LOVE POEM #37 – A JOURNEY

It was the end of the world.

The streets were burning,

The oceans were churning,

And that’s when I realized

That I loved you.

 

I was there, running,

From a monstrous beast

Through a collapsing hallway

When it hit me

That I loved you.

 

And when I felled the beast,

I knew I had to find you.

 

So I traversed the sea,

Climbed mountains, and

Walked miles,

Ever telling myself

That I loved you.

 

I bloodied my arms,

Battered my limbs, and

Endured sleepless nights

As my mind screamed to me

That I loved you.

 

I crawled wearily,

Weak from malnutrition,

Afraid each day was my last.

My only respite was

That I loved you.

 

And when I had crossed the last street,

And used the ends of my strength

Just to knock at your door.

I knew it was true

That I loved you.

 

And then you opened the door,

 

And eternity passed between us.

 

The hate, the anger,

The pain, the love,

The lost friendship,

The bitter words.

 

Like a wave from the ocean,

It all washed away.

 

There you stood:

Shorter than me,

Yet somehow tall.

Perfectly beautiful

And shocked.

 

I opened my mouth,

But my words

Abandoned me.

For no words,

Could compare

To how I felt.

 

And to my surprise,

You grasped me,

Held me, and

Cried on me.

 

I felt the words

I love you

Fall out of my mouth.

Though I had not

Bidden my tongue to say them.

 

And you turned to me

And whispered

That I love you

Too.

——

 

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A MIDWINTER NIGHT

“Please come to me,” the old man whispered. His words were spoken out into the dark, quiet sitting room. He was seated at his wooden work table; a worn down candle was lit next to him. The dim lighting pushed feebly back against the night that surrounded him. Before him was a mess of papers—half finished lines, empty stanzas, unbalanced sonnets, and scrawls of other accounts. All of them stopped short.

“Calliope, Euterpe, Erato, please…help me.” But there was no answer. The man’s sad eyes stared through the window to his right. There was no moon. No clouds. Not even stars that night. Just empty blackness. He turned again, this time to the tomes on his left. His tomes. Perfect accounts of the greatest tragedies, the most tremendous comedies, and other master works that had changed how the world thought about writing. But tonight was different. Tonight the ink in his quill had seemed to dry up; the paper sat there stagnant, and his muses had abandoned him. The wax from the candle bled down onto the edge of the table, adding to the pattern of waxes already there.

Once, he would have reminded the weary world of the good deed that little candle did, shining out as a beacon against the darkness, but tonight no words came to him. He felt choked, as if his throat had been ripped from his throat by the bear from the theatre the night before. He had not been there. His legs were too weak, and his body was too frail to endure the cold these days. Even now, with his body enrobed in layers of clothing, he could feel the chill air prod at his heart. The very air he breathed felt like knives in his lungs.

He himself, beneath those layers, looked like an infant—too tiny to move his own body. Yet somehow, he had found his way to his desk. But even now he could feel the weight sinking into his shoulders, immobilizing him. The whites of his knuckles pressed against the table as he tried to rise—to breathe a breath of fresh air, and renew the pictures in his mind. He could almost taste the crisp frost of the air. The physician had told him fresh air, even if cold, was good for him. Still, as he tried to rise, he felt his tiny legs shaking beneath him. He was trapped at his desk, lest he wish to shed his only protection from the winter cold. Trapped, by the works he couldn’t finish. Trapped by the dried well of language that once flowed from his immortal hands. That is what they had told him at least: that he would be immortalized.

But tonight he did not feel immortal. He could feel the coiling in his lungs; every heartbeat like a popping balloon. He reached out, as if some entity—some beautiful woman—stood before him. He could almost see her. So perfect, so young…yet so aged and mature. He was so close he could nearly touch her. His arms trembled beneath the weight of his cloths. Three inches…two inches…then his body gave out and he crashed into his wooden table. The candle sputtered out, and he was left in the dark.

——

 

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BEAUTY IS A LIE

They say you’re beautiful,

But beauty is a lie.

You see that beauty passing by?

 

Now look at her smile.

And the song in her voice.

It could make bitter men rejoice.

 

But for all her magic

All the world can see

Is that she ain’t got double D’s.

 

We misregard her laugh,

And disregard her mind,

But beg to see her great behind.

 

‘Cause that’s all beauty is:

What greedy eyes can see.

They don’t care about you and me.

 

So I’m telling you, son,

Don’t fall for their beauty

‘Cause it’s a mask for cruelty.

——

 

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QUALITY ON THE ROAD

OK, so today I’m going to talk about Quality a bit. If you didn’t hear, Robert M. Pirsig, the author of one of my favorite books, died yesterday. His book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, has been one of the most inspiring books for me as a human being, and I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already read it.

But to honor Pirsig’s classic book-and really his struggle in general, I wanted to talk about Quality for my discussion today. Since readers my not have read his book, I’ll do a quick overview of the concept. Quality is something we all know, but also have trouble defining. When someone says “that’s a real quality piece of artwork” we know what they mean, but if we try to go much further than that, things get fuzzy. Sure, it might be the colors, it might be the style, or it might be the references within the artwork itself that make it quality work. Or maybe it’s the story the picture tells; or maybe it’s all of these things put together. But if you go searching, there’s no doubt that someone out there will find the painting disagreeable. Thus, quality is entirely up to opinion, and so defining it becomes something nearly impossible. Simply saying that “quality is quality” isn’t nearly satisfying for our human minds, but that’s pretty much what it is.

Pirsig gets into talking about how quality could be seen as goodness, and the level of how “good” something is (good as in well done, rather than good as in positive). But sometimes something is a quality piece of work because it is not “good.” Think of something by Jackson Polluck, or Picasso. Definitely not necessarily “good” work by the “quality standards” that had been set prior to them, but still clearly quality artwork was produced by them. They revolutionized aspects of art entirely. Lets go even further, and look at children’s paintings. Are they quality pieces of work? Why and/or why not? Because they don’t make it to the hallways of an art exhibit?

These are the kinds of questions that Pirsig asked in his books, on a much more massive scale. He went against the grain in a time where going against the grain could and often did lead to electro-shock “therapy,” and in doing so, he revolutionized an entire generation of thought. Which is wonderful! What do you think? Have you even heard of him? Is quality so obscure? Let me know your thoughts!

——

 

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THE END (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Living

The world is less

Of a reality and

More a perception.

 

L’amour

It’s invisible

And it’s immaterial,

But it’s still real.

 

The End

The flicker of light

Stifles against the harsh winds.

The end is coming.

 

Natural Progression

The milky water

Seeps into the vines of life;

Poisoning the well.

 

Seize the Day

I have been waiting

For inspiration to come

For far too much time.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #36 – THE TRUTH

I would compare you to a summer’s day,

If the Cali sun could match to your heat.

But the truth of it, love, I cannot say

For all comparisons would feel cheap.

 

Your eyes are like marbles; your lips like wine;

Your tongue like honey, and your hips divine.

Your hair like a river; your teeth a light;

Your smile like silver; your legs a sight.

 

Your mind’s like a dagger stuck in my side;

Your kiss makes me stagger and swell with pride.

Your stare makes me shiver, and turn to stone,

But for you I’d wither away to bones.

 

Because, love, I’ve found that the truth of you

Is that nothing on Earth can match your hue.

——

 

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BUS RIDE TO THE THEATRE

We were on the local bus, and it was about seven-thirty. They were probably on their way to school, and I was off to start my second week as a movie theatre clerk. Unfortunately, I had to bounce from bus to bus to get there, and even leaving home at seven often resulted with me being late. My attention was turned to the video. It was rude of me to look at the screen over their shoulder, but when I heard the solemn violin music playing I had to check it out. The two kids in front of me—really young adults of about sixteen—had their iPhones out, giggling from video to video. The title of the video displayed in a bold red “This Ad Has a Powerful Message About Domestic Abuse.” It was some breakdown video about how an advertisement had tried to humanize the abuse victims.

Maybe it was the cynic in me, but it seemed to fall flat. I mean, how is it that all the victims are the hourglass figure girls? Aside from their black eyes and bruises, they all had perfect skin. Which was ironic, since the ad was for swimsuits, and the women all didn’t want to be seen for their bruises. Of all moments to talk a realistic body issue, a self-conscious swimsuit girl wasn’t a good moment?

I was spurned from my thoughts as my second change of buses came. I left the two kids to their laughter. The second bus was busier and I had to stand. The soles of my feet would ache from the swaying and speeding by the end of the trip, but aching was something I had grown used to. The freeway flew by as we sped down the road to our destination, and eventually I was lost in my own thoughts. I felt my eyes glaze over, as I looked around at a room full of mothers, daughters; sons, and fathers. How many of them were abused?

My mind turned back to the video. What had been that “powerful” message? Oh yes, that women shouldn’t stand for domestic abuse. Duh. More specifically pretty women. But how else does a company sell bikinis if it can’t use perfectly rounded butts and a body devoid of stretch marks?

Still, my mother was battered and beaten by her father, and then again by mine. I remember the welts, the lumps, the black eyes, and the shuddering tears. I remember the cold embrace of her arms as she told me it would be alright. I remember the night it became too much for her; the night she hung herself from the rafters. Her body was limp, listing about slowly. She had bitten through her tongue when the rope had snapped her neck, and it had left a dribble of blood from the side of her tired mouth.

The beam she had tied the rope to had sagged beneath her weight, and looked as though it may break. Her well-worn face looked tired, yet calm, in the way that a child looks fatigued as it naps after a long bout of crying. But the only tears shed that night were from me. My father was out doing…whatever it was he did after his night of drinking.

But we never talked about the middle-aged woman, with her wide torso and blotchy face. The judge never questioned her suicide when my dad came through the doors crying. No one listened to the five year-old child’s wails about the evil man her father was. They just saw a pathetic woman, a noose, and a broken family; who were just like the thousand they had seen before.

It stung to get off the bus that day, and see the glorified posters of happy families and perfect couples as I walked into the theatre, but life is never without its stings. I was lucky to be on time today. Mine vices—past, present, and future—were just another mark on the list of what people experienced every day.

——

 

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SCAB (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Fatigued

My eyes are burning

Like kindling for the fire

From my lack of sleep.

 

Scab

Life is like a scab

It bleeds; it stings, yet we still

Keep picking at it.

 

Police Car

The siren calls me.

I steer my ship abreast her

So she may take me.

 

Unexpected Complications

I leaned to kiss her

But she turned away from me;

Eyes full of sadness.

 

Mornings

The sun streams through the

Shutters by the door frame, till

She flutters to life.

——

 

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TALKING ABOUT THE VOID

Do you ever hear the aching call of the black void, so calm and so quiet, yet full of remorse and desperation? With the controversy over 13 Reasons Why, as well as the general sense of nihilism among many of my Millennial counterparts, I figured I should take a short time to talk about it, since I shared in an interesting conversation about “the darkness” with someone recently.

As I and others of my age group grow into adults, we become more and more aware of our place in the world…as tiny specks. One in seven billion. It is hard to feel special when the numbers are so stacked against us, even if we are the biggest living generation around. The sense of hopelessness and inability to succeed seeps into our everyday life—which in the grand scheme of things is ironic, since Millennials are better off than most generations that the United States has experienced, in terms of upbringing and living conditions (though that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Saying someone with a DVD player is more well off than someone with a VHS player is negligible when neither has a television). I think this is an apt reason for why Millennials are often considered entitled, but I don’t really want to rehash an argument that boils down to opinion and chosen perspectives, so that’s all I will say on that.

What I do want to talk about is the sense of hopelessness; the so-called “void” people often reference. Maybe it is because we have (sort of) normalized feelings of depression, enough to where people can speak more openly about it, but I don’t know. I think perhaps the actual depression might be hidden somewhere else. Regardless, this void is something we (Millennials) talk about together. The general sense of “I don’t want to adult” or “everyday is awful.” First of all, it isn’t the first time this has happened—every generation goes through struggles becoming an adult, Millennials are just a little later to the party.

BUT, this sense of hopelessness also is a call for unity and common ground. I can go up to anyone in my school and show them a meme about “struggles” or “#adulting” or “anxiety and depression” and they will get it—half of them will probably openly admit the text lingo “same”—which means “I feel the same way.” Which, I think, in some ways provides avenues for happiness down the line. This is because, in theory, life will not always be so daunting. At some point we will all come together with our common experiences and have one united voice. It also helps break down the barriers that other generations have experienced—race, sex, romantic inclinations, etc…they all pale in comparison to the feeling of “the void” (I am hopeful the same is true for class, but we shall see).

Anyways, those are just my thoughts on the struggle that many of the blossoming youth in America are dealing with. Do you agree or disagree? Have further thoughts of opinions? Let me know!

——

 

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LEADEN FISTS

Time seemed to stop

As my arms turned to lead.

 

It started with the nails,

Little slats that faded

Blue to purple to black.

 

Then it crept into my fingers.

It seeped along the cracks

In my rusted skin

Till it had covered

Every inch of my hands.

 

It looked beautiful,

Like a spider’s web

Glistening in the morning sun.

A fitting comparison,

For like a spider

It trapped me.

 

The blood in my fingers slowed,

And my hands were colored sickly.

My knuckles locked; curled,

Like I had been consumed

By fear.

The web of patterns

Along my hands

Darkened,

Like a pure bowl of water

Tainted with a splash of black paint.

 

By the time it traveled down my wrists

It was too late to stop.

I watched, horror struck,

As it crawled up my forearms.

Like some primeval force,

Hell bent on my destruction.

 

My heart raced,

Like a gazelle caught between two lions.

But as it crossed my elbows,

It slowed

And stopped.

A stiffness consumed me,

And it hardened inside me.

I could feel every bone,

Every blood vessel,

Every ligament and tendon

Turn to stone.

Then my hands were silent,

Empty,

Dead.

 

Tears poured from my eyes,

Onto the solid rock of my hands,

Yet their cool, salty dew

Went unfelt on my new arms.

They pulled me to my knees—

As the predator pulls its prey to the ground,

Hungry for another kill.

 

I hung there for longer than I know,

Limp; filled with pity.

Till finally I stood.

My body ached,

And felt ten times its weight.

The arms felt foreign,

As the swung lifelessly about.

Yet still, I walked on.

——

 

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