私は幸せです。

A dream-like state. A fascination with what is beyond the threshold. What lies beyond.

A murky pond or the sea. A salted lake or the ocean? Skies upward toward vacuum or ten vertical miles of landscape, on and on?

I’m running at a frantic pace, and if I had hollow bones, I’d jump. The wind would pick me up, carry me across the planes holding me in, and I’d break free into orbit in another galaxy. In another life line, I’ve already done it all. I’ve already jumped and fallen. I’ve already held your hand. We’ve already said goodbye.

It’s all said and done. And are we happier for it?

Another me says yes. Another, no.

Variables on end in an endless creative sea of choices, chances, raising the stakes, betting it all and losing it.

Life and death when seen in these non-linear patterns don’t matter quite as much. If the roots rot before the tree falls, when it’s born again — they grow back. Or grow into another tree and continue on in that way. One layer upon another in a milieu of moments stretching contingent on nothing but the balance of chaos and entropy.

We are but chaotic entropes diving into endless seas of vibration. A mess of instability. Change and the turning of wheels, once designed, is a course of inevitability.

Does it hurt?

Why no, not at all.

I was born to suffer, to fight, to die. I have no struggle but this one to engage in. I’ve got gloves and a fighting spirit. Come on, 死神. Just you try and get me. Write my name down in your book and take my years. What difference does a few less make to a temporal being?

Not much.

As I drift asleep, I’m already falling, flying, living, dying.

It makes sense to be one.
Magician and the wheel of fortune.

Critical, analytical. Ah, but that means free from the chains of restrictions the outer edges of reality tried to place on me. Sleight of hand and a bending of tricks, teasing apart reality, and finding on the other side — it’s actually quite thin.

I’m learning.
If I close my eyes, I can see right on through.
And so can you.

Let’s play together in the ether. Get our hands messy. Jump in thickets of thorny reason and pick the needles of empathic intuition out of our hearts and scatter them loosely on the ground. Passer-bys will slip on them, and we’ll all get bloody muddy in the extra-dimensional muck, but hey — I’m excited. Aren’t you?

This is what it feels like to breathe.
Sharp at first, then smooth like a sweet drug that sets you right at peace.

Another year older. Another step closer. Another image set shuffled like cards in a big fat deck. I’ve got so many now it’s getting harder and harder to sneak a peek, stack the deck, cheat. Getting easier just to play along for the time being.

Until the fire burns right through me. Then I’ll be ash and dust and the wind will blow me away.
And that’s okay, too.

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Tea meant something.

In blurry childhood recollections, a mug of tea was acceptance at the table. A thing I had access to when other avenues of entry were barred. It was the chance to be the same, not other. It was my piece in the puzzle. It made us euqals, all sipping and laughing and playing cards around trailer-home fires. It made us friends.

Across the world, late summer. It would be a ritual of coming together once again. A meeting place. A familiar haven. Seomthing recognizable in the strange and unfamiliar. A bridge across the social gap I had not learned how to cross. But to tilt a pot and pour a drink, oh that was always easy. So, we sipped and laughed and played cards around circles of unknown faces. And we’d drink and drink until our bellies were full. I gained weight that year and put my feet back on the ground. And over mugs and steam vapor, we were friends.

Then in the grey of that winter, in a corner office, it was both warmth and pasttime. It was my connection to those I didn’t know. A social contract easily made. One I could, without fail, depend on. It warmed our bellies while it warmed the room. It distracted us from the cold, the mundane, the unknown. It was a safe place that only needed a little hot water, a little milk, and a little dash of leaves.

Same grey winters, different time, different place. It gave purpose to long and lonely nights. Some goal to accomplish, some thing to do. A tangible sign that I was not just sleeping my life away while my friends were gone. And the warmth would wake me and shake me and make me come back to life.

Another turn, another place, and grey skies over me — still. And a cup with a full pot was worth twenty-thousand words, easy. Characters and worlds were born in the company of steam and steeped camelia sinensis. A paperback book with crows and tea tins with abstract patters on a shelf cluttered with the rest of my life would show these times would never disappear. These long nights writing and sweeping floors and taking trash down the back steps were steeped into me.

Coffee fueled my radicalization that was to follow. Coffee and coffee shops and long talks. Coffee is for work, for being serious. For the hard things. Coffee, black and bitter, is a philosopher’s drink. Tea, milder, softens the blow.

From that sharp razor edge, I would have to return once again. If only for some peace of mind. In returning, I learned to mix flavors with my own hand. Trying to comprehend what I had always taken for granted. Trying, in some small way, to connect the dots in my life. To master where I had only followed. To grow where I had only waited. And, soon, I dusted off my hands, mixed mortars full of muddled spices with bowls of leaves from different regions. And the flavors mingled in ways that were more than just flavors. They were pieces of myself to share with new friends.

Another grey time, darker now, like storm clouds have covered over the summer. And I pull these tins of belonging, of friendship, of hope off a shelf where they’d found home for a while. Into boxes and storage to wait for a better time. Since that packing up, that turning in, I only drink alone. Friends have drifted across oceans on winds I had not foreseen.

But still, this cup warms me in some way. Steam tickling my nose and orage peel settling my upset stomach and telling me — one day, things will be alright. A different cup in a different place. And I will be surrounded by the sweet scent of steeping leaves and the warmth of bodies once again.

Nihon is a place of origin. And next, I go there.

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.

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.

Feathers for death

Waiting for a break-through to pierce through the dark hanging grey.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Waiting for everything to bleed out. To be so empty that there’s only two choices: get up or die. Hoping, at the end of the day — the shock will be enough to ride.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Funny laughing at jokes that aren’t jokes at all. Staving off nightmares that aren’t in dream time cast in dreamland with faces I don’t recognize. More like twisting tangled turnings of the same moment on loop, ad agnosium.

I’m sick to my stomach. Nothing swallows the hunger. Nothing stuffs down inside that hole. But ice cold water flows through it and runs chills like tributaries up my arms, down my back. Throbbing hot but tingling, like at some point, I stood there too long and went numb.

Clicking clocks keep going. The moon’s in a new phase, but I’m so far away that I didn’t even notice. Burning scents that do nothing but make my mind run in frantic circles around the same center, at exactly the same circumference.

Pull one more pin out, unstack one more block. The levee’s already broken, so who cares? You aren’t repairing the wall, replacing the city, re-stacking stones on places you’re going to be living in.

Oh, no, minha doce. Didn’t you notice?
You’re moving the dead.

Ghosts like blackberry thorns snag on your skin and clothes and hair. Prick your knees if you lean in too close. Slice right through your barriers without any warning at all. Draw blood with one slight misstep.

You need a clever winged creature to get you out of the mess you’re in. But you don’t believe in angels and, despite what bitter mystics seem to think — birds are birds. Hunting worms and building nests and minding their own piece. They caw overhead because you happen to be passing by. Not because it means anything at all.

Your like-creatures saw something in you they didn’t like and so shed you like old skin.
And what are you going to do about it?

Ha. Ha. Ha.

You prefer feathers to flowers for the reminders. Discarded, shed, preened, and left. No mind paid to where those feathers flutter or how they rot away. The birds from which they came are long gone. You hold between fingers a remnant of a lack of necessity. Brush smoke and tie to your metal beast symbols of an obsolescence you can understand. One you feel deep down.

Maybe the birds aren’t calling, but laughing as you carry their trash around. Collect nail clippings, attach hairballs to the corners of your bike and the edges of your eyes. Like if you gather enough of this useless mass — it’ll attain a tangible meaning you can burn through.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Nice try.