An Old Story

I am telling myself a story about the past. The story is true. The story is not true.

Daggers raked across my chest and my breathing stopped. It started again and my heart beat uncontrollably fast. I was dizzy. I was feeling so faint and light that I thought I would float away. My vision blurred and returned to normal. As I lost almost complete control of my physical body, my mind was consumed in my thoughts. I was in control of my mouth. I tightened it into a smile and spoke encouraging words. I don’t know what they were, but the smile didn’t reach my eyes. My hands were sweating. I spoke a lie. I was going to check something. I couldn’t think of a better lie.

I looked on the ground and found pieces of myself were scattered about the floor. Something was drip dropping from chest. Pieces of my heart? Or were they coming up through my throat. I had to get out. I had to get out. I am going to check something. I will be back. The latter was true. I didn’t want to come back, but I had to come back. I didn’t want to face this choking fear, but I had to come back. Before I came back, I had to leave. Anywhere but here. Anywhere but here.

The dizziness was consuming. The stairs or the elevator? I couldn’t trust my legs. I could barely stand. The shaking seemed uncontrollable, but it may have been only in my mind. I thought my heart was going to explode, but it may have been only in my mind. I leaned against the elevator walls. Basement. I will go to the basement. I will sit with the ghosts who haunt the morgue that was no longer a morgue. I felt like a ghost. I was a ghost of myself, and I carried so many ghosts with me. I was reliving my university years. I relived multiple confrontations with multiple people. It seemed all of them were screaming the same thing:

Not good enough! Not good enough! Change your expectations! Change your behaviour! Look at yourself in the mirror! You’re not enough! You’ll never get this right! Everyone is talking about how you’ll never get this right! Nobody wants to talk with you! You don’t listen! You don’t understand!

I replied:

Shut up! Shut up! I don’t want to carry you around. I thought I was rid of you.

My hands were shaking. I had to have help. I knew that much. But who could I ask? I just needed to tell someone. I typed the story in jerking lines. I saw this. I read this. I am not okay. I am trying to be okay. I am shaking. I feel like vomiting. Everything in my stomach, in my chest, is too tight. I can’t vomit. I can’t talk. I can’t cry. I want to cry. I want to scream! Why me? WHY ME?

The ghosts still follow me. They escape in my envy. With every jealous thought that defies rejoicing, another ghost is born. It hangs on my back. It eats away at my body. It toys with my mind. It hurts and it hurts and it hurts. It hurts me so much that I must give that hurt away. I want to rake my daggers across a different chest. One that deserves it. Who deserves this pain? Why me?

I have tried. I will continue to try. But I want to ask How can I? It feels as though I have been wronged. There is no apology. I don’t want to forgive what can easily happen again. Where is the remorse? I don’t want to hear I’m sorry you’re alone. I want to hear I’m sorry I made you feel alone. I don’t want to hear I’m sorry you are hurt. I want to hear I’m sorry I hurt you.

Do I have a right to want these things? Do I have a right to ask for these things? Can someone make me feel alone if I am whole? If I am whole, can someone make me feel alone? Can someone hurt me, or can we only hurt ourselves? What is human, and what can I control? Am I a reactionary? Is it wrong? Or is it just hard not to be one? Is it an excuse? Is it forgivable?

The karmic perspective has been lost. There are too many questions. My mind is not clear. I know the answer is to meditate. The answer is to ask for help – not from humans but from spirit.

Must I ask for forgiveness? Or must I ask to forgive? I feel as though I cannot handle feeling this way another moment. I want to rejoice for the one who receives what I want, but I cannot bring myself to do it. I am insane. I am fully deluded. I count my flaws and I wish – how I wish! – I could be rid of them. Do I mean my wish? I think I do. I know I must meditate. I know I must not tell myself stories about my pain – past or present.

The stories feel true. The stories are not true.

I am tortured. I am suffering. The suffering is needless. The torture is self-inflicted. It would be so easy to stop the pain. It is so difficult to stop the pain. It is difficult doing what is right, even when what is right is simple, easy. I must cut the chains that threaten to pull me into the abyss. I must, instead, seek the wisdom in the place of emptiness. I must awaken from this nightmare. I must awaken from my dream state.

I will meditate.

I wish to be free.

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My Life as a Word

If my life is an ocean deep,
I cannot control the barrage of waves,
the frigid waters, nor the undertow
dragging me to the depths

If my life is a forest fire
I cannot control the wind fanning the flames,
save the woodland creatures fleeing in terror,
nor escape the scorching heat
threatening to turn me to ash

If my life is a vast, dry desert
I cannot command the rain to fall,
the drought to end, nor cast the sun from the sky
though it burns my skin

If my life is an afflicted plague
I cannot control its spread,
it’s path of destruction, or the numbers
it kills through perilous infection

If my life is a car without brakes
I cannot stop the fuel, slow the speed,
nor save all that lies in my path
though surely the wreckage is inevitable

If my life is me
All I have is me,
and what’s perhaps in my pocket –
not much, no ring of elven gold, but maybe
some chap stick and string –

All I control are these aching bones
attached to my withering limbs
and slackening skin

but also I command my language;
I have a ferocity with words
and often unleash them without thought,
they are my last defense.

I build a life raft of syllables uttered from these lips
I create a proverbial shield against the bombardment of fire
and run away on legs made from quick-witted phrases
I dig a hole with my spade of savvy repertoire, collecting
dew on a makeshift leaf of colloquium and self-talk
to filter tears of discourse to drinking water

I wear a murmuring mask articulating both the danger
and saving grace of infectious confabulation
I jump from moving vehicles with a parachute of parlance
and cushion my fall with doublespeak softness

There is redemption in language and controlling one’s own voice
There is power in joining your speech and your mind
to conquer villains of the world and of the imagination

If my life is a word
it is resilient. 

This Means War

Not a war with bloodshed,
Perhaps a war with tears
A war expressed with language
A war that conquers fears

I feel an obligation
to exclaim my words
yet my passion must be quiet
as not to seem absurd

Fight against the ignorance
fight against indulgence
fight against the old wives’ tales
fight for common sense

Too long have we stood idly by
and let the preachers tax our ears.
into submission we have settled
and it’s gone on for years

Here’s to correcting people
the idle and the dumb
I reject your information
You’ve no source from which it comes

It spills out from your mouth,
a slack jawed petty thing,
an empty thought popped into mind
and so it you thought you’d sing

I reject your proclamation
I discredit all your “facts”
I’d tell you where to shove it,
but I’d rather you just get sacked.

Vulnerability

A note.

There is a certain vulnerability in expressing a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings to others,
and if you, as a writer, are unable to feel the threat of judgment
as your words escape the prison of your rib cage,
bouncing round in the red orb hung delicately within your chest,
then siphoned through the mind and escaped through the lips or finger tips,
then you are unable to call yourself a poet.

Just saying.

Unconscious Blur

I recite my words to earth and sky
because I cannot fathom why
another would heed to hear me speak
these foul words and breath so deep
and dark and cold like mystery
unsolvable and undersea
a deep diver that never breathes
a lamplight fish that doesn’t see
that leads its prey unto its jaws
I will not grab you with my claws
that take the form of old complaints
of rants that fall without restraint
pour out from lips all chapped and grey
the skeletal remains from one black day
in which you witnessed flames lick clouds
now settled ‘round this city plowed
the dark brown spotted snow makes way
in the slippery streets for cars to stray
and slide around into poles as sky
comes crashing down I will not be the one
to sound alarm – no chicken little bitch to cry
the sky is falling the sky will fall
I hope this city gets buried, and with it all
the hopeless romantics, the addicts, the good
the bad, the ugly, the rich and poor – alike they should
see the end the same
the great, the able, and the lame
pretend to die together here
while really all alone in fear
to be individual has its price
as some will see though they seem nice
it all ends the same
as the brainwashed whole becomes insane.