Broken Mantra.

Climb.
Oh, how muscles atrophy.
Push.
Let it budge inside.
Aware.
Just won’t fall up the stairs.

Why can’t I
fall up the stairs?

Simply stare at a step
though not the closest to sole
itching now for distraction
without illusions of justification.

Inside I hide
within a cocoon
of paralysis.

Push.

A step.
Next gets easier.
Collapse.
Quick to feet again.

Breathe. Focus.
Relax.

Passion, compassion,
intelligence.
Adaptable
for I am determined.
Now another step.
It gets easier.

Then
I achieve it.
I can take it.
I can leave this.

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Commence With the Breathing.

Need to stand out
paired with the need
to blend in,
itch to break out
yet collapse.

To have her by my side
yet to live on alone.

Let the set up
sink in.

Polarities burning in me
all throughout my history.
Must be close yet free.
Give me nothing,
give me everything.

Watch this
dance of death
spinning betwixt
these Chinese twins
as they tumble in the core
of such a shy
little
attention whore,

dissatisfaction guaranteed
in this land of self-sabotage
at every turn,

a labyrinthine
run-around into nowhere,
juggling through the whirlwinds
of fate, wandering too far
from your inner I
of liberation.

You are more
than your refracted
funhouse reflection,

you are the eye
that sees, that mistakes
the sight for truth
complete and unabridged.

Cease juggling.
Commence with the breathing.
Focus and find your
self on the other end.

Dizzy Cell.

Whispers beneath
the skin of consciousness
driving the moods
that push, that pull me.

Habits weaving a prison
like a cocoon spun
in dark emotions
screaming over memories,
a haunting familiarity,
addicted to feeble
sense of security I get

in my cell
within the skin.

Standing hypnotized,
gripped in this paralysis,
all as the clock beats
its relentless tempo.

Many paths, yes,
though probabilities
narrowing.
One shared ledge.
Inching further
every wasted breath.

Who will have the better
story to tell on the way back
’round through that abyss?
Traveled this wheel dizzy:
did you ever really live?

Memories
like dismal picture-shows,
an end always tragic,
left dying alone,
saturated
with heavy emotions,
never happy
with my walks
and works.

Shadows following,
echoes answering,
as the déjà vu footprints
hug my feet snug at every step,
as if anticipating
the arrival of my soles.

If only I could remember,
if only these cycles
weren’t skipping
records with memory
and understanding fading
with every revolution,
less chapters
than abridged remakes,

I could at least learn
from history, procure
from the darkness
understanding,

release the hand
that suffocates me
while the breath
is still in reach.

By the Herd, for the Shepards.

Democracy rests on the notion that majority rules. To give you an example, let’s say that you, Bill O’Reilly and I are on a deserted island. If you and I voted to cut out Bill-o’s tongue, despite his protests we could do so while remaining faithful to the democratic process.

Two is greater than one. Power is in the hands of numbers.

The difference, of course, is that in the island scenario we would by necessity be practicing direct democracy rather than representative democracy. In ‘Murica we vote for transient power-holders on the basis of their promises and our judgements of both their sincerity and inherent capacity to fulfill those promises.

We are free to choose to whom we are a slave to.

So now imagine (a convenient) 100 people stranded on a deserted island. The majority, which let us say is roughly 51 people, elects Bob for a year-long term. One of Bob’s campaign promises was to cut out the tongue if Billo, and once elected he made it his first order of business.

This would be representative democracy. We don’t vote for every decision, but we vote for decision makers with a limited shelf-life.

The insane nature of democracy as illustrated above may not come across so clearly for those of you who don’t quite feel the same way about that pompous, chronically-interrupting douche-bag impervious to logic and fact as I do, so let me provide what may serve as a more effective for-instance.

Say that the representative elected in the former scenario had among his campaign promises not only the removal of Billo’s tongue, but also that the one black and two homosexuals of the otherwise straight, white population of 100 should be burned at the stake. Well, fact of the matter is that this is all still very democratic. After all, majority rules. The People have spoken. If you don’t like the way the island society works, well, start swimming, minorities.

Smell the distinct odor of unethical, inhumane, yet all-too-human bullshit now?

Let us rewind to when those 100 stranded islanders accepted that they would in all likelihood never be found and needed to erect a social order, a system of governance. As talks went along and democracy was a concept attracting support, some members of the stranded saw the disastrous potential of majority rules. They wanted to secure the liberty of the minority of the population, focusing on securing the rights of the catch-all minority of one to ensure that individual rights stood as untouchable before the masses, immune to the rabble. They decided that the potential injustice inherent in democracy should be kept in check by certain impervious laws protecting individual liberty.

Impervious: yeah, that was an issue, but giving the individual the power to stand up to the determinations of the democratic process should they ignore the no-trespassing zone of personal freedom was about as close to assurance as they could achieve. So a Bill of Rights was fashioned.

As a result, the social system of the islanders was a hybrid of democracy, the rule of the people, and the republic, or the rule of law. An experiment that they felt held promise. The injection of hope for the individual against the power of the herd.

Individuals have the right to the freedom of speech. It didn’t matter if that speech offends others, is contrary to the tastes of the majority or even minorities for that matter.

I have the right to find Billo a self-stroking sentient phallic being faithfully jettisoning verbal feces in place of ejaculate, but he has the right to exist and spew poo to his army of sycophant sheep like a diarrhetic Gallagher on amphetamines. People can cry or hate me when I subject their religion to analysis and rant regarding how it is absurd, divisive and insulting to the human species. My rights are as secured as their own, so I will not be apologizing to O’Reilly, Glen Beck, George Bush, Anne Coulter or the present or past Popes. They can say what they wish and I can say what I want, and we have the right to do so without apologies or justifications to one another.

This means that individual freedom exists for bigots, racists and homophobes, too, not just those who share, say, my own particular taste. You don’t have to change your mind no matter how much I think it stinks to high hell, but you cannot make your taste The Law for All, as that would be an attack on The Liberty of Each. But try telling that to the FCC.

It goes beyond the noises we make with our mouths, however, the things we bleed through our bony fucking fingers and which we pound out on the keyboard and other forms of personal expression. For instance, this also means that people have the right to own guns regardless as to how much those boom-sticks might scare your sissy pants off. This means that two people of the same sex can get married no matter how insecure it makes you feel, or however much you believe in your petty god and his commandments. This means that each person has the right to put any drug in their body that they desire. Your meaty receptacle of consciousness is your own damn business. Just not in the eyes of those fighting the bad fight in the ineffectual and resource-siphoning War in Drugs, it would seem.

Much of the infliction on individual freedom comes, interestingly enough, under the guise of preventing potential infliction. Driving under the influence of particular drugs, for instance, or doing anything under the influence of specific substances is made into a crime. Abortion is made illegal.

Take regulatory agencies. Elected representatives create regulatory agencies never voted for — such as the Health Department or the Food and Drug Administration — to protect The People from themselves. Like organisms, these organizations have the basic instinct of self-preservation. As a consequence, they find problems where there are none to be found so their existence is seen as justified, their work a necessity. Generating the illusion of need is a crucial survival technique in their case.

The same, perhaps, could be said of the government as a whole.

Seizing.

Chemical life support,
as meat failed
to provide the tenant
with sufficient provisions.

Need a guidebook of life
geared towards losers
who fail to play
the wretched game
they were born into.

You say
it’s always been, always will,
solace is the only
successful adaptive measure.

I know better,
so though I feel like it’s done,
the system has won,
I’ll save my soles
in the long run.

My whole life
in waiting, secretly
feeling as though I’m here
to document the downfall,

watching
the ground seize,
though no structural collapse.
Like a cancer in us,
it grows and consumes,
drawing out
this needless suffering.

Still I’m nothing
towards solution,
just a passive participant
in the problem,

stubbornly resistant
to the burning
need for self-change.

Everything
is always dying,
never reaching the death
needed for rebirth,

so why amplify
the misery with wide open,
attentive eyes?

Nothing makes sense,
so I divorce myself,
divorce this nest
of lies I’ve made.

Running away,
finding my own place,
to live out my days
in my own sacred space.

Screaming, Bleeding.

“I can’t stop screaming!
It hurts too much.
My ears are bleeding
from all my screaming.”

“Then stop screaming!”

“I can’t stop screaming,”
he screamed again,
and on it went,

this perpetual motion
scheme of pain,

dialogue betwixt
inflicter and inflicted
one and the same,

a sort of
sadomasochistic
communion
with oneself.

Fears foolishly
fed inside.
Perpetual
unintentional
suicide.

Always screaming,
always bleeding…

For a Cell on High.

It’s been a cruel game
we play with life,
slowly
suffocating,
buried inside well before we die.

Our system,
this graveyard for the living,
is the bigger prison
and they are the King Rats.

They cannot control
beyond the bars.

We’re too busy striving
to make ends meet,
to climb the ladder,
to get their seats, too

busy running the treadmill,
choking on the grounds
left behind by the daily grind

as we dream
all throughout
of being a rodent
on the throne.

We’re all just cattle
stampeding
in line to the slaughter,

hypnotized by all
the false hope,
under the spell
of power to be won,

playing this lottery
that infects,
fuels everything,

minds increasingly blinded
till we’re but machines.
Just caskets for our cores,
gone cold in this insanity.

We’re only legitimizing the slavery.

Facing the Fire.

This world had its hands
deep in me, pulling, pushing,
punishing as I wrestled

with uncertainties,
incongruent realities
that left my hands tied,
my back against
the cold surface of the wall

as I was left to watch
my two worlds finally collide,
forced now to face the fire
beyond the pale
in inescapable isolation,
no place to call home at all.

Puzzle Pieces in the Dust Cloud.

Maybe superstitions and obsessive-compulsions are personal forms of the shared traditions and ceremonies valued by the herd — and perhaps are just as dysfunctional.

Since the personal forms are by nature set in opposition to the herd, they are seen as childish or insane depending on the age, while the more popular traditions held by the herd, identical in essence but more powerful given the broad membership, are seen as self-evident given an “accurately” functioning mind.

We ignore the double standard, blind ourselves to the hypocrisy, but while power lies in numbers it is not for certain, and for all my feeble fucking mind can tell all too rare, that there is any hope for intelligence to be found in a herd.

In the meantime, the truth in any amount is not necessarily part of the equation. If we are after greater understanding, we seek it through the known and available resources we have both bothered to and managed to exploit in its service. An idea about something must predict something that can be tested against that which it claims to pertain to.

If experiment tests predictions that can be controlled, observation tests predictions that cannot be controlled but can, with varying degrees of specificity, be anticipated beforehand.

Sometimes all we have are the scraps left behind, scattered, some undoubtedly hidden, even deliberately concealed. In things in which one is left only in the aftermath — a murder scene, the birth of our universe, the evolution of man, the leaked documents of a government — we have only intelligence. We gather information through material and anecdotal evidence in the wake, which optimally we then subject to statistical analysis.

Our senses provide material for a useful simulation; reality, edited and translated. Our thoughts influence our perceptions as much as our perceptual experiences shape out thoughts: an old game if chicken-or-egg, anyone?

We re-member the shredded corpse if yesterday by use of hands so damn dirty with today, assembling memory with directions stained by thought and emotions bled in real-time. They tell us, in other words, that the memories through which we define ourselves (character is a habit comprised of patterns of personal expression over time, by necessity stored in memory) are as intrinsically unreliable as the sensory simulation we mistakingly presume is reality.

Which as a consequence would make character a network of false memories only inspired by but taken to be accurate depictions of actual previous events.

Ultimately we are left to fill in the blanks, connect the dots, hear all sides to the story till our goddamn ears bleed, gather and piece together and extrapolate from this puzzle through what buried bones were left behind, obscured in a lingering cloud of dust.