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

One Day

Listen, can you hear it?

Such beauty, violin

It’s strings are humming softly

To remind us where we’ve been

Such time it took to get here

So far, the journey seemed

So quick were we to make it

We’ve forgotten why we dreamed

Our life was so much simpler

Our souls, they all were freed

When nothing seemed to matter

For love was all we’d need

Just how did all this happen

Where did we go astray

Is it lost forever

Or can we find our way

Such sadness sweeps, such sorrow

Alone and thinking, every night

My heart, it longs so dearly

To feel that things are right

My hope, I fear is empty

Despite how deep I yearn

To live with pain, this broken

Is something I can’t learn

I wish this world was kinder

I wish we could all live

I wish we’d act as equals

I wish that we’d forgive

We lost our love, compassion

Somewhere along the way

Yet hope will live in my heart

To find ourselves, one day

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.

Letter to My Lost: 2

My dearest Lilliana,

Not a day goes by without my thoughts eventually falling upon you. Those carefree, restless nights spent together I always think of as I sit here in the trenches, covered in the grit and dirt that this advance has cast over me. Every day we are inching forward, further and further as we push back the filth who see this world in a way that our loving God surely wishes to admonish.

Your last letter struck the deepest chords of my heart. I long for nothing more than the knowledge to tell you I shall be returning soon, and yet I fear there are many more battles to come. The officers have assured us that this war will come to a swift end, but many of us withhold our doubts. There is even talk that things are growing so perilous that the Americans will be giving their support in the way of rations and arms. The men say that it would be better if they would send their troops, but it seems as they are careful not to get themselves directly involved in the atrocities that the sons of Europe have been forced to bear witness to.

I cannot say I blame them, much as we would welcome their aide. No God fearing man on this Earth should be forced to shoulder the burdens this war has created.

I so hope that I shall see you before long, my love. This tiny locket I carry does not do justice to the image of you I dream of each time I lay down for the night.

Pray for me, my Lilliana. God willing, I will hold you in my arms soon.

Forever with you,

Your Braden

My New World

The other day I went out and bought this big ass terrarium. At first I wanted something else, like a ferret, or salt aquarium. But I ended up changing my mind. Something about that enormous, transparent habitat just appealed to me. Not sure why. Anyway, I took it home, set it down, walked away and spent the rest of the day doing various chores around the house. Later, as the day wound down and I finished getting ready to set sail to Slumbertown, I stood beside my bed and stared at this empty tank in front of me, and thought: “Now what?” Well, I stared for awhile longer, pondering all the things I could put inside. Like lizards, or turtles, or the disembodied limbs of my enemies, ya know? But then, for some reason, I figured I’d try to think bigger, like a sugar glide or boa snake or some awesome theme park hamster slide, but then I internally heard a voice say “Hey Matt! Can you kindly shut up, and actually decide?” (Sometimes I forget that my brain actually speaks and isn’t just along for the ride).

Okay maybe that last part, I confide, didn’t really happen. I lied. So what? This is MY story, dammit, and I’m the guide; you’re just here for me to preside as YOU sit there along for the ride. Like my bitch ass brain should be. And you know what el – okay I’m just playin. I apologize.

Lets get back to the empty tank, shall we?

There I was. A literal micro-world of possibilities sitting there before me when all of a sudden, it came to me. Oh my God! I can populate this thing with like, an entire cornucopia of different organisms and let them all co-exist. Just like Earth! It’ll be my own little universe to create; with myself, of course, ruling over the entire domain in control of its fate.

So I thought about that for a moment.

As I stood there, so many things started coursing through my head. Things like how the tank sits next to my bed, and what if I moved it to the corner instead? My brain considered that but eventually said “Just leave it there Matt. Heavy lifting? We know that’s a thing that you hate and you dread. Because to be candid, you’re kind of a pussy.” And before I could reply to my ever-annoying mind, something happened. I, at last, realized something of grave importance which would directly affect the internal debate currently transpiring in my skull.

I realized l had bolted the damn tank to the table earlier that day, and that I couldn’t move the stupid thing even if I wanted to. So that took care of that.

Then things started to get a bit more serious. The above realization had freed up my thought, and I started to jot what kinds of things could be bought to populate this little glass plot. I wondered how much time I’d allot to spend in this spot, as the truth that I fought is that there’s only so much time that I’ve got.

That’s when I decided.

I’ll put whatever the hell I want in this thing! Let’s Noah’s Ark the Hell out of it. After all, I own this dominion, no? Of course I do. This tiny world was mine to create. So again, that took care of that.

I would run the place my way. Or ways, I should say, because hey – why limit myself to one set of rules or pathway? Wouldn’t it be more fun to rule one way on weekends and another on workdays?

So that was my decision.

Ironically, I decided that deciding didn’t warrant my abiding by the expectations usually presiding over the world WE live in that, admittedly, could use much, much better guiding. Would I mimic this world of constant dividing forcing families into hiding with a fear that’s never subsiding as their dreams are ever sliding down a hopeless, empty chasm? Or would I opt to be providing? The latter, if I’m confiding, that I wish was more closely coinciding with the regimes currently overriding any form of free thought or challenge to their authority as they quell dissent with brutal chiding. Perhaps I could create both environments, depending on my mood. Sky is the limit I suppose.

Yes, this will be Matt’s world.

This would be a world for me, alone, to create. A world where Matt can dictate who they’ll love and who they’ll hate, and whether one lives in an estate or whether they instead await a much less privileged, unfair, sadly hopeless fate. A world I own; my own private city-state where I can close the real world’s gate, retreating as the night is late to the creatures I rule, as I mandate that they worship me as “Matt, The All-Knowing; The Loved, The Feared…but Mostly The Great.” I imagine that would very much elate, as my animal instinctual desire to dominate can be an appetite that finally, I can satiate.

That’d be cool, right?

Then my Brain did that thing again. That thing I keep telling it not to. It dug. Deeper and deeper.

And I had an epiphany.

All of these creatures that I dreamt to control might actually have their own aspiration or goal. Who was I to keep them tied to this pole that my mind had created; after all, they all have a soul, don’t they? And, if we’re being candid, for one to feel whole they shouldn’t have to hide in some hole that they dug to avoid paying a toll to some hovering, judgmental ruler who more closely resembles a troll than the benevolent creator that some poor schmuck described millennia ago on a crusty, crumbling scroll.

So I changed my mind yet again.

And I bought a fucking turtle. Because truthfully, my brain was annoying the hell out of me. I installed this little mini-swimming pool for it and everything. Hell, I even got the little shit a floating lily pad for those times it desired extra, extra laziness. Oh, turtles. How uneventful their lives are. This turtle’s existence, however, would be eventful as shit. ‘Cause this turtle, unlike any before in the history of Turtledom, lived in Matt’s World. It would be treated as a King. Actually wait; let’s say prince. It’d be treated like a prince. I’m the King. Duh.

Lucky turtle.

Oh, and I call the thing an “it” because I have absolutely no idea how to identify the gender of a turtle without using means that are entirely too…intimate. So how do I name it, I wondered? Well, I decided on the path of least resistance, and just named it Pat. Sure, there are dozens of gender neutral names, but hey. Pat rhymes with Matt. Now we’re two peas on a lily pad, god dammit. And to anyone making fun…you’re obviously just jealous you don’t have a Pat of your own. Haters gon’ hate.

Anyway, a curious thing happened after I (and Pat) got settled to go to Sleepburg.

I thought back to that thing which, before, I would laud. All that power I wanted, which to me now just seems odd. I pictured an image of the creator I so recently imagined I’d be, and suddenly I was swept by an eerie sense of awe. Awe by that place where my mind’s steps had just trod. The thing I fear most; that power is a thing I desire and applaud. A thing, to be frank, that’s just a corrupted facade. The empty, false confidence of believing my own fraud. A dream that I now realize exposes a harsh truth; which is the fact that I’m enormously flawed.

Because why, so recently, had I thought to maraud an entire universe of creatures as if they were just inmates, helplessly at the mercy of my personal firing squad? This question, which sawed at my brain as my frozen thoughts were all thawed as I started to prod, questioning my own moral fibers with a psychological measuring rod – I was suddenly, overwhelmingly consumed by the most profound of considerations.

See, this world I had imagined just hours ago wouldn’t be far removed from the world that WE know. Had I thrown those poor creatures in that tank all alone, sitting back as I watch them all fight, die, or grow, knowing that I could intervene at any point down below – shouldn’t I? I mean if with all of that power I could use and bestow, what reason would I have to let my own creatures woe? As peace, I forego; what kind of monster would that make me, watching them suffer when at the snap of my finger, away it’d all go? What kind of creator could do that to the very things he put there to begin with? They didn’t ask to be put there! They owe me nothing, right? Why would I do that?

Then I recalled my old thoughts yet again. I recalled all that darkness which my own brain had thankfully outlawed just hours before, as I was confronted by a question that was narrowing my beliefs that were once far too broad.

I asked, though I silently feared the truth; were those the same thoughts that were considered…by God?

Happy Valentines, from Ebenezer Scrooge

Happy Valentines. Ha! Yeah right

The only date I have tonight

Is with my gold, to you I say

And this glass of Cabernet

All these hearts and all these roses

All these stupid picture poses

Make me so sick I could die

Go stick those photos in your eye!

This money’s all I want and need

And if you tell me that’s just greed

I’ll take a gold piece from this case

And slap it to your ugly face!

That’s right lovebirds, the time it is

To put my money where your mouth is

That’d shut you up, oh ‘twill be grand

To post THAT on my Instagram

“Hashtag V-Day” you post up

“Oh aren’t we cute?” No, now shut-up!

I swear this day’s like Christmas, yuck

Why must holidays all suck?

Bah, humbug. Get back to work

And tuck your ugly shirt in, jerk!

Your boyfriend looks like such a stooge!

Screw Valentine’s! I’m mister Scrooge.

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

My Black Inkwell

This is a story, of that I’ll tell

As I fill my black inkwell

A pen and pad, it works you see

Yet naught compares to quill, and ink

To sit within this room of black

And think of all the world shall lack

The pain I feel, I think it so

The same as Edgar Allen Poe

A Telltale Heart, a seedless plum

A tortured Pit and Pendulum

F. Scott Fitzgerald knew it too

Society is just a ruse

A dance, a game, a twist, a turn

We writers ask “when will they learn”

The answer lies so far within

A world of malice, hate, and sin

The times have changed, the people, not

For money’s always paid and bought

It’s ruined folks, brought out the worst

The evil, bad, their power thirst

The ones who see it, smart they are

The stronger intellect goes far

The ones who don’t, who lie and cheat

Shall have their shame drug on the street

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

When Finally, It’s Built

The last years of your life

So confined and constrained

Arthritis was rife

It hurt, and it pained

No solace you had

But to lay in your bed

Retreat to your books

Build a world in your head

I’ll never forget, Mom

All the stories and shows

We’d read and watch together

To forget this life’s woes

CSI, Nora Roberts

Your favorites, I know

You’d gleefully immerse

In her books, or that show

Oh Mom, how it hurts

To think of these times

It rips me apart

But keeps me alive

All that’s ahead

Everything I achieve

Is all due to you, Mom

And your love for me

You deserved so much more

How so badly I yearn

To turn back the clock

Give the life that you earned

The impossible, I want

The impossible, I need

Yet I’m forced to move forward

And to carry this grief

Your love for those stories

They’ve inspired me, Mom

And I promised you one day

That’d I’d carry that love on

One day, Mom, I swear it

No more tears will be spilt

When I cut that bright ribbon

When finally, it’s built

You

What things go through your head

When you lay down and no one is there?

When you know that no one is listening

Is it a dream, or perhaps a nightmare?

Do you think of the rest of the world

And how we’re all stuck in a cell?

Or maybe those shoes you’ve been wanting

Or if there’s a heaven or hell?

Think hard, for I say this

Not to judge; no fingers I point, I can say

But your thoughts? They truly define you

Not facades, nor roles you portray

Live. Love. Be honest

Please, be true to the core

For when you find the real you

Your reason to search – it’s no more

To You, Mom

I’m so close, Mom

I can feel it

I’ve kept my post, Mom

Done what I said I’d do

It’s all about to take off, Mom

Please, stay on board with me

Your soul has been my compass, Mom

It’s the only thing that’s driving me

Everything ahead is ‘cause of you

And the thing I’m leaving behind me

Is a life of stress and judgment

Not at all the things I want to be

All I want Is what you deserved

But never seemed to truly get

I’m so sorry Mom, I really am

I miss you so much, now eyes are wet

It doesn’t matter though

You’ll always be a part of me

Every piece of good and kind

Came from your hand holding me

Mom, I miss you so much

I can’t even describe it, no

And everything I’m about to do

Will be because you loved me so

Priorities

Whatchu mean you don’t wanna say please?

You better take a step back and consider your priorities

Whatchu want more? Change or the argument?

Number one, please. Number two, cause dissent.

People won’t change unless you give em what they wanna hear

I don’t care if you don’t like that, that’s the way it is, hear?

Deal with it or don’t, your decision ain’t up to me

But imma be over here, causing change and making beats

Well not really beats I guess, instead I’d probly say rhymes

Cause I don’t know how to rap even tho I’ve tried a hundred times

See I know my place, what I’m not and what I am

And I bet you’d feel the same if you’d learn how to debate, man

What are we Doing?

Why do you work?

Think about it

Please, I’m not joking

Actually think.

Because you get paid, no?

It’s simple, agree?

Don’t you agree though?

Now keep up with me

Lets take one more step, huh?

Get onto this bus

Why do we get paid, huh?

Whats money to us?

It lets us buy things

Okay that makes sense

So take one step further

Why do we buy things?

Cause people will like us

Wait what do you mean?

Well, people all like stuff

It’s attractive to gleam

So wait you’re saying

That people are fake?

Not really just saying

That thats why they wake

They wake to get up and

Just go to a job

The one that they hate, and

So they can buy stuff

Well, what if instead all you

Stopped caring for stuff

And rather looked into

All these people and love

The whole world would never

Ever be the same

And if you don’t get this

You’re the reason we hate

This is Cozy

Let’s take a moment and talk about the real deets

Some of y’all are prolly thinking when’s he finally gonna peace

Well I hate to say this but I’m actually kinda comfy here

It’s really fun, it’s helped me write, and I’ve shed a couple tears

The people here are just that, they’re the real deal

Not a mask, not a hat, I never get a fake feel

So I hope we can get along without getting jealous

Cause you know that’s natural, guys were just competitive

That’s all. Just in case anyone’s annoyed. It’s the natural way of things. I still luh you.

Family Ties

It’s times such as these

When you want to say please

What more can I do?

What else will appease?

All you want is a pat

Maybe “Hey, way to go”

Or “I’m proud of you, son”

“It’s hard work, that I know”

But none of it fits

Beyond all my wits

I can’t do what is right 

Im up thinking at night

I just don’t understand

I just don’t comprehend

I just want to be proud 

I just want to fit in

The people I’ve met

Who never I’ve seen

They’re beautiful, dancing

All over round me

My family ties

And this, I detest

They’re toxic to me

Will be, till I rest 

Why is it so hard?

Why can’t you support?

I’ve written alone

My mind is my fort

For blood isn’t born

Its gained and it’s yearned 

And true family ties 

Cut deepest, when earned