Regarding the Aims of the Pain Game.

Can we stop playing
the Who Has Endured
More Pain game, please?

It could never
be measured,

and even
if it could, would that affect
individual experience,

no matter
how emotionally isolated
or intimately connected,
or would it —

depending on the individual,
who, as implied, so defined,
knows only
so intimately

the heights of agony
and terror integrated,
called their own —

truly make a difference,
truly diminish the suffering
of all those allegedly
lower souls
on your dismal spectrum?

Agents of Change.

If it were not going
straight into the fiery hearts
of their mythological
hell in a handbasket, please

believe me, I would surely wish
the world to you,

but seeing as it is
what it is, as all those annoying
fucks tend to say, I will do you one better

and wish you
the very best and brightest possible future,

regardless
of our awaiting
conditions.

With that said: I offer
a few meager confessions:

From the more sensitive part
in the cold, black, dead heart
of my generation, and at least
a couple hundred generations

behind, allow me
to offer an apology,

albeit one
that offers nothing
in the sense of a way

around or beyond
this coming
cataclysmic situation:

I am eternally sorry.
Too disoriented,
so misguided was I.

So involved
with all these inner struggles of mine,
too occupied
in my profession of acting powerless

to conjure
the vaguest semblance
of strength
to enact and help sway

this shattered
populace
from the brink
of collapse,

just falling away
before my eyes,
forever after stinging with sweat,
stained
with the pronounced, red veins

of insomnia,
weighed down,
tormented with guilt,
plagued

by insomnia breeding
confusion, delusion, hallucination:
breakthrough…

visions, abilities, the dawn
of transformative revelations

far too late

as we had slipped passed
the sacred lip of the event horizon,
fallen, spaghettified,
into the unknown…

Never wanted this.

Our own hellfire
had become our home,
and so, now: yours,

and however pathetic,
I will do what I can.

Triad.

This is why
the coupling
of self-knowledge

and empathy
you flirt with, destined
to pierce and penetrate
as she saturates,

is so important — nay:
absolutely imperative.

Let that awareness
that you fear
so fucking much,

a terror that always and forever
leaves you cold, shivering,
aching and so thirsty, starving,

betrayed and abandoned, first
by the hope advertised,
then by the world
I once so naively, deeply,
subliminally, wanted
to have faith in…

Let it sink in
as you dig in.

No: nothing will
ever be the same again.
So what?
Grow an iron spine

and balls
or ovaries,
of course:
whichever you prefer.

Either way,
embrace
the Fuck It philosophy
and stretch…

Know thyself.
Know thy enemy.

From the vantage point
of witness consciousness,
explore and subject to analysis

the ego,
it’s shadow
and his accomplice,
the anima.

Dead End.

Walking alone, carrying
the scent
of Old Spice and cigarettes:
on better days

also cannabis and booze, exploring
questions, researching
allegations along this agonizing pathway
towards the truth.

Warning.
Caution.
Beware.

In the forest
there are monsters;
in the jungle, creatures
that ache

from the core of their dark, twisting
souls and insatiable
bellies just to stretch their jaws
and eat you.

In the desert,
your demons tempt you,
ever-desperate thirst demands
quenching

at the hands of 101 flavors of sacred,
precious bodily fluids
so as to sink in their bleach-white,
violently siphoning fangs
and drain you.

All as the crows
circle like a dizzying halo
above, following road signs
as you accelerate
towards the desert cliff

to kiss
your dead end.

To Kill the Cosmic Fable.

No direction.
No ambition.
Lost here, without use,
but burning
with a sense of purpose:

misguided?

All for naught.
Been here before.
Fight distractions to embrace
meaning, only

to be led down the path
of futility and death
once again.

Unable to shake
the plaguing sense
that you don’t belong here,
never did and never will.

Standing at the base
of a towering, intimidating
mountain, held at gunpoint, barrel
nearly digging
into your temple as a loud whisper
commands,

“Climb. You know
you want to.”

Right.

And you’ll gain,
what, a foothold till it all
collapses? Or might
you make it to the peak
and secure a prized position
and from there,

watch as their house of cards
finally, inevitably,
bows to gravity
And falls down?

All for naught.
Been here before,

and you don’t desire
to repeat history
just to document the downfall,

but burn
with this need
to find the cure,
to be part of, to be one
with the revolt

that turns bigger
heads and open eyes,
turns it all around,
that turns all the tables
and defies

the common,
cosmic fable
that we all enable.

Dusk Falls.

Burn it down.
Watch as it builds up again.
Try and blow it away:
it bends but it never breaks.

Go ahead,
try to flood the fucker out.
Just prepare to see it float.

There’s no way around.
No way out.
No escaping.

Like your shadow
as you race towards the falling sun.

Just let dusk fall. 

Demolition,
reconstruction. Armageddon
and recreation. Forever
bouncing back from extinction.

Kill it again
to watch it rise from the dead. 
There remains no way around.
No way out.

No escaping.

Like your shadow
as you race towards
the falling sun.

I beg of you, before
it’s forced upon you:

just let dusk fall.

Cages and Questions.

Judge the essential
me you can never see,
the Original Face
your eyes can’t peek,
much less stare down,

by virtue
of the pigment
of my temple’s skin,
by this between my legs
or that which I want to slip
inside, what I want
to thrust in;

by what I feel,
what I think,
have experienced,

by all my philosophical
or political leanings,
where I’ve come from

(all my works and wandering)
or the life that, currently,
I choose to live,

be it misaligned
with or resonant 
with integrity.

Write me off.
Write me in. Etch
me as you like in your mind: 

it influences my perception,
not the perceiving.

I know who I am.
I am no what.
Can’t cage me in.

Still, my skin is itching, crawling,
peeling off its foreign foundation
and strange skeleton,
revealing something alien,

so you must build
a much better costume, a more fitting mask.
To ever have hope
of finding so much as a working hypothesis,
build courage: ask

the absurd,
inappropriate, strange
and beautiful questions 

your lost,
wandering soul
somehow
has the gall to ask.

Issues With Authority.

As I’m down visiting my parents for my 39th birthday, in between the awesome Mexican food (my favorite) and the Dairy Queen ice cream cake, my mother asks me if I remember when she sent us to summer camp that one year — and why she never did it again.

I had absolutely no memory of this.

Evidently I got up and left the classroom I was in, sought out my sister, Eve, and took her out of the classroom she was in, and then sat us both down beneath the trees outside, refusing to go back inside — or to let my sister in there, either. We remained beneath those trees until mom came to pick us up.

Though I had no recollection of the incident, I knew why I had done it. I remembered having done things like this before. Running, hiding or stubbornly rebelling against what I perceived to be oppressive authority — never in a violent way, though. This continued with my mother and about every job I’ve had: the omnipresent power-struggles.

I told my mother that I probably did it because adults in power, they tend to be dicks.

“They still are,” Eve, beside me at the table, chimed in.

I couldn’t argue. “This is true.”

The next day, Elizabeth and her boyfriend come visit me at my apartment. Elizabeth had baked me a pot birthday cake that kept me high about every night of the following week, as I ate from it slowly. We also smoked a bowl or two while they were there, during which time Elizabeth, a manager where I work, informs me that Connie has been promoted to assistant supervisor of the franchise.

My stomach turned. My teeth clenched. Hatred rose from within me and proceeded to consume me.

For the majority of the nearly fourteen years my unambitious ass has been working and rotting away in this fast food joint, Connie had been the store manager and my most immediate boss.

Though she calmed down near the time she was transferred to another store — mostly due to medication and becoming a grandmother, it seemed — she nonetheless remained an unempathic, narcissistic, deceptive, authoritarian asshole who could not be pleased, no matter how much you busted your ass to do a good job. After years of suffering under her reign, I was absolutely ecstatic to have someone else as a boss. Word had it that since the new guy bought the franchise they were trying to push her out — and now I learn they instead promoted her.

It isn’t, as Connie used to claim, that I don’t like women in power. I’ve liked the last two store managers we’ve had and they both had vaginas. I’d give my left nut to have Hillary at the throne instead of Trump despite the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of her. It’s a style of leadership that gets to me, that I find utterly intolerable, and this style seems nauseatingly commonplace.

I don’t know where my issues with such authority began, but they surely continue.

Light And Shadow.

I hate standing in line. That’s what finally led me to avoid water parks, as a matter of fact, especially when I began smoking and they wouldn’t let you take a puff despite being outside as you stood in a herd of humans for an absurd length of time. More to the point, for the last two years in the very least, when I had to get my registration renewed at the DMV I met with an excruciatingly long line. Last year, I had to go to the place twice, because after waiting for over an hour for my number to be called the first time I had to ditch out to ensure I’d make it to work on time. So this year, I left early. Two hours early.

I didn’t even get too lost, which is unheard of, and upon arrival I found the place was occupied by at most five other customers. I didn’t sit for five minutes before I was summoned to the counter. Figures. So now I’m parked in the lot at work, smoking, writing, reading, wondering if the experience I had on my way to the DMV is unusual or one of those things many experience but for one reason or another never take the time to talk about.

On the drive to the DMV, along the long stretch of road I drive down on a daily basis, the sun shone through the trees lining the side of the road and cast an enduring barcode formation of long, slender shadows onto the path before me. As I drove through these shadows, the flickering began to effect my vision as it always does. It’s like when you watch one of those animate, hypnotic spirals online: my field of vision became like the surface of a lake disturbed by a relentless onslaught of waves. I try not to look at the road for too long, quickly looking to the side or down at my speedometer, which morphs to a psychedelic degree, hoping I can fight against the altered state it starts to conjure by limiting my exposure as best as I can.

This happens frequently, but it’s rarely this bad, probably because I don’t often leave this early and the sun is far lower in the sky when I typically drive to work at roughly three o’clock. Is this a typical visual phenomenon, or does this suggest my high hypnotizability? I’ve never heard anyone else mention this before, but it seems unlikely I’m the only one…