I Didn’t Let Therapy Work (in Which I Guillotine the Entire Outside Passing by My Window) – Sean Kilpatrick
May 12, 2023
I decided to write. This initial omission from life came apart in one double-decker interval after another. First I grew fat being mocked and ignored for attempting to assemble lyrical anachronisms at odds with the twentieth century’s dogmatic acmeism and compliance to The Elements of Style (minimalist propaganda pumped through schools). A civic, purple-slurring disdain for anything literary went live online, practiced foremost by fellow writers always loath to embrace the page and proudly aghast of any synthesis to a sentence fumbled or achieved, line tinkering meant to fit sideways in their party-going mouths spat back out for not connoting the most basic form of communication possible. Having misperceived these designs as niche, but vaguely capable of procuring somewhat of a living (through now-buried examples once culturally relevant), I was met with similar castigation even from academics who, in the confusing process of abandoning creativity to study theory, vanished up their own experiment. Writers disgusted with writing won the trade quite easily (meanwhile strategically claiming to be a minority fighting against a fancy prose stylist majority (because five successful masters made them feel lazy)). Literature’s readership jumped ship to consume electronic politics. After peeing in this pond to raise its level, I was informed my saucy content was no longer countercultural demonic flare favorably spanked by censors on the religious right, but (just as my body aged enough to become a boney, half-managed chore) was suddenly a threat to the progressivist left and the delicate, schizoid systems within. Thus a humiliating lifestyle of dependence was fostered, boasted about, in fact, by me, out of spite, and revised into a less dark joke by the few humorists (and better salesmen) that paid attention.
The writer girls I lived with eventually came harder astride more accessible successors. Some dared procreation. Some became terminal bipolar bag ladies shrieking accusations at fire hydrants. All of them got fat. I was lucky to live too far away to visit an under-aged redhead who went about using her anomalously high IQ to catfish writers (“swear I’m eighteen”) before that self-same acumen migrated from her lap to a mental illness after she fell off – fifteen minute groupie acclaim suspended. She rode the next political correctness fad, destroying every guy she let ream her a decade ago, missing former glories as a sneakily precocious high school slut. This became an instated PR stunt for seizing artistic attention, but she even fucked that opportunity up.
Shit jobs paid sub-minimum wage so I could maintain a beloved. Magnetized apparati went thump near my ear, sixteen hours daily, finishing off potential thoughts, transcendent benefits. Retail aggressors informed on me for standing inappropriately (posture of an anime hikikomori squirrel). I endured the twentysomething purgatorial physical torture of sex abridged to a once a week supplication, an ambagious compromise only nuclear warfare might solve. Voluntarily, without remorse, or efficacious punishment, a number of spouses contributed to my inability to love anyone again, an offense mended from indignity by the realization that I was done a great favor, allowing previous relationships anemic scrutiny against my own disillusioned participation. Instead, I wrote poems knitted with a cystoscope, pampered in corridors. Hundreds of online magazines posted them on 404 pages. Human Resources departments refusing me a life were the sole audience. My small grad school class was composed of people talented in every field, except the one we studied. A theatre teacher flunked me for not pretending to be a tree. Diplomas were ordained at unpayable interest rates, lost in the postmodern skeleton of a bustier generation. Overemployed baby boomers galvanized us by the pudding pack, riding the safest pair of stilts a country could kill for. Boundary free hippie chaos saved everyone from the fact that having a job stopped making sense.
I stayed at the homosexually amended Hell’s Kitchen apartment of an editor – New York’s Harry Crosby / Frank Harris, last of the wild decadents, soon dead from drugs. He slept a block away with a fashion designer boyfriend famous off TV. The reading he hyped at a trendy bar (closed upon arrival) was populated by two disinterested parties. I stared at the pretty girl I read with and her pretty boyfriend for an hour, ate a cookie, greeted the wide, now trans, aforementioned social justice redhead catfisher (her transition from Lolita to millennial blob), and flew home athwart a brimming airsick bag. The loony bin let her borrow a phone for screeching, progressivist death threats (mine were better) forty times a day (random, delusional outrage after she collision-coursed me to the airport). No one’s yay or nay in the carnival of observation impacted squat. Anticlimactic ubiquity rigged this netting attainably fey. Comment threads embossed an au courant art of the snitch. Colleges hired me, searched my clippings, and let HR renege after a month of unpaid syllabus prep work. Presses accepted my books, read them, demanded the excision of a couple hundred bad words – content over quality, image above risk – and cancelled the twenty dollar contract a year deep. Blurbs were smirked through, vain efforts ignored, government-hired chortlers spat in my space, desultory physical woes tamed everyone’s posture – a comedy of feline expectation, a hubbub of pudenda. The point was I failed. Indulgence should be done with a gun. Nothing typed was meant to be taken as a plurality, to become incorporated under any functioning sentience, to last beyond a memory (flush what you love before it flushes you (everything isn’t a vapid Zen koan written in water, just ask the bored paramedic heaving you toward his overpriced sickbay: life’s enigma is written in shit, not water, and here we bob, waiting, impatiently, for the flapper to lift, for the light at the end of the pipe.)) – yet these expressionistic, prepackaged habits frequently glittered in an outlet, corrupted and unwitting hostages of the seppuku I pursued.
Back when you had to claw through a wall to uproot the veins of your network, I let some random caller soliciting policeman’s ball donations coax me into silence. I had been arrested for no reason the day before and assumed any refusal to pay would mean certain doom. Breaking from this trance like prey coming awake, I set the receiver on the window sill, slammed it till we both heard glass crack, and drove across town. My grandmother had taken part in my being raised and, despite how things turned out, I didn’t blame her. Wound around cyclical bewilderment, shuttled down one’s own incontinence to the agency of an infant, she was minded a few afternoons a week by vain attempts from me to ease death’s transition. The phone rang and a familiar voice asked for the fake name I had given the solicitor. He pressed her fugue rather adamantly for an answer, devolving, after a painful few minutes of me trying to take the phone away without alarming her, into direct sexual threats. His barrage triggered childhood trauma, vague, depression-era horrors dimly revisited. The chore of an instant regressed, dense as time could stretch. A thought became a wrinkle stapled in place, teeth bursting loose at different speeds. Lucid moments were a burlesque of coherence. She clung in terror to fleeting relations, all meaning and affection bald reenactments in hell. Uninhibited sobbing continued as I served fast food that, instead of euthanizing this condition, prolonged and enhanced every symptom. Such ephemeral pleasures were the most one could offer the dying. I never endeavored to correct her identities while she lost them, merely provided each one company in its passing. We watched the world steal her innocence a second time, squatted with it at the hospice, chewing rubbery bread.
Sirens approached the house at night, drove up the driveway, sat, blasting, and left before I could peek to see. I was tailgated everywhere by unmarked government vehicles, current year models with the letter X in their plates. The tires of my car, pair after pair, went flat for years straight. A nonsmoker, I took up coughing. Itching and dizziness lasted decades. I stopped drinking and eating crap. Nevertheless, these problems worsened. Everything was nevertheless. I carried boxes of books from one area of the library they let me work at to another. A retarded coworker, twice my superior, rehashed radio ads. I read an old book of poems detailing the exact scene I was standing in. Employers seemed to wink at each other before firing or not hiring me. Hunting and pecking at a keyboard for dozens of hours kinked the pelvis. My cock-head shuddered to a close during every wobbly piss, refluxing pinched runoff back to infect a kidney or two. A bracket around my organs cinched them higher in their housing, spasms scarred deep with each bathroom break. Soon sex Tourette’s syndromes danced me to the early use of a cane, braided respiration and needled vision as a default state. Doctors rehearsed early drafts of a Pinter play on the examination table. No treatment treated anything. A lawyer made off with my meager minimum wage savings, getting me put on the same probation I would have anyway received from a court appointed version of himself. The carpet was wet with a muck some plumber kept raising his estimate to pretend-fix. Car mechanics implied I had a pussy while rewiring the circuitry of an error so complex they had to gaslight it in and out of existence to excuse the repeated fee. It was revealed to be a battery-powered fan entombed near the cervix. My headaches furthered as if by design.
Every vehicle, residence, computer, and tinge of health stayed slain longer than it ever worked, a wound forever in soiled dressing, free leak amphetamines, afraid as a millennial facing daylight. People really revered their own maintenance. I earned a very small amount of money scribbling about how dang insidious everything felt. Parody account writers even more minor than me introduced themselves with an overfamiliar tone, lisping about supposed wives, ball-busting for an ovation like the dandled gentry’s idea of construction site banter, retreating into denial once snapped at, and other feminine games. Since kindergarten, a gay Iago bred to sass would resurface, trying to be bogus pals. They had to expunge any sense of self-awareness you displayed in order to revise your life into a higher caliber joke.
My grandmother went absent from her flesh, unable to scream at the caul it had become, restating threats the phone said, wet shit frowny face gradually exaggerating her sheets. One Christmas Eve, age seven, as we fiddled with our gifts, a car crashed into her apartment complex. The drunk inside intended to deliver his wife a pipe bomb. I desperately awaited the explosion while cop squads extinguished it. Nothing came and kept coming. Ergate repulsed from his line, my ataxia encircled an anomic populace, flipping through a condition known as brain fog, articles emerging to explain what I was already familiar with – micro-plastic sperm-killer sugar products, sans nutrients, that no supplement could mediate. When half my hair and body warped gray just past the age of thirty, the solicitor rang. Into a knockoff grocery store smart phone I poured every bit of credit card information for the policeman’s ball. Insufficient funds, Timmy Snitwender, he cried. I recited the bad words I had trained myself to recite with utmost conviction, the ones that helped him keep me nowhere. Unimpressed, he insisted there was nothing there to workshop, outdated slurs considered buzzword cringe, embroidery without heart. Heart, he repeated, as if that object implied power. His form letter was more formal than most. He acted curt, without apparent rudeness, but a sound that resembled some snickering, half-dead pet being prodded with a fork permeated the wireless static between us. I split a dinner plate and dug one end deep in the meat of my thigh, articulating a wound from which the shining portrait of an ex I still loved stood waving. Thank you, I asked him, then her, and waved in return, drooling till she developed a hernia from our commingling spit.
It all would have been bearable, except whenever you assessed the situation as unbearable, someone came along to tell you how normal these conditions were for everyone, worse, even, for most, and that a cheerier mindset would solve the dilemma, pain fetishists unfamiliar with their subject. Anything outside a bickered-about utility in the name of upkeep was labeled indulgent. They tangled you in their esteem, mass promulgated assuagement meant to smugly set the table with each labial wrinkle spread-eagle on the amoeba that shat us onward, so the dribble there could be enumerated in detail, so you could clutch your claws together, baited limp from a fungal mom basement, and contribute extra sentiment. This, this is why they hung my picture up at the gun shop.
I threw a knife through the mouth of a painting, split the expression further shocked. My girlfriend hung up, weeping. She’d been told to blow a vanilla bubble in her dog’s hole. The windows were taped with black plastic, doors rigged with sound traps. I administered a riot baton on giant leather cushions. Their wallop shook the room. Something bad needed to happen and it didn’t matter how, or to whom, any excuse. I checked under the bed. A tricycle had been parked there, upside down. The vans that followed me everywhere were planting evidence.
An Arab gas station attendant brusquely obliterated our raillery one day by running from the store and screaming, “Freeze, motherfucker! You no pay, baby!” over and over. He saw his gaffe and waved me off, shirked the event till my confusion cleared and the rest turned red. In every line, blacks customarily cut to the front. “Guess we’re not victims of the same Patriot Act,” I blurted, paying for iced tea. “Probably ‘cause you fucking wipe yourself wrong.” He called me a Jew (I bore a fungible enough race that anyone could hate me) as I fled. Forever at the end of some dim-witted observation stated by a person I could kill faster than they suspected – deprived of superb murder, inner-talent denied, a pearls before swine lifestyle – another heckler’s subpar affront, sounding like he’d failed to read his own subtitles, went unpunished.
The dainty black girl who sold me my liquor granted protracted flirtations about a Russian hat I had. “Where that babooshka at?” she lisped, deploying cutie pie terminologies. Our famous first date would coincide with my rediscovery of this apparel, she assured, giggly. I tore my possessions asunder in a frantic search and ran, donning the hat as I sauntered back, recounting our deal outright. She had no idea what the hell I was talking about. A baby underneath the cash register vomited milk. She picked the thing up, headfirst, and began nursing it, upside down, bile rolling, erotic, down her tummy. I poured a little drink out in solidarity, filled the fur. Police followed me home.
An ample expenditure of trachea deserted their nidicolous fix to horn in on mine. People can clop a nest together from anything to feel comfortable devouring stray waste, theirs or others, through whichever profession, productive or not, pride on fire. I parked where they reared me and stared at the fallout. A childlike shriek ricocheted from an undisclosed location, burgeoning through the street’s amphitheater. Cookie crumbs, or a beard, shuddered in place of me. I wept for my fandom. A block party freaknet accented the night, contours dancing through the ground zero I was born to, a moist fuck-moan chasing the car with squirt. Peeling away, wipers infected by the fountain, I toddled back to suburbs where fussbudgets, sharing a signature the internet bestowed, sloppily ingratiated themselves using best seller book logic.
Misanthrope was too limited a word. There were no drugs to blame; every bad trip imaginable became the subtle truth. I removed an axe from the wall, slept next to the window. Just enough conviction to die on my own terms. “Whatever motherfucker humps their gullet in first,” I thought. “I will carve the world of every incongruity to myself and split that visage till the blade swings back and makes me its equal, one bloody resemblance, my final civility, a most democratic whack.” I no longer cared to tell if these were my thoughts or not. A hidden station on the radio had been blasting from tall and broken speakers. “I will fuck this planet dead, head by head, shove the stuffing right back in, and only love the tool that keeps me from you. I detest the neck extending anyone closer and hereby declare war down to the very sinew of those who approach, the sin of a greeting, each of which shall issue via death rattle if ever aimed my fucking way again!” Flying ants poured in past the tinfoil, snapping across its surface, slithering between my palm and the handle, helping me raise it higher.