The Days Are Just Packed

The Days Are Just Packed

 

It’s like a Calvin and Hobbes comic

crawled out from the panes of the pages

and onto the rugs of my living room

just to enjoy its afternoon nap.

 

Maybe that’s what Bill Watterson understood.

That from the irony of free time

comes the iron shackles of inactivity

which chains us to the floor of our potential

 

and then when we try to pick ourselves up

the weight of our regrets pulls us back

onto the pillowy sameness of familiarity,

snuggled in tightly with my stuffed tiger.

——

 

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Shot Glass

Shot Glass

 

They are like little bullets

lined in brown lead

that burns the liver

with every drop consumed.

 

When the copper taste

rolls over the tongue,

remember the six-caliber shells

you told your kids were not a toy.

——

 

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CHRISTMAS EVE

This isn’t a happy Christmas poem. This poem is something I wrote in the very early hours today, after we received some very difficult family news yesterday, and had to suffer the bitter reminder that Christmas is just another day of the year, plagued with the same pains as so many other days. So, if you aren’t in the mood for a downer, I recommend you don’t continue reading. If you are ok with that, check it out. I’ve copy-pasted my usual “after poem” stuff, so if reading more of my work interests you it is easily accessible, but the real me is not as chipper today as those closings sound. Thank you for your time, and for your support.

Christmas Eve

The stockings were hung, and the tinsel strung out

in hopes that Saint Christmas would soon be about;

the fires were low—so low that a whisper

could snuff out the flames like winds in the winter.

I shut off the lamp, and shuffled along;

away to my bed to dream my dream song.

But this year the sound of the clatter that rose

was only the phone ringing in the shadows.

I dashed to the doorknob and flew down the hall;

I rounded the kitchen to answer the call.

Hello” I announced in a voice oh-so-tight.

I’m sorry, good sir,” came the voice in the night,

“the news that I bring isn’t fit for this eve,

yet Christmas joy is what I’m tasked to thieve.”

“Thieve?” I asked, “Well don’t beat around the bush.”

“I’m sorry, good sir,” he said in a hush,

“at half past three, we found young Mary was dead;

hung by the rafters with a noose ‘round her head.”

He continued and yet the words were all lost;

deeply buried under hallowed winter frost.

I trudged out the door and up through the snow;

“Lustrous” Clement called it, hours ago.

Her favorite lines had been “Now Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!”

And now, as leaves at a hurdle take to the sky

so too, I imagine, that her spirit will fly;

Out! Beyond those bustling lights;

Out! Away from suffering nights;

Out! Over oceans sick with sorrow;

Out! Flying past lonely tomorrow;

“OUT!” I cry, with a fire so alive!

“OUT!” It echoes down the steep mountainside!

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

Perched over the chasm I sing: “It’s Christmas tonight!

Merry Christmas to all! and to all a good night!”

——

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THE JOKER

You can’t laugh your way out of this one.

The walls are closing in on all sides

at the family dinner table

that treats you like a hospital patient.

 

You’re shackled to that fork and knife,

the silver gauntlets that force-feed you

under the pretense of a household bonding;

yet one bad joke and it’s off to your room.

 

The Arkham Asylum, as you’ve named it,

where your solitary confinement

hides the hurt with a jacket of hugs

and your parents get to be the Batman

who locked you there for treatment.

——

 

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CAMP OUT (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Messages

The wind came knocking

and the rain left a letter,

but no one answered

 

Hungry

Rot pays a visit

looking to find a quick bite

in my fruit pantry.

 

Drowned

Drain another glass

until at long last you drown

all your failures.

 

Soda Pop

Brown sugar liquid

bubbling an addict’s tune

with an icy kiss.

 

Camp Out

The rest are away

out on a voyage of dreams.

My eyes sail skies.

——

 

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HELP I NEED A NAP

So while I was fumbling around my mind today, watching Casually Explained videos, I decided I should talk about sleep deprivation, mostly because I’m functioning on a cool three hours sleep, and had to get up to wait for the gas company guy to get her (spoilers, I’m probably going back to sleep after writing this). Sleep deprivation, according to a quick Google search, can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness, weight loss, and weight gain. To which I’m thinking…duh? Daytime sleepiness? What the h*ck kind of symptom is that (like my use of censorship on “heck” there)? Of course you’re going to be tired if you’re tired. That’s WHY YOU’RE TIRED.

So let’s just skip the symptoms, because I don’t feel like talking about them, and focus on why I stayed up in the first place. Yeah, I was binge watching T.V., and no, it was likely not a good idea, but hey we all make bad decisions and just because I can come clean about them doesn’t make me a bad person, right? RIGHT?

Wow, my brain feels like a mess today. Anyways, sleep deprivation makes you feel like you’re brain was baked on high in an oven for a minute, quickly doused with a soapy water mixture, then finally tossed in a blender for a quick go, before carefully being poured back into your head. It is not a fun time. It can make you feel sick without actually being sick. So with that, I’m going to cut it a bit short today to get this all set up, and take a (hopefully) short nap.

Oh, and let me know what your sleep patterns are like! Do you get all loopy and weird like me when you’re tired? Or are you one of those high functioning people that can just power through it?

 

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DESERTED (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Tepid at Midnight

How lonely the moon

Hangs tepid in the midnight,

Eons from her sun.

 

Melody

She never asked me

To write a song about her,

But how could I not?

 

Deserted

Do you miss the rain?

Your dry, empty, dust-filled coughs

Make me pray for more.
Dare

You’d kiss anyone?

Well Krista, then I dare you

To prove it to me.

 

Sunrise

Wake before the sun

And watch it rise, glist’ning off

The sweet morning dew.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #42 – TO THE SEA

“To the sea,

To the sea,”

She cried out to me,

“To the sea!”

 

And with the brisk summer air

Riffling through her frizzled hair

We shuffled our way through the sand.

“To the sea!”

 

We had smuggled in red wine,

And were feeling mighty fine

As the children tottered by.

“To the sea!”

 

In her tie-dyed summer dress

Standing ‘fore the water’s crest

She looked like Venus born again.

“To the sea!”

 

And I took her hand in mine

Wishing I had a bit more time

Before it all came to an end.

“To the sea!”

 

But to savor what time I had,

I held myself to feeling glad,

And, for the last time, swam with her.

“To the sea!”

——

 

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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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SPEECHLESS

I awoke in the middle of the night with my throat burning. The pins in at the back of my throat were nearly as uncomfortable as the hot breath that exhumed from my mouth. It tasted like a corpse. I rose and found my way to the sink, splashed some water on my face. I cupped my hand beneath the running water, and used it as a makeshift glass. The soft, cool sips of water provided a short respite from the fire in my throat, but it was quickly overwhelmed. Exasperated, I opened my mouth to chastise my image in the mirror, but as I finished drawing a breath in, I found myself unable to speak. It was as if the words had been caught behind the layer of spikes, each word popping like a balloon before it could fly from my mouth.

Panic welled up inside my throat. My eyes bulged as I struggled to articulate the slightest of noises. I turned away from the mirror to look at the bathtub. This must be a dream, I thought, Or rather, a nightmare. I gagged on the unseen forces. My hands trembled, and my chest heaved. My vision blurred. The strength of my body failed, and I tumbled to the floor.

When I awoke again, the room was still dark. I had been returned to my bed, though my memory of this was gone. My throat no longer burned, yet I still could not speak. It was as if the heat had consumed my power to speak. The room was eerily silent. I rose, and the once creaky floor of the room bore no noise. I flicked the light of the bathroom on. Strange. Who turned out the light? The words echoed in the cavern of my mind. I turned the water on, then froze as I realized I could not hear the water running. I flicked the light switch back and forth. There was no noise. I felt the heaving setting in again.

My ears began to burn. I looked in the mirror and saw them turning crimson, like the color my boss turned the more he yelled. I turned to the bath, and threw the water on. A silent rush flooded out, filling the tub. I thrust my head under the stream of water, not bothering to wait for it to fill. As with the sips of water I took earlier, it provided a brief moment of freedom, but eventually even the water could not contain the pain. In a rage, my body whirled about wildly. I had been overcome by instinct—the instinct to free oneself from pain. I saw my image in the mirror. My ears had grown redder than I could have possibly imagined. I turned to the towel rack by the toilet, and tore it from the wall. My eyes filled with rage at my own image, and I swung the towel rack at it. The mirror splintered, cracks lining it’s being, before exploding into hundreds of thousands of pieces. It was all in silence. I felt my body growing weak again, like before. I scampered toward my bed, ignoring the glass on the floor as it dug into my feet, but just as I reached the doorway to the room, my legs dissolved from under me. I pulled at the rug with my hands, inching my way toward the bed, but they, too, grew weak. My vision turned weary again, and I was out.

Again I awoke in darkness. It was so black I could not see even the sheets before me. I rose, and stumbled again toward the bathroom, feeling the walls for assistance. As I found the doorway, it crossed my mind that the glass was likely still on the floor. I turned away from the bathroom, and instead felt my way to the door to the rest of my home. I found the doorknob, but found the door inoperable. I was trapped. I tried to control myself. Why was it so dark? My eyes should have adjusted by now. I paused. I was afraid. They had taken my voice, they had taken my hearing, were they now, too, about to take my sight? I walked to the lamp that stood by my bedside, and hesitantly felt for the chain. I pulled the chain, no doubt flooding the room with light. But my vision remained dark. I felt for the light bulb. Were the electricity out, it would remain cool. I placed my hand on it, and found it warm. My heart sunk. Why is this happening to me? I thought. Tears fell from my face, and I brushed them away. I crawled into my bed, awaiting the pain that I had come to know so well, but instead, I merely felt myself lose my strength again, and my consciousness faded.

——

 

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