Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Why doesn't anybody notice I'm dying?"

"Why doesn't anybody notice I'm dying?" muttered Tony Acala to no one in particular in a room full of dying people.


They contend there's something wrong with me. They think because I can't live with any of their crap jobs, don't have any respect for what they allegedly believe or profess, am homeless and alone and have no future in this world - that that's no cause to be depressed.

I'd be fucking crazy not to be depressed.

But for them to admit that would be to admit they have no future. Hey, can I help the decisions the powers-that-be make? Regardless, my life must be sacrificed as part of the cover-up of the ill-gotten pains. They say you can't shoot human weakness. But I'd sure like to try.

So I'm sitting in mandatory therapy class to get my mind right with fraud, explaining my oft times conundrum of my inability to express my opinions. Tell me you're going to see a movie I don't like and I feel compelled list each and every reason why the film doesn't work all the while condemning you in the process. Problem is, I know that's the wrong reaction to have but not knowing what else to say I remain silent.

Michelle, sitting next to me, is surprised to hear my confession. I've tangled with the authorities quite openly here but then that's an obvious thing to do when someone tries to step on you - especially if they think they can get away with it, if they can paint you with the same brush of irresponsibility of their life. She thinks I always get my opinion out. Truth is, I've stopped speaking my truest thoughts long ago.

Tony, however, has not reached my corrupted state. He still has the nerve and clean conscience to ask why no one is noticing his pain. I may have been the only one listening but I had to squelch my desire to run over to clasp his mouth, to perform my own cover up. "Don't say that! They'll say you're a bad person!" You can't ask real questions, only questions where they can plausibly deflect blame.

It was in that moment I knew what a fucked up world I live in - both on the outside and within.

Physically, I turned my back on Tony, instinctively not wanting his innocence to notice my guilt. My ears were straining, praying he didn't repeat his question even louder. I also wondered who else had heard him and ignored him in a similar way. Maybe everyone. This is a conspiracy after all.

Some people have to provide an answer for everything or they'll drown in miserable guilt. Had one of those people been listening they'd of shut Tony up right away with a patented non-answer to prove any misfortune need not be. But of course they are merely cowards like me, telling him he is alone in his suffering. Some people tell him with words, some people tell him with silence.

I used to fight back, to make them avert their eyes with their constant phony talk and empty promises to us. We homeless are not your saviors! But that was before my Betrayal. Betrayal of my friends, my hopes, and my dreams. I'm locked in the cycle of damaging my life to make up for damaging other lives. What sort of madman snips off the head when handed a beautiful flower? Next thing you know, you find yourself needing to be the "good child" not upsetting the oppressors just because you can't handle one more bit of disapproval.

What I fantasized about doing was taking a bullhorn and have Tony repeat his question that none could deny hearing. I imagined the flashing, murderous anger of many of the self-knowing eyes, I imagined the fear that I myself felt, I imagined the sorrow of a few - and I imagined the helplessness of everyone. Dear God, what a defining moment when I heard that simple question!

Sometimes people tell me things right out of the blue, knowing I have an understanding ear. I don't know much about the details of Tony's situation but last week he explained a dream to me that frightened him too much not to share. He was on the street, tall brick buildings blocking out the sky in all directions and he had absolutely nowhere to go. He couldn't force himself back to the shelter nor into feudal labor. He couldn't force himself to be demeaned one more single moment.

His words were he just couldn't do "it" anymore. If you need "it" defined for you, you cannot understand his meaning (but feel free to pretend to!).

No possible food, no possible hope, Tony described it like drowning in air. The only thought to keeping his sanity was to retain enough money for a gun, a mercy killing from the prison of hunger. When no other answer appeared he woke up in a literal sweat, wanting to scream. But it was now, in the middle of this reception celebrating laudable achievements enacted for the homeless over the past year Tony could hold it no longer.

"Why doesn't anybody notice I'm dying?"

The world is a cold corporation and we its grinding gears, replaced and discarded when broken or in disfavor. One day this world of woe will be made to take to its Walk Of Shame, just as the Germans were forced to walk through the concentration camps after WWII. The pursuit of our profitless profits will be gone with the wind and we'll celebrate the dream gifts of every person, forever rejecting the twisted dream of pushing square pegs into round holes - so whacked out are we now some people call this pursuit "being practical"!

Too often we accept the role assigned to us, obediently answering the cattle call to death. No wonder they think they can decide how we should fuck, suck and cluck. No wonder they piss on our heads without fear from Wall Street balconies. No wonder we imagine enemies upon which to war. It's all the same issue, we're all the same person. These are the facts I share upon pain of death.

Tony was a hero that evening, his name in the Book of Life, no longer pretending to live while dying. Who will join him?

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