Three hundred sixty five is a big number.

Oh it was stellar like a star, a constellation, a galaxy of burning gaslights. And love had gravity, influence, gave weight to things. And in the orbits of our hearts, we shared dreams and meanings and metaphors for reaching peaks that meant clearer ways to see. We lit fires against cold in the night and soaked smouldering ground in cool pouring rain. Oh yes, we thought, we’d change things.

Or, so it seemed at the time when I was small and weak.

I found out quick there was mass tucked in black matter, things that — at that point — didn’t matter. Not yet. But those missing pieces cast shadows like spells across our skin in the deep and in the dark. Did things neither one of us could expect or predict. Our instruments were made for other things and these new ways — they had no way to measure or gauge.

So it was sink and keep sinking. Drift and drift further from where I thought the middle was. It was break orbital patterns I’d been learning to define, and only after breaking, find out the reasons why.

The universe operates on rules I could not, at the time, define. Vibrations intwine in ways my eyes could not detect, in ways my ears would reject, in ways I would — having learned it too late — regret.

“Regret grows into learning,” someone (I forgot) once said.

Only because a life full of regets is not worth living. Loss on end without meaning. If I learn, I think I’ve gained something. And the gain can cut the pain like a blade through outer skin hardened by harsh wind.

The question really is — will I try to, want to, hope to come back again? Or have I learned that changing the world is a task that crushes the spirit underfoot and all I can hope for is some rest? Or will I offer up this spirit as a sacrifice to gods long dead, hoping that in the trampling, some one foot pauses to reconsider?

The answer is inherant in the flaws of the instruments I carry.

Words.

I wish I could talk to someone. Curl up with a blanket around someone. Pass hours into early mornings just being with someone.

Candles and late night coffee don’t feel the same. Creative space doesn’t expand the same. The world doesn’t spin the same.

Some things I miss. Some I’m happy to have left. Some I want back. Others I don’t ever want to revisit.

I have to go back in time, outside a hospital, when I said point blank: “If you changed, you’d be someone else and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

It’s as true right now as it was back then.
You are the same you as you were back then.
I haven’t gained weight or gotten thin.
These are the same things, just seen through a new lens.
The same flaws with new names.
The same straws with new ways to find new blame.

But at the end of the day, we’re all still in the same stream, playing at the same games, downing our sorrows and drowning out in the same ways.

I only perceive the kinds of love I want through filters of the past. I only grab at dust and smoke. I’m only a flickering candle burning a bit of wick up.

And soon, I know, sooner than I hope — someone will come and grab me by these ropes and say something along the lines of “It’ll be alright for a while.”

And I’ll believe them because I want to. And I’ll come along because I hoped to. And we’ll play and dance and sing for a while because we intended to.

And when the waters rescind our passion and the tides fall leaving us sticking in sticky mud — we’ll retreat into ourselves again.

Spin the wheel and go around.

I don’t hold out a lot of hope for the end result. I expect to hit the ground. I find inspiration in the failures and the terrors and the fears — because I’m full of them. What did you expect?

I have a letter to open in a little over a week.
I have another one to write.
And someone, when I’m dead, will read the last one.

How many more will this hand write? Who knows.
Who cares.

Saved on the phone, some weeks ago.

Saved drafts. A hundred time rewriting the same scene, the same line. Like if I get the words out just right, this time, it’ll amount to something worth someone’s time.

Read through it once, twice, thrice.
Did you have a good time? Was it heavy-handed, over-played, full of tripe metaphors you’ve heard before? Did I use “they” too much or over-use someone’s name? Did I repeat a word repeatedly?

Collision between fiction and the real side of things is making me feel insecurely curious. Am I a narrow-minded patholigically insanse, self-absorbed character? Am I a projection of all the fears I refuse to face? Do I have a fascination with other people’s pain? Am I corrupted by my self-inflicted isolated solitude?

Does that make me a “bad person” if the answer is yes? If any number of those are true?

Dioesn’t matter what you feel or think in the first draft. The characters always evolve, morph, grow with you. The final cut is where their responses count. No-one need know what else you ever wrote.

The little snippy snarks that never should have happened. The freak-outs that were unnecessary. The pain that no-one understood. Images less useful than obscurred.

See, here you can burn up the past if you must. Shed its skin from your eyes. Keep the memories, but don’t forget that the first go — you will redo. Every time.

That is the purpose of a rough draft.
To make mistakes.
To be okay with that.
And to chuck it and start over. The same thoughts but better words. Same sitautions but better plot. Same people but better dialogue.

It’s the writer’s way, the creator’s life. And that’s just fine.

Back Country

Black nights spent listening to rivers run from glaciers toward the ocean. A messy swath of stars that looks cluttered to these city eyes. A band of milky white like cloud cover just thin enough to see is the band of our galaxy.

All my amigos, not quite amigos yet, go about their lives in ways I do not comprehend. I am told about it, but a fear from my culture, from my birthright, from my upbringing stings so deep I cannot sleep.

Slow archs upward take time and time sweeps away from me. The earth tilts first toward then away from the sun in a band of only so many hours before dark. Only so much time to set up a tent, eat, and hang a bag by ways I’ve never gone before.

Heavy laden bike clumsily clatters along the road, tilting first this way — then that. And I pedal slow and fast, slow and fast, climbing rises and rushing down slopes to unseen destinations and hidden treasures around bends I only heard about. And in the rush of wind and water, my heart is slowly learning all the things I learned I didn’t know I was missing.

Like how stubbornness is what made Miru from Alloy.
How bravery is sleeping alone at night and feeling safe without human interaction.
How Straer realized old systems had demanded of them things they no longer needed, like water filters. Things their bodies now made up for without their knowing.
How time is slow and change is gradual and loss feels just about the same.
How I am irrationally afraid of bears and big cats. How without facing it alone, I’d have never known.
How I habituate to wasps and hornets and a tent as my home. A little ring of fire burning too long being where my heart finds rest. And failure redefined to learning things, slowly growing, and knowing when to turn around.
How listening to one’s own self is not so far from listening to others.
How I trust those who live the things they say.

How I want to be like that, too.

With each new step, a new muscle tones, a new strength grows, a new flexibility emerges. And a new me stretches new wings from cocoons long ago made with no understanding of their purpose at the time.

Four is the number of death, yes, but the wheel always feeds life.

Kindling and sticks.

It’s the late hours after the sun has gone down that are difficult to navigate. The long, lonely hours listening to the train’s passing whistle blasts and each time wondering — what if…

Yokai have made their intentions very clear. But I could circumvent that if I take time and care. If I’m determined. If I become resolute.

But words more than warnings have struck me and got me ringing like a chime. Thoughts of what it might be like if I tried, one more time, to wipe the hard drive and reboot under a new name. New passcodes. A new slate.

Run a new master with a new slave. Just to see how the ones and zeros alternate.

I was zero.
You were one.

Of and on. On and off. Off at the same time and, oop, the lights all went out. Power went flat. And the memory banks we had ourselves stored in got wiped clean of all that mess.

I’ve still got old hardware. Upgraded software, sure, but it slows these older wires down. They’re frayed around the edge. Slowly, I am approaching the ground.

In hard-to-describe patterns and caught dreams, I drifted asleep. Candles lit to keep bad spirits out, but through open windows and under doorways those feelings slipped in anyway. I hadn’t accounted for that. Or I didn’t want to. Didn’t want to own the failures. Didn’t want to admit that it was years ago, in the first moments, that I knew.

Saw time like a thread balled up on a table. Could point at knots and twists. Could have known just how the whole thing would play down. But didn’t say a word. Or didn’t want to.

So I’m knotted around the throat, choking on words I know I should have spoke, catching dreams that I let loose.

If I cut the lines now, will I feel better?
Or will only I miss the pressure?

I have a longing, deep and strong, not to be alone.
This bed is cold and I regret leaving my home.
Time will fade those scars, I’m sure, and fill this bed again.
I only have to wait and try and try and try again.

Find me passion, love, lust, fire, spark.
Burn me up and keep me warm.
Winter is slowly approaching, and I’m waiting.

Will you be very long?

Other invisible beer later damanged

You were on the other side
across a table,
an ocean,
a dream or a meaning of one.

I was invisible
barely there.
A vapor.

You had two glasses.
Said one was for water —
one for later.
Said, “Get a bear.
We’ll be here a while.”

“No, thanks,” was another answer.
One I didn’t say.
Never do.
Not to you.

We drink to laugh out loud.
Now we’re fighting.
Shouting.
riding another high.
like a highway w/no lights.
Middle of a moonless night.

I’ve got no compass.
You’ve got no plans.
We’ll get damaged,
ripped up,
ruined in the crash.

You get another beer.
We clash.
I’m getting up, saying something
you don’t hear.

Not here.
Maybe later
if the high gravity
gives some weight to the water,
the weightless world we built
like dreams of…
something.

It was good for some things.
Like fights, late at night.
And beers, bottles of it,
just disappeared.
The drug, invisible.

Not the effects.
What affected us.
Dragged us down
under water
weightless,
breathless,
struggle for air
struggle to get clear
to turn invisible.

Seashore jingles sitting homework down

I was down.
No, no not “down + out”.
Down like the ground.
Sitting in a squat,
squashing cold hands
Washed by cold sea water
wishing rather than this shell
to be a seal,
sea otter
Anything’d be better.

Anything,
Damn it,
to get me up
off this rotten sea shore.
Like if I got away,
I’d see more.
Open my eyes like a text book.
Start over.
Like making a life’s
just overdue homework.

Yeah. That’s got a ring.
A ting, ting, ting.
It reminds me to think,
to count everything.
Jingles like bells
against my brain.
Saying: “Hey!”
“hey.”
“What you waiting for?”

Sitting looking longing
like life’s just gonna wash ashore.
Pick up washed up pieces.
Sea glass, someone else’s trash.
Make jewelery to sell it back.
And suddenly you’re satisifed?
Yeah. That’s right.

Second rings place flew going

A second hand
stuck in place
reflects the opposite of a warning —
time isn’t moving.
It’s stuck.
Nothing going
No growing, changing, losing.
“Time flew?”
No, but the frozen moments
stuck to you.
Stuck tacky like glue.

A place you couldn’t forget.
Losses you wouldn’t cut.
Rings you rung around your neck
like wringing hands
Wrung out laundry.
The sun + stagnant air
wouldn’t dry it.

Where do you think you’re going?
Nowhere but here.
The same old goddamn place,
year after year.
Until you’re old enough
to know it’s too late.

Second chances and racy romances
flash like mirages.
And what’s left over
is stale left-oers
no-one’s gonna eat.

It’s too late.
No take backs, right?

SSBJ 2014

It was something I had to go through, not necessarily something I enjoyed. The results were an ebb and flow of feelings I did not expect. Words crashed against shores I did not know I had in me. And waves rose against tides I did not know would recede.

Here are those things. Incomplete pieces rambled straight from a hum to the page in an over-hot tent, alone but for a drum.
___

I have fears now,
confirmed doubts.
Things I only dreamed about.
Ways I could reach you
that’ll never do.

I was trying to be
a way I thought was good.
It wasn’t good enough.
(and) I was working on
plans to get us through.

You shot it full of holes.
Now I’m leaking water
and I’m losing blood.
And oh dear god,
someone help me out.

But hush now, you.
It’s getting late.
No one likes you when you shout
about things you can’t figure out
cry out loud
double over and roll about.

We always tear our ears away
and turn our eyes away
and put our back’s to other’s pain.
Like if we can’t hear
and if we can’t see
and let’s pretend this time so mayber
It’ll go away.

But broken hearts and lonely bodies
end up in ditches all around us
Hole in the chest
or slit by the wrist
or hanging, swinging from a neck.

We get together and say
“What a tragedy.”
“Oh, if only he’d known.
Oh, if only she’d known.
Oh, if only they’d known.”

But no-one knows a love
that stays hidden under sheets
tucked down so deep
crammed into wells and pockets
hands and darkness stuffed down on top of it
hiding from what it might’ve been.

And no-one sees a light
tossed under a blanket
tight knit wool so colorful and bright
it tricks the sharpest eyes.
So, please.
Use it to cover your senses
cover this scene,
and all the places you’re insecure about.
Then, when you’re done: tell me,
how does the love get out?

Oh if only she’d known.
If only he’d known.
If only you knew.

Some hearts are empty jars,
receptacles
where the collective hurt fills up.
Fill them to the brim.
Hands try to reach out,
to tip a bit out,
but no-one wants to get wet
or messy
or share the weight of it.

Too heavy.
Too weighty.
Too steep, they say.
And in the morning, someone new is drowned in alcohol.
Purple, bloating, floating in the river.
Bloody matted mess, hit by a train.
Shot in the head, brains on the wall.
And oh well.
Oh well.

The world is a wheel
and it keeps on spinning.
And if you can’t hold on —
well, you get my meaning.

Don’t cry about tragedies
you did nothing to prevent.
“Isn’t it too bad”
like now, you’re so sad.

Maybe this is hard to hear,
but go ahead and listen if you dare.
Moments we walk by,
pass by,
let slip by without turning
or thinking
get lost like breath in the winter
drifting off into nowhere
Things get missed
and hearts get lost
and it’s got consequences.
Not because of some far-off god.

But because the world’s a wheel.
And it just keeps on spinning.
And when you can’t hold on…
well, you get my meaning.

Maybe at some point
people might’ve done some good.
But these days it isn’t living instinct
that gets humanity by.
It’s: eat your own for dinner,
then sleep with a belly full.
Wak up midday,
and wonder where your friends all went.
Then cry about the isolation,
get up,
dine,
and do it all again.

All the while feeling
like somthing isn’t right.
Empty.
Like something’s gone missing.
Something you miss-placed, but you don’t know where
because you don’t know what
because you never had it.
So you look crazy
and act insane
and people now keep their distances
and maybe that’s not all that bad.

Because loneliness and isolate
aren’t the best companions,
but at least these friends
don’t set a table
and eat you for dinner,
crying all the time.

“How sad. How sorry
we are to do this to you.
You lost the lottery.
What are we to do?
That’s just too bad.
How sad.”

It’s a bad world.
No, it’s a dead world moving forward.
No more “hope” to cling to
hope in our own destruction.
We keep forging forward.
Keep making things worse.

So lift a glass
full of poisoned water
and toast to no-one
(be)cause everything is gone.
Pick up a factory-made fork & knife
and eat your love tonight.
Or eat the air
and starve it out
and wait it out
and wait it out
and wait it out

We’ll just have to see who wins.

If not for these…

Canto yokai rustle, unseen, in tall brush and forests. They exude illusions like twisted antlers or cut-off heads from trunks of bodies. Their eyes peer through full moons and satellites as they catch light, flare, and disappear against the black sky.

Those signs, among many, are how you know they are there. Little tricks that make you think again. Twisting dust tornadoes made of leaves. Deer with long antlers that come toward you and gaze at you, then disappear behind the branches of a weeping willow tree.

You don’t know why but they keep the pain at bay.
You don’t know how but they protect you when you are most alone.

Sleeping alone or lonely feel about the same. If neither is what you want, then test your mettle, magician — and head out into the world. You can always find what you are looking for if you know how to seek.

You’ve always been a seeker, a hunter, a night flier.
Don’t stop now because the weather’s gotten a little rough and a little cold.

The difference between the tower and the star?
Where you are looking, that’s all. It’s a matter of perspective. Upheaval or healing depend on where you are putting your eyes — not your feet. The ground may still shake and structures still break, but if you look out at all reality, you can see a better sight. A way to a home you didn’t even know you had. Signposts to lights you didn’t even know you needed. Guides to places you never even dreamed.