“I don’t feel good don’t bother me.”

– Allen Ginsberg 

Every year since Spain, I’ve become sick like this. I feel as if all of the motorcycle exhaust I inhaled in Granada is still hanging out in my lungs, waiting patiently for me to move to Bath or develop some kind of morning swimming routine. But I’ve always treated my mind like a temple and my body like trash. I’m working on it. Me and God and my therapist. We’re all working on it. My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right. 

When I have a fever, my mind becomes a kind of postmodern novel in which I am the unreliable narrator. This time, the landscape of delirium includes a swirl of historical facts about the Dust Bowl (When sodbusters began to starve, they pickled tumbleweeds in brine. In Dalhart, Texas they sent TNT into the sky, thinking they could agitate the rain out of clouds.), White Stripes lyrics I loved at 16 (Every man with a microphone can tell you what he loves the most. Why don’t you kick yourself out? You’re an immigrant too!), sepia images of the Athabasca oil sands, Mitch McConnell turning into a tortoise and then back into Mitch McConnell, and half-baked ideas for single-handedly solving Oregon’s public defense crisis in my position as an admissions rep at a small Northwest law school.

On these nights, it’s most clear to me that my brain has become like the internet which has, especially these days, become much like my brain. Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine? I’m obsessed by Time Magazine. I read it every week.

I let my emotional life be run by the internet. So do you. I’m obsessed by the internet. I read it every minute.

It’s probably obvious by now that it was never really “Howl” that hit me hard but “America.” America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing. Does it ever hit harder than that? 

The great love of my life is trans and Ron DeSantis wants to scrub their face from all of your bookshelves. Watch them while they help some dropouts pass a GED test and then heat up a damn Papa Murphy’s pizza and then pass out on a bed that they built with their hands. It’s all so terribly threatening

America, why are your libraries full of tears? 

The point I am trying to make is that they are more upset by men wearing makeup than they are by children dead in the hallways. They are more upset by books with sex in them than children dead in the hallways. They are more upset by the ways in which we refer to ourselves than children dead in the hallways. When will you look at yourself through the grave? It will never be more simple than that. 

America I am putting my queer shoulder to the wheel. 

Actually, I’m doing nothing at all. And that makes me sicker than anything I’ve ever done. 

Photo Credit: GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

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