I Know You

(Poem originally by Henry Rollins, adapted and transcribed for the internet)

I know you. You were too short. You had bad skin. You couldn’t talk to them very well.
Words didn’t seem to work. They lied when they came out of your mouth.

You tried so hard to understand them. You wanted to be part of what was happening.
You saw them having fun. And it seemed like such a mystery; almost magic.

Made you think that there was something wrong with you. You’d look in the mirror and try to find it.
You thought that you were ugly. And that everyone was looking at you.

So you learned to be invisible,
To look down,
To avoid conversation.

The hours, days, weekends; Ah, the weekend nights alone…
Where were you? In the basement? In the attic? In your room?
Working some job? Just to have something to do? Just to have a place to put yourself?
Just to have a way to get away from THEM?
A chance to get away from the ones that made you feel so strange and ill at ease inside yourself?

Did you ever get invited to one of their parties?
You sat and wondered if you would go or not. For hours you imagined the scenarios that might transpire.
They would laugh at you, If you would know what to do, If you’d have the right things on…
If they would notice that you came from a different planet.

Did you get all brave in your thoughts?
Like you going to be able to go in there and deal with it and have a great time?
Did you think that you might be the life of the party?
That all these people were gonna talk to you and you would find out that you were wrong?
That you had a lot of friends and you weren’t so strange after all?

Did you end up going? Did they mess with you? Did they single you out?
Did you find out that you were invited because they thought you were SO weird?

Yeah, I think I know you.

You’ve spent a lot of time full of hate.
A hate that was pure as sunshine.
A hate that saw for miles.
A hate that kept you up at night.
A hate that filled your every waking moment.
A hate that carried you for a long time…

Yes, I think I know you.
You couldn’t figure out what they saw in the way they lived…

“Home” was not home…
Your room was home. A corner was home.
The place they weren’t, THAT was home.

I know you!

You’re sensitive…
And you hide it because you fear getting stepped on one more time.
It seems that when you show a part of yourself that is the least bit vulnerable…
“Someone” takes advantage of you.

One of THEM steps on YOU.

They mistake kindliness for weakness…
But you know the difference.
You’ve been the brunt of their weakness for years,
And strength is something you know a bit about…
You had to be strong to keep yourself alive.

You know yourself very well now, and you don’t trust people.

You know THEM too well.

You try to find that special person…
Someone you can be with…
Someone you can touch…
Someone you can talk to…
Someone you don’t feel so strange around…
And you find that they don’t really exist…

You feel closer to people on movie screens.

Yeah, I think I know you.

You spend a lot of time daydreaming, and people have made comment to that effect:
Telling you that you’re self-involved, and self-centered…

But they don’t know, do they?
About the long night shifts alone;
About the years of keeping yourself company;
All the nights you wrapped your arms around yourself so you could imagine someone holding you.
The hours of indecision, self doubt;
The intense depression;
The blinding hate;
The rage that made you stagger;
The devastation of rejection…

Well… Maybe they do know.

But if they do, they sure do a good job of hiding it.

It astounds you how they can be so smooth…
How they seem to pass through life as if life itself were some divine gift.
And it infuriates you to watch yourself with your apparent skill at finding every way possible…
To fuck it all up.

For you, life is a long trip:
Terrifying and wonderful.
Birds sing to you at night;
The rain and the sun;
The changing seasons are true friends.
Solitude is a hard won ally; faithful and patient.

Yeah… I think I know you.

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