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Created: 07/02/2010 4:09pm

Emptiness. Not sadness, not depression, regret, or despair. What is it like to feel empty? Even the quiet night feels full, thick; the air moist and creatures wandering. The hollow in our ears makes for the fullness of beautiful music. The space in the empty glass yields inner warmth as the wine is consumed. As these similes are insufficient, too gratifying in their capacity, please allow me to elect another.

A bookmark is sometimes pretty, sometimes plain, though rarely looked at in detail, and certainly not gazed upon as much as the repetitive colorless print. It follows with the story, leaf after leaf as the story progresses. A bookmark's lifespan does not end when the book is finished, but it travels through many books, though has no validity of its own accord; only given its relevance by the surrounding pages. It sleeps when the story pauses, wakes when the story resumes, haltered to all chaotic schedules and elective whims of the reader.

A bookmark does not change the story, though it may have retained all the early foreshadowing, penetrated the nuance of characters, encompassed their tendencies so that it may warn, advise, and comfort the potential victims of the plot. It makes no difference; and the course of events unfold while its heart is wedged deep into the scene, unable to affect even the slightest tone of a sentence; unable to convey even the most shallow gesture of empathy.

With eyes cast so fondly on its investment, friends and familiar places, the bookmark is pushed onwards. The places change, characters die, intentions shift the course of events. Nothing is constant, but it is bound up with them, made relevant by them. It is doomed to endure all potential suffering, all potential happiness, but always pulled beyond it's own measure. Always in place, but always out of place, unable to grasp its own existence apart from its unendorsed context.

Should this marker listen for indications of its importance, what would it hear? Perhaps the story would convince this companion that its existence is imperative. Let the characters tell of their unending gratitude for the clarity and perspective it provides. Tell it how the world would spin into disorganized chaos, mixed passages, and confusing repetition without its presence. How could the world and these characters go on without this empty, yet beautiful placeholder?

I find objections to all of this praise, and see ignorance in the voices of validation. How is this possible? A symptom of self loathing? A disease of diminished self worth? These things might suggest anger or sadness, though only emptiness is present--emptiness with less relevance than a stranger's quick glance. Woo as you may, this empty remainder persists without effort:

This bookmark seems easily replaced by a simple crease.

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The Sky is Broken

Created: 05/26/2010 3:33am

I'm sitting alone tonight, listening to outpourings of Moby, remembering the way my world was more than ten years ago. I was wandering in a sad, hollow cloud. The rain seemed to pour endlessly all summer, the evening streetlights reflected on the dark asphalt, making long yellow fingers incessantly pointing in my direction. The night air was so thick with warmth, it fell heavy in my lungs. Life was flowing into my senses in a way that only a wandering soul could perceive. I was a walking tourist with no distractions, taking in the world like an alien in search of human desire--the unseen emotions that flow from our organic headlights out into the florescent skies at dusk, whispering themselves back through the midnight rustle of oak trees.

The whispering has never stopped since those days. There is no break, nothing mute, no winter from these voices, the background hummmmm of spirits seeking refuge. And I, like a tiny ant still wandering, feeling virtually powerless, would like, just for a while, for my ears to be like the leaves of these deciduous forests. Let them wither and fall away, to give my heart a rest.

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Stop Motion

Created: 03/25/2010 12:58am

Time has broken apart for me, chilled to the freezing point and broken off like an iceberg. All motion in this quiet room is suspended, and the world outside quiet, hazy and white. Though no deliberate steps were taken, I have arrived in a new place. There are no streets here, no raindrops on the pavement, no circus clowns with rubber noses looking for their lost caravan, no warmth coming from the South to warm my extremities.

Caricatures of me are pasted to the walls, mostly drawn in black ink with torn edges and smeared features. Each of these I recognize as myself, like flipping through an old photo album of my youth. A three year-old of innocent wonder, cautious of the broken glass in the living room; a six year-old of frightened social distrust, who hides from the crowded bus stop before school to avoid the torment and tears; a nine year-old twisting in the arms of a should-be protector; a fourteen year-old of adolescent madness, cute like a baby, but longing to be known for his invisible strength; a twenty year-old in a world that has shifted inside-out, but only for him, as the circus spins endlessly around him; twenty-five and the illusions of loyalty are beginning to fade, his "friends" caught up in their monetary masquerade.

Each of these past faces, though torn and faded, turns its eyes in my direction as I walk past their scribbled outlines. They watch me as I pass them, but say nothing, only gazing at me inquisitively. Perhaps I have become something unrecognizable to all of them; surely it is equally difficult for me to see myself in their eyes. Are these individuals subject to my scrutiny? Have they committed sins? Are they in need of intervention and my crucial advice from their future?


These faces are not subject to my judgment. They are not subject to my scrutiny. Have they not been judged and scrutinized enough by everyone that has seen them before? They were burdened and downtrodden with guilt, shame, thoughts of ineptitude and suicide, of not measuring up to expectations, afraid of not finding their place within this mad world. They have committed no sins in my eyes.

Each is innocent, though afflicted. Each is in need of understanding, identification, recognition of his own sincerity. Each is deserving of love and embrace, solace and harmony; and this I give to them.

"A kiss on the forehead for you, young stranger; broken glass will be replaced, and a crystal vase will carry flowers to the one you love."

"A gentle embrace for you, old friend. The venom you receive from others is born of the sadness they endure."

"A look of courage for you, unprotected one. Your arms will be stronger one day."

"A smile for you, one of broken promises, your love and affection is not in vain. Trust me, that your eyes are as beautiful as mine, which hold only compassion for you."

"A look of brotherly recognition, one of supramundane clarity. Your wisdom and resolve is unshakable now."

And as I give redemption to each of these beings, I stand now with my own feelings of guilt and ineptitude. Will my future self look back on the face I have now, gracing it with kindness and mercy? Will it view me as a human being, caught in a web of confusion and inability to comprehend the world? All my shortcomings and unnecessary sufferings have not evaporated. Is there a face looking at me now, with my head in shambles and heart unwilling to concede defeat, saying to me...

"A gift of silent compassion for you, my lost friend. Your thirty-one years are not in vain. Your purpose is noble. Your intent is pure. Strive for clarity, and love with your entire being. Embrace all in your path and don't look down. Remember the broken glass, the fear, the weakness, the longing, the epiphany. In your current despair, you are tempered even stronger."

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Created: 12/06/2009 11:20am

I awoke this morning to the sound of a quiet shuffle, spanning the hardwood floors of our house. Her footsteps approached the door, gently opened it, and kissed me good morning before she set out. My stomach was knotted from the drinking, but the few hours of sleep had served me better than expected. I put the quiet music on, the guitars chugging softly, painted a panorama of a cross country train slowly moving across the plains.

Barefoot, I meandered toward the kitchen, surprised to see the sunlight streaming in on a November morning. The smell of ground spices is always stronger in the morning--the nose well rested, the mind clear and attentive. Taking in some of the cool water, it seemed colder than even the weather outside. I waited for the tea to brew with a mix of cinnamon, cardamom, and freshly grated ginger.

I sat near the window, reflecting on the events of last night; of music, comedy; a liquid gallery of art flowing across the globe, groundwater transferring instantaneously to fill the cup of whomever should turn on the tap. Those nights, we drink the outpourings of the soul. This is our communion, our sacred ritual of twisting thoughts and emotion, weaving them together, all of us gathered separately around electrified looms of light and static. We thread each other, over and under, one through the other, publicly, secretly, dancing while stationary, singing a song of some invisible eternal regress.

My dear Brothers and Sisters, this is the drink of rejuvenation. Our blood flows freely, coaxed only by want of recognition, understanding, the hope that a sibling can help us to draw a map from this unknown place we have awakened to. May these maps always be incomplete, always changing, crossed out, lost, revised, reinvented. Thus we change, we watch, and we change again...

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Perseid Impartation

Created: 08/12/2009 5:35am

From the surface of this quiet city, my wandering mind reaches out towards this canopy of gleaming stars. The clouds have finally been swept away, luring out the children of Perseus; and my eyes dart back and forth, as they burn streaks into the night sky. This is when wishes are made--by children, by the hopeful, by those who fear the world has already left them alone--though I sit alone.

Inside their societal shelters, they sleep, while the street lights shine down on my back from this abandoned parking lot. My contemporaries find no solace in the quiet brilliance of this perfect night, and I dream of a druidic masquerade to replace our hollow faction. Dancers spin around me in a carousel of smiling faces, music glides through the air--plucked by fingers, sung by harmonized voices of warm honey. This is where I want to be--far away from the hard pavement and drunken headlights--but the cold evening pulls me back from my reverie.

Forever engraved into the celestial kingdom, Hercules looks down at our machines of creation and destruction. Could the greatest of beasts barely approach the level of brutality in ourselves? Will the heavens continue to send the world another hero, another last-chance savior of humanity? Their patience surely must be growing thin.

Soon the clouds begin to drift in. I have carried the wishes of my siblings while they slept, left them with the gods, the stars; hoping they matter to someone greater than I. My arms are cold from the damp night air, and I follow the sidewalk beside gravestones, back to my front porch; my shelter of solace and sleep.

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Queen Ann's Lace

Created: 07/26/2009 3:30am

Tonight I needed you. I needed the softness of your skin, and my face pressed against it. I needed the darkness of the night to gather silent, making the world seem empty, forcing all my attention to the curve of your hips, and the sheets that follow their form. Your female essentia, compressed and distilled by lunar gravity, absorbed me; channeling my river of thought, from its restless, winding indirection, back to your simple boundaries of calm currents and elegant symmetry.

Am I just a grievous machine, pushed when pushed and pulled when pulled? Am I laced with primal procedure from birth, only mimicking a synthetic archetype; an invented apparition of soul divine? Is my love an automated force of inhuman nature, non-deserving of recognition, appeasement, indulgence of an organic lust? Tonight, your dismissal was more wounding than commonplace, leaving me wandering with desire for someone, anyone, who would glide through the night to my window, simply to rest my turbulent head near her womb.

I was brushed aside; and as the sleepless evening sustains, my sadness cares nothing of why.

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Absent Deformations

Created: 05/24/2009 2:12am

The small clouds of white smoke rise and twist
gliding under the street light

I walk the dark, the bright, the dark
on top of sidewalk stones placed by men who watch from beneath them
The earth is the only smell of history left in this town
stacked with polymer restored replicas
an image sold with velvet curtains
and Doors that lead to the empty alley

Other walkers pass by
and greet the shadow man from the 1800's
who hides behind my steps in the silhouette

The forces have pulled the youth from the streets
into the windows and shipped them away

Where is my army?
Where is my youth?

So still and quiet the streets remain
Rivers of longing are locked up behind thick walls
stirring within the skulls of the self contained
wanting to escape the blue strobe-lit windows

No chaos will arise tonight on these broken slabs of stone
No hallucinations of the hot oil lamp, the quiet candles
No reverence will conspire on these dirty streets

If only the dead could walk again tonight...

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