Overlap of Seasons.

Touching your cheek,
cold as stone.
Suppose it was good while it lasted.

I’ll catch you on the way
back around, I’m sure,
unless you get back
and find me before I leave.

A dizzying, merry-go-’round, isn’t it?
We’re only nailed to the wheel as long as we need it,
and we’re not nearly ready to fly out of this cyclone yet.

Too many wars left to quell.
Too many obstacles left to conquer.
Too many questions that remain to be answered
and so many answers searching
for their allusive questions.

Don’t land in a nest of lies again.
Don’t go to sleep in the transition.
Fight to climb to the surface
so we can pick up where we left off.

We’re running out of time here…

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Cradling the Cusp.

Here on the cusp again,
teeter-tottering in the twilight, the bridge between hemispheres.
Bring high noon so my soles may swallow my shadow.
With the sun aflame, feeding radiance from high above, far away,
so whole, complete, and comfortably deranged.

Secrets locked inside of me.
Hands into the black, alluring silhouette
always just behind me, feeding every step
with echoes of forgotten past experience.

Innocence grows still and cold in my arms.
Treat it like a death, but then it vanishes,
a ghost of uniformed hope, an illusion disbanded
by the hands of the intellect.

This path I’ve woven, carved into this space of infamy,
into this cosmic mystery, haunting me,
it is as unwilling to let go of me as I am unwilling
to struggle against the embrace of its vice-grip hold.

Fingers interlocking, promising true growth at last,
to salvage the memories, to open the doorway to the past times
hiding in me, just beyond the veil
erected to offer plausible deniability
of the faithful hand in the horrible future

I cradle in me,

blind to the intelligence
of the feeble creature I’m caked inside,
pulling the strings of this marionette close to the chest.

And now, it escapes to light of the conscious mind
that had once bled and wept in wake of the death

of its most cherished illusions,
yet is stronger now, to bear the pain of harsh reality.

Trapped face to face, locking with the eyes of this seeker,
determined to accept, adapt rather than look away
and retreat to cocoon in illusions that serve to insulate
this overwhelming circumstance

I am ensnared in like a moth in a cobweb,
parasites proceeding to draw from me any vague semblance of vitality.

Here, I erect my arms, eyes to true face,
a truth I strive to deal with only to win over,
to reconstruct, if only I could find willing
hands of those who give a fuck
and believe in the world I hope to help seed.

Law of the Land.

Cradle the anger, the hate inside.
Its an animal to be tamed, domesticate it.
A child to lull to sleep with silly lullabies.

This was our cultural hand-me-down.
Born into contract, this was just part
of our law-of-the-land.

So you follow instruction,
but over time the ghoul
within grows wise to your ways,
wary of the trust it learns you betrayed
as it hears the truth scream out from within you.

It grows deaf to your lullabies.
Immune to all those years of rigid
training and proceeds to

claw away inside until it
can strike a wound deep enough
in you to bleed on through,
and once it has a taste
of that kind of life…

You quickly lose the throne
in the game of musical chairs.
The roles of master and slave pass
each other their torches, blazing
and licking the air behind them in protest,
like lively and luminous fingers
of some needy child.

You become dominated by all
you once caged inside.

All because you chose to separate
instead of integrate.

Clear the Path.

Note to insipid douche-bags: while I am thumbs-up, high-fiving and passionately gung-ho about adorning oneself in a morose, all-black attire and engaging in the Eco-friendly and, for me, nostalgic means of transportation known as bike-riding, when your presumably inbred and effectively suicidal ass decides to ride a curving road with faded edge-lines in the tar-black evening in your black cloths and black bike and I turn around the corner in my car going the posted speed limit and nearly plow my Buick into your front tire and send you soaring like a rag-doll shot out of a cannon into the night, don’t scowl and bark at me as if I’m some blind, irresponsible asshole behind the wheel or next time I’ll be sure to put the pedal to the medal and make you an ugly fucking hood ornament. Sure, you had reflectors on the spokes of your stupid wheels, but until I’m nearly a foot from you they could be drunk fireflies chasing their own, phosphorescent tails, playing their little mid-air bug-games of ring-’round-the-rosy or duck-duck-goose for all I know. If you’re stupid enough to wear cloths that make you effectively invisible post-sundown, at least have the sense to wear a helmet so as to protect yourself from the kind of additional brain damage that is likely to result from such a head-on collision, ‘kay? Thanks.

For Lack of Reason.

Bite the bullet, boy. Eat lead before you shoot your mouth off in the wrong direction. Hold that razor-sharp tongue between those grinding teeth of yours. Chomp down with those not-so-pearly-whites in vice-grip fashion even as you start choking on your own blood. The taste will grow on you.

Continue to feign fear, as you know they perceive it as a sign of respect. Keep low to the ground — eyes to those marching feet obscuring soles, head aimed earthward, bobbing loosely with every stride as if striving for a hole deep enough in which to dive and bury itself, and be sure to arch that spine if, that is, you have even the weakest one to spare — for while they’re sure to kick you while you’re down it won’t hurt as much as standing tall: after all, the higher you climb, the harder you fall, and never think for a moment that there’s any hope they’ll ever cease to kick that ladder out from under you.

Empathy? Put it away; its dog-eat-dog. Rationality? Who needs that when you have rules? Natural order? No, we have an official system here. All equal? We have hierarchy.

You’re just another gear in the machine. Another appendage in the super-organism. Another feeble wage slave. A body stripped of soul and left a hollow tool. Embrace your lot in life. Repeat the mantra: “this is just the way it is, the way it has always been, the way it always will be.”

Don’t wake up. Strive to maintain the status of a somnambulist drone. After all, you are as they perceive you. You are as this world makes you, by hand of experience and hand-me-down.

Choice? An illusion. Just bleat and stay in line. Just moo and move along like a blind little bull towards the slaughter. Buzz and dance in time; buzz and bow before the queen. Ignore your boiling blood, that crawling skin. Deafen yourself to the sound of your own mind snapping. Release the tense, locked, white knuckles; look down and see the four jolly fucking oozing red smiley-faces your nails dug into the base of your clammy fucking palm.

Breathe smoke before you spit fire. Stop looking to the sky, begging for it to fall. Inhale, exhale. Breathe in, breathe out, clock in, clock out, then hit the sack without bouncing back till the sun beats down mercilessly on the well-worn path of least resistance and roll along, farther from womb, ever-closer to tomb.

That’a boy.

With Respect to the Spot I Missed.

Looking down, I set the nozzle from “spray” to “stream.” Not because its proven to be more efficient, either, but because after you’ve been on the clock for even a mere hour you typically have some pent-up aggression you need to expel in some form or another, and blasting generic Windex-type fluid from a spray bottle set on “stream” to the metal-tempo of a machine gun against an unsuspecting window — a window, as it was, tarnished with the mad hand-prints of filthy four-to-forty-year-olds, the adhesive drool of skater kids and the dried-like-concrete spit-wads from untended teenagers, the parents of which clearly conceived them a little too close to the nearby Ravenna Arsenal, where rumor has it an ungodly amount of toxic waste is buried and has evidently saturated the soil and drinking water — is one of the more, well, ethical means of expelling this virulent monster within me that the first revolution of the daily grind has already managed to provide with ample sustenance.

And as I blast a series of hearty squirts of watery-blue upon the glass with the rhythmic violence of my right hand and proceed to grab a hearty wad of recycled paper towels and swiftly change the gears of implicit memory to engage in some highly-velocity wiping, what to my wondering ears should arrive like nails down a monolith-scale chalkboard? Why, its another customer that thinks he’s funny. Oh what infinite and ineffable joy.

“You missed a spot,” the death-wishing stranger says.

I laugh, I smile.

“I get that a lot,” I say.

But no, I want to tell him, no. No, dear sir, I did not — I repeat, not —  miss that spot to which you refer. I intentionally avoided it. I left it there to give this poor sheet of disrespected and downtrodden glass character; to give an outer blemish to convey its inner independence, to distinguish it from all the other finely-wiped sheets of glass so it would not have to bear the agony of being looked upon — nay, looked through — as just another faceless, mass-produced, transparent object seemingly devoid of soul and raped of any subtle sign of individuality by the unholy trinity of this Smurf-colored shiny juice, this wad of thin, dried pulp of dead-and-shredded-and-regurgitated tree and my finely-trained, fully-experienced but nonetheless moderately-rebellious and well-versed-in-shit-job cleaning skills.

Why?

Because as you sit there feeding your already-artery-clogged and not-big-boned-so-much-as-big-assed self our well-oiled, perhaps-processed but undoubtedly-genetically-engineered and forced-into-cannibalism fried-frickin’-chicken adored with similarly genetically-engineered vegetable matter and squeezed between a sesame-sprinkled bun in that big ol’ booth behind me, you should not have the privilege to stare out at the natural world our civilization is eating away like a cancer from this climate-controlled box as if nothing stands between the two of you.

So let that smudge be a reminder of the collective wall our insipid species has chosen to erect, no matter how otherwise-transparent this particular, specific one is. The only thing worse than biting the hand that feeds is mistaking it in utter ignorance for the offering of said hand. Consider that spot I missed my act of splashing water in the face of somnambulist dumb fucks like you.

Later in the day, I’m cleaning the big window in the dining room. From behind me, I hear it again, this time from some old lady.

“Missed a spot.”

I turn around, giving that fake smile, that fake laugh, the forced words I try my best not to make sound as if their forced, “Yeah. I get that a lot.” The look on her face, though, is one of seriousness. She really is informing me that I missed a spot. The two-hundred-pound lady with a face like she just sucked the life out of a tremendously-tart lemon like an amphetamine-fueled vampire actually takes time away from feeding her lard-insulated face in her food-fetish frenzy to inform me that I missed a spot.

“Oh. No,” I say with a smile and a well-trained masque of understanding, “that’s on the outside of the window.”

She doesn’t care. I should be thankful for her insight — that’s what the look on her stupid, aged face communicates.

Sweat dripping from my head to the floor beneath me like the relentless rain from a Biblical-scale storm, unwarranted efforts at perfection entirely overlooked by prying eyes of an unasked-for audience, I want to put this colossal waste of space in her rightful place. What does this three-dimensional allegedly-female equivalent of Cartman from South Park do for a living? Regardless of her vocation, how would she like me — a mere civilian to her workplace, mind you — to lounge around like I owned the place, offer critique, feel free as a bird under the influence of Ecstasy to point out the inadequacies in her underpaid slave labor?

Even given considerable stupidity wed with good intentions, how could she possibly think such a comment would benefit me? It would be just the same as forcing a dollar on a vagrant who, unlike the countless who do, did not beg for it, even show a sign of wanting it, and is as insulted by the act of having it forced upon him beneath the giver’s masque of good will as he feels obligated to take it in fears of being seen as ungrateful and denying the giver the boost of ego and convincing illusion of doing good in an effort to counteract the giver’s all-too-real path of ceaseless, greedy, self-indulgent shitiness.

In short, it is an indirect way of saying, “You are incapable of doing for yourself, so let me do for you, or direct you how to do it.”

Its just another manifestation of arrogance. A means of giving your ego another stroke in the long road to getting it purple-veined and rock-hard so you can blast out your self-love like a sky-high erect and erupting volcano bellowing its hot and dirty air high into the atmosphere as it quivers in the act of launching its scalding, scathing lava all over the face of the now-defiled earth.

I don’t need your charity. I didn’t ask for it. I don’t need your guidance; I’m no sorcererless apprentice. I’ve got a boss, hog, and its not you, so seal your squeals. Go back to your trough-like tray of consumables and let me do my job in a silent, vague semblance of peace.

The following day, I’m outside on the step-ladder, cleaning the windows outside the restaurant, which are still coated in some areas with the hard-to-remove, adhesive-like marks they were spotted with when we opened this rebuilt store just shy of a week ago. Its the first time I’ve cleaned the outside windows and I’m sweating like the pigs slurping and scarfing the slave-made slop inside should be. And as I just finish up spraying and wiping the window and proceed to survey my work to see where it needs touch ups, I hear a distant cry.

“Missed a spot!”

From atop my ladder, I look behind me, and see an old man, his hands clasping the wiry hands of an old woman, undoubtedly his wife of many years. They walk side-by-side on the sidewalk a considerable distance behind me.

A part of me hopes he dies a slow, agonizing death and his poor wife has to watch it.

I laugh a little laugh, smile a little smile. “I get that a lot,” I yell towards him.

Note to Self/Other:

Whenever you’re not at work and you feel lazy and bored, realize that these states of mind are only products of taking time for granted.

This realization can be spawned by remembering everything you wanted to do — all those relatively simple things that if given to you at any point in those eight hours would have spawned within you an immeasurable amount of joy — while you were still on the clock, enslaved by the bosses, doing what you need to do in order to get paid the meager amount of money that allows you to just get by in the whole basic-necessities-of-life department.

It works like a shot of adrenaline. An alarm clock for the slumbering mind.

We Are All One With Bob.

You hear what they say about Bob when he is not around, and then the contrary way in which they talk to Bob about Bob. This clearly gives Bob a skewered perception of how they perceive him, but Bob doesn’t have to take it, though he does. He gobbles it up. Bob takes the skewered perception they give him because he trusts. He trusts that they are being honest with him. He trusts that others trust him enough not to do the same thing to him he has surely seen them do to others so many times.

Bob is naive because he trusts. Because he takes it on faith that things are what they seem.

To be suspicious, to smell conspiracy, would be a step towards the truth for Bob. Though perhaps the lies would make him more comfortable, is it comfort he really wants and needs?

If others were to be honest with Bob — perhaps not now, but certainly if they had been so initially — they may find the reason behind whatever they don’t like about him and that understanding might just snuff out the annoyance. Or they might find that he stops it, finding he only did it because they always seemed to reinforce it.

And then fear strikes you. You realize that for all you know, you could be in Bob’s position at this very moment.

Faces.

I was just a young boy,
going insane in his room.
Now I am an aging man, right at the very
awful place where I began,

perking up,
becoming still,

with every creak of the floorboards,
every bump in the blackness
beyond these walls.

Adrenaline flooding my veins,
I am ready to fight despite the futility,
or take flight and hide,

though I know of no place
they could not find me, nor a distance
they could not leap with a disinterested
sigh as I run,

breathless,

to find awaiting
the faces I had turned
my back against.