Joshua Lutz

BOOKS: Hesitating Beauty

Holding on so tightly to what I believed was sanity yet consumed by fear of depression and schizophrenia prevented me from being fully present to her reality. She slowly slipped away from the aggressive paranoia of my youth to an almost calming sense of delusion.

As a young boy, I watched her search for the right numbered pattern on license plates and at night unscrewing the phones to look for recording devices. It was fun to think that we were more important than everyone else, that we were on a mission.

That excitement was displaced with tremendous anger, but mostly fear, as thoughts that I too could end up like her began to take form. These debilitating emotions eventually dissolved into empathy and compassion opening to her reality without the fear of loosing myself.

Looking back on the family archive for clues and understanding, my role in shaping that story began to collide with the memory of how it exists and a desire to change it. Falling deeper into the psychosis I imagined a time when the past, present and future collided; a place where the weight of that memory is heavier than reality.

Schit, 2013Hesitating Beauty can be purchased atPhotoeyeBookDummyPressAmazonBarnes and Noble
  
Prom
  
Quiet Room
     
  
Harlem Valley
  
Fall Risk, Haldol
  
On The Tradgedy of Reflection
     
  
Mercedes
  
Sweetheart, I can’t write too much because I feel scared, but the things that I see no longer make sense. Faceless figures, rocks growing like trees. I can’t even remember what these tears are for, but I look at my children and I know they are not who you say they are. Please visit me.Yours forever,Hesitating Beauty.
  
Pretty Boy Floyd
     
  
Devil, Devil
  
On Carpal Tunnel
  
I am sorry it has been so long and that I didn’t get in touch after you died. Your letters were very aggressive and it took me a long time to figure out what to say. I’m not angry. It has just been a long time since I thought about all these things. The kids have a right to be mad at me, but I also think you have a right to know the truth or at least my version of the truth. I know you didn’t mean to do the things you did, but somehow neither did I. I never fully intended for any of this to happen. I wasn’t even supposed to come to New York. I had no idea who your family was when I came to visit that first time. You never once mentioned a word about who your father was. Can you imagine the thoughts going through my mind the first time I came over?
     
  
Personal Belongings
  
Talking Trees
  
Day Pass
     
  
California
  
At the end of that break, when we were packing to go back to school, she kept on coming down with more and more suitcases, refusing to leave even one behind. There must have been twenty-five pieces in the doorway. Your grandfather storms out of the house, as you can imagine, and comes back with a set of keys telling me that if I drive her back to Wisconsin that brand new Mercedes was mine. He said that if I played my cards right there was a lot more to come. Your mother just looked at me waiting to see what I would do. I took those keys into my hand having no idea that a deal with the devil had been made. Signed sealed and delivered he was handing her off to me. Signed sealed and delivered you became mine.
  
Signed, Sealed
     
  
Antabuse
  
Balancing Rock
  
Whitestone Bridge
     
  
It was so hard to differentiate the threat from the action. The first few were a series of spectacular theatrics; transparent well places clues bringing us all to our knees.  There was something so intrinsically wrong with how we became puppets ready, willing and able to dance at the first sign of instability. The most frightening part was not the cries for help but how over time it all became less methodical and far more careless. The allegiance had shifted away from any belief in self to a calm, cool acceptance in the very nature of disease.
  
Failed Attempt
  
Sunrise over Saint Francis
     
  
Hold my hand
  
On the Past and Present Future
  
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed,one fell off bumped her head.Mamma called the doctor and the doctor saidMamma called the doctor and the doctor saidMamma called the doctorMamma said the doctor saidMamma said the doctor said mamma said she wants to die.Mamma called the doctor and said she wants to die.Five little monkeys jumping on the bed,one fell off bumped her head.
     
  
Five Little Monkeys
  
Emergency
  
There was such a tremendous level of confusion and certainty coming together all at once. The only real option was for it to eventually collapse on itself. With the election lost, this idea of Us vs. Them became branded into her psyche. All hope for coexisting in the same time and space became a fantasy replayed over and over again in my mind. Anyone with some assemblage of authority was packaged as part of the system. Doctors, lawyers, crossing guards, even the check out lady at the grocery store in town began to take the form of a potential threat. With the slightest glance or nod, I too could cross the line, with months then spent regaining her trust, and peeling off the labels that left all the traces of residue and doubt behind.
     
  
Lake of Fire
  
Fuck You, I
  
Exit 17
     
  
Saint Francis
  
Trust me when I tell you this. All of these people here are not who they say they are. You need to know that when you’re not here it all changes. They don’t treat me the way you do, and if its all the same to you I’ll just assume we’ll leave the next time you come. They are not giving me much choice and if you don’t show soon they wont believe. Come soon. Yours Forever,
  
Praying to the Mantis
     
  
Do Not Wake
  
Screaming Ocean
  
Roots
     
  
Dead End
  
School Bus
  
Right after you were born your mother believed she had fallen in love with someone else. She wanted to leave not just me, but all of us. I only met him once and he was sitting on her bed when I came to visit. You could tell right away that he was a patient, all thorzined up. She acted as if they were a couple and introduced me as her friend from college.  The things that happened after, everything she talked about, essentially everything the rest of her life became about all started at that moment in time. He did write that song about her, or at least it seems he did. Beyond that I think she made the whole thing up in one her psychotic episodes, and it just stuck around forever like all her talking trees and misplaced rocks. But after she left you guys, who really knows what happened? My guess is not even she did.
     
  
Cold Sprint, NY
  
Fresh Seafood
  
Potentially Grateful
     
  
Hometown Hero
  
Collapsing Wall
  
Hangnot, Slipnot
     
  
Wisconsin
  
To my boys, I am so sorry,
  
Needle and Thread
     
  
The Coming Insurrection