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
In his right hand sat a rifle, pointing at his kin
In the other there was powder, and it was meant for him
Turn the clock back and these two brothers who had played
Never would have seen this coming as they grew and aged
What is it that we need? Why must we always fight?
When instead we could be ironing our differences at night?
You know that it’s a feeling, and you know I feel it too
I can’t explain the things I see or things that people do
What is it that you’re thinking?
What is it that you’ve seen?
My brother, please don’t let the world get
Caught up in between
Every struggle, I have seen it
Every loss, I shall regret
But you and I are here now
And our cause we can’t forget
Listen to the violin, its strings are being played
Freedom wasn’t given, there was blood when it was paid
Do not forget the ones who wept to make this sacrifice
Because today we need a way to get back what is right
In my right hand sits a pencil, I point it at my kin
If I could write that things are right, you know I would give in
It hurts to know that I can’t though, this world is split in two
And I shall fight until it’s right…because she’d want me to
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.
The fire raged as Nero played
While Rome was burning bright
And yet the man had not betrayed
As they all say, that night
He was not the man you thought
At least, who bards all say
The truth is far from what they’ve taught
No songs were sung that day
Till second world war’s burns had blazed
In Hamburg, and Dresden
No other fire since had razed
None other was akin
Pliny the Eld, Cassius Di
They’ll give you their account
But Tacitus says no, you see
That’s not what he found out
As the flames turned bread to crumb
He wasn’t even home
Nero was in Antium
During the Great Fire of Rome
Remember this; do not forget
When judging others’ sin
His’trys writ in blood and sweat
By only those who win
It is such a curious concept. It exists behind everything. Every single action, every single behavior, every single thing we do is motivated by thought, whether conscious or not. Breathing, for example. Do you think every time you take a breath? I think not. And yet you do it.
I am having difficulty compartmentalizing the minutia of human behavior. What things do I file as instinctual behavior, and what things do I classify as conscious behavior? It is a task my superiors have asked of me, and quite frankly, I do not yet know where to draw the line. What things were under these humans’ control? What things were manifested simply because of the circumstances at a given time? What could be helped, and what couldn’t?
The more answers I seek, the more questions I seem to face. This shall be a most difficult undertaking, if I am to speak openly. There are so many pressures I feel falling upon me to fully create an analysis of such behavior. This question of why may be my undoing.
I’ve yet to determine an answer.
“Bites of the Round Bowl!! Please, lend me your ears.”
Standing valiantly on the balcony of Cage Spamalot’s Keep, Grr Barker tells the entire Realm of the quest he will embark on, with no puns intended.
“Realm!” He shouts, “I shall commission my bravest, most chivalrous Bites to accompany me on this epic quest! We will weather the challenges that lie ahead. No obstacle shall stand in our way as we courageously mush our way to the artifact of old; the fabled Excalibone!!”
“HUZZAH!!!!” The Kingdom roars before him. “LONG LIVE GRR BARKER!!!”
“Calm yourselves, constituents,” Barker howls as he raises a paw. “Yes, this quest shall bring much glory to our Kingdom, but we mustn’t forget the severity of the threat which lies to the East! My advisors have informed me that there still remains a Phelyon, by the name of Corgin La Fey, who wishes to reclaim our freed lands!!”
“NAY!!!” The crowd shouts, fully in support of their leader. “You must vanquish her!!”
“Yes!” Barker asserts. “And vanquish we shall!! But first, I must unearth the fabled weapon of old!! For without Excalibone, I might as well be riding into a sea of Jellyfish!”
“But wait, my Liege!” A random peasant shouts from the crowd. “What do jellyfish have to do with this narrative? Alas, they don’t even remotely relate to the topic at hand!”
“Aye,” Grr Barker barks, “your words are true. Jellyfish are not, in fact, related to this quest at all. But alas! We shall recover Excalibone and send Corgin La Fey back into chasm from whence she came!!!!” He howls, awoo’ing at the rising Moon.
“AWOOO!!!!!!” The crowd repeats, even though many of them are not Kaynine. “Tomorrow,” Grr Barker shouts, “our quest shall begin!!”
Sweaty brow, aching back, home packed lunch and the sleepless nights
That’s how things were done when people worked, reaching up for higher heights
Dirt and grit, skin and bone, not a moment thrown into the waste
Men would own up to the challenge, no obstacle they wouldn’t face
Things got done, cities built, on the shoulders of their work
They didn’t need a safe space, they built these things from grit and dirt
Now, today, we watch as our children have their feelings hurt
Instead of saying “toughen up”, we tell them “get revenge and throw some dirt”
Paint the people disagreeing as bigots and misogynists
As they yell and cry aloud, raising pickets and their fists
Its sad to me, watching as we become so weak
Many years from now, the stronger will destroy the meek
Its not immoral, its not unjust, to teach your children to be strong
Look out at this harsh, cruel world and tell me that you know I’m wrong
And if you do, then friend, this is the only thing I’ll say to you
I hope you taught them hide and seek, cause hiding’s all they’ll know to do
“Barker? He is King now?”
Far to the East, Corgin Le Fey and her minions discuss the new events that have transpired throughout the Realm.
“Yes, madam,” a rat-servant screetches, “there has been much change occurring throughout the lands. Grr Barker has ascended to the Bone, and now rules with his Bites of the Round Bowl. Your carefully laid plans to put Toother to rest worked without err, and everything has gone according to your foretelling.”
“Excellent,” the Phelyon sorceress says. “Toother’s campaign almost destroyed my entire family tree. I will take pleasure in clawing the limbs and branches from his own.” She adds, combing her claw over a scroll detailing the Toother Mansbestfrienddragon’s lineage. “He should have known better. You NEVER abandon a Phelyon in a tree! They will always find a way to survive.”
“It is known, my Queen!” the rat-servant says, rolling up the Bestfrienddragon lineage scroll. “Forever Phelyons!”
“Forever Phelyons!” Corgin repeats, leaning out of the stone window so her voice can echo across the land.
“Rat-servant!” She shouts, retreating from the window. “Send a dispatch to Barko Polo. He shall send emissaries to assist me in my conquest!”
“Of course! Barko Polo is an excellent ally to call upon. You are wise to summon him.” The servant obediently replies.
“Yes.” Corgin purrs. “The Realm shall soon be mine. MINE!” She adds, pointing her Phelyon butt up to the ceiling, exposing her backside.
Come my friend, its you, I know, that stands outside my Lake Chateau. I took a walk, just hours ago, and now I sit by this window. Please, my friend, I’ve something to show; come join me through the portico. Open the door – its unlocked, you know, and come share this fine, old, red Bordeaux.
There’s something that you need to see, to understand this sad world’s plea. There’s things outside that I foresee, things He’ll, sadly, guarantee. Do you see that burning tree? The wars, the death, black in the sea? The children who were slain by the melancholy and the man who was murdered for saying “I disagree?” Tell me, my friend, if this is what we should put up with without lifting our hands that are free.
I ask that again, you take a look at this place. Look out and observe all the hatred we face. Let your eyes fall upon things outside your safe space and truly grasp all the things that this world should replace. And let me say this, because just in case; its understood that people will always displace what’s right and what’s wrong but that’s no excuse – just disgrace.
A disgrace it is, that we’ve let this become a Hell for the most and a Haven for some. So few can parade, scraping up every crumb, as the patrons they need are left treated like scum. They measure one’s worth based on things, or income, and their vanity echoes like the beat of a drum. Come closer, my friend, you’ll hear irony strum, for history’s song is that the end always comes.
It comes at a time when they’ve all had enough, a time when they realize they’re not all that tough, the people will gather, strip away the handcuff and step forward with honor as they call their God’s bluff.
So let these words warn you, the ones of occult. Do the right thing, or face a revolt.
The morning after Grr Barker’s cryptic meeting with The Lady of the Shake, he rises early to greet the new sun. Trotting over to the stone window overlooking his Kingdom, he squints his eyes as the light meets his emerald, green eyes. His thoughts bark the question of whether he is worthy of such a quest, and he internally wonders if he is suited for the job. Before his mind has a chance to answer, he is interrupted by the gravest of news.
“Grr Barker!” A rat-servant hysterically shouts after climbing the many stairs to his Cage. “You must come! Your father has taken ill!”
“My…my father?” Grr Barker asks, immediately concerned.
“Yes! Please, follow!”
Scurrying off into the spiral staircase of the chamber tower, Grr Barker trails the rat-servant across the Castle Cage’s halls until they finally reach his father’s Kingly chambers.
“Father!” Barker howls as he sheds a tear from his glistening green eye, “please tell me you will persevere!”
Weakly lifting his head, Toother Mansbestfrienddragon takes his paw and wraps its around his son’s shaggy neck.
“My beloved Barker…cough cough…y…you must see that our Kingdom r…cough…remains. You must recover that which I have lost. My…my son…you must recover Excalibone!” The King manages to say, before his spirit sadly fades beyond the Veil.
“FATHER!! NO! AWOOOOOOOO!!!!” Grr Barker howls in pain. “How did this happen?!” He asks the surrounding servants and dogtors, suddenly displaying an expression of fury and hatred.
“My liege,” the King’s primary dogtor says, “we believe he was poisoned. His death was far too sudden for this to be a conventional illness.”
“Who is responsible?!” Grr Barker shouts, wanting answers.
“We believe it was the work of Corgin La Fey, my liege!” A tiny rat-servant who has been watching from afar squeals in a high-pitched voice. “There have been rumors that she lives on, and has sworn revenge against the Bone!”
Hearing this, Grr Barker slowly raises his head, looking up at the coat of arms mounted above his father’s chamber.
“She will be ended for this.” He snarls with a deep, sinister growl. “That wicked Phelyon will know my wrath. SERVANTS!” He barks. “Prepare my armor! Tomorrow, we ride!!”
Watching, as always, from the shadows, Squirrelin overhears the new developments. Knowing that the prophecies have now been put into motion, he retreats to his study to research what must be done.
To be continued…
“Grr Barker! You have forgotten your vest-piece!”
As the gigantic crowd gathering around the fairgrounds sits in anticipation of the Games, the magic-wielding mentor of Grr Barker, heir to the Bone, chases after the daring Prince holding a Leash of Armor in his hand.
“Fear not, Squirrelin!” Grr Barker shouts back as he charges ahead, valiantly guiding his faithful steed Lambrei toward the jousting arena. “I shall have no need for such protection! Grr Sleepsalot may be a Bite of the Round Bowl, but he poses no challenge to the likes of me!”
The crowd, seeing the handsome Grr Barker ride out so daringly with no concern for his own protection, roars in support of their future King.
“ALL HAIL GRR BARKER!!!” The chant echoes across the land, reaching even the chipmunks who occupy the outskirts of Spamalot, the Kaynine’s Kingdom and Castle.
“’Tis a beautiful day for the games, no?” Grr Bitesalot says to his fellow Knights as he peers up into the bright, blue sky; anxiously awaiting the joust ahead.
“Aye, it surely is, “ barks Lady Playpenuivere, Grr Barker’s faithful betrothed. “I only hope he doesn’t hurt himself again,” the beautiful bitch adds. “The last time he jousted without a vest-piece, the Royal Vet had to attend to him for days. He worries me with such careless antics.”
“Bow-wow, fear not m’Lady,” Grr GoodGalihad says. “Barker always maintains his composure in the ‘Pens. He will come out without a scratch, I assure you.”
“I hope you are right, GoodGalihad,” the bitch says. “He so loves his theatrics. It pleases the common-folk, but I worry every time he sets paw in that arena. I pray to the Dogs that they bestow their blessings upon him. I know not what I would do if I were to made a widow.”
Interrupting the barkalogue, the Games’ trumpets are blasted, echoing across the entire Realm.
“KAYNINES!” The announcer barks, straddling a brown bear as he struggles to maintain his grip on its reigns, “LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!”
As the announcer manages to steer the brown bear away from the fields into the Cage for Commentators, Grr Barker and Grr Sleepsalot take their positions opposite each other on the long, green field.
“JOUST!!” The announcer woofs, aggressively waving his paw.
Both riding their favorite foxes, the two contestants charge at each other with bone-lances in hand. After several suspenseful seconds of fox-trotting, the two clash together as Grr Barker’s bone-lance strikes the heart of Grr Sleepsalot’s fluffy vest-piece, de-foxing him.
“HUZZAH!!!!” The crowd barks, drooling in excitement as they witness their Prince circle the Fields in victory.
“AWOOOOOO!!!!!!!” Grr Barker howls, holding his lance toward the sky in triumph.
“I told you!!” Grr GoodGalihad bow-wows to Lady Playpenuivere. “Ha! Let’s join the celebration, shall we?!” He adds, launching himself over the short, hallway-sized divider meant to keep the Kaynines from entering places they shouldn’t enter.
Beaming at her betrothed, the bitch bats her eyes several times before letting her indifferent gaze fade into a wide grin.
“Fine,” she reluctantly says through her smile. “Time to celebrate…again.” She adds with a playful eyeroll.
As the crowd celebrates their victor, a raspy voice stirs far to the East.
“Fffffffftttt.” The voice fits, observing the celebration from afar in digust. “These Kaynines’ days are numbered, mark my words. Mark them, as they unwittingly mark their territory which shall soon be MINE!!!”
To be continued…..
I haven’t written an actual blog post for a looooong time. I’ve pretty much used my site for poetry, short stories, etc. But today…oh boy. Not today.
Many of you are probably familiar with the dating app, Bumble. If you aren’t, here’s a quick crash course: Tinder, but yellow. Just kidding; basically Bumble is another one of the “swipe right to match, left to pass” apps that lets folks create profiles and easily scroll through up to six photos without having to read one sentence about the actual individual they’re judging. I do it, you probably do it, like 70% of everyone does it. We enjoy meeting people. Sue us.
Anyway, users of these apps are also familiar with the occasional advertisement that flitters by, briefly interrupting their swipetime. Today, something happened that I NEVER would have expected to see in the middle of my Bumblebee-tuna.
I was bombarded by political Leftism.
Yes. A liberal slap in the face right smack in the middle of a dating app.
That’s right. Bumble is banning guns. #SJW
I suppose you’re wondering how on Earth these two things, dating and gun control, could possibly be related. Well, luckily they tell us. Apparently, if you’re seen shooting a gun in your photos, you’re a dangerous swipelicant. That is to say, the (most-likely red-blooded eagle-scouted) applicant you see in front of you poses danger should you take the risk and swipe right.
Yes, report them so we know who to ship off to Antarctica when tempered reason finally sweeps the nation once more.
And before the super justice warriors berate me for being insensitive, let me nip it in the bud and say this: if you’re offended by my light hearted poke in the ribs here…please get a life. I say that genuinely. Because I’m laughing at this, and so should you.
Anyway, I don’t think I need to say much else to illustrate how absurd this is. So instead, I’ll just say go to Amazon and buy my book, Continuity. Type in Matt Shao in the search bar, because I’m not important enough yet to pop up when you just search the title. Its a fun read, and book 2 comes out soon. We blast into space and things.
Cause, you know, with stuff like this going on…I think its about that time.
It fills my veins
Evades the remedies
Reaches all my extremities
A life of love so temporary, I allude
I opt instead for darkness, and solitude
Pen and pad are all I want, they’re all I need
Though I try to hide the pain, each day I grieve
Search for calm and peace of mind, a still reprieve
It will not matter now or then, the things that I achieve
The only thing that matters is creation, look and see what I did
Read and read and keep on reading, at the end you’ll see – my Pyramid
You want an album? No I say
Cause I don’t rap, not any day
I just write, my words they say
Enough for you and me today
I get it, all these things I write
They make sense when you read at night
This world is filled with hate and fright
And reading lends a small respite
But when will this all change, I ask
Cause fixing this is my one task
I know I’m not the only one
Who wants to rise and get it done
I guess I’ll have to wait and see
And keep on writing, fervently
To change the world, its hard you see
No gun I need, just poetry
So long they’ve waited, wandering
Watching, waiting, listening
For the next one, pondering
Ever are they wondering
The wait is over, never more
Alas, the knock is at the door
Get up and answer, I implore
You’ve found your long, and lost Lenore
The time has come, turn back the clock
The stories all the stores would stock
Are coming back, my hands have brought
The classics that, you all forgot
The world has changed, but don’t begin
To think that things, are different
The written word, it always lives
So do your worst, this world of sin
Continue thinking you’re the one
That changes things, well where I’m from
You cannot find, with just a thumb
Happiness, not even some
Your things, your brands, your money, see
Don’t mean a fucking thing to me
So take your watches, take your things
And show me happiness it brings
If you can say, to that above
Your life is full, its filled with love
Then friend, I’ll be real and true
This world is better, without you
When you’re bored, don’t bitch at me
Just shut your trap and write, you dweeb
Don’t pout and whine and stare and blink
Just grab that pen and think and think
Come up with something folks will read
And sell it so your dog can feed
Don’t waste your time excusing the
Stops to productivity
Its not that hard, just look at me
This poem right here took two or three
Minutes to type, unless you need
To count the time I took to pee
Cause then its four, technically
But hey who’s counting? My point, you see
Is writing can come easily
If only you just sit…and think
At night, I know, my mind has proved
For that’s when all the mask’s removed
We work and play, and yet we think
Of all the things we want, a link
A link to all we want to be
So instead we make a fantasy
We dream and wish and wish and dream
And then when morning comes, we scream
We live the lives we’re taught to live
And bottle up the love we’d give
The sense it makes, you know its true
And yet we still uphold the glue
We’re holding on, to something that
Is natural, don’t fear it, Matt
But lies, deceit, it rules in fonts
Because we can’t admit our wants
This self deception, shining clear
Is why we’ve dug this hole right here
One day we’ll know, just what we are
Just animals, we’ve not gone far
Oftentimes, I’ll look to see
The person looking back at me
Watching through a hazy lens
At who that strange reflection is
Staring forward, several blinks
Is he the person that he thinks?
Does he do the things he speaks?
Is practice coming from the preach?
My eyes still glare, this man ahead
I’ll wonder what, that day, is said
Right now I live, and yet I dread
What memory, of me when dead
What mark have I bestowed upon
The family that I belong
I hope they say, when I’m a thought
That happiness is what he brought
Improved the lives, of all the men
The girls and kids, the children
For life is but a journey, yes
We walk and run, we talk and dress
We do the things we love to do
To make ourselves enjoy the dew
Every day, a precious gift
So smile wide, and heart uplift
This path is short, don’t waste your time
Just search and search until you find
The purpose you’ve been looking for
Unlock and open passion’s door
Sitting, gazing, pondering
Watching, waiting, wondering
What things do others think at night?
What lights turn on, when shining bright?
Some will think of gentle breeze
Blinding true priorities
Truth is veiled, this life of fun
As fear resides behind the gun
Condemn them not, instead envy
And long for their reality
To think the things we wish to be
This mind, it pains and torments me
The words I write cannot express
But for my sake I shall digress
Question all, its not a sin
Your truth, the real, comes from within