Yesterday I was driving into the city with friends when the stereo in my car did the weird thing the stereo in my car does where the bluetooth cuts out and it shuts itself off at random. When I turned it back on NPR was broadcasting audio of people yelling “Shame on you! Shame on you!”
“Oh, they recorded my dream” I joked. We all laughed. It’s funny because it’s true. We all feel a pointing inward. We all feel that echo of shame.
A week ago I was smoking a joint, driving into the city with a friend, when the stereo did another weird thing the stereo in my car does where a one second slice of the bluetooth audio stream repeats indefinitely and I can’t adjust the volume, which was at maximum, or turn the stereo off. I pulled into the closest rest stop and powered off the car.
Seldom do I wake free from the hold a shameful memory, some days thicker than others with the fog of mistakes made throughout the last forty years of this dream.
The time I pushed a boy off a footbridge at summer camp.
The time I shot my neighbor’s house with an AK47.
The time I injected myself with trenbolone.
The times I walked through the bar, karate chopping strangers in their necks.
The time I drew all over another boy’s school uniform.
The time on the school bus when I told a girl I had a crush on that I didn’t want to be her boyfriend, because I thought her asking me was a setup for a joke, because I didn’t believe anyone could ever be interested in me.
The time I ripped the back off a coaster and sprayed it with oven cleaner then sold it as acid.
The time I sold a friend a bottle of Gatorade with the label torn off, filled with clenbuterol dissolved in water, and even though I explained to him he needed to hide it to keep others from drinking it, he put it in his refrigerator and his brother came home from work and drank it and had a heart attack.
The time I gave my brother some clenbuterol powder in a folded magazine page and explained to him how to measure a dose dissolved in water, then his wife found it, thought it was coke he was doing with an imagined other woman, so she snorted it all and wound up in the hospital for a week pumped full of betablockers.
The time I taught a friend how to cook coke and he became addicted.
The time I taught a friend how to use a needle and he disappeared.
Every lie I’ve ever told.
How far can we go to remove a memory?
Delinquent accounts are purged from your credit report after seven years. Some of these memories are decades old.
I see in your eyes where tomorrow is hiding in my heart.
The mind is a haunted house. Severed fingers play the ghost piano. A cat spitting blood. A floating head. The moon crashing through your window.
We can learn from our mistakes. In doing this we must remember.
We can learn to laugh at who we were, at who we are, at who we will come to be.
When you wake from a dream you can laugh about it. What are we waiting for?