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I knew something was wrong when I read the email…”Last installment very powerful. You definitely have potential…” and I copped a resentment. I really hate the word “potential”, if only because I heard it so much as a teenager and as a 20-something that I wonder at what point do I get to arrive. But it’s all process, right? It’s the journey and I must remain teachable; I must be able to keep learning.

Another “real-life” friend who’s a published poet read my site and told me “…it was good“: the “good” rising in inflection towards the darkening sky, a “good” loaded with “buts”.

I have got to make this about me. I’ve got to make this my little shrine, or sanctuary, or secret clubhouse.

But I need you guys, and you keep me going. You make it worth it. So it can’t be all about me, or only for me. If it were only for me, it wouldn’t be online. If it were only for me, I’d never have met you. If it were only for me, it wouldn’t be communication, and that’s what writing is. For me. The praise; I love it, it’s seductive, addictive, dangerous.

What a fucked-up week; the dad-finding-my-weblog affair, a critique of my Palm Springs story by a class who wanted to know what I meant by “fear”. Aren’t any of them afraid? Or am I the only one who got all paranoid and twitchy on speed and who, towards the end, would hyperventilate whenever passing a gay guy on the street?

Maybe it is just me.

All they really wanted was more: more information, more background, more hot man-on-man 4 sex 4 man dirty details. (“Let us witness it”, the instructor said. Is that where I start talking about his “turgid, swollen member”?) But nobody said it was the most beautiful thing they ever read, and I went home dejected. Ahem. Dogpoet needs to learn about criticism, no?

None of this is art, forgive me, but if I don’t get some of this shit out of the way I’ll stop writing. I’ve just been feeling….raw, exposed. I turned over a log and uncovered a nest of beetles who, like me, want to scurry for cover.

Something changed this week; almost overnight dogpoet ceased to be something I could hide…more and more “real life” people are reading, more friends and acquaintances ask me for the link. And the brutal candor I’ve displayed here is having consequences in the “real world” but it’s too late to stop: I can’t hide anymore because I’ve outgrown that old outfit and anyway it makes me break out in a rash.

I don’t know where I’m going. At least not yet. I’m still finding my way.

I’ve created a pretty monster, one I need to feed and who feeds me, who devours all my words and needs constant affection. I love it but it’s so fragile, so transparent. You tell me I’m stronger than I think, I have fangs and claws but all I see are the soft softs on my body, on my monster.

Wednesday night I heard a young woman named Dragon speak at an AA meeting. She was talking about “bad things”, you know, like her father fucking around with her when she was a kid. She said something that shook me up, said that the bad things become the good things, with enough time. She said if her Dad hadn’t fucked around with her she wouldn’t have been so messed up and ended up in AA so young and now, she said, she has her whole life before her, just waiting.

All those bad things that happened have made me who I am, it took all of them for me to get here. And now I have my whole life before me, just waiting. Dad, we’ve changed a lot in 22 years. I get it now, there’s nothing you can say to make it better. I just need to forgive. One of these days.

To my friends and family: I don’t mean to say that I can’t handle you reading this. I just can’t keep needing the praise or fearing the silence. It may be a monster, but it’s mine.

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