watch the world’s demise
two of them
looking into me
ten of them
all been broken
locked into mine
you complete me
I just unearthed all of the beauty in humanity
distilled in one moment that is
two college kids in a library.
but I’m pretty damn sure
that this whole thing is a children’s game
let’s play dress up in
arrange ourselves by height, shoe size
she knocked over the marble track
he hid out of bounds
they took all the oil and called this fragment of Earth theirs.
can you imagine seeing us from outer space
an organism so infectious it’s on seven different brinks of self-termination
we turned our home inside out
broke the shield to let it burn.
It’s collateral beauty and
I’m watching like the fictitious god we’re all banking on
silly humans it’s almost time to say goodbye to the silly human race.
but our minds
see this at the same time
to help one person so we can pretend we're making a difference.
asymptotic in opposite directions
but tragically parallel the entire time.
it’s almost impressive how
we’ve trapped electrons and flung them so fast the ceiling lights up
thrown bits into algorithms so I can call on data from a server half a globe away
brewed sounds into syllables into words into existential conversations in a library.
with a magnifying glass up close
I think I found beauty in humanity but
what good does any of that do
if I’m too scared to ask you
if we can sit together when we watch the world’s demise.
he was a forest of red flags
that looked like a field of roses.
Life is a goddamn ladder
If you lit a flame to your shirt
Your shoulders would burn alive with the same pain as
From standing on this goddamn ladder
For 43 minutes
Holding a garage light from ancient whenever the fuck over my head
Only to realize
I dropped the screwdriver bit into
What might as well have been oblivion and
I can’t get it without unwrapping these wires and
That might as well require a time machine
Which I need to invent with just 3 free fingers so I can
Never have stepped foot on this rickety aluminum
Or even better
Never have crossed the jet bridge onto that plane
Or even better
Never let anyone tell me that hard work pays off because
Life is a goddamn ladder
And sometimes all you want
Is to climb back down.
Yours Truly, A Circadian Writer
if one day I call myself a writer,
or even if after one day
and I never do,
this is the beginning of filling pages without worrying of their significance to you.
as a child,
I chopped each idea into a
wedding cakes now teacakes arranged on a platter,
but I never left full enough from the latter.
adolescence stuck my notebooks in the back of the closet.
doomed forever oblivious of
honestly expressing myself.
a piercing shrill
whenever I thought of returning them to their shelf.
blind-fold on, freefall,
semester after semester,
destined for world-renowned discoveries!
the greatest unsolved mystery left buried in mind–
over an identity I could never really find.
sometimes my existence still eludes me in
a lost relative I’ve decided to shun,
but my writing impulse rides in with the setting sun.
seducing me with the scarce satisfaction of
crafting a single line I don’t hate.
coaxing me with the promise of an empty page–
it turns out moonlight is all it takes to dissolve a cage.
newfound freedom is a mother to change.
peering into empty space with a blank stare,
half the time I swear there’s poetic genius hidden there.
late hours, in-between days,
piecing together the parts of myself I was
taught to forgo.
Insecurities crumble to mere punctuation.
I rebuilt what was lost a long time ago.
if I made it
you’re out there reading this,
or if I didn’t you’re not,
but to me and my poem
the difference is meaningless.
A Circadian Writer
there’s a vase on the ground
I broke it a long time ago
swept it under my bed
for safe keeping
it’s learned to shimmer in its fragments
today it told me it still hurts
12:01 am. The campus library.
Homework assignments long untouched.
Staring into a stranger‘s soul. Existential debates. Long awaited yet fleeting companionship.
How do I turn this stranger into a friend?
Let me take you inside my head
Let me take you inside my head.
You’re seated. Your hand rests on something cold. Painted aluminum. You look up. Gravel. A rusted slide with chipped blue paint. A swing hanging from one hook. You’re on a park bench. At the most forgotten park in America.
A toddler approaches with her brother. His face is scanning a handheld hunk of circuit components and glass--his phone. She tugs his sleeve, he yanks his hand away. She looks up, wispy blond hair stuck to the sides of her face. For a moment, she is smiling. Turning her head to the world before her, already planning a spiteful show of independence. But, she sees the rockwall with only two holds. She sees the gaping holes in the tattered slide. She sees the play structure half fallen in. Her face falls. She looks up. Her brother is lost to her.
An elderly man sits on the bench opposite yours. He drinks old coffee slipped to him from the barista when he found himself short on change. In his other hand, he clutches an article. His mind is free from being tormented by his money problems. On the front cover is his smiling daughter. She has cured a disease. Maybe, he thinks, maybe that makes all of his struggles worth it. A black crow squawks. The man jumps in his seat, fingers reflexingly dropping the coffee. And the article. He looks down to see a mess of running ink amongst deep rich coffee stains. He sighs. Oh well.
You look at me. We shake our heads, dissatisfied. This world is cruel. We yearn for something better. We picture the playground in vibrant revitalization. Laughing children. Butterflies, even. A rainbow in the sky.
And then the whole world collides together, spinning in on itself to a single point and then exploding out into three dimensions.
The whole playground is sparkling and radiantly clean. The playground equipment is restored, with blindingly bright paint colors. The toddler and her brother laugh and play together on the swings. The man is eating a fresh bagel and grinning as he talks to his daughter on the phone.
You are brimming with joy. Your dream is a reality… the contrast pales you into delight. But you look at me… and my face is dull and unchanged. My eyes refuse to see something that isn’t broken. My anticipation of the change, the only thing keeping me going, was so much more than what it all turned out to be.
I was so used to being hopeful amidst cruelty that I didn’t know how to be happy without it.
So, here we are. And your smile is radiant. And I’m going on and on about the dust on the glistening blue slide.
That’s what it's like to be me.
We were once in awe of infinite possibility. We would be the inventors, the doctors, the space explorers, the President.
Our timeline existed independently. History was purely for context. The future was only for dreaming of.
But all whimsical fantasies are struck down by mundane realities.
How does it feel to be a speck of dust? A statistic, a computer bit moving around with the other god-knows-how-many-billion. Irrelevant, unimportant, and, mostly, exceptionally ordinary.
Welcome to the tremendous awakening of existential loneliness. This is infinite oblivion, and with it, infinite despair.
It turns out even specks of dust miss being a kid.
Mid morning, hands gripping the worn leather wheel of a 2004 Honda Civic. Writers are always so specific about cars. Are we trying to show off a good memory? Are we quirky? Maybe we’re savoring the one detail we can actually be sure of.
Mid morning, hands gripping the worn leather wheel of some car. Eyes locked on stubby tan ferns that gave a half-assed effort of making the land look somewhat aesthetic in the winter. It wasn’t snowing that day, and piles of blackened slush lined edges of the asphalt.
If I breathed out hard enough, I could see my breath just enough to know the heat still wasn’t working, and this place was still f*cking cold. And, as I drove that 10 miles through sleeping farmland, I didn’t see the jagged blue, white-speckled peaks in front of me. The mountains might as well have been excessively large ferns. To me, it was an overused backdrop.
With each frigid breath, I stirred with dissatisfaction. If I could just get out of my hometown, I thought, my story would begin.
A prairie dog darted out from the roadside ditch. I swerved right, just slightly. Not enough to startle it, not even enough to disturb the anxious pitter-patter as my fingers drummed on the wheel.
I got the email two nights later. In a few months, I would be headed in the other direction, for real. That’s the thing about being stuck in the prologue… you don’t realize it ever ended until you look back and decide to finally write the thing... much, much later.
I couldn’t tell you if I actually like the taste or if I only crave feeling like the rebel I so desperately want to be.