I am in a beer parlor at 1 am, flirting with a man, sipping Star with a straw. There is beauty in unfulfilled potential I say. We are talking about my favorite author not writing new books. A person’s refusal to use their talent is just as magical a thing as the production of work, I think aloud. My partner disagrees.
It is almost closing time and I have gotten no work done. Basquiat died of a heroine overdose at 27. I first think, when I read this sentence, that that is awesome.
The next day, in Tolu’s house, Billboard reports on Chris Brown’s untreated mental illness and addiction. He will die, they say, if he doesn’t get clean.
Ask me who my favorite musician is. The answer is always Amy Winehouse.
There is a pattern here. I am drawn to the destruction of self by the talented. I do not see young death of the artist and her art, fueled by addiction and such, as a particularly bad thing. There is as much magic in the birth of a star as in the creation of a black hole. I just happen to identify with the darkness.
It is my first time using the toilet at Fela’s shrine. Nearby, on a plastic seat with a breaking leg, is a new friend. He’s holding a blunt, we are discussing the possibilities of a mutually experienced coke high. Somehow, we pick a date in the future.
This is my life. I am drawn to destruction. Hypo-mania leads me to swing off balconies, stand outside of staircase railings, and at cross roads where the big trucks are a mere hair’s breath away. Depression is a blade and a wrist, a clogged tub of Hydrogen and Hydrogen, Oxygen. This is my life.
Why are you not producing work? Why are you not writing? On the off chance that I’m riding in the same bus as you, coasting in the normalcy of the middle, I am inside of my enjoyment of a rejection of productivity. Does that make sense? I enjoy the refusal to do it for the culture. And maintain that lost work lost because it never was, is as relevant as the art that lived. The world the Lord created not influences the earth he did.
I do not go back to the shrine with my new friend. I do not go back anywhere with him. Not yet. This is my fear. There is nothing that tells to me that I should not do a thing. If I start coke, I will not stop. More precisely, if I stroll into addiction, I will enjoy bearing witness to the death of words unspoken too much to stop walking in the snort and step back into normalcy’s coast.
The bottle of beer has an end. It is seemingly finite by itself. But the supply of bottles of beer is without limitation. We order another one, pull out another straw. You are romanticizing failure, he says. And this too shall pass. Except it will not. This is clutched to my chest, this thinking, right beside the nipple on the left. Or maybe it will.
Life, anyway, is endless for the badly behaved. Destruction of self is transcendence, an allowance of others yet undestroyed — read me and when I go, read you — to bask in the grimy unilluminated beauty of a light lost, sometimes before it was turned on. Heaven is darkness when hell is petrol station floodlights before dawn.
Reject the happy ending. Reject sensibility. Create as much work as you please, as you can, as you will. Then be gone. As unceremoniously as you lived. Heroine, coke, prescription, gillette, your self destruction is valid.