Show Me the Body Dog Whistle

[Loma Vista; 2019]

Styles: I’m exhausted by myself, but you give me life
Others: That friend who you haven’t called

It’s 3:10 in the morning, and I’m coming back from a life not lived. I’m a hedged bet that doubles back on every depressive remark to protect myself. I’m cycling through the streets of Brooklyn, and I’m exactly where I want to be. I’m that image of myself that I had when I was 19 years old. But, my ears are filled with “Madonna Rocket” as I move through Willoughby’s emptiness. “When I meet someone that’s good, I want to die with them. Dead friends, all I still want to say goodbye to them.” — in that moment, I’m both 19 again and what my 19-year-old self wanted to be — I’m crying as I’m biking toward my empty bed. I’m thinking about those friends who I’ve lost along the way, those who I’ve shed like a sickly skin that clings to the bod, those who I miss, those who I don’t have the words to describe how much I miss. And if you’re reading this…

And yet, and or, and if, and b/c, and and — when I listen to this, when it hits me when I’m living or trying to be with others, or trying to be with myself, or trying, it is all I need. I didn’t grow up on hardcore. I spent my youth listening to Marilyn Manson and Slipknot like countless disaffected people. I lived through their stories, finding solace in the YouTube documents of their performances. But, now, I’m here, 24, and I think about how I don’t have those heroes anymore, how I can never love anything as much as I did when I was 16. What is the point of writing, of attempting to promote some group that I have no connection to? So, I’m biking and I’m leaving and I’m trying to collect my thoughts and I’m trying to make sense and I’m absolutely useless and I’m ruining people’s nights because of who I am and I’m here and I’m careening down the street and “there’s no love in the world for me.” It is all so fucking frustrating.

What does it even mean at the end of the day to be part of a scene, to find a community, to be friends with others, to care — fanciful thoughts at the point when you’re speeding toward your apartment alone. And I’m so sorry that I haven’t said what you want. And I’m so sorry that I won’t be the writer you want me to be. I’m an anxious mess that needs something, that needs to cling to the possibility of community when it seems to be fleeting. Or so, I’m here, and you’ll never know what’s happening in my desk chair, or what happened on the steps to the roof, or what lies in the depths of my cupboard. Or maybe I just told you. But this doesn’t set me free. I was already there, I just didn’t know it. So, I crashed my bike and threw away the mangled remains.

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