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Threnody: From Me to You

Introductory Note:  I have a few posts ready to go, but I was inspired today to look back at some of the creative work I’ve done.  For those of you who don’t keep track of my every move, I have written a book that I’m hoping to have published, but I also have enough poetry/short story material that I could easily compile another book of it.  Given that, I figured I’d share some.

It is extremely hard for me to let people see things like this, mostly because there is so much of myself put into it that the slightest feedback causes me to become overly defensive.  Nonetheless, I figured it’s about time some of this saw the light of day.

Finally, I want to give an overdue thanks to Dr. Theune.  We had a few discussions about what I wrote about because, in all honesty, I used to not put myself into it.  The subjects and product were inconsequential.  Had it not been for Dr. Theune I could probably have never written anything with any substance.  So, thank you Dr. Theune, you taught me more than I could possibly have realized.  Anyway, on to the work itself.

The last thing you want to do right now is read my stupid poetry.

Standing starkly in the corner was the root of all her despair; a bright white that contrasted the overbearing black walls, as if questioning their authority.  The air was so tangibly thick that every breath I took broke one of my ribs, I was down to three now. Her face glimmered in some unseen light. Then she smiled at me, sat upon her oppressive burden and beckoned me to join her.  Obligingly, I sat down and found that the walls were not black; they were simply mirrors that had nothing left to reflect. Two ribs left.  I knew I had to act quickly if I ever intended to leave alive. “What now?” I ask, sullen. One left. Her eyes light up as she replies, “Die young and save yourself.”  At this, I glance around frantically, trying to find the door we had come in from, seeing only the black reflection of the room, the white of her despair, and me on the ground that now began to fold, slowly eating us both.  None left.  My eyes begin to water as I fall, a bloody handprint sliding down the mirror the only sign I had ever been there.

The worst of it all was that I only grossed two million dollars Friday through Saturday.  So you can take this film and just rip it all to pieces, because the reel is getting old and it’s becoming kind of useless.

But I can’t tell you what I really want to say.

I was underwater, in my car.  The water was seeping in slowly, the radio playing a soothing static.  I looked around, placid as the ocean floor I now sat on.  A phoenix flew past my windshield, stopping briefly to look at me.  (He, apparently, was undaunted by the physical impossibility of a bird of fire existing underwater.) As our eyes met the flame around the mythical beast grew furious and illuminated the barren ocean floor for miles. (Seriously, still impossible.)  Each flap of its wings gave rise to bubbles and steam that slowly gathered in a terrible looking cloud above all of us.  With one last flap of wings the moved on; its cloud remained behind.  As if possessed, the cloud began to grow larger and larger, eventually consuming my ever-flooding car in a torrent.  As my car and I rode the currents of this cloud I noticed that it began to rain marble onto the ocean floor.  With each impact of the stony downpour life sprang up on the once-deserted surface, turning the ocean floor into a lush rain forest.

And I would burn the building if I knew you’d die.  I wish now to end the rumors, for it is only through my madness that I have come to know you; only through coming to know you I have come to realize that this is where we both (belong) went wrong.

She can taste the fear in my sweat.  I continue through this maze, lost; the rat who has fulfilled his usefulness and she knows it.  It’s overwhelming how far she took this. Though, to be fair, I did let her. I am wrapped up in my insecurities; the fur that keeps me warm at night and lets me pretend that there is something okay about feeling so scattered, so dissembled.  I listen to the hums and beeps that she speaks, puzzled by their meaning but pretending to comprehend.  Just smile and nod, smile and nod.  It will all be okay.  I find the end of the maze only to realize it is the start of another, I have been tricked, and used.  Is that what she calls tact?

“So keep the blood in your head and keep your feet on the ground,” he said.  But the glass isn’t half full this time. It’s broken, shattered, on the floor bleeding its mascara all over the linoleum.

We’re getting back to just the basics.  The kind of things you need to know, but they never bothered to teach you in school: how to fight off the vultures, how to beat time and how to hold down ten shots of Bacardi 151, each chased with a shot of Captain.  The kind of thing every kid should know before the age of ten. The kind of things every kid should know before he falls in love.  I listen to the sunlight, its radiant glow sweet at first but soon it takes the taste of a bird’s last song.  It’s a taste I do not like, the taste of extinction. I ask myself, as a reminder, what is extinction, but not the continuation of life in another realm. I realize I am just pandering and speaking in nonsense.  Nonetheless,  I wish to go to that realm, so I continue to soak in the sunlight, eventually so bloated with its taste that I have no choice but to—

All I wanted was to see the world; instead I come back to you with knees that bleed from begging, broken handed, disappearing on this cold night.

Regardless, my pictures don’t line your mirror.

With my eyes closed tight, put your knife to me and I will scream, though you took my tongue long ago. I can no longer express. I grasp the air in hopes of finding what it was you did to deserve this, and what I did to become your victim. Let me free, that I might spread my wings.  Let me soar so near the sun that my wings melt and I fall back to the earth.  Nurse my broken, battered frame back to health with all of the love and tenderness that you would show a solitary sapling in the desert. Then, with my body tensed draw your sword and run it from neck to stomach and free me from this shell. Let my ghost take flight.  Let my ghost be immune.

I am sorry, but this is the way it has to be right now.

All for the queen.  I do this all for the queen, all for that one thing that is greater than all of us and our individuality.  This is bigger than me.  I continue on, digging, gathering food and fighting just for the glory of having served a cause greater than myself.  Shepherds we shall be, and I shall endure.  It might not be the cure for this, and it is dangerous.  Tigers sleep beneath, their breaths each a small growl that rumbles my world, warns me to tread lightly.  But, like all warning signs I tread on, bolder for knowing that I break a rule.  I continue on the fault line that grows with each subtle step I take.  The ground cracks beneath me and I fall into the mouth of the beast that is no longer a tiger, but now takes the form of a newborn child.

A glass of water, a grain of salt; this is the after-dinner payback.
These will be my last words for some time; if no one will listen then no one will miss when they’re gone.  Perhaps I’ll just sleepwalk my way through this.

I wake up, though I may well still be dreaming.  Don’t worry, though, this won’t end as some dream story, with me shooting up out of bed, wiping the perspiration off my forehead remembering that it was all just my imagination.  I just may only survive in the retelling of a world that cannot possibly exist.  The world and I, long ago, agreed to go our separate ways.  I call it coping; others call it dreaming.

If I reflect back hard enough on my sleep I realize that some parts were real.  All of it was real.  For three years I lay in bed, letting the world pass me by—turning, turning—as I never bothered to look inside myself.  I simply lay, gathering false memories like bed sores.  If this all meant something, then I wasn’t aware.  If this all meant something, it all went away the moment I woke up and realized I was creating a life from my own imagination.  I knew exactly when I gave my heart—and all of it.  It wasn’t to you.

What a harsh realization, but I do know that I love love, and I love being in love.  I don’t care what it does to me.

I just won’t admit what that is.  I won’t admit that I might have exaggerated the situation.

I find myself driving my car, hoping to escape something.  Except I am driving on a giant treadmill, a set piece from some old film.  The scenery spins past me, and damn it all if I didn’t even notice the difference. Is this the world passing by?  This is the first time that I ever looked inside myself. In my (intentional) ignorance, I listen to the radio hum all the tunes that once meant something to me.  If you weren’t beside me, confirming that they do, I might never have remembered what it meant.  I listen to CD after CD with you just staring at me, letting the child have his moment of nostalgia. I swore that this time I’d need more than a hook-up. 

I also swore that this time it’d all be different, and promised that I could change it all, that if I tried hard enough I could extend death and cheat life.  I swore I could fix anything.

We believed we’d have our way, but we didn’t.  Every day was another dream, sleeping through the reality around me; willfully ignorant to the one thing I could never admit. She said: “Let me see your eyes, the love that’s right behind.  And I’ll promise you that it will never die.”

It will never die, it just wasn’t what she wanted to see.  It isn’t what anybody wants to see.  If I let you see my eyes, you will come to the same realization that I have.  You will slowly realize that through the years I have a trail of crumbs, a trail of pieces of myself.  I am now incomplete, inadequate and broken.  I hang here from the walls, bleeding colors.  With every drip a different blood type, a marriage of art and atrocity.   And now that this curse is in my blood, a time of redemption has begun.

A song for the ages, silent and sweet.  The voice of forever singing through me.

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