen face down, it had opened to the first page of Job. I guessed that was a decent place to start reading for as long as I was going to continue living in the stomach of a whale. 

****

P.45 the Last Letters

   “I’m sorry,” she repeated. “It’s easier to listen than to respond. When I begin to speak I realize that I have too much to say- which bothers me- so I stop before I get to where I mean to be going…”

      “That makes sense. I’d like to listen though, if you ever feel so inclined. Who do you usually talk to?”

“No one in any kind of depth or regularity. It’s so hard reconnecting or restarting with anyone, or Keeping any relationships at all, because I fear so much that I’ll disappear or fail them all over again, and waste their time. Because so often I just can’t feel anything but absolutely impenetrable and hopeless misery. I’d rather they remember me the way I was before. At times I so dearly want or need to reach out or reconnect but I stop myself or once I’m there, it’s impossible for me to maintain, for a myriad of reasons. There’s this weight, unease, and out of placeness that seems I may be better off alone regardless; or maybe it’s better for them that they simply believe that I don’t care.”

       I never forgot her words. 

       “I think I understand.” I said.   But actually I completely understood, because I’d lived that way my entire life. 

But the gentleness and agony of her spirit I knew would remain in my thoughts and in my heart for many years to come. And it did. 

***

          I gained cell phone and internet privilege that evening as well, of which the only remotely relevant part to me was being able to listen to music again; of which YouTube or other music streaming sites had been my company every evening for years. Everyone was out in the living room lounging about in pajamas; skyping, texting, chatting, socializing shit, etc. Sitting down to the computer in the small nook right  past the kitchen, I suddenly felt the random inclination to check the online dating site I had been so foolish to bother using some time ago; as I had any business nor intention of a serious relationship. With a few guesses at my  password, I skipped over a few sleazy pick up lines before my attention fell to an abnormally lengthy message from a “HereOnMyLunch” username, sent at 5:54, just under a week ago, one of the last evenings I was in Alhambra. It read:

     So when I pulled up your profile, instead of messaging you about flirting or common interest, I felt that the Holy Spirit wanted me to send you a word of encouragement. 

I feel like God is really proud of you- where you’re going and where you came from. He’s also proud of you exactly where you’re at. The thing/things you’ve had to deal with haven’t been easy; but you’ve chosen to follow Him regardless. I feel that you often get judged because of your appearance, and potentially because of your attitude, but in your heart you follow God regardless. I just felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction that God has in you; that He is blessed to know you as His daughter and that there’s nothing higher, taller, bigger, or longer than His love for you. 

He has only good plans for you. You are the “background picture on His phone,” the “wallpaper on His computer;” He had made you fearfully and wonderfully and is FULLY pleased in who you are. He has imparted to you all authority under heaven and Earth, for it is Christ who lives in you.”

        I put my head down on the keyboard and veiled my face behind pitch- black locks to hide that I had begun to cry, for the first time since checking into Alhambra; for I hadn’t allowed myself to think about or feel anything. Now everything about the life I was failing to run from came crashing down upon me in all its usual violence. The moment that rogue tear fell to the keyboard, the lights flickered out. 

       “Really…” I heard Andre exclaim exasperatedly from the kitchen, probably using some ridiculously large knife. 

“Hey Andre, can you try flipping the breaker? The power is out.” I heard Shawna yell from the staff office. 

       “Oh I hadn’t noticed the pitch- blackness Shawna...” I heard him mutter, somehow still sounding polite as always.

The electricity came back on of its own accord only a few moments later. I flew by Andre without a word, flipping off Fish as I passed through the kitchen. Lizzy had moved him back so Andre would have company. 

      “Where’s the rush Sunshine?” he called after me. 

I turned around and flipped him off with a weak fake smile. 

      “Oh. I’ll let you be.” he crossed his arms in an X in return, flipping me off with both. 

P.36 the Last Letters

       I couldn’t bring myself to write a single word of the autobiography that day, but spent an inordinate amount of time lying there staring at a blank page. I really just didn’t give a shit about my past, and I was pretty damn sure no one else did either. Therapists always thought the problem was in your childhood- that you had been abused or something- and I’d had a perfectly fine childhood from what I remembered- though admittedly, that wasn’t much before my early teenage years.                                   The moment I decided to just blow it off for the day, I remembered the lucid words of the woman in the wheelchair in the Alhambra ward basketball court cage: that I would need to write for me– that I was the one who needed to read it, to see it- and that people would take or leave the truth whether I censor myself or try to entertain or not. Perhaps she was right- that despite how painfully difficult it was for me to drag myself through writing something that I don’t believe would be of any consequence to anyone- that writers were writers because they wrote what burned inside of them; no matter how presumptuous, egocentric, ill- paced, vapid, or tedious their tangible expressions may seem to the reader.                   

“So You Want to Be A Writer…”  I muttered, rolling over with an exasperated sigh. I only had to share it with the house residents- I didn’t need to impress anyone, It was just that I hated doing anything half-assed, and would take me a lot longer than three days to avoid neglecting details that would never stop nagging at me.                                                    

“God if you think I should write this worthless autobiography I need some kind of motivation, muse, or sign that I should waste all my time digging up things that I’m fairly certain don’t matter anymore. Because I think this is stupid and you know how hard it is for me to write things I don’t give a shit about,” I said aloud, burying my face in the pillow.                                             In my mind I saw the old man in that chapel in Oxnard who had given me the last journal and told me to “write down everything that happens.” I shifted again, spacing out somewhere in the boughs of the oak tree at the window, continuing to watch the blurred memory in my mind. Only then did I recall anything else the man had said, of which he again looked at me very seriously and said that in the future I would doubt, but that I needed to “not doubt that God really does talk to you.” Perhaps he was simply out of his head, speaking nonsense like the nonsensical thoughts tirelessly running through my own head.

“I don’t know if I even really know me- how is anyone else supposed to?” An inordinately large hummingbird zoomed up to the window, beak all but scraping the glass. He hovered there for perhaps somewhere around five seconds or so- then with a sideways motion that made me think he would have asked me what I was doing, the light caught his ruby- feathered chest. 

“Sorry buddy, not in the mood,” I said as though he could hear or  understand, as he zipped off. 

      I suppose I had indeed been given a lemon or two- and without much delay; my dumb sign I had asked for, and was always asking for because I tended to be really dense in regards to believing in anything positive- what I had written in this book had also happened. So I guess God was still listening. Maybe even in a generous mood. 

I turned to a few lines below the request for a lemon, first pausing to go back and write a small “thank you” beneath it. 

  I wrote, “Dear God, please let me die- very, very soon- or as soon as possible. I’m tired. I want to go home, but not home where I grew up- that doesn’t feel like home either. Nowhere does. Never has. I need to go somewhere far, far away from myself, everyone, and everything – but I can never get far enough away from the things that torment me day in and out; but you already knew that. But I know we made a deal, and though I confess I regret now that you spared a life that only went on to become entirely worthless and burdensome to me- give me the strength, the will, and the direction to fulfill my purpose here; but please bring it swiftly and after, do not forget my heart’s desire and request for rest and home.” 

      I took a safety pin from the inner lining of my grey jacket- just like I did that day 11 years ago- and drawing a few drops of blood, retraced over the word home. 

8.5

I’ve lost all hope a thousand times before 

But with every fall, it’s a little more

No one knows just how deep these hooks go

But I do

I don’t know how to break these chains

Because I’ve tried and prayed everything

I am on my way down to the grave

So
God forgive me, for all that I am

And teach me, to be more than human

Cuz I am living at the end of my life

And I know that I am going to die
Was it always meant to be this way

I have wondered every single day

I tried so hard to right my mistakes

But I never thought that I’d pay

A price so high

With my life
I know I can’t break these chains

Tried a thousand times, there is no way

I’m on my way down to the grave 

I fought the war and washed the blood away each day

Just to find that there was no other way

You are the only one who knows my pain

So
God deliver me, from all that I all

And relieve me from being human

Cuz I am living in my last days

And without a miracle

I will fade away
I’m sorry that I would throw my life away

But all I want to find anymore is an escape

Never thought it could get so bad

That all I want is to forfeit all I have

Just know with this breath now

You’re not the only one that I’ve let down
God forgive me, for all that I am

And teach me, to be more than human

Cuz I am living the end of my life

And I know that I am going to die. 

 P.13

      As per usual, sleep did not find me for the remainder of that night- or at least I felt fairly certain it had not.  But lying there on my side, staring into nothing, thinking on everything; I swore I was awake when I saw the light outside the door blink out. 

I decided to start using the restless night hours to write- or at least trying to figure out what it was that I was supposed to write. I had been told countless times ever since grade school that I ought to write some kind of book but I’d never felt- and still didn’t- that I had anything anyone would even give a shit about in the recesses of my dark mind. 

            I couldn’t help but think of the man who gave me this journal all those years ago, a grey haired gentleman who randomly asked to pray for me- I was just dropping by a random church, trying to find some kind of subconscious penance or I don’t know what- so I didn’t very well feel that I could say no. He began to speak in an odd language that didn’t sound like anything I could recognize, and told me all kinds of things about myself that I had obviously never shared with this stranger. He insisted on laying hands on me, and I felt incredibly awkward, but also curious. I’d since forgotten many of the little things he told me, but through the years I had never lost the vision in my head of him telling me to “write down everything that happens”, and gave me the blank journal I now held in my hands. I didn’t even open it until a few years later to notice tucked into the spine of the pages a scarlet ribbon. 

      All I had managed to write so far was a whiney, long ass “prayer” in the back of the book. I never really prayed formally as it were, but I guess writing it down there I could look back to see if He would actually even answer anything I asked. I hadn’t really asked *for* much in a long time, because I was so used to everything being a no; and didn’t really let myself need much anyways.

I took a moment to think what I needed right now. I knew praying wasn’t about getting what we wanted, but there wasn’t anything He didn’t know about my “life”, and pretty much everyone I knew who was a decent person was getting fucked without lube, so to try and be altruistic and just pray for other people quickly turned into more of a convoluted list of basically “help the whole world, amen.” but maybe *I* would get a yes this time after 100 no’s. 

“get me out of here please.”

I added the please after a minute, but that was all I wrote this time.  Yet looking down at the thin red letters, it simply didn’t carry the kind of desperate urgency I always felt inside. I unfastened one of the devil rings from my ear, pressed the point into my skin to produce a few drops of blood, dipped the pen, and retraced over the words. So I’m sure God’s not a fan of my style, but it was a language I could understand. 

 I dated the first two entries. “OK. I’m testing you again..” I whispered. 

I laid down and simply stared back out at that solitary streetlight.