"I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars,
and a little world all to myself."
- Thoreau

Red lights burn and sear the edges of impending dusk with hues of raw flesh. Pale light writhes its last turmoil on the windswept ground as shadows cast by naked trees lash its fragile skin. Concrete strips lay in unease and the wind is cold and unkind. Here I trod, walking beside myself, completely present and utterly gone.

My heart feels pierced by something so very distant and alien, yet elusively familiar. Like that proverbial glimpse in the corner of your eye that you think you recognize. The shapely silhouette of that some kind of someone tiptoeing upon the open range of your memories, the one you can almost, almost - almost make out. A puzzle box wrapped in enigmatic knotwork sown into the abdomen, begging to be resolved before something bursts out in vivacious technicolor.

It is a bitterly rousing mindset, driving thoughts to dart and skeet with furious frenzy like a black cloud thick with winged beasts. All the while my outward appearance is subdued to that of a shadowy sulk. I am completely centered in the moment while utterly swallowed by oblivion. This strange chrysalis needs shade and shelter from the wilds, lest it fall from my grasp and find itself strangled by the cilice of sunlight. Its destiny is to wither and perish, this I know, but there is bittersweet nobility in the futile effort of preservation. A musical measure of strength, if you will, fleeting as it may be. So here I stand, engulfed by the dark while ravaged by wildfire while petrified in ice. An exotic standstill.

In the eye of this silent tempest I yearn to take a step further and plant my feet on fresh soil, but therein lies the dare. Solid ground, a pit, the abyss? Only the moment after the leap knows. My world yearns for change, thirsts for it, but that desire is a dangerous place, deceptive in its lure and filled with hidden teeth. I carry too much scar tissue to be anything but soberly conscious of the peril, but curiosity is the poet's lifeblood. The spear of imagination pierces through a thousand moments and a thousand arrays of emotions, racing through the endless spectrum of the unknown like a wild stream of quicksilver, spitting droplets of illumination into the darkness of lost moments. Like scattershot pieces of a time traveler shattered into endless plains of existence, living anew in split-second, breath-long lifetimes.

But for all its iridescent bravado this is so damn draining. Sometimes this burning heart is just that - searing pain - and nothing more. It is times like these when I find myself hoping I could step outside my skin just to breathe a little easier. To quiet the howling storm inside for a moment and find clarity upon the stillness of the sea, or at least a moment's respite. To dwell in that tender emptiness just after waking up when I know not who or what I am within and without.

To have a heart that isn't so... overwhelming.

So many of my yesterdays carry the fragrance of withered fragile things that I sometimes wonder how much ash from those pyres is imbued to my very essence. Sometimes I wonder if I could even hope to lay out a map of my life without all those signal fires that continue to burn violently in the night. I don't know how else to take note of the path my feet have dragged behind me lest with the blood in my footprints.

And yet I wish I could recall a single triumph as vividly as any setback. I wish my heart wouldn't beat so fiercely for hopeless things. I wish I weren't so keen to greet resentment as an old friend.

I wish I knew how to... be.



The blank page casts a terrifying shadow.

Foreboding and ominous, like a midnight ocean against the bleak loom of tomorrow under a moonless, starless sky. Who’s to say where the sea ends and the sky begins. One can only bury their eyes in the distance and hope for shadows or lightning.

We are all thrashing about the shoreline, excluded by whim or perchance from the rows destined to drown there tonight. In the lightless vastness where solid ground’s sanctuary and the gaping maw of quietus are but a measure’s mishap and a fumble of a tumble away. From moments to and fro, a whisper’s wingspan out of reach of oblivion’s lips. It is a comforting thought.

Strange things comfort me. I know.

All this flows through me because it is my gift and my curse, and because I need it to. It is life force beyond equal. This conduit draped in skin and fortified by bone is not infused by creativity by mere happenstance. In this I believe wholeheartedly. I do not breathe living fire because I enjoy the taste. I am an amalgamation of bizarre, reciprocal abilities and bestial creative desires because there is always a slant in my periphery edging me onto unknown trails as the mischievous wind pushes, pulls, invades and extrudes, keeping me off balance just well enough that I lose my bearings all too easily. Then I merely… continue.

Those fleeting glimpses dangling haphazardly upon the precipice of disappearance are gentle as butterfly wings and as commanding as a cast-iron anchor around my neck. I will be edged, nudged, thrust and torn asunder. Such is life in the eye of the effervescent storm. Boundless in marvels and horrors.

Windswept and worn, I drag myself onward upon the shore to catch a glimpse of starlight dancing upon the water’s still face. The carefully constructed masque of mundanity I wear dissipates like the last breath of morning’s mist and I am alone again. In a world so devoid and so rich. So worn and yet so untouched. Grandiose beyond compare while so bleak it crushes the heart.

Oh, to be enveloped by shadows! To learn what it is to feel the warmth within their embrace as they suck the air from my lungs. To know darkness as a mother and walk her mysterious lengths with determination and fearless abandon. To see lightning split the sea, take fierce chase after me and shoot through my spine like smoldering violent purity personified. I yearn to drink greedily from all that is vile and from all that is sacrosanct. Why else should I exist? How else could I exist?

I draw fierce breath from the very notion of grasping all these strange, terrifying sights I’ve been bestowed by this jilted, tilted viewframe and grinding it all into pearlescent whispers and echoes. To erect memories as monuments; as vivid, vivacious mausoleums for all these magical inhales and exhales. My heart races to dangerous heights at the mere thought of once again embarking upon an expedition like no other and to return altered and transformed. These are glorious days.

But they require the sanctuary of solitary moments.

We stand upon the cusp of so many a wonder only to halt at the brim and remain petrified upon the precipice. True connection to the outermost would inevitably cause contact with unexplored reaches of the innermost, so we hesitate. Falter into place and wilt into stagnant husks. Embroidered with names and decorated with faces, but still no more than standing stones. Adventure dies under the weight of frail ether like a somber remembrance expelled from stilted lips. Comfort zones are pretty prisons painted over with the gold hues of sanctity and safety, locked from within by trembling hands. This is the world of man in my periphery.

Very few things beckon me as succulently as the simple desire to leave it behind.


The Ether Dome

Nothing should ever own you or possess you. This sentiment grows stronger and stronger as the years pass by. I cannot rid myself of the longing any more than a bird can chew off its beak or a worm grow claws. The act of spreading roots and allowing them to burrow into the earth greets me from afar like a pale horseman wielding a bag for my head and a scythe for my wings.

The thought of complacency and stillness lunges at me with aggression and I feel like I'm being strangled by the vines of an old sickly tree. Pulled down into the dirt writhing, thrashing about in blinding horror. My nostrils burn from the stench of charred skin and thick amber. I long for unfamilliar streets and strange faces. To disappear into the white noise with my feet bound by nothing beyond the simple, singular desire to keep moving. To advance. To halt at the brim, stagger at the sight below and then resume the journey. The direction is a moot point.

But now, I am at a standstill. Trapped in ice. A strangulation of the senses. The world trudges from dawn to dusk like a rust-covered mechanical beast and I feel like I've lost a vital piece of my soul upon some long lost subway ride into the concrete grave that once resembled a rabbit hole. Some days I look into the mirror and realize - with profound, glaring dismay - that I don't know who I am anymore. The man in the mirror has a dour, grey glint to his gaze and his weakened voice rings tiresome and hollow. His back is arched and his head held low. The air around him hangs petrified, rife with the scent of defeat. How did this man come to replace the one I distinctly remember being?

There is an unkind but sobering truth to realizing how many times you've spread yourself thin at the expense of so many dreams and aspirations. I don't know if I'm rushing towards something or just functioning like a machine unable to turn itself off. No one sees how far I drive myself, but I'm used to being the one not seen coming. I'm not racing against the sunset for accolades. But I just don't know what motivates me at this point beyond the impetus to remain in motion. Something needs to snap into place.

For all my efforts you'd think I'd have more to show. That's the real punchline here. I've broken my back on numerous occasions trying to wrestle things off the ground that are limping on the windowpane to this day. I wouldn't take back one minute, but the growing pains of the present serve as a painful reminder of the eulogies of yore. I've conciously let myself lose count of how much faith and fury I've poured into endeavors that eventually withered into the wind, but no matter what anyone tells you, every setback takes something out of you. The notions from others as to how this or that didn't amass more traction has always served not only as a mirror image to my own sentiments but as a poignant accusation lodged smack-dab in the middle of my forehead to remind me that I was the one who failed. I was the stalwart captain saluting the reaper between bulk heads caving in to the roar of the ocean. I feel like it's all my fault. There is no one to blame, but it's my fault.

Faith and fury. I used to think those resources were in endless supply within.

I sit here and daydream of a better tomorrow filled with exploration and excess and creativity and fertility and triumph and meaning and belonging, all the while painfully aware that I will wake up to a dreary, monochrome existence that thrusts me into a mold so unbefitting my bones are crackling under the strain. I draw from the handful of joyful moments and the few friends I have left like a vampire to withstand the grind, ever watchful and hesitant in fear of crumbling before unprepared eyes. It's no wonder my phone never rings. And it's my own damn fault.

All I've ever needed is space to breathe and something to write or play on. I duck my head down and get to it. I can survive on very little if left to my own devices, the gears within are perpetual and self-sufficient to an alarming degree. But it's a very lonely process. Sometimes I worry if there is anything I wouldn't sacrifice in the face of the creative impulse that grants me license to breathe. It is a daunting thought, I know, but you have to know yourself to be able to elevate yourself above your own shadow. Whenever doubt arises I recall the most poignant lesson life has ever granted me; I am not part of the machine, merely a rogue component masquerading as another point in the row. But I am slowly losing myself in the crowd. I am losing the sound to guide me home.

Time is disappearing at an alarming rate.

I am constantly surrounded by noise. Faceless, nameless noise that shrills and lunges about, tugging at my perception with bared teeth, demanding acknowledgement. The want is all-encompassing. The howl of static swarms and swells in all directions like a miasma of flies, spraying the air with a nauseating cold ring while slashing echoes reverberate throughout every bend and crevice. Through it all I know the loudest is my own voice. I feel like I'm ushering baubles from one grey eminence to another with as much skill, expedience and dedication I can muster, yet without exception remaining an unnoted, shadowclad subordinate. I turn my back on another day feeling unappreciated and worn. Sometimes I feel like I've tried to give so much I forgot to check what I was leaving for myself.

Watching the seconds bleed into oblivion brings into view a crushing truth: I haven't been able to record a note or write anything of real significance in months, save for this whimpering testimonial of my inadequacy that stands before you. Something is severely wrong and the fact that I can't pinpoint the cause is staggering me down to my very core. Ambition leaks out of me like drops of spring water from a rusty drain, in tandem with my instinctual need to create that has driven me so fiercely through thick and thin for decades. Days pass by in a hectic blur and my hands are too heavy to seize even the smallest moment in my grasp. I am lost, aimless.

My meager accomplishments fall by the wayside like pebbles of sand. I used to think they elevated me higher, grain by grain, but I'm not so sure anymore. My legs are burning and my pace is slowing down like I'm treading quicksand. Perhaps I'm sinking into my own mess. The milky mounds of sand crackle under my bare feet as I take another sluggish step towards whatever the fuck I'm walking towards with persistence that's beginning to resemble blind obsession. My head aches with the endless cacophony of disparaging thoughts and some days all I can hope to accomplish is enveloping myself in some trivial, featherweight distraction to grant myself a measure of peace. But the noise remains deafening. The same grandiose accusation engulfs and entwines my waking hours with boiling breath and molten words: I thought I'd be somewhere at this point. I thought I had enough of something to achieve something.

When the grey dawn finally emerges after another dreamless night, I awake to find myself feeling like a maggot at the bottom of a glass jar. Every day I race towards the top, desperate to break free of this worldly incarceration and to fulfill whatever there is to fulfill outside this transparent enclosure. But my grasp is frail and the road too slippery and too steep. I arise, climb, tumble down, catch my breath and try again with renewed vigor. The act itself has long since lost its concious motivation beyond automation. It simply must be done. But one day! One day will signal this maggot's reckoning as it miraculously emerges from entrapment, armed at last with the gift of flight. One day!

But that day hasn't come. My role remains that of the larvae stuck to crawling on cold glass, haplessly reaching upwards. For what? Redemption, reassurance, recognition? I don't even remember anymore. It feels like the jar has slowly been filling up with ether, separating me from my senses and drowning the view in milky indifference. I may not have sprouted wings and the lid looming above may be as far as it ever was, but something is numbing the impulse to ascend and advance. It terrifies me beyond words. Never in my life have I felt so... sedated.

In the end, all I can hope for is a sight or sound to guide me through this austere landscape bereft of landmarks or even the vanishing point of no return to strive towards. It is lightless and lifeless, and no matter how hard I try to convince myself that I don't belong here, it's still the place I find myself in. In a glass jar, filling up with ether, drowning out the music alongside the noise.

This is no place to live.



This is a strange place we are in, you and I. But I'm glad it's shared.

It is a room of hidden things and words left unsaid. Whispers lay softly afloat like smoke in humid rooms, lazily drifting above tension draped in lead gowns. You in one corner, I in another. I don't know your face, but here, I don't need to. We are skinless here but braver for it. The air between is awash with warmth. We catch only glimpses, yet smile wittingly and suggestively, as two people sharing a secret often do.

Who are you? I am dying to know.

There are many words to be said in this room, if only we could escape ourselves. Words to send shivers up and down the spine, words with the power to melt all nearby faces and surrounding vistas to a faded blur and then dissipate like content gasps from satisfied lovers' lips. Abstract signals so concrete, ripe for the plucking from but a touch, a smile, a secret shared. From moments of togetherness so far removed from the clutches of description that the mere attempt would rival trapping sunset in a bottle. A captured series of seconds woven into the tapestry of lonesome hours in the dark, when but an eyeful of those sacred sentiments brings you mysterious joy.

A cold flow washes through me and I awake from my daydream. Smoke lingers on my lips. My weary eyes follow the footprints in the soft earth, trailing back and forth like lines burrowing into an old man's face. I contemplate; how many is the tally for today? How many times have you tamed the desire to touch and steadied your lips before a smile's gift had a chance to escape? How many times did you let sunlight escape beyond the edge of the earth without so much as an trailing glance? My reflection in the glass concurs; times aplenty, always aplenty. This is the way of the world.

We swallow so many sweet words back down our throats, back into the recesses of the heart. They become entangled with veins so dark they resemble leafless branches against bright midwinter skies, veins clogged by all that we leave unsaid and undone. These words are so difficult to set free, so hard to let loose upon the air. Their wings need air beneath them, but the path they choose when airborne can never be determined. Chaos and communion are always a feather's sway away from collapsing into one another. An outcry, no matter how pious its aim, would surely devour levity and leave us defenseless in each other's company. The words stick to our teeth. We dare not dream. It makes me feel older than I am.

Gently, with a reserved hand, I draw the curtain aside and observe the secret place from afar. Time stands still and runs through aeons in an instant. All is perpetual and frozen.

This place is so vibrant. So fierce. Impenetrable yet completely weightless. Drenched in milky darkness yet pronounced to the finest colorful detail. But above all; it is secret. It is an impasse we all willingly confuse with reciprocity. We will over-exert our control over ourselves unto the grave, only to gasp a final grand sigh of regret on the deathbed for all that was left behind worse than was needed. We empathise with the world by finding common ground as cowards, because our feral virtues have been drawn from us like blood from a sacrificial lamb. We are bound and subjugated by our instinct to suppress the purest forms of dialogue we possess; we strive to be strangers. It is irony at its foremost finest.

Still this place finds us. It envelops our minds at a whim, for it exists in a space of longing beyond our control. We are all searchers, are we not? And so the light will thrash and struggle for release like a caged animal awaiting an unsung tomorrow where it would be set free. It is so bright it numbs you with fear. So prone to overflow you grip it with both fists so tight your nails puncture the skin. You greet it with anger. The thought of but a single beam escaping is terrifying, because it would tear a hole through the darkness and drag you into the midst of something unforeseeable and unfamiliar. Something uninhibited. A place devoid of shadows, exposed and with no place to hide. In the wake of this dread we are all brother and sister.

We often mistake our gifts for burdens. Of this I am guilty from every sunrise to sunset, and a lesser man for it with each passing day. Perhaps this makes me a bigger fool than most, perhaps I'm merely a more insightful buffoon than most. I dunno. But I fight to conceal this luminous force with a matched if not a stronger hand. Even when my heart swells with indescribable savagery, beating like a wild drum. Instinctually, I wish to give more than I have and receive only what candour grants me, but at the apex of fruition I halt. This is a world for the takers, where currency requires currency and nothing is free. The act of granting grants nothing by default, and it is only through bitter mercy that we close our palm when more than our share is there for the taking. This is what I've been taught by harsher hands than their possessors would care or dare admit.

So I hide so many beautiful things in rooms within rooms, stuck behind heavy doors and bound by thick chains. They meet, flow into one another, painting all in their wake with deep red and glistening gold. They explode like fireworks and spontaneous laughter, smashing hardened, sour sights into countless glimmering pieces. But they are locked away, left to wither. I curse myself for being so terrified of such wonderous things. As should we all, for we are all equally guilty of such transgressions. This you know.

I find strange solace in the thought that all this will fade away, in time. A dishonest sentiment rotted from every corner by the acidic nature of denial. But the weight of emotions is so often so impossible to overcome and endure, and love above all things feels most unbearable to me. It encompasses my very being yet I fight it like a taint, for it renders me defenseless. That is why every woman I have ever loved & lost remembers the ironclad taste of gridlocked resentment whenever my memory invades their thoughts. I would describe loving as others might describe bleeding; beauty, pain, dissonance, wonder and foreboding all in one lingering jolt of blinding light, stretching into the evermore like a frozen river without a creek or waterfall to break its neverending journey. I find strength and clarity in knowing that it all has an eventual end, but I also recognize the thought for what it is: rejection. It makes me cherish the agony as an act of welcome penance.

Yet I am a poet. As much in love and awe of these heartscapes I am illustrating as with any creature of skin, flesh and bone. As enthralled by the secrets of sensuality as any conoisseur of puzzles and enigmas. Too restless to leave passion without note, thus risking withering all beautiful and delicate things through exposition and exposure. Words paint my world alight, but they disturb the play of shadows with their pervasiveness. I am easily swayed by the rhythm and melody no one else can hear, often forgetting whether I'm the player or the pawn. With the lines already blurred, the threat of losing touch is ever present. These sights offer a succulence too tempting, and with their whimsical direction, I often misstep. But to know me is to know this. To love me is to welcome the horrors this wild heart harbors.

We do bad things. To ourselves, to one another. Inconsiderate things. The paths we've left behind are paved with good intentions, cracked open by insecurity, decorated with disregard and littered with casualties. We race feverously towards the snarling jaws of the world to prove that the spit of the grey sky hardens our skin into a stronger shell. Yet the lashing we endure extends from our own hands and the blood we spill is only incidentally someone else's. We bleed for resolve and strength, yet the drive to inflict pain stems solely from fear. What silent souls we've allowed ourselves to become.

But in the finest company - that which we should seek tirelessly as our numbered days tick away, I believe - we would strive to ascend into a new breed. That is, if we should be so lucky to find such company, insightful enough to recognize it and brave enough to embrace it. Thus would begin a hopeful blind stumble on the ladder of evolution to new, unimaginable heights. The marching advance of renounced thespians no longer able to act unwavered by the tremors our crossing paths leave in their wake. The visage of such a tomorrow is quite delicate in its simplicity; indifference completely and utterly destroyed.

Perhaps all that we are now is all that we will ever be. Reluctant passers-by on our way past this strange place into a safe haven devoid of threat, meaning and renaissance. Perhaps surrender will come to weigh upon our scales but lightly if at all, and in hindsight we shall reminisce mournfully yet detached upon the day we allowed this yearning for higher entanglement to still, succumb and perish.

Then again, perhaps not.

This is a strange place.



My thoughts tear asunder, run amok. En garde! Parry! Riposte! I am spread thin and thinner, granted no true measure of release or rest, with my own uncaged mind leading the cavalcade of disharmony to and fro from the ever expanding fray.

I battle secular sentiments of self-loathing each new dawn my weary eyes greet the ceiling above, but it is not because I lament the passing of time; it is because I mourn for all that could have been accomplished and achieved during moments now lost to the ether, for every breath drawn without aim. Sleep is of course not the enemy, for it is the playground of dreams. But no dream will come to fruition lest its tail is caught and its body tamed during waking hours. Though forever free, it needs to be commandeered, straddled and made to serve as a steed for the journey to take form and be drawn to its conclusion.

Every so often life unfolds like an expedition through perilous badlands. The destination, if set, is beside the point. Some curse the cruel sun for stealing the rain as the desert abyss slowly swallows them. Others, however, cherish and celebrate the sensation of lingering thirst, for the rapture of release is multiplied exclusively by the weight of the struggle that precedes it. I belong to the latter category. I chart across this treacherous landscape on all fours with a roll of parchment for a tongue, but the journey is my own. My legs have given under me and my mind has melted into madness, but the journey is my own. Pain is beside the point, momentary musing upon the frailty of life. It is a given. A dab of ink on an endless canvas. This desert belongs to me as much as I belong to it.

Words, to me, are more bloodletting than typing. There is song and melody behind every syllable, untamed orchestration behind every seemingly steadfast structure. Stone walls built upon feather beds. A poetic bounce beyond form and function. Always so much more at play than mere communication or exchange. In many ways these exercises of lyrical expression are a very real extension of the endless sojourns I'm thrown into when the thundering flow of music under my skin takes hold and pulls me under. I fall in and drown, again and again, only to re-emerge with another savory drop on my parched tongue. I emerge with another short lease on life.

It is the rhythm of these roaring waves that I so desperately try to pour upon strings and keys and whatnot, mirroring and mimicing each water-soaked tingle via melodies and harmonies and thus forth, with my own unevenly balanced loss and gain of blood being its own reward by ensuring the flow remains unclogged. Drop by savory drop. It is not so much a ritual of rebirth as it is a long, arduous clarification of self.

The music within is a furious flame, a wall of violent poetry between the world and its witness. The bane of my existence yet its most bejeweled crown. The finest reason to keep breathing yet the most unkind of foremen. Hard as I try, the work will never be completed. So I will spend each day of this wretched, joyful life under the whip, struggling and striving. Enduring. Succeeding if such is the hand I'm dealt, but without any conceivable means of measuring the worth of the work. But I will never utter a single complaint for this gift of strife. Exhaustion breeds strength.

All emotion is wood for the roaring fire, freshly glimmering ore under the tip of the pickaxe. Every heartbeat sways in the wind like grains of wheat before approaching jaws; never fulfilled, never released from hunger. Every sight, sound and experience is kindling, so eager to ignite. The world burns in my eyes with violent, eloquent beauty. I have but these words to describe the sights I enjoy and endure and subsequently try to re-envision through artistic enterprise. Mere lettering is a shoddy substitute, I know, but it is the best I can muster.

This fire will never cease, never cease to devour. It will never die out from starvation, for there will always be mass for it to consume. I will make certain of that. All I have to do is feed it, watch my world burn and present you the ashes. Whether you hail the afterbirth as an accomplishment or crushing failure is, again, beside the point. In the end all that art needs to portray to warrant its existence is to give you a glimpse into the soul of another. The cycle is endless. The fire negligent yet willful beyond imagination. All it needs is oxygen and time. All we truly have is oxygen and time.

To create is to burn, willingly. It is to watch all your fortifications engulfed in flames as you tinker away at the next pyre of your own design, oiling another rope around your neck. Sometimes I have to drown out the noise and endure the quietus of silence to grant myself a measure of serenity. Even then I lay above embers. Sometimes all I can do is bide my time in pockets of numbness separating me from the cacophony. But it is a charade, a thin curtain. Awake and thrashing or succumb to slumber with baited breath, I am a beast in a cage. It is a strange existence.

If anything, it keeps me honest. My past reads like an old, forgotten battleground overrun by moss and weeds. Only eyes that were there to witness the carnage can spot the mortar craters and bones picked clean. I will not let myself forget, for I have a lot to answer for. The best I can do is take my past mistakes along for the ride like a roadmap of misfortune and simply try not to cause as much of a mess. Not much of a plan, I know, but I never said I had one. Then again, if this self-inflicted penance has wrought any reward it is that I've gotten to know my own wretched self well enough - warts and all - not to become destabilized by people trying approach and untangle me like a puzzle box with a given ruleset and mechanics. If their efforts succeed in depressing me, it is because my heart goes out to them, for their benefit. I gave up on trying to fit in many a sleepless night ago - and emerged a better man because of it.

To live as I live is to suffer just a little bit from each tick to tock. A drop of blood for each bellowing slam of the hands of time as I engage in a lifetime's endeavor of chasing after shadows. It is a life of thirst punctuated by seldom victorious moments of gratification. Drop by drop. And it is a struggle worth every second. Above all things I fear waking up to the sensation of being completely fulfilled; may such a day never rise, for it would be my last.

I am blessed to live in this haze between dreamscapes and physicality, blessed to see inspiration where others see mere alleyways and creekbeds. Blessed to know there is no difference between moonlight dancing upon spring waters and diamonds forged in imagination's foundry. I don't have time to be too busy for anything worthwhile. I don't have time to not have time.

Sleep is not the enemy. But it is a terrible, terrible waste.



I fit in well, yet I will never belong. I adhere to structure and discipline, yet my home is built upon chaos. I know how to love and what it is to be loved, yet all forms of this sensation remain trapped in an ever-shifting caleidoscope. I walk in the footsteps of others with delicate ease, yet I loathe the day I set foot upon the trail with each passing step. I know what it is to discover priceless monuments of sanctuary, yet by each new dawn my heart yearns to conquer another unattainable landmark, shifting its stance across the horizon like a mirage trapping a siren's call. These words hold true for us all.

We all know the abstraction of walking as unanswerable riddles on two feet in a world of answers, wrapped in gowns of pre-filled questionnaires and squeezing ourselves through strict, unforgiving molds while the ironclad ink of accountability dries upon our sensitive skin; and we are worse for it, day by day. And we suffer because of it and suffer great pains to attain it, day by day. Our obstructions number in the infinities, and they are all man-made monoliths we've ironically enough placed ourselves to guide our collective focus.

Herein lies the puzzle I face each morning, noon and night. I watch passers-by watch me, lend an ear to their commentary, letting their staunch bewilderment glaze over their eyes like dawn's first light tingling upon frozen waters, then react with straight lip and clenched jaw. To friend or stranger I owe no explanation, my mind declares, and my heart concurs. A novel reaction, I know - and dangerous. The imp of the perverse, as it were. There is so much room for exposition, so wide a pathway towards clarity and the forging of new bonds of communion. Enlightenment, even! But I am not a puppet, chauffeur or orderly. An occasional, happenstance leader by default. Not a guide.

Yet the question remains. Its answer - if there is such a thing - aloft and joyfully elusive. Am I nothing but a self-strung marionette upon a stage of my own making, pulling at my own ropes and winding up the broken music box again and again and again for all with a thought, a minute and a penny to spare? Perhaps so, but at the very least my strings remain untethered, the song flows through the air uninhibited and the stage is my own handywork. That accounts for something. It has to.

What a specimen I must make. The winged monkey, led to center stage by cuff & chain and met with sounds of awe, yet by nightfall nothing more than an ape in a cage. At least the cage is my own. So I fly around my enclosure, gnaw at the scraps I'm given and watch spectators enter and exit my abode none the wiser through each encounter. I watch them place rectangular shapes in front of me, then cylindrical, and so on. I do not fit, which is a given of course, but they continue the endeavor. But I don't fit. Of course I don't fit. Do they? Does anyone?

Admittedly, it is no more than pride fanning the flames of these tirades I entertain within. I can withstand few things worse than the incessant, obtuse perseverance with which some elect to drive the heart, soul and flow of another into a neat little box to service their own disassociation from the scolarship of depth, as to fit the construct of humanity gazing back at them into their constrained mental collection of neat little boxes. No one ever fits, so some things must be clipped off. What you leave severed upon the floor is a choice you're given freedom to carry out in whatever bloody act you choose. Quite the priviledge, don't you think?

We peer into the depths of one another with shears and scythes in hand, the call of the norm ringing in our ears as a deafening wall of white noise, ready to dislodge artistry from reason and sight from vision to service our own needs as one-eyed insects racing towards the top of the anthill we so scarcely and sparsely understand. Our eyes would burn through so many obstructions if we only allowed them the chance to peer into the ether without our own hands as shields in between.

Dress the aura of another in heavy chains and feel the weight press down on your own ability to fly like an iron anchor. The strangling hands of convention are universally indiscriminate in their grip unless you simply deny them your throat. Yet so many - so many - grant them access. We are so quick to dip our drive, desires and even our spirituality in the tar of structure to render our aspirations flightless and stilted. All things must adhere to dogma and rulesets, lest we all fall into a maelstrom of waterlines and discovery. It makes me sad. We are capable of so much more.

Every poor wretch under the sun owes a hefty purse of blood to every other poor sod in their sight, if for nothing more than for the solemn oath we've all taken upon the altar of compromise. None of us peer at one another without the bars of the cage obstructing our view. We search for common ground and end up constructing prisons in our minds. Prisons for neat little boxes. As gatekeepers and wardens we are amazingly steadfast; as escapees mere amateurs.

The struggle of the civilized world is to walk as a shadow in a land of shadows, but the quest itself is a disservice to every hope and dream we harbor. A blade pressed upon our ankles. Chains cackling in the dark, beckoning us to wear them for safety and parade them as jewellery.

Our gift of strife is to remain evermore challenged and hunted by the rays of light devouring all stowaways upon the vessel of life, burning away all recollection of the unremarkable with relentless, unmatched force. Leaving no sign or headstone to remind us of what once stood there. To leave this world without having burned my initials into the earth is the one true horror I carry inside; and one that I carry with not only dread but pride. It is healthy terror. A beast at my back driving me onwards with gnashing teeth and a constant pace.

A shadow will never forge its mark on the sand; it will merely pass over it on its path towards oblivion. I consider this parable every single day of my life.


A good question

There are evenings when I catch myself wondering how it is that another angel-faced antagonist has leapt from the page or screen, twirled the room around their finger and, having effortlessly taken center stage, seems to now mime words I keep hidden yet are none the less my own. More often than not these figurines of fabled flesh are artists of monstrosity. Prime examples of blunt force precision locked in a masquerade of human interaction. Tortured masters of mimicry, toes dangling off the precipice. Your Patrick Batemans, Tyler Durdens and Dexter Morgans. You get the jist.

They do not come from a world of monsters. Nor do I. They function, emote, empathise and retort through a blank, hollow chamber of echoes inside. They project, but not from a place within. They are like mirrors, blank slates. A swayed tabula rasa of puzzles and reflections, a boneless contortionist endlessly shedding his skin. Every encounter is like determining the trajectory of a ball based on where its thrown and where it will bounce back from. It may land a feet or two amiss, but the general area is close enough. It suffices.

It is a constant exercise of scripted clairvoyance and eloquently enacted foresight in a theater of predisposition. I understand both the triviality and the necessity of the charade as much the anger and the disdain stemming from its constant upkeep. I understand how demeaning it is. Survival and suffocation in plain sight under the blazing sun. The perspective of a caged beast through the glass, de-toothed by convention and chained by the illusion of normalcy. Kept at bay by the simple desire to keep breathing.

How truly brittle the shell of perceived safety we wrap around ourselves when the winter winds come a-callin'.

Perhaps my world is overwrought with introspection and I simply gravitate towards notions of self-indulgent wolves among sheep due to my detached nature. But I can't help but think that perhaps the butcher and the poet have more in common than most would dare to admit. At the center is a crooked parallax and the trek into the arms of others is through a treacherous, misaligned gateway. Perhaps I can simply appreciate the macabre, the majestic, the brutal and the bravissimo in equal, mutually inexclusive degree. Perhaps it is because I understand what it feels like to be weighed down by a world of masks, facades and glimpses - being splintered into tinier and tinier shards - that the notion of losing one's sense of self into but a glimmer of static feels plausible. The walls melt and the light bleeds out as the blank canvas where emotions should have left their trail disappears into the white noise. It is the cold room I've known since I was a child.

Secrecy and self-preservation are dangerously similar. Fraternal instincts sharing a bloodline. They spill onto one another - into one another - and form a dark pool bereft of flow and reflection. I do not feel like others feel, but I've learned to quell the noise, drown out the storm. Isolate the particles. Nothing is ever enough and everything is always too much, so I funnel the oceans roaring inside through the smallest straw and spit out the trickles through a smiling maw. Sometimes I feel like every word, every letter I write is a speck of blood dripping from my fingertips. I know fully well that not a single drop is truly appreciated, but that's pride talking. I consent to the ways of the world and reject them wholeheartedly. A life of banishment to a kingdom lost and stacked with riches. The melting room in the bleeding light.

This, then, is perhaps why such blood-thirsty jesters and I seem to speak with a common tongue, if only occasionally. I appreciate flamboyance and bravado when fused with purpose and lined with meaning. My world remains organized, sanitized, alphabetized, compartmentalized... and evermore but a finger's flick away from burning to ashes. The soft bed and the hard floor are a nightly choice. I revere the allegory of golden ideals draped with rotting cells, quilted with dead feathers and gloriously embellished with dabs of blood red. I celebrate the poetry of petrified flesh and the vibrancy of unquenched desire. To be complete is to be dead inside. To deny breath - to take where others would fall limp and passive - is not only a means to an end, but a test of the heart.

It is peculiar passion that drives one to slave over a creative endeavor only to watch the completed piece burn. The art of love and the insurmountable ends of destruction. I've done it so many times I've lost count.

I reminisce about a dream I've had many times over since early childhood. I come across a campfire along a dirt road in a forest. The devil - a devil - sits beside it, dressed as an old man, warming his bones. His eyes rise to greet me with bitterness and resentment. I sense danger, but not projected danger. Its body en masse, its aura. I ask the man questions of worth, greed, ambition - and loss. He responds, yet I do not understand the words. But I feel them, one and all. They reverberate through my very essence. We understand the mud is an angel's wing and the stone is a demon's grin. We hear the heartbeat of the earth and the song of the water and know - know without question - that not a single word, chord or trinket of wisdom could ever evoke this spirit into essence. We talk until the dream disappears into the flames.

A kind gesture, a faceless advance, a warm palm and a cold gaze. Some days it's all the same. Above all things I regard the brew of artistry mixed with routine the most nourishing. I constantly arrive at crossroads between calm precision and animalistic drive. My world is meticulously in pieces. Some would call it a clash of sentiments, but such words stem from a place devoid of vision. I am most complete when completely chaotic and compulsively systematic. It is how I operate. A carnivorous cross-breed of the melodical and the methodical. A series of absolutes and antonyms. A pieceless puzzle swept up by violent winds. The dead calm beneath storms of contradiction.

I enjoy thoughts like these. They keep me sane. To test the excesses of imagination until I become fearful of my own mind is to vanquish the self mirrored in others and find serenity in the throes of solitary solidarity. The pedestal beneath my feet disappeared long ago, but so did the ground. It is a calming notion to realize that under all this cool, collected control lies an unsightly labyrinth of insanity. Were it not for my creativity, this veneer would shield the machinations of a truly vile, unscrupulous person.

But the question is... would you know?