A City Before You.

In the city,
where the cars are muted by the wind
and the people
are buried beneath heavy coats to keep warm,
I see a construction site.

I see the mechanical, yellow crane
nudging dirt
with all the
care and attention,
love and focus,
of an animal caring for its young.

The weather will soon change.
The cars will become
more noisily clear.
The trees will sigh along with me.

But for now, the spring is fighting.
It is pushing its warmth slowly
down from the mountaintops
until,
one morning,
I can smell your perfume on breeze.

An Unnamed Ocean

The truth is that your name means nothing to me anymore. I hear your name in places – not your family name, but your given name – and it’s as if a leaf glided gently across my lawn as I watch it silently through a window. There is no noise, and a certain disconnection from it.

I am disconnected from such things because who I was and what I am not are two entirely different beasts. One was less than zero. One was a monster without a definition. But now, I am something much more human, even if that is a broad description of that which I am today.

Every time I hear your name I look toward the floor and no words enter or leave my mind. That should tell all there is to tell about the precipice that I once stood on the edge of. Now, though, there is silence, and a certain acceptance for the actions that have lead us toward some conclusion.

I will smile tomorrow, when my body feels refreshed. My eyes will open and feel humanity pulsing like blood in a living machine. Yet, until then, I will listen to the ocean.

Sample “The Factories”

The following is a sample of a longer story I am writing. It is a dystopian work from one of the contented members within the society. I am hoping to publish this via Kindle Singles on Amazon. Please enjoy it, and if you are interested in it, let me know.


Of all the patriots, I am the least patriotic. I have decided to lay down my life for what I believe in, for what I feel or know to be right, which is nothing at all.

This is, of course because science has predicted the outcome of humanity and thusly developed an implant of sorts that makes one feel content. Despite being stuck in dead-end jobs and talking to uninteresting people, you’re happy. Six days a week every human on the planet does this. Sundays, of course being God’s day, are given to us as a small relief from the pulling of levers and dials and the operating of switches. That gives humanity ample time to produce and enact attrition, and perform the duties of a standard family, which is to reproduce. Like clockwork.

Also noted about this implant is that in women it amplifies an almost superhuman ability to cope. Gestation of the fetus is reduced from nine months down to seven with no seen defects. None of the factory workers understand how this is done, but be are told that it’s science and it’s right and it’s God’s will and it’s humanity’s destiny.

Other miracle benefits of the implant is a miraculous boost in virility. Both men and women, for twenty minutes a week are given a signal to go upstairs, lock their door and consummate. This releases endorphins and oxytocin which helps solidify the pairing. The myth is that the implants themselves are fueled by these chemicals and that this time is necessary for it to function properly. This twenty minute frame also serves to keep the species trekking toward its destiny.

Then, like a switch at the factory it’s turned off and the man and woman usually go separate ways for a bit, then begin conversing again after about an hour.

At the strike of midnight on Monday the factories resume working. The machines start back up, the buttons switch, the gears click, the circuit-boards light up and so on. This continues for roughly six hours until the aroma of freshly baked bread is piped into the factory itself. This serves to make the workers hungry so they can properly eat a proper meal at the proper time.

Of course the implant itself also serves to activate several receptors much like an amphetamine, so no one eats that much, honestly. Oddly the cafeteria doesn’t serve bread of any kind. Instead it is a loaf of compressed carrot fiber and whey. Hemp oil is in glass bottles marked “Butter.”

There was only one time I can remember when an implant acted up, or refused to act up. I was sitting on the porch taking in some sun one Sunday after the weekly consummation, but before my wife and I felt like talking again, when I noticed my neighbor, who was pushing a lawnmower. He froze and stare blankly ahead of himself as the mower kept whirring and cutting, then just suddenly fell over. He was stark dead. Forty minutes later three men in medical jackets came and pressed a metal disk against his neck, which blinked twice red, then he was carried off. Twice red, you’re dead.”

In a Landscape

And in this land of shimmering walls
and other people,
of other places to go watch the sunrise,
romance is dead.

The feeling is like breath
taking into the lungs
mere seconds before the dawn.

It is the noise of the world that suddenly appears
after seven o’clock in the morning
when people rub shame and dream from their eyes
and medicate with a sip or tea or bite of bread.

The Cold American Night

You will have to forgive the far-reaching cry and raving voice of a madman.
There is night here, or soon it will be.
Touching everything with such a silence that the only things shouting
are the minds of the people who stumble and fall on the dark sidewalks.

I doubt there is a moon tonight,
but your breath is beautiful,
because there is voice in your breathing.
There is song in the way you wrap your cold fingers around my shy hand.
It’s ice-melting and becoming a butterfly fresh from cocoon.
It is something becoming something else, in the wind that is nature.

If madmen are mad, it is only from not seeing their own actions.
I see every step that I’ve taken, and is refuses me another step forward.
I am like a bridge-maker that has run out of wood or stone,
thinking only of the way I could have improved my design.

But damn this collapsing bridge and its materials.
I have wings when I am with you.
Wings of an angel, dove, or bat. It doesn’t matter,
because we can escape together.

And once again I ask that you rest your head on my shoulder,
because there is a coldness in me that I cannot remove without it.
I refuse to fall into sleep, and instead we watch the sky becoming as luminous as a flower.
All colors slowly replaced with tones of a faded, becoming winter.

Pages

No one goes back and mourns the turned page. What was written there, the words strung together and the emotions of it had all but faded. People focus on what is in front of them, and care very little after the book has closed.

The turned page exists in a realm of intention. It merely waits to give it’s ideas and content to those who happen across it. It does not actively seek out followers, nor does it try to convert someone. It just is. All the universe went into that writing. Love letters, postcards from oblivion, smiles drawn to paper are all imprinted on the page like a photograph of another form. Communication.

Less so, in fact, do people consider all the erasures the author had done to produce the work. God himself at erased lyric, erasing all the perfect parts to create a thinking, flowing, flawing human.

In a silence between moments of action, an erased haiku. Five, seven, five. Then nothing.

The universe must be pressurized with uncreated ideas that bloat the edges and create tension in the world. Unopened eyes searching for sunlight across a horizon. Three birds landing on a wire, but who installed the wire?

And after a long time without sustenance, wine is bitter and sweet all at once, like the scent of dying leaves that surrounds you in the fall season. Different paths all doing the same human race through existence. All of them struggling for the same things, but admittedly all of them doing it separately as if they cannot stand the company of someone or something that would truly understand them. A gap in the armor, I suppose. And all I wish for is a third eye.

Rusted Zen

No rock can go unweathered. A stone on a riverbed will change. This concept has always struck me as both uniquely beautiful and zen. It is the sound of a bell ringing in the distance. It is the sound of birds stopping their song for a minute or two when the wind blows across your face.

Outside is becoming rusty. It’s the slowly encroaching rust of fall that tinges the leaves and grass. It is an amplification of the golden colors of the sun that signals what will soon be a crystalized blanket of snow. Despite all this around me, I am human. I am holding my hand out waiting for something to fall onto my open palm. Then again, it’s probably already there and gone by the time I realize what I wanted to land there in the first place. Again, a song has stopped.

The human heart beats in sync with the natural rhythm of nature. I would have to think that, when a person gets arrhythmia, it is not the actual heart itself signaling the host to die, it is the human body leaving that which is natural behind, and going dark because of it. Americans have built laws, social rules, ethical practices, guidelines, formalities, habits and voice on resisting and denying what nature has told us is indeed natural. America is addicted to this arrhythmic lifestyle. The food we eat, our social practice of commonly ignoring human emotion, our shame-shadowed sexual appetites that seem to prevent us from stepping off this mountain are all signs of this.

That is not to say that Americans are bad. They aren’t, at least not all; at least not by default. We exist, and morality is relative. What this produces, however, is a series of people fighting for and struggling to find and exist in something that we aren’t sure of. We know we are unhappy most of the time, and we know we desire, lust after something we are told is wrong. We are wrong with good intention, at least for the most part.

What I say is that the cigarette I smoke is mine, even if I choose not to smoke it, which I won’t. I never have, and it is only at a campfire, when the silence rolls in that I will consider smoke in my lungs. Insanity is freely flowing, and I am okay with using it if need be. Insanity is only a problem if you are outside of it, even for a minute.

I’ve written many letters and have gotten no reply. This is probably a reason I distrust people so often. I can’t look them in the eye because they will, no doubt, see me. Infant-like, I’d rather close my eyes and be invisible, even if I am screaming inside, even if I am a caged animal. I need to move past that thought. I need to accept that my desires, my voice, my reasons, my light, my eyes, my warmth, my nothing and everything, my cold fingertips, will not end the world if they are brought out from this still place. Often that voice is unheard, but it is meant to inspire and show something of humanity.

I would rather help a thousand people individually in small, fragmented ways than speak to a thousand people at one time. I lock up. I freeze in a group because it can lack the proper individual response to help them. I mechanically follow a structure, and pack animals rarely do.

This paragraph is changing. Ending.

A new beginning is frightening, and it is that uncommon, fresh angle that can sometimes jam nails into one’s palms. Jesus had a new beginning through the old habit of dying. Breath left him, and he started something new. I have to wonder how much anxiety he had over the whole ordeal. Rising after three days of death was not a societal norm, at least not at the time. These days, we have three day weekends and get no postal service.

Here. I am here. If I light a candle for a different faith, that does not make me a martyr. It makes me human, or animalistically human, trying to communicate through the ringing of a chime to some higher voice. So many paintings here, and dried up paint. So many supplies that are just intention, just heartbeat. Regardless, I have to go for now.

Today is Morning

Today is morning. The clouds are covering the sky in such a way that, no matter the time, the entirety of the day, this day, feels like morning. Birds are out there somewhere, but they are muted and awaiting the arrival of autumn proper. The grass feels cool against my feet and I can imagine the caress of snow on them. Wet, slushy snow clinging to my feet as a metallic cool sinks into my skin.

It’s not fall yet, nor winter, yet I can feel the combinations of a failing summer, the decaying leaf smell of fall, the ice of winter is imaginable. I can even feel next spring, with the plants in the ground struggling to stay awake, or to wake up again, just as I did this morning.

I have been warned of my empathy in the past. I’ve seen compassion taking its toll on my life, but even winter is something to feel. The sun briefly peaks out this morning, but it’s amber in color. All the light is matte and distant. The mailbox is empty and awaiting activity. I wondered if the birds were awaiting postcards from themselves, from their future southern selves.

To plant a garden is a unique experience. There is no immediate reward. It is, instead, like a child where you cherish every step forward while nostalgically remembering the previous one. I put seeds into the cool soil, got dirt under my nails and into my fingerprints. There are swirling outlines of earth in my hand itself now, and that is God without a definition.

So many today argue specifics using human language about who God is, what he or she wants, and the “rules” of living a proper human life. I believe that God is in the expression, not in the repetition of some law or rule. Children, at least before ego, express this, as do many animals. There is a look in the eyes of a dog that can signify something deeper than many words uttered at a pulpit. Oddly, humans deny being animal, but in the eyes of some animals is a true knowledge, as if they are saying that they are in a simple connection to something deeper. Humans call this instinct when animals follow a particular habit, as if the animals have no control over it themselves. I feel like humanity could benefit from being animal now and then. I don’t mean that they should be brutal, but only that they can flow down the river slightly without fighting the current.

It’s still muted outside. Even the cars on the highway nearby are slowed down. The sunflowers in the garden are nodding to a particular rhythm that I can only slightly feel as it tingles the hairs on my arm. It’s not describable, and in case you are wondering, I am an Aries, and that is what I would write onto that postcard.

Lotus

So we sat around the dinner table. Each of us sat in a kind of silence that can only come after years of refusing to emotionally connect. Each of us sitting in our regret and ready to act; to jump, to define, to do something with our lives.

One of my siblings had the same plan millions, if not billions, of other men. He intended to buy a house, some way or another. He wanted to hammer picket fences into the ground and tell everyone how different he was for doing so. He intended to have three children, each identically produced, constructed, birthed, raised, gardened, left in the sun, and eventually pruned with the garden sheers. He wanted a dog but the dog, I imagined, was already hit by a car. This sibling intended to live life by putting a bullet into the head of something important.

Of course, from the position of my chair at the table, and my position that was hunched over the dinner plate, I couldn’t begin to tell you what could be considered important. My sibling’s imaginary dog could be planted in the dirt underneath those picket fences right alongside his dreams. I picked up the unused spoon from beside my plate and lightly tapped it against the crystal. Simple, shimmering percussion. No one spoke.

My parents had married before; my father literally, my mother figuratively to an abusive lifestyle. Divorce, then re-marriage and recalibration. Honestly, I respected them more for their mistakes than any lifetime-married couple. My parents were human, not a picket fence in sight.

I suppose what could be considered important is that walking path that somehow leads to a kind of contentment or happiness. I doubted my sibling would find it, but it was never my choice nor my right. I believed as I tapped my spoon slower and slower that some people on this spinning planet wouldn’t find love. People starving in a foreign country, or this country for that matter, didn’t pain away all their energies over that. People with a true disease, which is to say any disease besides conformity, didn’t have the focus on something as vague as love. Love was and is a modern concept, and it’s often a luxury. Some simple won’t ever find it. There was a fly buzzing and occasionally landing in the mashed potatoes.

I imagined the newspaper being delivered, and the paperboy or paperman sweating into his baseball cap as we sat in complete silence. Wars were being fought. I sat my spoon down in surrender. Each of us shifted in our chairs, then grabbed our plates and collectively and animalistically, we cleared the table. Large fragments of food were then scraped off the plates into the garbage can. People were starving for love, I thought.

The silence at the table migrated into the living room. Dad immediately fell into the nap-state, my non-fence desiring sibling looked out the large glass window of the living room. I could tell she was watching several birds at the feeder. I looked at Dad and say how life is. A pain squeezed my heart.

Birds are incredible creatures. They can go anywhere they intend to go. Of course, because they’re birds, they rarely decide to go an buy a new TV or fly to the gas station for some scratch tickets. Birds rarely lounge on beaches or chirp about how they don’t have to pay taxes and can live anywhere for free. It’s hard not to envy them.

There was a glass of water on the coffee table that I had poured for myself but forgotten. I picked up the glass, which had a galaxy of bubbles in it, and drank it. Many would pour it out and get some fresh, cold water from the tap. Many still would wash the glass or get another. What a luxurious culture we live in. I deserved warm water. Warm water is human in the basest sense. Christ himself likely drank warm water. Though I thought for a minute about where that had eventually gotten him.

I thought some about the Buddha,too. Gautama likely drank warm water. He also begged for his daily meal on the streets. How beautifully human. The idea of giving the control or your very sustenance over to other humans. Just like some men pray to God for spiritual sustenance, Gautama was asking humans to do so on a physical level. What a beautiful idea. I respect anyone that accepts and displays true humanity. People on the street are often more human than the people with flower boxes next to their picket fences.

Gautama and Jesus would have been friends, I imagined. They would have shared fish and told stories. Jesus would pat Gautama on the back and they would laugh roaringly. Broad smiles would come to their faces when they’d meet each other in on their travels. Both of them knew suffering, and knew how suffering connected with humanity.

Neither Jesus nor Gautama would tap spoons on plates. They would recite oms, and each would live inside the musicality of them. I respect the lyrical religions, the melodious ones.

No one concerned with picket fences or paperboys or flies buzzing potatoes could understand the calm simplicity in Gautama or Jesus’s voice. Oddly, many people in America see Jesus as a caucasian man with simple American features. He wasn’t. Jesus wasn’t born in this country, nor was he a composite mix of various progenitors up to this democratic point.

My sister looked at my father as he napped. A look of deep sadness came to her face. I could tell that she was thinking how hard my father tried to fight the dimly human traits while trying to grow the blossoming lotus of that which is beautifully human. Our family was coping and growing exactly how they were able to; no more, no less.

The birds kept flying to and from the feeder as the sky slowly turned into a milky citrus color. I looked again at my father. In the silence, the sky progressed into a darkened blue; the blue of cold stones in riverbeds. I didn’t wake my father up. It was time to sleep.

The Fading Fire

Hello world. I am alone if I can tell you anything truthful. You see, life is often a lie in itself. I lie in life. I living lie. A desperate need to have a voice in the vacuum of this world. The need to find music, song, a tongue, or lips to kiss. I forget all written words, because the only thing on my mind is the animal drive making me seek out another warm soul to comfort me as the rain falls and the beasts circle around me. The fire burns down slowly. I can rest because your heart beats in place of mine. And dreamers return to childhood. I close my eyes.

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