If we put three people in a room together and asked them to define loyalty or honor or respect, we’d get different answers from each one of them. Some of the answers might overlap and some of the answers might come out angry or defeated or even terrified of being seen.

We are living in the age of hyper-connectivity, but nobody is connecting.


I’ve been having panic attacks again. They keep starting in weird places inside of my body. Sometimes they start in the soles of my feet and feel like electric eels climbing up my Achilles and into my calves and then they explode like arcing light through my thighs and into my torso. Other times they start in my colon—a twitch or a gurgle that isn’t anticipated will happen and then everything inside of me goes dayglow and slithery—which isn’t a spot I am used to them beginning.

I am all out of my anxiety medication and I feel like that is a good thing. I feel like not relying on the pill as an act of desperation is a better option than me taking a pill and going fetal wherever I am until it kicks in and does the smoothing out thing. I want to feel it all right now. I want to sweat and convulse a little. I want to taste the pennies in my mouth and I want to feel the current in my limbs.

Ride your fucking ride.


I almost got married when I was nineteen years old. It was such a quick and wild thing, this sudden aloneness turning into impending marriage and all that. Everything was a blur. I remember telling my Senior Chief on the ship that I was flying to Arizona to get married and he looked at me like I was crazy and said “You have a girl? Had no clue.” My mother was stoked, because she really loved the girl. I loved the girl. My sister loved the girl. The girl, well, she fell in love with someone else before I could get back there and do the marrying thing.


I always enjoy how on a holiday meant to remember the dead, Americans of all shapes/sizes/ages will use it as an excuse to drink too much alcohol, scorch dead animals on grills, and ramble their rambles about those who have

Don’t even get an old fuck like me started on the honor part.


My physical being is imposing even when I do not want it to be. I soften and soften my face and my eyes, yet I am still this thing, this big lunk of meat and skin and scar tissue and possible violence. Possible violence is a thing.

The violence I think about all of the time is the verbal and unintended type. The kind where people speak and speak and yammer and yammer all while never looking around themselves to see their surroundings or whom their yammering may bleed from. The kind of violence that is unintended but steals away any comfort at all, the kind of violence that should have been taught about when small and innocent. The kind of violence I am thinking about is friend on friend, lover on lover, brother on sister, neighbor on neighbor. Words and words and words and words.


The girl I was going to marry told me she had fallen in love with another. She told me this while I stood on a payphone in the rain thousands of miles to the northwest. She told me this only a few days before I was to board a plane and do the thing we were going to do. I kept asking her why it happened and what I could do to fix it and I kept asking her if she loved him and she said yes yes yes over and over again and then said the thing that clicked into place for me: “He’s here, Sean.”


People always say that dogs are loyal. I agree with that, but I’d also like to add that dogs are love. They want love and give love and live love.

Ask yourself what loyalty means to you. Go on.


Last night my neighborhood was a shitshow of fist fights, screaming drunks, people stumbling around and pissing on parked cars, vandalism, and plenty of other unseemly things. Memorial Day.


My physical being has survived plenty of violence. Self-inflicted, random, intentional, murderous—all of the types of violence one can think a physical body could be subjected to—and I am still here, in this body. My emotional self has suffered far more. The violence of witnessing ignorance and anger and hatred and disenfranchisement and cruelty. The violence of disinterest. The violence of righteousness. The violence of virtue. The violence of policing. I swallow this kind of violence into myself every day. We all do. We see it and hang our heads and we see it and slink away into ourselves and it stirs and stirs inside of us and it wrecks us from the inside out.

How hard is it to be kind?


I sat outside in the cold and listened for sounds. I sat on the bathroom floor and spoke in an angry hush. I stared holes into a sleeping man. I kept fingering the electrical outlet. I kept thinking about my hands and the power inside of them and the anger inside of the rest of me and kept looking into her eyes and listening to her, hearing her, seeing she was yes, in love. It took a long time, but I left and walked in the cold and stumbled my way back to a home that wasn’t mine and drank myself into sleep and woke the next day with a new feeling inside of my body.

Recently, she asked me how I was able to forgive her.


We’re all stars in a star-crossed universe.


I keep on wondering when my body will finally give in and raise the flag. When will the panic attacks leave. When will the need for nicotine move on. When will my hunger for meat cease. When will my desire to be desired slip away. I am so close to invisibility in so many ways, yet my physicality is so impossible to ignore. I want to be smaller. I want to be leaner. I want to see my shadow and think it belongs to another, younger version of me I am. I want to step out of the shower and not feel like I am heavy with death or heavy with panic or heavy with a sigh that is slumbering inside of me. I want to want. I want to want. I want to want.


Two days out of the calendar are set aside for Veterans and the fallen. Two. It sure seems like a lot more, but that is all there is, all that is official. Why people find the need to use those two days—those only two days—to flood the world with their disdain about all that has gone wrong is beyond my capacity of understanding. It can be done on any other day. Two days. Honor. Respect. Loyalty.


I am not of the belief that people set out to betray one another. I might be touched in the head, who knows. I just know that there is no way the girl meant to betray me and I was never going to treat her as though she did. When she asked me how I was able to forgive her I told her that in order for me to live my life the way I choose to live my life, I have to be able to forgive others, otherwise I will never be able to forgive myself. Forgiving myself is hard and anyone who works that angle knows how hard it is. I am cruel to myself. I am constantly inflicting psychic and emotional violence upon myself. Sometimes I try to stick a mask on it and call it humility, but I know what it really is and that’s fine.

Let go.

Ride your fucking ride.

1 Comment

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One response to “RIDE YOUR RIDE

  1. yerk

    dude you always find a new way to tear my fucking heart out. im always compelled to keep reading, no matter how rough. that old fascination with the underbelly of things we’ve talked about. i hope someone loves you as much as i love your writing, sean ❤

    as an aside, as a fellow vet, esp a former squid who went to the sandbox as a contractor and got shot at, just getting praise on these days makes me feel kinda guilty. i guess its my right to feel that, but that doesnt make me feel less guilty. and thats an open door to talking about the wrongs of the world, but thankfully my friends build me up when i get that way.

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