About the Author
TweetHeart - A Twitter Novel By Douglas Sovern
CHAPTER SEVEN: July
Just been chillin’ with Tat, didn’t mean 2 get so high but damn….
Been hanging with her, making her take breaks, goin to McDonald’s, hitting the taco trucks, there’s some good ones out here.
We have some intense conversations.
She says I don’t understand, she’s gotta work, the money’s good, Rodney ain’t so bad.
I respect that but tell her she’s stronger than this, doesn’t need him, should go back 2 school, could get sick out here.
She says I’m the pot calling the kettle black.
To a point, I suppose.
I do see some of myself in her, could easily have gone that direction.
Her pimp Rodney seems 2 think I still could. He’s been getting me hella high! Getting used 2 me hanging around.
He jokes about putting me 2 work to make up 4 what he’s losing, from me wasting Tat’s time when she should be on the stroll.
Let him dream. I’ll take his drugs but I ain’t gonna be another 1 of his bitches, hell to the no! You feel me Layla?
Milo hates fireworks.
I really like em, u know? More 4 the nostalgia – reminds me of my childhood.
And for the colors & the trails.
But he gets SO scared.
Cowers & shakes & hides & tries to burrow under anything he can to escape the booms & the bangs.
Maybe he’s more enlightened than I am, cuz he realizes they’re just simulated warfare, militaristic air & noise pollution.
There’s really no need to simulate warfare in East Oakland.
Actual warfare breaks out on a regular basis.
Who needs bombs bursting in air when there’s bursts of gunfire?
Forget rockets red glare – how about a guy who glares at u, then shoots u?
Dude, East Oaktown feels so far from Berkeley.
It’s maybe 5 miles & I feel like I’m in a different country, & a third world one at that.
One where everyone’s poor, people speak every language but English & it’s really not safe to be on the street.
Course I’m out here anyway, aren’t I?
That’s just how I am, what can I say.
My sister calls it a death wish.
I call it real life.
All curled up in Rodney’s crib off 94th Ave.
Damn he gets me so high…somewhere inside I am thinking, this is not how it was supposed to be.
Layla did not bring me out here to find a new place to crash.
She didn’t say, hey let’s go smoke crack with this pimp I know!
I can feel in my jaw & my teeth, this is not helping me heal.
When I can feel them, they hurt, more than yesterday or the day before that.
I know this man doesn’t care about me, or about making me better.
Yeah I make him laugh, but he’s just hoping I’ll work 4 him.
This is a guy who is bad 2 his women – fuck, his girls! Little girls, like Tat, who I’m supposed to be helping.
Dude why do I fuck it all up.
Layla hands me an opportunity & I turn it to shit.
Dad is right I have negative tendencies.
Gotta get out of here, get back to the woods, off the track, before it’s too late.
I’m sorry Tatiana but I can’t rescue u. Gotta save myself first.
I would love to be inside Dante’s brain when I stumble back into his life like this: what is he thinking, really?
On his face I see a weak attempt at a smile, at least feigned pleasure at my safe return, mixed with the sad disappointment in his eyes.
Does he really wish that fone would ring & it would be the cops tellin him there’s been a terrible accident - or maybe it wasn’t an accident?
Or is he genuinely happy to have me back each time.
He says he didn’t expect me to disappear like this with a broken jaw and all.
Dude, the inability to speak properly isn’t nearly enough to hold me down!
At any rate I am back in his basement.
He & Milo always have a giddy reunion.
That’s raw pure happiness there.
Dogs (& Dante w/dogs) are incapable of faking emotions.
I withhold most of the details of my escapades from Dante.
I don’t need his disapproval, even if it’s unspoken.
My own is harsh enough.
Ignoring the messages from Layla.
Sorry girl. Yes u are my hero but I can’t face your disappointment right now, gentle as it may be.
She is so supportive & non-judgmental but I know I’ve let her down, let myself down, let everyone down, even Milo.
I am not ready to be the sidekick to Super Woman.
She will have to save the world without me.
I am a long way from functional.
Back in the cocoon 4 a while.
Dante gently chided me, saying Why don’t you just lay low, take it easy, give your body a rest?
Lord knows it needs a really long one.
Gonna be a long hot summer.
Totally forgot I have 2 go back 2 the doctor 2day 4 a followup.
God I hate doctors, hospitals, all that shit.
They treat me w/such contempt.
People should treat each other with respect.
They don’t know shit about me, judge me solely on my appearance.
I never do that 2 anyone.
I measure a person by their soul & their humanity not their clothes or hairstyle.
I know street kids who are worth more to the universe than millionaires.
I know high society assholes who are worthless to the world.
A lot of life is luck of the draw: where you’re born, whether you have money, whether you’re white, black, man, woman.
People forget that & take credit for something that was given 2 them by fate.
Being a white man of means is not a personal achievement.
I do not look forward to that damn nurse recoiling at my unwashed ways & then calling me “dearie” again in that condescending tone.
I feel like I may need them to do the operation again. But dude I sure do not want to go thru all that hell a 2nd time.
Listening 2 the animals: singing birds, chattering squirrels, slithering lizards.
Couple caterwauling raccoons going at it in the treetops.
I think they’re having sex.
They make more noise than my parents used to.
Doesn’t sound too pleasant 4 the female.
Damn men think they’re in charge of everything, even raccoon sex!
It’s one of those mornings when the fog is a living being, breathing in & out all around me, a misty amoeba, shifting shape.
It keeps secrets.
It demands no answers.
It hides me from my enemies.
It turns the forest into an unseen symphony.
Gray wisps glide past, earth’s cool breaths resting briefly on my skin.
They feel like they should hiss but they don’t.
Yeah I’m feeling the poetry in the air this morning.
2 little sleep + 2 many drugs + my weird little brain will do that, you know?
I don’t know how they pulled it off but these damn blood clots who call themselves my best friends are pissing me off like fuck.
I am in a perfectly mellow place recovering from my recent misadventures & suddenly Layla AND my sister Becca materialize, Dante in tow.
I don’t like the look of this & sure enuf they have some sort of intervention bullshit in mind.
Dante’s wringing his hands & I can tell he feels hella guilty.
Layla looks me in the eye & is very firm & committed, as usual.
Becca is just fucking bossy, her tone dripping with her usual judgment & big sister know-it-all-ism.
We are concerned about you Zoe, they say.
You really need 2 get some help.
U keep sliding back into a bad place.
Bad place? They’ve never even seen a bad place. I’ve been places that make Bad jealous at how horrible they are.
Places where the worst suffering they’ve ever known would be my first wish from a genie.
I threw a tirade & tossed a chair at Dante & broke some shit & told them to fuck off & I guess it shook their resolve cuz they just left.
I need to have some answers questioned.
Just cuz things have always been 1 way doesn’t mean they have 2 stay that way.
Whoever has been in charge of the world has made a hella big mess.
I see no reason I should go along with what they’ve decided.
Like getting married.
Lock me in2 some fucked-up relationship & then stigmatize me & punish me financially if I change my mind?
On the other hand gay couples who DO want 2 stay together aren’t allowed to?
Ass backwards if u ask me.
Why don’t people need a license 2 have children?
I need 1 for my dog & my car but not 2 bring another human soul into this fucked-up world?
Why are drugs illegal? Why is it against the law for Tatiana to have sex 4 money? Whose business is any of that?
Call me a free range libertarian.
I want the US out of my uterus and freedom to be the way the wild animals are.
People are like sheep.
They don’t think 4 themselves they just go along w/the herd.
I’d rather be an actual sheep, they seem sweet & happy.
So my friends & family need to back off & leave me to my own destructive vices.
It’s my body, my mind, my soul, not theirs.
an into a woman I used 2 know on Telegraph.
She’s really sweet & u can tell she’s smart deep down but she’s misunderstood.
Reminds me too much of myself. If I were a lady rapper I’d call myself Miz Undastood.
Anyway hadn’t seen her in awhile – her hair’s all dried out & caked & stringy, her teeth have gone from bad 2 worse & she’s not in a good place.
While we were catchin’ up she got in2 a beef w/a woman walking by, started screaming at her.
Some1 called the cops.
Long story short – which kinda sums up Twitter, don’t it? – they hauled her off on a 5150 & took her to Alta Bates.
I started 2 hassle the cops but they threatened me so I backed off, really don’t want to go there myself.
But dude it was a rude awakening.
They restrained her, stuffed her in the car, treated her w/no respect at all.
Kinda shook me up – there but 4 the grace of the goddess go I.
I don’t know why but suddenly the world was like a giant mirror with a big deep crack across it.
Damn, is this a glimpse of my future?
Is that me in 20 or 30 years?
Do other people see me the way I see her? Fucking epiphany.
Been up all night long. No sleep 24 hours. Feel the world closing in.
I hear murmurs in the trees.
Dante freaked out on me & called the cops cuz he said I was scaring him.
He swears he doesn’t hear the voices outside!!
I begged them not to take me to John George, please don’t 5150 me I don’t want to go to the mental ward!
Cop was surprised I knew about JG, asked if I’d been there before, what meds am I on?
No and none, officer.
He whispered w/Dante 4 awhile but then they left.
I am hella pissed at Dante for calling 911 on me.
Dante says this is it: I gotta see a shrink or go on meds or go to rehab or get some help someway somehow.
I dunno that moment of clarity yesterday really shook my world.
Feel like it opened a crack into a very dark place I don’t want to see.
I am absolutely terrified.
My soul is slipping away.
Everything’s closing in on me.
There’s no turning back.
Back to All Souls Church in the Gourmet Ghetto for a meeting. Yeah, AA.
I’ll give it a try OK folks?
They say “all souls” so that means no judgment, everyone welcome.
I plan to hold them 2 that or go somewhere else.
I’m never very comfortable in church.
All that God shit is weird 2 me.
People can believe what they want but it’s not 4 me.
I know I refer 2 God every now & then but I don’t mean an all-powerful guy with a long white beard.
I believe in the Universe, in some sort of higher power or force, yes dude sort of like in Star Wars, but it’s more like karma than god.
They raised me Jewish, I’ve dabbled in Buddhism, but I’m really a sort of secular humanist who just believes in love.
Will that fit with junkies & drunks believing in God & meeting in a church to help each other?
We’re about 2 find out.
Hi my name is Chloe.
I’m an alcoholic and a junkie.
That’s what I’ve been rehearsing in my head, for 2 nights now.
But wait, you’re thinking, your name is Zoe not Chloe, isn’t it? Yeah yeah yeah, but no way I let em know my real name.
I know, Chloe’s kinda weak, rhymes & all, but what do u want from me? Desdemona? They really urge u 2 b open & honest but I don’t feel it yet.
This is assuming I ever get up the nerve to even speak.
Been to 2 meetings now.
I actually kinda like it.
Enuf 2 go back.
There are some hella nice folks in there.
A sweet old man.
A nice young dude.
Every1 smiles at me, seems 2 look past my freakiness.
I’ve just been listening so far.
Maybe tonight I will open my mouth & share.
Hi my name is Chloe…
I tried so hard, I really did!
I sat in the back, my usual seat – see, 3 meetings and I already have a usual!
I was hella moved by the stories of the other people, which is good becuz sometimes empathy is hard 4 me.
This one dude in particular, we’ll call him Larry, he’s such a sweetheart & he’s been thru so much.
Maybe he can be my sponsor.
But when it was time 2 share I just couldn’t do it.
I don’t think I’m ready. I really appreciate the nonjudgmental support in the room tho.
And of course I still can’t talk very well.
Let’s not forget my jaw is still wired shut. I mean, gimme a break.
The bad thing is, when I came out, I sat in the car & chain smoked & drank 2 whole little bottles of my vodka.
I have no nails at all right now.
Milo looks really disappointed in me.
People just snap sometimes.
I totally get how that happens.
Don’t think I haven’t almost been there myself.
I heard about this guy who whacked his parents in the head with a hammer becuz he wanted 2 have a party & they said no.
Then he had the party anyway w/his dead parents in the other room.
Dude that is some cold shit that I could not do.
But it’s such a fine line btwn genius & madness, as some genius from the past once said, one who was probably thisclose 2 being mad himself.
It’s all about impulse control.
We all have those impulses that my dad calls “crazy” in his black&white linear-minded way.
Who is he 2 define “crazy”? OK maybe he’s the only 1 in the world who never has dark impulses but I really really doubt that very very much.
So far I have been able to contain my darkest thoughts & keep them from becoming very dark actions.
I am really missing my mom a lot today.
Thinking about ya mama.
Could use your help oh so much right about now.
Where have I been?
Where did I go?
Where do any of us go?
Been off by myself, in the woods mostly, just me & Milo.
Dante was surprisingly freaked out when I stumbled back in early this morning.
You’d think he’d be used 2 my disappearing acts by now.
I fell off the face of the earth for a few days there.
He feared the worst.
Hadn’t called the cops on me again yet.
But he did troll Telegraph, scouring my old usual haunts, asking my scruffy friends if anyone had seen Zoe?
I didn’t realize it had been 6 days.
Time flies when you’re on a walkabout.
I didn’t bring my phone, sorry tweeps for the twitter silence.
I told Dante: stop worrying about me, that’s not your job.
If you keep it up, one day soon you may be very disappointed & sad.
I spent a day at the spot where my cat crawled off 2 die a couple years ago. He wanted 2 be alone when he went.
So do I.
Dude this is so eerie!
I spent 6 days in the woods listening to the same music over and over: Janis Joplin, Nirvana and Amy Winehouse.
I really fixated on “I Need a Man to Love” by Janis, “Heart-Shaped Box” by Cobain & “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy.
Must have listened to those songs 20 times each.
Now I come home & learn that Amy Winehouse OD’d – just like Janis & Kurt!
That is some hella heavy shit.
Her death must’ve seeped through on some cosmic level.
And weirder still – she was 27: same age Janis & Kurt were when they died (& also Jimi, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones & Pigpen from the Dead!)
That is amazing.
Altho I read Cobain book where his sister said he killed himself at 27 on purpose cuz of Jimi & Janis.
Good thing I’m only 25.
Also I can’t really sing or play an instrument.
Otherwise I’d be in deep deep deep trouble…
My mother used 2 stroke my hair gently & whisper softly that everything was okay.
I miss that.
Been five years now since she died.
Thinking about her a lot these last few days.
We butted heads so much I finally split & after going 2 college never really came back.
Was that a mistake?
Sometimes I regret not being there for the bitter end.
Maybe I would have a deeper sense of closure.
I just couldn’t handle it at the time.
Avoidance worked better for me than dealing.
Looking back, it would’ve been a gift to be there.
I know she would’ve wanted me there, with the rest of the family.
I didn’t feel a part of it & I just couldn’t face or accept it.
I really do want 2 die alone.
Despite all these tweets, I’m a very private person & I want to go out the way I lived.