My Head Can Be A Weird Place To Be
To describe my mind,
and I will be kind,
is a vast potpourri,
oft times most amazing to me.
Like a food pantry fully stocked,
items aligned to the nth degree,
things will be used, mentally abused,
to write words meant to be free.
There will be spaces between the lines,
where words cannot fill a story, I opine;
but given thought, endless hours to imagine,
the mind will generate like a locomotive engine.
A word, suggestion, idea, whatever it may be,
triggers a synapse inside me creating a life.
I cannot explain it any better than this;
my mind without words leaves me blind you see.
So what is my mind but a microcosm of thought,
transplanted vestiages to entertain the minds of others,
fot is that not what thoughts, pen to paper are?
A way to brighten, enlighten, along each life’s own way?
When next a thought entertains a page,
be it sadness, humor, love or rage;
know I do this not for myself,
but the self of those, who chose to read along the way.
That’s a wrap
-what does my mind look like? -
Like bubble gum wrapper
Pink foil. Sometimes silver crinkled up in a ball wedged between a worn out knock off Prada wallet and an antique mirror I found at a play ground under a see-saw of all things. Much like my life I suppose. Full of ups and down. It was caked in mud when I found it but what a treasure it was once submerged in a cascade of bubbly waters.
Like a a brand new pair of white canvas shoes. Often blemished with bits of slate & earth by days end. Laces intertwined with a combo of allergy infused weeds & shards of emerald. I sneeze as I bend down to tie another loose end. They leave a blister but I cover it quickly with a band aid and snap a selfie to show off my new abrasion and the new shoes of course.
Like a hardback novel. One that you place stacked neatly on top of three other unread books. They look like perfection, bindings uncreased, pages crips. Still smell like Arial ink right off the press. Suitable for displaying a bouquet of hand picked lilies and or placing a steaming mug of chamomile before bedtime upon. You do plan to read them someday. But right now ....
Like a blockbuster movie. An A lister. One to be watched. One full of suspense. Romance. Everything you need for a night of hand holding, cuddling, kissing and buttered popcorn. But once the credits run you fall into a deep slumber.
Like a Volvo. Smooth. Refined. Catches the eye but not quite as effective as let’s say a G wagon or Audi R8. But nice enough that you command reliability. Comfort. And are quite dependable. Loyal.
The Noir Neurotic, circa 2021
My mind is an art gallery
that never opened,
due to ongoing construction
The paintings have acquired dust
and memories that became
door stops, propping open
the doorways to what once was.
The statues are silhouettes
of a time before mental illness,
stuck in place with tarps thrown
over them, irrelevant and moth eaten.
The gallery has only
one redeeming quality:
which let light in
despite the ongoing
dilemma of identity crisis.
The Mind Lobby and Other Intricate Places
Welcome to the ever-changing architecture in the main structure of my mind. The entrance to this structure is, in fact, a door: plain, wooden, unlocked, with a shiny chrome knob. When you open the door inward, you step into a beautiful, high-ceiling foyer. It looks pristine—sparkling, clean, and maintained.
Like a hotel lobby, it is long and rectangular. Cream and brown walls prop up the high ceiling that is latticed with red-colored wood, dangling antique chandeliers embellished with bronze cages and long yellow bulbs. Maroon-and-cream-striped chairs sit upon large, antique floral rugs with matching poufs, corralled around low coffee tables. To the left and right of these chairs are potted broadleaf lady palms and arecas full of life and invitation.
The floor design, with large cream, brown and blue squares lead you to the service desk and its pegged corkboard of intricate antique keys—some keys are large and bulky, some are small, the size of a fingertip, some are bronze, black iron, silver, nickel, pure gold, pure pyrite. And some are fragile like freshly baked butter biscuits waiting to crumble under the slightest pressure while turning a locking mechanism it wasn't specifically designed for. There is no service desk attendant. You're free to grab a key, any key, all the keys, if you will, and use them as you wish.
To both the right and the left of the central service desk, there is a grand staircase. It is blue and brown and cream marble, like the tiled floor of the Mind Lobby, and decorated with a maroon runner rug. With stairs on each side of the service desk, there are tens (or twenties) of tentacle-warped stairs, moving and squirming, like an ever-evolving, never-ending paradox designed by the love-child of M.C. Escher and Kandinsky's Composition X. Please, chose a stair to follow with that key you grabbed, if you want to.
I see that you have a handful of keys. That’s okay, too; that’s why they’re there. If you’re ready, we can make our way up. One step at a time, please, because there’s a lot to see. First, you may notice the sign: The Staircase Gallery. It’s kind of like the inside of an open skyscraper with hundreds of floors and hundreds of more doors. The staircase in the Gallery goes up and up... It appears endlessly, but time has the control for the hourglass that is life, and eventually, the sand stops.
As you go up, pay attention to the walls and the oil and acrylic painted portraits, both large and small and extra-large, that are hung delicately in heavy, carved wooden frames. They’re antique, so please don’t touch, though some portraits have been newly added to the Staircase Gallery. Watch these portraits as you progress, and you’ll see them change. Faces that may have originally been painted with pleasant features have been repainted with thick, heavy acrylic plastered over smiles and smiling eyes that turned sour. Some portraits have been burned. Others have cracked frames or frameless canvases that are frayed at the edges; they have simply sat and collected dust, abandoned but not really forgotten. I agree with you, yes, that there are a lot of portraits; they’re so closely hung together that it’s almost impossible to see the walls at all. A lot of these portraits are just blank faces without real stories behind them, and a dozen others are so covered with dust that you can’t make out features anymore—like lost memories. I can assume, of course, that these people have their own stories, but I’ve long forgotten them.
On the flip side, there are these golden portraits. They’re cleaned so regularly that they stand out like an animated object in the background of an old cartoon movie—you know, the ones with the stagnant, painted backgrounds? These are the ones that I’ve nurtured over time because they’re precious to me—my closest friends, my spouse, my grandmother. They’re the important ones, and they deserve the best in this Gallery. Speaking of the best: let’s go further, and I’ll show you The Tapestry.
On the way there, you’ll find new beginnings defined by red strings tied around doorknobs that link to other doorknobs. These strings follow the walls around portraits and go up and up... Some of these strings are tied to posts at bridges long burnt that were built over raging rapids one does not dare to cross anymore. Other strings are strong and woven, intertwined with mutual friendships and passions that form into ropes and safety harnesses.
You’re allowed to ask me about the red strings. That doesn’t require a key. You’ll notice that some begin as ropes and fray at the end—torn, sliced, or burned through—dangling lifelessly over the knob of a locked door, while others that begin as a single thread have grown and intertwined with others that bring life to a multi-shaded tapestry of friends and newfound family. This tapestry is the main display in the Staircase Gallery. It hangs heavily on a wooden rod, patiently waiting to be added to. It’s beautiful, yes, because it depicts my hope for the future and the pride that I have in those I love.
You’re passing a lot of doors on the way up. Some are hidden, so don’t feel bad about not seeing them—they were hidden for a reason or two. There are a few that aren’t so secret, though. Do you see the black iron gate with curled spikes on the tips and embellishment of decaying vines and wilting roses? Isn’t it enticing? The thick, black chains and palm-sized lock should not be a discouragement to access. You have a key, remember?
Behind the tall gate, there is a garden with hedges that reach the open, blue sky. It is only the front-entrance garden with a labyrinth-like path that leads to a distant, decrepit mansion. I recommend watching the ground. Some areas are covered in tall grasses, with both friendly and unfriendly snakes, while others are paved and well-trodden.
Notice your surroundings—this gives you clues on how to get out of the labyrinth the correct way because now there is no gate behind you. Follow the tall hedges. They’re so tall, in fact, that no matter your height, you can’t see over them. It’s possible to get lost a time or two, but please persevere and you will make it through.
I’m sorry about that body, there. Please don’t think too hard about it. It's not the only one you will come across. There are many dead and decaying bodies here, and like this one, some have already skeletonized, while others are fresh and still and haven’t had time to assimilate into the worms and roots of this garden. Some of these bodies you will find early on in this labyrinth, while others are closer to the end. They all make me sad, like lost friendships and suffocating flames of potentialities. Don’t loiter in one place for too long, either; you are not the only one here.
When you make it to the white concrete front steps of the dilapidated mansion, congratulations. It was once a beautiful piece of Victorian-inspired architecture in my childhood. It is still maintained in some areas—like the study and kitchen—but other areas have been locked, boarded, and neglected, acquiesced to the earth.
The kitchen had been newly renovated to adopt a form of enlightenment-modernist style, with sharp angles and unique curves, almost minimalist if not for the use of bronze, wood, and rivets, and long yellow bulbs that cast antique shadows on the pinks and creams of the walls. The kitchen is fully stocked and clean, except for a small pile of dishes in the sink and rising yeast dough under the stove light. In the kitchen and to the right is a sliding glass door—it leads you out and back to the black wrought-iron gate that you were so hesitant, like many others, to open.
The other doors of the mansion are locked. Those lead to rooms that have been forgotten—lost passions, crumpled ideas, discarded sketchbooks; sad, broken dreams that were tossed into the wastebasket of wasted time that is flooded with stagnant, weightless regrets. It would be useless to explore those. It’s best to let them be and head back to the Staircase Gallery.
There is this other door in the Gallery—I see you staring at it out of the corner of your eye—it’s cracked down the center. I would agree, yes— it looks like a medieval dungeon door reinforced with black iron slabs and bolted with a slide lock, and a key lock, and a padlock. No, you don’t have access to any of those keys. Please, leave that door alone and ignore the black liquid that’s pooling at its base.
I’d like to take your hand now. Don’t worry, my hand is dry and warm, and soft and smooth with clean trimmed nails and a beautiful ring with small leaves and a clear stone. Accept it, and I’ll show you my favorite part. The Museum. I love to walk it with my friends. If you’ve come this far, you’re my friend.
It’s not a linear museum. It’s an organized palace, with wings and rows and grand halls. There is no door to the museum. Its large, open archway is perched on its own platform in the Staircase Gallery. The Museum starts in the art galleries. It has a long, white hallway in front of us and rows of open wings to the left and right. Each wing is organized and themed with different types of art: sculptures—metal and marble—renaissance paintings, abstracts, global culture art.
Everything I remember and everything that I’d like to create is hung on papered walls under white spotlights patiently waiting for eyes like yours to grace them. We can stay a short while; sit on the peppered benches and ponder each piece and the meaning of the gold-trimmed plaques with the names and descriptions and dates.
It’s hard to say which part of The Museum is my favorite, but the aquarium rides near the top. When we finish the art galleries, we’ll end at a set of glass automatic doors with blue and white signs and hours of operation. Head in and down a short, red brick tunnel that declines into dimming light. Coming out of the other end, you’ll find yourself washed in fluid watercolor blues, refracted through thick glass that separates you from sunken ships surrounded by a plethora of sand tiger sharks and gnawed goliath groupers. You can sit in the center of this large dome and zone out while you watch the aquatic life float by. I’ll point out the eagle rays, and the amberjacks, and the conger eels, and barracuda snappers, but you can ignore me if you’d like. I just like to talk. I also like to watch the fish and the sharks as they swim in endless circles around the shipwreck. What do you think they’re thinking about? Do they know they’re stuck in this large pool, roaming on and on, pointlessly?
Sometime in the future, I’ll show you the botanical gardens and the astronomy dome. We can walk the historical architecture district, too, if you’re interested in the colonial houses across the country that I’ve visited. I don’t want to keep you longer, so we’ll take the shortcut out and head back to the Staircase Gallery. You can return later any time that you want, if you ever want to visit again.
Oh, you hear that, too? That’s just the rising tides crashing against the cliffs and shores of the islands. We can go there, if you’d like, but be warned that the tides are not always friendly, as much as I'd like them to be. They can be dangerous. Go on and take your shoes off; it’s more fun that way.
When you step through this weathered, wooden plank arched door with bronze rivets and a simple plank lock, your feet will sink into the sands of the island beaches. The climate and ecosystem change, depending on when you decide to visit. As of now, you’ll see low and heavy cumulus clouds building a storm, vibrating with potential energy, lightning bouncing between the edges in tune with the threatening growls of thunder. A grey haze fills the sky. The sands are wet and sticky and cold. Cold waters shove rocks and shells and red seaweed ashore, abandoning it as the ocean is pulled back with the tide. Chilled winds howl in your ears, raising bumps on your skin and sending shivers unconsciously throughout your limbs. This same wind blows palm trees horizontal with the ground, whipping waxy elephant leaves violently around like the winds of a hurricane. I warned you of this dark, grey horizon.
It’s hard to control sometimes. This building storm that you see—distant dark blue waves growing and collapsing, growing and crashing down, down, pushing distant ships under—is what causes those shipwrecks you see on your right. At the bottom of that tall, tall cliff are jagged black rocks with sharp edges and bloodstained debris of unfortunate past causalities. Fear not; storms like these are not often. The clouds need to build before something like this happens, and the clouds are patient, forgiving.
Walk a little further to the warmer side of the beach and you’ll find a much more pleasant, relaxing side of the island. Here, these sands are warm and dry, and the low-tide crystal blue water caresses ankles with warm kisses. Beautiful pink and blue shells are found with a little scavenging, and the longer you’re on the beach, the chances that you’ll come across a perfectly intact nautilus shell increase; you’re free to take it and put it on a shelf somewhere. Sit in the warm sands, dig your feet in. The sun’s just hot enough to keep the waters and sands comfortable.
This is what the island is meant to be—warm and inviting. Cozy shacks line the border between the grass and sandy beach, waiting to be occupied by vacationers itching for a break from the real world.
White sails peek over the watery horizon, bringing along masts and a brown hull and a forepeak with a beautiful figurehead of a woman in a long flowing dress hoisting a sword pointed forward, like an encouragement to push forward, push through the crashing tides. When the ship floats just beyond the shallows, we’ll swim aboard.
Don’t worry about the waters over here—they're unnaturally clear and safe. You might feel a fish or two brush upon your leg but fret not, the dangerous waters aren’t until much farther out. For now, we seek adventure on the unknown horizon that awaits. The rope ladder that hangs off the side of the galleon is frayed and worn, the wooden rails are petrified from the oils of many hands touching and grabbing, and when you’re standing on the wet deck, you’ll understand the deep sense of adventure that truly awaits on the waves of the open ocean. Freedom and life; free from the weights of communal responsibility, free from continental government, free from ancestral social constructs. Just naked survival under the voided purple sky and her multitude of stars while drifting in the vast mysteries of the undiscovered black ocean.
The farther you explore, the more curious spectacles you will find, like that of the darkest secrets of the Mariana Trench. Not all you’ll find ever sees the light of the surface, but it’s there. It’s always there, hidden in the depths.
We should... go back. There is a lot more here, but that takes more time—to go one by one through the many doors and memories that are scattered throughout this place. You’re welcome to come back anytime, though. Remember, the front door is unlocked and you have access to all the keys.
down the rabbit hole...
you asked for a peek.
will it be what you seek?
a little tour...
the real question is,
will you want more?
best to sit back,
enjoy the ride,
hopefully when it’s over
you won’t run and hide...
we are all
when i sleep.
in little vaults.
of a complex organism.
were you to unlock
a random vault
a world of horrors
for one cannot exist
without the other.
with a password
of shades of blue
and the scent
you may walk through
a land painted
by Van Gogh himself.
soar through the fluid turbulence
of stardust in wondrous,
with a password
that tastes of
rain flavored ice cream
and feels like
bare feet on gravel,
you find a demon
with a face you trust,
who’s words slice deeper than any knife.
to the bone
to feast on
the meat of you.
suck the marrow
from your bones.
crack open your skull
for the tasty gray treat.
as you weep
to the demon
my brain doesn’t work like yours.
letters and numbers speak differently to me.
and i’m sorry,
i know things you don’t.
a sixth sense you fear.
and i’m really sorry,
i couldn’t be who you wanted.
fit the shiny predetermined mold selected
just for me.
you’ll never know
how hard i tried
to cram my form
into such a rigid contraption,
oh the bittersweet familiar pain of it.
but i’m mostly sorry,
that your brain can’t see
letters whisper secrets to decode.
that you can’t feel
from a small child
on Christmas morning,
in all it’s glorious colors.
that you’ll never see my true beauty,
a sight to behold,
i assure you.
the depths of my mind
and all of the spectacular creatures within
will forever remain
a mystery to you
and for this,
The Sight of Mind
What was once an organized, cozy place... now it just looks like a high-school boy’s messy room. Even though I’m a girl and I should be more organized than a high-school boy.
My mind looks like Alcatraz.
A building strong and stately...
Some ocean-spray for razzmatazz,
which freshens breeze ornately...
It’s not so much the place,
but the people who live in it.
There’s one who’s wise and full of grace,
one who tells Wise “bin it!”
one who’s warm and touchy-feely,
one who’s lived through hell,
one who’s glares are harsh and steely
one tooo drunk to spel...
one who hops and giggles like a kid-in-candy-shop.
one who wants and wants and wants til it just wants to stop!
I start to hate the lot of them,
these people in my cell.
Get rid of all i’ve got of them,
throw ’em down a well!
But then this really would become a lost and lonely place...
Nup, I guess it’s terminal. My mentals rest their case.
A rollercoaster mind
My mind is like a carnival. Yes, it's fun and entertaining for the day, but you know that some shaddy stuff is happening after dark.
A child's room, filled to the brim with toys that are scattered throughout. Some places are organized, others are so disorganized you have a hard time comprehending how it could have been created by the same person. But, occasionally, you will lift up a sock and find some treasure.
An ocean of thoughts and ideas incessantly beating on the shore of my mind.
I have been built in my entirety by other people. My mother cut me from a soft cloth with sharp shears and she pulled me taut. She sewed me in her backroom. She stitched my lips into a soft smile. She buttoned up a dress on me. I was built entirely by other people. The stains on the fabric of my neck are brusies from my teenage years spent in the backseat of a SUV. The purple kisses on my neck became permanent. My skin was so tight that his teeth pierced me and his fingers stained me. I was built by my mother. My skin was so fragile. I was built by other people and wrecked by other people. He shattered me.
Although I am the product of a thousand different hands, an exchanging of over a million words, and the consequence of a reaction to my every action-- I am still everything that I own. I have been given nothing besides the ability to be. To think. This mind is the only thing that has been ever given to me. For someday, the stitches that sew my skin together will rot into the Earth and my thoughts are uncompromised to the earthworms eating my flesh.
In my mind, there is a backroom. For Montaigne, he had a back shop to be alone in. He had four walls to be himself. I have nothing material that I own similar to such a space. I have a mind. I have no corners in my mind. I have a backroom far into my conscience. If you weave through the maze of my mind, there is a place at the end of a dimly lit hallway. This place exists in the deepest folds of my cortex. A little workroom, with boxes and baggage that is purely weighed down by emotion. I exist here alone. I kick sawdust around the shop floor. I can make the walls any color, but they are industrial grey. There is a heavy lock on the door and I own the only unique key.
I have laid my soul on a table in the center of my workroom. I have strapped the shoulders and hips of my being onto this station. This is where I mend my heart. I crack open my own ribs. The cleveage is calcualted, clean, and barbaric. I will not allow myself to break my bones into bits that are so small they could be mistaken for sawdust. Sometiems, when I sweep, I don't even check the rubbish I throw into the incinerator. Also, the breaking into my own heart is a very precise pursuit because of the vulnerability of my being. I cannot allow other parts of me to leak out. My heart comes out in a clean swipe; it fits in my hand like a raw piece of meat. I pin the edges to the table with thin needles. The veins and tissue are like veins in the wings of a butterfly. I use a cotton swab to carve black tar from the crevices. In all the bits where my muscles begin to separate, I take a very thick yarn and a darning needle to sew myself back together.
I escape into this fantastical scene. I am a surgeon of my own conscience. But, this is the place where I can truly be alone. Where I can be naked to my own reflection. The loneliness of this back shop is comforting. When I first entered my back shop, it was horrifying. It was tucked into the darkest part of my mind. It appeared to be wedged between loneliness and despair. However, it was a whole separate entity. It was an intersection of solitude and acceptance. It is a place that is a distorted reflection of my own fear and tributlation to better myself. Rather than the ugly distorted pile of muscle, it is a way to sew myself back together. The back room has an odd comfort. The wood paneling is an encompassing reminder of my connection to nature. The feeling that my atoms makeup the same dust that makes up a tree. Dim lights invite me into darkness. A darkness that is ever present. One day I will die. The unlit corners will engulf me whole. They are not malicious. It is part of the deal I have made with the stars: if I live, I must also die. A lamp burns. It burns fat from my own body. I pretend I harpooned myself like a whale; I harvested my blubber to fuel my workshop. I am the beast I pulled out of the water. I sailed for months to muster up the courage to shoot myself in the chest. I have killed myself to be alive again. I am alone and I am so warm. I am alone here. There are no windows. It is so far inside me that no one can find the door to knock. But, I know the route out. I know the dimly lit path from the door to space just behind my eye sockets. I can come back from my backroom anytime I please.
The first time I saw my backroom, I fell into it. At the start of the New Year, I threw confetti in the air and I looked at my boyfriend and I realized I could not endure him any longer. When I closed my eyes to kiss him, I fell backwards into my mind. I touched the doorknob to my backroom. I opened my eyes by 12:00:16. I began to feel my body decay from the facade of being in love with him. The makeup started to melt off my face. My bones looked hollow. Every time he touched me the bruises reappeared underneath my skin. For the past two years, my attachment was insecure. I hated myself, but convinced myself that I deeply loved him. My workshop cluttered with cobwebs. It was untouched. My heart beat fast enough to power a water wheel. My stomach always hurt. I allowed myself to become passive to abuse. It was sometimes physical, mostly emotional. Heavily emotional and mental. I could endure the other things. My body was not his, but I let him creep into my mind. For a long time, I wasn’t myself. There was no light in the back of my eyes. When I looked in the mirror, I felt like I was a plaster shell of who I used to be. I was cracking.
All of my emotional energy was expelled by pretending that I was okay. I try to be untouchable. I want to be stoic. I wanted to be nothing to myself and everything to him. I had given myself up entirely for him to be afraid of losing me. I wanted to be untouchable. I tried to be untouchable to him, but he crawled into me like a spider. His eggs hatched inside me and consumed me from the inside out. When I left him, he still existed inside of me. I didn’t get rid of him completely. I distracted myself. I indulged. I indulged in a lot. I was a portrait of decay, engulfed in hedonistic pursuits. I kept smearing concealer on the bags under my eyes. I kept adding more glitter to my eye lids. My eyelids sparkled like the disco ball in the disgusting club I ended up in. My eyes were dead. I let people run through me like I was disposable. Like holograms of true connection. They passed through my body and right out the door. I watched them leave like pixelated projections of profound touch.
I came home and I had to be alone. The fuel in my car was obsolete. The world was boarded up. I felt oddly Socratic. I climbed up the stairs in my spinal cord and I entered my mind. So, I took off my makeup. I took off my party dress. And I stumbled like a drunken fool through the dark paths into my back shop. I had to peel off my skin and hang it up to dry. I had to detangle my hair. I had to let all the scabs on my lips heal. I shivered naked in my back shop.
The hardest part was coughing up the spider eggs. I knew I stopped seeing him weeks ago, but he still controlled the darkest part of me. I started to swallow stars. I started to come to conclusions about myself as a citizen of the universe. Being vulnerable is hard. Being vulnerable to myself was harder. I am my worst critic. I went on and on, unrestrained in opinion, regurgitating the same shit he convinced me of myself. He made me think I was incredibly stupid. He belittled all of my academic achievements. I would cry so hard that I would throw up. I would be barefoot on the bathroom floor, with a flushed face and in my most vulnerable state of mind, and he always said he was hard on me because he was protecting me.
I was not honest with myself for a long time, so I wasn’t being honest with the people I loved either. I kept it a secret. I would look at my parents and they were so confused as to what I have become. I just didn’t laugh the same. My smile was held up by pins. My back shop was alone. I must heal alone and be in solitude, but being alone does not require loneliness. I told my mother, who made me to be strong, that I had ruined her work. I was falling apart. I let him pull the stitches out of my elbows. He snipped the thread in my knees and left me weak in the middle of descrution. I told her I was sorry. I cried so hard that I flooded my workshop.
One day, in my workshop, I was engulfed in my practice. I was busy. My fingers were quickly weaving and working through my flesh. I was blowing the plaque out of the arteries in my heart, simultaneously, my feet were peddling the mechanics of the sewing machine. I was seaming my face back together. I french pressed my eyelids with a new satin fabric and put new glass marbles in my eyes. I was working with every single bit of my extremities. I went to take a drink of water. I accidentally drank a vial of the galaxy. The stars slipped into my throat, it glittered in my bloodstream, every spider was exterminated, and there was, for a second, the same light in my eyes that can be seen on star from a hundred galaxies away.