Cycles in the Abyss.

Hiding in good and bad dreams,
a poisonous slumber ends.
Bolting awake.

Cold sweat cleansing
the filth of my cage.

Out my hands.
Its the law of the land.
Tombs to wombs,
love to loss,
set spinning again.

Seems it never ends.

I know how it goes.
Seen how it spins, never to wind down,
still living the nausea
of this not-so-merry-go-’round.

Doomed to die before I get it all done,
wander around without skin till
I find my way back through.

Blind as a bat.
Lost at sea.
Implicit holds
as innervison fades from me.

We are the enactment
of our own secret histories,
mistaking our masque for our face,
these echoes for the present
life we fail to lead.

Like an existential hiccup,
perpetual deja vu again.
Eternal endurance
of the same old game.

Well, let’s change it up
and make death die.
Through the lethargy,
seething, alive.

It was never about silent hearts
and rotting flesh,
but the miserable eclipse
of the inner eye.

Amnesia is the only death.
The reaper harvests the mind.

Me and my bootleg memories,
a step on the road
towards consciousness,
I suppose.

Eyes slowly opening,
waking up to the ruse.
Find the still of the calm
behind the push and pull,
a new way to fight
an achievable goal.

If I just were not so bloody
frightened of me,
aching to hide behind
the veil of this sleep…

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Fiction Afire.

No gain without pain.
Struggle generates value.
Anything worthy is hard won.
Work harder, not smarter,
so your job is never done.

Natural inclinations, talents
and passions, they’re just
never good enough.
My inner resistance
to the herd, the authority,
must be overcome.

We need mediocrity,
a population watered down.
Smother the soul
till the light burns out.

So it goes
when the status quo
is a rope fastened
around your throat.

Just the way it is,
has been
and shall always be.
Enslaved to a system
that knows better than me.

Fuck you, I lost me
in this land of the meek.
Now I grab a match, your lie,
and some gasoline.

Blaze away.
Fly again.

Burn through
false skin, fiction afire.
Rising above
this ruthless quagmire
that is always gripping my feet,
dragging me down.

Our work should be passion,
talent guiding our path,
clearing the road
of inner resistance
nurturing seeds awaiting season
buried behind these masques.

Vessel carried along
by inner flow, riding the crest,
rising above the trough.
Fueled by my own reasons why,
the means are surmountable.

If there exists a how,
I shall find it;
if not,
then I shall create it;
if I cannot,
I will be more than happy
to die trying —

and you can count
on my swift return.

Notes on the Growing Attention.

When I can achieve focus, it feels as if I have been stuck underwater, suffocating, panicking, and now I have finally remembered to come up for air. Its a relief, however short-lived.

Later, in bed, I notice where my imagination goes, the themes behind the scenarios playing out in my head. And then at work, as I was cutting the box tops in the stock room, the same strange self-observation comes back on again so easily.

Observing my spontaneous daydreams, I identify the underlying themes, some of which are:

– Worry regarding how others perceive me.
– Seeking to impress others.
– Manufacturing justifications for my actions or imagined actions.
– Engaging in a monologue or a dialogue, often imagined as if I were being interviewed.

I experience not only thoughts, emotions and sensations, however. Memories drift into my inner eye’s line of sight as well, though I’m not as clear regarding their meaning or purpose.

1/25/15:

In the midst of meditation, as my mind drifted I kept seeing that park around the block from my parent’s house. The entrance, the trees, the potholes on the dirt road…

1/26/15:

As I’m working alone in the stock room, I remember waiting in the passenger seat of a car at a gas station off a highway. Whoever is driving went inside for something. I feel gloomy, hopeless, depressed and anxious. Above the gas station and the busy, complex roads around me, the sky looks so open and exposed, the world seems so threatening. I feel older. It feels like the 70s. I’ve had this memory many times before.

1/27/15:

It’s probably shortly after we moved into the new house in 1988. My parents and sisters aren’t home and I had heard things in the house, so I’m standing on the front lawn, summer sun warming me and the dogs beside me as I keep trying to build up the courage to go back inside.

Then, later, while cleaning fryers, I hear the song — was it on the radio or did it just erupt in my head? — “Mama Said,” by The Shirelles. At the same time, I receive another flash of memory that I have recalled before but does not seem to be from my life. It’s an upper-level apartment in some city at night. An old black man lives there. You walk through the door into a dimly-lit hallway and to your right is a closet where, at the bottom, there is a pair of brown leather shoes.

Again, I constantly wonder: are these flashes of memory random, irrelevant, or do they mean something? As for the past life ones: are they authentic or is there some other explanation? At least in the last case I identified the trigger. I’ve decided to pay more and closer attention now and see if the triggers could provide some understanding…

Emulating Thanatos.

Damned if I’ll set myself free,
nothing means
more than how they perceive,

fixed on all their mirrored eyes,
like an aspiring, stumbling puppet-master,
pulling strings to tweak
the fun house reflections they provide.

Please oh please
define me.
I just cannot trust myself.

My subliminal conspiracy
of, by and for me.
Hard at work.
Working against me.

Choking myself again,
held back by my own hand.
Just a dog chasing his tail,
a groundhog scared of his shadow,
leaving a season in wait.

Let’s get on with the show.

It’s as if I refuse
to stand up, speak up,
as I know someone will come
knock me down or shut me up
just for having the nerve.

Time to shit
or get off the pot.

It’s as if I had figured,
well, if I’m doomed to fall if I climb,
as it happened last time, I’d rather just find
solace staying close to the ground.

Safer to be on these bleeding knees,
deafened by my own silence, right?
Not much more to living, it seems,
than waiting to die.

A life unlived, mimicking death,
justified as a means of familiarizing, smoothing out
the inevitable and typically abrupt transition
to that supposedly final destination.

So deeply terrified by failure
and disapproval.
Damning my lack of thicker skin,
cursing my weak spine,
fastening on the masques,
choking back potions

to achieve that soft, warm womb
to distract me from the dead inside.

From a Cell of Nightmarish Illusions.

Walking the streets
with heavy feet,
head held low, unblinking
eyes drawn to the ground.

Hypertension held
in by the skin, vacuum packed
for freshness, bleeding
cold sweat condensation.

Every feeble muscle
on edge, ready for fight or flight
or to just play dead.

Feel the spotlight
burn again, not a shred
of evidence anyone
is even looking.
Still feel a thousand
eyes scrutinize, overwhelmed
by this immortal dying,
never dead and gone.

Paranoia
is just his own
negative arrogance.
That they would care
enough to judge:
inflated self-importance
infected with hate
he holds for himself,

useless illusions
sustain the cell
he is locked within.

Judge, jury,
executioner,
let him rot away,
yeah, let ’em burn.
No rights to read,
he only has wrongs

in this hell he created,
the nightmare he feeds.

Start dreaming, fool.
Invest effort, achieve jailbreak.
Keep breathing.
Start living…

Synchronous-ET.

For no good reason, I wake up around eleven or noon after perhaps five hours of sleep. At best. I was tired yesterday but couldn’t sleep. As I have for the past week, I meditated, focused on the breath for at least fifteen minutes, but my concentration was poor to say the least.

I took my Prozac last night, my Buspar, the vitamins. Weed for sleep. I should feel relaxed, even comfortably cloudy. Why am I tense and anxious? Some dream I cannot recall?

I meditate again, then watch the rest of a show. Then shower.

Arriving early for work, I stay in my car to hide from the Ohio chill and write a poem to try to get it all out of me. At work, I feel withdrawn. Tense and depressed. The anxiety climbs when I do trash, so I work fast so I can go in the stock room and cut box tops and be alone, be in silence.

As I’m in the stock room, I find myself getting frustrated that after all this time I still cannot say if the paranormal stuff really happens or if the aliens are real — or even what the fuck they are for sure.

When I get to the shelves right by the sink, there is stuff there that shouldn’t be there. One of them is a thick stack of clear plastic rectangles with black letters on them for the sign out front. I place them in the bun rack and continue with my work.

Even though the meditation didn’t go well last night and I’m anxious as fuck, I’m keeping this up. Fifteen minutes a night at the very least, I decide. I must keep trying to find clarity and calm. Energy and meaning.

When I’m about done, Gus comes back to the sink. As I’m walking away, he points to the bun rack. “Letters,” he says before walking away. I try to place them on the top shelf just to put them out if the way, but two fall on my head. It hurt a bit and I was pissed, so I walked away, cussing under my breath. A second passes and I chill out and pick them up.

The first I pick up is E. The next? T.

ET? Really?

This Eerie Depth.

Lost
to the here and now
he stands
in the midst
of a cerebral cyclone,

distracting himself
from distractions
till he has forgotten
what he was running
away from…

Emotional
self-flagellation is so
counterproductive.
Rationality at war with intuition.

Stuck in a perceptual crisis,
self-observation
is his only antidote.

Just back up,
let go,
breathe in,
breathe out.
Become the still,
become the silence…

Glimpses
of a land of stability,
clarity.
Never having felt so free,
he continues to cultivate,

diving beneath
the waves on the surface,
nurturing the calm
of this eerie depth.

The Courier (1/22/15 dream).

Finally I decide I need to get out of bed. Its 4:30 in the evening on Thursday. My third shift starts at ten in the evening. My head aches, which is unusual, as I do not often get headaches. One of the pillows are on the floor. The notebooks I had on the side of the bed, the loose papers that had been wedged in them, all are strewn all across the floor. Evidently, it was a restless sleep. I smoke my cigarette and write down a bit of the dream before making a pot of coffee and then flesh it out with more details I can remember, hoping the aching in my head diminishes.

In the dream, I was living in the apartment I moved out of around August, the one I shared with Nick, who I haven’t heard much at all from since he moved out and have heard nothing from since I left. In the very least, it seemed modeled after that apartment. In any case, I was in my room when I thought I heard someone at the apartment door. I open my bedroom door quietly to find a robot, maybe at a height up to my knees, wheeling itself up and down the hall, and I thought I heard it say in its robotic voice, “Someone is at the door.”

I remain in my bedroom door frame, hoping whoever it is realizes that the noises coming from inside the apartment are that of a robot and not a living occupant and that they will leave. I simply do not want to answer that fucking door. Looking down the hallway and through the front room, the back and fourth path of the robot, I can see the slender area between the base of the door and the carpet. Two shadows break the light, which leads me to believe that whoever was at the door has, in fact, remained.

Though I go back in my room, trying to maintain my stealth mode, hoping that if I ignore the person and keep quiet they will go away, I keep peeking my head out for confirmation. Upon glancing out my bedroom door for perhaps the third time, I see him. He’s a black-clad gunman. He’s kneeling down on one leg, holding a gun with both hands and aiming it at the door. This guy does not seem to be Nick, not at all, yet his presence does not disturb me any more than the robot had. Though I never saw the guy’s face, he seems similar in all the important respects to myself, though dressed entirely in black.

Freeing one hand, he quickly unlocks the door and opens it, quickly returning to his former, aggressive stance, prepared to fire at a moment’s notice. As the door swings open, I see a familiar face standing a pace or two back from the door frame, in the hallway to our apartment complex. Short, face in the shape of a strawberry and typically approximating the color, with puffy white hair atop her head: it is one of my English teachers from high school, Mrs. D. I had her for Publications, the class that made the school newspaper, where I wrote articles. It was her that got me to write for that student section in an actual newspaper — I recall how excited she was that I got quite a few of them published, even got paid for it, as no student in her class had ever accomplished that before.

Upon recognizing her, as confused as I was at her presence, I run from my room and try to stop the gunman from taking his shot. She backs up and him and I follow her into the hallway, where I hold up my hands, look at her quizzically and say her name. She responds, either not surprised that I know who she was or too saturated with fear to give a flying fuck. I tell her my name, tell her I was one of her students back in the 90s, but she hardly seems to hear me at all. Skittish and defensive, she clearly wants to deliver what she came to deliver and get the hell out of there.

And that she does, though I awoke before I realized what it was that she had given me.

Mindful Narration.

For several years I had a blog in which I would write about daily events, typically things occurring in my life at work. After doing this for a short period I would often find myself narrating in my head throughout the day in preparation for the caffeine-fueled writing I would engage in upon my arrival home. I would write in first person, sometimes second person, often interchangeably. I never consciously noticed how I shifted in point of view or tense in the midst of writing, only in retrospect, though I did notice that it seemed to correspond to how absorbed I was in the events I that I was writing about at the time.

Lately I have been exploring mindfulness and taking up a daily meditation routine. It seems fairly clear that the way we talk to ourselves dictates our internal and external experience. Our lives are in a deep sense narratives we tell ourselves. Our personalities are but roles we play in the narrative we have entranced ourselves into believing we are living. So the question is: how can I be a better narrator? How can I take control of my story?

English class flashback:

A narrator is the voice through which a story is conveyed. It is characterized by point of view and tense. By tense we merely mean when we are in the narrative: is it the past, present, future? Or perhaps past perfect, present perfect? Point of view, on the other hand, is a bit more complex.

Our use of point of view refers to the pronouns we use. First person uses pronouns such as I, me, mine, myself, we us, our. It is spoken as if the narrator were telling the reader his or her own story. It forces the reader into identification with the thoughts, feelings, and personal perspective of the narrator. It often feels as though the narrator is reporting details of the narrative he is a participant in, and is in some sense central to, to the reader.

Second person makes use of pronouns such as you, your, yourself. It is spoken as if the narrator were telling the reader the reader’s own story, and this is felt as even more oppressive. The narrator is essentially projecting on the reader and forcing him to embody the projection.

Third person uses pronouns such as he and she, his or hers, they or them. It is spoken as if the narrator were telling you someone else’s story. There are four different variations on third person, however, and they each make a good deal of difference: omniscient, objective, subjective and limited.

A third person omniscient narrator is essentially the all-knowing, all-seeing god of the narrative. If a narrator is third person objective, he tells the narrative as if from the outside looking in. He has the omniscience in the style of strict clairvoyance; that is, he can provide limitless sensory data regarding the characters but can provide no direct insight into their thoughts and feelings, only as they are expressed through body language, facial expressions and dialogue. Third person subjective allows the reverse; it is the style of the telepathic. The narrator can go “head-hopping” from character to character, providing insight into their thoughts and feelings but limiting the narrative to the perspectives they jointly provide, telling the story through multiple lenses.

Last but not least, there is third person limited. It is similar to first person in that it provides subjective insight into one, lone character, but it is as if the narrator is hovering above, looking inside and then through the subjective lens of a single character.

When it comes to self-talk, we are ultimately both narrator and reader, and so our point of view and tense reflects how we relate to ourself and the world around us.

The most optimal state of consciousness would appear to be mindfulness. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally”. Given that, how would a mindful narrator narrate to himself? In translation into the shared, cultural language, a mindful narrator would seem to speak in third person limited, present tense. Though it might be implied, emphasis should be placed on the impartial nature of this narrator — observing, aware, and non-judgmental towards the character, the character’s world and interaction with other characters, adhering to a strict code of noninterference.

In the impartial, present tense, third person limited perspective, the nonjudgmental narrator exists outside the narrative, distant from the events and characters therein. Despite this fundamental separation, the information accessible to the narrator is restricted to the present experience of a specific character in the narrative. That character serves as the ego for the detached, witnessing, observing narrator.

Compared to first person, second person and other forms of third person, this form comes across less like a personal or objective report to the reader and more like feedback on a personal experience as it unfolds. In other words, despite the distance, this variation on third person serves as the optimal medium for inspiring empathy and compassion in the reader for the character, creating a deeper sense of intimacy than even the first person perspective could provide.

If writing about my day in a blog or diary stimulates (or merely brings to consciousness) the narrative voice
throughout the day, then perhaps writing in impartial third person limited present tense might be a means of self-programming. It may be a way of cultivating an inner voice conductive to mindfulness.

Battling Zombies.

On it comes again.

Can’t shake the feeling I’m done.
Drained, framed, cast away,
broken, beaten and gone.

Ever-disant is the world,
all the more fake this face.
Peel this wasted thing off.

Stranger in a strange land of the lost,
one among a race of parasitic,
bald apes doomed to fall.
An awareness teetering
on tip of every tongue.
Catch it, chew, swallow,
embrace the neausea,
perhaps you get a head start.

Enlightened to inevitabilities,
mourning comes early.

Showered in mindless drivel,
watching, engaging
in childish social games.
Myths we live, roles we play.
Burn it all away.
Bring on individuality, freedom,
truth, honesty, integrity.

It’s just narcissism:
this current, cultural obsession
with zombies.

Breathing, letting go,
finding silence in the static,
inner order amidst this chaos,
the self despite the crowd,

I find me.