death. week 4.

date. 2022

city. new york city​

Image by Mark Tegethoff

March 2

I would like to write from death, not about death.

 

I know that death lives within me, and yet I never let it speak. I barely let it exist. But it exists. With or without me.

 

I spent the last few days in a hangover, feeling all sorts of shittiness.

 

In honor of the death project, I let myself sink into the shit, really feel it. Be at home in it. Explore my reflection in the big empty dark pile of shit which is my life.

 

I spend my life avoiding it, but here’s my chance to look it in the face. See it for what it is.

 

I spent the last few days in bed. Alone. Talking only with the voices in my head.

 

I watched dozens of hours of movies and television and basically jerked myself off for 72 hours straight. Leaned into my worst tendencies.

 

I’m not proud. I’m ashamed. But when everything is covered in shit, who’s keeping score?

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, and I’d publicly committed to fasting as part of some sort of protest against Russia. I posted this to Facebook last week:

 

Pope Francis has designated March 2nd, Ash Wednesday, as a day of fasting for peace.

 

While I'm certainly no Catholic, I do try my best to maintain some kind of hope and faith. Please feel free to join me (and countless others around the world) in this fast.

 

I hope to take this as an opportunity to consider the ways in which I, too, have at times chosen conflict over understanding, aggression over forgiveness.

 

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

 

But to be honest, I’m not feeling hope or faith today. I’m not ‘considering my conflicts or aggression’ (ew). No, today my fasting is a surrender to hopelessness. It is my unwillingness to just keep fixing things and constantly trying to accomplish something. I don’t want to keep trying to prove myself worthy or deserving. I’m just really fucking tired. Today, my fasting comes naturally. It comes as a relief.

 

Ash Wednesday: The body consumes itself.

 

I eat myself from the inside.

 

I had an eye doctor’s appointment scheduled for this afternoon, so I went into Brooklyn for that. On the way, I stopped at a friend’s place and talked about death.

 

He told me that he feels the fragility of life. And that’s his version of death and darkness. The darkness contained in every light. Or something like that.

 

Unfortunately, I cut him off because I wanted to share a poem with him that I wrote around midnight last night when I realized that all I wanted to do in life was to sleep.

 

Darkness

 

I used to think that the idea

Was to stay up late into the night

Breathing in the darkness.

 

I now understand that

Darkness only suffocates.

 

One should give oneself up to sleep

As soon as dusk’s shadows appear.

 

Sleep alone

Understands the darkness.

 

There are two kinds of darkness:

That which contains absolute terror.

And that which contains absolute nothing.

 

Evil vs. nihilism

Satan vs. the devil

Absence vs presence

Too much vs nothing at all.

 

And so two kinds of depressions.

That which desires nothing.

And that which fears everything.

 

 

The eye doctor dilated my pupils, so I had to wear sunglasses on the way home. Standing on the subway platform, hiding behind my shades, surgical mask, and bulky black winter coat, I felt invisible.

 

It all came together. The hunger, the hangover, the hiding.

 

It felt like home. It felt like death. I felt suspended in nothingness.

 

Here are two verses that keep reverberating in my head. I’m slowly slowly coming to terms with them, but in the meantime I just want to put them on the record.

 

 

“There is a crack, a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in.”

- Leonard Cohen

 

“Instead of death there was light.”

- Leo Tolstoy