Apr 30, 2004

I realized that I haven't thought much about going back to Marlboro. Perhaps because it doesn't feel terribly real. I don't know if it will feel real, even when I'm there. I was in Brattleboro for a very long time; when I left, I did not look back. Did not remain in contact with my close friends there, did not even think about the place much after I had gone. I rarely write about Brattleboro now, a few odd poems in 29 Cheeseburgers but that's about it. It is strange, though, to look back and think about how alive I felt there. The place was full of its own pain, as any place is, but that place felt inhabited, like I was inhabiting it and inhabiting myself when I was there. I had an identity. People touched me. I was human. I don't feel particularly alive or human here. I don't so much inhabit Boston as I haunt it. The ghosts were there in Vermont, but they were all around me. Here, now, I'm one of them. I don't feel especially like "I" am going back "there" because bit by bit "I" ceases to exist, or at least the I that existed when I lived there, and the "there" has ceased to exist as well. It is not the same place I left, the place I left has ceased to exist in the same way that the self that existed there has ceased to exist. It will be like dreaming of that place. It's curious how we rarely see ourselves in dreams, but when we do, there's always a reason. In a dream one has no body, because in that space bodies are irrelevant. We are made corporeal for moments, when it is important, sometimes it is just the body remembering itself. Or the mind remembering the body. Sometimes I look at this thing my mind inhabits and I wonder just what it is. A vessel of some kind, or some sort of vestigial organ. It still acts like it always has, perhaps a little slower, but I know that it will react in the expected way to the usual stimuli. I don't know what it will do returning to that place. Will I suddenly begin to be the person I was when I left? I have no particular emotions as regards that person. A stranger. Would I talk to him at a bar? Probably not. I'm not interested in my own stories anymore. After so many years in bars, you hear alot of stories. I'm not sure I'm interested in stories of any kind anymore. Endings are mostly predictable.

I like to take photographs of running water because I like to prove to myself that something random is still capable of happening. But I suppose even the water has a pattern.

By the rules of narrative, I'm supposed to feel something going back to this place. But I don't. Or rather, intellectually I think it's an interesting idea, and I like the idea of bringing my words back to the place where probably many things started. But the nature of the place has no meaning. I lived with a woman. I was a photographer. I had long hair. I was a vegetarian. I had rings in my ears and in my nose. I worked in a record store. I taught photography to kids from an insane asylum. None of these things has any meaning to me anymore. I might have been someone else. They may have happened to someone else.

It's late and I'm not altogether certain what my point here is. Ultimately, I suppose I don't have one. I have no point, no body. I'm a white word painted on a white surface. I rarely recognize myself in the mirror anymore.

I'm excited to stay in the hotel I once lived across from. Now I am one of those strangers in that hotel. My own ghost will watch me from across the street. We won't recognize each other. I have no time for you, ghost, and no love either.

I am curious, though, but I'm not sure about what. You look at your own hand in the dim light and wonder what it's for. You kick the wall and wonder if it will hurt. Perhaps something there will have some kind of meaning, a message I wrote to myself for the future, when I've forgotten everything. But I'm not sure I speak the language anymore.

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