This wasn't written today. But I found it today.

so this poem is called

the american youth
the american youth is angry
he's turned inside out and he can't say a word, the back of his eyes stare at you with mute clenched-teeth hating rage because he doesn't have the equipment to tell you that whether what you're saying is right or wrong it hurts and he's not allowed
to tell you what he really feels
it goes against everything mother you culture school and all the other influences that run together into one voice in his head tell him cooly and calmly
"you are not allowed to say this"
you are not allowed to say that you hate your parents not really
you are not allowed to stand up and shout
you are not allowed to hit anyone no matter how much you feel like it
you are not allowed to cry
you are not allowed to cry
you are not allowed to show them this poem
you are not ever allowed to show them where you cut yourself
you are not allowed to tell more than one person how foolish you sometimes feel
and you can't tell them about that, either
they jump on your failures and hold each of them as hot little stilettoes to your face
why did you miss that class
why did they fire you
why did you stay in your room today
why can't you tell us what's wrong ?
Because if I tell you what's wrong, the american youth thinks, you will not care.
You will use it against me.
You are not my allies.
You are not my friends.
You are my parents, and you are merciless improvers.
You are contracters stomping into my heart and throwing everything out that I care about becuase it doesn't match the color scheme you have in mind.
You are not people I want helping me.
You act like you know much better than I do and you don't bother telling me about changes in plans
You are storms that move on winds I can't predict, and all I can do when lightning flashes right on my doorstep is to get in the stormcellar and think "shit, make it go away."
This is a lot of what the american youth is thinking
He thinks angry raw cut-up jagged thoughts like this
He thinks vermillion thousands of harsh screaming thoughts
He won't speak them though
That isn't how he'll be heard
The further away the listener is, the more he can tell them
The american youth's best friends are a pair of Britons eight hours away
He can tell them anything - even though he's lied a few times to them.
The american youth can be quite open with his amigos from the east coast
He can tell his friends across town most of the unimportant things, and a few important ones - only a few, though, spread through the clump of friends
Within his own house (which is painful to think - it's the house he lives in by someone else's grace and that grates quite a lot), though, he trusts maybe his brother - the one only two years younger, not the other one(who is young enough to be a total idiot, probably retarded).
The two that are older than him are strangers bearing the title "parent."
He hardly ever trusts them these days.
He wonders if this is what adopted or foster kids feel like - this profound disconnect from the people raising them.
Hell, these days he feels a profound disconnection from pretty much everyone.
He read, a while back, that that's what psychotics must feel like - they can look at a crowd with total coldness, not regarding that as a mass of human beings, just as a moving mass.
He's not psychotic. If he was, he'd have done something by now, be in prison or on meds.
He has a friend who's on antipsychotics for unspecified reasons - between those and the antidepressants, his hands shake badly, and he cuts himself during his cooking classes.
The american youth wonders if he'd get the same pills, if they'd do the same thing to him.
The american youth wonders, in a recursive sort of way, if he's depressed.
He was in therapy before. He couldn't, and can't, see that it helped. Not that he was particularly nice to the therapist, though he tried to cooperate. So he's probably not depressed. Even though once in a while he cuts himself (on the back - usually after arguments that make him think those jagged thoughts) and he keeps feeling a big cold emptiness all over - no. Those are ... something else. Cop-outs. He's not depressed, he's a failure - mental illness is an excuse, and he's far too proud for that one - especially since at this point, if he confessed to depression, he'd feel like he had (consciously or not) manufactured it, and that's a dirty thought indeed.
He doesn't need pills.
He needs steely will like he hears and imagines about.
He just needs to change himself.

It feels like moving a fucking mountain, though!

He dreams(not very often) and daydreams (very often) about how the world is going to undergo a profound shift to his betterment. He will wake up and BE SOMEONE ELSE. He's detached enough to note the escapist games he plays (white wolf things, morrowind, various tiny things) are getting stale and that they're patently obvious avoidance behaviors in the first place.
Sitting by Freud's side, he notes that the patient cannot confront the life he's living, hence he sublimates into videogames and role-playing games - those last being especially ironic since instead of attempting to enact positive situations, he enacts fantasies.
Situations where he actually matters.
He can't think of a time outside of those games where he feels like that.
He was letting the games absorb him, a while ago.
When he got fired, that ended - sort of. The other game players - it seemed - banded against him.
Sitting with Freud again the american youth notes how the subject (still him) deliberately but only half consciously blinds himself to the good things in his life - the people who, even if he's far away, love him very much, the fact that he still does live with his parents and that's a warm place food and rent are no cost to him - well, those are good things, aren't they ?
But he still has those avoidance reactions. He stays in his room a lot. He seems to need much more sleep these days, he always feels tired. The emptiness he doesn't always feel, but that's probably because he's always trying to do something and half of the things he does shove it away for a while. Half of why he wants a job, he realizes, is so that he can have an unthinking routine again.
Job. Home. Eat, play. Sleep. Job. Home. And so on until weekends, where he'll see how long he can stretch 48 hours into, spend money on idle things, and dread the looming Monday. Right now it sounds pretty good. He knows on some plane that he'll feel empty again once he gets there - if he gets there - but it's still greener grass. And that's what the games are for anyhow - once he has a job it'll feel legitimate to escape, he'll have something he can point to and say "I worked, now leave me alone."
He wants to be a big rebel, sometimes. Go tag and do throw-ups and bombings - words he learned from "Bomb The Suburbs," a book he sympathizes with but is too spineless to really follow the advice of even though he's met the author, knows what a great guy he is. Saw him at the same conference as Julia Butterfly Hill, both very charming and inspirational and then on Monday he went back to his job and just felt more empty than before because honestly he couldn't change anything and he felt, honestly felt the gears of corporate america crushing his soul for a while.

It passed.

That's what happens to most things, he reflects. They just pass. I don't particularly even take part in events, I watch them - and they pass. I pat myself on the back for escaping things. I've let things slide that would have benefitted me in ways I can't even measure now. And they do affect me even when they pass- they're gone, and that's an effect that can't be argued with. Look at me, look at me, I want to shout, I have a rich internal life, I am the one you want.
I can't bring myself to literally shout in public. I have the dual shame-attention thing that I think many people have - I think I'd love to be in the spotlight, but times - rare times - that I am the center of attention, I lose it and I don't say what I thought I'd say - barely even say what I think - and generally make an ass of myself. It doesn't work out.
Is that related to why I freeze up and go into staring-balefully mode when my father gets angry at me ?
His thoughts are being sort of narrated and sort of observed. He's been slipping back and forth between first person and third. Arrogance - he doesn't think that anything that came before can be rewritten, there is no such thing as a second draft where he would clean it up and decide through experimentation whether it's "I" or "the american youth" - probably the youth, it's catchy and it's the name of the piece which has turned out to be a long prose poem or an extremely sloppy essay.
He doesn't even know what he's going to do with it.
His current plan is to send it to someone else like it is, then start working on a second draft.
He will apologize to them because he knows the first draft is angsty and total shite.
But there's at least one worthwhile sentance in there, maybe in the first part where he was writing angry - maybe in the "you are not allowed" part - and he'll try and tease that out.
So his plan for tomorrow is to leave ungodly early in the morning, park somewhere, think, then go and write, then go to the library - reading, writing - post office to mail a package - maybe go to the JC and print out a few things first - stay out as long as he can get away with, and see how much he can force himself to write.
After this, he's feeling positively - perversely - optimistic.


There are still things in there I need to say and think about. But not all of them.

I guess the fodder for this story came when I was talking with a friend the other day. We kinda made this story of an "average single middle-class working person" up together in a discussion on how dreary and repetitive a working day can get.

Therefore, he decided it was time to wake up.

Reluctantly lifing off the sheets (*grumble*), he dragged his feet to the bathroom and stared incomprehensibly at the mirror. Slowly the image he saw resolved itself into the image of a middle-aged man with shaggy hair and bristles on his chin. Toothbrush and toothpaste leaped into action as he grimaced at himself. Spit, rinse, gargle. The electric shaver took its usual position at the right jaw and swiped away all the little hairs.

There was something comforting about all this early morning ritual. You can almost never go wrong (unless you mistook the shaving cream for toothpaste, or vice versa, which he seldom did nowadays).

A quick shower, a brush of the hair with gel and comb. Throwing on a freshly-ironed shirt on the back (it's hot!), and trousers, he was out of the house and into the car while struggling with his socks and shoes. He was going to be a little late again.

What was it with traffic and speed? He reasoned that the faster one wanted to go, the more traffic would clog up. This theory had been proven right almost every morning, except that sometimes, very rarely, he did manage to get to the office early. It gave him hope that today would be one of those very rare days.

It was not.

Hopping into the office, he found most of his colleagues already furiously tapping away at their keyboards. The corporate world seemed determined to destroy their keyboards by tapping on them noisily with much force and, occasionally, emotion. Perhaps actually ruining a keyboard was one of those things that would get one promoted. The trouble was, these things were virtually indestructible. He knew because he had spent the past five years trying to do it, and had never succeeded. Why a hammer wasn't used was never discussed.

He took his place at his cubicle ; tapping away with much energy, he became one with the company and his colleagues.

This monotony was broken by several intervals: the nineses, tenses, and elevenses; the lunch hour; the twoses, threeses, fourses and fiveses. These intervals, except for the lunch hour, were marked by standing around the pantry chatting with colleagues. His colleagues were a nice enough bunch of people. Some were humorous, others to be humoured and the rest to be fodder for humour. Bosses generally fell into the category of being fodder for humour. It was just the way things were.

The end of the working day was also marked by certain behaviour patterns. Just about 15 minutes before, restlessness and fidgeting would pervade the entire room. The decibel level of keyboard tapping would drop drastically, and the level of anticipation, being inversely proportional, would increase until you could barely breathe. Right on the dot (sometimes before) there would be an exodus (sometimes a stampede) out the front doors.

He liked Happy Hour. Going to his favourite pub and sitting in his favourite seat and chatting up his favourite bartender and/or female friend was always fun. Time was biased against him : he knew it. It never slowed down for him when he was there ; in fact, it seemed to speed up a little. Never so much that he could sue it though.

He never held a grudge against Time for long. He was happier to be at home finally. Talking could be exhausting, and the drinks took their toll slowly but surely. He showered off the gunk he had accumulated that day and settled on the couch to watch TV.

His eyes would not let him do this. They expressed their displeasure by transferring all the dark matter in the universe to the tips of his eyelids, making them very heavy to lift indeed.

He persevered in lifting them several times. It was a favourite programme of his.

In the end, this was not sustainable. The call of the bed was getting louder by the second. Tick Tock Tick. Precious moments for pillow-head bonding were being wasted.

He gave up ; he dived into bed. Fell into a deep dreamless sleep almost immediately.

Also almost immediately (it seemed to him), bliss was interrupted by a loud incessant clanging. Tossing in a frustrated manner did not help. The sun (that impertinent creature!) peeped through the thick curtains. He found that it was getting unbearable... therefore... therefore...

Fourteen-something inches of snow way down in Charlotte, but up here under Table Rock it melted half as fast as it fell. Still, we had a good time sledding early, and named the snowman "Valerie", after Miracle Max's wife in The Princess Bride.
Before they woke, I stood warm by the kitchen vent watching first light filter up from the snow. Later my slip of a daughter and I took the scenic route to the reclamation center; I'd never been all the way out Pea Ridge before. The skirts of the storm lifted just in time for us to see Hawk's Bill glory lit; every tree limb stark against the snowshine. Time they got home from the skating rink, the only snow left was Valerie.

Today I attended what may have been the single largest political rally in the history of the world, although that claim, like many others, is arguable.

This is a good place for giving context. The rally today, which was supposedly a protest against the 500 nuclear missiles pointed at Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait, is actually about a number of things: Taiwan's modernization; its dislike of the backwardness of the Mainland; the ethnic split between the Fuzhou people and the mainlanders, the desire of Taiwan, and other small nations, to stand up for their independence in a world where United States hegemony is not to be trusted; Chen Shui-bian's idealism and\or demogaugery; and a tradition in Chinese history of the North attacking the south that goes back to the time of Qu Yuan.

My critical mind knows that the ethnic pride of the Taiwanese people, and its ability to disrupt the status quo and threaten peace in East Asia is not necessarily a good thing. The fault lines of the Taiwanese independence movement, are already rippling around the world, causing the United States to have to walk an even more delicate line when requesting help from China in their situations in North Korea and the Middle East. Taiwan's desire to be an independent is causing it to seek allies elsewhere, in such nation as Mongolia and Thailand.

It's hard to say why and when this all started. The reason that the rally was held today dates back to something called the Febuary 28th Incident. 2200 years ago, the Qin Dynasty was overthrown because some soldiers, faced execution for being later to muster after being trapped in a rainstorm, and realized they might as well face execution for treason. The Febuary 28th incident, which occurred slightly after the reoccupation of Taiwan by nationalist forces, in 1946, was equally minor in its beginnings. A woman was arrested for selling cigarettes outside of the government monopoly, and was beaten. This caused a round of rioting that led to the Nationalists imposing martial law for several decades.

And that is one of the reasons, why, today, over a million Taiwanese attempted to join hands across the island, either to protest Beijing pointing missiles at them, or as a way to protest the continued presence of the KMT area corruption and cultural domination in the government. (Although, of course, the current President is a the pro-Independence Chen Shuibian, who faces a rather difficult election in a few weeks). But whatever the motivation and history behind it, I have to say something for the fact that a country with such a fractitious history can have an open, democratic demonstration without violence or ill-feeling. Whatever the politics involved, it has been a long time since I have seen such a positive display of democracy.

228 Incident:
Pictures of the rally:

27 years ago some shit happened that I can't undo right now. I was born. Born because a young and stupid couple fucked at the Hilton.

The couple in question really ought to have read a few self-help books on raising children. That way I might have been a motivated and functional individual who doesn't wrestle daily with who the hell he is and what he is capable of.

Today a long absent urge to cry came to me at work.

I suppressed it.

I wanted to break down, finally. Not be angry, as I usually am at anything and everything, but to surrender.

I just don't know what to do with myself.

Birthdays, we tell ourselves, are a mere bagatelle after a certain age. To me, today's the yardstick of my inadvertent solitude. A few people have been kind enough to send me messages, which is nice. Nonetheless, I've shoo-ed away many people in exchange for my freedom to be me. Now I am ME, with a side order of NO ONE ELSE.

I just don't know what to do with myself.

My family thinks I might have Asperger's Syndrome, which is basically high functioning autism, i.e. my social skills are absolutely crap, despite being quite smart, and reading lots hyperlexia. I'm most annoyed with myself, now I'm a statistic. It also explains my truly useless body language skills, and all round crapness at remembering people's names. My aunt, a psychiatrist, apparently told my dad to look it up on the internet, and when he read it, it all made sense, apparently. So, I am soon to visit a psychiatrist. I'm 20, I have no real doubt I'll be diagnosed. I'd read about the disorder before, and thiught that it might be what I had, but it never occured to me to tell anybody. If it really is Asperger's it's pretty mild. I was just reading a book, The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime, written from the viewpoint of a 15 year old Asperger's sufferer, which was loaned to me by my Dad. On reflection, I should have gotten that he was trying to hint at something, but then again I don't get hints unless they're laid on with a trowel, and not even then, a lot of the time, another bit giving weight to the diagnosis. Another thingy with this is that you're naive, or sort of easily lead. I'm not naive, it's cop on that I'm lacking, but I suppose it's the same thing in the end.

I had a great time myself last night. I went to one of Limerick's three rock bars The High Stool, and I had a great time. I spent €30 total. I bought two miniatures in the offie before I went in (€1 for 50 mLs of 40%, called poitin, tasted okay, better than some vodkas) and I mixed those with Diet Cokes when I went in. After the second drink, I gave up on avoiding the dance floor and went out on it. I did the usual idiotic rocker/mosher dance which involves lots of headbanging (which is why my neck hurts like hell) and writhing. Then the headline act came on this Czech band called Squall. I did some catcalling at first, werewolf howling, but they didn't take themselves too seriously, and asked for vampires, mummies and zombies in the audience. Their first song was absolute crap, pure guitar wanking, very technically accomplished, and a chore to listen to. After that it was excellent, although it would have been better if the vocals had been audible. One amusing thing they did towards the end of their set was to do a stop start thing, so me and all the other (about 5 or 6, all a group) people dancing acted like it was musical statues, y'know stop when the music stops and you've got to try and be perfectly still. After the band were done I bought their album, for a €5. I made sure to tell them they rocked ... with the exception of the first song. Then they had the "disco" where reasonably rock music was played at first, Jimmy Eat World, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, which I really enjoyed, but then it degeneratyed into pop, so I left for the front bar. I got myself a beer. (I must have had two or three while I was dancing, I'd put them on the amps and grab a gulp during a pause in the music.) I actually sat down next to a girl, after asking if the seat was free of course, and started chatting. They took the piss out of my accent but that was okay. I had a conversation with a complete stranger, and got a cute girl's number

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