10 years ago unfiltered

Geoffrey Lewis
43 min readSep 27, 2023

9.24.13 Update

Metro North

Disenchanted with digital, money, competition for attention — no matter how good you think you are, there are thousands out there who are better and willing to do it for cheaper. So who are you competing against, and in what game? Politics and bureaucracy rule the activity of masses of people — I’m thinking of a Walden kind of life.


The pile of my possessions littering her floor; it’s Monday after a classic and celebrated “weekend out of the city” (which in itself carries a transformational and restorative quality); she has another test this morning to gauge her sexual health (the waiting a week-plus hasn’t been as dramatically awful as she thinks it is for me — though how she now pines for this act, an object she’s never regularly coveted, reminds me of my own lust for a cigarette (luckily and strangely, they’ve fallen out of my life simply by not buying them. Smoking begets more smoking. Sex operates the same way). Amid the collisions of these spheres of detail, “Will you be here tonight?” is anything but obvious. It’s unpredictable how I’ll be tonight, as is true of everyone on this train. Everyone’s day can be converted into a block of text which is then sold as product, pushed to via tweets and posts. It’s a war for eyeballs — look at MY thing — and I’ve started the opt-out process. I want real and raw, confused, plumbing the depth of a question to see what lies on the floor of the self. Scoop your hands under the sand, and keep digging as the walls crumble.

The televisions at Subway show “The View,” a show I often lampoon and let embody the career of talking and directing attention to the wrong experience (wrong for the species — people don’t necessarily deserve the freedom to watch this instead of the true and important. When given the choice, people will choose the easy and painless like McDonald’s or FOX News. The cost is not immediate, but now it’s apparent: out of control spending on health care, everyone wants and expects a comfortable life with possessions and time. There isn’t enough to go around — the workforce is limited in daily ability. The demand outstrips the supply. It’s August 12, 2013, and wealth destruction could be upon us. Fine for me — I’ve got heart and youth in high supply, I’ve stocked up on that instead of American dollars.

The sad data sets of recorders from the crowd, never coached on how to let the moment wash through them, acknowledge death and place it at the center of how to process and appreciate this life. They will die chewed up with lackluster words and images, victims of the media moguls that convinced them to sell so low.

A photo of the building [on the southwest corner of 23rd and Park] won’t capture the feeling of gravity; of being reintroduced to the city; of walking out the door into the sticky chaos that is these streets, seeing yourself in third person

“I’ll hold you back and you’ll push me forward,” she said as we walked down the wrong trail. We failed to accept that three yellow trail markers and two others in the distance was in fact the turn we needed to make — it was far too early for us to make that turn; surely the red trail was supposed to be longer.

Parsing through my interaction with Luke about how my weekend was, trying to, for his jealousy’s sake (because I hate having to picture someone I care about be romanced and fucked by another man, especially the one who’s talking to me currently, using the same eyes to undo her clothes, admire her breasts, receive her moans as I give her my primordial load), not implicate me in spending a romantic weekend with his beautiful boss (if he is the part of myself I see in him, he has a complicated mechanism for relating to people. He is a writer, and anyone who writes does so because the world doesn’t hear them or give them the required affection; there is more left over, surplus longing which must eject somewhere; we prefer non-friction.

I’m sorry for the abrupt exit, as I was absorbed into the Walgreens, drawn to low prices. She’d just told me to dress for the job I want — a quick way to my heart, make me feel like I’m blowing it. She didn’t do it lovingly — I still think of that F. Scott Fitzgerald on her fridge, and she has to live with the fact that I’m not him. I’ve told her that He is out there for her, and he’d love to have her. She hates when I suggest that she might actually want him. If I were her though, I’d consider marrying first for money. I’m tainted, and am already thinking about my real-life, practical, nitty gritty options at 45, having been married 15 years with the possibility of reinvention like Phil Gregory. Many great men have taken second wives. She does seem like she’s trying to sell a junk bond — better sell it while you can, like Elliott sings — and if the contents of my freeflowing brain upset you, as I assume You are reading this like you read my words on your childhood closet in Buffalo, then That Is Love. These are my words and feelings, they’re in flux, and if I’m writing them, there is something to relieve. There is something that must be left behind, no longer fit for my present moment. I can only hope that it drives, eventually, an action — the theoretical phone call to a grown-man mentor. None of these questions are new, but the lessons become real through visceral experience: feeling lost and having nothing in a world that’s speeding past and offering you nothing; betrayed by the security of those people and systems that know you and have fought for you, left in the sadness to reinvent yourself, to knock on doors and introduce yourself, hoping the sales breath is undetectable. You too have to be paid. Each ad is a reminder that hey, I’m part of the economy too! So sweet and earnest announcing oneself: “Hi…little old me here…” barely worthy of a mousy peep.

Last night I spoke of the childish impulse to run fast and by myself: the boy who, in one moment of bursting thought and feeling, wants a two week vacation all for himself — to think of two weeks with her sends a message, transfers power, digs myself deeper, limits my options, makes it harder to escape, entangles me in the clutches. I cringe then do that release-and-laugh when I recognize I’m stronger with someone else. I wrote to Casey Terribilini on Facebook about this.

We are a symbiotic system now — when one head is mad, the whole system suffers. It’s “best” to relieve the pain in actuality, like rubbing her back “even though” I’m mad. Doing that made the pain go away, and enabled me to explain that I was upset by her telling me, “I wonder if we’ve been together long enough…for me to say, I hate that shirt” (the green Rocky Mountain School of Photography one with a hole in it, from a class in Indy after I was fired and was knowingly leaving the Midwest where I wrote notes hopefully in my journal and wondered who I would become — a photographer? a journalist? I even ask that today, what will I be? Erin’s grandfather cried for his daughter when she said she’d marry an aspiring journalist, he being a journalist himself and knowing how hard it will be for them.

Etan liked my words, “one must campaign for his humanity,” re being a sane, whole person while working this job that nudges you to act at every pause: be a thought leader (read and write) and a mentor (communicate), after going above and beyond/asking the better question at each point in the production of completion of each task.


Relieving my feeling of loneliness and isolation by placing myself on the global record for later *and* in someone’s notification process now-ish. This is part of a blended strategy to negotiate relief between me and the world. And this is writing: becoming, writhing, relieving, and being seen by incalculable and unplanned fews. Maybe it’s no one, maybe it’s your lover who stumbles upon the reckless stack of converted agonies, pangs, twangs, scathes, pricks, spear-to-the-side like the Christ who suffered the worst death of us all.

Under the awning at Baruch College, wet sandals support a public frame that her comments have driven into a necessary shame. She does make me better, but. I didn’t want a reminder that my job isn’t good enough (“dress for the job you want…” she so calmly said as we exited the subway) and it was loving to her as it left her lips but transfigured in midair and directed me toward shame. It’s not her fault for what I hear — but I do have to bear the burden of processing. “Your clothes aren’t good enough and your job isn’t good enough,” is the message I got from her. And she would clamor BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I SAID but I would remind her this chain of truth: it’s not what you said, it’s what I heard; then, it’s not what I heard, but how it made me feel.

The writing is the easy part — it’s preparation for the hard part. It’s an impractically long to-do list, it’s creating work for someone. But life is work, and publishing. “The moment” is mostly neutral, open for riffing and imagined absolutes, a playing field for thoughts to slam into each other, practice. But writing is committing to matrices of choices, and each impression is its own choice: what is appropriate for these circumstances of audience and timing? What do they know at this exact point, and what are they ready for this second of attention? What do you put on this brick of the tower of their experience, which begs what role does this tower play in their endless, jagged contemplation of themselves in the world?

Screaming into the pillow, aka this writing, is to protect her from unnecessary pain. I can dispose of it on a form that feels nothing, but it has to go somewhere — anger cannot be created or destroyed, only changed, and the humans of earth shoulder amongst themselves the definite mass of joy and struggle. It shifts in a formation incalculable by math, untraceable by money — its path draws a painting that no one can fathom as each mind that thinks it can see the light is a mere fractal in the beam, a suspended speck of dust in an empty suburban living room, bees buzzing outside on a perfect, lonely sunny day on a street that’s mostly forgotten and ignored.

She knows how active my mind is, how vibrant and affective my emotions, so my silence bites hard. She knows I’m writing and knows she caused me pain to relieve — and she knows I keep my experience of her here as a tangible thing I think about selling. If life gets boring (locked in a suburb) I will now have this, a novel to write. We shouldn’t need nuclear weapons or to spy on our people but the real world isn’t ideal. Contingency is necessary ammo in the firefight for inner peace.

And everyone’s got their story of an ex, packaged in words and now for sale. The Internet is the global marketplace for free-to-read stories of rage and loss. Will people scroll to mine and wait, or go to the feed for entertainment from anyone? Will they have just anyone’s?

Direction, impulse, giving up and pivoting, feeling at once defeated but then assured: oh the perils of heart-driven existence. Who we think sees us

What matters: feeling alive

The state of infuriation

Field of vision takeover

Melting, blurry waves like

the slate of the street in summer

as a child

The Internet:

The trash heap of wasted human ambition

Can be beautiful or sad

Started initiatives we wanted the world to make true

I believed so hard I deceived myself

I wouldn’t let anyone prove me wrong

But I don’t polish sentences

I can tab down

And like the FOX News readers and

McDonald’s eaters, I’ll go for easy

If I’m allowed

If no one stops me

If my mind leapfrogs the angel lending her voice


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I can’t answer whether or not I should go. I don’t have the security and confidence (in my immediate ability to turn time into money) to make such a deal of time and money. I can only afford to play small ball: dinners, weekend trips, and on the extreme side, not even a week off in California at home. Where does career confidence come from? Other people knowing you and wanting to work with you. I’ve lamented that no one proactively wants to work with me / have me work on their initiative. I say in my head, “I don’t want to do social media,” but the world sees me as a content creator and community manager. We Internet workers distract ourselves with microhits on our attention so to relieve ourselves of asking what we truly want in a life. But “want” may be useless — we aren’t in control.

The detached work of appreciating cyclical patterns in the flow of interactions between the stimuli and the sensor, e.g. “If I Ever Feel Better” whispers in crackles from a company-owned MacBook Pro. “What are you working on?” Centering myself in significance. We go learn more skills so we can get more complicated and demanding jobs and work longer hours and have more responsibility. I’ve asked, what is the ROI of career advancement? Does it not serve primarily to distract from all the abundance around us? To add more worldly complexities that must be monitored for the slightest movements — that’s your job now. But here I sit in the inverse: my words aren’t really valued. But so many people’s words are: there are so many CEOs and executives whose words matter. And now the Internet holds all of them. How To Use The Internet Every Day is the question education will answer, as life and world become The Internet (kids have two states: connected or asleep).

While in Room O on the 15th floor of this Credit Suisse Building annex, I gazed out and spoke aloud: “I guess this is the point though, isn’t it: sit in one of the million windows, lamenting all the other ones’ smallness and conformity. Lives live within those, spider webs of feeling like those within me. The weight and pulling of infuriating love set behind glass. Conquering the digital land is a trap that results in exhausted humans, bent over at screens feeling defeated. The Internet is art: tragic and beautiful, false starts that are ends themselves. All the dead blogs, infant mortality rate. Human interaction is moving online, so it can be managed, tracked, commodified. The present moment will always offer freedom to run away from the established and documented. Every moment is new.


Do chores, or choose words

The essence of invention available each morning

The iPhone must start up though, a God-posed challenge to hold onto ambition through the rocky Middle Passage of being unable

And that is the essence of the necessary: it isn’t quick or easy, disposed of in a snap, like the writing I felt I owed her after I sleepily suggested I really wanted sex. Leaning sheepishly into the bathroom door-frame, my backlit head leaning into the hallway, offering a glimpse of my anguish to help diminish hers; to share the load of necessary pain we’ve chosen to bear by accepting the terms of the bond of love.

The morning’s openings of the next cans of worms, reintroducing each active sphere back into the realm of my present moment: appeasing the various red text bubbles, clearing the spaces and restoring the order (dishes in the sink remind me of unused thoughts and emotions, pulsing through the crease, the scoring area, the realm of fair use, but letting them walk free and blow away un-catalyzed. Oh and does editing and living take the love of another…I imagine Wallace and his beloved troupe of students, she feverishly panting above a page, he consoling her and recalling, like exploring your old room and opening an unmarked cardboard box that whispers of Saturday mornings on carpets of decades ago, innumerable because the math has changed…Wallace’s own such distant such episode of solitary writhing above a page, resolving the space between whom he wasn’t and whom he gravely needed to become. In closing that gap, the human spirit dances at a speed that cannot be seen, shared or captured — it can only be felt by those who’ve enabled themselves to feel it; for those whom the tunnels have been already dug. The rails must be laid for the train to arrive.

“Working in social media,” my least frictional next job, will always be the systematic disrespect of people if the business is for-profit. Building up capacity for a right hook, for a drive, for a “we’re only going to care what you have to say insofar as it affects PR (i.e. how the page appears to potential customers) and your own buying. We’ll affirm you from a distance, through a talker whose words are never judged for technical quality, only emotion. The sentence structure can be shit, and you’re still successful on social media. The client wants numbers, and to be passionately told how amazing our latest campaign was (Paul Marcum wants to hear extremes — the MOST number of hashtags ever, the BEST of all our Vine campaigns, … and another flash to Wallace and creating a novel, reigning all the characters and nuanced actions and feeling they have into one cohesi ve package that a person can digest without needing to hold his hand for a customized walk. He’s scaled himself to the point of replacement, solidifying every errant self he’s been in every different second; reconciling the destruction of a bad idea for the benefit of the host, i.e. now’s self.


“Why are we talking about this…” she asked of my decision to rehash last night: my laying awkward and bent on the couch, imagining taking her more vibrant self in the bedroom. The reality was sweating, dealing with poison oak, her both dozing off and unable to engage sexually, and I still had to slather myself in anti-poison oak solution, wash it off in a cold shower, then do dishes in preparation for a cut-short sleep and a complicated work day of three things I don’t know how to do, while I’m accustomed to days of zero of those. I ended up falling asleep on her. In the bathroom I offered a sporadic explanation which she took as a full one, to which she replied, “you should have woken me up…” I came back with the brilliant, “it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway,” implying that sex was the only prescription. That hurt her, in turn hurting me twofold: that I’d hurt her, and that such a thought existed within me. Both needed correction, but first I had to grow into the person who was sorry for what he did; understanding needed quick manufacturing, as the mercury plummeted each second I remained backlit in the bathroom doorway, leaning into the molding with my heart growing flatter.

To put last night’s frustration, angry growth through gritted teeth, wrestling and sighing myself to sleep. She wanted it but I didn’t believe her — turned out she just wanted to want it and knew she should wait another day for the pain to subside, the bruising her friend Elena (the one she goes shopping with, but who also leaves her stranded at concerts in Jersey and makes the excuse that she’s overwhelmed by crowds — the one who’s captured George, a man I sensed felt ratlike in a cage so invited to inscribe my black book of travelers’ words). And after we stared quietly into each other’s eyes, me speaking slowly about my ability to sense when she isn’t being real, “I don’t like fake you,” she quietly nodded a dozen slow times, the choir ending the night with apologies and I Love Yous. Never let ’em see you sweat, I think to myself often. The other night I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut, and we both suffered, we both bore the weight. I must swallow my pride and my need to be heard — I can’t and won’t tell her every thought — she can’t be my audience for every thought and notion. This is the difficulty of love and words will fail — words are guides to moments that must be experienced. Words live in undocumented pain, but this is what being alive is. Before I forget, the sad notion I felt as I sighed off to sleep, propped up on my arm, I wondered if my words will be sold like old comics — here’s a huge box of questionable value, I’ll give you two hundred dollars for all the rights. “There may be something good in here,” the buyer will think. Selling data will be like selling gold. Sad that I save life for later so often. I must take more risks, inject my emotion into life and let that be the wave that carries me, the wind that blows me down my river. “She’s the epitome of safe,” Mike Peck said in texts. Do I want to spend my life giving her the security she childishly wants. But I need it too. And a text flies up about bacon and eggs tomorrow. There is a pattern: during difficult negotations and admissions, she leans on easy (stories, breakfast, clothes, objective things) and it lands on disinterested ears. I do the work of nodding and smiling, even if it’s not what I want to hear. She needs to be heard and we need ‘batting practice.’ Ah, last night I did tell her, “the real me is 99% of what I say, 99% of what I do, all the times I make a mistake, grow from it and change my behavior,” not the 1% that might sleepily slip through the gates. My brain is active.

Pay-per-gaze and pay-per-emotion: the future of advertising, says Google and Mashable. http://mashable.com/2013/08/15/the-future-of-advertising-pay-per-gaze-is-just-the-beginning/ Love and death are more interesting


My parents are getting older. And they can now get better healthcare in the 3rd world than in the US. Why do you guys put up with this?

@umairh Because we’re entranced by notifications, and when the problem actually comes to affect us, we’ll suffer through it thanks to notifications, little micro hits of affirmation that make anything OK — we never need to explain. the mere fact that another person holding a device saw our thing and clicked their thing, that is enough. no more words are necessary. the need is relieved, the emotion changed; the act of navigating an idiotic system looks new and is newly bearable, until it’s not. but saving it is too hard — complaining and being validated is easier. musk will save us, or obama, or some other distant thing. it isn’t my problem. all i have to do is get through today, and protect myself from people and information that make me feel like i failed. i’ll unfollow you, and live in a bubble that affirms me, like a mother a child, that i did enough with me life; that i didn’t ruin the planet for our kids; that it isn’t my fault. i want to feel good, and i can find that.

Twenty-five cents a day sounds reasonable for having a writer in my life. I’d have few — far fewer than I follow on twitter — but for immersion in a story, where reading/experiencing an author is not a one-time purchase but a daily recurring one, and each day the most victorious is paid by the audience, not the advertisers who pilfer and poison the sacred nature of attention.

Deleted my thoughts to that I can attempt to live them and struggle through the manifesting physically of the mind’s children.

If my life were leftovers, “I’m doing it wrong” has been the Tupperware, the container that governed what is included and what is not. Every day is mesmerizing, its own special slice of story. Each trail of words one follows to becoming, they miss the one in front of them, off the page. Systems of affirmation.

Do Not Disturb my free roam and rumination, world. Re-rolodexing the vocabulary fit for these particulars, Pottery Barn, professional contemplation and self-soothing. Interviewing myself to create a paradigm where I matter…

Her mother affirms her so lovingly, at first I thought it was because she feels sorry for her, or is shepherding her to protection by a man. Are mothers and daughters always like this? Lots of gentle Wows to affirm her. She shares the details of her life with her mother, and she receives many Wows from the phone in her hand. It’s like a doubly redundant backup of her brain, affirmed by the server as yes, good.

Before-dinner prayer is an every-time performance — I often give thanks and hope for people: coworkers, her and my families, random batches of friends. Often I’m grateful for time and perspective, for the eventual ability of getting over my dissatisfaction and seeing that perfection is all around us.

Feels like the writing is interrupted, condensed and relegated to in-between justifiable and necessary actions (shower, dishes, getting dressed, walking to a destination) and I am ever distracted by the affect of the process. I imagine the reading, swooning/head-cocking/lamenting/head-shaking and gentle editing of the words, but in a world where anyone can have anyone else in whatever bite-size they prefer, for seemingly no cost other than their time, who would choose to immerse themselves in This confusion? Who thinks I’m so good? The Woody Allens and Penn Jillettes of the world — or anyone else referenced in The New York Times on Saturday, August 17, 2013 — all have a “daily feed” of their thoughts, that will soon be up for sale (I can’t imagine access will be given gratis for much longer — people have to pay for Something). Who thinks my confusion is cute, and what are they willing to offer me? Money enables me to do more and different, more authentic me, but I’ll always find ways to be myself, even when working for sedated clients like Del Monte who are dialing back their scopes to 40 hours of CMing per month (I’m imaging an email to Aleena, Group Director like the admirable Eric Fulwiler who apparently was fucking Kelly, who’s now being fucked by Jon? And they sit in pitches together, behind the royal glass and with royal plastic platters of sandwiches, or the Gramma’s fridge-looking milk cartons (it feels good to remember — this is an end and purpose of writing, despite if it’s salable or scalable. It’s personal, and life is too. The royal “Life” is one’s own growth. If this aids and enables that, if it pulls the tendrils of my past inward like a retracting tape measure, boiled and congealed into a stronger metallic core from which I live the rest of my life.

But fucking Del Monte! And VaynerMedia and the global economy for not needing to treat the masses (yes, auto-correct, the messes) with respect. It isn’t worth the corporation’s money to have a community advocate — it just needs to be managed and controlled as to not disturb the low hum of quarterly sales. No one can demonstrate the absolute ROI of employing a person whose job it is to both get to know consumers (and demonstrate some 1-to-1 context, e.g. knowing the dog’s name — does DM figure they’ll buy anyway, and it doesn’t matter how they feel but just that they swipe the card? The prime and powerful example is CMing with old images — being creative and delightful in interactions with people who may never do anything for you in return. And who among our company is letting this happen? Who gave up and can I see the tape?

Walking down Lexington dressed in Loemann’s Wyoming shirt, past Hunter College and an uncapturable scene toward Scones, as I looked at my feet and lamented how short life is, Is This It? Hoping I or a machine meaningfully parse this later. How noisy the world will be in but 5 years. Who will I be at 35 and 40? I should look deeply into today, make that the container, the Tupperware edge that holds my affection. I should see all my potential in her smile and love. I often fall short of being amazed and confident in my … and writing it is hard, and giving up is life…


An unsent poem to Peter

Where to go with what is happening,


or so a man like me would call it.

this man,


knows not how to digest what she has told me,

in courage

…oh, how lush the valley of his ignorance

and being incorrect.

“Is This It?”, as other pieces of the media I construe as God

are my language.

We are all media, after all

you’re pixels

and words

and trust.

Your face and form have gravity. To me and others

as I have for many

oh, the versions of Gee-off scattered about the matrix

of hearts and minds and palpitations

I, a distant tendril of

different sets terminals and servers

actions forcing reactions that travel across the wire

to some node, buried

But I have trouble selecting then finishing an article

My feeling changes so much in seconds — even writing the sentence above and facing the other end of silence

and sometimes…

how much do you love me to bear another “and sometimes?” this is the question i ask to the ether, but rarely to another person

they’re different languages.

I’ve put my phone on Do Not Disturb

it’s the same as not being able to read

Do Not Grow

Do Not Change

but even ‘right here’ is a bit frustrating

And anyone can type and send something.

Who wants my ‘anything’?


who will parse this?


clicking around, not immersion

anxiety pushes me toward a bag of cherries

or a sip of water.

it was cigarettes for a while but

now i must create wants on the fly.

i’m used to wanting, but there’s nothing clear to want

no big stake has been nailed into the ground

(besides work — my LinkedIn profile’s pristine, my timeline totally explicable

1 year confused, 2 years set, 1 year rambling, and “working on” a settled year)

ha, it is here in this log where my ideas are tested

not in a CM brainstorm meeting where words are thrown like

droplets from a hydrant


A collision my mind won’t let me ignore

Drafting a tweet about “Losing Our Childhood To LinkedIn” (http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/19/do-what-you-love-not-what-looks-good/), I zoom up to the omniscient Third Person and sigh at myself, the child who is still trying to perform, obsessed with what he’s presenting and impressing the people who are watching and judging. Also aware that if I don’t move my life forward decisively, I will have no grounds to say no to moving in and settling down. This may not be the bad option — she does make a case that Real Family is the fight worth fighting, the cycle of affirmation worth appeasing (“Parenting may be the epitome of meaningful work. It’s never really done but much of it can never be undone.” https://twitter.com/gpetriglieri/status/368864157128335361 ) I don’t want to be reactive…but as they say, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.

But this collision…….


Hunter s Thompson


And staring off into non-focus

As Erin chats with Meghan who just bought a house with her new husband

My mind…yes, peppered with concepts and wordings

Questions and Lamentations

I don’t tend to speed down to a shareable speed and set myself a weekday night with a trusted friend to discuss

And I tend to be underwhelmed by the gravity and joy of others’ communication with supposed close friends

That should be ecstasy in my acid submarine fantasy of existence

(with bolts and spurts of “this will be edited later” fusing with “who actually cares” and of course no cash payment. Beans and subway and hand-cupped water

“You are literally getting everything you wanted,” Erin says to her friend. Well the Internet says I can immerse myself in anything, all of it free — but earlier when pouring my first drink, I wanted 20s — GOOD twenties music — but I imagined my sad google searches (like “intro to M. Ward’s ‘Half Moon’” and in my dream sighed at the machine’s misunderstanding…even this term is poetry to me, and I think it would be for the loving historian whose heart beats and worldview leaps as he and she read my lecture to the past and future, but it must be their choice. They will have a feed of unlimited choice…they’ll be painfully aware of all life’s directions, yet no machine or friend or mom will know what is right for Them. Damned Google, makes me think there’s an answer. There is no spoon!

Cold salty asparagus as

Thompson calls Leary a quack

The guy who poisoned me with,

“Acid is thirty years of cursed, unending introspection.”

Thompson reveled in his being able to be a freelance writer.

I realized I am one — paid to write words to the public. God, to duck out and stand on 23rd Street with the stenches and eruptions of a species in motion, every color and kind the color wheel could spin. (You can’t say it all so say it better) 45 minutes of freedom is preferred to eight hours.


Another next day, more inane online conversations to assess

We gaze into the machine

Another BuzzFeed article to grab us

“Some senator made this terrible tweet!”

“Look what this awful person did!”

And we rubberneck. We give our glory, this brick in the structure of our grandest statement,

to that.

And this is where I get in trouble and off-track from perfect work focus, when I channel myself into documentary poetry? Is that it? An offshoot, dark matter, counter-axis that makes the other side even possible?

The physical strain of remembering

(Reading Twitter enflames my neurons like freakish chickens on steroids, harvested for their breasts. The brain isn’t built to conceive of and monitor the whole world. I want the old way.)

each person, and all their unfinished poetry

laying down at night, wrapped with a lover

communication unspoken, warmth and grip

Half-begun poems

attempted arguably in hopes of creating an unbreakable mirror of my brain

because i am not good at asking for what i want

or setting my direction.

I imagine how an innovator looks

but i’m too tired for that.

i’m resigned and reserved, sinking back into my chair

coffee and stimulants can only do so much.

Workout mornings, work-enough days, drink Jameson on the rocks at night,

Write to friends, and here. Sounds like a good next. #LoveOverEverything

She’s sick today. I had no dramatic words for her as I remained at her side this morning — she’ll do it her way despite what I say. She must go through the experiences — that’s about work, and her distaste for people who don’t get it, who don’t keep up as well as she does. Maalik…that is a story.

A/B Testing for photo attributions, post copy vs. image copy? I can’t…

My mother and I (on the roof) talked on the phone last night. Today, a childish workday proceeds a 3pm office departure for JFK to San Francisco. Okay, the reader says. Many people travel every single day, and many people write down their daily thoughts and feelings. What’s the point of these? Well, I’m surprised each day to see how much time and attention people really have, and how weakly it’s tried to be wrestled away toward one certain end. She’s leisurely reading the Metro paper the orange-vested man flung in her hand. She’ll read it calmly, it isn’t loud in here — brands aren’t really making an effort; journalists and activists aren’t reaching and screaming for her to understand how desperate the need to fix immigration, campaign finance, “the legal system,” jobs or the Middle East. But I do wonder if my mind’s presence is only worth fifteen dollars per hour…am I ready for or desirous of more eyeballs and the demands associated with those…

Writing now is the tactile feeling associated relieving having something to say. Reading through this later may make little sense — they are not objectively gospel, but I think God is grand, and all words flying from all bodies are part of The Gospel all around us that not one of us will ever fully grasp. To digest even one day’s worth of all the creator’s nuance would take more than a lifetime — and this doesn’t consider yesterday.

Throw yourself into her

Let yourself free of wanting freedom

Freedom gives you nothing.

I stared into her, saw my reflection in her glasses and glumly acknowledged the distance between us — the rooftop conversation with my mother re her apparent motivations to have me commit to her (to save her the pain of loneliness and being single, similar to my avoidance of being unemployed and having to beat that drum yet again. For me, I doubt the monetary value of my abilities; for her, she believes herself ugly and insecure, and approaching the age where she could become single forever. These are my thoughts on her motivations which are potentially wrong, but I don’t know how to have a conversation or if it should even be discussed. I love her smile, and her embrace — I’ve been melting under the hot lamp of freedom, holding onto my cards like I always have. Even in those long RPG video games, I’d finish the game and put it away without having used my X-Potions or elixirs, the most powerful cure items one could have in battle. I’d never use them (I might need them later!) and would die holding tight to a possible future. But today, having acquired the big city apartment and job, I don’t feel so evolved past the unemployed self who’s wandered this property before. Actually, I feel like I’ve been terminally unemployed, pre-decision and pre-work, waiting for my life to begin.


Unpleasant and hopeless thinking

Constant spinning into sad places that illustrate a world of people way better than me — both more clearheaded, possessive of meaningful lives, an ability to relax and have fun, wealthier, moving forward in career, maturing — and I see myself as not having these things. I’m not indispensible. I’m not great at anything, and I don’t feel confident in making a decision to get great at any one thing. But the way it’s going, I’m guided by what the company wants from me and what Erin wants from me (she’s so gentle — I liked our talk yesterday…


What a shift

My whole inner world changed when I spoke up and helped a cause by offering my thoughts

and my time. I did good work. But today I was jealous of other people making their place and driving themselves forward — yesterday I told Erin I felt I was a failure. Just get through it, I’ve learned.


Monday Sept. 9

We tweet so we can see ourselves: the picture and the words. The experience of crafting new arrangements words and putting them in a place we feel is public — that creates acountability, you don’t want to let that medium down. By putting it online, we feel compelled to keep up with the shadow we’ve created. Does life imitate what we’ve said it would be, or does what we say come after the living has happened?



“I’m literally going to write Pup-Peroni content for Pinterest and Instagram…but hey, it’s for a global brand!” The bar we finally found had the New York life I didn’t choose waiting to show me precisely where I wasn’t living. The proverbial nineteen-year-old with red hair, tan skin, small burgundy suede backpack and the whimsical and dreamy disposition you imagine holding and laughing with all idyllic afternoon (and the reader here will sense something missing in the author — for they know “he has a girlfriend” and all the (and this is writing — feeling something while desiring to deconstruct it to both share it for others and develop it for yourself. Writing implies motion — take this and make it into something it is not yet). I was right at the bar, and I know it because Don Draper did it, and I know it’s bad too because Joe Budde wouldn’t do it — both men are projections onto my moral and decisional landscape. (And sure, she can bet that these words eked out while falling asleep will be forgotten and unlived — I’ll let her be right. But I won’t be afraid to think things; I won’t be ashamed of my mind’s creations. I’m allowed to lust after other girls — a guilt now rises up to match, in the same vein of, “that does nothing for me,” my mantra when faced with short, tight brunettes, ie what I decidedly forego. “When I’m drinking and laughing at a bar without her — which by the way in all its complexities resulting from her new role is a new experience all its own; this language proceeds her elevated place — a twang of nostalgia grazes the plain, but it is weighed the same as the pain I’d experience when waking up with the other: the not being appreciated, understood or integrated based on a breadth of experience that is now free to go unexplained — we won’t manufacture the value in taking the time to share all that.

But now I’m stepping down 4th ave, over a 6-ring plastic can holder, seeing the Icy Signs sign, looking down and piecing together two barflies’ curbside conversation — various flashing lights that to me are new and worth observing anew.


A hopeful return to the Upper East Side fills my mind with ideas for action. The future is strangely bright and bleak — I’m falling toward a life with Erin with no real reason to avoid such a move, but I want it to be due to decisive and proactive living. She will not be happy that I spend nights away from her meeting with people, but I must — one does not advance his lot in life by counting down to workday’s end and running off toward soft barstools, glasses of wine, cooked dinner and private conversation (much of which is her relieving the pressure of her workday). The six months leading up to her promotion, Tina’s baby and the ever-growing onslaught of client work (that outstrips our team’s ability because we rarely pause to assess how we can work together and know each other better — it’s a culture of ‘get this thing done and teamwork second’, at least through the window Erin provides).

She is quintessential woman, at least my version of that. Words that aim to claim position fall to me especially noticed: her reminding me that I fell in love with her; vocal desires for a large kitchen, vacations, a living room filled with beautiful things. If she wants me to improve my earning ability, she’ll need to accept my being away on nights and weekends — one doesn’t become great by multi-hour meals with the same person, or hours spent drinking coffee, reading the paper and conversing in the limited universe of her and I validating and confirming each other. I’ll often step away from a conflict and stomach my words that challenge hers — after futile attempts to improve her reasoning, she doesn’t appear to be interested in that, at least from me. Adoration and affirmation is my bill of duty — she speaks of wanting design education, but will she summon the discipline and say no to easy weeknights to learn a skill she, when the time comes to struggle, can easily justify she doesn’t need? Will life and work ever be greater than the runoff of underused opportunity? “I should be intentional with the next six months,” I say. It almost matters not “what I do” whether photography or reading or writing, just as long as I do it and am externally accountable.

My idea of one drink-with-another night a week is a good one, here is the rule: every Wednesday night say, we each must make a plan to catch up with someone else in our lives. If we fail to, I put myself on time-out in Brooklyn (can we meaningfully weave in Time Out magazine, the NY publication? Can’t get away from immersive HTML5 experience to subversively show the power of today’s connected computer, especially the reader’s own). I can’t make a life and career out of running home from work to hear about her day and eat rich foods, making indulgent plans for the weekend. I must regulate how she sways my life, as all I have is my attention. She wants all of it, naturally. She finds safety and security there, like my suggesting we’ll return to wine country again. I think her hope is that I burn off my childish steam here, in a private dialogue with no one, and spend my off-screen time being her man. I do doubt the selflessness of her concern for my growth. Surely she can’t think that every weeknight with her is good for me. I have to find my own ways to be productive and intentional, and I think the first step is to get back involved with people. “What to do next” all starts from people — luckily, there is no right path for me. But I have to be someone, and in front of people consistently. The hidden nature of our relationship certainly makes it more difficult for me to he authentic — but that is the work: to be someone remarkable in a world that nudges you to be quiet and obedient. I do want the best for her, and do question if my coddling is a good thing for her growth. The affirmation her mother and father give worry me sometimes — shouldn’t she be ok without it? Maybe we’re all more childish than I thought adults would be.


A Candace Williams coffee date forced the showing of my empty cards: a job I tolerate, just as her 33-year-old male slob of a roommate does (who’s exactly like me just a decade more tolerant). The tangible product and service I’m working at is not useful or needed — it’s part of the problem: no heart or personality in business (ie the governor of waking life hence the ability to feel love, truth, beauty and other spiritual growth…these airy concepts find anatomical dependence upon the banes of earthly life: foraging for secure shelter, food and water. How sad that I stay anchored in a chair, to a subservient identity consuming my youth, in fear of going broke or appearing unimpressive. How sad my permission is granted so swiftly, and sadder that I may be in the majority) beyond what affects the faceless cash. Turns out that negative sentiment on the Internet is okay! Those idiots will forget their yesterday when strategically served a cold plate of bullshit, lifted from the wiry bed of essentially industrial refrigeration. The Internet users forget, flocking to New while ignoring the True — the publisher laughs as the populace walks amid a field of diamonds yet deals in copper.

Gentle pull on a Newport’s bottom

Tempted by speed and raggedness of voice to box up this honesty to sell later

Virgin lungs returned to strength, this feels foreign but undoubtedly relaxing

“It hurts a little when you put it in,” words of late. I ogled rail-thin brunettes or those with tits

The evil creeps

It’s been quiet

Too quiet? Must it emerge? My mistakes have been in omission alone, not doing the work of speaking up but choosing surrender to the expected flow

Shying from battle and discomfort

Is imagined intimacy with a “cloth mother” of a reader my only reprieve?

I miss cigarettes I’ve lately thought.

Whom in California have I missed?

My former confidant Ari who shares that spirit of ambition that makes a wonderful person strangely and hopelessly dissatisfied. I’m essentially the same vagrant as the sap who sat home at my mom’s job searching, attempting to spin a life out of nothing. Applying to roles and selling my potential, believing that a city and a job will relieve the pain of feeling yet-begun and unconfirmed by the electorate. I’ll cross 4th Ave. and trudge through the gate, up each stair to unsheath the house-keys. Beans, ketchup and sleep, the undeniably safe and right, await me. Anything but writing and deviating — run from the questions this idleness shakes out. Avoid, avoid, in the name of being right. (Shared this with Candace, see the Facebook message 8.28 bleeding into 8.29)

Beans. Water. Talk to Akim a tiny amount. Initially thought to send to Erin with an “ah, I’m better” sentiment. She’d smile and feel connected, instead of the distance she may feel now (see our texts where I proclaimed the distance provided by writing to each other). Hesitation to go all-in. Her admission that she knows I’m Her One zooms me out to see my freedom and my strength. “I can always leave,” I reassure myself, echoing Clark and my conversation re a man’s first marriage.


Morning of August 29th, standing and becoming more late as backpack strategy aligns with reason: she’ll want my presence for herself, both for the company and the reassurance that she’s what I’ll spend my evening on — she’d deny it but I smell commission breath, trying to make a sale, get that dotted line. She said in California, “I’m looking for a job promotion.” She wants it settled, the search to be over. She may care more about checking a box than my own growth — like she’s panting until I sign, and only then can she be fully herself. “Freedom from” and “freedom for” are attractive when not yet explored — the hope that this one will be easier, feel more right, be a better fit. Like Mike’s dad said, I never met a man who married too late. Coming home alone with a life to myself is attractive — when it’s assumed I’ll stay with her tonight, I won’t whimsically see a friend for a drink, meet new people or move career forward. “Is she worth it?” is not something to know, but feel. I’ll know it when I see it; when you know, you know.

Ya know, this might be it. ← ah, the sweet moment after Simon’s dinner (Asian-American singles night in Koreatown where, after moments of bar talk between he and I — a kind of exchange (bar-talk with smart, savvy dudes) where I truly have so much fun, as relief is lifted —

as often with my writing, I smile during the process — the berating voice and the carefree voice; the former says, “You’re off track! You’re unfocused and will never amount to anything! You’ll be a sad slave to the economy and the world!” but the carefree one says, ah, you are becoming, and this feeling is the highpoint of life — considering pace, then the perfection of inclusion and omission (design, which wraps around to the beginning of “my real New York writing” on the Brooklyn Bridge, and how last night

Dig with the pen

“Waking life,” or simply life

(and i’m already nervous I’ll do or say wrong, but quickly relieved to remember I’m supposed to be confused

Perfect posture is dead and proved to be a mirage. For years I’ve

I haven’t been writing, usually because when I slow my mind down I don’t like what’s there; it’s the same circular mess that confirms and dismisses itself before another voice can enter — it isn’t my shared speaking voice. In speech and engagement (less the respectable level of honesty with Erin — she invites and allows me to slow it down, stare off and share), it’s not as easy as “say what you feel.” While I did offer good ideas in today’s brainstorms, I caught myself both knowingly slacking and being caught up poor flow — these days have shown me that any person’s experience can be documented and shared further, every day, and built on the ever-expanding and infinite Internet. Access is no longer novel, and as Seth G says, we need folks to lead, organize and teach. Doing it > the ability to do so. Writing is about saying things, sharpening the offering to fill the opportunity. Each day offers reasons why the right words have not been said — words help a worker feel a sense of urgency and necessity. We are our own slave-drivers, and it’s self-talk that whips before the whip.


She turns her attention to productivity, wrapping her synapses like vines around that glistening frosted orb of sustaining the role you’re paid to fill — “fill”. The chemistry lab, a perfect vacuum, gaseous clouds swelling and swirling like storms on the news. Who will pay to know what’s on my mind? Who needs something done? This idea inspired or nauseates me depending on the hour — this morning, at the gym (that’s boring — like someone’s going to comb through this reconstructing my moments and swooning; the inject neglected child wants that, feels he deserves it. The trail isn’t the point, per se. It’s the sitting, staring, choosing — the fingers must move for me to find new footing. That’s why this is My writing. I love you for coming to me — thank you, what’s mine is yours. The when has (the cycling through words like a Rolodex, looking for footing to step forward ‘cross the river)


After departing the GE back to the future campaign, feeling awkward that I left so early and quickly once freedom was granted. I tend to feel under-poetic — we should walk out laughing, patting on the back. I’m learning that dramaturgy isn’t stuff of life — but then I remember one of our walks: the summer of suspended animation.

To be a tearing tendril

I am beginning to prefer

Instead to cease and step outside

And gaze at a presence that’s since not there

A false feeling thus created when

Observation’s forced upon it

and every one has time for poems

for thought, for words

when each second can be a careful choice of what, why, from whom

No one will sigh and caw

(Maybe one, or two — bless ‘em)

simply because there’s to much

Bad poetry

Handwritten Words? Ten cents by the thousand. Though I imagine the day when it works like a pump — a buyer can hook in and name his price, and I will go as long as he clenches his fist. The gas pump wouldn’t cut you off — the whole of the black rubber balloon of oil would self-deplete happily any given day.


Friday in September, no plans, no clear wants except relief from this silent manic state: pinball of contrasting thoughts I don’t allow others to care about, they’re not invited. Serving a full day yesterday still left me unhappy — to think such a woman loves me evermore when I don’t love myself.

— — —

Writing here is creating someone who’s asking the questions I fleetingly want to answer. But I maintain the freedom to be abstract, stare off, fall in a pile and be loved without scientific inquiry to each of the points I set out to address. When I tire of complication, I realize all is fine: she loves me and she is a richly nuanced person — she contains more things than I thought a human could possess. “Just say it,” I told myself this morning. It would get me over the hump of indecision and unproductive questioning.


A classic sunny morning walk from my creaky metal front door up the dirty 4th ave pavement, asking questions about my girlfriend and hoping these thoughts are old-growth tumors that are washing away like sediment. Questions like, does she love me or is it that she likes having a good boyfriend who will listen to her? She requires much attention — am I using the right product? Do I need her? This is where I depersonalize people and think only about what I am getting and giving up. Sure: I give I, do on behalf, I do the work of attentive listening and responding, and I vocalize my thoughts, often courageously instead of letting thoughts go unshared. I have the rest of my life to go “all in” with someone — why now? To be with her partly seems like a selfless decision to relieve her of doubt — relieve her fear of abandonment and rejection. When I ask myself, “Do I love her so much that I’ll give her this gift? That I’ll do that work every day forever?” She credits me for asking these questions but I’m not running to go do it. I have more questions than I have certainty. She, however, says she is certain: I am the one for her, forever. I am the one she wants to do everything with. And even if she might be the right person for me, I wonder if I can even see it right now. Would I be asking these same questions about any person I was with? I often envision would divorce would look and feel like — again, this is my window on the world — but she gets upset easily, must vent every day, requires a lot of communication and wants steady reminders that she’s important and amazing. “I just want to be patted on the head and told that I’m right,” she said when needing a mid-workday talk to vent about frustrations I offered my thoughts on. She didn’t want my thoughts — she wanted me to be the version of me that she wanted in that moment. Recently, I’ve resisted to just nod along and instead speak up and address her like a friend. “You’re not always going to get the ‘me’ you want,” I said, to which she looked away at her phone while replying, “we’ll that’s what I try to do for you.” Then she marched off to bed and I did the dishes.

I look at other women (especially I notice ones unlike her, the ones I theoretically could never have again) and a) irrationally see a solution to these difficulties, but b) realize that the same stone lies at the bottom of any well. There’s no escaping the work of resolving personal issues when trying to build a massive, foundational truth in the space between you and another human being. Belinda believes that being grounded is the most important quality in a mate, and believes she is. She’s responsible when it comes to making decisions though jewelry and lattes will catch my glare.


All in good time

(Do you want it

Do you want it

Do you want it all?)

A grinding day of constant finishing tasks while ever questioning the method, and ever lamenting that questioning and refining the methodology is not proactively discussed with me.

Time has slowed a bit — earlier in my New York tenure, others’ seemingly decisive actions had made me feel inadequate and misguided; reading a tweet was a reminder that I myself wasn’t actively moving something forward with the public, but now I see twitter as a menu of dishes to eat, each item has its own potential energy and we are to select one at a time from an infinite selection of potential amazement. The menu is ever-present, and it took watching my mind evolve alongside the data stream to show me that the contents of the moment in front of my face are another “feed” of potential handles to grab onto and pull myself through. Editors and publishers never fear that they’ll have nothing to publish — there’s always something to push forward and make better. Proverbially, you can always do more Twitter fishing.

Erin. Last night I tried telling her I don’t like that she’s mean to her coworkers and that she vents to me daily then collapses in love — I do wonder if she loves me, or if she loves being loved. I wonder if I could be anybody — maybe I can only wonder that because I think she could be anybody. I declared that secrets and secret selves will destroy people — so Cori learned. I am navigating the words appearing in my head and assessing their truthfulness, but I’m not good at “living these out” with others as I assumed personal development would go. My attempts at “honesty”, ie letting unmade thoughts flow out and hopefully be formed by the space outside my head, result in sputtering out then freezing up, overtaken by the sheer pace and endless, strangling contradiction. I collapse into abstraction, doubting any one has the will or the ability to parse the complexity — I often choose not to summon the effort and change to something easier like doing dishes or reading twitter.

Lincoln Center for Swan Lake

Then she was the good girl

In a red slip from

The nineteen forties via

A great little vintage shop

In Burbank. Actresses shopped there

Real ones

She wants me to be the best me for me

No other motives

I finally believe her

(Not including an asterisk or other gray language markers gives me pause, like I don’t want to commit to beginning


The words don’t lay themselves fast enough

So I look away

And quickly think how insufferable these words will be, looking back

When I can see how naive I was.

But the moment of the looking will have its struggles

They “are” important

Because ‘to be’ is to be now.

The past will be oversimplified

Remembered with a rosy hue

Like a summer of suspended animation, a milky and effervescent

Back from New Hampshire, she making fresh pasta pan sauce like I wanted last time, frustrated that I don’t feel ahead at work or connected to people while recognizing the judge in my head is never seen by anyone and, when I do share his thoughts, people are confused: “why on earth would you think you’re a failure, Geoffrey?” And I stare off and let the heat of the question die down and go unaddressed. “I need to do better,” I tell myself on a Sunday night. Call my mom, call Mike, see people this week, decide to be a writer or photographer and meet people and push things forward, and of course keep working out, and of course do good work for her and be around her when she needs. Sleep and peace could be cast aside. I feel like I’m about to have nothing — I have an entry level job, still.


“Preserve the integrity of that coffee!” Screams would emit from my inner governor if strands of tobacco fell gently like snowflakes in a path that risked any corruption of dependable resources. As my biceps throb while standing at the rear of a Pelham Bay Park bound 6 train, one of the many hundred unkempt black men rolls a smoke with long dark fingers, gnarly and rounded from summers and winters that degrade these frames built for just half a lifetime. I watch him roll as I simultaneously place him on the Humans of New York background — I decide to observe and let this be the best of fleeting glory while also damning myself for not working harder: I could cash in the gift of my earned environment to write, to convert it into a less selfish currency; I could save it. My father’d whisper Save, never spend — he’s the reason I finished a game like Final Fantasy VII with an unused stock of X-Potions, never feeling “hurt enough” to waste something I might really need later. My father’s concept of “later” reveals his essence; if you could crystallize how my daily mind wraps up and splices past, present and future colliding, you’d have me figured out too. But I hide in obscurity. If I sense I’ve found a scary truth, I bury it quickly under subject changes, new questions or tasks like peeing, hydrating, working out and doing my job — the undeniably important and right things; those things that no matter what the details are, despite the “yes and yes ands”, need to happen.


Information, processing, efficiency, focusing, reconstructing what happened and judging that against the ideal — and thus the ideal is shaved and ground. Switching, just looking up, acknowledging the dump this is and enjoying the glancing up into fresh moments. Nothing wrong — life is plotting along as usual. I am almost at a promotion even! The analytics team could use me full-time in six weeks even! And copywriting sounded promising too. Luke Kingma was open, generous, and offered a euphemistic “someone” when kindly telling me of his shock to learn I wasn’t yet one of his flock, that is, not a community manager. (As I plop down with my schlep on the subway bench amid the commute (men in shined shoes and floral-print ties yammering about emails and drinks) to a woman writing in a Notes doc called “Therapy”.)