6 months ago

Comfortable Madness First PDF 4-13-18

Lines Mornings sucked.

Lines Mornings sucked. Anxiety poisoned everything. Yesterday’s anxiety. Today’s. Tomorrow’s. I lay in my bed, frozen and sad, watching pale blue streamers run from wall to wall. Everything was misty and kind of shiny. Pretty and frightening all at once. Pushing aside the colors, I rose and showered. Water hot enough to pink my skin seemed to scorch the visions from my head for a moment. I scrubbed the night from face and body. Water beat my hair into obedience. My body was all hard and manly lines. Cheekbones stood like stones under coarse skin. A short, Irish nose ruined my whole face. Muscles, too big to be girly, rolled under a layer of soft fat. I shaved my legs and arms, my pits. I peeled the skin raw and I smeared lotion over the burning plane. Slick as a seal pup, I looked like a big man, too strong looking to be a real girl. Memories of the dream scared me. Voices came out of the corners, telling me about the neighbors. The voices told me that Mr. Rothgery, the man on the other side of the fence, was going to kill me. He always made a point of saying hi whenever he saw me, but the voices told me it was all an act. I knew the voices were just voices. They meant nothing. No one wanted me dead, but my head had two parts. There was the part that believed and the part that knew. They fought, working side by side. The noise in my head was brutal and white and sharp. It was too much. I walked through the kitchen. Tayla sat at the table but said nothing. Outside, rain streaked the sky. The sidewalks were dark with water. I waited in the wind and the dream walked with me, there and not there, a hand on the back of my neck leading me to

the curb. I smoked and paced, and I watched the runners panting in the misty morning. I closed my eyes and turned away. I looked for the man from my dreams. I looked for him, but he was invisible, watching me, but I couldn’t find him. Tayla brought the car from the garage. I almost didn’t get in, but I had school and Tayla was waiting. “You okay?” Tayla asked. “Tired.” “Yeah?” “Nightmares.” Tayla nodded and went back to zooming around cars. “There was this guy,” I said. “A guy?” she asked. “A nightmare,” I said. “A nightmare?” On the other side of the glass, trees rose like twisted priests praying in the gray air. Everything glittered silver for a moment. I thought of my dream. It was both real and unreal. My skin remembered his hands, his lips. I knew about these things. Dreams were sometimes dangerous, especially when they refused to fade in the daylight. “He was scary,” I said. “Really?” “Yeah,” I said. “We danced.” “Danced?” “Danced,” I said. “But then he…well, you know.” “A sex dream?” Tayla asked. “Kind of.” “Yuck.”

  • Page 2 and 3: Comfortable Madness William L. Alto
  • Page 4 and 5: Dedication For Lisa, who showed me
  • Page 6: still the only teacher who let me g
  • Page 9: I reached for his face, but it was
  • Page 13 and 14: med thing? Was this the start of an
  • Page 15 and 16: Science and Spirit They made physic
  • Page 17 and 18: Target I was neither the biggest ki
  • Page 19 and 20: Crossing the Line In English, we ta
  • Page 21 and 22: Episode Voices and faces bubbled ou
  • Page 23 and 24: God Porn Four girls stood in front
  • Page 25 and 26: Lunch Color drained away except for
  • Page 27 and 28: Telling Secrets Miss Tris sat with
  • Page 29 and 30: Water I danced and Tayla played. Ta
  • Page 31 and 32: “We have to do something,” Miss
  • Page 33 and 34: Insomnia Sun rise. Jays screamed in
  • Page 35 and 36: Love and Madness Our bed was old. K
  • Page 37 and 38: Someday Queertopia was the last tab
  • Page 39 and 40: There were no words. There were no
  • Page 41 and 42: Voices and Visions Night. Everythin
  • Page 43 and 44: Answered Questions Tayla sat in the
  • Page 45 and 46: A Thing Homecoming. I didn’t want
  • Page 47 and 48: I backed away. People were really s
  • Page 49 and 50: Tayla rolled over and looked at me.
  • Page 51 and 52: Delusions I was too cold. White air
  • Page 53 and 54: Room A creek ran on the edge of tow
  • Page 55 and 56: Questions Water dribbled through a
  • Page 57 and 58: Show Folks came through the door, t
  • Page 59 and 60: gathered in his fists and face. I s
  • Page 61 and 62:

    “I love you,” he said. Was this

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    Spells in the Corner The music was

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    Silence. We looked at Tad. He shrug

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    The Mormons stumbled and turned. Th

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    “I understand,” Tayla said. “

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    PE I watched the game without watch

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    He got off the couch and came to me

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    Tayla grunted in her sleep. I didn

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    I didn’t know that for sure. Gid

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    How do you explain what it was like

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    Air seemed to slice through me. Par

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    Glass The room was mine. The walls

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    “I love you,” she said. Sweet w

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    “Turn away from sin,” he shoute

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    down and grabbed my arm. He hauled

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    Secrets Sadness verged on depressio

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    Real Enough Orion hung in the south

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    Escape Tayla and Angie took me to t

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    We crouched behind a hedge. The cop

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    Shit Follows Voices told me to run.

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    “You’re dying,” he said. Spot

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    Emergency Darkness. Thick, vast and

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    Friends Miss Tris and Tad came with

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    At the corner, I sat in a hard chai

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    Awkward Everyone stared at Angie an

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    The Dead On the edge of sleep, just

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    Real and Not Real Visiting hours st

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    I stared at the trees on the other

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    Home Part of me thought things woul

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    He was a wall of bone and muscle. H

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    She came back to the bathroom. “I

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    Tayla put on Duke Ellington. We hel

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    gulped down. That was it. This was

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    Worry Broken leg. Broken ribs. Disl

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    “She hates me,” I said, soundin

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    Soon I knew things. I knew someday

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    Open Communication Pain and oxy str

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    Tayla gave her the finger. I grinne

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    “You’ll make it,” Tad said. I

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    Love Oxy made everything okay. Not

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    Things Come Out “Sweet Jesus,”

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    Fight For days, we fought but we fo

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    “Really?” she asked. The word h

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    An old man stopped. He looked from

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    Faith There he was. Gid. In the win

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    The First Shot Queertopia. Tayla, r

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    Always and Forever I dreamed of lig

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    Temptation Last call. The stage emp

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    Empty Promises It started. But then

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    Gifts Music lifted into the air, br

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    Object of Admiration Mr. Skarey cal

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    Black birds came from the corners.

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    This Body I dreamed of music, compl

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    Miracles I was late. I was never la

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    laughing. I had nothing to laugh ab

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    “You’re talking religion,” Co

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    Tayla’s drawn face tore at me.

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    This Is Love First, I saw his hands

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    Making Sure Posters of smiling wome

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    Something Hard and Sad Rain fell li

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    Looking Forward Dance team girls ga

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    Closet Water stains made dark masks

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    “You okay?” he asked. “Fine,

  • Page 187 and 188:

    “The baby! Jesus, the baby!” So

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    “I love you,” Gid said. He went

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    “You’re not a guy,” he said.

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    Heavy Music and movement. I spun an

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    It felt as if my skin were going to

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    “They did nothing to you,” Gid

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    I smiled a fake smile. Tayla watche

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    “Really,” I said. “They can s

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    I closed my eyes. “Let’s go,”

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    “What’s up?” she asked. “Te

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    I smoked and waited. Tayla came and

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    Waiting I danced. I danced and hope

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    The Talk “What’s his name?” T

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    Almost a Victim I sat on the floor

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    pushing his fingers into my pie and

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    “She thinks I cheated,” I said.

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    “You know better.” Suddenly, I

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    “You know,” she said. “No one

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    “No,” I said. “Yes. And other

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    “I know.” Her fingers squeezed

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    That put an end to it.

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    “What happens,” I asked, “if

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    didn’t trust her because they ass

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    “Have you thought of adoption?”

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    “I have some newborn clothes here

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    Safe Dead folks filled the room wit

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    Consequences Mr. Skarey’s office

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    A Domestic Moment I lay on the bed

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    Birth It started with a rush of wat

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    When they handed me my son, I cried

  • Page 247:

    He fought with me, but there was a