In a single breath, my entire opinion of you changed, marking the before and after in my choices.
People talk, and you forgot they always have loud voices.
Complying with popular opinion has always been a judgment for intelligence in my books.
For you tore pages in your own, while my story is still being written.
The prologue may be shrouded with lessons and tests projected as demons, which erases the rest.
Contrary to popular belief, the person characterized in the dark is not the person living in the light.
As I walk with my head held high, and the smile widens along my face; knowledge is the universes saving grace.
More lessons to carry, more fuel to add to the pile.
Light it up around me and as the stars shine above, let my fire burn.
I am the unexpected.
I am the slow leak in your ceiling. The one you chose to ignore. For a while it was manageable, the dripping. You just put a small pot on the floor to catch the water and walk away. After a few days it would fill up and you'd just dump it out then put it back in the same spot. Eventually you didn't even have to look up to see where that same spot was because the pot had left a perfect circle on the tile in the exact place it needed to be. So clever you are. A natural in adaptation and resourcefulness.
Consumed by your newly found skill set you became unaware and negligent. While you were cutting corners and improving your time management you were forgetting to look up. If you had, even just once, you would have quickly noticed the water stain that was getting bigger above you and the damage that was getting progressively worse. But you didn't look up. Instead you ignored me and underestimated what I am capable of. Days became weeks. Weeks become months. Dumping out the water from the slow leak became part of your routine. Life was as it was and all was normal-- until it wasn't.
The day you realized what you had really done was the day you came home to a caved in ceiling. The smell was horrid, months of ignored mildew, a handful of different colored molds. All of your negligence now soaking up the floor at your feet.
I am the slow leak in your ceiling. I am your white lies
She may never be able to speak what's on her mind, but it doesn't mean she hasn't tried. She will never tell you she's had enough, a hungry heart never knows how to act when life isn't full enough to sustain her. We all come from a place we barely speak about- being judged isn't ideal in a world constantly judging who we are. She's been fighting her whole life to make sense of where she is now. The only thing permanent in this life is the smile we are given by those who see us, hear us, and welcome our utter strangeness into their own lives. You are the crown upon a lion's pride, a royal red in every sunset. There will come a time when more of you is needed, but for now, a full heart is enough.
Their eyes met, almost naturally, for the second time today. The look ignites into a gaze, set ablaze by a fire in their beating hearts, kindled with the blood, passion, and fury of possible paths and impossible worlds.
A pull exists between them, a magnetism, an aura, an undertow. Two planets, one warm one cold, drift softly into the orbit of the other, threaten beauty, promise chaos; and as a cataclysm begins to spiral in the space between them, its coming destruction becomes even more devastatingly incalculable the closer their skin comes to touch.
But such is the fate of all cosmic objects, never to be held, choked to be spoken, created to fall deeply, madly, insatiably from the sky like the heavens around us and die like all else. So we leap, like we always do, into the pyres of another’s flame, curiously forgetting the creation of this new world brings about the inevitable end of two more.
This is our prized addiction, riddled with cold sweats, rumbled tummies; a curse, a judge, a jury, a sentence condemning those who hear it and like pyroclasmic magic burning those who still believe in it. Found in busy college hallways, empty alleys, every story ever told except the ones we tell ourselves more often than we’d like to admit.
We’re reminded of its vital nature when the notifications cease, when the e-mailman stops coming; when friends give us snapshots of their stories and never of their sprawling minds, portraits of their filtered faces but not a brushstroke of their painted souls.
Or when the room darkens, nearly unlit, into a spectacle of dim whites and pale blues, signifying a TV on somewhere in another room, where the remnants of absent passion assault our ears, our lies, and our lives through the tireless moan and rhythmless rattle of the only thing that’s still breathing in there anymore… (don't worry, it's just an old air conditioner…)
He found and lost it up North one Summer on an empty lake, in the moments before an exhale of a sigh, released like breath upon dandelion snow; a single end, countless beginnings. Time, faith, courage, and a canoe was what he needed to get there (you might need something else, so be careful), don’t get lost, it’s different every time, sometimes a left at the pier, sometimes a right, sometimes you have to keep going, unable to see past the dense colorless fog of warm air over cold water, but for those few months he found it and was encapsulated by the journey of it all.
The splash of laughter, the yellow fish, the sadness in an August breeze, the sand in their hair, and life without words to spoil it. He still searches for it sometimes, carefully and sparingly, but rarely catches a glimpse.
He never hears about it anymore, never feels it, (God forbid tastes it) but ever so often, like twice today, he sees it and is terrified by it. What does one do with such an image of our luminous lives? A look that lingers and departs just as quick as it was brought upon back into the wretched loneliness that gave it tears and eyes for this precise purpose. Anyone? What does he really wanna do? Give it a chance? Two truths and a lie? Cross his heart and hope to die? It’s right there, staring right back at him. Bright eyes, a shale wish, a dream of drowning where you emerge and fade, emerge and fade, choking on nothing, dying on some distant beach, waiting for a kindred spirit to softly begin your resuscitation with a little mouth to mouth…
And boy is it complicated.
It’s never born, never actually dies, just washes away, only to be rebuilt again, trampled again, lost again, found again, forgotten again, thrown away (again), overlooked (again), mistaken for something else, ripped to shreds, wrecked beyond all imagination, marginalized, battered upon, ignored, and struck upon a match and burned for fun…
And boy is it complicated.
So there he stood, arms out, over sandcastles begging for the waves not to come, for the rain not to fall, but if we never wanted to break we never should’ve built, no, no, not on this planet. Yea, you’ve seen the sunset, had some grapes, but have you seen the storms? They’re not just outside. The sandcastles, they’re not just outside. The changing seasons, crashing tides, everything and everyone wants us to give up and die (and they’re not just outside.)
So believe me, Love, the castle’s lit, it’s
Buried but the motive fits, I’m broken,
Burnt, and holding on with words that hold
Me like your arms once did, once, upon a–
And right before his eyes she materializes, the woman of his gorgeous nightmare, the one he’s been waiting for since before our God made stars and time and dedicated this very moment for him to find... Something boils from within and perspires, becoming frost upon his heart, slowing it, almost to a complete stop, and then he realizes-
She’s still staring.
And so is he.
Gazing obliviously from the shadow of his looming soul, he panics because she sees him and doesn’t know, he tries to speak but nothing comes but a distant echo from an endless hole… Hoping to be… Praying to be... Dying to be... Anything.
I don’t know what it is about you. Tell her. It’s… It’s embarrassing how I feel. Tell her. It’s never like this, or it-it hasn’t been for years. Tell her. Maybe long ago, when I was small, but standing here before you now makes me so unsure. Tell her. But I loved you in another life and must’ve lost you ’til now. Tell her. Please, please keep looking. Tell her. I'm begging you. Praying to a God that doesn’t believe in me, or doesn’t listen (or both.) But I love you. I love you. I love you... And I haven't the faintest idea why.
In her eyes he sees lightning and in his own he feels a primordial storm, brewing with power and purpose; carrying a message from the original explosion that brought us to this very place, a room, four walls, a moment in time, a suspended sliver of space, where he can go on and on and on and on… Or he can just-
I Sit Still
The moment you know you're lost it's best to take moment and accept the fact that you're not sure how to get to your destination. And that's fine. Every time I've been lost it's been the result of effort or an attempt at progress.
During progress there will always be chaos.
When I'm lost like, I am now, I write. Writing has a special place in my heart. It's my escape. It's something that fills my cup and helps me get all of the chaos out of my head. Sometimes, I do it for fun. Other times it's to help get the thoughts out and sculpt them into a problem I can solve. Within writing I found a direction and focus.
And when I'm lost that's all I can ask for.
Attach a note to a tree
Life is a funny thing, it comes and it goes, you can watch it fade from a person's eyes in a matter of seconds. When I try think of something good, my mind always brings me back to a tree. An apple tree. It stood at the back of my house, shielded from the house by an old wall. I had tied rope around it, allowing me to climb higher into the top branches.
One time it was frosty and my foot slipped, I remember not being scared of landing for some reason, like I thought I wasn't going to land. At the last second my hand caught a rope and it stopped me falling. I wasn't scared of landing, I was just scared of falling.
This apple tree grew the nicest apples, I'd pick them and press them in the kitchen, making the sweetest apple juice ever. I'd sit up the tree the rest of the day, reading my book and sipping my apple juice. Only coming down when it was getting dark. Pushing even that. Saying that a kind firefly would light my page for me.
I knew every inch of that tree. From the moss to the leaves. From when the flowers would bloom to when the apples would fall. I knew it like I knew myself. Inside out and backwards. Could climb it in the pitch black. Could find parts of myself that I wanted to when I wanted to.
But now it's gone. Withered up and brown moss. No more apples and no more flowers. Branches have fallen and twisted. Shaping the tree differently, I don't know it this way, would slip if I tried to close my eyes and climb. My mind has changed too. The way I knew it twisted and turned. Now instead of a meadow, it's a long corridor with locked doors. I'm running out of keys.
So I'll enter the door which leads to the back of the garden. I'll sit up that tree and look at the familiar branches, I'll sip my apple juice and read my book. But it's not the same. Just a memory.
This is my last note. My last attempt to relearn that tree. 377 words. Not much. It had more leaves.
All for us and none for all
None save loves rebirth empowered light shall stop the hours turn as by degree and pendulum a to and fro in motion tend the passer on his passage through a terminus and prelude due as fallacy and falsity reflect each other well.
Endeavours striven conversations course the elements in trace accord through pulse and vein as strained pretence cares not a shredded ruined reputations memory when long ago was real and when waned nostalgia's left the racked and ruined all forlorn
Sealed vaults of empty digits fidgeted between the fated fickle finger wagged and pointed for misguidances appearance on the stage as badly acted parts are cured in smokers poisoned atmospheres that hide a stench not noted for its bitterness
Away brushed metals shoo a linear array of husks blown as chaff discarded waist seen with eyes as conjured apparitions flail and flee the falls inevitable edge approached from behind an unannounced surprise expected not that Good win
Rude awakenings startle inner wails ensue and spew across a rolling carousel of sleepers while the thief in nights awaited trample babe and man and crone one visions victory so close while one sight tries to see for two and cheat a hand unseen
A turned surf draw souls down into channels swirling life ebbs as shores erode the fight is drained and death ensues pages blot no tears in vacuums void of unheard screams for pities vanity lay unrequited tattered and most drab a remnant on a slab
God anoints men appoint the herd begets a flock blocks sets no prisoner free dreams escape recall with fleeing scent a certainty is rend from bolstering officiators tied to seats that topple over parapets and crash on rocks below
Evaluated methods weigh the coin on futures turn waist and slurry swills the dung sleeping giants stew a brew whispers coil conspirator vines tie binds and tether babes who kiss on smothered lips and choke in cribs near burdens validated hear and say
Sandmen rises from smoke and daggers pierce the night as flesh becomes a putrid fruit for those that drink the fear cleaving mothers torso as the babe is splayed on checkered floors where hand mens tools adorn the halls and blood runs freely down
Alas the puzzled brow is scratched to itch away an unsolved clue that clouds a reasoned meaning as regurgitation drowns the choking soul afloat on open waters sky above mechanical gyrations of dismay the mariners are left adrift
Religions purge belief authorities lost guaranties assure shedding lizards skin and scales raise effigies as heroes age expires wanes and dies Doves of oneness fulfil prophets sight as visions clear recall the last when souls remain for no rebirth
A final word to the absurd foolhardy and the blind as riddles are entwined in an epiphanies anticipation pine not for the revelation tarry by no destination where the hoards await to storm the gated as they satiate themselves on pawns that are expended
Caught in a
I'm a real
I have no
I'll make a
That'll pull me
Any kind of
Type of folk
It's full of
Out the bunghole
While at the
You and her
To be no more
Than cuckold like
I was an
Like a real
I wasn't one
Wishin' it was
like a loose screw
As I went
My belly boo
Listen to Jabberwocky.08.2023_0606AM.aac by J.Wiggy on #SoundCloud
invented or meaningless language; nonsense.
It is no accident that at an impressionable age so many of us are entranced by the deadly earnestness of Poe. His haunting words seem whispered as though he expected that kindred spirits would be listening through the ages. Even to a hard-nosed kid like myself Poe's writings were instilled with a “cool” factor that was missing from most of the other classical poets that I stumbled across, not to mention that he held an advanced level of fame and, for most of us a youthful cognizance of "The Raven". I cannot recall my initial readings of either The Raven or Annabel Lee, so I cannot say they "stopped my in my tracks." Rather, I seem to have always been aware of the "shorn and shaven" raven cawing "nevermore" in the night, and of the distraught young man “lying down in the night-tide, at the side of his lost bride, in her tomb by the sounding sea." For these reasons I made an easy victim for Poe to lure into his desolate darkness.
It helped that the thing which brought me to poetry in the first place was not romance, as it is with so many, but death; the dawning realization at thirteen years old that I was indeed mortal, and that death would one day find me, growing in me a need to explore that further, to find those things which Mommy and Daddy held back for my “protection”. I have stated in other writes that my poetry journey began in the 7th or 8th grade with John Donne’s “Death, Be not Proud”, a poem found in the forward of a required read entitled “A Separate Peace”. That part of my poetry story is still true, but that poem was merely the beginning, and if it is morbidity you seek from the written word, it is Poe you will find.
The heart of the writer is the thing that captures a reader. A writer unwittingly includes pieces of himself in his work. Discovering another someone’s truths is why we read. Even fictional writings, by their nature, reflect who that someone is, what she has experienced, and what it is inside her that she feels the need to share. A writer seldom gets far away from who he or she is as a person; some being lovers, some dreamers, some realists, and some (like Poe) fatalistic and morose… although at least one talented bard managed to be all of the above.
Poe married his cousin Virginia when she was thirteen years old and he twenty-five. Twelve years later he sat at the foot of their bed rubbing his beloved Virginia’s feet in a vain attempt to warm her as she died from tuberculosis (the same disease that took his mother, father, and foster-mother, so he understood as he nursed her what Virginia’s eventual fate would be). A somewhat awkward outsider, Poe was losing the one person throughout his life who “got” him. Within three years of his Love’s passing Poe would join her in death.
Two years before Virginia’s death Poe wrote The Raven, the poem that made him famous, if not rich. Virginia was already very sick as he penned her ode, and his masterpiece. Even then Edgar and Virginia foresaw the end of their story.
“Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if that in that distant Eden,
it shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named, Lenore.
Clasp that rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore.
Nameless here, forevermore.”
Poe was paid $10 for The Raven. The poem saw immediate success. After it was published, due to copywrite laws of the time, it was free to be re-published by anyone and everyone... and it was. Poe did readings of the work in attempts to profit from it. They say that Poe recited in a quiet, somber, deliberate tone that spellbound his audiences as he recited, but still he failed to make the fortune he craved, even though the poem was sweeping America and the rest of the English speaking world.
And then a year later Edgar gazed in as the light died in his sweet Virginia’s eyes.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
- I and my Annabel Lee.
With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven
Went envying her and me.
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Could ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
There are varying accounts of Poe’s final three years of life, and also of the events surrounding his mysterious death, but it is simple to discern that it was not the alcohol, drugs, or madness that killed him, but rather the broken heart those elixirs sought to cure.
Annabel Lee was written after Virginia’s death. It was given to a friend in payment for a loan, and was not published until after Poe's own demise. Poe’s was a world of disease and death, lived in a time when children were not expected to survive into adulthood. Scarlet Fever, small pox, tuberculosis and cholera, among others, ravaged through his world with no cures in sight. Living in a time of death it was no accident that death and a dying love became the major themes in his greatest works.
Nor is it accidental that those themes still bring a shiver to his reader’s today.
(I bitted and pieced the poems to get the parts I wanted, and paraphrased on top of that, so if you see mistakes it is because I didn't consider it necessary to make it perfect. I also failed to follow the prompt to the letter, but this is what I got. Thanks for understanding!)
Desert of Words
I am a wanderer in a desert of words.
Each grain of sand is a single word.
Words from long ago to the distant than.
Some sink, unheard, unspoken for millennia.
Others burn my skin, not to be soon forgotten.
They flow together forming hills, shaping stories.
They ride the wind, letting me glance at their brilliance before they drift out of sight, out of mind, once more.
I want to grasp them all in my hand, travel with them, build with them, share them with the sky… and yet, even now as I reach for those elusive words, I feel the heat of the sun, the critics, the naysayers, telling me it is too much to carry such a burden as a voice.
Without a cloud of confidence in the sky to shield me, I feel compelled to let the sand slip through my fingers and continue to wander the desert empty handed.
Occasional on my wanderings I will come across an oasis, a place where a single idea has taken hold and grows.
There are many others at these oases, some are friendly, others are not, but all are trying to delve deeper into the water that brought them there.
I sometimes find myself peering into those depths, and yet I never seem willing to take the plunge.
I may see something whilst I look, but I never say anything to anyone.
Is it the fear of what my fellow divers might say?
Or is my greed, wanting to protect what I know?
Either way I tend to leave the oasis and continue wandering.
I never forget where I have been though, and always, always, wonder what if?
What if I took the plunge? What if I told someone?
My only solace comes in believing that someone else peered into those waters and has seen what I saw.
I have seen the end of the desert many times.
It is a lush forest where many ideas have become firmly rooted.
The trees grow tall and the branches spread wide, entangling with others as they do.
Their leaves are so big the sky cannot hope to view the world below.
As the trees wrap their vines around each other, strengthening deals, many in the undergrowth try to latch on, wanting to grow big as well and be seen.
Few are successful though, as the trees, deep rooted ideas they may be, often extend their roots up from the ground to protect themselves from any one trying to steal their ideas.
These roots can often be vicious, ripping to shreds the one that tried to grab at their branches.
So instead those below look for fallen trees, whose roots no longer protect their ideas.
Most of the undergrowth will die in this forest never seeing the sky it longs for.
I leave this place to look for a friendly place to be.
In the desert there is a dark, perverse cave.
As I peer in from the entrance, I can see a glimpse of shadows below.
Dark ideas, so twisted they would burn alive if the sun ever saw them.
Still, my eyes are drawn to that abyss.
Blackened shapes dance happily in the crevices, not caring if one should catch them in their revelry.
As I stare at the unadulterated expression of life I feel the heat on my back ever increasing.
It finally gets to the point that I can no longer stand at the edge of this cave.
I either must delve into the darkness, knowing I may never return to the surface, or walk away, leaving behind a part of me I know exists deep inside.
The fear of what I might lose should I take that plunge is too much, and so I choose the latter and continue to aimlessly wander the desert.
I once saw a fellow wanderer.
We noticed each other and knew at once we were kindred spirits, and yet we still said nothing.
I could share everything with this compatriot, but what if they took it and ran away.
A chance could be taken and words shared, our individual ideas growing.
We would both feel enriched from the exchange.
We could even wander sometime together.
Eventually, though, it will come time for us to part.
What is it that will make them wander one way and me another?
Will I ever meet another such as them?
I would ask myself these questions many times after our departure.
In the end we pass by each other with nothing more than a nod and I continue my wanderings alone.
As night comes to the desert, I hoped the lack of the sun burning down on me would have made it easier to shape the sand, but this place has become cold and barren.
The longed for sky has gone dark save for the individuals whose sight is so scattered they would not see a dot on the sand like me.
I try to build, however, since I doubt anyone will see it, I quickly lose the strength to carry on.
Instead, as the cold unfeeling air howls around, I lay down to rest and hope for a better tomorrow.
For years I wandered this desert, too afraid to make a mistake.
These time-blown sands, though, remind me they wait for no one, and having oneself drift from one idea to another, never letting any take root, is no way to be.
So, on these ever shifting sands, I will plant my seeds.
I will climb the tallest trees, reach into the deepest depths of the cave, and swim till I ache.
I will be seen by the sky.
And should the sun come for me?
Let it burn me to a crisp so I too might float on the desert wind.
Let me inspire those who come after me, the fellow wanders whose journey has just begun.