whirlpooled topics unbackspaced. streams of consciousness. blurts. scribbled notes. outlined ideas. velocity waves. snatches from icloud. because self-editing is a writer’s cowardly way of preventing a reader from fucking the writer's confidence. dates don't matter. memories and moments aren't chronologically marked on the soul.

Showing posts with label 2018. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2018. Show all posts

The Sync

Each morning as I head to the bathroom - I give my ass a good scratch, I tuck myself, I wash my hands, and I decide. Will I lift my head and reflect? Or will I refuse introspection and bow my head and tend to my teeth. I reflected this morning. 

I don't see myself in contemporary culture. I'm as absent as the back teeth stolen from my smile by diabetes: my place remains but the space merely marks the missing. I'm out of sync. I don't fit. 

And as I gaze into society, I don't see my beliefs reflected. I don't fit emotionally, spiritually, politically, or ideologically. I haven't felt like this since, oh hell, high school? No. College. In high school I didn't fit the mold of masculinity. In the seminary I didn't fit the mold of spirituality. But I soothed myself with the notion of subsets. I was confined in a subculture of anachronism. And I dreamt of a bigger set. I envisioned inclusion in a global catholicism. So I remained set in my ways; my beliefs set in a stone: solid, spherical, secured. 

I remain in a subset. I don't feel unfit. I just feel alone.

The Selfishness Of Sickness

I don’t sleep anymore. I’ve spent the last couple of hours watching YouTube videos proving Amy Schumer steals jokes (I’m so over her but I don’t have the heart to listen to the sadness of The BBC anymore so YouTube is my distraction) and now I’m watching the ceiling and accepting the fact I can’t sleep anymore. It’s so difficult to describe how I feel. It’s so odd to have my entire life change so quickly. 

Too quickly to accept. 

I went to see a doctor about a cold and he said I had an irregular heartbeat and he ordered tests. 

And now I can’t walk to the corner with my sister without stopping every couple of houses to rest. How did that happen? How do I accept that? 

How do you accept that one day you can’t ride a bicycle or take a shower without sitting on the edge of the tub to rest or that talking takes the voice control you learned in choir just to hold your voice steady? Do you explain that’s why you go hours each day without spoken words or why you don’t answer your phone? How do you accept that you can’t participate in conversations like you used to? 

How do you accept that shopping physically costs or that now you’re so dizzy you worry about the responsibility of driving? 

How do you accept the waiting? Waiting to see whether the medicines that make you feel so awful will correct a problem that’s deteriorated over the last couple of months of medicine. 

How do you accept can’t? How do you explain the difference between can’t and won’t? 

How do you accept the fear? The fear of being forgotten? The fear of being a burden? 

How do you accept the selfishness of sickness? How do you explain you can’t listen because all you hear is your pulse in your head? How do you explain you can’t feel empathy or sympathy because you’re preoccupied with feeling your heartbeats as they run like small sparks across your chest? How do you explain that you’re consumed with monitoring the illness that’s consuming all your physical strength? How do you explain you’re heartless because your heart is less? 

How do you accept that bed has become your purgatory? How do you accept that you can’t sleep because of the sober spins? How do you accept the exhaustion of attempting to steady yourself and trying to stop the rapid revolutions? How do you accept that the jitters that rob you of rest and how do you accept the nightly terrors that you may not have rest the rest of your life? 

But I’m accepting it. I accept I can’t be impulsive. Impulse. Am pulse. Never considered that connection until I just typed it on my phone. I can’t be impulsive anymore. I plan my movements. Everything is measured. I sat today and I judged when I should stand up because when I stand I have to steady my stance because I’m so lightheaded. 

And I accept that the medicines have changed me. Constant dizziness and constant nausea are the artifacts. And I need to accept feeling like I’m drunk may be my new normal. 

Anyone who knows me knows i constantly examine my conscience. It’s what I do. In my youth I was such a liar that now I’m driven toward authenticity. How is one authentic when every move is measured and every word is guarded? I don’t know. 

But Mark R. Trost isn’t Mark R. Trost anymore. 

And I have to accept that. I’ve lost so much in the last couple of months. In a way I’ve lost my identity. I’m not a writer anymore. When you measure each action and reaction you lose your confidence. I’ve lost my confidence. The impetus of my writing was my confidence in my enlightenment but now I live in darkness of loss. 

So now I ask for acceptance too. I need people to accept that I’m a shell until I find my emotional fuel again. I need people to accept that I can’t find confidence right now so they’ve got to accept my fragility. I need people to accept I can’t be lighthearted. My heart is heavy. I need people to accept I don’t want the responsibility of having an emotional response. I need people to accept that all of this is incomprehensible to me. And I’m not used to that. I’m not accustomed to being confused. 

I need people to understand “it could be worse” are rote words to my ears. No. To me this can’t be worse. Heart Failure has stolen my actions and reactions. My very essence as a man was my immediate emotional, spiritual, and intellectual spontaneity. I lived in every moment and I lived every moment. And now that essence is dead. And I don’t know how to accept that.


“What?” Anger chased sadness up Mark’s neck and settled in his cheeks. He followed her into the kitchen. 

Ellen stood with her back against the sink and her arms crossed against her chest. “It’s the wrong time. We’re not ready for it.” 

“Ready for it? We’re not ready for it?” 

“We’re not.” 

“How could you decide without talking to me? We decided this was real between us! We decided to live together! We decided we loved each other! We decided I’d support us while you got your masters! How could you decide we weren’t going to have a baby anymore?” 

She walked around him and stood at the center island. “It was the right decision.” 

“Ellen, it was our decision!” 

“No. It was mine.” 

Mark walked to the opposite side of the island. “I’m not some guy you hooked up with. It was our decision!” 

“Don’t let your Catholic guilt stop you from being reasonable.” 

“Don’t start that shit with me.” 

“It’s my body. I decide what happens to it.” 

“Yeah and you decided to be irresponsible about birth control.” 

“I won’t talk to you if you’re going to be mean.” 

“Jesus. You know, at first I was afraid of having a baby. It was all so sudden! But then it sunk in. I got used to it. And then I got happy. All of sudden I was just so goddamned happy and now it’s all gone. Fuck! I even bought Jack a cigar.” 

“We agreed not to tell anyone yet.” 

“Oh fuck you! That’s what you’re upset about? Don’t even start.” 

“In a couple of years, when the time is right, we’ll start a family.” 

“You think we can go on? You think you can decide my life without me and we’ll still go on?” 

“I’ve decided my life.” She picked up the wine bottle and refilled her glass. 

“You think this is all about you? Don’t you know I’m going to look at a calendar and think how old our kid should be? And when I am a dad and people ask me how many kids I have, when I don’t include this one, you think I’m not going to feel like a liar? Or disloyal or something? This baby was not only yours. It was ours! It was mine too!” 

“It wasn’t a baby. Not yet.” 

“Don’t tell me how to define the people in my life. Or fuck! Gone from my life.” 

“You think this was an easy decision for me?” 

“I don’t know. How could I? You never told me. We didn’t discuss it. All I know is we were happy and then two days later you decided we wouldn’t be.” 

“It was the wrong time.” 

Mark walked and sat at the table. “You didn’t even talk to me. You didn’t even include me. All this time letting me talk about neighborhoods and schools and college funds and hockey teams and not even telling me it’s not coming true?” 

“In time,” she dismissed his emotions with a wave of her hand, “when you’re not so … emotional … you’ll see I’m right.” 

Mark stood up and walked to the kitchen doorway. “I’ve got to get out of here.” 

“Stay. Let’s talk this through.” 

“No, we can’t be together.” 

“What are you saying?” 

“I’ll stay at Jack’s until you move out.” 

“This is our home.” 

Your decision. My house.” 

“You can’t be serious.” 

“Dead serious. You killed us. We’re done.” 

“You’re being childish.” Ellen leaned into her palms and spoke over the island. “Now sit down and listen to me.” 

“What you’re seeing isn’t childishness Ellen. It’s mourning. Get out.” Mark walked through the doorway, grabbed the keys from the hook, and slammed the front door until the bay window shivered.

Him Too

He doesn’t always remember anymore. He doesn’t always remember a name. He doesn’t always remember that score. He doesn’t always remember the song. He doesn’t always remember those facts. Sometimes. But, not always. Not anymore. 

But he always remembers the window pane and the emptied dirt road that lined the fallow field. He always remembers the twilighted living room and the darts of a fluorescent kitchen light that interloped the dark. He always remembers the yellow and blue kerchief he tied around his neck and the merit badges his mother stitched on his blouse. He always remembers waiting for the absent scouts. He always remembers the afraid. He always remembers the wanting of home. He always remembers the drowsy. He always remembers the scratching of a salt-shaded beard. He always remembers the repetitions and the self-recriminations. He always remembers the of courses. He always remembers all the quitting. That he remembers. Always.


Mark took a pull from his beer and thought about his past. First Avenue. He remembered that bar. He felt ashamed. 1983. He hated himself in 1983. He vividly remembered 1983: 

Mark put his index finger to his right nostril, leaned over the marble that held the sink, and dusted the trail of powder. He tripoded his palms to balance his weight and looked in the mirror. He took his hand and smoothed his hair and silently judged the cut. “$70 fucking dollars!” He leaned in and checked his pupils, inspected his nostril, and noticed stray powder on the lapel of his suit. He brushed it off with a violent whisk, stood erect, checked his zipper, and sidestepped an impatient man. He used the heel of his hand to open the door and walked back into the club. 

His eyes readjusted to dusk. Noises from the club fucked his mind: music blared from newly installed video screens and words screamed that should’ve been mumbled. The club smelled of suffocated desperations sweat through soaked silk shirts. His heart beat faster than the strobes. “I fucking love coke!” Mark said to himself. He ordered a Black Russian from a bartender who looked like yesterday. He glanced at the screen above the stage and saw a woman clothed like a man. “Sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I to disagree? I travel the world and the seven seas. Everybody's looking for something.” He took a sip and turned to the crowd. 

She stood beside a table. Stiff backed. Legs elongated by heels too high for comfort. A silk dress echoed her sways. She stood still but her body was fluid. She saw him as he watched her. She smiled and returned to the table. 

“Now that’s gonna be a great fuck!” Mark said to no one. He swallowed the rest in the glass, bathed his bottom lip with his tongue, straightened his spine, and walked to her. 

“I hate this song” he said. 

“I didn’t ask.” She glanced above his eyes to the video. 

“True. But see I made this pact when I was at the bar. I told myself that you and I weren’t going to be bullshit.” 

She mixed sex and scorn. “We haven’t agreed to anything.” 

Mark reached into his suit pocket and pulled out his pack: red wide box, expensive, pretentious. 

“What are those?” 

“Dunhill.” He withdrew one from behind the foil and placed it between his lips. “Want one?” 

“No I have my own.” She possessively patted a pack of Mores near an ashtray. 

Mark took the gold cigarette lighter out of his trouser pocket, lit the cigarette, and took a drag. “You gonna let me buy you a drink?” 

“I don’t know.” She crossed her arms. 

“What?” he exhaled. 

“It all depends.” 

“On what.” 

“How you kiss.” 

Mark leaned his arm behind him so the cigarette wasn’t in his path. 

When they separated she said, “I’ll have a Slippery Nipple.” 

He laughed. A huge laughed fueled with truth. “Yeah, you will.” 

She smiled. “It’s a drink.” 

“I’ve never heard of it.” 

“See that bartender who looks like Deney Terrio?” She pointed to a man with oily hair and a slick deportment. “He knows how to make them.” 

He laughed and squinted his face. “Who is Deney Terrio?” 

She put her hand on his suit coat sleeve and guided him towards the bar. “That one.” 

He turned around and kissed her. “I’ll be right back.” 

After three drinks, time by the sink, and a delightful interlude in a men’s room stall with her, they found themselves walking to the lot that lined the club. He kissed her as he pressed her against the wall at the rear of the lot. His hands traveled her skin beneath her dress until he held her. 

“Let’s go to your place,” she sighed as she arched her back. 

“Next,” Mark said and returned to her. 

She grabbed his shoulders and turned him against the wall. Her hand unzipped him and she lowered herself to her knees. When she was finished, she spit his contents on his trouser leg. She stood up and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “Sorry.” 

“Goddamn it!” He said when he saw the smear. 

“I said I was sorry.” 

“Fuck it. Where did you park?” 

“I’m right there.” She pointed to a caramel colored Monte Carlo. 

Mark walked her to her car. “Let’s just be done.” 

“Fine!” She sneered as she took the keys from her clutch. She slammed the car door and left the lot. 

Mark took his keys out of his pocket and walked to his car. He shoved his fists into his pockets. “I’m too fucking drunk to drive!” He said aloud. He walked to the curb and sat. He saw the semen on his suit and dropped his chin to his chest. He began to cry. He put his elbows on his knees and held his head with his hands. “Fuck!” he hissed. He took a cigarette from the pack and placed it between his lips. He lit it and violently pitched the lighter across the street. He smoked each sorrowfilled thought through. He flicked the butt into the street, walked and retrieved his lighter, noticed the dent in the metal, and climbed into his car. He repeated all his vowed as he drove himself home. 

Mark stood up, pitched the emptied bottle in the recycle bin, and walked into his bedroom.

The Man Who Knew Too Much

I drove by as she sat on the boulevard. Her head hung like a Barbie’s when the neck’s been stretched by too many tugs to the hair. A cigarette hung from her lips as if gravity pulled it to her lap. Her torso slumped over her legs. They were crossed under her. She sat alone. Her thick eyebrows framed her face. “Wow, she’s stunning! She could be a model,” I thought. Although we’d never met, I instantly recognized her. 

I drove by as she sat on the boulevard. I thought of her mother. I had dated her for a few months a few years ago. One day we stood in the middle of a snow slushed street and she casually told me, “I’m damaged.” She began her litany: two failed marriages and a teenaged daughter with more than a few problems. Our courtship was spent with us in defined and restricted roles: I was the sounding board and she was the sound. Her song was her daughter’s distress. 

I drove by as she sat on the boulevard. She didn’t know me; she didn’t know of my existence. I know her intimate secrets. I shouldn’t know them. I have no right to have knowledge of her fears, failures, struggles, or sorrows. Her mother had no right to grant me – nearly a stranger – access to her child’s heart and soul. Her daughter’s despair is not hers to share. 

I drove by as she sat on the boulevard. She didn’t know I know. She’ll never know I know. I’d never auction her secreted for affection or attention. I promised her a few moments after I drove by her as she sat on the boulevard.


Perhaps I’ve wasted my life trying to crawl above the adjective unique. Maybe unique is my legacy. Maybe unique is my apart. Maybe unique is my remembered.

And Then I Said

Quoting is not the verb of genius. Originating. Now there's the genius.