A coda, according to the dictionary of your choice (I averaged all of the definitions for your convenience), is a passage that brings a piece of music to an end. In rock music, they call a coda an “outro”. In literature, it’s the conclusion (or maybe a footnote, if the author is feeling saucy).

If my current existence were a composition, the coda would be Adderall. The piece would be this roaring, sprawling, explosive thing that you don’t think will ever go anywhere, but then out of nowhere, there’s a defective crescendo in the shape of a 90 degree angle, a flatline on a 12-lead ECG on a planet where aliens are born when they die, and everything is suddenly very still. The beast closes its gaping maw.

And then I stop eating real food and only eat a cracker and then forget to eat for ten hours. I find pop-up advertisements not only annoying, but infuriating. I read three (pretty big) books in one 24 hour sitting, and remember the numbers on the license plates of the cars of strangers, and think more critically in one hour than I do in one week.

I turn into a wild, expensive computer with an operating system you have to reinstall every morning, two hours after waking up – and never on an empty stomach.

My compulsion to do good for people turns nearly robotic. My nagging guilt manifests itself into items on a computer-generated to-do list – nothing more than a routine debug. I stay up until two in the morning completing tasks someone else has written into their schedule – cleaning my mother’s house, driving my brother to and from and to and from and to school, cooking complicated dinners.

Like a machine still screwing lids on mayonnaise jars long after the end of the world, I am hard-working, silent, and essentially pointless – but no one would ever tell me that. After all, I survived the end of the world somehow.

When I’m not medicated, I lose interest quickly. I bury strangers and acquaintances I haven’t spoken to in more than three weeks in rubble that I stir up building marble idols out of new acquaintances that told me that they agree with some thought I had. The process repeats until everyone is a pile of broken art.

But on Adderall, I pin people to my dead butterfly board and stare at them until I need to go buy eyedrops. I turn into a referee for a demented game of bobbing-for-apples – the one with their head under the water of my train of thought longest, with their teeth dug into the apple of my brain the longest, is my new friend. When people stop talking to me, I turn anxious. I get cold. And I start cleaning.

I don’t know if this stuff is bad yet. I don’t know if it’s good, either.

I have to go get more crackers. Please don’t go anywhere.

Outside I can hear them talking. I don’t know who they are—but they’re here, and they’re talking. And though I can’t understand a single God damn thing they’re saying, I know that none of it is consequential, and none of it is good.

They have been out there, talking about absolutely nothing, for over a year.

From my window perch I have heard gunshots and I have heard screams; I have heard laughter also. I have witnessed drug dealers sell drugs to drug users. I have seen freak outs and psychedelic meltdowns. I have seen rain. Mostly I have seen the sun.

A big orange dog with sullen eyes paces up and down the street all day. As far as I can tell he has no home. We have made eye contact. I have communicated to him, behind an apathetic gaze, that I think he is OK. I did this because I perceived that he needed to know.

Sometimes a son of a bitch just needs to know.

Recently I watched the poor creature almost get wiped out by some maniac driver. My street doesn’t have speed bumps, so these fuckers rip through the neighborhood at 80 miles an hour. The dog jumped out of the way as a car swerved to hit it. Down the way, where all the dealers gather, I heard laughter. Someone shouted, “Hit him! Hit him!” I could hardly believe it. Why anyone would wish pain and death on something as harmless as this dog is beyond me. If anything I wish pain and death on these ignorant fools.

My mind wanders and I sometimes think I would like to be out there mixing it up with the animals. But when I see something like this I am reminded that humans are trash, and that this is the trash world they have built. They don’t want things to be beautiful and peaceful; they want to be excited by mass destruction and rivers of blood. I would almost feel sorry for them if it weren’t for the fact that they are so aggressively vile.

I like a few of them. My friends here in the house treat me nicely. The people who come to visit me, and who call me by my name, are mostly agreeable. I only protest when I am picked up off the ground against my will.

I am not a child, you see. I am a thirty-five-year-old man. I am also not a play-thing.

Jesus, I have no idea what I’m saying. Everyone is asleep and I’m depressed for reasons besides.

My favorite toy, the “Cat Dancer,” is on the rug in the living room. I have tried fucking around with it by myself, but it’s not the same.

Nothing is worth it anymore. I am tired. I will be tired for the rest of my life.

Gunshots on the street. A car speeds away. If you don’t think we’re all just circling the drain, then kid, I don’t what to tell you.

Charlie Dumpo and Kevin Burpo took turns punching each other in the face; they had been going at it for over three hours. Charlie Dumpo’s face was purple and his eyes were black and swollen. Kevin Burpo’s lip was busted open and was missing four teeth.

Charlie Dumpo took a swing at Kevin Burpo’s face. His fist landed hard on Kevin Burpo’s cheek. Kevin Burpo laughed wildly.

“Pretty good?” said Charlie Dumpo. “Pretty good? Pretty good?”

Very good,” said Kevin Burpo. He spit out another tooth.

Charlie Dumpo smiled. He adjusted his posture; he sat upright. His spine was as straight as a witch’s dick.

“Ready?” said Kevin Burpo. “Ready, ready?”

So ready,” said Charlie Dumpo.

Kevin Burpo wound up his arm like a cartoon baseball pitcher. He spun it behind his back a dozen or so times. Finally he released the punch. His fist smacked into Charlie Dumpo’s nose. It made a sound like a gallon of mayonaise dropped onto a sidewalk.

Blood poured out of Charlie Dumpo’s nostrils. A cashew-sized piece of his brain slid out as well. It dribbled down his face and neck and onto his T-shirt. Charlie Dumpo carefully picked it up with his thumb and index finger. He placed it in his palm. He extended his palm to Kevin Burpo.

Kevin Burpo examined the cashew-sized piece of Charlie Dumpo’s brain. It was grey and wormy. It looked like spoiled meat.

“Nice,” said Kevin Burpo. “Very nice.”

Charlie Dumpo laughed like hell.

Kevin Burpo formed his fingers into tweezers and collected the piece of brain from Charlie Dumpo’s palm. He broke it into two smaller pieces. He plugged his nostrils with each half. He inhaled them violently. They were gone in an instant, were absorbed into Kevin Burpo’s head.

“Yeah?” said Charlie Dumpo.

“Yeah,” said Kevin Burpo.

Charlie Dumpo clapped his hands. Kevin Burpo burped. The two smiled.

“Ready?” said Charlie Dumpo. “Ready, ready?”

“Oh yeah!” said Kevin Burpo. He leaned forward.

Charlie Dumpo punched Kevin Burpo in the face as hard as he could. It made a terrifying noise. Charlie Dumpo and Kevin Burpo laughed like maniacs.

The planet spun on its axis. The planet rotated around the sun. The sun was setting in the sky. The light was fading. The trees were silent. The buildings were dark. The sea gave up the dead.

Last winter I was stone sober at a party for a school I didn’t attend, where a guy trying to screw me asked, “What’s your favorite sensation?” I responded seriously, even though this highfalutin dope clearly thought he was the star actor in a play he wrote on the toilet.

I said, “You know the King Tut ride at the carnival that comes to town? The big pendulum boat? I love that little anti-gravity nausea spike when you hover above your seat.” The answer rolled off my tongue, because I’d thought about it at length in the past. He took an economy-sized gulp of his drink and snapped his head away. This disturbed the molecules, and the stench of rum slithered into my nostrils. Irritation warmed me. “Hey, we should co-star in a movie where we’re telepathic superheroes,” I thought forcefully into the back of his head. He didn’t respond.

I left, and walked four miles to Chinatown where I had a bowl of 30 dollar shark fin soup. No one from that party ever contacted me again.

There were signs of impending divorce all over the house. The dog wanted to be around us because he was lonely and the man with the guitar sang his sad songs in the bedroom down the hall because he wanted to be alone. Leila and I were dressed in kimonos and sitting cross-legged on the floor. On her lap was a book about fairies.

“Look here,” said Leila. She pointed to a drawing of a ring of mushrooms. A ruined old man in tattered clothing was on his hands and knees crawling away from it. “This is a fairy ring.”

I told her I didn’t know what that was.

“If you step inside a fairy ring, the fairies make you dance with them. They pull you around and around and around. And when they finally let go, you realize decades have passed—and suddenly you are very old.”

She closed the book and stood up. In her pink kimono she examined her own room. “I see things I like and I see things I don’t like. I want the things I like to stay forever. I want the things I don’t like to go away.”

And what do you like? I said.

“I like the things that are beautiful.” She pointed to a picture hung up above the fireplace which showed the migration paths of birds from North America to South America. “Like this. This is good,” she said.

Leila walked to the other side of the room. She took off her kimono and laid it out neatly on her bed. “This too,” she said. “I want to wear this forever. It’s telling me secrets right now.” She laughed.

The mason jar on her bedside table was empty. I picked it up and said I was going to the kitchen to fill it.

Leila put her kimono back on and padded over to me in her bare feet. Her face was rose-colored. “Downstairs I have blueberries,” she said, “and there’s nothing I want more right now than blueberries.”

Quietly she opened the door and crept down the stairs. Her kimono flowed behind her. With the empty mason jar in my hand I followed her to the lamplit rooms below.

Photo on 7-28-14 at 5.59 #2

It is 6 a.m. and I am trapped in a Starbucks in Houston, Texas. I took a bus from Lafayette with a stopover in Houston—and it was here they denied me passage to Austin.

If I could cry I guess I would have cried when they told me they couldn’t reprint my $90 bus ticket, and that I would be stranded in this fucking city until I figured out what the hell to do with myself.

With nowhere to go I sat in the station squeezing my backpack with what little strength I had left in me. The twisted scum you see at every Greyhound station haunted my stronghold and lustfully eyed my bag and my shoes and my jacket. I can’t imagine why—it’s all shit.

Nearby two idiots talked about how they wanted to assassinate the president. Several diapers were changed just inches from my leg. A cooler full of ice and hot dogs spilled out onto the floor. Some guy asked me if I had a sandwich in my pocket.

I stared at the sky from behind filthy glass and waited for the sun. I figured when it came up I would be relatively safe—and maybe then the dead-gazed psychopaths outside would disperse and I could go somewhere that was quiet and not lit with hateful fluorescent bulbs.

But they decided to clean the lobby around 5 a.m. They threw me out onto the street. It was still black and shadowy. As soon as I walked through the doors and into the humid grease-stained nightmare of downtown Houston in July, a dozen or so people descended upon me and asked for money and drugs and sinister favors. And I said to them: “Jesus, look at me. Do you really think I have any fucking money?”

A woman approached me as I struggled to get away, saying, “I just got out of jail. Can I have some money?”

“I have nothing,” I said. “Nothing. I’m stuck.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t spend a year in jail.”

I didn’t know what else to say so I said this: “OK.”

I kept walking.

For a mile I traversed the ugly parts of this town. I saw dozens of shirtless men in their fifties curled up in the grass or in the doorways of darkened businesses.

And now here I am, finally, alone in this stupid coffee shop. I have had way too much coffee and can find no friendly faces. There is a live Crosby, Stills & Nash album blaring from the speakers. My ex-girlfriend is mad at me and there’s blood in my mouth.

I have no idea why there is blood in my mouth.

In an hour I will start walking again and attempt to find some way to get west. There is a woman waiting for me 160 miles in that direction. She has said I can sleep in her bed while she is at work. I cannot imagine a more beautiful thought to cling to. Maybe that thought is the only thing keeping me alive right now.

And listen: if I get out there and they do kill me, I hope it’s quick and painless.

I love you all. See you in hell. ☆