Edward Westlake (Month One)

“After hours of evaluations, our doctors came to the conclusion that he was paranoid, but speaking with family and friends, they stated that there were no obvious signs of mental distress. No one expected him to go through with the murder. He had a lot of faults, but most were thought to be harmless. His idiosyncrasies were overlaid with a well thought out patience and understanding. During the evaluation he spoke of compartmentalization, and his lack of emotional comprehension, which he explained should not be misconstrued as “apathetic behavior.”  His words were inveigled, and when he wasn’t applying his charming disposition, he was implementing a passive aggressiveness. This was a man who did not hide in the shadows, but he knew them very well. Darkness was shown through his eyes the longer we spoke, as his pupils grew larger, and his determined stare, a menacing stare, pierced people’s souls.” – Dr. Rebecca Altwater

Thursday

On the train. Not awake. It isn’t too crowded, around me at least. There is a group of black students, yes, I said black, because that is the color of their skin, and, well, I’m white, and I’m fine with being described as white. This is all factual. So the black students, high school students, are creating a commotion. (I’ve hated using the term “African American” because it has always made me feel prejudice. When I say it, I think of it as a label, and I’d rather not go further into what I mean by labels). The train smells like piss. The smell overpowers my coffee. The coffee is weak. My body is aching. I’m starting to develop a headache. (The students are now beat boxing). My head is mutating. Temples pulsating. Veins exposed. Eyes closed. The beat boxing continues.

I reach into my leather shoulder bag. I’m not looking for anything in particular. I try to give the illusion of keeping busy or being deep in thought. Sometimes I just think about the way I am thinking, and stare off into mediocre present, an everlasting reminder and the past, and a rudiment future. A woman three seats down is watching me intently. My eyes are fixated on my bag. When I saw out of my peripheral that the woman was staring I moved my concentration to my bag. Eye contact causes me anxiety unless in a personal and intimate environment. I can feel her eyes examining me. It’s hard to rule out the theory of having a sixth sense, especially in situations as these. My fingers delicately brush over a novel, the novel I decided to read during the train ride for this work week, to which I haven’t started reading, and completely forgot I placed in my bag — It was an impulsive purchase — it was now another item that would solidify the self-realization that I am a procrastinator, and considering that this novel was for the work week, and it is now Thursday, just proves my point further. The novel will be shelved, and another novel will take its place in my leather shoulder bag. Although I may not follow through with my intentions I am still a person who stays very consistent. I will swap novels. After work I will stop at Barnes & Nobel. I’ll need a new novel for work week number thirty out of fifty-two. After a week it will be shelved, and I will start again: buy another novel, and continue to not read it. I’m a very consistent person.

Saturday

My alarm went off for thirty minutes this morning.

Sunday

Glenn, my brother, calls me early in the afternoon to invite me to dinner. A family dinner. And he informs me that our mother will be there. He graciously asks me if I can attend, but I know he only invites me because he is dreading our mother’s visit. Very seldom do I see or hear from my brother and his family, but when our immediate family is added to the equation I am the first person he calls. I am (and this is how he put it) his “emotional confidant” when he becomes too overwhelmed. The reason this is, is because it has always been a one way street. His perception of me is not the most desirable, but he trusts my word. The term that comes to mind, when him and I converse, is that I am self-destructive. It must be easy for him to give insight to this speculation when he is just as irrational as I am. Our only difference is that I have embraced the idea of negative and positive spontaneity, whereas his neurosis comes from self-induced pressure and stress. When I die, it wouldn’t be in vain if it happened without warning. I am reckless. If he died unexpectedly, it would be a great shock, but it will most likely be the cause of a brain aneurysm.  It’s funny how irony works. You know, us being brothers, and him seeing us as total opposites, when in reality our similarities outweigh the obtuse differentials.

Wednesday

It’s the halfway point of the work week. I have my new novel, untouched, in my leather shoulder bag. For the last three days (including today) I have arrived at the train station an hour earlier than usual. I made this decision Monday, and have found that it is a more logical time. Although I have an hour to kill before work, I avoid my headache (the black students) before sitting at my office desk. Thankfully, there weren’t too many pros and cons that came with this decision. It was fairly easy. I could have continued to deal with an excruciating head pain, one that would stick with me throughout the day, or sacrifice an hour of sleep. The latter was the correct choice. When I came to this conclusion on Sunday I could not rest my brain. My mind was at ease, I felt relieved and content, but I was apprehensive nonetheless. Monday came and went slowly  — Because of minor sleep deprivation — along with all of my anxieties from the past week.

I never thought I’d say this, but seeing a therapist helps. There hasn’t been much to articulate yet, concerning my listlessness, but my insomnia was discussed, and I was optimistic. My problems could be far worse, and when they are, maybe leaving an hour early is the answer. My next appointment is in two hours, at four, and I’m going to leave shortly. I don’t know what I will do for the extra hour I have allotted myself, but I do have a novel I won’t read and a newspaper that was left on my desk, with the headline reading, “Crime Rates Rise: How To Maintain Your Sanity During The Recession.”

Friday

Five ‘O clock.

I do not know why I am obsessing over the time. Work and sleep is about all I can manage anymore. It has a bright side, which is responsibility and obligation, but like I’ve stated previously, self-destruction is a common factor. I’m sure my brother would be the first person to tell you this. I’m seeing him after work. He wants to talk. Nice to know that his day was bad enough to warrant a phone call. Maybe that is why I am obsessed over the time today.

Time: Man made.

Time: A theory.

Time: A corresponding definitive of zones.

Time: A convenience between two brothers.

I wish I was able to set my watch back an hour, or two. Most of the time I become too preoccupied with what I am going to say to Glenn, even before he has a chance to ask for advice through vague questions. It’s like I am thinking of the words he intends to say, but he stutters, and I have to piece it all together. Even this, writing down my anxieties, is not working as well as I planned, and that is only because I have become the primary of my writing. Instead of putting thought into what I should say to console my brother, I am left pondering about the time. I’m left in thought.

When is Daylight Savings Time?

It’s not today, so I should be prompt and on time when I meet with Glenn. Even if I’m early I will still be late. He has always been the early bird that catches the worm. I’m the vulture circling my prey. We both have patience. And our rewards come in due time. But he is methodical, and I am meticulous.

Sunday

I meet with my therapist tomorrow. Fourth time. I’m made to keep a journal now. Hence this facilitated nonsense. For what it’s worth, however, sometimes I spend too much time thinking of what to write. My therapist wants at least two entries a week. So, I know that I will write at least two. One might be more fabricated than the other, but imagination or creative was not deterred, so I will display. Now two, two pieces.

I sit. sit. Thinking about sitting. This is not because I am at fault for an idea – they come frequently – it is because I have complicated the act of writing. Better yet, the art of writing. There was a time, when younger, that I would free write. But now this seems different. Writing to decode my disposition.

So I figure that I should test myself as well. I will write this, in all its glory, my thoughts. Make the perfect sentence. And in reality, this is a falsehood. I will ultimately become obsessed with writing a perfect sentence. It will sabotage me. If you follow the rule, “write what you know,” you will eventually despise memories that you can not elaborate upon. Imagine trying to seek answers in your present, for your future, but you despise your past. That is a fork in the road. You can build from that momentum of negativity, and have a desire to not let your past actions dictate you future endeavors. Or you die. Inside. A little more. Each day.

That is destruction. And that is why it’s beautiful. There are highs like you couldn’t believe. And then a pattern of lows that seem as if déjà vu is closely related. The sixth sense. Déjà vu. We limit our minds. We file many theories as speculative. In course, and throughout, not enough questions will be asked, about this, or that, or why, or why not, or how, or when. From the day we were born there has been a plan set in motion, but not of free will, but of corporate desire. Just as cattle are branded, we are in the same. Social Security codes given. Your number. And if you step out of line you are given another number, ya got that DOC? We all keep a blind eye, and we focus on the one atop the pyramid. Money has become imperative to our survival. And people will do anything for it. When something is a rarity, people will fight for it.

When do you stop fighting?

When can you rely on people?

If after everything, in the end, will we become committed for having commitment?

If that’s the case, I will keep commitments small.

The only act of commitment I know now, is of two entries.

Monday

Lapse (n): A temporary failure of concentration, memory, or judgment.

So figure that this is my lapse. In general. This is normal for me, especially over the last three years of self-deprecation and carefully worded justifications. During most times isolation was more sought than anything else. Companionship would feel complicated, coerced, and counter-productive. Also having a misplaced arrogance is to blame. But I guess that comes along with being a part of the most inarticulate generation conceived since the dawn of man. Delusions of grandeur? Possibly. Deconstruction of a generation? Probable. Decomposition of gentility? Premature.

Maybe all of this is the reason I am open with people. At least open-minded, so I can attempt to get/gain a different perspective/perception.

This idea of free will is sometimes misconstrued as a hindering factor in reference to our altruistic beliefs. Critical thinking is as important to us as our need for companionship. Our foundation is put in place at an early age; this is our fundamental axis, and this reasoning is acceptable because of our commitment and trust in conditioning ourselves. Life is sacred, and it is nearly impossible to put value to something as priceless as the miracle of life. There have been many debates and controversy concerning the value of life; a lot of speculation as to who can say it may be taken away from someone. What needs to be questioned is our morality. This issue needs to be looked at closely, because there are only two sides of the spectrum, and the only options are life and death. Now it seems that more of us are waiting for death, while others feel their lives have wasted away. The oblivious ones are the lucky ones.

When did life come with an itinerary?

I’ve always thought fast.

I’ve always…

The most accurate word to describe myself as a person is bittersweet. There are moments when I shine. And there are moments when my world becomes “cloudy” or distorted. This perpetual flux of inconsistency is not an intimate revelation. It is a morbid uncertainty. This is polarized. I am polarized. That I truly do know. Not all calculations are logical. Simply stated: life is not an equation. There are far too many variables.

MOOD:  Abrupt, accelerated, acute, expeditious, fast, fleeting, hasty, hurried, immediate, impetuous, impromptu, impulsive, precipitous, quick, rapid, rash, spasmodic, sudden, swift, unforeseen.

People become plagued by the prospect of change…

Thursday

Affection and pain are not so far apart, and they hold a common gesture: the wince of an eye.

Many people, if not all, want happiness. More complications transpire when standing on the fault-line of happiness. More so regarding underdeveloped relationships, especially with the opposite sex. Many have fallen into a repeating cycle. A path of self-absorption. A premeditated practice of proclivity.

A bitch will look for an asshole.

An asshole will manipulate good girls.

Good girls become bitches.

Assholes become old.

Good guys become cynical.

…all a part of a failing cycle.

A cycle is repetitive. It’s a constant. It builds momentum, but in the end, it slows. The cycle does not stop until death.

The sacrament of celibacy is masturbation. We’ve been beating ourselves since our first kiss.

Love is a concept. It is an idea that is foreign to many, especially those in the midst of it. As people, we feel the need to be comforted, to have someone nearby to confide in and see us through our everyday struggles. Love is a theory that is constantly explored and tested. In all reality, religion is more formidable than love. And that to me is very disconcerting. If my cynicism is taken as ignorance I would be shocked. Judgment on a(n) open mind is not easy, and closed-minded people are likely to only see their way. It strikes a debate that might not, cannot be justified. It would be the same to have disagreements over what religion someone practices, or even about “the one that got away” and if he/she was the right one. Love is something that will always be questioned. Those who don’t

are looking for settlement. Those who do
are looking for meaning. The problem is that the meaning of love may never be answered. When that notion is accepted is it time to settle? When lost in life is religion the answer? It seems that we as people flock towards a misconstrued solace. We opt out of not knowing so we can have a vague idea of what might be.

A text message: “I’ve chosen to blame you for me being like a wild animal now and basically wanting to fuck every inanimate object in my apartment. So, thanks.

How impulsive we’ve become through messages. Our animal instinct has evolved into a precocious promiscuity.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

I want you to want me.

Do you love me?

What are we doing?

Friday

Consolidate funds; rent happiness.

Sunday

There were many interests of mine that I found to be tedious. One of them being art. I had attended college to study art, and I was ghost writing student’s general education class research papers to pay tuition. Rather odd, that being an academically driven student in a place where the right side of the brain is dominant.

Art was an avid interest. It always has and always will be.

I became fascinated by the work of Jean Michel Basquiat and Dan Perjovschi. Their ideas were so complex, and they had their own appeal. They challenged patrons. How could something so simple be so complex? Is it art? “I could paint that,” One might remark. That is frivolous. What I saw was completely captivating. I knew at that point that I wanted to take my caustic and satirical views and produce material. I just needed to find the most comfortable medium.

The answer was on the tip of my tongue.

It was the tip of a pen.

That was not my discomfort. It was very disconcerting seeing work done with a commercial and naïve composition. At the same time I myself had a period of reflection. There wasn’t any motivation. There still isn’t. Now I am hoping to make written word an intrinsic outlet. Before I became discouraged.

During this period a notebook has become a preferred medium, as I am starting to see a sketchbook with a dishonest aesthetic.

With college behind me, and my degree collecting dust, I am more contemplative than comprehensive about pursuing my career. At twenty-seven what have I done to solidify my mark on this world? Nothing. I’m twenty-seven, in therapy, filing papers in the day time, and recording my thoughts at night. What more is there to say? Nothing.

We are Generation Y (Why).

Soon to be: “Generation Why Bother.”

Tuesday

I showed my therapist a few of my drawings.

When she suggested I keep a journal I wasn’t opposed, but there was more to follow, and I figured there would be, because nothing can ever be  simple, and it wasn’t, and I knew what she wanted, I knew that she felt this was an enticing offer to an introvert; however, it is also an invasion of privacy. She wanted full disclosure. That I could not give. And as I told her, what she scripted in our sessions, verbatim, was as much as I was willing to offer. She wants full disclosure, and I take it as intrusive, as disrespect. She stressed that her suggestion was beneficial and warranted. I explained that my vulnerability should not be tested at a time when I was not emotionally sound. She explained that that was the purpose of this all. Before I could say “I didn’t sign up for this” I realized I had.

My signature used to solidify my secrets, now my secrets are squandered because of my signature.

So, I showed my therapist a few of my drawings.

Wednesday

I hold two jobs. I hold them. And they are jobs. I went to college. Didn’t work out. I have a degree. It is shelved between books unread. I used to have a voice. Socially awkward. Socially inept. Ladies and gentlemen, this is self-deprecation at its finest. But, please, hold your applause. I’ve come across many self-help books, such as Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul , or Idiot’s Guide to Menial Tasks, or what have you. I’ve never seen “Chicken Soup for the Knock Knock Joke” or “Social Zombie: Corporate Gain.” Never saw a book with an honest title, unless it was in the fiction section. History is interesting, but it is too repetitive, it is our movies. Any film student can run you through a scene, just as a historian can relieve the battle of 1775. Where is our revolution?

Gain. Loss. High. Low. Plateau. Now we wait. Sirens blaring. Bread lines. Bad times.

Where are we now? What are we?

Thursday

My second job I hold is in a kitchen. This is a conversation with the pot washer:

“They put ’em there. I clean ’em. You don’t have to know no rocket science to know that,” Donald says, trudging through a sink full of slop.

“Yeah yeah, I get that, but what if they don’t put it in a designated area?”

“Huh?”

“If they don’t put them on this rack,” I said, pointing to a grease covered wall of metal.

“No, you gotta put ’em on the rack.” “Yeah, but what if someone doesn’t?” I asked, dumbfounded that I was having this conversation.

“But they go on the racks. They don’t wanna put ’em on the racks?”

“No, Donald.” I cave, “You’re right, they go on the racks.”

Sometimes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. And sometimes you realize that you’re talking to a fifty-year-old pot washer.  Survival of the fittest.

It’s a dog eat dog world.

“Okay okay, ya sure, ’cause if I gotta put ’em somewhere else, I gotta know, you know?”

“Donald, they go on the racks.” “You’re damn right,” he said, parting his lips into what I could only assume was a smile.

I smile back. “You’re a good guy, Don. You’ve got chops.”

This conversation was exaggerated. This job is smoke in your eye.

It’s not that I dislike my job, I mean, I’m glad to have the extra income, but some shit, man, some shit just boggles your mind. The worst part of it all, is…the start of the day. And…the attitude you must present. Besides…the self loathing you can allow yourself to project.

The last drag of my cigarette escapes my nostrils. The weather is cold, and my warm breath exaggerates the smoke that has escaped my lungs. But then again, the last drag of a cigarette before stepping foot into work is always more exaggerated. I toss my cigarette on the ground. Crushing it with the worn heel of my shoe. I take one last look at the sun, which is rising, and only hope to see it once before it leaves for the day. But when working in a restaurant you miss a lot of things. And in the end you’re left alone, waiting.

Sunday

I’m another juxtaposed loser in a failing system.

Another person tripping. Asking for change.

Tripping. Tripping, Because…society says so. That’s why. Tell me I’m wrong, When…

You have war in the streets, but I’m wrong to complain. And you ridicule, Free thinkers, and you call them insane. When you try to take liberties, that are permanently engraved. And sell us consumption; murder abundance; utter redundant dreams among us. Marketing schemes, big budget dreams, jobs that disappear, but keep optimistic, don’t fear. Take a trip in your nation, consumed with corpulent creatures, once known to be human. Consumerism has become the catalyst to propel corruptible creatures, ones that ask for your souls, as you obsess over your features. People are tired, carrying too much weight, so much of it trivial, but the trivial nonsense can just be hidden by an ever-growing percent sign. People are tired; they have broken hearts and backs from carrying massive debt and obese children. Little change do you receive from a store, when it all goes on plastic. What people don’t realize is that credit is misplaced poverty. And people speaking their minds, and making a difference, are treated with disrespect, it’s humanities ignorance. Think this: There are a lot of ways to describe credit. Only one for money. You can want to make money. Or you want to deserve credit. It only depends on how you Think of that. But one thing that’s always true, is the sound of change, hitting the inside of a cup.

Sadly now more and more cups are empty. Waiting to be filled. Many blow away in the wind.

This generation is up-and-coming, but there was always corporate branding. It’s beyond me. And not to say I don’t care, or to inadvertently sound pretentious, it is because it is hard for me to comprehend. My argument is that our worst and best have merged into one. To clarify: Convenience is killing us.

Drink Pepsi.

Wednesday 

Two friends of mine, Dante and Kyle, have a peculiar relationship with each other. Months will go by without knowledge of each other’s whereabouts, and then we find our ways back to each other, and the day is good and life is good. For the last few years we’ve met at Jimmy’s, on Lispin Ave. In the city. We meet at the restaurant, order and sit by the window, and we hate people.

Today, after eight months, we are meeting.

Dante arranged the meeting.

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