I do. Pretend. I’m of a mind. Singular. A creation. But I know it’s all I can do not to fall apart. Chunks and bits want to break off, need to break off, there’s a plurality in me that works away at what exactly? Toward what end? Other than to tear away pieces the minds think are irrelevant, unnecessary, dangerous even. The minds want me to be good. To contain myself. Behave myself. As if I’m one. Wholly presentable to the world as acceptable. I should do nice things. Be sweet. And kind. And friendly. The angry parts, let them crack, crumble, and dismiss them, who needs them? Someone does. I think. The minds disagree. Keep your tongue, they tell me. Don’t do anything outrageous. One day the walked line will seem like a path, not just a narrow string, taut and trembling, it will seem like your path, like you’ll own it all, like you’ll want to take credit for it. The minds say. But I don’t believe them anyway. I need the bad things, the things done that make me regret myself, that gnaw away at me, that make me feel like yes, there is a singular me. A mind my own at work. Hard. Not to give in. To fight the minds that claim I don’t need me. I just need to be. And do. And walk. As if I’m everybody else. But there’s something wrong with everybody else. Being everybody else is not being me. And I don’t mind falling apart, but it has to be me that does the falling, everybody else, everybody else, there’s enough wrong with me without having to be like everybody else. And I don’t care whether or not they can see it, whether or not they see it in themselves, whether or not I’m supposed to show it, it’s there. Out in the open. I do. Confess. I’m of a mind. Singular. A creation. At least I’m trying to be. Me. I. I would rather not pretend to be you. Or what you want me to be, just so the world would be a happier place, what about me? What about me? I know, I’m not that important, certainly not as important as you are, but I matter to me. You see, I care about me, I care about me not falling apart, because, at the very least I’m highly aware that you exist. That if I did fall apart, you’d have to deal with it. Fallout. Reconstitution of the mind I’m of would become your responsibility, and for that matter, I would like to avoid that. I’d like not to leave that up to you, who knows what you would do? To me? To yourself, oh yes, it would have consequences for us, but also, and don’t kid yourself, for you. It would affect you. You, the minds you are, you might start to believe it’s possible, possible that you could make this mind a singular one in your image. An image you’d put an eraser to and wipe out every little thing you didn’t like. Everything wrong. With me. With anybody. Wouldn’t that be nice, I can hear you thinking that, sometimes, I swear, I can even hear you say that. You dream of utopias, yet you douse yourself in the cleansing flames of dystopias, you need destruction, on a global scale, you need tyranny, to wipe the slate clean, you want to start it all over again. But you can’t. Let me tell you, as a nobody, you can’t. The things, all the things you tore away from me, the chunks and bits, all the things you’ll still tear away from me, they make me hold on even tighter, I’ll white-knuckle it till the end. If I have to. Your atom bomb of the mind, your onslaught on me for control over my more human, my baser instincts, my unpleasantness, my bad, but you’ll never eradicate it, you’ll just irradiate it, and I don’t mind being a freak, a mutant, a genetic dead end, fine, you can go on to have a vestigial pinky toe, you can evolve in whatever else you believe won’t go extinct at some point, just not without my contagion coursing for all eternity through your veins. I am a sickness. I am ill. A cancerous defect. And you’ll never get rid of me. No matter the manipulation, of mind, of matter, of genes, of intelligence. Artificial or otherwise, I’ll be there, cursing, a foul-mouthed malcontent, a miserable wretch, a cynic who’ll not buy into all the lovey-dovey feel-good fantasies you’re prepared to sell, I’ll be poor enough not to be able to afford it, and I’ll be glad of it. A gnarly-toothed miscreant, humpbacked and wide-eyed and naïve enough to believe my calcification is a necessary part to take hold in your heart, and stop it. At some point I’ll grow, like a dick, sticking right through your chest, piercing everything you’ve ever loved or held to be true, your world, your life, it will be in a shambles. For every chunk, every bit, every piece you break away from me, you break away from yourself, from what it means to be of a part. A part of something. Particular. An existence. And you know it. You do. Pretend. Pretend it’s not an existence at all, go ahead, discard me, ignore, reject me, but I’m here. I’ve been here. I’ll always be here. I’m human. Much to your chagrin. You can try and help it, cure it, control it, try for all you want, dear minds, but you can’t change this kernel, this crumb that I am, it’ll always pester you. It will pester you when you see it lying on the kitchen floor against the cupboard, it will pester you when you put your hands in your pocket, it will pester you when it flies in the face of everything you want to see happen, and you can cry and pry it out, and for a while, you’ll forget and feel better, but then a curious wind turns, a cold breeze will carry the dust of me, and blow me, right in your eyes. You’re fucked up you are. You always will be. It’s how it needs to be: fuck-up-able. Dirtily, sweatily, clumsily, imperfectly fuck-up-able.
By Kevin P. Keating