There is a place I can dwell, removed from silent gore of emotional life tied to humid residue of lost summers. From failure springs the renewing waters of new worlds laid out–removed of the impurities of dysfunction, bad relationships, tarnished pasts, regressed lives spoiled under the hot sun. A celebration of life! Turning from folly, the endless cycle of death and resurrection, the desire for absolution from a human problem: Lost in people, feeling tied to desire for healthy relationships, nuclear domestic dynamics. It is all so fleeting!
There is a place I can dwell, upright, given to spontaneous laughter, at peace with the balance of universal order, finding a person in the mirror I can live with. Slowly the last forces come in from remote villages, shoulders slumped, spirits broken, bones shattered; the light from their eyes extinguished by the long battle. Longing for the peaceful, tender embrace of loved ones, starting a new life devoid of the endless war against everything, their shattered nerves begin to calm. There is solace in the sun rise, the ceasefire that brings lost souls from a life of peril–and conflict–to the hearty meals, comfort on either shoulder: Silence. Is this merely a mirage?
There is a place I can dwell, benign rumors of demise, refuted with archaic parchment written on the heart, shown to elders who rub long beards, nodding silently as bread is broken, ceremonial wine consumed out of ornate cups. A world of possibility beckons with the hustle and bustle, normal lives being led in quiet satisfaction: Ah, everything is actually going to be alright! The grass eventually pushes the dark red stains of war off its leaves. The moon hangs passively in the sky as tired souls find solace in soft bed, the smell of candles and the laughter of children. The war over, the battered souls finally at rest. I find my place there, away from the carnage, emotional wounds heal slowly; at last, the world opens again with all of its blissful majesty.
Jasper Kerkau (9/27/16)
I thought that writing would save me. This peculiar predicament. Awash. Catatonic drive home. The horror of entering my home, oh the deafening silence. Voiding my soul. Buried in failure. My salvation—the pen? I believe in the magic of words. The youthful passion only takes me so far. The hole is much too deep. In a dizzying display of personal failure and grief, I peel back the layers looking for some form of redemption. And yet, I end up with religious disappointment. I write and I still can’t find my way. I write and there is still a hole inside me. I write and I am still in the same fucking place, beset by a future that is obscured, desolate. For some reason, in my forties, I believed that writing would save me the same way it did at seventeen. There is too much water under the bridge. It is too late for me. Love may be the only redemption, the only hope. But, my inner struggle is an illness—a disease. Keeps me at arm’s length. I am on a horrible journey that may someday end. I just don’t know what I will have left at that point. Writing isn’t going to save me.
Jasper Kerkau (9/14/16)
I’m not depressed, just bored. I really want to go to Vegas. Maybe I can get one of those packages, airfare and three nights with free buffets and a complimentary show. I will eat steak and lobster and get followed around high-end shops by menacing looking security guards with thin mustaches. Sit on the blackjack table hitting seventeen every time, much to the chagrin of everyone at the table, which leads to me getting into an argument with the pit boss over my table etiquette and the nature of reality. Eventually, hiding in restroom from undercover satanists masquerading as cocktail waitresses. I will try to sneak to my room and somebody will slip microfilm with classified information in my pocket leaving me to be pursued by Russian spies with thick necks. I will have to hot-wire a car and drive to Los Angeles and deliver the sensitive document to a beautiful Norwegian who is obsessed with bossa nova and Isabel Allende. Without fail, I fall in love and sneak out the bathroom door after an argument over the television remote. Ending up working in a bookstore in Encino before I am informed Interpol wants to talk to me about a situation at the French embassy in Morocco. I will start wearing a disguise, become a Scientologist, take up the trumpet and start an improvisational jazz quartet. Until, of course, I discover the Great Secret and yearn for the quietude of dogs sleeping and laundry, watching the big game before taking a nap and dreaming of something more. So for now, I will fight this traffic and resign myself to monotonous labor and my simple life, but I really want to go to Vegas.
Jasper Kerkau (9/21/16)
As a job requirement, I have to keep my phone on me at all times. Even as I slumber my phone is in arms length. Every night I go to sleep hoping that the phone doesn’t rouse me into action. It is an abomination. I am beholden to the incessant flow of notifications, updates, irrelevant texts, and infernal headlines. It is overwhelming. I have daydreams of throwing my phone off of skyscrapers, cutting a hole in the ice on a frozen lake and dropping it to its icy death or wrapping it in toilet paper and releasing it into the bowels of a porta potty.
I have contemplated deconstructing my phone, taking it apart and carrying a thousand little parts in a sandwich bag, periodically laying it out on the floor and making designs, or spelling out my name from its delicate little pieces. When asked, I would say I was trying to get to the bottom of things, figure out how it worked–looking for some kind of breakthrough in communication. To be frank, they would probably hand me another one and tell me to be careful moving forward. After the third or fourth time, they would probably fasten it to my neck or tether it to my testicles. There is no escaping it.
In the future, I am going to retire to a life of hand signals and telepathic communication. I will replace my televisions with fish tanks and my laptop with a vintage Underwood. Of course I will exist on an island, not receiving vital updates via social media on the mood status of people I never talked to but shared a homeroom class with in the forth grade. And I will not find be able to stay tuned into the latest celebrity gossip or fantasy football talk. Oh the horror! I need to downgrade my life and find a magical community of those so predisposed to aversion for all this digital bombardment. It probably doesn’t exist, but my sense is that it is right around the corner. I am not alone.
Jasper Kerkau (9-26-2016)
Yesterday was a disaster. The last weekend of summer, at least summer as I visualize it. It was supposed to rain. It didn’t. I was supposed to turn the corner, transform my life. This summer I would pick up the debris of the storms that I had weathered and find myself in a new place with laughter, scores of new people, new loves, new passions, yet all I got was a kitchen devoured and heaps of trash on patio. Nothing happened the way it was supposed to. It never does. As I sit and wait for a cool breeze, my thoughts turn to the future. Never give up.
I realized that everything is different than it was in the spring. My kids are gone half the time. My wife is now my ex-wife. I pace around constantly, chain smoke most of the time and find myself struggling to make connections in a world of texts, email, and social media. Thankfully, the future is wide open. Soon, I can start thinking about kids squealing with excitement getting into Halloween costumes, sitting outside with a blanket smelling the first cold front, the giddy preparation of Santa letters, and, lastly, a new year sitting on the horizon, which can only bring better things.
Jasper Kerkau (9/5/16)
Devoured, I dip parchment in blood and furiously scribble incoherent texts in invisible ink. Stains everywhere. April was folly. Gave birth to half-life, sickness, and inevitably death. Each humidity drench day was an exercise in funeral preparations for a life that was nothing more than fantastic mirage. Inverted crosses and sacrificed infants give birth to dark demons that pursue me in my dreams, clutter mind, and poison perceptions. I never realized that it would be this hard. The sound of the football games pours over backyard and in-between houses and beckons September which holds the promise of something on the horizon. Cool air blowing in from exotic northern locales, breathing life back into me as I am close to destroyed by divorce, fear, and, of course, failure. I awaken slowly from a passive-aggressive coma. Then comes more silence. It’s the silence that is the killer. Thankfully September peaks its head out slowly, stretching its long arms and embracing my battered body. It can only be better.
It’s in the blood. I have a million secret illnesses. My skin turns red and the sun is blacked out in a Plaquenil-induced nightmares. Rheumatoidish delusions and joints cracking, spewing forth organisms of poisoned thoughts spreading throughout the body, metastasizing in the brain. Blank stares and awkward silence yield disappointing looks and self-doubt. Quietly I devour hours on computer referencing secret medical journals and find masturbatory language and nuances of encouragement for marijuana sandwiches and internet porn. Psychological plague. No proof. The autoimmune fever is my word against theirs, as is the lymphatic swelling and fickle feet that manufactures fear of heart exploding. I am older now than my uncle who did everything right and had brain aneurysm that left him obtuse and slow, shadowed by death. Caffeine headache yields fear as clock ticks. I feel my brain expanding, capillaries and blood fight a battle that is going to end in staring upward, prostrate, helpless. I think of my father dying young, heart liquefied, never had the luxury of cocaine fits and Benzo-inspired breakdowns that beset my past life. The answer is in the blood? It’s always the blood. The blood in the toilet, coughed into paper towel and discarded serendipitous in toilet paper like tampon. The answer is in the blood.