After much deliberation
I made the mundane pick;
I was born to think and reason,
So, to this species I'll stick.
Marshmallows suck. There. I said it. Before you attack me hear me out. Let me set the scene. You're sitting outside on a chilly October night, surrounded by your closest friends, laughing and singing dumb campfire songs. Even though the music is loud, the comforting crackling of the fire is still heard and it reminds you that you are here. You are not spinning around alone and forgotten. You are here. In your best friend's backyard, with your other friends, with food, with music. For a split second, everything is okay. You don't think about how you failed your Chemistry test. You don't think about how your dad left. You don't think about how Katniss should have gotten with Gale. You don't feel crippled by life. You feel okay.
Until Emma brings out the marshmallows. Sure, some people like them. They're soft. Squishy. Kind of like boobs. But those little clouds of gelatin, corn starch, sugar and water are demons in disguise. They are impossible to roast properly. If you overcook them they shrivel and burn, just like your GPA. If you undercook them, they're hot and cold. Indecisive. Just like that girl you were gonna ask out. Marshmallows can act like they are perfect. All golden on the outside when really they are just sticky and gross on the inside, just like your life. On the outside you seem to have everything together when in reality you are just as confused and lost as everyone else. But, for the sake of those still clinging to the hope that marshmallows are good, lets just say you were able to correctly cook one. It's golden. Melty. Not too burnt, not too soft. Right in between.
Now try eating it. You can try this three different ways. The first, is just eating it right off the skewer. Good luck with that. You will burn your face off. In your haste to remove the smoldering skewer from your face you will burn your fingers. You will end up in the emergency room with second degree burns and when the nurse asks you what happened, you will lose all dignity and tell her you tried to eat a marshmallow.
The second, is waiting until the marshmallow has cooled down enough to touch and eating it with your hands. Bad plan. Very. Bad. Plan. Only three things can bring something together faster than a college student with a two hour deadline; Hate, the gel form of super glue and a half melted marshmallow. Got melted marshmallow between your fingers? Get used to living a cohesive life with your fingers cemented together, because friend, that's never coming off. It will get stuck in your hair. It will get stuck in your clothes. Accidentally touch someone? Congratulations! You and that poor person are now siamese twins. There is no escaping it. You will suffer through life with a preventable handicap. All because you tried to eat a marshmallow.
The third and final way one can try to enjoy a marshmallow is by making a smore. What could be better than a warm chocolate covered melted marshmallow squished between two golden graham crackers? Sanity. Have you ever tried to eat a smore? The chocolate never stays on the marshmallow. The graham crackers always break. You will burn fingers and your mouth. The chocolate will always be colder than the marshmallow. And those are just the trials of eating a smore, I'm not even going to mention how hard it is to make one. Twenty years later you are still living in denial. You still pretend to enjoy this process. You are trapped in a never ending saga, because you just had to eat a marshmallow.
So, Emma brings out the marshmallows. Everyone gets up and goes for the skewers. You sit alone, accompanied only by the cold air, distant laughter from friends and the fire. The red, blue and orange swirl together into flames and the comforting crackling has now turned into a mocking laugh. You are alone. Again. Marshmallows suck.
Behind My Mask, I Have More Masks.
I wanted to write something raw, something real.
So I peeked behind that which I shuddered to feel.
Out flew my disgraces, my fears and regrets,
My hate of hot places, my fawning on pets.
From sinister jolts at the base of my spine
I spewed out my nonsense and labelled it fine.
I flicked out the joy, (The center of dread)
I pulled on each dangling disheveled mind-thread.
I tried to find something to cause you alarm;
Some word-perfect flotsam to maim and disarm.
I meant to be honest but started to lie,
Forgetting the madness which told me to fly.
Obsession sometimes means success for the wise,
But for me it lead nowhere. I can’t un-disguise.
Murder for Hire
"I am not a murderer.
A strange way to start this off, but I feel it is important to get that out of the way. I am not a serial killer, I do not relish in the feeling of blood on my hands, and, god forbid, I do not find sexual pleasure in death.
No, no, none of that describes me or my job.
I am a contract killer. After high school, the realization that I was not actually good at anything came. Unable to get a job, I ended up homeless for a while. I floated between shelters when I could, became a quasi-religious soup-kitchen enthusiast and raider of food banks.
Then, I had the misfortune of I finding out that I was rather skilled with a knife. And a gun. And various other weapons. Which was interesting.
And then I found out that assassin-for-hire was a rather lucrative job market. So, I did what any person with nothing to lose does: I jumped on the bandwagon.
Was it a good idea? No. Did I do it anyway? Yeah. I mean, I was desperate. I only had two pairs of socks. No one realizes how much they love socks until they only have two.
The first time I killed someone was before I stepped into this line of work. It was in self defense. A man tried to rape me, which is not uncommon for homeless folk such as I was. I had a knife which I had stolen from a food bank, and I stabbed him with it. How I felt when I saw the blood bloom from his stomach, when I saw him turn from a person into a thing had no parallel. Don’t get me wrong, it was horrifying. But at the same time, I had never felt as powerful as I did then. The death went unnoticed, which goes without saying. No one has a care for the homeless, especially not law enforcement.
I did a little research at the library (free internet!) and found out how much money killers-for-hire make. And it was a lot.
It should be understandable that I decided to try my hand at it.
I found a website one of the articles had said that the assassins found their work at. I haunted it for a couple of weeks until the library asked me to stop coming, so I moved my operation to an internet cafe (a dying breed). Finally, someone contacted me (@devilmaycare666, which was a little spot-on for my liking) and offered me a job.
It was low-profile, they said. An average Joe that owed some money. He had been warned but refused to pay the loan shark back, and now they wanted someone to take him out. I decided not to tell them that this was my first real time, because I needed the money. The shelters I frequented had barred their doors when they found out I had been stealing from them. I hadn’t slept in a real bed in two weeks, and cardboard mattresses aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
My first kill was pretty sloppy, but I got the job done. Broke in through a window, found the guy asleep in a tornado of chinese takeout boxes. I wanted to slit his throat all classy-like, like in the movies, but I found it doesn’t work that way. Had to hack through his windpipe, which is as messy as it sounds. I threw up in his bathtub after. Then I stole his cash and socks. It was necessity.
That hit paid for a stay in a cheap motel where I researched the real ways to kill a man. My next hit paid for a nicer hotel, and the next one an even nicer one.
I ended up a proper entrepreneur. I had a skill-set that certain people required, and I marketed that skill-set accordingly. I ended up with some job offers from some mafias (the most interesting way I was almost recruited was a letter in some matzo-ball soup. The Jewish mafia has an odd sense of humor), but I always stayed free-lance. Made more money that way, you see.
And money was all that mattered to me, because I had none for so long. When I fell asleep on my memory-foam mattress, I remembered the asphalt of the elementary school that I slept by. When I had shark-fin soup, I remembered the thin tomato that the soup kitchens offered. When I slid my cashmere socks on every morning, I laughed.
Everything fell apart three years ago. By then, I owned a brownstone in Brooklyn with my ex-model wife and our three Persian Greyhounds. My wife grew nationally-recognized orchids since retiring (we didn’t need the extra income). She knew nothing of my line of work and was happy with that. I am ashamed to say that she was a much of a symbol of wealth to me as my dogs were. I’d never met her parents. I didn’t know her favorite place or food or smell or anything. She had told me she wanted to adopt kids, like Angelina Jolie, and I had laughed. We slept in separate beds. She spent of her time relishing in my wealth, not caring where it came from, and I spent most of my time making more of it.
I was efficient in my killings now. No more windpipe-hacking. I aimed for the jugular, wore gloves, never left a print or a hair behind. Still, the police found me.
They took the prints off of my first hit, linked them to a DUI I had gotten (in my bullet-gray Ashton-Martin, gorgeous). I wasn’t that surprised when they came for me. My wife shed crocodile tears as I was cuffed. The dogs shit all over the hand-knotted kashmir carpet.
In prison, the guards brought me some of the tabloids. My wife, splashed across covers (I didn’t know he was a killer!, etc.). I tore the pages out and used them as toliet paper. She would have done the same. We were both opportunists.
I suppose it’s fitting, me sitting here, waiting for the fatal injection. A sort of poetic irony. After years of fighting it in court, the police linked my prints and methods to hundreds of murders around the country. They missed some, too. I was sentenced to death.
And here I am, waiting to die.
Still, I maintain that I am not a murderer. I did not kill for fun, or for sport. I killed because it was the only choice I had. The blood of those I killed lays not on my hands, but on those who paid me. I am not a murderer so much as a knife or a gun is. I am a tool that was put in the wrong hands.
I suppose it is not my choice to make. Though I believe that I am an innocent, the law disagrees. That’s fine. I guess those I killed felt they were innocent as well."
Noah Lablos, on his deathbed, 16/9/2018. He leaves all his money to his dogs, in hopes that they grow to be as fat and rich as he was.
Tattoos, as they pertain to me.
My sister is a tattoo artist.
I have two tattoos.
I’m not proud of them.
But I don’t regret them.
My first when I was 16, I went in to share my sister’s passion (pre-career),
a matching little yin-yang, with the word “sisters” in white.
The second I designed myself, lovestruck at 19;
“Property of (husbands name)”
Under a lion’s mane.
My sister didn’t like the text,
But she needed practice.
My sister and my husband have never been the same.
They disagree on everything.
...except their love for me.
talked to me
in the mirror
and it said
I was lying.
That Autumn Taught Me
That autumn taught me to gather
the godforsaken heterosexuality
out of myself
pour it right down the drain
flip the switch
watch the metal teeth
crunch bits of me up
and choke them down
That autumn taught me to scrub
pink and new
squeeze the words and water
out of my hair
and wrap myself up in the cloth
of self love
That autumn taught me to let
those golden words out
drip them off of my tongue
slow and sweet
and hang them out to dry
I have forever been equally blessed and cursed in life
a man that has just begun to live, by rights, as he should
after a boy continued doggedly way past his sell-by date.
Playing now to the strengths I have, but before never would
after chasing dreams of those to whom I could not relate.
I was a drug user, an alcoholic, a sex addict, all party,
overly confident, positive and anesthetised continually.
Now I don’t smoke or do drugs, drink, drunk moderately
sex is with one person, at a time, all the time, sometimes.
Yet I struggle with the black dog that hid cowering behind
the excesses, suppressed stresses, perceived successes,
and those I impressed in and out of short dresses
a tally of feast, hedonistic pleasures gorged with aplomb
yet respectful, and smiling, enemy-less, number one.
I am still a boy, but wear the mask of a steady man
for the grey world, yet let inner child out when I can.
The nonfiction now fiction, what was real hewn now in words
The blips on my radar all worthy, too late to gaze past birds.
Hard working, harder dreaming; this meandering life has been full,
yet if I died today, in this time of solidity, it would still be cool.
The Truth Made Me Cry...
I new who you were, this was never hidden,
Why did I believe you would be something different,
When the doubt swept right through me,
Piercing straight through the heart,
Yet the blindness stayed with me, keeping me in the dark.
I let it stay far far away, so long as it meant you would continue to stay.
Note to Self
Empty and silent, my head.
Quiet yet restless, my heart.
Uncertain, unclear, my future.
No path before me.
No passions within me.
No thoughts to stir me.
Where is the spark and the flash?
What of the torrent and flood?
Muted, subdued, and stagnant,
I slowly dissipate,
I weakly recede,
I softly diminish.
The tiny purposes of my life have become colorless threads, forsaken by a gradual loss of self. The ribbons of my dreams may never be weaved into finery. Those ambitions I nursed for so long have drowned in the inescapable doldrums of obligations and promises, the entrapment of paychecks, and that charnel house of hopes and aspirations called practical considerations.
Raise an empty mug,
and toast a life diverted.
It's time to pull the plug,
and this pursuit deserted.