This is My Journal; Please (Do Not) Read it When I’m Gone

From Journals by Kurt Cobain
From Journals by Kurt Cobain

“What are you doing?” I ask. We’re in the backroom and R begins to thumb through what most people have come to call my bible. I can’t imagine there is anything of interest written on the quad pages, but these are still my thoughts. My summaries to stories I mean to write. Fragmented essays I plan on stringing together one day.

He ignores me. Or he doesn’t hear me. Or both. “What? Are? You? Doing?” I repeat. I snatch the journal from his hand and toss it into my backpack.

 “Oh come on,” R protests. “It’s not like you don’t want people reading it. You go on stage and talk about your penis in front of other people.”

“I’ve never once talked about my penis,” I quip. “I talk about other men’s penises.”

I rode buses to and from Brownsville every weekend for a year. If I boarded a next-to-empty bus, I took whatever available seat I found in the back. Resting my head against the window, I memorized the different routes each bus driver took to reach Brownsville. A few times, I spoke to other passengers. Several of them spoke only Spanish and most of these stories were lost in translation. On these transits, I scribbled down notes and poem journal entries.

There came a day in December when I noticed a few passengers sitting down in front. From McAllen onward, these passengers spoke in whispers to each other. At Harlingen, they walked off into the cold wind and vanished inside the station. Few nights later, on the news, I saw one on TV. The news piece focused on the homeless issues in both the cities of McAllen and Harlingen. Turns out when one city wanted to handle its homeless population, they shipped them over to the next.

“People don’t keep journals for themselves. They keep them for other people, like a secret they don’t want to tell but want everyone to know.” —Marilyn Manson, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell.

My journal consisted of index cards that I left lying around the room. Quotes from books I read or characters I created. Pros-and-cons lists about joining the Peace Corps. Most of these are gone. Thrown away or lost in some bag I carried at the time. As a gift on one of our anniversaries or maybe a birthday present or maybe just an I-love-you-and-trust-you present, I gave Jeanna one of my journals. Unfinished, but I felt there was some sentimental value to the idea.

I’ve read from my journal during a few poetry readings in the past. And I can foresee myself getting on stage and play confessional to an audience of priests.

I found someone’s blog the other night. I didn’t intended on seeking this blog out any more than I would seek out this person’s private journal. Insomnia laid its blanket over me that night, so I took to scrolling through Tumblr. Tag hopping because that’s what I do. When I came upon a tag for some cartoon show that I’ll never watch, but is all the rave on Tumblr. Gif after clip after photo essay after fanfic later, I stumbled upon a familiar username. My midnight mind brushed it off as coincidence. The greater part of me wishes I would have stuck to that conclusion.

I didn’t read the blog because that’s a violation even my curiosity knows not to cross. Reading the description was enough to sate my need to know. I couldn’t keep this secret though, so I mentioned it later via Facebook messenger. I hope this explanation puts to rest any anxieties that I may have created with my little confession. Your secrets are still yours to keep.

I started reading short stories. At the moment, I’m thumbing through Drown by Junot Díaz. This is in hopes that my writing habits return to me. There’s a project that I want to work on, though I don’t have the resources right now. I might enlist the help of local writer friends. There’s still much to suss out.

Writing & Writers

A Conversation with God

"I love all my children, except Rick Santorum. He's not really mine." –God

The man who sits across from me isn’t what I expected. The stories depict him as towering; the man before me cannot be any taller than five-foot-one. He smiles. “I know what you’re thinking,” he says. His voice isn’t what I expected, either. It’s not booming. Not resonating through my ears. Instead, it’s gentle. Think Moby instead of James Earl Jones. “Not all those stories are true,” he says. “Some of them got lost in translation.”

He pauses a moment, considering what he said. “Actually, they should throw the whole book out.”

None of this is making sense to me, and he can see my confusion. So much so, it makes him laugh. That’s life, or so he says. You expect a towering, white-bearded giant older than time itself, and instead you get an androgynous, five-foot-one deity of undermined age.

Question of Existence

God orders a hot chocolate and a thin slice of cheesecake. His attempt to cut back on the strong stuff. “You wouldn’t believe the headaches I’m getting,” he chuckles. “Look out below, right? Sorry about that, Japan.”

There’s a question I planned on saving for last which is pointless to an omniscience being.

“No. I don’t really exist. You’re just here talking to yourself. Figure out if I’m being sarcastic,” he snorts.

“People are so bent out of shape on whether I exist, or not. Sometimes, I think it’s best if I never made myself known, you know? Where would man kind be if I never butted in?” He shakes his head. “It’s funny,” he says without laughing. “There are those in my flock that think they’re leading the way. I think my kingdom – whatever that means – would do better without them.”

“Does that mean…?”

He cuts me off, “Yeah. Jerry Falwell? Nope. Not there.”

“I hate to admit it, but I will,” he smirks. “The Atheists have the right idea. Pretend I’m not here. Stop living up to my standards. You can’t be godly. Just be human.”

Where Credit is Due

When his order arrives, he gently blows into his cup before drinking. “Always burn my tongue on the first sip,” he says. “Never fails. Satan made these lids, by the way.”

“Is Satan everything his reputation states?”

“Satan? Nah, he’s a pussy cat. He gets a bad rap, but that’s the Christians for you. They needed a bad guy and they made him into one. They read the first book and said, ‘Aha! That snake is Satan!’ And it wasn’t anything like that. Satan and the serpent are two different entities. The Serpent was actually my first project, but that failed. They got out of control so I sent an asteroid to smash the earth. How he survived, I don’t know.”

He takes a bite of his cheesecake, ” This blasphemous. It tastes awful.”

“They’ll probably blame it on Satan,” I said.

“True. But that’s the problem with people. You all don’t give yourselves enough credit. It’s always Satan or me that made you do stuff. But I’m like whatever. Every time I hear some musician, actor, or whatever say, ‘And I’d like to thank God for this,’ I just shrug and think, ‘It’s all you, Halle. You worked hard to get where you are. I didn’t do shit. I just sat here with Satan playing Xbox all day.'”

He continues after another sip, “Look, here’s the role I play in the world. I created it and everything in it. That’s it. That was my job. Everything else was up to you.”

Homosexuality & Politics

“I knew we’d wind up here. And not just because I can see every move you’re going to make and its alternative,” he laughs. “It’s just every one wants to ask God what team he cheers for. Let’s get it straight, the Democrats have good intentions and the Republicans think they have good intentions. In the end, however, it’s the same shit stick. One end is covered in it, the other just smells of it.”

“My best advice when deciding on a candidate is, never trust a man who says I speak to him. The only people I talk to on a regular basis are Kurt Cobain and Ernest Hemingway. And I only talk to them because they keep following me around.”

“I guess the one thing that really bugs me about the whole using me in their speeches is homosexuality. Look, when I told them men cannot lie with other men as they do with women, what I meant was it’s physically impossible. Men don’t have vaginas, so there’s no physical way to have sex with them in the same standards as women. It wasn’t meant as some cheap shot to say I don’t agree with homosexuality. I just wanted them to figure shit out on their own. Like, ‘You can’t have vaginal sex with men, because it’s impossible. So find some other way to have sex with them.’ I’m so glad they figured out a way around that handicap.”

“In all seriousness, though, I have nothing against homosexuality. Some of my best friends are homosexuals. Not to mention, I love all my children – gay, straight, transgender and so on.”

How about Rick Santorum?

“Well, all my children except Rick Santorum. He’s not really mine, to be honest. And that man knows nothing of my work. I see him every day standing before a crowd of idiots, talking as if he knows my damn agenda by heart. Look, you better quit talking shit in my name, Rick.”

He takes a sip of his drink and stares bemusedly at the cheesecake before shaking his head, “People like Rick like to pretend I intended America to be some holy land. If the USA was my idea of the promised land, I broke that promise. I’m sorry.”

Sorting out the mess

“I know, it confuses me to. I had nothing to do with the second book. But the question keeps arises every time I take a gander at it, ‘How can I be my own Father and my own Son? But yeah, don’t believe everything you read in that damn book.”

God finishes up his hot chocolate and, after a moment’s thought, eats the rest of the cheesecake.

“Look, I know you’re confused about it all. You spent your whole life trying to figure me out. Everyone does it, and those who think they got it down are far from the truth. I didn’t create you all to bash and hate one another. I did it so you can prosper. There is no meaning to life. No subtext to why you’re here. You just are. And you’re not here for very long, so live it up while you can. And I guess that’s all I really wanted to say.”