A Letter To Emily Bronte

I wonder how you’d fare in today’s society. You barely crossed the threshold of your home, so I’ve heard. They’d likely call you more than a recluse, you’d be considered downright anti-social. But I understand what it’s like to find fortitude in the familiar, peace in a private world, and solace in your own singularity. I envy your life of solitude, how you spent your time wandering the vast and sprawling hillsides of northern England, only to come home to the company of your books, your papers, and your siblings.

Ironic how you thought your novel a failure…what would you say today if you knew that you made literary history? In fact, you’ve helped define it. What would you say if you knew that your story would still give birth to new theories and revelations to this day? No one has concretely cracked the code that you entwined in your characters.

I know you paid out of pocket to get your story published because no one would accept your supposedly radically crude plot. I even read somewhere that the money you paid would be equivalent to over five thousand dollars today.

If anything I just want you to know, that I know, that Wuthering Heights was no quaint love story. But rather, you wrote a tale of the human condition; the pain that can be had in self-identity. That palpable sorrow that is present when you try to hold on to that innocently nostalgic spark of self-recognition in a world that beckons you to forget the deepest parts of yourself. I suppose I’d want you to know most of all that I understood what you meant when Catherine lost her mind. Her psyche was fractured, and she lost who she was in the end…if she ever even had herself at all. I know Catherine wasn’t meant to be understood as the merely innocent girl, and I know that Heathcliff was no monster. How funny how the majority of people think that this is the case. I suppose it goes to show how intelligent you were, for you’re still fooling people to this day. Your story is an entity within itself. I could analyze the moors of your mind forever.

But thoughts of death don’t plague me as they plagued you. I suspect that’s due to the fact that death was always a powerful force in your life, a threatening force that impeached your image of life to the point where it darkened your mind. You lost your mother when you were three, your two eldest sisters died when you were young, and I think it was Charlotte who said you died from a broken heart after you lost your brother, Branwell. If I lost one of my sisters, I’m sure it could potentially kill me too.

Something that has always stuck out in my mind about you is how you knew everyone. You knew of people outside your family in the most personal way, as if you couldn’t help but become familiarized of their circumstances and their quandaries. Yet, you kept them at a distance. They would have never guessed you knew so much about them. I’ve always been so intrigued by that. It’s almost like you couldn’t help but notice every minute detail around you. I hate to say I relate to that, but I do. It is indeed a surreal thing to realize that you’re someone who puts yourself on the outside, in isolation…but somehow you were made to see the way the world’s wheel spins.


Booze > Pills

Think about it. I have. That moment of anxiety has hit you. It’s late in the evening. That time between dusk and midnight, and you don’t really know what to do with yourself. Think about it too hard and you’ll find yourself in a mental labyrinth, riddled with paralyzing self-doubt and thoughts of self contempt. It’s been a long day, and you’re half proud of yourself for waking up today before noon. You saw the daylight, you interacted with the sun. If only for a moment…either way…you and the daytime knew each other today.

But now it’s night. Again. How to curb those feelings that are native to your soul?

Well, you could either reach for the bottle of pills, or the bottle of booze. You usually opt for the pills over the liquid gold. Why? Convenience. But in that convenience lies the trap. And I’ll tell you why.

In those moments of desperation, those feelings of dormant anguish…you need a distraction…not a solution. Pick the pills and you’ll end up sitting exactly where you are, waiting for some foreign feeling to remedy your current one. But pick the booze…and you’ve sprung into action. You pour, you ready yourself for that throaty burn, and before you know it…a happy relief.

To sum this up, I’m basically serving us all a reminder that pharmaceuticals want to be an answer. But they’re not. Sometimes you just need a drink or two to side-step those thoughts that are native to your soul.

Pills are bad. Don’t take them. Just have a drink instead.

Thoughts on Momentous Contact

I don’t quite know how to explain it. But alas, I shall try.

Existing deep within each and every one of us, is a purely human quality that is powerfully intoxicating in it’s ability to enlighten, to inform. But out of necessity, it has been forced to inhabit the darkest regions of the human psyche, the regions we dare not visit.  We no longer know how to get there. It is foreign to us, for it has no place in our pragmatic world, it’s not needed in our daily routines of banality. Its existence has been ignored, suppressed, to where we now question if such a thing was ever really in our possession.

Most conversations had between people are backlit with the reminder, not all words are heavy with human intent.

Our words are often light as air, we speak just for the sake of speaking. To satisfy the needs of a constructed moment, we utter words, we know they really mean nothing. You’ll see me, and I’ll see you as mere moments that shall pass. As if our present correspondence is actually just an obstacle that we must overcome. It’s as if we interact merely to be be rid of one another.

A lifetime of conversation existing only as filler, stuffing. Using our words as a cushion to soften the blow of that metaphysical recognition we see in the other. For when I see you, and you see me… that suppressed part of us pays silent tribute to a different version of our own selves. You are me, and I am you…to some degree. Though lips move, though breath is drawn, even though it is done for the sake of the other…there is nothing real between us.

That normal nothingness that is between us is merely the world’s constructed tendency to systematically refuse and ignore, raw human connection. Connections that are actually the crux of our existence. And that is what the world tells us is our portion, that is what it tells us we should want, what we should desire, what we should pursue.

Because that’s the way it goes, isn’t it?

Exist to be rid of the other. Speak words of dust to avoid a connection. Trivialize it all to forget the feeling. We’ll trek onward in our individuality, our forlorn independence. The world doesn’t want me to see you, for you to see me. It doesn’t even want us to see ourselves. On we go.

I really must learn to explain myself better, for often times I make little sense when that feeling comes over me. That is, the empty ache as the world passes by, where momentous contact ceases to be known.

But I tell you there was a time, (though so far gone now) when I pursued and cultivated this usually ignored quality of a human kind. For a whisper of meaning is meant to be met. 

In all honesty, my attempts to explain what I mean by all this have ceased. Maybe I’m growing up, maybe I’m letting the world win, maybe I’m just jaded. I think I’ve let the world get the best of me because what I’m trying to explain to you is a shadow of what I used to know, of what I used to care about. And in referencing those shadows, I realize that I no longer reside in them.

I once sat with strangers, finding solace in anonymous dialogue consisting of the state of the soul. These were moments once distinctive of my nature. My life would cross with another life, and a guttural connection was forged.

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t polite. It was crude and unrefined, ugly in its truth. I was drawn to these moments not out of will, not out of intent, nor necessity. But merely because my path happened to cross with another’s, and we didn’t go around each other, we didn’t contrive convolutions of disregard.

We were who we were. And our souls stood at a stand still in front of the other’s while our truths were told.

Barstool Prophecies Vol. 1

You chose this said the voice in my head as I took refuge behind the cash register to tune out the clamor of the bar patrons. With my arms folded in front of me, my head dangled on my chest while I stared at my dirty boots on the dirty floor. Offering brief respite from the bitter reality of my personal purgatory, I reanimated myself and went back to playing the role of bartender, bar maid, or bar bitch depending on whose talking. Acting is easy when you’re the one in control. And as long as I was behind the bar, I was responsible for most everything and everyone.

While serving drinks and entertaining the underbelly of society in the dirtiest bar in the city, I keep my aura of outward kindness intact while throwing back a whiskey double… the peace offering made by my cocaine riddled boss after he publicly belittles me. He continues to trail behind me, shouting things in a strained whisper as I go about my business. Walking fast to keep up, he hunches over so that his mouth is next to my ear. If he’s drunk, he’ll spit when he talks… and I’ll nod my head while walking forward so that I won’t have to look at his little weasel face. He lets his friends sell cocaine out of this bar. Lots of it. But I stay because I’m an undocumented employee, I get paid in cash, and when the drug bust happens…which indeed will happen, I’ll just slip out of the back door and disappear. When I detect the faint indication that a drug deal is underway, it continues only if I let it continue, and my benevolence is always reimbursed in one way or another.

Stage fright be damned, because being a bartender means that you turn yourself off so that you can play the role the customer wants you to play. Be whoever they want you to be. You are a shape-shifter who transforms into someone you don’t know, or like, in order to satisfy the needs of social forms. These forms are the unspoken rules of our world, that tell us how we should act towards one another based on our role in the social setting. But if your real self gets turned back on while on shift, more often than not, the rest of the night is spent in mental anguish as the feud between your separate selves threatens to show itself to the outside world.  My bartender self had a list of simple mantras that played on repeat for hours upon hours. “Smile.” “Be polite.” “Ignore it.” “Just nod.” “Get in, get out.” They helped to pacify my own conscience, to ease my self-contempt for capitalizing on my own submission to things that left me unnerved.

I slather on the “war paint” until I am unrecognizable. Layers of black eyeliner, eye shadow, and red lipstick to keep the enemy from seeing my real face. A designated costume consisting of uncomfortably short shorts and tight tops to keep the enemy from acknowledging my humanity. Its hard to be real with someone who goes out of their way to look this fake. Most people don’t get too personal with someone who looks this excessive and overdone, there’s just something off putting about it. This is exactly what I went for on a nightly basis. Every night before work, it was important to do these things in order to play my part, and refrain from breaking a bottle over someone’s head. Just before heading out the door, the goal was to get as stoned as humanly possible to promote my state of apathy towards life. Besides, its not like my job required any real brain power, rather, it was better if I didn’t have any at all.