Losses

I’m taking a lot of losses this year.
I’m taking them
Out of cold storage,
Where I kept them on ice
For years and years
Because I never tried,
Never played,
Never chanced at winning;
So the losses destined in my fate
Went into icy stasis
Waiting to be thawed,
Until now.

Now I stand in the ring
My hands behind my back,
My chin stuck out
Inviting the universe to punch me:
To knock me out in one hit like a prime Mike Tyson,
And then watching
As the universe dodges every wild swing,
Like Mayweather.

I eat my losses,
Thawed like microwave dinners
Humbly, every day and night.
And every loss consumed brings with it
Cycles of catharses,
Like spiritual enemas,
To clean me out from within.

One day
I’ll run through the backlog of losses,
And my mind, body, and conscience
Will be crystal clear.

From then on,
Every new loss will be full of hope,
And every win,
Free of guilt.

Intense Face

I always wanted to appear
As an intense and brooding, mysterious guy
When I was younger.

And so I never smiled
Whenever anyone took a picture of me.
And so in all of those pictures
I have a sullen, almost forlorn look.

An attempt at creating an air of enigma,
An experiment aimed at generating curiosity,
An innate desire to be asked
What my deal was.

But nobody looked,
Nobody cared,
And nobody asked.

So these days I smile and grin,
Make all sorts of weird and funny faces,
Wear all kinds of outlandish clothes and hats and glasses,
Do everything to amuse my own self:
Everyone else’s too busy looking at their own, anyway.

Every Day

Every day I try,
Every day I fail.
Every day I pry
At sealed jam-jars of fate
Till my fingers turn pale.

Every day I lie
Motionless in bed,
Circling thoughts of tasks so dry,
Inside my pillowed head.

Every day I try,
Every day I fall
Into thoughts of cries
Over bitter goodbyes,
And mental shadows brawl
Over unanswered calls.

Every day my arms too weak,
To grasp or change or mold,
Every day my mind too full,
Of skeletons frigid cold.

Every day, a chain-bound strain,
Wading through rivers of lead.
With every stride, my strength wanes,
As I barely reach the beachhead.

Every day I try,
Wrestle with all the whys,
Every day the pain,
Of things I can’t attain,
Every day a fight,
Hide inner blight behind an “I’m alright”.

Every day I’m knocked to the ground,
Black-eyed and blood-stained,
Yet the gloves go on, and the hands go up,
Every day, again.

Pebble in a stream

My mother always says
That I’m like a pebble in a flowing stream.
Letting the water flow over me,
Absorbing none of it.

Maybe I am a pebble:
Born of magma, thrust
From the belly of the earth
Violently onto the surface
Then exposed to wind, rain, and sun.

A giant basalt expanse
That slowly weathers away
Windswept,
Water worn,
And Sunburned.

Most of it turns to dust,
Some of it gets dug up
And turned into statues or floors
Or money or fuel

But a few little bits
Find themselves in streams
Streamlined and rounded
Zen symbols of calm and peace

A cool and uncaring existence
An acceptance of fate
A passive resignation
Appearing un-influenced by its surroundings,
While being constantly shaped by them.

So the water flows over me
A constant stream
Of babbling screams
Flowing from infinite, insane mouths,
Into bottomless, obscure oceans.

In that stream, I appear
Untouched, unperturbed, unaffected
But every passing moment,
The water flows and chips away at me.

Words, like tiny daggers,
Grind magmatic memories into silt.
Every nonapology,
Every thoughtless comment,
Every unmeant thank you,
Every missed connection,
Every stone left unturned,
And every conversation that petered out
With a “No, I’m good, thanks.”

Tender Days

Some days feel like a full-body bruise:
Abstract, intangible, and mental
Pressure like over-tightened screws,
Digging in against my temples.

Turmeric stain instincts,
Stubborn, indelible, and distinct.
Let them be and they might wane,
Or let them in and re-live the pain.

Old pains not fully cleansed,
Bad juju from stifled energies,
Changing landscapes, but the same old lens,
Dull aches from blunt force memories.

The sharp agony has long passed,
A phantom soreness remains.
Illusions dissolving at long last,
Last gasps of waning hurricanes.

So I wake up tender some mornings,
And hurt through the day.
Sulking, sullen, and mourning,
The rotten fantasies I threw away.

Weekends

Weekends are a lot more pressure than weekdays.
So much pressure to perform:
Did you enjoy yourself?
Did you have fun?
Did you relax and recharge?
Did you get ready for another week?
Did you find some social connection?
Did you find a girlfriend or life partner?

I can’t just lie in bed.
I can’t just vegetate.
I can’t just aimlessly walk around listening to things…
That’s just not allowed!
It is mandated:
My free time must be spent pursuing progress.

Continuous, relentless progress.
Sacrificing my mind, body, and soul,
At the cold and unforgiving altar of advancement.
I must develop new skills,
I must build my muscles,
I must open up my mind,
I must hustle harder,
More certificates, more reps, more momentum.

I must grind,
Shear off all the jagged edges,
Until I am nothing but a smooth, shredded, cerebral specimen.
A dried, used-up husk,
With a great job title,
A big fancy car in a medium-large house,
A woman that probably settled for me,
An ungrateful kid or two.

So I’ll get back to it:
Rubbing ointment into my hair,
Trying to be the prized pig at the farmer’s market,
Trying to speed-run my 20s in a few months,
Just so I don’t miss out.
Just so I have something to show for myself.
Just so someone settles for me.

You see, I don’t get to relax.
I can’t just be an unmarried 30-something,
With no fancy job title,
A small-car driving, entitled, non-productive,
Squandered-potential man.
I can’t wander and play and roam through life.
I can’t do things on my time.
That’s simply the wrong way!

This isn’t my time to spend,
And this isn’t my life to live:
It was simply loaned to me.
I am indebted and indentured.
I am here to perform my existence,
Held up by invisible strings,
Pushed around by all my masters.

So the sharks circle around me,
So the lenders have come to collect,
And so must the puppet show carry on,
Every day of the week,
And every weekend.
Especially the weekend.

Idiot

I never learned how to swim.
And I never learned how to play chess.
Now I’m useless in a zombie apocalypse:
No strengths, no skills, and no smarts.

The world is ending.
But the zombies aren’t yet at my door.
So I think I’ll spend a little more time,
Sitting around drinking beer.

They tried teaching me;
The song and the dance,
The ways of the world,
The wrong and the right,
But I just never learned.

I kept coloring outside the lines,
Kept using the wrong colored crayon,
Kept getting asked why I couldn’t follow instructions,
All the while as I sat there wondering;
Why they didn’t teach me how to color,
And why they kept demanding I color the thing red.

They were the elders, though, they were in charge,
And that was that.
What did I know about success?
What did I know about anything?

To them I simply didn’t have what it took:
Not strong enough to swim against the current
Not skilled enough to make it my way
Not smart enough to meld passion and profession
I could never be an iconoclast
I was just an idiot

And so I was,
Always the idiot son,
Always the idiot brother,
Always the idiot cousin…

But with so much potential!
If only I’d learn:
How to swim in my lane,
And to play chess by the rules.

If only I’d defer and obey,
I’d be adept, and I’d grasp so much!
How to swerve and juke and jive,
How to sing and dance and act,
How to fake laugh, to secretly judge, to perpetually pretend…

Then I’d stop being such an idiot,
And I’d unlock my inner potential:
To be a zombie,
Constantly chasing,
To infect new bodies,
Compulsively compelled
To devour new brains.

Knives

Another woman,
Another heartbreak,
Another knife,
Through my chest.

Every new knife,
that’s pushed through,
Opens up
All the older wounds.

In these wounds,
I look for answers,
But I only ever find,
Blood, and bile, and venom.

Smarter men,
Luckier, or more fortunate,
Have already found,
The joys of settling,
growing old and fat,
impenetrable blubber skins,
Impervious and puncture-proof.

I wonder why then,
I keep letting women,
Stick their knives into me.

I wonder why
I let them leave me,
Writhing on the ground.

I wonder why
I lie there,
Waiting,
For the blood to clot,
For a scab to form,
Only to leap up,
And stick my chest out,
For another knife,
Hoping it’s the last,
But knowing it’s not.

The truth is:
Between the old scabs,
And new wounds,
Is when I remember
That I am alive.

Internal Monologues EP3: Merciless, Faceless, Rudderless

Merciless captains, and faceless sailors, of rudderless ships.
The seas teeming with sharks,
Vultures in the skies above, eager,
To swoop down upon the dead.
(‘tis indeed a feast to be had)
Captains goad us onward,
The faceless figures simply do their bidding.
They promise us riches beyond measure,
They speak of wondrous lands,
Eternal joy, transient pain,
We shall have our fill and be merry.
They say the streets are paved with gold-
With gold!
All out efforts, towards the quest for riches,
(What is the use of wealth if we do not seek
to buy?)
A lonely(?) forlorn, faceless man,
Grew weary of tyranny, and decided
To brave the open seas on his own.
In his dreams he heard,
The song of a siren,
Voice clear as the purest ice,
Cold, thing of beauty.
The siren beckoned him
To come to her-and live
In a land where the grass
Was always green, the waters clear,
The sun shone radiant, the breeze-
It was all so mesmerizing.
Ans thus he set sail on his own,
Braving the fiercest storms,
As well as the worst
Of doldrums- the siren’s voice
Guiding him, giving him
Vigor and will.
As he came unto the siren at last,
He saw her face- the crystal voice,
The radiant aura, all that he had
Ever wished he would want.
But as he came closer and closer,
He felt suffocation, the golden voice,
Turning to vicious screams, curdled his blood,
He saw to his horror, piles of dead, faceless men,
Rotting, the vultures fed on their carcasses.
He knew he could do nothing,
But be drawn into, drawn to his
Slow and agonizing death,  that which he chose
On his own.
And thus we find ourselves, being lead, or on our own,
Into the inevitabilities of annihilation.
We may fill ourselves, keep running, or stop,
Nobody gets out of here alive.