I'm so goddamn sick of being black and blue I'm through it's time to lay down a new coat of paint something the rain won't penetrate I'm no bedroom wall my skin is being berated by hurricanes I am a lighthouse with a fear for waves I am the survivor and I am the storm pick up your feet don't wander you've got to run if you're looking for anything but comfort let's move on let's take another road maybe the one with pot holes so you don't fall asleep maybe the one with gravel so you're numb once we get through let's go let's get there let's leave here I can't breathe beneath the sheets it's suffocating please keep reading have you ever had that feeling like maybe you're making a mistake but you keep right on reeling with someday and too soon and take two
I never wanted to fall apart all I ever wanted to be was art all we ever needed was a brand new start and how can I be proud of these walls when it's coated in chipped paint and water stains from when heartbreak leaked in through the roof it's just proof I'm no longer pure how could you tell me to just keep going when there's no where to get to how could you
here we go and there we went and do you wanna go again we used to be breathless we used to know butterflies but they've flown and we've grown and what's the use of crying over cartons of spilled secrets when everyone could see through me anyways I want to remember what it is to be new what it is to meet you what it is to be blue like the sky like your eyes like everything you never knew
and I might be a mystery but my heart has always been on my sleeve all you've got to do is dig through a few layers of cellophane to touch the rotting remains of feelings I now fake my life is in refrain my mind is down the drain
I buried my blades I flushed the pain that doesn't mean I don't remember how it was to rain saltwater what it means to bleed rivers how it feels to swallow smog and sewage what it is to slip on your own spewage
look away saving face saving grace
I just need a new layer of paint
pale blue like you were under the moon pale blue like I was under you pale blue like we were in the morning dew new fly flew
just let me cover up my bruises
don't give me grief as I touch up my smudges because I never asked to be imperfect all I ever wanted was blending and if you have the beauty to judge me then good for you how about a hand
how about a leg
let's remember we were only ever here to surrender and as I recall you arrived prepared to fail but somewhere you lost your brush lost your touch
grab a roller and let's get going
these walls won't paint themselves
everything i shouldn’t be
in the early days
of my fourteenth year
it occurred to me
that i had never broken a bone
that i was writing just to fill the page
that i was living just to pass the time
boys were boys
in cotton shorts
and girls were goddesses
i never dared to think about
death was a mile away
even when i played with fire-
sticking my hands in flames just to see
how long i could last
before i burned-
sometimes it disappointed me
but sometimes i was relieved
born and bred
a cradle catholic,
i had always
believed in god-
not enough to want to pray,
but just enough not to
cause a scene
i would go to church
and every wednesday
i would feel nothing at all
as a child
sitting in sunday school,
it is hard to turn nothing
yet i was told
he built the world
with his own two hands,
crafting the moon and sun
and all the stars
out of his nailbeds
i was told
it took six days
to create the earth,
and the seventh day
was left for us to believe it
but it's hard to believe in god
when you don't even believe in yourself
and it's hard to love a god
that might not love you
for who you are
as i grew
i tried praying
with my clammy hands pressed together
and my sweaty knees on the floor
but i did not get a miracle
nor a saving grace
faith did not clog my pores
my veins did not flood with his mercy
so i assumed
a wreck like me could not be saved
in the early february
of my seventeenth year,
i was patted down
and stripped of my belongings-
even my goddamn sweatshirt-
as i was entered into the inpatient ward
in the hospital,
the girl hooked on meth and heroin
that life was bullshit-
"there ain't no god,"
through the sores around
i began to believe her
so i stood beside her
and stood for nothing
secretly i spent days concocting "what ifs"
hoping to find the right hypothesis
but i could always disprove them
with this proof-
i had not gotten my miracle-
god had not gotten his green card
as spring bloomed into summer
i gave my faith to girls
with red lipstick
and auburn hair
and i experienced heaven
when i kissed them-
it felt so good to sin
and i did not want to be redeemed
it became harder to hide
than be myself
so i crawled out of the rose bushes
and declared my being
while denying god's-
and not a single soul told me to go
in late june
of my seventeenth year,
it occurred to me
that i'd broken my mind
but it was healing
that i was writing
because i was breathing
that i was passing time
because i wanted to
Lock up your daughters.
I feel each equinox
like a crowbar
to the head.
I always have.
the degree to which
the seasons affect me
is a surprise.
I never remember.
Each time my
reactions are new.
my brain receives
I get to be someone new
every four months.
comes to town
and sucks all the
out of my skull.
The Tooth Fairy
and rips me off.
I become the
I never show up.
Last Fall I didn't sleep
for eight weeks.
I walked around all day
with a ball of energy
in my torso.
I fed off of the
like it was a
soft, ripe peach.
It was weird to
get used to
living in a state of
I took pride in the fact
that I could put it to good use.
I started writing again
after several years of
It was like the leaves fell down
onto my shoulders
and changed who I was.
I was tugged apart
by the motion of the earth
and my brain chemistry.
captive riders on a
I became the oranges
The leaves and
of the Earth.
A few Winters ago
I was bogged down into
a deep darkness
I couldn't shake.
My brain does this thing
where the world
looks like fog.
My body temperature
I couldn't see clearly.
My emotions were dull.
Apathy and a
The Spring that followed
was a wildfire.
I woke from my hibernation
to find myself burning.
Imagine sitting dead still
with nothing but your heart
running at full speed.
The sun draws me out of myself.
I become wide eyed
and the place
where my thoughts come from
insists on screaming.
My brain questions
all of my actions
and replays each
move I make
on a constant feed.
A grease fire,
and I just kept on
was the only way to
drown out the din.
Talk a lot.
Tonight is the
longest day of the year.
My heart is full of
than the sun.
My head is a swirl
of color and worry.
There is clarity,
but no focus.
There is no peace
This Summer will
not be a wildfire,
but a lantern
throwing off sparks
under the dark humid grey
of an incoming July storm.
The kind that turns the sky
and knocks down
to be a pain in the ass.
The kind that
shorts out electronics
when the lightening
hits your house.
We'll see if it can
blow me into the street,
or make me
overflow my banks.
Shutter your windows.
Buy a canoe.
Let the horses
out of the barn.
Insure your shit.
My gut says I am
of inflicting damage.
Thursday morning revved up like any morning. Blue, brown, green, yellow. The color through the window, the color on his plate. Eggs and grass. Coffee and sky. He hardly noticed. Even so, he smirked at his own cleverness. Shoulda been an artist. Throwing the dishes in the sink, he grabbed his keys and shut the door. One more day. Then, the mountain. One more epic climb before the surgery.
He throttled the Alfa Romeo through the corner, then let it cruise as he negotiated traffic with both eyes in the mirror. Distracted, something was different about his reflection. He should know. He spent a lot of time in it. Before he could decide what it was, he saw a truck pull up so fast behind him that he braced himself for the mash to his backside.
But it didn’t. No way the truck stopped in time, but he felt no impact. No mash. Only nauseous. And faint. Out of obsessive habit he looked in the mirror, and saw his skin gone sickly green, his eyes backwards. Left was right, right was left. Grabbing his face with both hands, he rubbed his eyes and forehead as if to undo this grotesque dream. The skin on his hands felt sticky, slick. Tree geckos flooded his mind. Wake up. Wake up.
Something was off. Everything was off. The lightheadedness got worse, his tongue felt inside out. He clutched the steering wheel as an anchor but the intensity of sensation of the leather on his fingers caused him to recoil. As if touching fire. He tried to scream. Mottled puffs of air bubbled up through his contracted trachea. Some alien warble squeaked out. Brxhruhhhhh…
He opened his eyes as wide as they could go, sight fading. Everything converting to grey, as if he were in a wet Caravaggio being squeegeed into abstract, all colors mashed together. Within a few minutes, no vision at all. Useless orbs.
On the other side of the world, geologists recorded unconventional seismic activity. Weather centers, geostationary satellites, and space stations flooded with frantic demands. All sensors worldwide registered impossible data. Before anyone could analyze or speculate or respond, all people lost their sight. Something was off. Everything was off.
No one knew. Far off the coast of Finland, a small lighthouse made of crimson bricks shifted. One of the bricks sunk into the Baltic Sea. The cause: Sudden radioactive decay of one atom at its core. This brick was not like the others. This brick was not a brick. It was a slag of squarish residue from Lake Lappajärvi where a meteor mashed the backside of the earth 76 million years before. That time, whoever was driving felt the impact.
This artifact held the slenderest magnetic pulse that kept the earth tilted on its axis at the exact sequence of degree and warp required for human sight. Once it was gone, even though all the rest of the recipes and ingredients of the complex matrix that keeps life intact was unmoved, vision ended. Orientation to reality was unseated. Other senses respond. The plastic brain renegotiates. A new story begins.
What was left of universal blindness was questions. Had we seen all that could be seen? Had we looked at all the hues, shapes, distances, lights and darknesses? Had we noticed the tear on the hair of the pulsing sun? Had we perceived the shaking and shadow of a stranger’s gaze? Had we captured all the fragments of rags of moments forever?
This tiny atom danced in its perfect rhythm all those years, eons, epochs. Now, it was tired. It no longer danced the dance. All the glories and injustices visions witnessed were now dusts of memory. Something. Everything. What if we had known?
The Origin of Consciousness
She picked up one of the empty bullet cases from the floor, delivered by an M16 assault rifle, and discreetly slipped it in her bag. This was a significant piece of her story, a memory she wanted to keep, despite its tragedy. A memory that would crash into the consciousness of others, in years to come.
"Was that at Mum's 40th?!" I asked my Auntie Elle pointing to an old photograph on her mantelpiece. I was briefly visiting my old town to see Nan who had been taken into hospital, and Auntie Elle always provided welcoming accommodation and a home-cooked dinner.
"Yes, that was at Sefton Road, 26 years ago!” she replied.
I sat cross legged on her carpeted floor in front of the electric fire. She'd lived alone for the last 34 years and cherished the company of close family.
"And what's that?!" I asked pointing to a small golden cylinder sat on top of a rock.
"Oh it's from Palestine, dear."
"Is it a bullet?!"
"Well, it's the shell, you know, the casing of a bullet."
My Auntie Elle, a 78 year old woman, an unassuming, kind and gentle soul, then told me her story. I sat and listened. In silence. In shock. In astonishment and in horror. A whole new existence of my Auntie Elle emerged, her energy glowed and her words radiated my core whilst shifting my entire concept of reality all the way back to the day I was born. By the end of her story, I’d evolved, a hundred thousand years. My heart raged, my spirit was ablaze and the indescribable admiration I had for this woman, soared with disorientation.
How had I not known all of this before?
It’s as though every atom that had been me, every electron, nucleus and subatomic particle, had scrambled and dispersed into infinite space; and then, regathered, but with a distinctly noticeable change in formation.
The way I’d see, feel and think would never be the same again.
She walked through the checkpoint, and through the metal fence saw a bulldozer savagely tearing down an orange farm. She saw a Palestinian lady screaming, begging and crying with despair. The orange farm was her livelihood, her only source of income. Auntie Elle walked towards the fence and held out her hand, and the Palestinian lady responded by reaching back out towards her, their hands connecting. Through unspoken communication Auntie Elle told her she
wasn’t alone, through her eyes she reassured her there were good people around who knew, who saw, and through her touch she promised there was love.
The noise of the firing rifle tore apart the hope. The anger-filled shouts demanded immediate severance, and the momentary relief of understanding and solidarity, was gone.
After a dangerous exchange of unchecked impulsive retort, Auntie Elle was ushered by her friend to silently move on... but not before picking up one of the empty bullet cases from the floor and discreetly slipping it into her bag.
When I first heard that dark bass line, I saw the eyes of other people's children staring out into the blackness. When the haunting words began, my skin shivered as I watched my own child crawl into that life. When the tone, laden with warning, penetrated my soul with a terror unknown; and the crash of guitar blasted missiles, rockets and grenades into the desperately helpless hell of despair... well then I knew, that our evolution would have to far surpass any physical progression.
In a time and place that normalises war, slaughter and torture, where children in certain parts of the world are left to die because their country doesn’t contribute any significance to the power and profit of the world’s elite, where the media lies and innocent cries are cast aside... it slowly dawns that this, is not human nature. This is the want of the privileged few, not the compassion of the loving many.
Developed way beyond archaic hatred, Auntie Elle dedicates her life to the cause of peace and justice, despite being shot at, threatened and intimidated, still she continues, unwavering, at 78, to spread love, support and peace.
The origin of consciousness, of universal existence... commencing an evolutionary progression exceeding this primitive bodily existence, heading towards the beginning of time, forwards to the start, where energy is united and we... are all one.
When Robin Williams
I tweeted, too soon,
my feelings about it;
coming out of surprise and anger
and a sense of disappointment,
which, admittedly, included
my judgment that it’s
hard for me to forgive
such an act,
hard not see it
as cowardly and wrong
because I felt and still feel that way.
I think I know
as much as anyone,
that life is filled with pain—
and I hold the right to feel what I feel
about suffering and bravery
and life and death.
No one needs to agree with me—
I don’t ask for that nor do I care.
But a good friend of many years,
a man I’ve both loved
attacked me on Twitter
saying no one needed my forgiveness
and that my words
‘shallow’ and ‘insensitive’
naming me in standard Twitter-form
so that everyone who followed him
could hear his wrath and anger,
It felt to me
like he was standing on one side
of Grand Central Station,
during rush hour,
with a megaphone
that vast expanse
an attack on my
character and views. . .
because his words were
hurtful, and seemed
We’d been friends for
and he could have called, emailed,
dropped me a note,
rang my doorbell,
invited me to lunch,
passed word via mutual friends,
texted his disagreement
or even tweeted his disapproval anonymously;
I’d have known
that his sub-tweet was meant
My remarks had not been
directed to or in any way
about my friend—they were about suicide.
His anger seemed targeted solely at me.
I tried to mend fences quickly:
I deleted my tweet
to him @ and to anyone else
offended by my remarks.
indeed, a number of Twitter
sent me messages of support.
but my friend ignored me,
the proffered olive branch,
remaining silent then,
and up to this day.
There’re two sides to every
and the fact that my friend
never cut down the hanging, dead body
of his stepson
and did CPR until the paramedics
arrived and pronounced him dead.
and then had to tell his mother,
that her only son, our son
had killed himself
the fact that my friend,
never went through
such a thing
may go some distance
in helping understand
about suicide and the
damage it does
to loved ones
are so different than his?
Or maybe he forgot about
my experience of that
or maybe he never cared
to begin with?
Although, he’s a much beloved,
adored and respected
author of books for teens
filled with righteous moral
indignation and enormous
But whatever it is,
that has kept my friend
from talking to me,
I’ll never know
because when Robin Williams
a long and treasured friendship died as well
and I don’t see it coming back again.
dead is as dead,
as Robin Williams is.
And now my former pal, and hopefully
who reads this poem
“Mama, look!” She squealed with excitement as she finished filling the hole around the small tree with soil.
Her mother smiled and bent down beside her, patting the soil down smoothly. Her three-year-old daughter giggled excitedly over the small life now growing in their front yard.
“It’s so small, Mama!” she giggled, “It looks like a stick!”
Her mother smiled, “Yes, it does look like a stick right now, but it’s going to grow into a big tree over the years. One day it’ll be as big as all the other trees.”
“Should I name it, Mama?”
Her mother laughed, “If you want to.”
“Okay! I think I’ll name it… Briar!”
Her mother laughed and shook her head, “That’s an… interesting name for a tree.”
“I think it’s fitting.” She looked at the tree and smiled.
Years later, when she was far past being the three-year-old she was when she planted he tree, she went out into the front yard while it snowed, thinking about her years as a mere child when she planted the tree and her progression into the teenage years she’s going through. The tree had grown over the past thirteen years—it was taller than her and its trunk was thicker than her arm.
She touched the trunk with her gloved hand, running her fingers down the trunk. Snow scarcely got in her hair, for the leaves over her head shielded her from the flakes that fell at a steady pace.
She softly whispered to Briar, telling it stories of happy and unhappy times from the past months. Briar had over the years become a sort of place of peace for her—a place where she could unveil her soul and be completely herself. She confided in her tree as if it were a close friend—because Briar was her friend. She could tell anything to Briar—things that other people wouldn’t understand.
She felt safe when it was just her and her tree.
Decades later after her mother passed away due to illness, she visited her father and went out to her tree. She was married now and had two lovely children to take care of.
It was the middle of spring now and she gently touched her tree. Briar had grown significantly since she first planted it. It had grown from being the size of a stick to a full grown tree—the trunk larger around than her hips.
Her mother was right: it did grow to be as big as all the other trees.
She smiled at the memory of her mother.
“I miss her, Briar.” she whispered to the tree as she stood before it, tears welling up in her eyes as memories of her mother flashed in and out of her mind.
Years and years later she fell ill… and so did her tree.
She struggled to get to her feet and go out to see her tree.
She held herself up by leaning with one hand against the tree. She looked up at its drooping branches and fading leaves. She let tears slowly stream down her cheeks as she recalled every moment she spent with her tree. She recalled every story she told her tree and every secret that lay enclosed deep within the layers of bark.
But the moment that stuck out most in her mind was the moment that she planted Briar.
“Look, Mom,” she spoke softly around the tears, “Briar… Briar is dying… and so am I…” She looked down as the tears began to flow out heavier and harder. “I miss you, Mom… and soon I’ll see you again. Soon Briar and I will be back with you—all three of us together again.”
Frame piece: Work in progress
From but only a thought and a single-cell
I burst through: welcomed but expelled
I came from blank thoughts and repetitive motions
To engaging in conversation developing ideas and notions
I rolled on rugs from end to end with no pace or strategy
To capturing accolades in my athletic pursuits, as if casually
I once found the notion of my demise one frightening
Now every day I'm alive, seems like it might be far more enlightening
I've come across a share of others I thought I loved and befriended
I've seen some grow, some make family, and some have time ended
Mine eyes started with great clarity : Crisp, clean, and constant
Evolved or devolved with astigmatism If I must be honest
In that regard I once believed I could be punished for telling lies
Now I know that you can earn your weight in gold for it, in employer's eyes
I once believed in the American dream : Be all you can be, live, do, and be free
Now I'm aware that even with your greatest strengths- Corporate chains are some of the most restraining
I once was blessed with a child's sense of happiness and go go go
I grew into a sense of disappointment answering many wrongs with "no, no, no"
My spirituality began boxed and confined to pews of churches brick and pine
Now I know that those thoughts are shared between the creator and simply I
I once thought you started at the beginning and that there was a definitive finish
It's more and more evident, that this is less true as things are less systemic
I watched a world grow from one norm to the next, claiming one time was best
I laughed, I cried, I forgot, I remembered, I digress
The Earth filled with more and more bodies no longer running
The heaven's and hell's agents always getting more cunning
I saw ignorance grow into a new found passion in knowledge
I watched knowledge turn one to sloth passion left looking rotten
The words from me may sound sad, truth is they aren't oversold
You'll get what you see and not simply what you're told
I once slept normally and awoke naturally
now I am restless and awake with device's aid erratically
I once started as a babe writing the letter's shapes on a paper
Hoping that somehow I made words that were valid , no danger
Looks like I tread a thin-line stringing ideas and thoughts together in type
Hoping that it makes sense, that there's more substance than just self-hype
I grew from a school of thought that I could be great in any way I wanted to be
I never grew out of that, I applied the idea that I must always be improving
From the moment I show up to the moment I roll out
Working on my weaknesses, driving away others' doubt
I was but babe
now I'm a mind:
I now see all
where once was blind
An Exquisite Corpse 30 Days in the Hole
She rouses from a road bump,
spots me reading a book of poems,
and assumes me to be educated.
Her sweatshirt is rolled up like a bikini top,
unveiling her large stomach
with the pomp of a premiering vaudeville show.
She’s been unselfish since birth,
salt of the earth worth her weight in gold.
Sold down the river at her own demand,
she walked straight into our house of mourning,
wrapped her wise arms around my 11-year old frame,
and kissed my tortured mind.
She reminds me that spring is coming back for us;
we just have to spin the world a little more first.
But she’s been forgotten and forlorn,
become a run-down ghost town
whose people left her long ago in heart
before she lost them to industry.
And I write to her, to you because I loved, love, will love you
and I want to understand who you are,
who you were, and who you’re still yet to become.
Watch now how slowly a tear can form,
and then fall, when you’re crying
and think you have nothing
worth being sad about.
The sexiest thing you’ve ever said to me was
I want you inside me
and all my blood rushed center and down.
But you were supposed to be my sandbox, not my stone tablet;
there to make me realize how quickly I would die.
Our void grows contemptuous,
widens with each jealousy,
sprouts a new offshoot so green,
so doomed to be forgotten.
I hope your children grow up to be poets
so you’re never able to understand them.
I reread the printed letters from my lawyer,
make constellations of his patterned excuses.
I catch every person’s phone conversation
and reply to both ends, snatch their vested secrets,
could expose the truths of their youths.
But you haven’t read about me in your guidebooks,
and you’re not sure who to believe anymore.
Born of the same soured soil and tainted rain,
we did the only thing we knew how,
grew inward – tighter and tighter into each other,
hoping that our togetherness could save us
from the harshness of our surroundings.
But the darknesses we hold inside us –
deep and consuming enough to digest galaxies –
have somehow found homes in our foreign bodies.
We are eroding within, like our lost coast,
ever crumbling into the insatiable gulf
as grown men seek a fantastical world
where their monsters obey them
and not the other way around.
She had to have heard the morning moanings
of VHS vixens through thin walls.
Shut up, shut up, sit down, and get lost
in this sitcom rerun with him for the third time today.
His self-slapped golden handcuffs keep him
tight where his boss wants him,
marionetting stability and rigidity
as our former selves fight inside to stay alive,
waiting for the worst moments
to resurrect themselves in their familiar haunts.
He couldn’t domesticate the beast with obedience;
his training just taught him to gnaw the wrong things.
We want to be brackish,
but fear what we may kill in the process –
some just can’t comprehend the water’s ways:
filled only with soft breathing and flushed skin –
the work of an inexperienced child
who’d only before fucked women
to submission in his mind.
And your elegance and innocence couldn’t save you,
not this time.
One day, they’ll understand
the power of a peaceful moment,
the courage of calming the raging storms of their souls,
the wisdom of harnessing their ferocity for greater ends.
Lessons in loneliness and liquor-soaked loves: A life spent living in my head.
I’m twenty-four, and I know I haven’t really been on this earth too long, but even so; there just way too many things I question, things I disagree with, and even things that I daydream about just because it makes me happy to do so.
I know I’ve fucked a lot of things up in my life; I always joke about drinking too much, doing too many drugs, and just being overall crazy. And I can see how people would think, “Geez, what the fuck is he thinking? Doesn’t he know he’s just being stupid and fucking up his life?”
But to be honest, if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a single moment of my life. Because really, I feel like if I did, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. And I believe in learning from your mistakes, not regretting them.
I can honestly say I’ve probably crammed more life into my insignificantly short time on this earth than most people do in they’re entire lifetime, and that would be absolutely impossible without my experiences, every single one, good and bad.
Because really, there are some things that you can only understand after doing them to the point of utter insanity, and then thinking about them profusely afterwards.
I finally understand the quote, “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,” which a lot of dumb motherfuckers just use as an excuse to hide in insobriety without even realizing what the fuck it means.
Drugs and alcohol don’t do shit as far as making you more philosophical or creative like people always like to brag, but what they do provide is a clear window into the utter depths of the human condition; what people are really like on the inside; what people really look like under these wonderful facades everyone parades around with.
And it gets you thinking about morality, right and wrong, happiness, and what it means to really obtain self-actualization. Who are we to impose our beliefs on everyone else? Who are we to say we have the right to govern others? Who the fuck are we to say who or what makes you happy, and whether or not you’re allowed to do it?
In my opinion, morality and all that other bullshit is all subjective. Words and titles are worth crap in the grand scheme of the world, and we as individuals are just that; individuals.
Living by something you don’t believe in deep down is just lying to yourself. And the one thing that I have believed in from the day I was born up until now was:
“Be happy however the fuck you want, and as long as you aren’t fucking with anyone else’s happiness, you’re fine.”
And I know that’s awfully general, and there are a fuckload of grey areas, but really, that was basic tenet of what I thought it meant to be a good person.
But now I realize how imcomplete that statement was. It’s a bit sad, hah; you know what took me twenty-four long, bloodstained years to finally realize?
Your life is your life. And your happiness is you happiness. If something makes you happy, maybe you should look into it. Because at the end of it all, that’s what life is;
The pursuit of happiness.
But no one can ever really be happy alone.
Often the only way to really be happy
is to make other people happy too.