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

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

Who are you? I am dying to know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then again, perhaps not.

This is a strange place.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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