Starving

He said, she said, this don’t really need said

All that matters is who you become

When camera feeds dead

I know, you know, do you really think though?

Do you really think you know the person

That’s on this show?

I doubt, you doubt, things they claim they’re about

Everyone has seen it done they never

Do what’s spelled out

What’s that? Well, Matt, maybe you should look at

All the promises they made and how to make a bureaucrat

He said, she said, sincerity, it seems dead

All we have is those who give us words when all we need’s bread

Irony

Irony is beautiful, wouldn’t you say?

How funny is hypocrisy when you hear these people say

”Your dreams are just a waste of time” they scoff and berate

But then when we succeed they buy the things we create

People look at people chasing dreams and they judge

Then they work a 9 to 5 while holding this grudge

So for all who do the things they love, I say unto you

I hope these other people see the things that you do

I hope they see the work and the example you’ve set

‘Cause doing what you hate is something I will never get

Expensive is our time in life, it does not come cheap

And when the bill is paid in full they’ll gather and weep

They’ll tell a tale of all the awesome things that you did

And sweep under the carpet all the things that you hid

I wish that we would care more for the families we start

Than the money that was spent for that poor painter’s work of art

I wish it didn’t bother me that when the chips fall

The rich all hang our work up just to decorate their wall

It’s sad that we don’t understand the meaning of life

Happiness is sliced apart- conformity’s the knife

A Waste of Time

A Waste of Time

How often do we fall for things that people say and do?

How often do we wonder if the things they say are true?

And when there’s doubt we call them out when stories don’t connect

I wish I had a dollar for each lie that we collect

What makes us do it? Is it fear?

I fear that I don’t know

But to be real I sort of feel

Like life is just a show

So many actors, all their staff

Just dancing on a stage

And sadly I’d say that I’d laugh

If not for this here page

Pen and pad have saved my life

They’re my only true escape

Avoiding this sharp cutting knife

That’s carves life’s packaged shape

Every night I pray to He

Who I don’t even know

For his hand to help me stand

On nights when I feel low

It’s hard, sometimes, when life’s cold rhymes

Rip out your true heart

I’d give anything, if I could bring

A better, fairer start

Love in Life

So sorely do we wish to find

A person who’s just like our kind

Someone who’s just as weird as us

That we can know and love and trust

A person that just lets us be

And even when we disagree

They know that we’re still meant for them

And do not argue and condemn

Because when love is tried and true

It is not only about you

It is a union that you share

A contract, where you’re both aware

That life is meant for everyone

And when our time is gone and done

You’ll find that what we all should do

Is live it not with one, but two

Dog Tornado

Are those pillows to your liking?

Since you’ve spread them everywhere?

Are you packing to go hiking?

You sure took time arranging, there

I do not get it, little dude

Why must you make a mess?

To be frank, it’s kinda rude

Can you not just chill and rest?

All the blankets, all the throws

In the wash machine

It’s like you think nobody knows

That someone here must clean

Listen, bro, and yes I know

You like to fluff and puff

No more of this dog tornado

Because I’ve had enough

Dog Breath

What do you do when you’re faced with a curse?

A fate that is worse than your death?

A thing that can just be described as the worst

A thing that is Baxter’s dog breath?

I usually let him jump onto my lap

It’s not a big deal, normally

But when I wake up after taking a nap

He tends to come walk over me

He’ll stand on my chest and look into my eye

As if to say “time to get up”

And then he will yawn and make me want to die

As I gag and say “close your mouth, pup”

It’s really not funny, because when he yawns

It’s like he’s exhaling his guts

His breath smells like what he ate from dusk to dawn

And what’s more, he’ll stand on my nuts

So I must say, as I lie here today

Typing and scribbling words

Buy a dog bed, so when you hit the hay

You’ll wake up, and only hear birds

Sleepenstein

Since all I ever do is sleep, a new word I shall give

Replace each word with “sleep” I will, instead of “life” or “live”

We do not have much time to waste, my point, do not contort

So sleep each day as if your last, because our sleep is short

I hate it when peeps waste my time, it’s not like it comes cheap

So get out of my way, alright? I have a life to sleep

Actually I take that back, I meant a sleep to sleep

When Franken’s doctor brought me back, he said “IT IS ASLEEP!”

Life

A raindrop has one chance to fall

To land where it might fulfill all

As do dandelions sway

They, just once, will drift away

Breeze will carry, gently now

The seeds of life that they endow

No second chances, no regrets

One life is what each person gets

Do not be nervous

Feel not afraid

Destroy doubt’s wall

And barricade

Live your life as you want to

Do the things you want to do

Boldly tell the one you love

You’re meant to be and not scared of

Embrace the world as you see fit

For time, we don’t get much of it

Make the most of what you’ve got

Live and laugh and love, a lot

A Turn of Events

Once upon a time a lovely maiden did her chores

She cooked and cleaned and washed and dried and wiped down all the floors

And though her Lord looked down at her, ironically this man

Would force himself upon her because when you’re Lord you think you can

He used her for his twisted games, he thought it was alright

Sadly she just let it be, so she could feed her son at night

And so it went for years and years, till finally one day

Her son grew up and saw the truth, saying that “this man must pay”

Despite his mother’s cries and pleas, the son could not forgive

He told her she deserved much more, this was not a way to live

His mom, you see, quick to agree, would never punish him

Her heart was her worst enemy, enabling Lord to live in sin

So the son approached the man, he stood much taller than Lord did

As the Lord said “hello boy, you’ve grown so much since just a kid”

“I know,” son said, “it must be strange, to to be on the receiving end”

“Of the games you play at night, I bet your wife won’t comprehend”

“Won’t comprehend the things you do, to satisfy your appetite”

“I can’t imagine how a person does this and then sleeps at night”

“At least it doesn’t matter now, because I give what is deserved”

“What’s that,” you ask? “To be frank, I really hate to touch a nerve”

“But since we’re here I will be clear, this might begin to sting a bit”

“I’ve wanted this for oh so long, because you’re such a piece of shit”

“It’s my turn now, so turn around, this will not end quick I must say”

“This won’t be fun, and when I’m done, this broomstick will make sure you pay”

Where Do You Belong

You ask me why I’m like this

I’ll tell you best I can

Some things have happened in my life

That made me who I am

I used to see things one way

But that way got turned to two

And then I started seeing things

From all these points of view

Everything around me changed

◦ ‘Twas different than before

The world revealed itself to me

As it drug me ‘cross the floor

It showed me everything it made

It showed me that I’m lost

It showed me that there’s many more

Who feel the same exhaust

Then, it softly spoke to me

It told me to be strong

And if you let your weakness win

You’re right where you belong

Fury

Petty? I shan’t think it’s so!

I have this Monet, and Van Gogh

Clearly, I appreciate

The things the low class tends to hate!

An eye for that which is so grand!

Smaller brains won’t understand

Yes, this is what I say to thee

A peasant is but lesser me

That means that I am better, yes?

Oh come on now, I must digress

Let me say something, highbrow

I am not fucking joking, now

A good person exists in me

The spirit of my mother, see

She can see right through your shit

And make you walk on top of it

So save your graces, save your prayers

Cause I know, you know, no one cares

This isn’t the beginning, friend

It’s just a taste of what’s at end

The One: Entry 2

It’s weird for me to be telling this story. I just want to be upfront about that before we get too much further into this little journey you and I are about to go on. Sometimes I wonder why it’s so hard to talk about this stuff when I’m face to face with people, but then I realize that I’ve already answered my own question. Face to face is hard, don’t you think? It’s just so, I don’t know…different. Because when we’re speaking to someone in person, we can immediately see their unintentionally expressed judgments and subtle cues that make us fully realize what they actually think of us. Right? I know you know what I mean.

Which is why I prefer telling my stories like this. Journaling, you know? Journals let us extract the real. The deep. The truth! Because with journals, we don’t have to concern ourselves with an audience. Ugh, the audience. Always judging. Always critiquing. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get back to my original point.

Love. Soulmates. The ONE.

Yep, you heard me. I bet you already know them. Wanna know how?

Technology.

Simple! This whole Information Age that we find ourselves lucky enough to be living in has unlocked a near unlimited number of doors for us. Yup. For anyone willing to try and step in, the various social media platforms and apps we have access to are host to literal millions of people all waiting to be validated. Doors just begging to be opened.

All you have to do is knock.

And hell, sometimes you don’t even need to do that! There’s people out there who just leave the damn door wide open! Its crazy, I tell you. Sometimes it makes me wonder how certain folks can be so trusting with all their shit out there in the open, but hey…I guess not everyone is as messed up in the head as me. Seems there are plenty of perfectly normal, “nothing to see here” types just asking to be walked in on.

Wait. I think I got off track again. I was talking about meeting the One, right? Of course I was. So I bet you’re wondering what I meant by that. Well, believe it or not, my scattered brain never ceases to fail me and has brought us to the answer. Social media! Simple. It’s so easy to read between the lines and really understand people based on a precise formula: one part profile, three parts day-to-day posts, and a heaping spoonful of comments/actual interactions. Because they all tell us different, albeit very important, things.

Take our profiles, for instance. Or our own personal “ad”, as I prefer to call them. They’re basically shovels full of bullshit that we scoop from the dirt-pile that is reality which we then cast toward the window of public knowledge – hoping that the best parts stick on the glass before slowly falling down so others will remember the crap we want them to. They’re sort of like social resumes, but without the necessity of having to worry whether or not we can back it up. You know…like an actual, real job would require. I mean after all, how many people do you know would look at a person’s “About Me”, see that they graduated from Syracuse in 2012 with a bachelors in Bio-Bullshit or something, and then actually go check the alumni lists to make sure they’re telling the truth?

I’ll save you the time: no one. You know precisely no one that would do that. Maybe some photo stalking to audit them perhaps, but hey – all it takes to dodge that one is a quick “Where are my college photos? Oh please, I had to delete those when I started applying to real jobs. You know how it is!” Giggle giggle, sly wink, and a sip of that vodka cranberry and we’re on to the next topic. Please. Any uneducated kid with a vocational degree can do it. So yeah, that’s the profile for you. It’s our canned version of ourselves. Which, incidentally, can tell us a lot about someone and how they wish to be perceived.

Then there’s the day-to-day posts. These are basically the fluff that people put up to support the claims advertised on the profile. All initial releases need some backup content, no? Sort of like sequels. Posts are like sequels to our first installment, furthering our narratives. Makes sense if you ask me.

Which, of course, brings us to the meat and potatoes. Comments. Interactions. Arguments! These are what truly reveals who a person is or is not. Actions speak louder than words, after all, do they not? Oh yes. They most certainly do.

But let’s get back, for the third time now, to how you already know your soulmate. It’s by taking the information we just discussed, and intelligently applying it with the appropriate intentions. Social media. Reading people. Easy. You know it, I know it, we all know it.

We all have that one, perfect person out there just waiting for us to slide into their DMs. The question is whether we ever grow a pair big enough to actually do it. And what you’re about to learn…is that me? Well, I did.

Boy, did I.

The One: First Entry

Can we be honest with ourselves for a moment? I want to talk about some things. Things like Facebook. Twitter. Instagram, perhaps. Hell, even Tinder…anything that lets people advertise who they are (or at least who they want to be) without having to concern themselves with the real world.

Yeah, I know.

It’s not easy to examine one’s self. We’d all much rather be judging someone else. But right now, let’s do the hard thing and focus the lens introspectively.

Sure, it’s easy to look on at the spinning wheel that is social media, watching as the people we know and grew up with move on with their lives. Comparison is the theif of joy, ain’t it? That’s what they say, at least.

It’s funny though because everyone’s aware, whether consciously or subconsciously, that social media is just a highlight reel. If only we knew who we all are after each one of those many layers of social graces and obligatory formalities got peeled back. The real, you know? Because as much as we market how cool our lives are, at the end of the day…it’s validation that we really want.

Most of us, that is. And you know what? That’s perfectly normal. Not at all a thing to be ashamed of.

After all, most of us just want someone who knows us. Who understands us. Who IS us. We want to enjoy life with a person who gets, more so than anyone, who we truly are. And I’m not talking about the person at three o’clock, bringing in coffee with the same fake grin we all wear knowing we’re just waiting for the hour hand to get knocked ahead a couple notches. I’m talking about the person we are when the day’s facade is over, the candles go out, and the door closes. That person you see when the ambient light from the TV flicks on as it highlights the it-was-a-long-day-fucked-up-hair and feetie pajamas silhouette. That’s the person we’re searching for.

And you want to know something? I bet you’ve already met them.

I know I have.

91 (A Short Story by Josh Jones)

91

At 91, Gladys sips bourbon from her grandmother’s floral teacup. It’s eleven in the morning. The teacup shakes slightly in her veined, big-knuckled hand. The saucer clinks several times as she sets it down. She’s given up reading the newspaper because her eyes are shot and she feels reading glasses are gauche. Instead of reading she listens to the radio.

Her radio, an original transistor type, picks up programs broadcast on the FM signal. A light jazz music traipses through the air. She wears a light cotton gown. White, wispy hair dances around her face, catching the morning light. Her eyes are set deep within a wrinkled face. Looking out her window to the yard, a young Hispanic man mows and trims.

Her lips, moistened from the bourbon, tense every so often as she listens to the irritating man on the radio who talks between her songs. As he prattles on, she closes her eyes and sees the lovely vignettes of her childhood. She dwells here more and more, in the thoughts of a youth, where memories are so vivid in her mind. She revels in her recollections and the emotions they bring. They take her back to times long before the Alzheimer’s became the focal point of her life. Mornings are the best, with her bourbon, her light jazz and her youth.

She remembers the small apartment where she, her sister, and parents lived. It was an Irish neighborhood on the cusp of Harlem in the thriving days of New York City’s bustling renaissance. She remembers ‘rushing the can’ to her parents as they listened to Benny Goodman. The large can, coming from the corner bar, was filled with cold beer. At nine years old, she would give the slip of paper to the bartender for credit at the bar from her father. She remembers the smoky bar. She remembers neighbors sitting on the stoops of their buildings. She remembers her parents would drink the beer out of clear glasses while dancing in the kitchen.

Her older sister, Esther, would come home with stories from The Cotton Club where she was a coat check girl. She told her parents about the fur coats, the shimmering clothes and way the dancefloor pulsed with people dancing, drinking, smoking. Gladys would sit in the window overlooking the alleyway watching her parents dance, wanting to be older. She remembers her mother moving to the icebox, her hips swaying to jazz orchestra, to get refill the glasses. When her mom would be busy, Glady’s dad would pluck her from her window seat and spin her around to the jumpin’ and jivin’ music. She could smell the beer on his breath and the smoke on his clothes.

At her kitchen table, the ninety-one-year-old Gladys brings a hand up and feels the cotton collar of her house gown. She thinks of the sable furs her sister described from her job at The Cotton Club. In her silent reverie, Gladys picks up the cork from her Maker’s Mark bourbon bottle. The weight in her hand reminds her of the Bazooka Joe bubble gum her mother would give to her. She’d unpeel the wrapper, read the joke to her parents and they would hoot and holler with tipsy delight.

Gladys’ toe is bouncing along to the jazz station on her FM radio. The bouncing reminds her of jumping on the bed as she and her sister giggled together about a Barney Coogle cartoon called “Patch Mah Britches”. The character, and his big bottom, are covered by trousers with a hole in the seat. They fall back onto the bed laughing at the picture of the man’s underwear poking through his britches.

The radio goes to a commercial and her thoughts stop as an advertisement to cure erectile dysfunction dissipates the fond visions in her mind. She looks wide-eyed at the table. A plate from dinner with her remaining meal still sits on the table next to a pill dispenser.

Did she forgot to eat last night?

Oh dear, whose pills are those?

She sips her bourbon as a commercial for feminine hygiene products for maximum flow days causes her to scoff. She looks at the table again where her teeth are submerged in a glass next to her uneaten meal. She touches her mouth as if she’s surprised her teeth are across the table from her.

The music begins again and again, she is now skipping down the sidewalk beneath her apartment, throwing  a stone onto the hopscotch square. She hops deftly from one square to another, leaning forward to pick up the stone. A siren sounds down the street, she looks up as folks lean out their windows to watch the fire truck ramble by with its large water tank as firefighters hang off the sides.

Finishing her hopscotch, she says hello to Mrs. Finnegan, the fat lady across the hall who wears enormous, floral dresses and hands out candy. She gives Gladys three pieces of salt water taffy. She puts the candies into her pocket and runs upstairs to share with Esther. The radio in the kitchen is playing a rumba song. Esther grabs Gladys and they try to copy the dance moves they’ve watched her folks do. They both trip over each other, falling into a pile, giggling on the kitchen floor.

“Mom!” Gladys hears the sharp words and thinks her mother is yelling at them.

But, where’s Esther?

The knock comes again to her door. The door to her house, not her parent’s apartment.

Gladys walks to the door. “Yes?” she says.

“Mom,” a woman says again. “Open up, I have your groceries.”

“Groceries?” Gladys questions laying her hand on the door. “I didn’t order any groceries.”

“Mom,” the woman says, “it’s me. Your daughter.”

Gladys opens the door and looks at the woman and says, “I don’t know. I need to call my daughter to see if she ordered these groceries.”

“Mom,” the woman said. “I’m your daughter.”

“Oh…” Gladys said.


 

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Sheltered

 

Keep it Close

It’s funny really, sit back and watch

At all the people, climbing notch

Try to break an industry

That only wants to catch, release

They all want content, what they need

A mind like mine, that doesn’t feed

On all the bullshit, all the fake

And how much money can I make

This game is changing, get on board

Here I’ll help, on my accord

You heard me right, what you’re surprised?

It’s weird, I know, a stand-up guy

See all these disrespectful lines

Just show me how small are your minds

And treating people like you do

It’s getting old, get with the new

Yeah, I said it, deal with it

I don’t care what trash you spit

Your game is awful, get in line

Cause none of y’all can top this mind

I know you’re mad, and feel like fools

That’s natural, we’re animals

That’s what happens when you’ve lost

Hey, keep it close, these keys I tossed

The Real You

The real inside you wants to out

Because you know what you’re about

It’s scratching, teething, ripping in

Creating so much real tension

The world is wasted, the time is ours

To fix these fucking scrapes and scars

These people all have gone to hell

It’s time we step up, fix the shell

Well do it right, not what they did

Well take this place and fix it, kid

The time has come, let’s get it done

Let’s own this world with endless fun

Let’s make religions, get along

The red and blue will sing their song

It isn’t hard, for all it takes

Is you and me, to be awake

I Want to Die

I want to die

But not because

The reason that

You’re thinking of

See all I want

Is for you hoes

To like my poems

And like my prose

And come on guys

We all admit

That once you’re dead

Your works legit

I know, it makes

My mind go numb

That people are

So fucking dumb

Appreciate

They can’t, in place

When greatness slaps

Them in the face

Because they can’t

Get over, see

Their mindless, stupid

Jealousy

So yes, I guess

With drawn out sigh

I’ll bite the bullet

It’s time to die

No, B!

Why does he just stare at me

As I’m driving, silently

Watching oh so creepily

Licking chops so hungrily

Does he think of eating me?

Does he want his bowl to be

Filled with water, does he see

How his gaze drives me crazy?

I must breathe, I think I’m free

Surely he is not hungry

For my flesh and bones, I think

He just likes to look at me

Phew I’m calm, finally

I’ll just turn and drive, as we

Wait…whats this you’re doing, B?

NO! Oh my God, someone help me!!

It’s Cruel, You See

Gazing in this mind of black

At all the things that I’d take back

If only it was kind to me

But time, regret, its cruel, you see

The things I wish I hadn’t done

They never fade, they never run

They occupy my mind at night

And fill my heart with doubt and spite

Oh, to have it back, now lost

I’d pay the toll, at any cost

To right the wrongs, that I transgress

To heal the pain, as I regress

Alas, its time that’s cruel, you see

And as I look back, woefully

The past, it grows so rapidly

To haunt my wounded memory

Together

In my chamber, losing sleep

Rocking, thinking, silently

Watching broadcasts quietly

Observe this world, so violently

I wonder if the day will be

When people live, peacefully

Shedding war, with treaty

No longer loving fearfully

It all could change, if only we

Would be the change we want to see

We must admit, reluctantly

To fix the “us”, it starts with “me”

Don’t take offense, the truth, you see

Is no one lives life perfectly

We’re all together, I decree

To live, one human family