Try it. Breath in, breath out. Forget about the rest. Sound good? You’re not convinced. You’ve got a nervous tick that only you can see, but sooner or later the others will catch it too. What’s the matter? We’ve all been there. Afraid you’re going to collapse on the concrete, on the sidewalk or the gutter and have no way to get up and no one to help you. Get used to it. This is the world. Fifteen years ago there was peace. Only shit you had to deal with was personal, more or less. Now it’s everywhere, and you can’t avoid it. You want peace but the world is hell. How do you go from power to powerless? So quick. So fatal.
Thinking you’re going to catch a break, going to find something or someone and stick with it. Settle. Don’t settle. Never settle. You’ll collapse. You’d be happier if the world knew what you think and what you wanted to do, even if you only think it now because you could never do what you wanted. No poetics. Just the facts. Fact is you had more confidence at fifteen than you did or will at thirty. You never could get a grip. Fact is you used to laugh at people so much, now all you’re afraid of is being laughed at. Fuck it and fuck them. Predictable but true.
Analytics. Bane of your life when it should have been your saviour. You were going to prove them all wrong with your analytical mind. The dream job in the twenty-first century is to be paid for your opinions. But it’s not happening. It’s never happening. Too much noise and it’s not even coming from you. That’s the scary thing. One hundred dead and not a peep. World keeps spinning. People keep talking. Money keeps flowing, with or without you. Problem is you know this. It’s what keeps you up at night, in bed in the morning. How can you think with so much noise, so much silence?
And rock bottom is wanting to scream: I’m better than them. Rock bottom is saying you are somehow special. But it never fucking happened. Maybe you pushed yourself out of the comfort zone once, dislocated your soul in the hope of something better, but it didn’t take long for you to want to crawl right on back, in place and where you belonged, even though you knew and your body knew that you’d never quite fit there again. It’s all over. But slowly. Cracks forming. Pressure building. But never enough to matter until you go like the young and the old.
Try it. Breath in, breath out. Forget about the rest. Sound good? You can do it. See and do. Do and see. Just for one second try to return to what you were. It’s not difficult. It’s not hard. It’s the only important thing in a life you so desperately wanted to have. They can’t tell. They want to like you. You do too. But who’s talking here? Who’s talking?
Frank Murphy gets around. His work has appeared in Dirty Chai and The Atomic.