Submission

This written and released, I’ve held on so tight.
What are we without love, without fight?

I submit.

Here I am, found myself circling the block again.
I can’t say I blame you, it’s a finger that points back.
Faulting my past days, the final attack,
no longer worth the strain.

You win.

I’ll be evasive, yet here I face it.
On this stoop where it all began
So far from zero, seeing the streetlights that never waned.
The distance we became.
Memories that cloud dreams.

Breathe, exhale.

afraid.

Knocking on the door, and I know I’ve felt like this before. This road led to an impasse, all I had, but that’s all gone. What has gotten into you? Maybe I never knew, maybe we never do.

I can’t hurt you from here—I can only hurt myself.

This coffee is stale, or maybe it’s my mood, does it really matter to you? Mine is the oil contrasting the ocean—black out the rest of the world. What has gotten into you? Maybe I never knew, maybe we never do.

Bleeding hearts of every color. Until the pain makes room for more.

I’m afraid. Afraid to go anywhere, to do anything. Outside I hear people move, from place to place, town to town. So you think I’m cool as shit, when I’m losing it, and I’m done with this. No more appeal, throwing shade on all that’s real. I will make this place my home.

Uncomfortably until I’m numb. Comfortable, and then I’m done.

Watching the World from a Cafe in Sheetz One Day

I’m plugged in. The ear buds moisten, clicking in my ears, Elton John reaching that exhaustive hiss of “the Bluesssss” just somewhere under falsetto… the Yellow Brick Road looking attainable. Tinnitus in my left ear holds onto the final note long after it’s gone. There is a murkiness outside as humidity claws at the still air.

I wander into the gas station/super mart/trucker stop and witness a world within the one that is jettisoned beyond the doors; and behind my soles. People scurry through cramped aisles with power bars, hydrogenated oils and condoms; Sports Illustrated racked between Guns & Ammo, gleaning breasts and hips and not the current soccer obsession– energy drinks pressing on coolers offering a more honest days work, at least more frenetic.

There is an art to ‘people watching’. Some involvement required, but obstinately it is just clusters– a people mash-up with no involvement and poor judgement: the short Asian woman with disproportionate sized breasts and her flightless toddler- tugging, tugging- tugging away at her spandex tights; a dwarf, commandeering a minuscule scooter, whipping through the complex maze to grab a soda. Workers in unison, in uniform, conforming to the task at hand. Each one smiling, except for the short haired teen, laden with an inordinate amount of homemade needle & ink tats that could easily pass him off as a cellmate. Old men litter the built in cafe and scratch arbitrarily at lottery tickets, shaking their heads– “the next one will be it, the next one…”

I need an energy drink.

There’s so much chatter here. The noise kaleidoscopes in my head, seeking refuge, or a blank tapestry to register something– anything. Noises from the CNN reporter girl with bubbly, over-hued blonde hair spewing in and out the nascent details of GOP and refugees, tornadoes and autopsies; the background to the forefront, backwash and the repetition of tires drone by. Noise trade, stifling the cell phone loyalists– they’re indifferent, and I just watch from a lonely seat in the cafe. Texting in cars, talking in aisles, pumping gas, wondering: ‘why did we have to fight about the mortgage this morning??’, sleepwalking… plagued with levity. No one even notices.

I ‘get’ why people ‘check out’. It’s hard to see until it’s right in front of you– when consciousness checks out and the banality just wrecks your thoughts– the sane ones, anyway. The distance between a useful existence and walking into a desert one day, tattered shoes and a final $222.43 alimony payment on the doorstep– dry land and sun in every direction and only dust and decay, the remnants of your life that was better left to the earth. Suicide is a dense word. It has a singular one-sided opinion, but it carries so much goddamn weight. I don’t understand what lifts someone into those last straggling moments where nothing exists, only breathe. It must be unbelievably terrifying. Staggering those final moments until there is ‘no turning back’. Most people wouldn’t understand. I can’t be indifferent (in my own thoughts) but empathy is a notion, not an actionable endeavor.

Save yourself, turn CNN to Curious George, turn the volume off and order another iced caramel salted pretzel latte with extra whipped cream, because cream is sweet and tastes nothing like death, or sadness. My own coffee; dwindling… room temperature and bitter– resembling the same indifference that haunts the masses, ignored by the few… and me.

The Sports Illustrated beauty eyeballs me from my seat and goads me back into evanescence. She looks too happy to be real.

Twisted Moonlight

*I hope you enjoy this short piece on insomnia and thoughts of ‘her’….

Derelict sounds, the path of nature out my window and the sleeping of giants- my neighborhood; the macrocosm now reduced to window dressing.

Obligations are short right now, so I have the privilege to take it all in, a feast for my oft-deadened senses, this will be a short trip. I’ve been here before, but the lucidity sparks something in my head, all the street lights that hang in the perimeter lurk in the shadows, because I’m too naïve to believe they are hunting me.

Citizens mining the corners and alleyways now subjugated by the cast iron poles, no more restless but lacking the digits to be functional.
My mind buzzes—it actually makes noise, a low grade hum that could pass for amplifier feedback, maybe a Marshall cabinet humming passively while Tony Iommi lights up a fag. My head doesn’t hurt, if it did I would recognize it as a physical attribute- pain receptors need recognized. I don’t hate my brain for failing me, or grating away unmercifully- it’s the viscosity keeping my senses on heightened alert- and I haven’t even got out of bed.

I heard her voice in my head last night, and I thought for a moment I was dreaming. Why does there always have to be a ‘her’ in the story? This was no conflict as kids; little hairless boys who only knew Mom… the only girls we identified with were on some PBS program- not real women. Ernie and Bert didn’t mind being roommates either. They knew something I still haven’t figured out.

She left me here long enough to catch my breath, admittedly, I am a shallow breather. So I lay in bed and allow my thoughts to race… up and down the walls, ping-ponging back and forth left and right of my ever ready cognizance. The moonlight was cloaking the room in its own self-contained light bulb- dull and unsatisfying. In the interest of staying awake I just laid there and counted the patterns of moon spackle that drifted through the thinned out, and dust tainted curtains. They were filthy but I didn’t care. I couldn’t sleep. The night played out like so many before.

Why my mind regurgitated the past, I don’t know. The racing thoughts seemed to have no destination and no finish line and I was hoping they’d admit defeat. The victor to the spoils—who cares? She won out, because somewhere she was asleep and I wasn’t.

My life was never overly consumed with relationships that added up to any significant stretch of time. I was good with that. Freedom isn’t a sacrifice, and it’s not a cross to bare. My life was full in that I believed my true self just functioned better alone. Not loneliness, but independence- the kind where you could take yourself out on a ‘date’ and not worry about how you looked, or how you thought she thought you looked. Those opinions never became concrete until you passed the second or third date, or maybe tussled under the sheets—playing tug of war with each other’s fleshy parts. Ok, maybe I was lonely.

My mind played out every possibility as the sheets clung restlessly to the inside of my groin- legs outstretched in some unappealing pose. The way she touches me… the ink blots telling me (at least) that her and I could be stationary and it would still manage statuesque perfection (the psychiatrist gums her pen and nods in approval). The ripples of skin attached to goose-bumps, because she’s always cold. My heat wasn’t just emanation- it was a protective covering. I could conceal my disinterest at times, and the ramblings that I heard could have been my own—but in that frozen pose where skin nuzzles skin, we found our place.

I reached below into the warmth of the crevasse of my thighs that now revealed a firm erection–nighttime and lying flat always drew the penis into an arc that couldn’t be achieved in daylight—not even with the most attentive partner. The sheets withdrawn, I began to caress and stroke myself until I ejaculated the warm liquid into a pool on my stomach. It felt like I was alive for those brief post-coitus(less) moments. I could release my mind as well. The mind can’t hang onto or focus when the redirection is simply a shallow pursuit- like masturbation.

“She should be here”, I thought.

The senses prick up when the room goes quiet and the sound of skin being temporarily flogged is removed. I let out a breath; relief crept in where the moonlight couldn’t be seen. There is always space for light- the cathartic release prevails when the mind gives way to a carnal shift. The only requirement was the stroke of my fist, not out of hate, but self-love… and sacrifice.

I drifted back to sleep. She was waiting… sometime after REM’s and the grappled pose of my body contorted into a heavy sleep—I would eventually see her there. The small of her back walking at a distance, urging me to follow—and me pretending to care, my sub-conscious having its way with my fractured mentality. I relented as eyelids turned to dead weight, slits that sealed so I didn’t have to be alone with myself anymore… the moon still desperately trying to illuminate the four walls.