Getting Sick In Oakland California

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I keep hearing gunshots in Oakland. Cars go on fire in the hot spring sun, they explode vapourlike on the sidewalk. Cans get thrown at passing cars like I never noticed before. Is there an excess of passion, of desperation on the streets?

Someone told me yesterday that the reason I might be any good at writing is because I have an excess of something I shouldn’t.

Where the universe gave others the normal amount I was filled to overflow like an abandoned truckstop slushie. Where others were given the right amount to oil the engine I was given a healthy wristflick that continually makes the engine stall. If I were a horse I’d be a bronco because there’s every reason to kick where other horses wouldn’t. I was born oversensitive, unable to detach myself from anything. I am an even more dysfunctional Rogue from X-Men: when I touch people or art or anything they remove the energy from me and I have to reform it, traumatized, upset, through weeks of writing about the experience of it. I am broken because I am completely unable to prevent myself from feeling close to people, or at least unable to stop finding my existence around other people exhaustingly profound, even if it isn’t and never will be. I am unable to stop myself loving people, art, the white streak through the sky. People most of all, even from a great distance. I am unable to remove myself in a way that is debilitating. It is isolating. It sometimes cuts sharply into what I presume is a heart. That person that liked my writing seemed to admire these traits because it enables me to write the way I do. But it cripples me. It is the primary reason I am alone. People are charmed by my writing but alarmed by the person it comes from when it becomes obvious I can’t turn it off. It is not a blessing when all you can do to survive is pick up a laptop and write down the offshoots of a breakdown. I said to that person, hey, perhaps what I do when I write is teach people how to love something.

But really what I am doing is wishing someone else could love that thing or person for me so that I’d be free. It would be nice, one day, to be free. I wonder if I am just a conduit so that other people can love things that aren’t me. Most people find it easier to love things that I write about. Most people find it easier to love things because people have written about them. No one writes about me, not that they should: there is little that I’d say about myself. I’m starting to feel uninvited. I understand that my transience makes me a risky bet. People have stopped wanting me around. It is very hard to love a person that makes a living writing honestly about anything but themselves and who loves everything else to a debilitating extent. It is hard to love someone who is not an endpoint, but a conduit. I am a thoroughfare for love. I am a permanent corridor through which people traverse to know who they are. I live on the nights where I know who you are. I know who you are and I wonder: is who or what I love becoming who I am? Perhaps, just perhaps, I am in some serious trouble. Perhaps I am becoming what I write about. Perhaps I am not a person at all, but a collection of other people who are better than I am; people who cannot be around me in case they see too much of themselves.

I am ill and I pick up others’ illnesses. When I hear gunshots in Oakland I think I’m being shot.

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