let the subconsciuos project completely onto the screen in front of it, painting with your soul, can’t make a mistake — men’s work? Get to the bottom of looking for the father, realize there is no father, “number go up” comforts for a moment but the question below that is “who cares? who bears witness to your striving?” you are lost trying to survive; time is a storm in which we are all lost; another Monday, 6/12/23, summer in Austin, hundred degree days forever will smoke me out of the organization I have built, this temple of a tiny life, like a tiny home ~ this is just practice writing of course, soul breathing; this was going to be my whole life — all I had to do was Keep Writing and Everything Would Be Fine; is it not fine? I had layers of protective film stripped away; now I see clearly, and am not protected except by God, by faith; I am writing notes in solitude, detached from what seems regular and normal; I belong to my faith, to my senses, to my skirting contact with impending doom, playing a little solo game making sweet noises in my head, making melodies as I read what I write, as I hear the voice ~ this could be The Work (ah, Byron Katie) — there are others; Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert; I am haunted by one name I still can’t kick, unbelievable she has been carried this far: why? What if I renamed her? Carrie Gilman Wilcox — another character made up, Clementina, the woman in Brooklyn during the World Cup, summer 2014, she offered me cocaine; Giancarlo DiTrapano offered an interviewer cocaine; oh, creative weirdos, why I supposedly came to Austin ~ how do I show I am one of you? Am I still, or it is only in my imagination that I am a poet? At my part-time job behind the kava bar, I do on occasion close my eyes and reach down into the mystical, divine voice and become a channel ~ the universal voice is everywhere; is my awareness and endurance literature? This is me whispering to God, basking in my undeserved luck, an apology and an ask for forgiveness — who could forgive me? Anyone who’d look at me would tell me I’m fine, I’m good, do you have any idea how many other people are suffering with real problems? I have been a creative workaholic the last five years and now I am slowing down, accepting aging (millennials will be turning 40 and given no trophies, just more bills, worse news on the internet, wider gaps in inequality; ah, my old coworkers who stayed in the media and Gmail and smile and name game; they now go to parties, Cannes; I could have any outbox I want. I could construct the nameplate jargon wonderwall blunderbuss jigsaw pachinko game of Messages and read receipts and emoji reactions with the perfect cast of 150 parallel correspondents, and out of that mud pit of dreams I haul up all sorts of cantankerous leviathans of truth, astral projection, hope, doubt, wonder and conjecture ~ no, the great big word of the day is (not confabulation, wait for it) speculation ~ the wild doubts of those in home offices with powerful brains fastened on numbers, zeroes, blinking cursors, speaking their inner voice out into form, then…wondering what to do with it, how to use this data as a club to Get Others’ Attention. The attention economy like a modern mini get-mommy’s-and-daddy’s-attention game; oh, adults replaying childhood with computers and judging each others’ exteriors in terms of what they might be able to extract, sandbags to build a wall of safety around your vulnerable, tender heart which has somehow survived until this moment, another Monday, facing the screen and the mirror, as artists try to stylize the chaos in them, turn it into concrete blocks to step on, soapboxes to hoist their throat and talk about Trump or labor unions or fat cat executives who don’t want to be good stewards or leaders, managers or revolutionaries, innovators with real dilemmas; we prefer to archive or advance emails from comfortable home offices. Am I not as bad as the worst too? Am I all of us? Are you? We are all the One self, one Love, one hope for stability under heaven and flag, summer days scorching the sweat-beaded foreheads of hustlers and aristocrats hoping the next digital action will spell salvation ~ or maybe I’m just very far away from real life, and I’m learning how thick the sheen and shield over my solitude and inertia really are; oh, that vast distance between me and another, between silence and real connection, and how self-conscious I am the whole time! How berating I am of myself when I know I am being strategic and trying to get something, to escape and abscond back to my privacy with a slightly higher number; oh, I am sick, a forlorn Cap’n Crunch biting Tony the Tiger’s tail as he wails in pain and the paradise of surrender to physical pain, letting the soul drift outward. Captain of Paradise reporting for duty, the word “Surrender” tattooed across my chest, pledging allegiance to Letting Go and taking life as it comes, not judging yourself too hard, letting it happen; is there a pastoral sermon to deduce from this balustrade of evacuated space? Is this brain fog? Am I mystery and doubt and wonder themselves, the voice in any soldier’s brain scanning the field for landmines before applying another footstep? This is madness, this is poetry, this is not a commercial sales pitch because I don’t know what you’d be buying ~ though I envision a tip jar, and I am just another brain in a jar pleading for rent money, tips to survive, “Don’t you want to see what I keep saying?” Isn’t my letting go sweet? Imagine what else I might say if you could support me in my going further into the dark dreamland of the id’s and ego’s jousting match, black horses with terribly skilled knights rushing and galloping toward each other aiming to draw blood and humiliate another man for status and rank, a new badge and gun, trumpets and fanfare declaring my arrival in the executive parking spot for my BMW shined up by those lower on the totem pole slaving in uniforms for an hourly rate of chum. I could go on but America’s endurance sings the song for me, look out the window and you’ll see the horror inside me echoing from every motor and payment portal, the click and clang of instruments rented and utilized, the spick and span of stainless steel countertops, if you’ve time to lean you’ve got time to clean, the nightmare summer job is now all our nine-to-fives, healing takes place at the kernel level of soul but this has nothing to do with clocking in and out on the handheld terminal where you pledge allegiance to Doctor Zero and hope your number shows up in the morning.