I have had years end in pleasure, years end in pain, years end in soft-focus sorrow and sharp-edged rancor. I’ve had years end in bitterness, years end in a kind of victory, years end flat and years end unmarked.

But a year ending in doubt? This is a new one.

I started dating someone one year on New Year’s Eve: it was a surprise to both of us. I spent two years ago New Year’s Eve in the hospital: it was a surprise to three of my ribs, one of my lungs and several liters of my blood and humours spilling out of a chest tube.

At least Allen had the good sense, will and manner to die in the summer, far enough away from the previous holiday season and far enough away from the coming one to avoid connection with either. That was the year of soft-focus sorrow, a year of desperate up’s and too-frequent downs. Down, down, down into an unknowable hereafter. Which left me here, after.

Not after: After.

No one ever said that a calendar flipping over and separating time into last and next couldn’t be a macabre thing.

I’m timid, walking up to the rim of a terrible funnel, peeking almost over and into it, but not quite. Fear of falling, thus and such. On the surface it’s the counterpoint of fear of flying, but at the end of the day, end of the tether, end of the perilous fall, aren’t they the same thing just lit from a different angle?

The overlap judders the mind, working loose the studs and brads that keep it all together, keep it focused, keep it sane and rational. The overlap joggles judgment, a distraction that may remove choice and throw you down anyway. Dumb luck is abundant, especially the dumb part. Thank god [of biscuits].

Adventitious elements figure more into things than one might think. Good news, right? A cushion upon which to land, a broken fall instead of a broken foot? But that just leads to more doubt: what was my doing and what was death by a thousand tiny deus ex machina devices?<?p>

It’s not an all or nothing thing. It never is. The givens are taken away but are there for the taking. The floor drops, but gravity’s on holiday. Money lends no purchase. Love is for the true of heart and mind and all directions means no direction, no truth.

So are you flying or do you lack sure footing? Two sides of the same coin, but a coin you can’t flip because nothing lands in this no-man’s-land.


I don’t know where I belong. I don’t know anything.

But I’m not even sure about that.

The Society of Solitude

You don’t find out what really hurts until the hurt does its thing and is past. Even in those aftertimes, the After-ness lasts and lasts, coloring each step, each breath, each thought. Hurt is that dark hound in the dark night in the dark times. The wolf may have his hour, but Hurt—Hurt trundles along, rickety wheel-turn after rickety wheel-turn through day and night, through sleep and awake times, never permitting deep sleep nor full consciousness, for that matter.

Hurt is the path it leaves behind. Hurt is everywhere nothing is. Hurt is a shadow cast from no principal. Impossible, yet undeniable.

As far as forces of nature go, Hurt Cheats.

Hurt is a dirty drug, one of those substances that brings no leisure nor entertainment value. Hurt finds Hurt and goes synergetic. Hurt piles on because it flares higher, burns brighter when arranged like charcoals in a barbecue pit.

A human becomes a a stencil cut-out and Hurt sprays around it. Such Silhouettes peel themselves off the walls and off the floors. They slog along, dripping paint like breadcrumbs drawing still others along to where the real party happens: Empty shells lacking depth playacting at being real and vital, taking blind stabs at genuineness and intimacy, all self-congratulatory for Living Full Lives.

Except that the pretty colored spin-art splattering the walls is neither art nor beauty, just orgiastic false-coruscation.

But the Hurt agree it’s evidence of the sublime, pretty colors to brighten a day and stave off the Hurting for even just a brief interval—respite where you can get it.


Fear is a fertile soil for germinating Hurt. Fear of Loneliness. Of Hurt. Of Solitude. Of Self. Of Awareness. Of Awakeness. Of Choice. Of Free Will. Of Risk. Of Being Wrong. Of Being Right. Of being Alive. Too Alive. Not Alive Enough. Of Being.

The Hurt scatter, climbing into their own shadows in wait for the next lodestone to appear, on which they clamor and claw, hoping for more than the sad Silhouette but too timid to just reach out for it for fear of—yeah, you got it—getting Hurt.

Sure it’s a bitch living with Fear. Living with Hurt. Living in Fear that we’ll each have to one day accept ourselves as Self-Mendicating bits of flotsam, there but for the grace of no one but our own self and our own accomplishments, our own accumulations of wisdom and ignoble acquisitiveness.

And we do it all Alone. And we do it in spite of and because of Fear. And Hurt.

Or we don’t and we die Alone. In Fear. Hurting.