Quarter Life Crisis

​A quiet walk to her apartment midnight followed by phone call
followed by visit the following morning. Too burdened by the weight of my future to accept her offer for the help I would inevitably need.
Staring down the barrel of my decision,
I pulled the trigger and we haven’t spoken since.

I tried. Five months of sulking in the North:
where white walls, barely furnished,
bore witness to a desperate attempt at feigning adulthood.
Crashing into my apartment each night, smearing paints to ease my mind.
Cigarette Cigarette Cigarette
Learned the tango between addiction and pain.
Catching glimmers of digital shade that disappeared before the sun set.
We both know I saw them, but did you see mine?
As I wailed online,
hunched over my sink,
sitting in bathtub porcelain, asylum pink.
Or out in New York. ABV enabling electronic gospels
I’d regret in the morning.
Sorrow on sleeves I’d roll up for the day.
Miserable scavenger hunts through campus, choosing self-destructive paths to liven my commute. Sat window-side, overlooking old stomping grounds that grew colder despite the spring. Groundhogged.
Without redemption only the monotonous rhythm of work.
Posturing as if it were progress, behaving in ways foreign to myself.
Friends shouldered my sadness until I moved south.

I tried. Wrote letter after letter in gauche mansion.
One month became two became three became six.
Canvasses stacked on cold tile kitchen adjacent.
Coworkers cracking eggshells, it wasn’t their fault.
Disappearing post-labor to visit The Summit,
Bourgeois Olympus on Mulholland Drive.
Garage full of strangers who forgot they were whole.

Where I remembered to cry.
When asked about her (or maybe I offered). Helped a few others do the same. Private Equity Jet Porsche sobbing on my nine-year-old shoulders.
Threw myself into the scene, following a young Rasputin who gathered crystals and gurus for monthly last suppers.
Learned the deep end was a spectrum and I swam somewhere in it,
but young Shakespeare and his dirt dogs buried my feet.
Thank god for the East.
Met a solar messiah. Musical Cain and Abel. A man who knew his body. Women I try to forget.
Co-working turned self-loathing fast-food runs. Coffee the past-time religion. Self-taught swam that hottest summer. PlayStation Four too many nights.
Low tide began to break from outside wake.
Of course the election. Put time into perspective.
Dropped everything for a night in desert with justice and flow.
The stars danced on strings in Joshua Tree
while we mimicked moving in circles.
Found myself caught in Venn Diagram as wind whispered through branch.

I tried. Relocated when half the team left. Little Israel.
Mezuzah for every room, yarmulkes on the little neighbor boys.
Edenic, well kept, always under construction.
Paradise kept afloat by private security sharks.
12 days of Christmas spent recovering from surgery, three hernias, toes creeping like snails towards toilet in middle of the night. A thirty minute endeavor filled with self-pity and pain.
Some days I’d design for a city that had nothing to do with me. Somewhere between helping and helping myself. Spending hours in cabs.
If my timing was right, I’d find myself in Chinatown, Hop Luey, 10 feet away from where his brains were blown out.
Some days I was joined by brothers from home.
We’d cook for each other and watch comedy after.
Laughter! What a pleasant surprise.
Some days West Hollywood and hating ourselves for it.
Some nights I’d spend in an actors abode, learning to listen in ways that helped people break down.
Homecoming was set but flights filled the interim. New York. Chicago. Florida. Texas. I’ve lost track of the travel. Each destination slowly bringing me off my knees, reminding me of thirsts I neglected to quench. Pen began to quiver, ejecting rough spats at first.
Soon I’d be back.

I’ve tried. But anymore wouldn’t be kosher so I gave it a rest.
Gave myself one too.
Ever heard of a five-day weekend?
During my sister’s last summer.
Space to find time. Time to find space.
Back in Berkeley, where I was much less welcome.
Not by my brothers, but by my age.
London with Mom where a Belgian looked after me,
and a friend from home taught me how to lie to myself.
Taiwan with the family where I understood where I stood.
And all that in between? Who knows.

I needed to go and didn’t think much more of it.
A therapist, finally, to prepare me for departure.
Saw her three days before takeoff and decided it was best not to talk.


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