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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MY FRIEND

My friend, how often do you cry?

I see the remnants on your cheeks

And the cold, damp stains on your sheets.

Yet there is no red in your eye.

 

My friend, how often do you hide?

I see the mask of gold smiles

And the fancy perfume vials.

Yet neither is at your bedside.

 

My friend, what is it you feel?

I see sorrow dance on your lips

With each of those martini sips.

Is there nothing I can heal?

 

My friend, please tell me what to do,

I want to see what is in your soul;

To be the one who makes you whole,

Because I love your point of view.

 

Or rather, my friend, because I love you.

——

 

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THE JOURNAL OF GREGOR

Journal Entry #249

Hello again. Today’s been a lovely day. I spent the morning with flowers and some bees, then, at noon I was returned to my living space. At supper I was brought a book-a rare treasure in this place nowadays. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #250

Hello again. Today’s been a lovely day. I spent the morning walking on the moon, then took a trip through the stars till about half past three. By evening I was nearly to Jupiter. I was returned to my living space for supper, which was served on a cool metal tray. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #251

Hello again. I was kept inside all day today. It wasn’t especially fun. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #252

Hello again. They said they would be moving me shortly. Today I went to the hills to check out the view of the beach. I miss the warmth of the sun. The living space is small and lonesome, despite my exceptional ability to exist in it. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #253

Hello again. Today I am quite busy packing. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #260

Hello again. I’ve missed you so much. They left you at the other place. I’ve been writing on the walls in the meantime. And I’ve made a friend. His name is Pillow man. Pillow man is a lonely guy. I love to snuggle my head up against him. We got in a fight the other day though, and I torn a piece of his skin off. He’s not made like you or me either. He’s really soft inside. Did you make any friends? I saw a couple underlines in some of the early pages in you. No, you’re right, of course those were from me. How silly. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #261

Hello again. Today I felt the soothing water of the showers again. They said I smelled like a pig, but I’ve never really seen a pig so I don’t know what they meant. I do feel different now though. Like a snake after shedding it’s old skin. But I’m quite tired now. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #262

Stephen w@$ here.

 

Journal Entry #263

HOW DARE THEY TOUCH YOU. YOU WHORE. I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN. THERE WILL BE NO NEXT TIME.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #264

Hello again. I’m sorry for yesterday. I know it wasn’t your fault. They took it by force from you. I should have been more careful. I’ll make it right though. Don’t worry. They’ll never think about touching you again. Until next time.

 

Journal Entry #265

Hello again. It’s been done. Don’t worry about him anymore. He won’t hurt you again. I’m afraid though, because they said this was the last straw. And warden said it. He’s usually so nice to me. I love you. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Editor’s Note:

The journal ends here.

——

 

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FOR EVERYONE SAYING “FUCK 2016”

For everyone saying “Fuck 2016”

Let me show you something you’ve never seen

Fisher, Prince, Bowie, and Rickman.

Ali, Michael, Wilder, and Cohen.

 

And hundreds of others left unnamed.

Our democratic order driven insane.

This entire year has been a mess,

But let’s not forget the rest

Of the people out there who live this way,

Where the struggles exist everyday.

 

Oh, and I should probably make it clear

That we made up the idea of the year.

The idea that these problems stem

From a measure of time that comes to end,

Excuses us from responsibility

For the actions that brought us to hostility.

 

But if we want 2017 to be better

We need to learn to be together.

We need to learn to act for good,

Instead of just do as we “should.”