2016 has many of us scratching or shaking our heads. This collection of poetry written by MEsolushospes (Mandy Elliott, Only a Stranger) on Prose. in 2016 is a thought provoking, mind bending, social shattering poetic conscious vomit of literary perspective expressionism.
This book isn't just a "best of" collection, but a booklet intended as part of a set with the clay mask I made at the beginning of 2016. The Mask represents how I felt at the beginning of the year, under the weight of the experience of previous years, while the book represents the specifics, the actual journey and mindset of the specific year. As I share this book with Prose. I also create the Mask of 2017.
A stranger to myself,
only a stranger to all,
as insignificant as me
in a sea of me's, after-all.
Amanda, Tom, Michael, more- What’s in a Name? You are.
Amanda was a little Manda-Panda and an Ama-Llama,
before she was Mandy with friends and Amanda for Momma,
long before she was any Mandy-candy with man drama,
two-facing her friends and bleeding the wrong kind of karma.
Tom was never a little Thomas or Tommy,
an adorable Tom-Tom with is Tom-Tummy,
who’ll always be Tom to his Dad and Mommy,
unlike those wish-washes Tom/Thomas and Michael.
Michael was an angel who became a tyrant,
went by Mike and held himself as a giant,
shows his sweet side for our compliance,
and is likely to rage if we’re ever defiant.
As a Mandy who was never an Amanda, I can say,
I’ve learned a lot, and still know so little, about names;
yet, in folks, I recognize what’s different and the same,
and knowingly used it whenever the notion came.
The funny thing about names:
They don’t define us any way,
we define them in what we do,
what we say, and convey.
You can make your name great.
To understand Déjà π,
you must first know Déjà vu:
you’re walking across a room
two doors, up ahead, flank you
and you must choose-
and in the moment of realizing this,
you also remember already doing it,
the walking across the room
seeing the two doors
realizing you must choose,
AS it’s happening to you.
It’s different than your memory
when you did this same thing yesterday,
it’s the here and now in echo
the false memory of Déjà vu.
same walk, same room,
but this time
you remember remembering Déjà vu;
it’s the feeling of remembering what you’re doing
as your doing it,
but also remembering you already remembered it
in a kind of double Déjà vu.
This sensation can get exponential,
so, where is the divide between multi- Déjà vu
and the infinitely more complex Déjà π?
The individual’s mind.
What if, when experiencing Déjà vu,
in any form between singular and multitude,
you could focus your thoughts through,
to see with the eyes of the other you?
This is the divide between Déjà π and Déjà vu…
A moment of consciousness split in between
the you that you are, and the you’s you could be
in infinitely expanded realities,
in a moment synchronized in the doing of a deed,
you have a chance to see as yourself, but also as they see…
Nine out of Ten choose the door on the right,
and still you see a hundred minds take the left,
and suddenly the sameness is like noise that’s white,
and the stains that show through are the difference-
a push door instead of a handle,
the right turn instead of a left turn of the knob,
the light that comes from a candle,
the silence instead of a soft distant sob-
follow it long enough,
and be conscious,
you can have a legitimate conversation
with any version of yourself like this,
see any reality you are a part of
of Déjà vu
opening a door
in the mind of the observer
who takes it to infinity
of multiple possibilities
I don’t ask why,
I just called it Déjà π.
(First, thank you for the wording of this challenge. I have always thought of suicide as the ultimate act of selfishness. I wouldn’t have written about it, except you challenged me. <3)
There’s no poetry in suicide, just the empty holes it leaves behind. I know, because I’ve thought about it myself, taking my own life, but I’ve also survived the suicide of family and friends. It’s in my history, it’s all around me, and I’m left doing a lot of feeling and deep thinking. I’m a survivor; of rape, emotional abuse, and psychological torture. I know what it’s like to be done, to feel like you can’t take ”life″ anymore.
It’s a surprisingly heavy feeling, and the alluring thing about suicide, is how physically uplifting it seems to consider. To be gone. Nothing. Nothing is a very light feeling, if you’re not already too numb to feel anything at all.
But I also know about science, the body’s chemistry, and the real and very physical things happening inside me when I feel that way. My brain is literally flooding my system with specific little peptides (emotion-chemicals) that the rest of my body is parking into receptors I can feel. Every time those cells regenerate, they regenerate with the most-used receptors. The more I allow myself to sink into despair, the more I’m flooding my system with sad-chemicals, the more by body produces cells to receive them, and soon, I bodily crave the feeling without realizing it because the majority of my receptors are for receiving those chemicals.
I feel like I found a home in that sadness. I forget what it’s like to live without it.
That’s not imaginary, it’s a real, physical reaction to having more sad-chemical receptors.
I know that is why the anti-depressant pharmaceutical companies are making so much money. Why I wont go through a laundry list of side-effects to feel better. It’s why those dorky phrases about ”change your mind, change your body″ or ”mind over matter,” ”where there’s a will there’s a way,” ”if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter“, or ”whether you believe you can do a thing, or believe you can’t, you’re right″ etc., are actually true.
So, in those moments when I’m so low I’ve forgotten how to feel anything but despair and wanting to end it, how can I justify taking my life? End of cycle.
I literally have two options in that moment:
1) change my mind to find a way to better my “life” so I enjoy it rather than want to escape it, or
2) I take my life and stop my mind all together.
Option 1 will ultimately involve finding what I love, because that’s the only way to be happy. My only chance to repair my body to have more happy-chemical receptors, and have less chance of feeling despair in the first place. I may not succeed, but I will be alive to see the lives I impact with the effort, and buy myself more time to learn my own potential. Life goes on with or without us, but if I choose option 1, I’m apart of it, and it could be good...
Option 2 will ultimately involve losing everything I love, have loved, or would love, and depending on my religious/after-death beliefs, either return to repeat the cycle, exist oblivious to the world I left behind, cease to exist, or be left to watch helplessly, the very same world I couldn’t take to live in anymore. All of which amounts to... me deciding to take that option over seeing what I could do here, on Earth, with the folk who are sharing this life with me.
Selfish, both of them, but in Option 1 I have the potential to help others, inspire others, and really make a difference in my little string of existence within this huge web of a seriously messed-up society. In Option 2, I leave everyone behind. I don’t consult them, the ones that matter, they don’t matter to me, because not being matter anymore is the only thing that matters. It’s the kind of selfishness that surmounts any other selfishness because it’s finite, definite, ultimate, complete, the end... for me. The dead.
In option 2, I’m not around to help with the physical clean-up of my remains, nor the condition I’ve left them in; and let me tell you, you’re never as neat as you think you are- death is messy. Period. I’m not around to sort out my affairs, and if I was thoughtful enough to leave them in order, I’m not around to see it done right. I’m not around to share the good memories, or help those left behind in the sad ones. Even if I left a note to explain any of my parting thoughts, no one really knows what I felt, or why I would decide death over possibilities. I wont be around when they wonder what I could have been, or when there is no one to comfort the one I never knew I impacted- who now feels like their spark is gone and there is nothing left to live for.
That thing I could have discovered I loved, I could have been happy in perusing with a passion, it goes undone and those I could I have inspired must find other inspirations.
It’s like hacking the limb off the tree of life:
Nope. Sorry. You cannot travel this limb anymore, and it will grow no more branches, the leaves will never turn again, nor fall, nor grow that vibrant green you only get in spring- it’ll never bloom again, nor share it’s pollen and beauty with the world, nor offer any more seeds of anything.
What sense does it make for any of us to deny the rest of the world, or ourselves, those positive possibilities because we fear or dread, or can’t take the bad ones anymore?
Do branches get broken?
Yes. But when the tree lives, the branch grows again in a new way.
Do branches have to fight to survive?
Hell yes, every branch must navigate the others to find it’s own ray of light!
Is it difficult?
You bet, every branch is living in the same sea of life that helps it survive, threatens it’s well-being or life, or is indifferent all together but using the same resources.
Is the branch a victim of circumstance?
No branch decides where it grows from the tree, or how high it gets to the sky; but a victim waits for rescue and circumstance happens without them, while a survivor finds a way through circumstance because the other option takes them out of the equation.
My point is, when we live, possibilities are endless and we have a chance to guide them. When we commit suicide, we end that, and those left behind have to keep going in our wake, without our positive touch, or the growth of their own from helping us through our negative. Ultimately, those who commit suicide feel alone, like there is no other option, and the reality always is that there are, they just might not have realized or found them yet. The information is out there, the people are out there, the only thing needed to put them together is us. Suicide isn’t just selfish, it’s a literal no-option for everyone.
(o.o sorry for over 1200 words, been building up I guess.)
I’m Not Proud of Hulking-Out
Once upon a time, I was in my early twenties (about),
my Mom came over with my brother to hang out:
I was already hanging with my Twin in her room,
chatting about something, and cleaning her gun.
I have no idea, to this day, why- when Mom rounded the corner,
hadn’t even entered the door, but stood in front of the threshold,
I dropped the brush, flipped the chamber closed, and aimed it at her,
knowing it was completely empty, without thinking, pulled the trigger.
I knew it was empty, I wasn’t even mad,
I genuinely felt, absolutely nothing in that moment-
but my Mom had no way to know that.
I was c a l m and collected,
and all it did was click,
but her heart stopped,
and she nearly dropped,
and she heard me laugh.
There was no reason.
It made no sense,
I’m her Mandy-girl,
and whimsical crescent!
-and we're reminiscent;
in echoed flashes
of other gun-barrels
aimed at us.
We joke about it now-
not when I hulk-out.
When the rage takes me,
I cannot stop
doesn’t matter what I want,
I start destroying things,
I don’t intend to keep,
because rage can’t speak,
look like I’m crazy
because rage can’t see,
don’t stop till I’m bleeding
because rage is all I’m feeling,
and the violence of it sickens me.
How do I stop... me?
How do I prevent the apologies?
How do I let the rage go to think clearly?
If anyone knows, I’m listening.
Through tears that follow the rage, I’m hoping.
For the Fallen
with a heavy heart
by the slightest breeze
in a beautiful display
of delayed falling;
leaving her longing
for any inkling-
for even one
for the fallen
March 20, 2044...
Sometime between 4 and 5pm, at the cusp of a dusky twilight that is much easier on my too-blue eyes, I'm ascending steps of stone or concrete, heavy and solid beneath my shoes. There are at least four sets of these two-pace-steps-of-seven leading up to the old building that could be a library or court house as easily as a museum or municipal building to any onlooker not familiar with it, for it stands unmarked and solitary upon it's stair grown hill.
It's the day after my 58th birthday and I'm going somewhere important. Despite this, I am traveling with only what I can carry in my pockets. One thing is constant, I am dressed for business, in as much as I ever dress for business- I am an Artist afterall. Unfortunately, I never make it there, not even to the top of the wide steps. No, a moment before my killer and murder weapon collide into me, I feel the intent like a cold finger, gliding up my spine and curling a hand around my throat that directs my jaw into the attack in a sick need to see it coming.
It doesn't matter. I've known this day was coming, I knew this was the moment when I set foot on the first step, and I knew I would not fight. I am tired of fighting, every day has been a fight, and some part of me always looked forward to this day when I am released. I welcome the pain, the last sensations of a twisted existence, humbled by the gentle way the knife is abandoned in favor of my body, he lowers me to the steps at a slant so I won't roll down the way the knife has clattered. My blood soaks my shirt, slides around my sides and makes rivers across my back that suddenly converge into a warm set of puddles pooling at the edge of every step I lay against.
I taste my blood and feel it weigh down my lungs, while too, each inhale drowns in the crimson tide only to escape before a full circulation through every perforation of the blades tip. My sails are torn, my heart nicked and skipping with a chugging threat to stall completely, but it's difficult to focus on through the nails torn through my gut like a stinging, burning, piked to the stairs kind of feeling that leaves my legs unresponsive and my hands uselessly trying to contain the mess. I can feel the warmth draining away with my blood, and I marvel that the pain does not cease, but transforms into a white searing acceptance that, if it hurts, I no longer care. My killer sees in my eyes that I forgive him, though I try to say the words, I cannot hear past my thud-silent heart, and do not know if they escaped me, and he leaves as quickly as he came.
If anyone notices me dying on the stairs, none rush to my aid. My last sight with my mortal eyes is of a true blue sky and a small sputtering of clouds. I am not breathing. My heart is not beating. My body is shutting down systematically and I am reminded of a shroom trip many years ago, when I felt the same sensations of each cell doing it's part in my body, and it causes me to smile. I feel my brain chuck non-essentials and still not have enough resources to keep going so, what is left of my conscious control I use to let go. Just like that, I am dead.
I see myself, for a moment, laying in a pool of blood on the steps, not a soul within fifty feet of me, save my own drifting away above my abandoned body. I do not know where I am going now, but I am not worried.
(I drempt this future many times with slight variations -mostly in my wardrobe and whether the man wore a mask or didn't- but this is the gist.)
If Money were a banana, we'd be stripping the ligaments out of the peel with our teeth a trillion-trillion times over, all the while convincing ourselves we actually taste banana.
Why? Because the banana isn't real, given to us with only enough tangibility to naw on and pass around. It keeps us occupied. With the pieces of banana peel to fight over individually, the poor and lower to middle classes rarely look past the peel to see anything, or question anything- afterall, they got a piece of the peel and that means they can taste banana! So, they never see that there is no banana, only a peel to strip into strings that can be woven into intricate nets of distraction...
Scarcity. Poverty. War. Fashion. Social Technology. And so much more, we're literally conditioned from birth to follow the money before we even understand why. Most never think to ask, and so the Money Madness sets in. It starts with the shiny's we see from the carrier fixed in the baby seat on the front of the grocery cart while Mommy and/or Daddy try to stay in budget; graduates into anything we can touch on the lower shelves when we're big enough to toddle along side it while the parent(s) still budget, and eventually grows into demanding (or if the parent is lucky, asking for) another trip to the ATM for that money we're told we don't have; all before we've even hit double digits in age. This caged reality, Money's Madness Menagerie built from the diaper up, is the Truman Show no one watches because they're all living it. Buying and dying by the peel, always dreaming of the banana -from baby carriage to budgeting Worker and/or Parent.
Money runs our education system, is it any wonder it keeps going in directions that make our heads spin? Propaganda in the pages of textbooks written by corporations, select educators, and approved by local governments. Assessments dictating dollars well before anyone considers the children, while Teachers struggle with regulations, mandatory curriculum, and the children's strife in standardized testing and psuedo-food in the cafeteria? Nevermind the push for higher education that's been reduced to making money off the would-be educated long after they've achieved their degree in (we don't care as long as they have it)? Where's the voice of reason?
Too busy fighting over the peel, dreaming of the banana.
Money runs our medical care system, is it any wonder there's more news on illness awareness and preventative medicine than the natural cures or true preventative actions? Why some plants are illegal but their synthetic, patented, pharmaceutically produced counter parts are flooded into human consumption alongside a laundry list of side-effects we can likewise be prescribe a treatment for? Why Healthcare facilities that make money decisions are better off, while those that make people decisions are often left to struggle? Where is the outrage?
Too busy fighting over the peel, dreaming of the banana.
Money runs our agricultural system, is it any wonder it's cheaper to buy processed food products than naturally grown food? Why some have plenty while others die of starvation? It is any surprise the least nutritious but quite versatile food is the most subsidized? That seeds can be patented and paid-for to be grown, which do not produce seeds so farmers must pay again to replant- nevermind the cross-contamination and jack-evolution in other crops? The plants growing their own toxic (insect-combustion) pesticide or antibiotics forced into the animals we later consume so they can survive their living conditions? The slave and child labors, the land and water source take-overs, and so on? Where does it stop?
Too busy fighting over the peel, dreaming of the banana.
Money runs our political system, is it any wonder corporations are considered people, but not held accountable for the damage they do? That we're disgruntled with our governments but haven't done enough to change it? That war is a go-to for profit among private contractors and nations? How lobbying is legal, or that the personnel from political office, corporation, and lobbyist can be interchanged election by election? The only televised presidential candidates have the monetary backing? Can we really be surprised that when these issues do come up, it's as a problem of it's own and not a symptom of money? Where is the demand for a resource based (we have them!) society and economy?
Too busy fighting over the peel, dreaming of the banana.
As long as we're fighting over money and dreaming of the life it will give us, we'll always make decisions to obtain as much of it as we deem we need for the quality of living we deem we need. It leads to less than a hundred individuals having the same wealth as billions of individuals, and at the end of the day, that keeps us fighting each other while the whole world suffers and a few profit. Just think about it.
Pull the stringy peel from your teeth and do some research, life doesn't have to be like this and there are already peel-eaters like us working on it. We all live in this world, lets all have a hand in how it turns out for future generations, eh?
-read and fact-check the books/magazines/TVshoes you're learning from, or your children are learning from (intentionally or not, its going in the brain!), and see if you don't start to question your education choices...YOUR CHOICES!
-read labels on the medicines you're taking and research what the ingredients actually are, research the money being made by that product alone, and see if you don't start to question your healthcare choices... YOUR CHOICES!
-read labels on the food you buy, research what the ingredients actually are, what they do (or haven't been tested long-term so no one knows...), and see if you don't start to question your food choices...YOUR CHOICES!
-fact-check your politicians, research the candidates main media isn't showing you as much as those they are, stop leaving your life in the hands of those you know nothing about, and see if you don't start to see you actually have choices... YOUR CHOICES!
If we all make better choices as individuals, it will force a global change toward better choices by sheer volume of demand. That's how it's always worked, we've just forgotten and allowed the banana-ideal to dictate what we do through advertising, convenience, and a number of other notions that make us feel informed and comfortable. We don't want the peel, we want the banana, but we chew on the peel because we think it tastes like banana. Wake the fuck up. Please? Thank you!
If you trust me at all, trust I knew what I was getting into.
If you believe me at all, believe I always meant what I said.
If you miss me at all, miss me between sunset and dawn.
If you remember me at all, remember I believed in the impossible.
If you see me at all, it's probably when I'm already gone.