I see him in those cold sleepless nights of self-embrace. His face somehow shaped into the dark corners of my apartment, his voice alive in the riding midnight wind. I smell him on my skin. I lie in bed, anxious and shivering, trying to fold completely into myself, disappearing, a conscious union with nothingness. This is the subtle lingering effect of years of childhood abuse. I hold my face in my hands, it calms me, breathing into myself. This anxiety is total and physical, a yearning force. I can touch it, discern its jagged shape in my bones. Fear of the world and my place in it washes over me in waves of self-detachment. These are all the violent elements of the past I could never decompress. These are the scenes, the threatening, the bruises and scars and scrapes. This is who I am, fashioned into a creative nucleus. These are the times I am most reminded of him, haunted by his residue, afraid of myself, grateful to the legacy of wrath.
I stare into the mirror and see his face, raw and defined by shadow. He’s there and I’m there, all pigmented and detailed irony. I wonder what it means, looking into his eyes after all these years, all these thoughts in his absence. He’s there and I’m there. I cannot bear to see him so alive and forceful, I cannot look away. He is more handsome now than I ever was.
I see him in complete darkness, I feel his dead hand in my mind. I see him as I did on that day so long ago, studying him in repose, a giant frame of tremendousness. I see him as he must have looked in jail, wearing away the concrete at his feet as he paced through his darkest nights alone. I hear him in every word I write before and after I write it.
The people that knew him, I see him on their faces when I’m talking to them. They see me and they see him. It doesn’t matter what I say. There are no sounds, no revelatory meanings. They can only hear him, they flash back to intimate memories of their own. They wonder who’s trying to trick them, they wonder of it’s me or him.
There are hairs on the back of my hand and I see him there. He is in the morning drain when I shave, loitering about the edges of everything I discard.