Black coffee

Winter's grace. Fierce, empowering and above all cruel. A fortification against all things bathed in heat and dipped in deliverance. A cold room for a cold man.

And so it goes. Faces form in the howling rain, have their laugh and disappear, evaporating into cold steam when met by but a warm human breath. Poetry drowns in a river of spit, helpless to find reprieve as frost nibbles at its tail. We are rats in a coffin, squealing helplessly as the air grows thin and our options thinner. The only way is down, through the ribcage of the corpse. So we dig. We devour.

We burrow through rotting things only to lose ourselves in the cold ground.

Here stands the jester, drenched in his own blood and weighed down by other people's spewage. Freshly foul from another swim in the sewer. Growing more and more defiant as the fingers turn numb and the face drains of color. These blue lips are colder than you know. If my efforts are constantly undermined and subject to the whims of petty individuals hunting for yet another pound of flesh, my facade of compassion will eventually shatter and I will assume a stance of combat. Ask and ye shall receive. You have no right to act wounded in the aftermath.

This airless space has no room for good intentions. People flash their fangs at me, because they assume they can get away with it. Spewing belittling, hurtful things. Attacking, because they assume that's what they're owed. By whom and for what amount, you ask? Your guess is as good as mine. They seem to retreat back into their hole before I have a chance to clear the issue.

I've done my best to be more approachable and less of a frightening figure, as much for my own damn sake as for the benefit of others, only to have cowards spit in my face as my hand reaches outward. I've let them have their say, take the measure of blood they so covet and stitch up some unnamed tear in their ego at my expense. I've taken the sticks & stones without a snarl or growl, but to what end? I've played myself down and taken backward steps like the man I thought I should be, like the man I truly tried to be, only to watch as cancerous, contagious beings advance in tandem with my withdrawal, trying to steal back something they've lost from my pouch. Enough.

People take whatever they can get as long as you award them that luxury. Flash your teeth back at them and watch them scatter. I'm using two thirds of my strength not to punch through a wall just to watch myself do it.

I don't want to know, I don't want to say, I don't want to be involved. I simply can't play the benevolent confidant if I'm expected to comment approvingly upon self-important fumbling over other people's feelings. I recognize the marks it will leave better than I care to admit. My pleas fall to deaf ears as people chart their unsuccessful attempts at draining each another dry while debating with themselves which embrace can offer the most warmth until the next pair of tempting arms appears. Pondering whose blood is most nourishing. I have to bite my lip not to lash out in anger at their profoundly disgusting behavior. I'm burning gallons upon gallons of fuel just to lull myself into believing people are worth even a shred of respect.

This loveless, violent world deserves no more than a cold heart and a hard fist. I am nothing if not a believer in fair dues.

There is no reciprocity, only the push-pull of one giving and another taking. This I know now, and will react accordingly when approached by those drenched in fear and frailty looking to ascend a step higher by standing on my back. Trying to fit into this cardboard cut-out of a cordial, good-willed individual has grown far beyond tiresome, for the results it yields are nothing more than providing a patch of fresh ground for fools to trample into decay. My efforts, upfront and clear-eyed, are met with disdain and malice that equal all my meager attempts at taking others into consideration with warmer sentiments to a tee. You want the indignant, arrogant and withdrawn asshole you all seem to want me to be? Fine. You can have him. But don't say I didn't warn you.

Friendly fire - ain't.

The surrounding vista is a bleak sight. Pompous, passive aggressive tricksters all around. Mouths wide and words asunder against menial tribulations and the wind against their stride, hands drawn and fingers erect as they scour the room to find someone to pour a little misery on. Sharing is caring, isn't it? Their fists shake wildly at whatever nameless adversary or mildly draining aversion they're currently addressing, just so they can clear the air around them with a mouthful of stale bitterness. But it is all a show. The dog's bark is loud and fierce for his teeth are soft and his jaw weak. We are rats in a coffin.

So I will drink my coffee black, black like the winter sky on a moonless night. I will address your arrogance with indifference and your anger with silence. I will disappear into the smoke long before you have an opportunity to inflict another itty bitty wound for your perverse pleasure. I will repay threats with tooth and nail. I will close off my heart from thieves. I will spit venomously and vehemently when spat upon and watch you deflate in the face of true strength.

Believe it or not, I tried so very hard to believe people were worth more.



This is a place of leaving. A place where skin departs from skin. Wounds tear open where there once was a touch. So I will leave before I arrive. It is all I know.

Everything feels pre-chewed and once digested. A miserable merry-go-round for a weary soul lost in his own nomadic footprints. Cyclic and in perpetual motion, filled to the brim with rotting things. Nothing brings fulfillment, not even excess. Especially excess. A vacuum to fill a bottomless pit brimming with emptiness. I don't know who I am anymore.

This is no kind of life. A form of existence bereft of inspiration and grandeur, breathless loitering on the airwaves devoid of electricity. I look into the crowd through glass and see absolutely nothing reflecting back. An insect in a jar, wingless, denied escape, devoid purpose. What does that make you, I wonder.

Even among friends I feel like I'm being watched. They don't know what to do with me. Discomfort is met by discomfort and we find ourselves wingless. Denied escape, devoid of purpose. Minutes turn to stone as words become discord and static. Noise cascades up my throat and through my teeth like a river of pointless palindromes. As hollow and witless as the flesh that uttered them, for they carry no substance to warrant their existence. It keeps getting harder to convince myself that I am welcome, that I belong. I am growing mute and completely detached. This is truly frightening.

To ignite and burst aflame! To be burnt by passion and be instantly rejuvenated! To have something worthy of this heartbeat, to pull it close and feel the drumming in tandem. Against the blood of another fine beast, running wild. But these are words I whisper in the darkness long after my feet have carried me away from warm smiles and soft touches. I am in love with images drawn in waterlines and drowned in fallacies, an idea, standing as a barricade at my door and a hand over my mouth.

I try to explain, to expel, but sentences evaporate into echoes and syllables crumble into murmur behind this glass enclosure. So I turn to silence. It isn't right, because I see true affection and worry in people's eyes. People who care. I can offer them nothing in return beyond more distance. It isn't fair. But I don't know how to end this quiet withering. My heart is bathed in acid and my eyes dart across every room with but one aim: find an exit. All I can do - all I should do - is walk away. I'm not the sort of man to burden others with his struggles. At least I try not to be.

The notion of faith makes me cringe, because I remember the weight of its hand on my shoulder just as vividly as its disappearance from view. Whoever lives in this skin now does appear to look, act and sound just like me when viewed from afar, but upon closer inspection turns out to be a faceless, voiceless marionette. Ashes of a bygone fire. So many pieces of me have fallen by the wayside, hacked off into tiny bits and hidden in pockets of time I can scarcely remember. A slow death or a painful rebirth? Who knows.

Underneath the dirt is just more dirt. I can't remember what being whole even felt like anymore. Perhaps I've never known.


Confession of concession

A scent of familliar yet exotic flavor grips my senses. A touch warmer than three suns, enervating and igniting beyond words. I see a silhouette approaching these two weary eyes stapled to the thick, headstrong skull of your storyteller. An approach fargone, for it had already happened. Time was left to stand still ages ago. Ages? Minutes? Hard to say. My cluttered viewpoint is cleared by pearly limelight, encircled by hues of fragrant azure. We are surrounded by warm shadows swimming in vibrant green. A seashore, perhaps? A haven, a sanctuary, a hiding place? I will never know.

We are in a dream and so we shall remain. She is a dream and so she shall remain. I awake in the arms of black stone and feel deprived and nourished in equal degree. Given aplenty and viciously stolen from. This was what I craved for and needed to replenish of, this is what I was drained of and left without, no more and no less. Acceptance is half the battle - winning and losing are unrecognized concepts on this battleground.

Rainbows burn through the skyline where words once took to rule, and with the passing of their reign, all is without as all is overabundant. I am fire and water - striving higher and running further. Red as my burning blood and blue as my dreamscapes. Balanced by complete chaos as the stone I was set in weathers all storms, every minute upheaval we fleshlings come to awaken. You can cast a stone, break the water's flow, but this river will always run, it has no home. Written upon succulent melodies and sung in heartfelt harmony supported by rapturous rhythm - a crude confession none the less.

This is how I see the world. Through colors. I see it in the music, the note upon note upon thought upon a foul growl of the soul upon the wind of sin of your kin, of hearts aflame hiding the shame that cleanses us all like neverending rain, defining our domecile like a painting's frame surrounding each grandiose spectre of passion and bliss plagued by the neverending and never forgotten kiss, screaming songs of lost beauty and a secret world never bested, in the fiercest fire tested, no matter whose yesterday calls for your tomorrow to rise in whatever way. My world through my eyes, wide and warm, frail and worn.

There is disharmony and contradiction in all that surrounds this house of shadows and savagery, but I am nothing if not a skilled sleeper in the fire. Catching a glimpse of beauty beyond comparison fills me with strange sentiments and release beyond reprieve. Disappear, says my soul, and I agree without hesitation. Run run run away from them, run run run away again. Heart sinks deeper, edge grows steeper. By twilight I will swing at the gallows of my own creation, clutching the executioner's cowl with a death grip equally severe and serene. This I accept.

Acceptance is key, for it grants me clarity without needless embellishment. Strikingly beautiful skin draped over foul flesh - and worse - is an entry in the beastiary I know all too well. Those decorating its pages will no doubt have a chance to bury their fangs in the marrow of 'morrow should I step over the treshold, so to bother with the trivialities of shadowplay would be to dive into the pit like a witless waste of air. The languish of disappointment stares back from the void beyond the everclear in every direction, so I will simply forge a way through the pitfalls as best I can as I chase strands of sunlight to whatever end this earth has to offer. To journey to the end of a path only to discover more affliction is a laughably fruitless endeavor. A lesson already learned. Ahead and around, my dear entrapments - know that you are noted in my journals, marked with an X of glorious sanguine and reminded to steer clear from each new dawn. I will do my best not to deter.

The winter is kind and gentle to those who embrace her touch rather than reject it with scorn. I am an agent of winter, serving but one goal, dedicated to but one end. One you need not trouble yourself with, for its machinations of manifestation are shrouded in secrecy I protect lavishly and forcefully. Ostara may have scolded this stone to red-hot splendor during her brief stint of bewildering dominance, but her throne has shattered and the spirits of Samhain now reign over the land. Frozen in the bittersweet honey of this everlong enclosure I will remain, endure and flourish.

I will pass, passively, in passing. Reveling in revelations cruel and mournfully truthful. Thoughtfully fruitful, even. I am no one, for I am no one's and no one is mine. A faceless world. It is both a poisoned dagger as the wamest embrace, the soft hand of the most tender murderer before feathers fall and the killing blow is struck. Questions remain unanswered, but the questionnaire remains hidden and its rich veins untapped. A quiver of arrows flies high, one by one and side by another's side, seeking fresh flesh to penetrate and end their skybound travels in, ascending against a backdrop of skies bathed in darkness. But they are one and all denied. They will find a home in the hard earth.

Simple and mazelike, tattooed and pierced, loud and proud. Here I stand. Simple to comprehend, mazelike upon closer inspection, awaiting a touch to burn through this thick skin, pierce the surrounding glass, smashing the slumber of loud and shattering the veneer of proud. Were it never to come, I would accept this cruelty with a bold stance and plow through to whatever lonesome destiny I am able to craft for myself. The possibility of the impossibility of contentment has been vigorously considered, I admit, but I have too much faith in the undiscovered to succumb to such bitterness wholeheartedly. Closure of any degree is always denied, but it is a fate one learns to carry with strength, clarity and backbone devoid of the bittermost sentiments. Believe it or not, my optimism is hard to quell and impossible to extinguish.

As noted time and time again, I seek comfort and release. Though often denied, I am a traveller who settles for meager surroundings and humble nourishment. But among friends I feel like a king, the highest of servants, an unassuming enricher of the better in us all and virtues hidden so deep. For what are we if not gophers and kings, each role we take filled in spectacularly mundane fashion as we stride upon the grasslands of perpetual sorrow and momentary bliss. Gleeful jesters and harbingers of woe one and all.

Love saturates and envelops even the world of mine, but I recognize warmth's deceptive nature with a keen vision and respond to its advances with cold forethought. I can't change who I am, nor would I want to. We may share a palmful of water at this oasis, exchange a story or two with a wink and a smile, but we will all leave to chart this desert alone as night falls. Taking or leaving anything substantial from our momentary exchanges feels superficial at best and were I to allow them a foothold, I would eventually find myself burdened with yet another quiver of questions. So should one who knows better partake in the masquerade for no more than a pauper's pay for a attempt at mastery? Of course not. There are enough lies and deceit in this sorry world. I will say what I mean and mean what I say and let the downfall concern those who find such concerns the least bit inviting to begin with.

While some poor wretch may call the undersigned a wordsmith of some note, know this: in the company of people whose light shines amidst, afar and through and through, I am at a loss. When words of praise and promotion should fly unhindered and become specks of illumination left to linger in the recesses of another's memory, I am at a loss. At a loss for words and appreciation, unable to push through to the surface. The toymaker lost in his own puzzle of senseless elaboration and eloquence. For that I can only apologize.

Yet who is there to speak to, to share with? No one. An absolute, an abhorrence, an absolution. Argumentation upon discertation for the weighty sum of butt-fucking nothing. I have acquainted myself with distance once again, tied myself down to detachment and burned away the desires that plague most others, and find immesurable treasure within the deceptive depths of solitude. In service of this I will succumb to being the buffoon, the scribe, the incidental. Some say they wish to know me better. To them I say: you do not know what you're asking. The measurements are sound and encased in crass reason - it is better to be alone. I am not weary like Miller, depraved like Bukowsky, enraged like Carr or bedazzled like Thoreau. I haven't been tested like Lawrence or strengthened by strife like Henley. I am excluded, estranged and erroded like the Ward that I am.

There are sentences and sentiments that will never escape these lips. I know that now and appreciate their clandestine nature such as it is, indifferent and irreverent of how much is left without utter or approach. Perhaps I am a lesser man for not being able to conquer the elusive nature of what I keep hidden and refuse passage to the light, but perhaps these cracked jewels were never meant for this world. I wasn't. This, if anything, I've come to know and accept beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Heed these words not as a manifesto of ego or self-indulgence; they paint a picture, yes, but one of vanquish rather than vanity. I have played the games of others to the absolute ends of tedium and come out a sore loser, so from hereon I will create my own pawns and boards. Unconquerable puzzles they may be, but only my fingernails will leave a mark upon these hallways stretching to immesurable lengths under a concrete sun. Entrapment can be a choice.

All absolute. All devoid. All fulfilled. All empty. What a life. What a lie.


Shadows and spotlights

Light is aflame as the night begins to bleed inspiration. Trickles form like river mouths, stretching every which way like spiderwebs, like illuminated highways leading to the hallways of always.

The evening sports a cold whip, but rage keeps me warm. Creative, fulfilling, molten rage. There is sustenance here, an undending banquet. A boundless aura of imagination to pluck from. But there is emptiness as well, carving its way to the surface from within. Gnawing a path.

Trickles stall and coagulate only to reanimate as the humidity rises. The storm chugs forward like a stampede in slow motion. A bellowing choir; fierce, angry and so serene. Stabs of singular breaths sluggishly swelling into an ocean of voices. Here I stand defiant, ferociously alive. A single breath, a swell of voices. I am alive.

The skyline cracks open only to soothe itself into milky serenity. Raindrops and haze form playful angel wings before a backdrop of sleepy blue and wounds of dirty white, slowly engulfed by brilliant purple. A burning red evening to welcome a colorful night overcome by the struggle of brilliance upon black.

In the wake of all this my eyes burn and my soul finds a second's sanctuary, yet my body rejects slumber and the warm fabric of a motionless moment, even while tested by perpetual unrest. I am devoid of all, yet nourished beyond parallel.

I strive. We strive. Let us strive.

Let us cultivate and concoct whisperfuls of meisterwerks as we sit in opaque rooms painted over with ebony. Let us grow smaller and towards disappearance in oversized cashmir chairs that flow over and around us like a velvet womb of quicksand. As laughter softens the murky walls of these wildly twisting chambers, painted over and left to bleed with the pulse of the city. A heartbeat that churns and thumps like the belly of a great beast.

It calls, beckons, mesmerizes and saturates. I reply with a joyful roar, a vivacious howl, a speck of thunder from a tempestuous soul. The echoes skeet through cacophonous rooms dripping with slithering, wet, heavy air; rooms where time is idly swallowed by treacherous shadows and burned to a crisp by brilliant spotlights. Where golden crowns and silver linings are drenched in tar. Everything enveloped by overpowering hues of crimson and blood red. We are dripping with treacherous shadows, exposed by brilliant spotlights. Full of crimson and blood red, we shine. We breathe in the heavy air.

I feel a pair of lips graze my ear. A calming yet petrifying revelation follows: my lips won't grant my teeth and tongue passage. Language is amiss as conversation falls victim to rigor mortis on the cold ground, flailing about lopsided and misaligned. A wingless bird. I sleep among drowsy ghosts and slowly writhing apparitions upon succulent black waves, under caleidoscope skies of lightning and fire, but in the presence of the living my stance becomes frozen and unwelcoming. Fervor drains as we sit enveloped by mutual misunderstanding. I am slowly growing mute - another sad truth to grow stale upon a pile of so many others.

Ghosts will not quell this flame. They lack the lips for the job.

And I am the buffoon indeed. Fearless to a fault, friendless to the end. Staggering drunkenly across heavy, greasy terrain, through obtuse encounters and mastication, I object and abhor - regurgitate and reiterate and reform and reformulate - but in a gentlemanly manner. With thought-through phrasing and the poet's gilded touch, you understand. I was raised to be one, after all. A gentleman. Undeserved and undeserving, perhaps, but a chauffeur, a charlatan and a charmer none the less. It would be a shame to lose sight of one's pedigree, arduous as its implemetation was, I'm sure, so I withstand. With gentlemanly perseverance, of course. With backbone, poise and meticulous wording. I persevere.

So let us be burned by sulphurous flashes that tear through our hiding places in darkness. Our legs are flaccid and shivering, far too weak to support our skeletal corpses. Let us skulk away in corners that seem to stretch on and on, strangled by grey walls seething teardrops of frost and putrid black smoke. We take shallow, desperate breaths as we gnaw at our skin and flesh bereft of moisture and vibrancy. Angry weaklings one and all. Let us become dust.

Yet... who would let us, if not ourselves?



The clouds run the gamut from end to end, but are no less imprisoned than you or I. This I know above all else as I watch the morning storm roar its waking breath. The slowly sinking lump in my throat is on a destructive downward sojourn and I seem rather helpless to halt its sluggish advance. It will find a comfortable resting place in the chest region, no doubt. There it will weigh down heavily, laying motionless upon a blanket of flesh and sentiment, a crushing monument.

We are all so much more than we allow ourselves to be. Shrouded in loudness, burdened by wooden veneers, angry and so goddamn terrified. We tone down the luminosity within with parlor tricks and blind reliance on obtuse interaction to shepherd us from one meaningless encounter to the next. Growth is a destabilizing, dangerous transgression against the flow of the norm. Ascendancy is an act requiring feet firmly planted as the endless gray sky spreads its jaw above, so wherever shelter can be found, it will already be full of cowering weaklings. The fear of the colors fading will turn us all into a rainbow of grays.

I say this with no blameful finger erect; I admit this with a shameful nod and a baneful prod to the chest of the man in the mirror. For I am no better; perhaps even worse upon closer inspection.

Whitman wrote of your very flesh as a great poem. I feel those words in every step that vibrates and reverberates through my spine and soul as the streetlight paves the concrete with golden hues, ushering me to another secret world. Yet I can't take you along, no matter how much I dream of it. I taste hidden pearls in your breath as lips stretch and teeth flash at the apex of florescence under bleeding light. Yet I can't cultivate or even convey a single echoing glimmer in return.

Wretched and supreme beyond comparison, to inhale through the heart and exhale through inspiration, torn gloriously asunder by all that ravages this twisted world. To be nestled by the womb most inviting and stumble with curious, gated gasps through rooms upon rooms of carousel passageways and shadowed marvels. But there is no one to share this with. No one to take along. So I close the curtains, pry open the roof and carve these little stories into the canvas of stars. The blood on my fingers may be dry, but potent none the less. How about yours?

A strange existence indeed. Horrid and beautiful in equal degree. Darkness is a fickle mistress, yet infinitely more engaging and intriguing than all those gray, cold eyes that meet my curious gaze in the night, reflecting little else than worry, frailty and dissatisfaction. Autumn is a cold shoulder to rest upon, yet its warmth is unmatched by any vivacious vessel of flesh and skin oozing indifference and perspirating distrust. A poet scavenging the junkyard is a fool on a fool's errand, especially after one can no longer bullshit the poor brain into thinking this thankless job is but a grimy alternative to pearl diving. People are so tough, so hard, so bitter and so brittle. Try as I might to avoid it, it's taking its toll while rubbing off on me. Can't say I'm enjoying the drop in climate.

To partake in the march of the ants offers the safety of the mass; the welcoming arms of acquittal and disappearance. I am growing tired of hunting for miracles in the eyes of others and finding nothing but the charred remains of unfulfilled dreams. The pyres burn so bright against the black milk of midnight that only blinding contrast is left to reign. The wind spirits the violent, unrelenting screams through bone and conciousness, but I can't help anyone find deliverance or retribution in the wake of this massacre. I can't even find reason within myself.

I am once again falling deeper into the stormy seas behind my eyes; flowing rapidly into rivers of formless inspiration so grandiose, so rich with fever and rage. But at what cost? I am falling back on palindromes and thinly-veiled mystique to safeguard others from the recesses of this hungry, ferocious fire I harbor. My tongue grows dry and stale with hollow words concocted to disorient and distract. An illusionist stands before an audience starving for magic yet offered but a rabbit from a hat, but what can you expect in this theater where magic is no longer welcome?

The noise of the world drowns in the distance as the door closes behind me. The action is sound and fluid: arm stretches, fist tightens, fingers grip, wrist turns. Click. The motive, however? Clandestine. Obscured and in endless flux, ensnared by the ceaseless whirlwind of metamorphosis. I can't subject others to this no matter how amicable my motivation, so the lid stays shut. The can will continue to roll downhill with equal if not exceeding velocity, regardless of the ever-growing pressure within.

At least there's momentum.


The smallest grain

One thing ends, another begins. Such is life on its simplest terms.

The wind blows, the lion roars, the butterfly spreads its wings. All part of an intricate, ever-expanding web of arcane vibration. Motions of ebb, oceans of flow. Cyclic, stunted yet a helix in every which way, through and through and beyond for just a bit more exposure. Just enough to dip over the threshold above the endless and below the unimagined. The hydra ignites the swell the halcyon, in turn, soothes into sleep.

I am no more significant than this puff of smoke I exhale. We are each endlessly engaging and miraculous in fashions both mundane and absolutely impenetrable by thought or dialogue. There is a subtle yet overpowering comfort in thoughts like this.

I envision myself the smallest grain of sand, contemplating our significance as dandruff digging into the scalp of a being whose mere existence stretches beyond the borders of what we fathom and envision as the frayed edges of reality's flickering light. We are specks of dust upon specks of dust buried under the fingernails of gods outgrown of monickers and deity, engaged in conversation our reverberating lips can mirror no more than a poem could capture sunlight disappearing behind the crest of the moor.

Tapping away at this keyboard with a faulty M key, the air around me floats by with a heavy pulse, a feathery haze of sensual sentiments. I sneak a peek from the edge of the surface, the outstretched arms of the sea cluttered with thoughts of soft skin and hard bodies. What are we if not angelic bastards and bastardettes, bereft of wings, bleeding from our backs with fresh blood drying on our sore claws. Yet so beautiful.

My knuckles drag across the lining of this brazen bull. Sweat forms only to vaporize instantly. I can feel the flames rising from below, melting my skin and flesh as the copper heats. Through the ordeal I consider if laying in the fire is merely a small price to pay for the deathsong I might be able to expel as the soul vacates its shell. I suppose that's faith in something. They say your bones would shine like diamonds after you'd been roasted to death. A fitting end, regardless of what must have been unbearable agony.

Still, pain remains uninteresting. A blunt instrument devoid of melody. In this golden cage I call sanctuary pain is indistinguishable from stillness. And vice versa, of course. Thoughts are bullets, words form projectiles and music is an armada on the prowl, but all armaments are rendered powerless by the strength of suffocation. I need all tongues animated, all posts manned, yet find myself frozen under concrete skies. Time trickles through the cracks and contours of the wood, sluggishly charting passageways nearly impossible to navigate. My cage is perilous and deceptive; as endless as it is narrow.

A land called Nowhere. A place I know all too well.


Child of the city, child of the night

Everything is aloft, adrift and askew, yet nothing is out of place. A strange balance amidst storms and dead calm, between perfectly severed and intricately interwoven. Noise is merely harmony in bloom.

I look good and I feel good, walking alone on black tarmac in the arms of this wonderful city. The poet in me sees all things as things should be looked upon; trivial, menial, dreamlike, ferocious, intrusive, inclusive, corrosive, heartless, heartfelt... on and on. Beauty in all things - the subtly brilliant schematic in the eye of chaotic turns of motion melting into motion. The mind wanders aimlessly yet with cutting precision. A sword bereft of its sheath, glimmering wildly against the burning flashes of streetlight, replying to each electrifying reflection with a gaze of pure silver. Of the night I drink and she nurtures me so tenderly.

A truly grandiose existence, to lay one's head against cold stone and feel so completely at peace. As I replied to a curious friend when prompted; I have absolutely nothing to trouble me. A long-time sufferer of my less publicized woes, I swear I could hear her heart going into cardiac arrest as we shared a mildly uncomfortable laugh. As she picked her jaw off the floor I felt somehow vindicated and vilified at the same time, yet could muster up no darker sentiment than a ferret-like little grin. Should people know me, their insight would likely come via my output and my output is a jigsaw of unfinished glimpses, a puzzle of shards as broken as any, but a better alternative to, well, anything else. I'll take the mosaic of incomplete images written in poetic morsels over most alternatives.

Yet I do wonder where the road below is ushering these two feet to. I dislodge myself from events and scenarios before the gleeful tick of the tock has had a chance to turn sour, scampering away from warmth and vibrancy for I am afraid, truly afraid that the laughter will die a horrid, unforeseen death before its time is due. Not that even with scrutinous foresight could one predict anything of the sort coming to pass, but as a sort of preemptive disconnect it's slowly becoming second nature. I dare not linger in harbors of happiness for too long for all things under the moon and sun are fickle and frail and quick to disintegrate. I recognise this pattern of behavior from past experience. I've been here before. Didn't fare too well then, either.

If my tongue is tied, it is to thwart the spitting of bullets even before the hammer's been drawn back, lest there even be a hammer, trigger or indeed a weapon of any sort. There is no one to trust in to trust me without reservation, for the world is full of crooked daggers and poisoned arrowheads, crushing great stones and prickly thistles. If time has taught me anything, it is that I am at my most destructive when at my least ambiguous.

But there is a balance here, a true bountiful of aplenty from a meager selection of ingredients. Sleep is less of a slippery salamander these days, as pockets of serenity pepper this wasteland with more regularity than before. Why that is I couldn't really say.

Something nameless and formless beckons me, I admit, and my humble bag of tricks is nowhere deep enough for this ailment. A nagging little scrape or a mischievously tickling itch, something or the other. Strings of unnamed desire pulling at this poor puppet.

I walk in blessed solitude as my heart dances in secret rooms, yet with even more secrecy I await the confrontation to end all confrontations. Loudly exclaimed in select company, yet thoroughly, meticulously buried under layers upon layers of thick skin. But I wonder... am I slipping too far beyond flesh; can she ever be real? Perhaps I will breed her from the smoke upon my lips and the waterlines against a desolate shore. Pluck her eyes from the blanket of night and kiss life into her with the sweetest song evermore unwritten. Perhaps? An Eve of perplexion and animal blood for an Adam of impudence and riddles? Tomorrow never knows.

Embraced, revered and glorified be all beauty that falls before my gaze, but from arm's length. The move and motif to break this guard, I fear, will not stem from the momentum of the undersigned. I am jaded but comfortable in this cast of amber, unwilling to crack the surface for a mere soft touch. Let that be my shortcoming most forthright for the time being. I've entertained worse.


Rhyme of reason

You are the love of my life, filled with upheaval and strife. You are the life of my love, war's first bullet on the trail of the dove.

Cast a stone into waters unknown and send a ripple to this awash cripple, so that we will have loved and lived, been of things unseen, shaken and awake; taken down the beast and partaken in the feast. So that the skin I live in and the fangs I hide within are draped upon the trapper's wall before my rage devours all. A token for the broken and a burn to soothe the yearn, a key to make you free to make you see to make you bleed to make you breed to make you fly so high you'll never have to ask the sky for a reason why. To relinquish every lie and make you born again only to forever die.

You neglect the wonders of your mind and question why I disavow your kind?

The fluttering heartbeat flickers like neon upon a soaked street, rough to the touch and never enough and always too much, where up is down and the world is in freefall. In the rain I call: believe and receive and revere upon the absolute of here! Matched will be the stature of mine, for I am absolutely thine. A legion of one for you, a heart pure and true. You are love's worthy companion and I am the companion worthy of your love. Never deserving, yet never without worth. And what is worth if not the heart's girth.

You are that which you say you are not. You are not. Not is what you are tied to, a knot. The knot is what ties you down to the not, y'see. To tie the knot is to say you are not. Tied down, sporting a frown, dressed in a heavy gown, hung and strung upside down. Go around and never make a sound - your loss is our shared cross. Do not say you are not. Never dare say you are not. For then the knot you will be. See. The knot you say you are not is the knot of your not. See?

It strains and burns as the timepiece turns, tied and bound, evermore lost in mind and sound, and we are quaint with screams abound as we dance around and around and so on and so on... We sacrilege and retort to no end, leaving three words without counter or friend, yet luminous beings we remain and easily we would extend. What a waste. What beauty lies in you, in us, in the fire that makes us glow, we waste it so. The knot of the not.

Of fulfilling things we know yet unfulfilled we go; we could growl yet we scowl. We could command, we could be grand and in demand, yet we dare not even make a stand. Cowards in the waking sun, substituting blandness for fun. Bah.

We are all maggots to one and faggots to the other. Heretics to the third and ticks to the rest. No thought for the consequential best, for all that truly shines resides in the chest. That's where I waste away to find a safe haven for these thoughts to stay, play, sway, lead astray... Frail as falling autumn leaves yet sturdy as the gladiator's greaves. Gray mass encased in glass, these sullen eyes and my grand goodbyes. Time to laugh. Now the heavens are weeping and I won't be sleeping tonight, retorts mister Jones - evermore burning in my chest as his guitar illuminates my unquiet rest - even as a coffin full of bones.

Let's take you and I, for argument's sake, winking as we agree this exchange is far from fake. We are estranged strangers light on our feet, no less than wildebeests in heat; soft tissue protecting softer bones, flesh in rapture while our souls bleed out against rough stones, scavenging the world before our punctured eyes upon the broken altar of Athena as we parade like hungry lions before the arena. You, a shell of naught against your own draught. I, a scribe of my own demise. Time to laugh. In the face of lions - yet lions we are, from up close and from afar. The cold offers us release, which we accept as the olive branch to appease; our pound of flesh and skin a penance for inconsideration and reckless sin.

The rhyme ends. Forgetfulness overtakes us as we disregard the desire for equal payment. We cultivate and copulate, seeking forgiveness for our shared sacred calf of gold. Where indeed did our allegiances lie? I forget.

Even in victory we fail to claim the prize.

But we are not without sustenance; never without strength of spirit; strength of will. You are stronger than my dreams and I stronger than yours, yet we dare not draw the hand further, afar, beyond. But we probe and procure. Blind children enveloped by fog, starved by stagnation. That is what we succumb to; that is what we adhere to. One last valiant surrender. That is what we strive for and ultimately starve for. We stagnate while painting those views we behold; further, afar, beyond.

We are worse than our worse angels. Better than all, crafty scoundrels a step ahead of the jaws below.

We are the love of our lives.


The accidental Longinus

We are written in enigmatic morse code and placed upon the seizuring tongue of a foul-mouth clown locked in a loop of stuttering revelations. Spectacular jewels hidden in the downpour of violent rainstorms.

These are my thoughts among vibrant bodies and mouths aflame, all of us locked in a war of attrition that rids us of our better angels. But I digress.

Bursts of noise are followed by sudden overflows of silence. The fear of mistreatment and advantage-taking lurks behind even the sweetest gesture. We repent past transgressions and await the fall of the judge's gavel in the fist of a friendly arm. We reminisce upon past betrayals and await the opportunity for a thrust of vengeance through a friendly heart. Face value is considered fool's gold and handled accordingly. Hesitation is a shade under every word and motion. We are skinless, left to fend for ourselves under dimly lit skies, surrounded by spears. So we attack and react. Protrude and retract.

Words appear and advance via rhythmic blur before synapses have a chance to ignite reason's flame. Substance diminishes in equal measure to the rise in volume. Judgement takes over the airspace of the room, masquerading as insight. What began life as narrow perspective turns into a mosaic of abstract absolutes, shifting wildly. Truth disappears into the mix, leaving but a whisper of the world five minutes past, now translucent and twisted beyond recognition.

This stumbling spectacle is no longer anyone's to conduct, but for everyone to endure and withstand.

I am loud, but I don't know the language. Where there was once blood in these veins, only white sand remains. But I am not indifferent, only detached and partly switched off. Foolish and foolhardy, but far from malevolent. Regardless, my words are mistaken for another spear. Repentance hasn't enough fertile ground to blossom, so the weed that pierces through the ground suffices no one. Apparent intrusion is countered with another pertrusion. Oceans of noise rumble under a blanket of suffocating silence. This will not end well.

Time runs at a frenzied pace, then freezes, then runs and freezes again. Chaos ensues, widespread and growing in droplets of miscommunication. The atmosphere is helplessly adrift and writhing with anger, worry and anticipation. But I am not Longinus. Not by choice at least, lest my motivation truly does lie buried so deep I've hidden it from even myself. I doubt that very much.

So for the benefit of everyone I disappear with a loud click signaling the shutdown from within, considering withdrawal from all and everything. As always, I come to contemplate a journey. By foot, train, pogo stick or plane, doesn't matter. Direction is the key - away.

But you can't escape your own mind. Whether overpowered by noise or swallowed by silence, all that you leave behind is everything you take with you. No demon of your own design will leave your side on its own accord, never mind yours. They need to be cut, torn and pulled like a soft tooth dripping with gangreen. Otherwise they will be left to spread the disease and infect all they come in contact with.

Still I try. An aimless wanderer. Thoughts and emotions become an unintelligible tangled web of roadways and beltlines crossing through and through a rough, insurmountable landscape. There is no end let alone safe passage, only another crossroad to counter the one before it. Loss of direction has no time to grow into a concern - it had happened before the mere thought had had a chance to appear.

I am afar, yet the echoes linger. They leave a rotting imprint on lost moments that refuse to stop ringing in my ears. I contemplate surrender, but to what? In the face of what? The buffoon staring back at me from the dirty pool of rainwater is soiled and soaked, but only on the surface, not from within. For what it's worth, the settling dust will leave us all unique yet indistinguishable from one another. It will leave us covered in dust.

The girth of the fur may change, yet strange beasts we remain.


No final resting place for the mind

There is a stone in my hand. Twigs and dirt in my mouth. My knees are bruised, my legs strained. The prevalence of dry sensations. My skin is smeared with crystallized droplets of petrified sweat and blood. The pain makes me smile a little easier. Here I lie, motionless. The morning dew clouds my view, entagled in a strange dance of bright haze. In the midst a man much like me, much of me, a reflection yet more so. He rejects to note the thin veil of my staggering hubris. My petty woe is met with oversight, and rightly so. Words are extinct and thoughts shall follow. Presence within and beyond presence. Where there was once defiance in my eyes, a strange dead calm now resides, and takes precedence. Whether it is serenity, surrender or stagnation, I cannot tell.

There is a stone in my hand. A hard form for a seemingly hard man, soft in all the wrong places. In all the finest places. You could spend a lifetime looking for the openings, but here their appearance relies on happenstance. This anger stems from such bizarre qualities it's easily misunderstood as indifference, arrogance even, rarely leading curiosity to anywhere but further away. But there you have it, there you have this man-like figure. A jester of absolute truths in a deceptively unambiguous guise, nailed by his feet at a crossroads, issuing another ponderous and futile attempt at guiding you forward with words perceived as misleading. This unfathomably upfront figure before you can be no more than clever deception of course, thus your rapport must remain one of mutual caution. His form is cracked and misaligned in vulnerable places, giving apt opportunities for exploitation. Perhaps, then, it is equally plausable to assume he is apt at expoiting vulnerabilities found in others. Untrue, yet unsurprisingly an effortless leap of faith. Still, the jester he is and remains, easily invaded. By the good-hearted or the ill-willed - it makes no difference. The tissue is exposed and begs to be punctured.

There is a stone in my hand. Held high and ready to strike. Trying desperately to keep in line with two ferocious eyes darting across the room, evermore surrounded by foreboding shadows. What they hide, one never knows. Best to keep wary. Best to relinquish trust and extinguish love. Best to grip a final means of protection with white knuckles and bleeding palms until the fingers rot off and contentment can be found in failing to defend for one's self. Release through absolute forfeit. A subtle compromise between warring instincts for one so quick to flare and so easily burnt to ice. One who knows not when temperance is the key, regardless of whether the impulses it would tame were tender or malignant. One who dreads of being misconstrued, yet stands in its face daily.

There is a stone in my hand. Pressed hard against my chest, offering a cold casket for a raging heart in exile. Drowning out the beautiful noise to give way for the choking hands of silence to do their work. It was an obstacle buried in the dust, yet high enough to stumble upon. A petrified tongue for a mouth of quicksand. Its accompaniment a nagging voice sticking to the air, reminding me of overlooked foresight and how the leap before the look left its mark yet again. The humble pair of eyes wide and heart beating could never lead one through this terrain unscathed. A small rub nonetheless, one that will eventually disappear into the bowels of the earth should I find the strength to release it from my grip. I can allow myself to believe in that much at least.

There is a stone in my hand. A swell of rage that makes me question the purity of each passing moment. A sliver of a shiver, sending a chill through my chest in the face of any kind of release or absolution. Release from the clutches of a burning heart and a fickle mind; absolution from the liquid fire that fills me as the breaking dawn exposes all the gnawed bones you've hidden in the darkness. I crave for both and desire neither from hour to pulsating hour, stagnant and stable in the fading mirror as my face becomes smoke and my name an echo. Remembrance lies cracked upon a broken altar strangled by overgrowth, a moribund god-head of yesterday and yesteryear. L'homme que j'étais, je ne le suis plus.

There is a stone in my hand. My hand is stone.


A midsummer night's dream

Her eyes pierce through the dark. The milk of black hues is no match for the ferocity in the gaze of this fine beast. I find myself weaponless. Her lips offer an escape, her tender skin a world beyond this world. A haven of impenetrable qualities, draped in bleeding sweat. I steal a kiss. We are in a place free of weight and tomorrows. A scarless safe haven trapped in but minutes and hours of bliss unbound. Every touch electrifies my spirit. I steal a kiss.

She has me at her mercy. Vulnerable and aware. A wolf by any other name, shielding its tongue with an angry snarl and jagged teeth. She defies my worry with but a tender touch. Here, I know only the excess of ferocious gratitude; to overpower by absolute relention. The burning inside grows to uncontrollable, unknown heights, into a boundless fire to disintegrate the world around us. The walls melt as the shadows swallow the light. The whispering wind forgets its talkative nature. I am nowhere else. No one but the man in your arms. This is all and everything.

My fingers trickle like drops of burning water down your spine. I feel you shiver. We smile in secret from one another. Another secret to share. Do not move. Do not speak. This place is as deep as it is soft; as delicate as it is fragile. Succumb to the tickle and the tingle. Be forever devoid of words and allow this moment to pass without description.

Yet I am a poet. Never without words, never without elaboration. Never without a song in my head. Under constant threat of ruining many a beautiful and delicate thing by overexposure. But you know this as an afterthought, as a foreboding flash of things to come and no more, for in this place of disappearance and succulence there is but skin upon skin. Oceans of truth behind the smallest of gestures. Your eyes against mine, the combat of raging breaths escaping through opposing smiles. Our hearts in fierce tandem.

Rapture finds me without a fist to shake in its face. Words are lost in a maze of scents and sensations as spit becomes fuel and sighs build to a thunderous roar. You exhale with a whimper as your trembling body yields under my hand. In turn, I yield before all that is beautiful in this ugly world. In another place this moment will never end. It will play on and play on without end as the needle jumps back insistently, with defiant determination.

The air is heavy and wet, yet effortlessly we twirl it around our intertwined fingers. You are all too soft and tender to devour, so drop by drop, trickle by trickle, I will drink you. Drain you until you are mine. For tonight and forevermore, until the dawn looms and to the end of days. Before the bell chimes its final toll and after we've become nothing but sand and dirt. For whatever it is worth in the annals of time after time: no one can ever take this away.

Well, damn. Good morning.



There is a fresh breeze blowing through. It has a sting, a bite, which gives it even more allure. It is uplifting and perhaps a bit deceptive. Playful. I'd rather give it the chance to knock me down than deny it passage.

I have this ritual I undertake every time I get on an airplane. As it is taking off, I look out the window and let serenity wash over me. A sobering sensation. My mind filled with nothing but the best of moments and the most impactful of people. Of times when all was liquid fire and the masks melted off our faces. Of light, uninterrupted and uncontrollable light. Then I embrace the feeling of helplessness, recognizing my reach of control to be nonexistent should steel and earth meet at lethal velocity. I make the pact to leave this world with levity, with my soul in joyous uproar, should the journey beyond flesh come to pass. It is a rainbow of emotions one should come to enjoy on a daily basis, if not more often.

Scars be damned. I grow tired of ambiguity. Tired of flying low in my thoughts and disallowing the world to surprise me. Perhaps this oasis is but a mirage, but I will never know for sure unless my lips touch the water's edge. We will all pass through these moments and over piles of bodies on our way to a better tomorrow - the warmth of the day at hand will disappear unnoticed only if you let it. My skin is thick and in no need of constant shelter. Better to let it breathe. The risk is worth the gain.

This sea is a fickle beast. Harmonious yet quick to anger. Deep. Immensely deep. I'm glad to find myself charting its unknown reaches with an open mind, no matter how far I may drift without a compass or a base level sense of direction. My understanding and appreciation for my own crooked self is somewhat growing, and in turn, my understanding and appreciation towards others is on an equally ascending trajectory. My time is well spent, so I am well and spent. A lucky fool in spite of myself, becoming better at making distinctions; not all things under the sun are quips of great poetry. That doesn't make them any less heartfelt. They have value.

The impact of the iridescence within each day and night is twicefold if shared. The dark is perhaps a more inviting entity for all the comforts its sanctuary can offer, but the permeating black devours all colors in its wake. I don't really believe anyone gets me beyond face value, but perhaps they don't need to. It's not as if I make that easy. But there is joy. Honest eyes and good intentions, with at least a measure of common ground. It is enough.

Yet therein lies the rub. All that is good in my world often feels so fragile I have to fight the urge to step back from it to thwart the threat of shattering the surface with these clumsy digits or my sharp teeth. An emotional contact beyond skin and spit is a deterring notion for all the destructive qualities such a bond can wield. So I backtrack. I put beautiful things upon pedestals and disappear from their presence. They can't fall to pieces if I'm gone. Granted, that's not a very fruitful way of embracing the world around you, but it serves me well enough for the time being. Tenderness within distance, in your honor.

All of this could end in a heartbeat. Every construct could burn down with but a spark. I am every bit as fickle as these seas I'm charting, but mindful and cautious of my volatile nature. Of the power of this burning heart. The flame is savage and unpredictable, but a source of immense warmth and illumination when controlled by sweeter impulses. I try to remind myself of that daily. I try to be mindful of the quiet words I recite to myself as the plane leaves the runway.

Be glad, be thankful, be at ease.


The gentle art

I wrote a long, well-structured and beautifully astute entry about very good things. Staring at the completed text resulted in a very rare exclamation from yours truly: that's actually pretty good. Ironic, then, that I am so hesitant to publish it. Even the most eloquent material with the purest of intentions has the potential to darken the skies when matters of the heart are concerned, so I'll refrain.

Instead, then, I will speak of other good things. The gentle art of release.

As noted time and time again, there is a very substantial structure of hard to characterise principles and animalistic intuition that guides me from dawn to dusk to dawn. I don't really operate on logic or base my actions on some sort of pros/cons deduction. I go on instinct and something others might call faith. With this whimsical direction, I often misstep. But when the foolhardy nature of this ol' heart o' mine is met with welcome and likeminded output from kindred spirits, it is impossible not to feel nurtured. My lungs feel empty and my heart beats with a wild rhythm. A joyful kind of bewilderment; directionless and free. Letting the fire inside breathe through candid, unrestrained dialogue has that effect. Just to think of it makes me smile so wide I now need to remove myself from the keyboard for a moment and just, well, be. One sec.

Still I falter. Whatever stems from the recesses of this heart is often buried under discord and contradictory statements. Muted shorthand with glaring omissions, uttered in frenetic morse code. Take the sporadic and surprising regurgitation of a backhandedly dishonest thing to a person of note this very day. I immediately felt so very foul. I said I wanted something, knowing fully well it would be rejected, but the truth is I uttered it out of some sort of stumbling courtesy. A strange kind of jewel of truth wrapped in a white lie to remind someone who matters that they do indeed matter. Probably wasn't the smartest move in the handbook. But to know me intimately is to know good intentions hidden in a haze of minced words. I am at home in the smoke, a gentleman - a gentle man - concerned mostly with the fishing of pearls from the murky waters. To the untrained eye it might seem as if I were trying to drown myself.

The cold truth cannot be overlooked, however. This home doesn't feel like a home and no place feels particularly welcoming, which tells you one thing: I have nothing inside to share beyond the warmth I feel for all those who deserve it. But in the dark I am alone, without the slightest desire for company. I am balanced and harmonious with whatever this madness inside is, but to anyone else peering in for a closer look, I would be but a broken mirror. A paradox wrapped in skin, ego and attitude. I live among ruins and recognize each stone and pebble, enjoying a very tangible sense of coherency in this broken place, but I can't imagine anyone else viewing down upon the debris and seeing the logic.

But I feel good. Empty and whole, drained and rejuvenated. A shared freefall and a revelation or two go a long way to imbue a sense that not all connections are trivial. That not all words and actions are but pieces of driftwood heading towards the edge of the waterfall. Perhaps there's a bit of humiliation simmering in the pot, stemming from misreading signals and sending out some mismatched missives of my own, but it's a humorous kind of shame. Like letting a stinky one rip in an elevator and someone steps in with you. Hard not to smile like an idiot.

Still, there is a strange icy quality permeating through the faces and vistas I pass by. Even when the facade of disregard dissipates momentarily, much of what is exposed is internal and impossible for others to deduct. It probably says more about my current mindset than anything else, but this feeling of detachment is growing on me. I feel mild discomfort no matter where I am, but dare I say it feels almost... enjoyable? Fitting? A tingle only the pariah could enjoy when exposed in the crowd? I couldn't really say. Perhaps I'm merely coming to terms with my seclusion - that being a much broader concept than you might initally think - or perhaps I'm merely falling into tune with how poorly I fit into any and all schemes. For all the scars it has wrought, perhaps this trait does indeed deserve to be celebrated.

Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?
- Whitman


Lizard skin

I thought long and hard whether or not to publish this disjointed entry at all. As it stands, it's a rather far cry from anything coherent; rather, an amalgamation of sporadic, splintered internal dialogue over a vast amount of time. A fairly one-sided affair; a dark counterpart to balance those much appreciated rays of light that do in fact permeate my life as well. Take it as such.

These walls shapeshift from a fortress to a prison and back. They echo with familliar voices and hide familliar faces in the dark corners. Beautiful things creep from the shadows on all fours, whispering foul truths, taunting me. I snarl and spit at the mirror, paint a cynical grin on my lips and sow my mouth shut. Ready for another day.

I leave this sanctuary with an attitude that used to be far more optimistic. As it fades, I find myself losing touch with pieces I've considered essential to the polyptych that comprises yours truly. In some way I suppose I'd like to give myself at least the freedom to dream, but the decision not to let that bullshit factory on my shoulders take the reigns is a healthier one. The world is grey, bleak and ill-spirited, its occupants likewise, so outside and within, I will be a mirror for the monochrome landscape surrounding me. A face in the crowd, a burning soul covered by ice-cold skin. My eyes flaccid and my words vague. I will adapt.

I honestly don't like myself very much in this mindset nor am I particularly proud of the way I've behaved towards certain people, but it's a better alternative to hearing my skin tear. My imagination takes flight, but I catch it mid-ascent, rip out its tongue mid-sentence and leave it lying on the floor without a chance to fill my field of vision with its rainbow hues. If this is what I need to do to survive, so be it. My temperature will keep falling to sustain me in this climate. I will adapt.

Collisions in darkness. Some are good, most are irrelevant. People I've never met before probe me as strange beasts are often probed. Questions are left unvoiced, but I know they're there. Behind smirks laced with shallow curiosity. Expressions of cautious interest buried behind nervous laughter. Don't worry if it fades. We probably won't remember one another in the aftermath. I made an impact. So what. I still sleep alone.

I've poured maggots into my wounds, grinding my teeth as they devour the pus one drop at a time. I bleed cleaner, but before you stands a hollow man. Eaten out. The blood flows freely, but my heart rate is borderline comatose. I've worked too hard to let you tear these wounds open again. Still, I know I would let you do it in a heartbeat, should my defenses fall. Should I have any reason to believe it were worth it. Even for a second. I would give you that chance.

My eyes don't lie, and I know you'll see every ounce of the fire inside if I let it shine through. No one wants it and no one can handle it, or at least that's what I keep telling myself. So I'll care for you and about you behind the curtain, hoping you'll never notice. My outward face will be cold, detached, dismissive. I'll hide my eyes and swallow my words, giving you the opportunity to return the favor. To be cold and detached, to dismiss me. Believe it or not; it's for your benefit. Because isn't that better for the both of us? Better for everyone? To keep every emotion muted and under wraps? Perhaps. Whatever logic resides behind my actions, its machinations come clear only after the fact. I was better equipped to keep people close yesterday than today, better still the day before.

Either way, there is a very clear disconnect between what I want and how I express it. Much like there is a rift between having at least a measure of genuine feelings for someone and the way I let them know it. That being ass backwards. I like you, so I'll punch you in the face and steal your Barbie.

And the fact that I am aware of this? Hoo-fucking-ray. It changes nothing, because the ruleset remains unaltered. The playing field would be just as convoluted without this tidbit of obtuse perception. I'm hungry for a connection and starving for something below the surface, but it's all face value and skindeep girth. People can be so scared of candour I want to stab them to see if they bleed fluff. Give them but a glimpse of something more profound and watch them regress into infancy. They're out of their depth with just a toe in the water. But it's cool. Whatever, man, whatever. Rock & roll.

I'm dissuaded by the threat of being disappointed before it even comes to pass. Unwittingly and unwillingly I push people away before they have a chance to do the same. Disappearing from their view is becoming second nature. I am in an alien place within and without, unable to trust anyone with anything, because everyone is full of lies. It's all wordplay, misdirection, twinkly toes and cowardice. There is no place for me in your world. No place for you in mine. Still I wander, searching.

Even small islands of momentary breathers are subject to the whims of the waves. Someone, I forget who, muses on the things we tend to let slip through our fingers, how it's a fear response via the desire for self-preservation, yet leaves us wanting and often even more vulnerable. I nod with a visage of understanding, gripping my jaw as I refrain from retorting how apt I am in this field. My experience in letting things slip is formidable. It is where I excel.

A true magnate of misdirection, I respond to warmth by letting instinct overtake me in the blink of an eye. My skin is thick and slippery, my movement fast and precise. I evade. With each passing day I fade further into the shadows. My face towards you, eyes locked, ever smiling, I am backing away from you. This detachment tends to register as nothing out of the ordinary, as my masquerade seems to fool most into thinking we're of the same species. That we share a common tongue. If only it were so.

Still, I know much of this is on me. I am inconsiderate to the point of parody, as it is never willful. It is in hindsight when I realize who or what was trampled on. The blood on my boots is always dry by the time I notice it. The fact that I do notice it is beside the point. It is superfluous insight. Nothing to write home about. The fact that I can identify this pattern of incidental indiscretion from a wealth of past experience makes me even more of a fool. A slave to nothing, yet bound by so many fears.

Tell her, comes a whimper from something lying on the floor. Keep at least one door open before they're all sealed shut. I rise to my feet and dig my heel into its soft flesh. I place a hand on its mouth firmly and respond with one resounding, resolute word.



Nights in a city of glass

Sometimes I catch myself wondering if and how much the past six months have changed me. So many things learned, relearned and reorganized. Two thirds of my life's building blocks thrown into a cement mixer with a fickle mind. It spits out one thing or another when the mood happens to strike, often with no warning. The amount of intake and outpour is quite a spectacle.

There I am, there I go, the self-proclaimed man of clay with bits and pieces ripped off and tacked on with alarming regularity. Fresh off another wipedown of my not-so-shining-anymore armor, inked with another new set of cuts and dents. That armor has lost much of its luster, but it still has strength and presence. An ample target, no doubt. My robes are torn and my sword got stuck in its sheath a long time ago, but I refuse to discard these tattered trinkets. They are quite integral, though sometimes even I make the mistake of labeling them a nuisance.

With the assumed role of an observer, I take to watching people on the prowl. A strange dance. Friends and lovers who don't deserve to be called either. Awkward yet methodical steps around one another's trust and respect, disgusting self-deceit to justify personal fulfillment, a constant mismatch of cravings leading shadowed faces to exclaim: this will do. Desire wrapped in a very ugly package. I mirror what I see against my own modus operandi. The end result has a tendency to make me feel sick. People are dogs. Soft to the touch yet violently unpredictable. Selfish beasts of paradox, scared and confused. I'm trying to be something else. Statistically I must be successful at least on occasion.

People have their agendas and are quick to trample over one another to reach whatever they're striving towards. I'm too weary to mind the former and too wary not to be expecting the latter, yet caught off-guard surprisingly often. Some unforeseen occurrence draws me into an equally unforeseen chain of events. Eyes meet and heartbeats go from tick to thump. It sparks something inside, but I'm a bit too fargone to succumb to delusions, no matter how grandiose. My immediate impulse is to tie my tongue and walk away before a glass wall breaks. Before the stem sprouts thorns. But I can't. I'm so preoccupied with being Mr. Nice Guy I forget how easily things go tits up when you expressly strive for the opposite. Things sort themselves out accidentally or by sheer luck of the draw. Rarely for the best, though that's mere assumption.

But let it be said that I am no one's fool if not my own. I've noticed that I have grown a bit of a habit of painting myself up as some sort of stick figure adhering to Charlie Chaplin's immortal Tramp; accident-prone and warm-heartedly mischevous, but never guided by ill will. Duckwalking from one whoopsie to the next. But you can't blame the balcony for the fall if you're the one constantly dangling over the edge. I may be a stick figure to most people - many of whom seem to never grow tired of marveling at my musical exploits or this journal, for example, and how nothing melds fluently with their cardboard cut-out concept of who I am - but one would assume I'd know better. Perhaps I'm delusional after all.

A girl with angel eyes faintly glistening with well-hidden optimism listens to my stories and calls me naive. Her voice has a touch of frost, but the punctuation has a sweet undertone. It signifies a measure of understanding, though perhaps somewhat reserved. I do not miss a beat in joining her exclamation in delightfully bittersweet unison. We continue to uphold the harmony with a shared laugh, though both refrain from pulling a veil over the tones of cynisism shadowing our joint vocalization. A rare stroke of honesty or an act akin to giving up? You decide. I'm out of mental juice, tired of thinking about thinking, passively content in conducting another vain exploration of what I want by dragging my droopy eyes across the floor. Passionately unfulfilled.

I tell her I'm damaged goods and laugh, forgetting that such a punchline doesn't really serve its purpose as a deterrent when fact is draped in humor. But at least it's poignant. Or... at least I hope it is? Because I am, you know. Fubar. A point well worth noting.

Later, I find myself enveloped by some Hollywood rendition of romance. My guise is that of gleeful detachment, at least at first. Scenes flow from one to the next and I begin to recognize more than my fair share of lines from the poetry in motion on display. The two people kiss each other so passionately it has a whisper of desperation. Enough fervor to make mountains crumble. They latch onto one another like drowning people hugging a piece of driftwood. The joyless in me wants to dismiss such sights as melodramatic and proportionless, but I know they're not. I remember sensations like that. Moments when the world disappeared. I remember. Faintly and from a distance, yes, but still.

I half-jokingly told a friend that I seem to be inflicted with some sort of emotional shortcoming that expressly prohibits me from reaching any measure of happiness, yet it simultaneously imbues my desire to continue the search for such a state with neverending vigor. A true Catch 22 if there ever was one. Again, the punchline would fare better if not hindered by a factual backbone.

To another friend I retorted a piece of internal dialogue one succumbs to in the late/early hours of the looming dawn. While looking for one thing you mistake something else as its tail and in the process become even further entangled in the machinations down the rabbit hole. Something about misshapen desires and a pair of overly eager feet ready to pounce towards a light shining in the night. Might be a beacon or the glint of a predator's eye - you'll never know until you step out to find out. To my recollection I phrased it quite well, so I'll refrain from reiterating too much, as to not spoil it.

Still, the principle has substance and sustenance. There is an idea behind that which is formless; an encrypted manuscript. A voice as loud as it is incoherent. Blinding stabs of white noise born from desire without direction.

The wolf howling at the moon for he knows of nothing else, then? Perhaps. At least for now. At least for tonight.


Blood inside

Rarely have I felt as adrift.

And I had such a good run there for a while, despite the little sandbox dramas that flared up from time to time. It was good. Things happened, feces and fans found one another and everything was vibrant. I liked the fevered pace and the feeling of not knowing what'll happen next. A surprisingly addictive way of toddling through the days, though mostly in hindsight. A different kind of disappearance at sea.

Carefree is another word for inconsiderate, I admit, but it sure beats playing the patsy. Like a lovestruck child, I've allowed myself to be overpowered by the desire for a human touch at the expense of my own integrity and pride. This form of vulnerability is alien to me, yet it hasn't stopped me from opening myself up for a few brand new puncture wounds. I'd like to say my habit of sticking my neck out is a quality worthy of praise - nay, I'd like to think that. But it's not. It's stupid. Stoo-peed.

There is a melody playing in my head, but I'm trying to do it justice by thumping the keys with boxing gloves on. My heart is planted on my sleeve as firmly as ever, but it sways my stride and makes me lose touch and tempo. It makes me unpredictable.

I express myself with the subtlety of a pink battleship as I stumble over my own tongue to get from here to the next disharmonious moment. Being passionate and being restrained has become somewhat of a barren land peppered with pitfalls of tension, awkwardness and stuttering punctuation. It's ground I'm traversing through with idiot savant efficiency like a headless chicken let loose onto a minefield. I don't know where I'm going, but the journey sure could be a bit less of a walk of shame. Well, at least there's consistency.

One would imagine that if your heart isn't exactly in pristine condition, it wouldn't come as such a surprise when the person you've exposed it to begins to backtrack in unison with your advance. There is logic there, symmetry even. I should be able to see it. But no. Deep down I expect the action itself to warrant a favorable outcome, because deep down I live in a fantasy land where candour is rewarded for its own sake. Where the word Veritas tattooed on my arm has absolute, resounding relevance. Where the birds sing and the heavens shine as gems of truthfulness escape my lips. But my timing is off. I'm in the wrong key. I'm the village idiot mumbling through Danny Boy, none the wiser.

It's ironic. I'm becoming more and more cautious in social situations and surprisingly substantial parts of me have fallen under lock and key - a development I'm honestly very sad about - yet it doesn't seem to deter me from donning the crown of a most royal fuck-up whenever the opportunity should arise. And believe you me, such opportunities seem to present themselves like an overgrowth of weeds in an untended garden.

I exhale, words appear, something becomes exposed. A small shock overtakes me. My immediate impulse is to swallow every syllable back into my lungs and undo the fact that I've just rendered myself skinless. Instinct takes over and I forget the world isn't all flesh and teeth. The facade is better, because the truth is violent. Antagonistic. It steals the sound from your mouth and punches the gusto from your gut. If it's all the same, I'd rather spare you the torment. And in doing so, spare myself of... other things.

That's the theory anyway. Practice? Well... See the headless chicken analogy above. I have a strange craving for companionship, to understand and be understood, yet I'm growing increasingly terrible at expressing it. It's nearly comedic.

My eyes dart nervously around the room as I attempt to escape my own mind, hungry for yet another round of rewinding and reenactment. Thanks, I retort, but I already lived through the embarrassment and discord. No need for a rerun. But I can't help myself. A cold spike begins its advance up my spine and we are underway. The buffoon revels in the memories of his botched performances upon the soiled stage, bringing the proceedings to a close with a quiet monologue of having nothing to show for it all, least of all wisdom.

I'll manage of course. Find a way for all the pieces to fit. I always do. There are more than enough vessels at my disposal for me to express and expose without expressing and exposing. Much like I'm doing right now. I need to do this not to implode. I understand that now. I see it in a different, harsher light than before. A colder truth, but also brighter. Purifying one's internal clockwork isn't a science but an art - which, I assume, is why creativity is its most effective form - and you can never know what else you'll wash away in the process, but I'm quite sure I'll still recognize myself as I pop out from the other end. The real question is whether or not this search can be completed alone. I'm not exactly sure that's the case.

Having put it like that, I'm suddenly less bewildered by these appetites. I'm missing something. That entails the desire to search. A quiet touch of something genuine, without trade. Something real from someone real, someone who isn't terrified of bearing a bit too much without being silenced by fear or restraint. Something I can call both shared and mine, mutually inclusive.

Yeah. Something like that.


The anatomy of cowardice

To be honest, I don't really want to write this down, yet I feel I must. Better out than in, as they say.

Some time ago I had a very brief, very carnal relationship with a lady who happened to be the former girlfriend of a guy I know. The fling had very little impact on anything and we parted ways after no more than an eyeblink. Yet because of little else than the desire to instigate worthless drama on the part of the other players, I've had to deal with a myriad of bullshit and bad blood for weeks because of this little stroll down flesh avenue. I suppose these people have such boring lives they feel justified in trying to spice up the tedium by going completely overboard on the emotional front.

The manchild in question has now upped the ante on this farce and my blood is boiling. Things have escalated to the point where this petulant, spineless little waste of flesh is doing his hardest to blacklist me in the eyes of our shared circle(s) of friends. His modus operandi for accomplishing this? By lying his ass off.

I assume he feels I had a part to play in the dissolution of his relationship, which is completely untrue. Regardless, he continues to dwell on me with incredible persistence, trying to bullshit his way into the head of anyone who will listen. He appears to be able to completely ignore the fact that I've made it painstakingly clear I want(ed) no part in the private affairs of this duo - even when one half of it wanted to break her promise of fidelity. My conscience is clear. Hers isn't.

In spite of this, the gent in question is trying to avenge some fabricated transgression he believes I'm guilty of by acting like a complete buffoon. The most ridiculous aspect is his attempts to undermine me by voicing rather stumbling backstab attempts to people who have far stronger ties to yours truly than this little pity magnet. His attempts to maintain a facade of him being a victim could've held up, I suppose, had he not resorted to dirty tactics right off the get-go. Perhaps his naivety has prohibited him from realizing that those very people he's been trying to poison would inform me about this person's spewage of vicious lies straight away. For a while there I found it little more than pathetic and thought no more of it, but when he decided to start involving other people in his fairytales, my well of sympathy and empathy ran dry in a heartbeat.

I had a unique experience with a certain girl some time ago, unique for me anyway, one I've written about many times. Uplifting one moment and embarrassing the next, things reached a boiling point of sorts and finally simmered down and faded into oblivion. I won't deny that my handling of the events was rather chaotic, even juvenile at times, but it served as a learning experience. I'm sad it ended the way it did, but what I've taken away from that is the five minutes of smiles and shared sanctuary. It is something that is mine and mine alone, a faintly glimmering jewel of a handful of joyful moments hidden deep in the back of my mind. No one has business commenting or speculating about it aside from the two people involved. End of discussion.

But when someone whose involvement in my private affairs is completely nonexistent drags my personal relationships - in this instance, particularly the one transcribed above - into his little web of lies designed to undermine my very essence and pour vitriol upon my persona for a measure of petty revenge, my cup runneth over. And for what? To paint a picture of me as some sort of insidious boogeyman out to rape and pillage other people's happiness? The absurdity of all this is overwhelming.

I still have strong feelings toward this lovely temptress and the fact that someone would try to piss on my shoes by attacking her integrity is below any and all standards in my book. The very thought of this spineless coward lying through his teeth about affairs he has no true knowledge of fills me with such wrath I need to steel myself not to punch holes in the walls. Never mind the fact that I've been nothing but a friend to this little bastard and that his imaginary escapades of seeing me as some sort of instigator of his personal problems is completely unfounded, the fact that he dared to drag people I hold in high regard into this mess of bitterness and lies offends me to my very core. They deserve better than that. So do I.

I don't enjoy harboring ill will towards anyone or wallowing in negativity. I don't like myself in this mindset, as anger has a funny way of narrowing one's view to the width of a needle's eye. I'm trying to take the high road by basically wiping this person's existence from my mind and ignoring him altogether. I can only hope that will be the only course of action I need to take.


Lion in winter

While you might not think it to look at me, I'm quite possibly the most optimistic poor sod you're ever likely to meet. Not one to comment on the glass as half-full, but rather someone who peers through the haze of adversity and disappointment with the mindset that something good will come of this. I approach, endure and leave every situation with the underlying assumption that it will work itself out for the best in the end, because after all, I'm never driven by any other force than the desire for the best possible outcome. How could this marriage of piety, auspiciousness and faith ever fail?

Insert laugh track here.

Still, this naive belief functions as the propulsion that keeps me moving from this day to the next, even though I fight not to let it transform into a concious thought with tooth and nail. It exists as the frayed edges around my view of the world. I expect the universe to meet candour halfway and reward purity of thought, even if my actions are sometimes worhty of little more than a slap on the wrist. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if I'm really just pissing into the wind and mistaking the spatter on my face as a gentle offshore breeze.

Admitting such face value naivety makes me shiver first, then smile. This is who I am. For better or worse, this is it.

Unfortunately recent times have forced me to question if I've been foolish enough to once again put a considerable amount of time and effort - not to mention heart and soul - into ventures that will, ultimately, wither away into obscurity and leave me counting the days I could've spent working on something other than sand castles. I'd like to kid myself that every loose end will ultimately find a purpose, but that's hardly realistic. Expectations have been imposed upon me as a sort of ultimatum, filling the dead air with negativity and halting the advance of creative freefalling, something I consider an essential lifeline for any worthwhile undertaking. This has inspired me to yet again weigh my options with a heavy heart while trying very hard not to instinctively resort to my worn-out party piece - abandoning yet another collaborative endeavor. Yet I keep wondering how I'm supposed to prove myself to warrant a leap of faith in others without having to break my back to instill faith in that it's an exercise with merit.

Such foolish notions should have little power over me, as I'm far more self-reliant than most creative minds in my position and collaborations tend to be more of a welcome diversion from enterprises closed off to others. Yet this fresh set of visionary clashes has confused my compass enough to leave me spinning in circles for the time being. I know it is but an eyeblink in time, a blot of ink on the canvas as it were, yet I can't restrain my thoughts from wandering and question if I was simply too blinded by a desire to succeed to realize the futility of the effort. I tend to grow quite angry at myself if and when the cold shower of wasted time washes over me and hindsight transforms into a finger pointing at the undersigned for not picking up the signal sooner.

Peering back to make sense of the greater scheme, I feel I might've tied my hands with the rope of an illusion of setting very restrictive bounds for my creativity for the betterment of the end result. The truth being something of a mirror image of said perceived achievement. A bittersweet revelation; one that hides the wisdom it has to offer very, very well. I've been down this road before and confess to being none the wiser as to what kind of lesson I'm expected to learn. Ego has a part to play, I suppose, but I've never picked up the guitar or pen to glorify myself and I would never admit to having made creative decisions on the basis of pride alone.

As a strange counterforce, experiences like this serve as reassurance and strong reminders of why my best work has always stemmed from a singular, uncompromising vision with very little breathing room for anyone else's voice. It's a lonely existence and not without its daily challenges, but I wonder: could anything else truly be as fulfilling?

My fingers caress the fretboard and I feel her skin on my fingertips. She is equal parts flesh and smoke, a mirage of a living human being. My concentration shatters into pieces with but a thought of that smile. I get lost in her eyes. I laugh, shake off the visions with a shrug and convince myself yet again that allowing myself to revel in such imagery is a complete and utter mistake with no redeeming quality. And that, my friends, is indeed the inconvenient truth. A romantic mirror image of the creative whitewash I've just transcribed. She fills my thoughts and my hands fly wildly from side to side like I'm trying to kill a wasp. Away with you!

These are strange times. Everything flows into a great big pot of strange surprises, draining setbacks and happy accidents, making it an impossibility to distinguish between each ingredient and how they contribute to the end result. Trying to be pragmatic or philosophical about it is like asking the boat's anchor what its take on the nature of the storm is as the rain sweeps over the ship.

It can get quite taxing on one's psyche when the good and bad intertwine to the point where it's a delightfully fruitless exercise in hit-or-miss to even begin pondering what to take away from all of this. I am a hopeless explorer of hidden enlightenment and revelations, as my internal clockwork is wholly incapable of processing such patterns as shit happens. Yes, I am indeed very much aware of this, torn only between calling it a quality or flaw.

Often I forget if I am supposed or expected to play the protagonist, antagonist or simply an extra in a given situation, not to mention if my intended role was the one I ended up playing. Hard to explain and I'd imagine it's even harder to understand. I'm paraphrasing as usual, mainly because I'm more wary than ever of accidentally disclosing any information that has the potential to backfire in any way whatsoever. I can't change people's exuberant willingness to misinterpret, draw misshapen conclusions and find excuses to get offended, so I'll rather just keep my tongue on a short leash.

I won't deny that it would be a welcome change for things to unfold in a slightly less dramatic manner, if for nothing else than for the sake of variety. It does keep things in fluent motion broken by the occasional abrupt turn, which I suppose is a positive note. Disharmony is an enticing entity, very vibrant. Still, the occasional downward slope would do wonders to break the monotony of this constant uphill stride. My legs are getting tired.

But I didn't choose this path to scour away for even a momentary breather. Though more strength and resolution is demanded of me than I could've anticipated, I am grateful for the barrage. It is a sobering thought to realize how thick your skin truly is when the rocks start flying.


Destroyer of worlds

I close my eyes and see myself standing on a shoreline. The gentle whispers of the ocean encircle and envelop me, only to turn into ferocious screams that tear the skin from my flesh. My form is broken, yet I remain. Foaming spears of staggering rage turn into mysterious shapes of slumbering beauty in an instant. Then back again. I smile. Knowing this world has so many uncharted depths big enough to swallow each of us is not only fascinating; it is comforting.

Someone smiles. A serpent's tongue between crooked teeth. Stay away.

Setbacks are piled upon one another, to the point where I no longer know which slap has left the most enduring ache. Though I suppose it doesn't really matter anyway. I'm a lonely pin dead set in the middle of the aisle, the rumbling sound of the approaching bowling ball the only assurance that I'm still standing. After all, otherwise I couldn't be torn down. Fists raised, I back into a corner - only to realize there is no corner to cower in and my heels are pushing pebbles down another gaping maw behind me. There is no release.

The uneasy silence is broken by a bellowing noise of something crumbling down and disintegrating. I question myself at every turn. Each decision and aspiration is under constant, skewed scrutiny. My sleep is shallow, filled with dreams of betrayal under masques of friendly faces. I awake unrested and high-strung, awaiting confrontation. My hands shake with rage. Eventually something will give.

I paint faces on my mistakes and swallow down failure with a bitter smirk. I catch myself swimming in the memory of some recent collision I wasn't wise enough to dodge and my lungs expel a dry heave of a laugh. My glass is empty, so I spit in it. Blood. Hit me again. I dare you.

I reminisce about moments of shared sanctuary only to discover shadows of deception previously unnoticed. The man in the mirror begs me to learn from this.

My voice grows softer with every ounce of distrust and disdain amassing inside. I strive to be a greater mannequin of manners with every cold shiver of misantrophy, each stronger than the last. Distance drains my vocabulary one word at a time and I resort to instinctual communication. Such that leaves no discernable imprint and I can exit the situation without leaving a trace.

Perhaps I'm being tested.

This is why there is music in my life. Why a poet's words can pierce my heart. Why a mere whiff of uninhibited imagination allows me to grow wings. Why nothing is ever as fulfilling as bearing my soul through a lonely microphone. Why every note and melody brings forth colors and shapes behind my eyes.

It's why Wagner and Mussorgsky have the power to dismantle and rebuild me like a tattooed monster of Frankenstein. Why I need an hour or two to recover after hearing Colonel Kurtz's monologues in Apocalypse Now. Why Matthew Good's Weapon, The Black League's Winter Winds Sing, Massive Attack's Live With Me and Triptykon's My Pain hinder my ability to speak as my view becomes blurred by the beauty of their faces in my mind's eye. Why Thoreau's Walden makes my smile grow wide and my eyes water. Why I sometimes melt into the shadows just to enjoy the ringing sound of friends' laughter. Why I'm always surrounded by guitars.

Creativity. The one singular, sanctified, impenetrable essence no one can steal, quench or quell. It is mine.

I am no more its slave than it my servant. Neither needs to break their back to service the other, yet we are intertwined and inseparable to a sometimes painful degree. Our bond is forged by the most mysterious and elusive form of togetherness - we keep one another breathing.


Try and try again

I don't owe you an explanation. A strangely dangerous exclamation.

You have no idea who I truly am. A truth many seem to find hurtful, even though it's by no means my aim. It is something that could be remedied, but I suppose it's easier to take it as some sort of backhanded insult, embrace it bitterly and continue to uphold and maintain this fact. Still, I never utter such things with any other motive than being truthful (albeit to a naive degree; of this I am well aware). I realize I'm not the most eloquent or sensitive bastard when it comes such things, but the ensuing war of attrition tends to be something I'm never really prepared for. I suppose people think I'm more mean-spirited than could ever be true. A defense mechanism of sorts? I'll never know for sure.

Why do you care? A question I voice without innuendo or subtext, generally because I don't really have an agenda shadowing my output. Rarely if ever do I use window dressing to mince my words into a more easily digestible form. It's a strength as much as a flaw. If the question passes my lips, it does so with blue-eyed candour, never receiving the same in return. It is seen as a statement, even though I never think of it in such a way. Goes to show what an emotional tourist I can be, I s'pose.

Fight the urge. My mantra of late. Exercising self-restraint and listening to reason are furthest from my mind when all I want to do is let go, but the inescapable downpour far outweighs any potential rewards of following your instincts. True, it's not as fulfilling, but peace of mind is an invaluable commodity. And indeed rare. I'm trying very hard to steer clear of volatile situations, not to mention opportunities to stick my hand in the cookie jar. I'd like to kid myself that there would be no consequences, but I know better than that. Damn it, I do.

Walk away without a trace. A valiant effort for the sake of others when my warning lights begin to blink, but it never seems to come across in the way I intended. That old goblin of assumed declarations rears its ugly mug. These attempts are also rather susceptible to backfiring in surprising ways. Gems of dark humor; quite entertaining if you're not the punchline. But at least I'm trying.

It can't all be on you. Something I keep telling myself when one of the patterns above unleashes a snowball effect and all I can do is hold on for dear life. I'm honestly none the wiser why people can't let things be. Even less privy to why so many situations feel like I'm surrounded by fuses and my lap is full of liquid fire. Sooner or later a droplet will fall.

Tread softly, tread downwind. The few times I find myself in the company of others nowadays seem to be doomed to derail into a spectacle of weaponized wordplay, broken bonds and surprise attacks. Perhaps I lack the foresight to see them coming, or perhaps I am indeed losing touch with the most elementary of social skills. Still, calling these eventual and inevitable results unsettling is a contender for understatement of the year. The end result? I can speak only for myself. Emptiness.

Don't give them more ammunition. One of the more potent reasons why the undersigned isn't exactly the most open gent is because I know that divulging personal information grants others access to weak points. My weak points. I wish I could say I trust people close to me to not act in such a way, but as recent experiences have shown yet again, such notions would be little more than self-deceit. As for me, I don't go for the jugular. I simply won't. I can think of a million better ways of passing time than trying to wound someone with words, mostly because it's something I was once very skillful in. Now that the tables are irreversibly turned, such an attack always dazes me and is left to linger as a cloud of bewilderment over my head for days. I'm never ready for it. It makes every following attempt at sincerity that much harder. Something in me wishes to reiterate past yet fresh thoughtlings on echoes behind my back, but such uncomfortable revelations are in no need of rework and I'd rather spare myself the torment.

Grow cold. Detach. No. In spite of my sometimes overpowering instinct for self-preservation, at the end of the day I'd rather take the hits than shield myself from any situation with the potential to yield such an outcome. My life has changed dramatically in a short span of time, yet my surroundings - visitors and residents included - remain relatively unaltered. As a sum of its parts, then, it is indeed understandable how this can translate to communication breakdowns and even the disintegration of once shared common ground. Yet I must confess I'm trying to be a beacon of understanding for selfish reasons. Understanding is what I crave in return as well, though I certainly know I have a funny way of showing it. I'm simply tired of building fortifications when I'd rather try to find vigor in having the courage to be vulnerable even in the view of others. I don't want to feign strength like a wounded animal surrounded by predators.

Yet I wonder... what else is there to do?