People Like Me

The stage

This is exactly the kind of poem I try not to write, because my English teacher told me not to, which sentiment I generally agree with. But this was on my mind, and chaotically experimental verse mostly woven from abstractions and lacking structure is how it wanted to come out. So…here we are! It’s called

 Silhouette

People Like Me

people like me are amazing
sometimes
I wish I was one of them
sometimes

they are bold and adventurous
I think
it’s true that people believe that I am
bold
and adventurous
I think
I know
that’s how they see me
I could be
wrong

but I’m not
wrong

I watch
sometimes I watch
this person, who is dynamic, witty
and absolutely full of
life
exudes from him like breath that’s
rich with energy so that others can breathe
it in
and they fill with life, too

I watch this person, I see other
people watching him, watching
me
too, I think, because I want
the life
he has, when other people are watching him

watching him dance

I hate to dance
it makes me feel self
conscious
of the effect I have on people
it makes me look
sometimes
amazing, and I wonder
who is this amazing person
and I wonder
that I know
other people wonder, too

because he is amazing
and I see him
dancing
is the hardest thing in the world for me
when I’m me, not the person
everyone else is watching
me
right now

watching him dance
with words

I live in verse and digital pen
but I
he
dances
dance
on the stage, and looking down
from the audience up at
me
too, I think, I want to be on the stage like
everything thinks
I already am

people like me are amazing
they captivate the room
I watch them
sometimes
I want to be one of them because
I’m not
not really

I’m scared and timid and utterly, endlessly limited
by
the way this isn’t occasional
it’s who I am, all the time
even if it’s not the character
on the stage

people like me are amazing
and it’s both ego
and truth
to say that people envy them
their energy

others think I’m one of them,
but I’m not
it’s just the stage
the people like me
the real ones
I envy them just like everyone else
because they aren’t scared
and I only look
like I’m not

but it does make me wonder
sometimes
I wonder if all of the people like me
who look like me
are like me
so scared of every little thing that is easy for probably every other person why can’t I just do this I’m so useless at everything because of my deficiencies and I’m so
envious of the person on stage
who isn’t them, but wears their face
and they wish
sometimes
that they were one of them
too

Advertisements

He Hates Ghosts

Old man on bus

 

I am feeling singularly uninspired today. At least, to write any stories. I’m feeling highly inspired to play video games. I tried a few things, and I looked at some prompts for writing various types of stories online, because sometimes those are helpful. When I ran into a list of horror prompts that included the following:

There is a priest who is a vampire

I decided that inspiration had gone to lunch, and I wouldn’t bother it. So here is a little poem about ghosts!*

He Hates Ghosts

We thought

we had a ghost

in the attic

with the noises

and the moaning

and the creaking of floorboards

at 3 in the morning

Finally, we got tired of it

and checked

and it turned out

it’s only Uncle Steve

and he hates ghosts

*It may not actually be about ghosts

The Good Spots

Sleeping cat

 

Amelia, with great poise, crawled up the roll top desk
and nestled, between the cable modem
and the wire of the bronze desk lamp

Then she look at me, and told me
in a casually transcendental moment
of lucidity and articulation
that as a cat, it is her job
to find all of the good places to rest
so that when the day comes,
for us all to lay down our heads
and sleep
we’ll know the good spots

I asked her, a bit alarmed
if that day was coming soon
if I should worry, if I should panic,
if I should settle my affairs

She stared a moment, unrushed,
then yawned, baring her teeth,
deadly, and gentle, in the way only deadly things can be gentle
and she said, who knows?
It may come soon, it may come later
it may be tomorrow, or it may never come
but it’s best to be prepared
just in case

Then she closed her eyes, in trust,
and fell asleep
And as I watched, I thought
that I probably would’t fit
in that place where she sleeps,
between the cable modem
and the wire of the bronze desk lamp
but it’s good to know it’s there
just in case

an apple in the bathroom

The Apple

 

 

an apple in the bathroom
a prose poem

 

There’s an apple. In the bathroom. It’s been there for a while.

Months. Maybe years. It can’t possibly be years. It feels like years. Things don’t change.

It hasn’t gone bad. It’s been cold. And apples have that way of lasting forever. Back in the day they used to put them in barrels.

Because they had a lot of barrels. And nothing better to do.

But the apples lasted.

It’s a little pitted. The apple. In the bathroom. It’s not rotten. But it’s a little pitted. I’ve seen apples. In the supermarket.

That were worse.

I won’t eat it. Not even to make applesauce. Because it’s been in the bathroom. For months. Maybe years.

That makes it dirty. Everyone understands that. It’s meaningless. But everyone understands it. I don’t have to explain.

It isn’t rotten. But I wouldn’t eat it. Even if it hadn’t been in the bathroom. It isn’t rotten. But it’s dead.

That happens to apples. They look fine but you bite into them and they have no flavor. Their sisters had flavor. But not this one. It looks fine but its spirit has fled, and took everything about it that matter. Only the pulp remains.

Sometimes I feel like that. Sometimes.

I think about throwing it out. At times I don’t because I know I would miss it. I don’t care about it but I would miss it because it’s in my life. Like when you break a mug that you never really liked. And you have more than enough mugs. But it’s sad because it was yours. Now it’s gone.

Or maybe I don’t throw it out because I don’t notice it. It isn’t anything. Trash turns to clutter turns to scenery. A stain on your wall that’s been there for nine months isn’t a stain. It’s texture. Why throw away a single leaf that’s fallen off a tree in autumn? There are so many more.

But mostly I can’t be bothered. On those certain days,¬†days when I have no flavor, even throwing out an apple is too much. Picking it up and chucking it to the bin is too much. I could do it. But it won’t matter. Why does it matter?

One day I’ll throw it out. Maybe because it finally decided to rot. But probably because I just want to. Some piece of glass will dislodge from my brain and the clutter will turn to mess. I won’t think the apple is interesting anymore. I won’t think it is beautiful just because it is there. Out of place. A goldfish in a slinky factory.

So I will throw it out. And I’ll feel accomplished because it’s been there for months. Maybe years. I’ll feel cleaner. I’ll feel triumphant.

Then, soon, I’ll feel sad. I won’t regret it. Not really. I don’t need an apple. In the bathroom.

But I’ll feel sad. Because it was there. Because it was mine. And then it was gone.

 

Tranquility, With Fur

Cooper, sleeping

 

It is difficult to meditate
when a nervous black kitty
uses this rare opportunity
of your tranquility
to leap onto your lap
press her wet nose against your hands
curled into their mudra
and pushes her bony feet
into your thighs
in a restless attempt
to get comfortable

But once she settles down
purring
into a pile of shadow colored fur
and whiskers
with an uncomplicated contentment
rarely found
in the frantic frenzy of human thought
outside of the shade of the Bodhi tree

It is easy to know
that this moment is flawless
and it is easy to feel
with the resonant
empty
infinite echo of a purr
that for no reason at all
with no possibility of judgement
that you are loved

Writing Time?

Sad Day, Good Tea

All day long
I think about my writing
Planning my scenes
hearing the back and forth of dialogue
so sharp
you could put it in a salad dressing
dreaming up plot twists
so twisty
you could put them in a series of cocktails
then sell them to college students
for way too much

As I’m driving,
I barely see the road,
I barely hear the drone of my audiobook
which is about mindfulness
and the irony
almost escapes me
because I’m weaving words like cloth,
spinning tales like straw
into the good quality string cheese
mixing metaphors like pasta
being mixed
with other stuff

While I’m working, taking calls,
I speak to the customers with my voice
and my mind steps away
into to realms with black sunsets,
where knights, armored in stars,
fight quasars, with tortured pasts
and something to prove
to their sisters
or something

Then it’s time to write,
and I think
you know what, this might not be the time for this,
I’ve got other things to do,
like maybe I should just play cup and ball instead
that’s so meaningful, so fun, how could I resist
and I know
I don’t have a ball
no big deal
I’ll just hold this empty cup
for a while

Caffeinated Mindfulness

Mocha !

I take a sip of coffee, dark roasted into anthracite of Arabica, swirled with the luxurious tropical tang of coconut cream. It rushes into my bloodstream, into my senses. I can’t tell the difference between the chemicals blocking adenosine between my neurons, or the psychosomatic reaction of my hot wet love affair with the aroma, with the taste, with the feel of it on my tongue.

My third eye snaps open. It was asleep. It’s usually asleep. But it’s forced open by the thunderclap of caffeination outside its window, blasting through sleep paralysis, it jolts up in bed and stands at attention. I close my other two eyes. I take my first breath. I begin my meditation.

I take my second breath. They are the long, slow, deliberate breaths of the practice. The same ones that I take when I am calm. What do I look like, to the bodhisattva ghosts that haunt the space around me? Do I look at ease? Do I look rested, because I breathe normally, and because I am not moving? Can they see the thousands upon thousands of lightning bugs that rest upon my skin, waiting to burst into action and light up the night?

I am not rested. I am not calm. There is more to peace than stillness. If nothingness is the true state of perfection, then perfection is flawed. I am a bundle of bundles of charged wires of a hundred different polarities that only exist in the dreams of electrons. Instead of a place without thought, drifting like leaves on a stream, the inside of my skull hosts so many thoughts, so many sensations, in such a reckless state of effortless agitation they are indistinguishable. They are white noise. My mind is a serene cacophony of beautiful tension.

I realize there is no such thing as silence. There is only deafness. In the quietest room in existence, there is still the background radiation of the infant universe. The scream of it’s birth. Not a scream of agony, but an agony of triumph. An impossibly massive explosion in an impossibly small instant, bursting outward from a single point of infinite inertness to a furiously rushing sea of endless potential. The loudest shouts that could ever be, so distant when they reach us that they have become a caressing whisper. If we cannot hear them, it’s because we lack calibration. Because our ears are too small.

It swirls around me, within me, throughout me. These thoughts and this noise are me, and they are not me. They are larger and vastly more important, and smaller than the Planck scale. Less relevant than a single crumb of food that cannot feed a mouse so small it suffers wave interference when it tries to pass through two slits in a scientist’s lab.

It is exhilarating. It is exhausting. It lasts forever, but when it ends, as all things end, it has written a poem in prose in my head. A distant reflection in arbitrary symbolic representation of the chaotic, tranquil, nasty, perfect glory of the experience of trying to meditate after my third cup of coffee. But I will share it anyway.