Born unasked, their circumstantial sadness is their own fault, and is the agent of all of their problems.

I trip and fall towards the fire, burning a two-inch square area of skin off my wrist. A heavy bandage is worn with pride for months to come, teaching me all I shall ever need to know about attention and style.

All human activity is fruitless when pitted against the girls and boys singing on pop television, for they have found the answer as the rest of us search for the question.

The crate in the basement contains a living poet who is burdened by an increasing sense of their own idiocy, with pride and self-pity securely as one. The will surrenders to the resolve and dignity of the written word, and I, the gentle self, step forward, pattering up the ramp, one half of an incomplete person, knowing with certainty that I cannot live – yet wondering if I could possibly write?

...suddenly I am in mortal danger of doing
something productive.

...for isn’t this at least partly the aim of scoring a partner: to trumpet the mental
all-clear to a world where how things seem is far more important than how things are?

We would sit in sunless turn-of-the-century pubs and ponder the slowness of distant days – of bodies dumped by the Quality Street Gang, ghosts and outcasts and diseased lovers of 1888 – and how we too are part of the process of time frittering away.

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An abandoned school is an eerie place – a worn-out husk of sadness that throws the mind in several directions. Walk through the cold corridors and all sorts of things test the memory. I stand on the school stage where James Dean attempted his first recitals, my mental vision revolving, banging as it goes. I sit in the old classrooms where desks and chairs remain since the 1940s prime of Fairmount High. I fold two chairs away with their Fairmount School badges still attached, and I will later ship them back to England. This can hardly be considered theft since nobody wants this junk anyway, and the poet within sighs at the likelihood that Dean himself once occupied these chairs with a wide sprawl of the legs – the stuck pupil awaiting the final bell so that he might be free to become eternal.

I shake like a ship in a storm. It is a fact that even warming moments overwhelm me with despair, and this is why I am I.

Johnny tunneled his way towards Weeks, a child again, wanting anything at all except the disapproval of complete strangers.

Take it as it is. I am no more unhappy than anyone else, and most humans are wretched creatures – cursed by the sadness of being. The world created me and I am here – never realizing that I am in love until it gets me into trouble.

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