Pass.

A month flown into the fickle vagaries of time unreal.

I’m never “in the moment,” so I have very little to be anchored by. Everything is fleeting, even the lemon meringue pie I bought myself for the 41st marking of my natal day; I had no cake, and so I bought my own.

Bought myself books, a corset, toe socks. Everything I had and everyone with whom I spent that day were all I wanted. My favorite author made me cry with her tenderest regards. It was as close to ideal as I could possibly receive and wish for.

Save for my blood brother, the family I have ignores and continues to neglect me. The family I chose looked after me.

I will return the favors.

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Crop.

Dream: Satanic worship mixed with Orange Is the New Black, with Satan represented by a very detailed statue of Baphomet. We called him “Father.” We were given some kind of sacred wine to drink, then were later instructed to vomit, piss and shit into specific containers. I didn’t manage the first.

My brain can be an extremely strange place, indeed, even for the likes of me.

Faded.

Sunrise, again. I greet the daystar with magnesium-muddled head.

Nails of middle finger and thumb tear at lower lip, seeking to pull and lift away any small edges left behind by the worrying of teeth. Sometimes salty copper redness wells up and is immediately swept away by the tongue obsessing over all the tender spots on the inside.

Layers of oily skin darken left hand’s fingernails after repeated scraping at tiny pimples on forehead near hairline. The pointed end of a manicure stick sweeps the black lines away. Scratch some more to keep it smooth. Scratch the bumps away.

Nail clippers now. Edges of fingers by nails are snipped off: they’re too tough and peeling, and they must be made smooth again. Careful not to draw blood this time. Bandaged and taped fingertip and elbow are testament to how inconvenient bleeding is for daily living.

Tiny skin chunks tumble to litter the desk. They are swept into palm and deposited in trash. Some neatness is required.

Today, a lifelong habit, ever dismissed by self-righteous figures, has a name for the first time: dermatillomania. Another disorder to add to my list.

I need the pain. It tells me where reality is.

Grit.

Miscommunication. Misunderstanding. Frustration. Fume. Annoyance at hurtful words slung in reflexive self-defense.

A point was made, if poorly timed, and thus it was missed. Wondering how much hate I’ll have waiting for me when I wake up.

Lash.

Dancing with devils in moonlight? No, dancing with your true self beneath an unforgiving spotlight. Glaring, harsh, blinding, all imperfections laid bare.

Cringing at another’s pain, guilt that you are the cause — or are you? Whose fault is it, really? Is there actually fault to assign?

Inevitability speaks, we fall silent, and things die. All things die.

In the muggy dark, guilt runs a marathon of circles.

Float.

Apollo’s rage yet scars the world. Thousands suffer, wilt and die, scorched stalks in a dying wheat field, and yet I know he’s not the one to blame.

Electric wind (poorly) mimics Persephone’s breath over my skin. Rest is recalcitrant.

I’d normally dance with Dionysus — beyond the singular nightly taste — but that tempts the Fates in these melting days.

Damp suffocation, restless stickiness, disturbed dreams, fog, fog and fog.

May the thunderstorm convention assemble soon.

Whisk.

Hallmarks of my dreams: slightly revolting public bathrooms in strange configurations, and me attempting waste elimination in equally strange places. Once it was in a desk drawer; another time it was in a recliner; and this time it was in a short hospital laundry basket, my legs hanging over the edge, and a couple of litter boxes, where I strained in futility.

Why this happens, I don’t know. Why I occasionally see people I used to know and last saw over twenty years ago in these dreams, I have even less idea.

My brain can be a surreal place. Freudians would have a block party with it.

Suffocate.

Tonight is blanketed in sweltering heat that costs thousands of disadvantaged their lives. No god nor spirit is responsible for this — only our own avatars of avarice. How useless a system we have chosen to live within; how arbitrary and self-serving, and ultimately short-sighted. Those selfsame avatars don’t care what kind of legacy they leave as long as they are rich in their lifetimes.

Who needs four horsemen when extinction is possible with a button?

This wasn’t supposed to happen. This was never supposed to happen.

Aurora illuminates my windows. Feathered children chirp in the trees below. Beyond is the wavering, slightly dissonant breathing of an awakening city.

Rebellious crimson brings dull but pervasive ache. It preoccupies me too much to do more than notice what lays outside my skin.

Comfort is fleeting.

Sway.

Fickle, fickle Dawn. You’re early today.

A clenched jaw: unconscious strain, unnoticed, a habit born of stubbornness. Detected, a deliberate effort made to loosen it, but slowly, slowly, it creeps back into the fashion of the moment, for the mind has yet to cease its frenetic dancing between topics fluid and slippery, and it will not be denied. Ever willful.

Louder is the silent protest of fingers made cold and pale by lessened circulation. A cocoon of icy cotton, layer piled upon layer. Not enough and yet nothing else will do.

Forty-two hours awake and counting. Skittering walls give me hope that my count will soon end.