Jan 19, 2007


I sit here in my cloud of smoke (both real and imagined) and I realize something is wrong.

I walked into a pothole.

I got stuck in a sticky spider web.

It's emergencies.

It's people who reappear suddenly back into one's life. In desperate need of something.

And the resulting vicious circle.

For years and years and years.


It's random violence.

It's stupid mistakes.

Bad habits.

Lack of money.

Death in the family.

Falling in love.

It's time.



But - I was going to school.

Minding my own business.

I can't even recognize that woman now.


She and I wouldn't even hang out together - if that were even possible.

And it must be.

Because that girl couldn't have been me.

That girl shakes her head at me.

From (high up at) her drawing board.

She frowns.

She has her mascara on.

Her boots are all laced up.

She's ready. For the apocalypse - or any design related emergency.

She's smart.

She's all in.


I wait and panic.

I plan.

I scawl things on the back of random pieces of paper.

I never apply what I know.

I experience relief. Not happiness.

I call myself lucky.

I sketch on post-it notes with a Bic ballpoint pen.

It's all such a mess now that it seems impossible to unravel.

Or it's just a state of mind.

This is that thing that happens.

When a person starts to delude herself for the rest of her life.

In order to survive.

That's not what I had intended.

Flying around as though operated by an outside influence.

I haven't taken anything into consideration.

I haven't taken any vitamins.

This has got to stop.

Serioulsy.. gotta stop..

Jan 12, 2007

I've lived here my whole life

And I've never been to the South side.


I'm from the North side.

And I'm an ass.

I didn't know where I was.

I had no idea that deer would roam (the hospital campus).

And trees (!) it was like a forest.

I think it was a forest.

It was quite lovely.

And horribly confusing.

This is the biggest, most interconnected complex of buildings I've ever seen.

It was like those dreams. No matter how far you walk, you're never there.

Each corridor leading to another exact replica of the corridor before it.

With no visually compelling landmark anywhere to distinguish one station from the next.

It was like the first day in high school.

But worse. Bigger. More confusing. More dire.

I just wanted to get to you.

To your room.

This place.

It's where you will use your incredible strength to get better.

This is where you will heal.

And, baby, I will get to your room. Eventually

And I'll get the South Side all figured out.

I could drive illegally to the hospital in your truck.

As you suggested.

But that might create more problems (though Cassevettes would approve).

I called you tonight, when I got home.

You're doing well.

One more month.

You have some gaps - but your brain is ok.

It will all work out.

I'll make sure of it.

We all will.

You are the most loved motherfucker I've ever met.



There is no such thing as an ex Marine.





Good as the day is long.


This is the place.

The far, far away, South-Side place.

Jan 10, 2007

a perfect life


Pissed off. Like waiting in line.

But that's perfect, too.

Mistakes. Mine. Theirs. Yours.

This isn't me.

This is me under duress.

Rendered down to a ghost.

You told me what happend.

Yes. No. Hand gestures. Words.

And the cryptic:

I Remember / I Forget

The same thing. Same value. Remembered. Forgotten.

Printed onto the page. No explanation.

I've become quite protective of you.

Don't scare him.

Don't tell him that.

Wait. He isn't ready.

I try so hard - not to say anything.

You trust me.

I trust you.

Then you undo all your tubes.

Yes -

I've been drinking a lot.

Because as it turns out - I'm really bad at this.

You made an ok sign - then pointed at me.

It wasn't a question. It was a demand.

But I didn't expect you to remember. I guess I was afraid to ask.

And I didn't expect to see it so clearly in my mind.


I wasn't there for you.

Later we all sat around. Watching tv. Reading.

And someone asked if I had your car keys.

I said that I did.

And you wrote:

to my car
my heart

It happened at the hospital. On a pad of paper.

The lighting was bad. My outfit was bad.

The best, best, best thing that anyone has ever said to me ..

Then a doctor came in.

They always remark on how incredible it is that you're alive.

But it doesn't surprise you.

You knew that you'd be ok.

This hospital.

My happy hospital where you're alive.

Please bring me my shoes.

You want to get going.

I hate not giving you your shoes.

Your shoes. The only thing standing between you and the outside world.

So decent.

You would never consider leaving in just your socks..

Jan 8, 2007

one hundred

I called your room to talk to your sister.

You answered the phone. I don't know how you got to the phone, or how it is that your voice was a audible as it was.

A conversation. That didn't involve pen and paper. Fragments of sentences. Or penguins.

Not eye language, or lip launguage

But words.

On the phone. Making it stranger.




Are you coming to see me? I'd love to see you..

I told you I was coming right after your surgery. That I was at work.

You said you were at work, too.

When I got there they had wired your jaw shut.

For some reason I dreaded this more than anything else.

I knew your jaw would be a bigger issue for you than your brain.

The doctor came in and said six weeks.

You just looked at her.

Later you counted to one hundred. On you fingers. It was what you wanted to do.

You know I love you, right?

Jan 6, 2007

I can hear you

Can you hear me?

Acne's back. That's ok.

And just now I just stepped on something.

It was a cheeto.

The proverbial cheeto.

On the floor. Of my life.

This is what happens.

You haven't lost your dignity, Tommy.

And the people who love you - they haven't lost their dignity, either.

Everyone is excused.

Dignity. It's a state of mind.

It's where you're standing.


My life is a mess.

There's laundry climbing all down the hallway. Like a path of fallen leaves.

Fallen laundry.

That's where it goes.

In the hallway.

I always wanted a hallway.

It was years and years. But I finally got one.

Hallways. Piles of books.

I have nothing to eat.

Nothing clean to wear.

Nothing to take this out of my mind.

I have plenty of cigarettes, though.

I told you today that the blanket has to be straight in order not to have bad dreams.

This wasn't a lot of bullshit shop talk.

What I've learned is that I am torturing myself.

I let the bed be all crazy and I sleep in it that way.

I don't want to make it nice.

Not without you.

I don't care.

I can't make it nice.


Everyone keeps telling me to take care of me.

To take a bubble bath.

Everyone says bubble bath.


I can't take a buble bath right now.

And there is no glass of wine (big enough).

I can't. Really.

Stop it. Not now.

I don't want to.

Not without you.

I want you here.

I was fine before I met you.

I was fine after I met you.

But I am not fine when you are hospitalized. re tom curtis

My bed. My job. My bills. My bath. My life. My kitten.

I will catch up.


What has happened to you?

I can't ask.

I've had opportunities. To ask. This week. Today.

I can't.

I should. The way you look at me sometimes.

I can see it in your eyes.

You're safe. Everyone loves you..

And I almost ask.

But I can't.

I don't want to push.

I don't want to hurt you.

You can tell me anything..

This morning you needed help standing up and as I steadied you - you said something.

And I heard you. I heard your voice.

Later it was explained to me. But at that moment I was astounded.

I wondered if I hadn't imagined it.

If I hadn't finally become so (crazy) accoustomed to things - that I was able to fill in the gaps.

If I wasn't "hearing" things.

And no one was around when this happened.

When you became audible.

And it was hours before there was an explaination regarding the "just what" of your audilble voice.

..Wait! What did you say? Did you hear yourself, too?

You did. You nodded. But you were unimpressed.

Your voice.

You've heard it all along. The fact that we can't is curious and frustrating to you.

Your voice. Of course, your voice.

How I've missed your voice.

Slowly, one by one, your voice-mail messages have been eliminated by my asshole cell phone.

I kept hitting save.

But each day one more would be gone.

And there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Then, one last voice-message hung on by a thread. For a while.

I don't know why.

So I listened to it. Quite a bit.

Knowing it would go the way of the other messages.

Then it did. Last week.


Sometimes out of nowhere you ask me if I'm ok.

Am I ok?

And just for that I have to kiss you a million times.

Jan 5, 2007


Yes scrabble. And walking. And progress.

I cheated - mostly to make him laugh.


He questioned the G in batgknit. But not the word itself.



Yes. Yiddish. I know, I know however..

He walks.

He eats.

One month ago today.

One month ago.

I wish I had had been there for him.

One month.

One to go.

Jan 1, 2007

hey handsome

It wasn't all that different today than on other dates that we've had.

I put my mascara on in the taxi.


You were still asleep. I didn't want to wake you.

Hey, handsome.

I kissed you hello.

I found myself wondering how it is that I am watching football.

Almost enjoying football.

An ex jar head who also loves The Sound of Music.

I love that about you.

You smiled.

My day started. Right there.

My whole focus is in keeping your hands off of your staples and stitches.

This is new.

And I find myself worrying about stupid stuff. Like becoming someone I don't want to be.

Like a harpie.

Or a nag.

Continually pulling your hand away from your head.

Not new.

I worried about that before.

I edited myself. In the past.

From saying stupid things.

Stupid things regarding health or vitamins or the practice of proclaiming FUCK first thing in the morning.

No, not fuck. Yes.

Say yes to the new day.

I put the kibosh on myself that day.

Don't tell someone how to live, Vic.

(Ok. I won't.)

Man, I'd give anything for you to be crabby in the morning right now.

It's all about stitches and staples.

I have to keep your hands off of those.

I watched in horror as you pulled one out today.

Then you looked at it. The staple from your head. Like you were expecting it to be something else.

Nothing bad happened as a result.

But, Tom, THEY WILL KILL ME (they, the nice people at the hospital) if you get an infection as a result of you touching your head.

And, I will have to kill me, too. I will. If you get an infection.

Somehow they are nice enough (the nice people at the hospital) to let me remove your restraints in the first place.

It's all in the interest of "allowing you to be unrestrained".

So when I get there I take them off. The restraints.

That's the understanding.

The happy moment.

You love me right then.

In the interim I constantly monitor, intervene, stop you from touching your skull.

And I am outwitted by you.

I turn around and realize that you are touching your skull.

When I leave I put the restraints back on your arms.

This will prove to be bad for our relationship.

Later on.

I'm certain of this.

So, I have you write on a clip board.

You request chocolate.

Not new.

You did this even when in the best of health.

Tonight I fed you fruit and a protein shake.

I've never fed you before.

I was reluctant on the grounds that it might make you feel weird - me feeding you.

But you were ok with it. I'm so glad. Because today it was about getting you to eat.

I even got you to eat the puree of turkey.

Sorry. I know that sucked.

You ate five spoons of it. That was five spoons of protein.

And the doctor said that it will be protein that gets you out of the hospital.

I was so glad she said this in front of you.

Chocolate was the reward for the turkey.

I will bring you pureed pasta fazool or lentil salad. Whatever you want.


You are so affectionate.

You kiss me. You put your arms around me. Hug me close.

It makes my day. There is nowhere I would rather be.

I love you.

Leaving sucks.

I don't want to. But I know my being there exhausts you.

Five hours of me.

Fawning over you. Grabbing your hands away from your stitches. Watching football. Putting the red glowing thing back on your finger.

You really want that red glowing thing off.

You really hate that red glowing thing.

More than anything.

I finally let you throw it on the floor.

That's bad.

I know.

But it turns out that the red glowing thing isn't very important.

I just wanted you to have the satisfaction.

Of thowing it on the floor.

I was tired.

Besides, it felt like solidarity.

Because, when you look at me and mouth the words, "get me out of here" - a big part of me wants to.

Despite the obvious.

It's the purity of your request.

You want out.

You pull at everything. All of your tubes. In preparation for your escape.

You want to leave.

And I want to help you.

I want to hatch plans towards your escape.

I look you deep in the eye. I nod my head. I understand.

Yes. Let's go.

I want to pull up on a motorcycle and get you the hell out of there.

Sneak you out.

Steal you. Run away with you.


As though you are imprisoned.

Bring you home. Nurse you back to health.


Everyone would be so mad at me if I did.

None the less.

The red glowing thing.

It moves around. From hand to foot.

Today it was on your middle finger.

So you kept pointing it at me, giving me the finger.

And I gave it back a couple times.

In solidarity.

Which was funny.

Then I went to grab a piece of gauze and when I returned you had undone all of your tubes and wires.

And you had both hands resting on top of your head.

That is, your stitches.


You are.

Later I asked you if I was bugging you. If you wanted privacy.

You shook your head no.

But I know it has to be otherwise.

Even in this situation - you're polite.

Sweet. Decent.

I watched you become drowsy from whatever they gave you tonight to sleep.

I said goodnight. Told you that I'm going to dream about you.

You just looked at me.


You shrugged. Raised your eyebrows.

Just like in life.


Protecting me from me.

I worry about you

Ok sleep. Just sleep.