Fear is the enemy.
The enemy off all things good
Fear holds hostage ambitious minds
Do not befriend fear,
Take no notice of its advances
Like a stray dog
Do not run from fear,
For it is a game for fear
Nay stand your ground and beat your chest,
Stomp your feet, and if you must,
Scream your head off.
Be ready to fight.
Bloody your knuckles and break your bones
For they are yours to sacrifice.
Expect no one to do so for you.
Expect fear to laugh, and expect pain to last.
But do it anyway.
For great men have spat in the face of fear
And come out victorious.
Others have failed.
But we remember their efforts.
Let us remember yours.
Lest you be forgotten.
Keyboard strokes and memos
Coffee cups and emails
Wake up before the sun rises
Go home after it sets.
Months spent in darkness.
Years spent in darkness.
Years ahead to be claimed
Or to be sold.
Sell, sell, sell,
Close, close, close.
Life waits just beyond the windows
That are sealed shut
A word written on paper
Hope in the face of the new nature
Hope breaks and reforms
And breaks again
Stand up, the stories say
Stand up and stand tall.
But they make us sit
And give us back aches.
Slave away and think nothing of the whips
The scars on our body are invisible, but felt.
The scars on our psyche is visible with every twitch,
every head turn to the windows that don’t open
A bird lands, on the cinderblocks across the way
Sell, sell, sell
We make our quota,
The bird flies away.
Some days I wake up in my bed. This are good days. I wake up and everything is where it should be. I wake up and I know I'm alone. Those are the good days know. When I know I'm alone.
Other days I wake up, or come to, somewhere. Sometimes in the woods. Sometimes in my home but not my bed. Sometimes I wake up and I think you'll be there next to me. I think the kids will be down the hall, sleeping soundly. I'll wake and not have you by my side and I'll think you went to the bathroom. But you don't come back.
I have a live in nurse. I just don't always remember I have her. Sometimes I see her and I call the cops. I think some woman's breaking into my house. And then it clicks. The fog that's in my mind lifts and I remember. I feel bad when I remember. I cry a lot when I remember. All I want is to remember somedays, remember the way you smelled. Remember the kids names. Remember where you were buried.
Billy came to visit last week. I think it was last week. It could have been last year though. I did;t recognize him. I talked to him for a while, I thought he was one of the neighbors. When I showed him old photos from when he was a child, and you were still around, he teared up. I didn't know why. Once he left it came back to me.
Some nights the fog rolls in. It settles and makes everything hard to make out. I go to sleep each night not knowing if the fog will still be there in the morning. I go to sleep wondering how long you've been gone and how long I still have. One day the fog will stay and I'll be gone for good and I'll wonder how long our kids will remember me.
Paths are laid for no reason
other than someone has walked it before you
The trees, the grass, the sky
It's all been seen from that path.
Pioneers left the paths
And made their own.
Grass turned to dirt
Turned to concrete
Birds fly south for the winter
The cold follows the months
The sun rotates on its axis
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Man is born
The path is laid
The path is beaten
The path waits
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
The future is predestined
if you so choose
At the end of the path
Death waits with a smile
Mortality is bred from creation
Man dies, paths remain
Create your life, Create your path
Walk a beaten path, walk a beaten life.
The Progressive Minimalist
The progressive minimalist sits in her deluxe high rise overmatching the city below. The people on the ground floor with their X-brand shoes and the Y-brand watches speaking into their Z-Brand phones and all the while wanting more. The progressive minimalist watches from her tower, her disdain for the people and all of their things below. She watches with nothing. She watches with little.
She is a minimalist, she keeps only what she needs. What she needs to survive. What she needs to live fully and nothing else. She has no want for anything more, she has no need for anything more. From her deluxe apartment with nothing in it, with little in it, she paces back and forth. She looks down on the people below and she hisses to herself. She knows herself to be the noble woman, she knows herself to have only what she needs and to bring the chance for everyone else to have what they need. There is no greed, there is no jealousy. But there is class. Class, elegance, style.
Those below, that fill their pockets with unnecessary things, that look through shop windows with glistening eyes that are hungry to devour anything they can get their hands on. Those below are predators, in the new wild, in a concrete jungle with trees that climb to the heavens and no desire to climb there. Those below never look up. Those below never think of what they need. They take whatever they can have. They take whatever is offered. They beg for more. They ask for more. They want only more.
The progressive minimalist wanders through her deluxe apartment alone. She needs no one. She wants no one. She has no one. Those below, they travel in packs. She speaks no words. They speak many. She looks at white walls, they at grey.
The progressive minimalist hasn’t left her prison in a year. She hasn’t stepped foot outside of her walls. She hasn’t put on her one pair of shoes to go out into the world. She has everything she needs. Food is delivered. She has shelter, running water. She needs nothing, she wants nothing, she thinks nothing.
Those below think only what is put into their heads. Those below don’t know where to go. Those below have no place to go. They wander, with their X-brand show and their N-brand shirts out into the streets hoping for someone to look at them. But no one looks. Except for her, in her deluxe apartment, with nothing to say.
The progressive minimalist takes out her one time piece, and a screen pops up with pictures. She scrolls through movies, and TV shows. She scrolls through articles about life. She reads about laughter and happiness, things that are not necessary for her survival. Things she does not want. Things she does not need. She watches as pictures of others fly past her empty room in mid air, she watches babies go by, she watches old friends and lovers, she watches life. She goes to her one window and tosses out her one time piece. Pictures of her friends, her lovers, her life, fly through the air for all those below to see. But they never look up. They look through windows, they look at things they don’t need and grow angry. Life passes over their heads. Without the slightest hint as to what their world could be if they looked up, their eyes water with greed.
The progressive minimalist in her deluxe apartment, looks down at all she has left. She watches her people below, her entertainment, her everything. She watches, but can never have. She is a minimalist. She watches as people go by, and she watches as they never look up. She watches and her eyes glisten with greed.
Outspoken and On Fire
The universe has been around much longer than things like greed or hate or love or anything that could have come into play. And yet, these things have popped up in the last few millennia to take an irreversible effect on the universe. The universe has become one of war and territories fought for and won by those from neighboring galaxies that have no use for the planets, seeing as how their species could not survive on the surfaces. This, in a word, is progress. And it started with a world known as Earth. Soon to be known as Earth Incorporated. But this story is not of one that will go into the details of the oligarchy that runs the world. No, instead this story will revolve around a man. A simple man. A complex man with emotions and intelligence and a yearning to know what’s to come, but a simple man all together. His name is Sam Shafer.
Sam was an exceedingly intelligent young man. So much so that he passed with honors from the small university he attended in what was once known as Boston Massachusetts but has since become known as the heart of the Eastern territory. Sam, though he graduated with honors, never actually attended a class unless attendance was vital for his grade, and even then he seldom showed up. School was not something that interested him. In fact most things did not interest him. He understood much of how the world worked from an early age and thus never found and interest in learning what he had figured out for himself. But he stayed in school for the simple fact that he, like most of his friends, had absolutely no idea of what to do with his time and he figured that if he wasn’t doing anything of importance, he might as well do it at school where he could pretend to work on something. This served him in multiple ways. For instance when he would go home for the holiday, Employee break day, he would find himself surrounded by his wealthy parent’s wealthy friends as they asked him what direction he was headed with his life. Now this was something that always disturbed Sam, for he knew that if one were to pick a direction and stick with it for long enough he would travel the circumference of the world and end up back where he started. He figured it would be much more pertinent to one’s life if they were to go in random directions at random times and never see the same thing twice. However, he found that when he would state this simple philosophy of his it would be met with hostility from his parent’s friends as they would say things along the lines of “That’s a child’s way of looking at things”. This of course only confused Sam more, for he wondered who in their right mind would want to see the world in any way other than how a child sees it. But he found comfort in the notion that his parents’ friends were not in their right mind, that in fact they were so far into their wrong mind that they were lost in the jungle of turmoil and greed that they would never find their way back out. And so Sam retired his brilliance while at these parties and simply said that he was still looking for the right direction.
Curiously enough, the right direction was exactly the opposite way the train was heading when it came full speed to greet a man on the tracks that morning where Sam was waiting for the Nine-Thirty to the northern district of the Eastern Territory. The man the train had come into contact with was Jake Fenster, a classmate of Sam, though Sam had not known this until after his university would send out a letter explaining the students absence. That absence would last for over a year due to the record from the injuries sustained by the train tracks. Jake, had the unfortunate fortune the week before of walking home from a late study session to find his girlfriend bent over his desk and being plowed by his psychology professor, who’s test he was in fact studying for. Upon receiving his grade that morning, he found that he had gotten the “A” he worked so hard for. But upon learning that his now ex-girlfriend had received an “A” as well, he felt that his accomplishment was hollow and retired to the subway station in order to bypass any further accomplishments he may have obtained. He Made his way up to the tracks as people all stood around staring into their phones. No one had noticed him taking off his shirt, his pants, his underwear. No one noticed still when he walked up to the edge of the yellow caution line. And finally no one noticed poor Jake jump with his arms stretched out to what he had hoped to be his final day in the territory. The lesson Jake had learned upon jumping onto the tracks is that Hope, is a cruel monster that lures you into it’s cave only to have his brother reality pounce on you from behind. And Reality did just that when Jake landed directly onto the third rail.
“AGGGHHHH. OH GOD IN HEAVEN, LUCIFER BELOW, PLEASE SOMEONE MAKE IT STOP.”
Another lesson that Jake was learning at that moment is that God and the Devil have very busy schedules and to make up for the stress they had accumulated in the past few millennia, were on a vacation together on the tropical planets of a neighboring galaxy a few hundred billion lightyears away and had forgotten to take their phones.
“OH MY GOD, PLEASE. KILL ME. KILL ME!”
Jake’s shouting went on for a good five minutes while the electrical storm that was passing through his body raged on. The only reason people started to notice was not due to the increasingly troublesome screams, but from the smell of the now partially well done Jake. These people on the platform started to rusher once they had smelled burning flesh, And though Jake’s midsection was now melted to the rail, he was thankful that something had gathered these people’s attention. However that thankfulness was gone almost instantly the moment he saw these people taking out their phones and videotaping him to post on their “LifeWire” accounts. At this moment, all that passed through poor Jake’s head was “Oh God”. Which was precisely what was going through Sam’s head at the exact same moment. Though Sam was thinking “Oh God” for an entirely different reason altogether. For Sam was watching the other people on the platform gather around this poor man burning away on the tracks and filming it for no reason other than to show their friends what they had witnessed in their lives. In order to block out the increasingly boring situation Sam had put in his headphones and started listening to “Bankrupt On Selling” by Modest Mouse. This was one of Sam’s favorite songs due to the lack of subtly in the message. Sam had observed that as music had progressed it had gone from blatant messages of love, to subtle messages of the times, to blatant messages of the times, and had progressed into blatant yelling of no messages at all. In fact, Sam had noticed that as the music had progressed so to had the way people went about their lives. Whereas before, men and women would live their lives and keep their secrets, then the next generation had lived their lives and exposed their secrets, and finally the world had entered the next step where the people had watched their lives through phones and yelled whatever was in their head. Sam had noticed that if walked down Avery Street at certain times of the day, he would here loud screams of “NIKE. NIKE. ADIDAS.!” And if he had walked into the Northern District at the same times he would hear “ARMANI SUIT, BROOKS BROTHERS TIE.” It was the idea that being outspoken was something everyone should be at every moment of everyday and now we are left with artists and musicians in a constant struggle of trying to figure out what to do. It’s become so detrimental to their mental stability that schizophrenics have been kicked out onto the streets from mental hospitals because of over population of artists. And the ones that have refrained from taking the short bus to the nut house have been left on the street with the schizophrenics yelling on the top of their lungs their subtle messages. It hasn’t seemed to work for any of them yet, but they’ll keep trying until they lose their voice or they strike it big.
By the time Sam’s song had ended, paramedics had raced down onto the tracks and were scraping up the remains of Jake. They had put the blackened body onto a stretcher and were surprised to find that somehow he was still alive. The men and women on the platform still had their phones out, tracing the man with the phones’ sightline. And finally the Nine-thrity to the Northern district had arrived and Sam had stepped on.
He screams in agony. I mean pure fucking agony. There’s nothing quite like it really. When you stub your toe on the corner of the bed in the middle of the night, and you let out that little yelp, the one where you immediately feel emasculated even though it hurts like hell and you have to cover it up by shouting “Fuck” a few times, yeah that’s nothing compared to this. This sounds like a squealing pig being roasted alive. Which, actually is a pretty apt description of the situation. He’s right on the third rail, pinned to it I think. Or melted to it. Either way he’s stuck there with what seems to be an entire electrical storm running through his body. All he needs is a tribe of men and women all chanting around him and throwing seasonings as they offer him up to the gods.
“PLEASE. HELP ME!”
It’s quite unpleasant really. The sight for one thing is terrifically awful. Like watching raw steak cook with the heat all the way up, it chars on the outside and pillows of smoke rise up. The smoke is rising too, and filing this damn subway tube. I remember when I was a kid, maybe ten or twelve years ago and this girl I used to hang around with, Kathy I think her name was, we used to light things on fire with a magnifying glass. Those little things like ants and leaves and small things like that. But there was one time we found this rose. This perfect rose that stood out from all the wilted ones. It was fall and all of the plant life was starting to curl up and die like most things do in the cold. But this beautiful rose was still standing strong amidst its relatives and we plucked and admired it for a quick moment. We had to admire it, it was something remarkable. The stem had only three thorns on it, but they were razor sharp. I know because I used it to draw a bit of blood from my fingertip, as children would do. And after we admired it, for the impossible specimen it was, we took it over to the pavement in front of my house and we lit it on fire, having our own little offering to the gods. In seconds it was up in flames. Not the little flames around the edges that the leaves from the oak trees would do, but real full on flames with smoke rising and swirling in the air. It was intoxicating, the smell was at least. There’s nothing quite like a burning rose. It lingers in the air and swims up into your nose, holding onto the hairs so you can keep smelling it for hours afterwords. Maybe it was just me, I don’t remember how Kathy liked it, but to me that smell was worth anything in the world.
“All right, everyone stand back. Make a hole please. Make a hole!”
The paramedics and police are running around trying to get down onto the tracks. They’re all covering their faces, trying to block out the smell. It’s horrendous. I feel a bit queasy and I’m almost positive someone threw up already, from the sight or the smell I’m not sure. It could be both. It’s something almost entirely unlike the burning rose. I say almost for the mere fact that this is something that has already clung to my nostril hairs, my clothes, my skin, my hair. It will cling to me. It will stay with me. At least it should. It’s like burning rubber concentrated to right in front of you. I’m still sitting on the bench. When I walked down it hadn’t started. I’m not actually sure when exactly this man jumped or fell onto the tracks. I don’t think anyone saw him. No one screamed. No one noticed. We all just sort of smelled something. It wasn’t bad at first. A bit like burning the wrong leaves during a bonfire. But then the screams came. I think the screams made the smell worse. Once you become aware to the horrible things around you, it all seems so much worse than it is. Once we heard the screams, someone yelled in horror. Not as much horror as the man on the tracks I’m sure, but an appropriate amount for someone seeing another person burn alive right in front of them. What happened next is the same thing that happens during any extreme situation, though I’m not too sure if this would be logged into that category. I can faintly hear the paramedics. One of them has a shovel I think.
“We’re going to have to scrape him off.”
“Kill me. Please. Just Kill me.”
“Lift him up.”
“what do you mean, just fucking pick him up.”
“He’s melted to it, I can’t.”
“Let me die…”
I put in my headphones and the screams stop. Bankrupt On Selling by Modest Mouse comes on. An underrated song to say the least. Well underrated for most people. Obviously anyone who listens to Modest Mouse loves the song. It encapsulates not only the album and the times it was made, but it really leaves the subtleness out of the scenario. That’s something that sadly gets a bad rap. To be outspoken is something too out of the ordinary now. Well to be outspoken for a cause. It took up around the nineties and through maybe twenty-twenty. But those were the times that cushioned racism and economic downfall was all too real. But then somehow everyone sort of lost touch. People still yelled about things, but nothing important. You would hear people yelling on the street about how they deserved to be treated with respect and such, when they were showing no respect to anyone. It became a fad in a sense, to just yell whatever was on your mind. Then, at some point, everyone stopped listening to each other. So then the streets were full of loud ramblings that no one even paid attention too. After a while people started just screaming out what they were wearing. You could walk through the financial district and hear “ARMANI BLACK SUIT! BROOKS BROTHER’S TIE!”. And god forbid you tried to go to a gym, you would have been defeated by an array of “NIKE! NIKE! NIKE!” Being outspoken became as played out as being subtle, and now we’re left with todays artists and musicians in a constant struggle of trying to figure out what to do. It’s become so detrimental to their mental stability that schizophrenics have been kicked out onto the streets from mental hospitals because of over population of artists. And the ones that have refrained from taking the short bus to the nut house have been left on the street with the schizophrenics yelling on the top of their lungs their subtle messages. It hasn’t seemed to work for any of them yet, but they’ll keep trying until they lose their voice or they strike it big.
The man, well most of him, is hauled off the tracks on a gurney. His hair has burned off and the front half of him looks like charcoal, while the back half of him looks like a really bad sunburn. The people are all lined up right at the edge of the tracks, just like they have been for the last half hour. Each one not looking at the man in agony but at their phone as it records the man in agony. It makes it easier for them. I’m sure in their conscious minds they’re thinking something along the lines of “Holy shit, no one is going to believe this”, but in their subconscious it dulls the reality. Looking through a screen makes it seem as though it’s been written in a script and we’re all just watching a movie. But we’re not. This is reality, everything around us. Most people it seems just wish so hard that it isn’t, that they’ve become so entranced with what really isn’t and have formulated that to be the reality around them. They live in a rainbow’s explosion and only focus on their favorite color.
Finally the train comes and the doors open. Everyone puts their phones away and puts their eyes back on pseudo-reality. Isaac Brock launches into some bit about God being an Indian Giver, and the doors shut.
The man in the gutters will seldom be the one that commits suicide. The man with the empty house however is much more inclined to do so. There's a difference not just in class, but in character. For the man in the gutter knows himself to be a man in a gutter and has hope for each day that he will find happiness or shelter or love or anything that might make his day better. But the man in the empty house that sits alone with his thoughts as he works through the day without any real inclination as to why, he finds himself in silence bombarding his head with unwanted thoughts. There is few times when the man in the gutter will want anything more than to have a family, and loving arms to take refuge in; he knows that at the time of his choosing, he can take the step to getting himself out of the streets and into a family. But the man in his empty house, with his streaming thoughts and his wilted smile, he will forever find himself in the gutters of his mind, never sure of whether or not he can change his situation.
When it's six in the morning, and we're wide awake with our mind rushing in and out of itself, our sanity seems to be out to lunch and we can't pry ourselves from our seat, we stare out the windows and wait for the sun to rise. Things seems to be new and fresh, old and stale. Everyday we age, and everyday we change. But for these moments before the sunrise, we stand still, we don't age. Time is almost at a stand still and we are forever in this moment. This is the time of lost thoughts and found grievances. After an imagined lifetime of an electric heartbeat and thoughts of going out of our mind, the sun starts to rise and we are granted a new day only to go right back to it when the sun goes down.
Man on the Moon
Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously
In meadows unseen
Sensical logic leaves for lunch
And is replaced by his cousin.
Structure flies out the window
on his way to catch a plane
Unbridled nonsense becomes the bride and groom
at his sisters wedding.
An audience applauds and flees the theatre
before the show has even begun
The actors criticize the audience
after seeing their own performance
Wingless birds soar under the Earth
Finless fish swim in the sky
Love dances under the moonlight with hate
The sun casts a shadow over the Earth.
In a room, a madman is sane
A sane man is mad
Madness laughs at his companions
And they laugh along
The man on the moon's act has concluded
The show started after it ended
The audience is baffled by what they have witnessed
and they wonder if they'll ever be the same.