It is rarely as good as you think it must be, or as bad as you fear it will be.
Black crows are silhouettes against a cotton sky.
There is light. And there is dark.
The dark cannot subsume the light. Shine a light, and the dark must give way.
Shadows are wholly dependent.
But light shines of its own accord.
Black crows are silhouettes against a cotton sky.
It took some time, but they finally arrived, the thoughts leading me to hope again.
Here in the cold on a damp bench, water flows and ducks preen, and people walk past hand in hand.
I would gladly share this space, and yet I am gladly alone, I just am and they just are, and somewhere someone exists to sit beside me.
But now the flocks circle. And the traffic flows. Layers of sound like soft bandages wrapping my ears.
The birds. The cars. The voices. The laughter of children. Of men and women. Distant music. The rhythmic scraping of meandering soles on gravel paths.
I am trusting more and more in an ascending simplicity, spiralling out, perhaps, to a basic spiritual singularity.
Shall I name it? I do not dare.
For it exists between the soft wrappings of sound, in the spaces between things we can name.
Cold day. Damp bench. Alone.
It sits here, next to me.
I chased and caught a butterfly,
Behind glass trapped her, just for me.
Her wings lost their colour, (Her beauty began to fade),
Until blackened they dropped off, (Her body withered away).
I chased and caught a butterfly,
Trapped her beauty just for me.
But too late I finally realized,
That beauty is only beauty,
If butterflies remain free.
If we insist on outdueling the other, we will eventually find there is nobody left to whom we relate.
A healthy relationship is not a duel of wit or will waged behind defensive walls; but a patient organic blooming of giving, understanding, and compassion.
Through giving we may receive; through understanding we may question; through compassion we may be saved.
Healthy relationships give us comfort for we are vulnerable, strength for we are weak.
The invulnerable and invincible among us are lost and lonely indeed. Not only do they not exist (for who among us are gods?), they are trapped in the illusion they do.
Step out from your defensive walls, and others will follow.
Let them out, give them reign,
let those cleansing tears flow.
Let them pass, be not ashamed,
let those choking fears go.
Let it beat, relieve the pain,
let your heart’s true rhythm show.
Let the soothing abandon engulf you,
make its velvet touch your home.
Be cradled, pure and vulnerable,
and trust, you are not alone.
This damn thing is an absurd joke.
Oh not again. Not again.
I’ve seen myself a thousand times and I have not changed a bit.
One day it will all end.
The ideals of a frightened boy: all smashed.
One day it will all end and the ideals will not save me.
We were made broken.
Now, as then, and tomorrow again.
Listen. I bore myself. And you too, I hope.
It has all been said.
What am I clinging to but broken space?
There is no substance here but hollow ideals.
And yet hear my cry: ‘Give me a war! Give me a goddamned war, and something to die for! Give me an ideal!’
I am an unbalanced pretender. And I always knew it. A goddamned unbalanced pretender, shooting a shot now and then, taking aim and shooting a shot now and then, to tip the scale in my favour.
Tip the scale, tip the scale. I lean too far I must tip the scale.
A pretender. Pretentious. A pretentious pretender pretending to be pretentious: pretentious squared: meta-pretense.
I am not even able to fail with grace. Not brave to fall off the measure. Scrabbling and clamoring to tip the scale. I’m sliding and falling off and I am not courageous. I do not dare…I do not dare!
Have you ever seen the beautiful truth, and had failed to act?
And don’t say at least I was aware enough to see; that most are too calloused to be aware.
Don’t tell me I should feel lucky to live; that most are never born.
Pretenders squander awareness; cowards squander life.
Oh, that I could BELIEVE! In something, in anything. To be calloused enough to not see, but to believe!
Oh, that I could fail to see, and truly believe!
But I have seen. And have done nothing.
Do you understand my words? Don’t make me spell it out.
The pretentious switch costumes until nothing of substance is left.
I need a war! – (to fall off I do not dare)
If you don’t get it….then get out!
You have been spared, and my envy of you knows no limits.
It knows no limits.
I need a war! – (to slide right off I do not dare)
This balance has tipped and I’ve shot my shot and my envy knows no limits.
One day this will all end. This ideal will not save me. Now, as then, and tomorrow again.
I dare not fall so I shall pretend. To wage war that I may believe, and callous my soul to regain relief.
I’ve shot my shot.
Oh that I were as calloused and deserving of life as you.
There is no such thing as dishonesty. It doesn’t exist in any meaningful sense.
In our deepest selves fluctuating values constantly tug on the strings of our wills.
Behind any deceptive act is a value held to be true; a belief which, no matter how wrong might appear to another, completely informs the actions of the deceiver at that moment.
We may deceive ourselves, and therefore others, but we can’t help be but honest deceivers.
A new world opened before me. One overflowing with light and love. I am neither reluctant nor expectant to enter, for reluctance implies doubt, expectancy implies dependency; I neither fear what lies within, nor seek salvation.
I know this world is meant for me. I will take my time to explore and learn. I will live.
Please take these words, and cast them across a crimson sky. Let the whole world read what I have been led to see. There is no pain so great, nor fear too deep, that a breath of pure love cannot ease.
Allow love the day to seize. Let love reign, and be free.
You know that feeling…that tomorrow can’t come soon enough?
Have you been drunk and morally insuperior on a train?
Let the wheels chug to your destination…
May your confusion rest a night on downed comfort.
You fucked up. You know it.
This too shall pass.
On nights when stars pierce the dirty panes,
And the moon casts shadows in my dark room,
With gentle embrace I cradle invisible space,
And my velvet heart beats to thoughts of you.
The miles between us are meaningless,
Crossed instantly on avenues of moonlight.
The hours, the days, they come, and they go. But the moment – it lasts forever.
If there is no light, then there is no dark.
I have fallen into the dark; I have become despair, doubt, infinite dread.
The dark says, ‘Turn your back on the light, there is no hope there; the closer you are permitted to come to the light, the further you will inevitably fall. Stay here, on the bottom, for in the end, all is doubt, fear, death, nothingness.’
The dark says the light is but an ideal, one that you can never reach, and thus one that will always fail you.
And I answer: ‘If light is an ideal, then you must be as well. To turn my back on one demands I turn my back on the other. You say it is folly to choose the light for it is an ideal, but then surely it is also folly to choose you.’
And the dark shudders, and spits me from its maw.
In the distance a tiny light flickers.
Caught between two ideals; I walk towards the dancing light.
Trust is the silent energy fuelling any healthy relationship; you truly appreciate it once it is broken, for the silence is replaced with the screeching deafening noise of its fragmented and metastatic parts, circulating like screaming cancerous tumours through the withering and dying relationship, illustrating with crystal moral clarity the following truth: trust is the relationship and the relationship is trust. You risk it all if you take trust for granted; nurture and cultivate it as dearly and attentively as you would a developing child, for in effect, you will be nurturing and cultivating not only your relationship, guiding its development from birth to maturity, but, as any dedicated and caring parent knows, developing yourself as well.
There’s a pain that only I may know.
If it is common why do I feel so alone?
‘There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.’
Has this wisdom failed me, or have I chosen not to see?
The love of two bound souls…the curves of hips and naked backs…mouths agape in mirrored arches of ecstasy.
We are apes, dammit! So how can we seem so divine?
We long desperately for what we cannot have-
and what we have we fail to see.
The divine is all around and deep within-
A fluttering butterfly tracing sinuous curves across the naked sky,
pulls a string in the poet’s heart making melodious melodies of the mundane.
The sun rises as it sets:
Pain and joy; loneliness and companionship; light and dark; ecstasy and agony.
An ape so divine.
Dear Lord. Almighty mighty Lord.
You have graver grievances to attend, I am sure.
But Lord, hear me out. Listen to my (self)-pitiful pleas. Please.
They say there is no rest for the wicked.
I say what a load of shit.
(HORSESHIT my Lord.
The wicked rest wonderfully. Deeply. Soundly. Undisturbed by haunting visions of moral transgressions.)
—but I digress—(cough cough)
As I was saying:
Grant me the strength to be wicked.
Afford me the confidence to knowingly disrupt the cosmic balance.
Entitle me to take what is not mine.
Endow me with the strength to cheat and lie and steal.
Let me have my cake and eat it too, and perhaps, someday, return for seconds.
Thirds and fourths.
Oh Lord may my self-awareness remain deception,
May the muscles and sinew flexed in the mirror remain awesome,
And may I roll over this world as one so divinely entitled.
If I am lost, let me hurt others in my grasping.
If I am in pain, let me be nurtured from others’ resources.
Let me feed off the world’s goodness and take no measure of responsibility.
Make my ego so strong, so emboldened, that I make victims of others to spare my own suffering.
Let me believe I am more important, the most important.
Let selfishness and egoism and self-deception reign in my heart, my soul.
Let all roads lead to me.
And let my worldly success depend on this attitude.
And whatever you do, do not allow moral questions of right and wrong creep into my self-righteous bastions.
Thank you Lord.
Then come on out. You step heavily on the narrow ledges of cartilage ringing my throat. My invitation was mailed months ago. Come on out. Let me see you.
I have a friend. I have a friend who says my writing is no good. I have a friend who says my writing is no good and yet he won’t say a thing at all. This friend’s silence angers me. I lack the confidence to take a stand either way. And the doubt washes through me. Coats my cells with dull energy. If only my friend could feel, could see me. Could step inside me. Could be me. If only my friend could write a word, a sentence to describe me.
I have mailed an invitation and I lack the confidence to confront my friend’s silence and the truths buried therein. And the doubt washes through me and something fearful sits on my throat.
The sky is blue but sometimes it is gray. Clouds float like silent hordes across the blinding clarity of not-empty space, blocking out the sun. There is no sense in sense when each narrative fails to deliver, breaks its promise of braiding the myriad threads into something strong, believable, dependable.
Day runs into night as ink spilled on white cotton. Spreading and spreading, the oily slick of slippery promise. Sleep comes at high noon. The devil, you see, is in the details. I comb through them, I see his face; it stares down at me as I look at the dimpled whiteness of an all-to-familiar ceiling as the mosquitoes and moths bang against the window, drawn to the single light burning in my room.
Let us be done with it. Come on out and let us be done with it. I have nothing to offer. There is nothing on offer. The silence of confident silence, silent friends have assured me my words are empty. Why try to build a narrative? Let the electric threads spark and crackle. Voltage running the length of headless hydra arms. Wriggling and gyrating in black empty space. No landmarks to pin them. No compass to orient. The flailing and failing lines of narrative in death throes. (I ask in all sincerity: can you picture this?)
I can’t write.
I can’t feel anymore in words.
Abstraction has failed me.
I have lost all direction.
The cold beating of my jelly heart. My veins are poor substitutes for meaning. I might lift a foot as I walk. But the story ends there.
“I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.”
― The Catcher in the Rye
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Train the mind to dwell in the fraction of a moment after a conscious experience but before the naming of it. There the ego has yet to form; there salvation from the self can be found.