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.