I lay in bed, twisting my body against the blanket, attempting to inspire any sensation other than the one in my head.
I tried to let the pain lull me into sleep, with no success.
This hot tingle, more than any kind of physical pain, sends me unwanted thoughts.
In a conscious state I could simply divert my attention. But in this place between sleep and wakefulness, I am victim to the whim of my subconscious.
She was right. What I’m looking for doesn’t exist. Even if it did, I wouldn’t deserve it.
Replaying recent history in my mind’s eye. If I had a gun pointed to my head, my finger inside the trigger guard, I would’ve squeezed. It wasn’t a firearm or a pistol. It was a “gun”. Numb to the sound.
The urge to empty my bladder filled me (rim shot).
I suspected standing would cause headache and dizziness. Still, I had already urinated into the sports drink bottle next to me. Attempting this a second time might result in spilled urine.
I stood to find pain and dizziness. I stepped forward a few steps and grasped the door frame of the bathroom.
I sat on the toilet and blew my nose into my hand. I wiped the remaining mucus from my nose onto my arm. I would have to shower now.
Under the hot pour of the shower, I emptied my nose several times.
I dried my body and climbed back into bed.
I slept almost immediately but woke again a couple hours later.
I knew I could continue fighting consciousness, inspiring copious amounts of pain, or I could attempt to get up. Either way, I faced pain.
Then I remembered not to fight the pain, but to welcome it as a part of me.
Suddenly, the pain was valid. I rode each wave with delight, taking control. This was my pain. I owned it.
Then the fever broke.
The slaves were openly unhappy in their enslavement. Fear of their captors only worked to deter open discussion of an uprising. When slaves were given an opportunity to rebel, they often took it. They assaulted slave owners when opportunity for escape was present. Weary from being assaulted and loosing valuable slaves to escape, slave owners devised new ways to keep slaves subservient. The slaves obviously had reason to be unhappy. There was no deceiving them about this. But their perceived reasons for unhappiness, these could be fabricated. Slave owners led slaves to believe slaves of other faiths were reasons for their unhappiness. Some slaves began turning on each other. But other slaves continued to fight their captors. So slave owners led slaves to believe slaves of other continental descent were reasons for their unhappiness. More slaves turned on each other. But other slaves continued to fight their captors. So slave owners gave some slaves limited favor. With the jealousy instilled with this favoritism, all slaves were turned against each other. No longer were slave owners assaulted by slaves as they were no longer considered the primary cause for the slaves’ unhappiness. No longer did slaves attempt to free themselves as the perceived primary cause for their unhappiness was not their lack of freedom, but rather the conditions created by their fellow slaves.
Who am I to feel entitled to magic?
This impossible thing that serves as means to fulfillment to so many.
Who am I to expect the arrival of that piece to the puzzle?
Still, it is so unique, it won’t fit anywhere else.
Who am I to make this something I need to survive?
I’ve already received so much. I’ve already thrown away so close.
Who am I to ache over its absence?
I’ve never, in reality, experienced a feasible version of it.
And what is it to mean so much to me?
Opiate, object of my addiction.
Looking for it in every pipe, in every pill bottle.
Licking the inside of the bag so that I may claim every last drop.
Its promise is sold on every corner.
Its trinkets fill the closet.
Just one more hit, I beg of it.
Clinging to ghosts
Humming conversations older than they
Masticating pieces stuck between teeth
Sucking every last drop out
Letting go means falling
But it’s time to let go
I’ve got to get you out of me
I’ve got to get you out of me
I will never fly if I can’t fall
I can’t say these wings are strong enough to give flight
But I’m so tired of holding on
Abused by a man. And I am granted sympathy and empathy. Abused by a man of African ancestry. But I am granted no sympathy or empathy. Suddenly we are “black” and “white”. I represent the reason the man has had a hard life. While I never personally did anything to harm this man or anyone of African decent, I represent a long history of oppression and have benefited from it. Wether this benefit was willful or not is irrelevant. I recognize the double standard that says this man can abuse me, but I could not him. Not that I would want to. Now I begin to approach all people of African decent with caution. I understand our contrasting colors of skin grant them the right to be abusive. “Black” people who have not been abusive toward me in the past are viewed as safe. But “black” people I’ve yet to establish a safe history with would be justified in being abusive. I’m told I am their social enemy. Suddenly, I see the world in “black” and “white”, polar opposites. We were once brothers. But the word “brother” has been viewed as a racial slur. So now, I try to only call people of European decent “brother”. We are not people with different colored skin. We are “black” people and “white” people. And those who aim to divide us have succeeded. If I try to bridge the divide, I am view as one who is just trying to be a “white savior”. I want to help only so that I will be revered by the less fortunate “black” people. And if I don’t try to help bridge the gap, I am willingly taking advantage of this “racist” system. There is no winning here. But maybe it’s time for someone else to win. The arbitrary shade of a person’s skin is enough to make us blind to the fact that the only color that really matters is green.
But no. I recognize the aim to divide. I recognize the double-standard as arbitrary. I refuse to buy in to the idea that we are inherently different. I am not responsible for the oppression of people of African dissent. I’ve always had nothing but love in my heart. I know I tend to benefit from a system that only sees skin deep. But division isn’t the answer. Those of us who only see skin deep propitiate this system. I refuse to be part of it. One’s skin color should not grant him/her the right to anything. This includes income, but also participation in social clubs. This division benefits none of us. We are brothers and sisters. We are in this together.
An attraction deeper than the shape of skin that raises toy soldiers to attention
A connection overflowing from the dopamine receptors of the brain
A reason to feel pain, a reason to ache for the possession
of ones obsession. A reason to bleed until one is bloodless, knowing for the first time how the word “red” does not do it justice.
It’s just this when we try to hold it. It burns when we mold it and never quite fits
It never quite fills and yet somehow spills over and over
Breaking ventricles, inspiring the firing of a heart made of clay
Until one day after bowing and breaking so many times heart ache means awaking
Shaking loose powdered brick left from so many attacks
This aortic valve decorated by cracks
It beats now more slowly and has a weakened frame
And is still home to Rome all the same
But now Roma can flow freely through
We always knew. Open eyes. Open heart. Open mind.
We are one.
Every color. Every sweet sound. Every symptom of beauty.
Floating on forever into our own conscious oblivion.
Words relative to these bodies cannot begin to describe the life, the whole divinity infinitely wrapping us in tears of elation that fall from the sky to which we may be blind but have never been strangers. And with this prayer, “Si Roma”, we awake to a world of no fear, no pain, only the game. And it is time to run. Blue 3 smell of gun powder floats in the air. And palpitations sustain this trivial venture of pain and pleasure.
1944 Warsaw, Poland – The sounds of German bombs hitting down surround the bomb shelter. Is it the product of wisdom or fear to remain in the shelter? In such a case, perhaps it is wise to be fearful. At the same time, fear and love work in opposition. In the presence of love, no fear is necessary. War comes out of fear. But love has the power to cause war to cease. We spend so much of our lives attempting to avoid pain. But pain is a gift. Pain tells us when there is something wrong. It hurts when a German bomb blows off my legs because my legs are important to survival. It is a part of our nature to strive to survive. We tend to fear that which we don’t understand and, as a race, we have yet to provide any concrete evidence of what happens to our consciousness after our bodies die. Is it wise to cling to life, as many of us do? The illusion that we do not have enough resources to sustain the human race could inspire us to conclude that death may be the wisest option, means to the greater good, for many of us. But this illusion is the product of fear. Ironically, power creates fear. With nothing to lose, we may feel more inclined to take greater risks. But possessions tie us to these bodies, to these lives.
I once theorized to a loved one that fear was responsible for the anti-Muslim sentiment in our country. She told me a proposal to keep Muslims out of the United States was the product of wisdom. Perhaps staying in a bomb shelter during a European Theatre bombing may be the product of wisdom. Either choice would likely not result in the loss of life other than my own. Now refusing Syrian refugees as a result of negative stereotypes of the statistically most common religious adherence in the area is not only the product of fear; It is unwise. Wisdom may be defined as “a : accumulated philosophical or scientific learning : knowledge
b : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
c : good sense : judgment” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom)
Fear may be defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.” (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/fear) By nature, fear is painful. When actions inspired by the fear cause pain to others, this fear may be especially painful to us. Empathy is a natural function of the human brain. Love inspires empathy, while fear may require us to shut ourselves off from it. The survival of the human race is a product of wisdom. To care for each other is wise and loving. In many cases, wisdom and love are one in the same.
In order for fear to be a wise avoidance of pain, we must first have reason to believe the pain we are avoiding is stronger than the pain caused by the fear. Second, we must know the pain we are attempting to avoid is a strong likelihood.
Perhaps instead of clinging to our idea of what is wise, we may want to act out of wisdom and love. True wisdom is adaptable. Wisdom may inspire us to empathize and see all sides of an issue. Love recognizes we should look out for each other. Fear may tell me that riding my bicycle barefoot with no shirt on may cause scrapes and bruises. It has in the past. But true wisdom may tell me it is worth the risk. Fear only has the power we give it. When we refuse to be afraid, we can rise above and love unconditionally.
Be be subjective
We’re screaming in here
Is anyone listening?
Is anyone hearing?
Echoes whisper “Shhh, we’re trying to sleep.”
Finally to a place where we can say “Fuck feeling fucked”
Sin with a grin
We are holey
We have guts
Echoes whisper “Keep them inside.”
He prays to all of the gods, naming each one between mechanical ripping noises, like tape being pulled off of itself: “…rip rip Yahweh, rip rip God” Inside his head, the demons require us to help him name them “…rip rip Orion, rip rip O’Bryon,” Then the task comes to me “…rip rip… Steve…”
Anyone who bothers to look up may see a storm is coming
The river runs low and mother aches to give rain
Bucket by bucket collapse the river’s shape
Violent gushes blur the lines, making mud of a canyon
This place where we used to find drink
This space that threatened to spill our blood
Paint spills into the streets
Entitlement vs need
When disease isn’t pretty
The walking dead cry more
Brother, Mother, Lover, Other
We pray we won’t miss take
A single boat on the river capsizes
In mother we trust