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

Necessary

NECESSARY

I think I’ll write a poem that speaks epic truth, tonight
It doesn’t matter if you tend to lean left or lean right
Politics aren’t helping us, the gap is greater in-between
We need to stop fixating on whose King or who is Queen

We need to shift the focus to what matters, that’s for real
We need to stop the spinning and start breaking culture’s wheel
Martin wasn’t joking when he wrote that brilliant line
The story’s great, sure, but a grander message lies behind

Nothing’s stronger than a thread that’s woven one and all
But if you try to weave it on your own you’ll sadly fall
History has proven this, it’s not news to anyone
The ink in this here pen I wield weighs more than your big gun

Every life we live is shaped by minds that can run free
And if we came together just imagine what could be
Forgiveness, empathy, this is what we need
And we ever grasp these things our whole planet will be freed

Fire doesn’t put out fire, its ego you should bury
Someone had to say it, right? These words are necessary.

Navigating

Days of old I envy, much realer all these feelings were

Now it seems it’s so fast-paced that every day and night’s a blur

Heartfelt talks under the stars are now boxed into tiny screens

And half the time when she’s not here I can’t tell what the message means

 

Context comes when eyes see eyes, the words we hear and understand

Its more sincere when we’re both here, when we can touch and hold a hand

I know the world’s exciting and the crowd is always calling us

But these things take the substance out and make love seem superfluous

 

Right now real is hard to find and so much harder to hold on

Those blissful eyes are nice, I know, but once you blink they might be gone

Why is it that we seem to care more for our fears than what we love

Emotions push, we build a wall, just to make sure they don’t shove

 

Its like we’re not supposed to feel or open up for weakness sake

Well I don’t want to live that way I want my soul to stay awake

I want to feel the ups and downs, and everything that’s in between

To know why I’ve been doing this, to know what all of it might mean

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.

Hard to Get

A damsel in distress she’s not, though nights are all besot with her

Affection widely chased more than even gold, frankincense and myrrh

Aged better than Venetian wine, smoother than a fine liqueur

Treat her as the Queen she is: this maiden we call Literature

 

Sought by many, caught by few, to court her is a Fool’s Errand

Exceptions only granted when one’s dedication’s apparent

Gentle, patient one must be; to nothing she can come second

For absolute commitment is the quality of all legends

 

Everybody’s knocking but the owner just turns out the light

Fight to find a way inside and find the lock is far too tight

I smile as I watch them shout and beg her for one night’s invite

Because this pen unlocks the pad where Writing lays her head at night

 

So intimate we’ve grown to be, forever I’ll be in her debt

For it was I who was distressed, and she who saved me from regret

Sincerely now I thank her for becoming my one true duet

Eternity I’d wait for her: this love who was so hard to get

Winds of Change

Softly cup my hand to ear

As wind blows whispers that I hear

Sadness, loss, regret they bring

All shadows from my yesteryear

Words escape me, ones I’ve lost

I never knew how much it’d cost

When I thought not to buy a ring

The path I should, I never crossed

Now I’m forced to walk, move on

Time has passed; those moments, gone

And though I wish to have them back

I must stay focused on the dawn

For life is cruel, it won’t concede

Regardless if I pray and plead

And though I may not be on track

Faith in myself is all I need

Things in life, they come and go

And as I lift this small window

I look outside, only to see

That we reap the things we sow

Every action, every word

Is seen, or felt, or tasted, heard

And whether it is you, or me

Life’s purpose always seems so blurred

So, to you, who has a past

Do not let your transgressions last

We’re here, together, throughout our time

And everyone has sins amassed

Live with love, try to arrange

The life you want, an open grange

Do not break rhythm, just to rhyme

And always, ride, the winds of change

King in all but Name

Put my whistle to the wind, there’s naught another ‘round

Divided is the road I’m on, my choice shall prove profound

“Go left,” says he, “Go right!” says she

The demons, they’ve misled

I ask “which way?”

“That way!” They say

And so I point my sled

Every choice we make is a decision in our head

A string of choices, such is life, that’s all until we’re dead

When these choices come to you, what ever will you say?

Will you take the high road out or will you run away?

Make the choices that they love, My Lord you’re looking great

Undermine the ones they want and soon you will find hate

Treat the people as you would yourself, and you’ll find fame

They’ll sing your praises, call you King, in everything but name

You Can’t Spell Fame Without Me

Sure a catchy title, no?

I mean its kind of right

Said before, I’m sure it’s so

But came to me tonight

 

Some day an agent reading a

Submission (one of mine)

Will finish it and be like “Shit!”

“This author I must sign!”

 

But then the intern (her name’s Pam)

Will come say “Time for lunch!”

As the agent says “Oh damn,”

Sets me back in the bunch

 

Getting back, she sits right down

And scratches her blank head

Says “Where was I?” with a frown

Then starts to tweet instead

 

Yes it funny, though its true

This tale that came to be

The future first is said like “few”

And fame, ends with a “me”

Top 10 (Word) Plays

We all know that athletes get highlight reels every week so we can see the coolest plays in a given sport in case we missed them. Well, I thought I’d show some love to the sportsmen/women of word-smithery. Anyone who’s read my work before is fully aware that I’m consumed (and possibly obsessive) over the craft, so I thought this would be a fun little exercise.

What I’ve done is combed through my playlists and such to try and listen for the cleverest uses of language. Basically the most creative puns, double entendres, rarely used words, etc. You know, stuff that makes you think “damn that was a sick line” as you rewind to hear it again.

I never paid attention to this stuff before I got into writing myself, so maybe some of you will appreciate the closer look. And obviously there are like a trillion examples I could list here, so feel free to comment if you have some of your own you like. So without further adieu (in no particular order)!

1. Post Malone – Congratulations

Everything custom like I’m at the border
If you fuck with winning put your lighters to the sky
How can I make cents when I got millions on my mind?  

I really like this dude, because he has an amazing story and worked ridiculously hard to make it. The line when he spins “how can I make sense” by using cents in reference to the money that motivated him is brilliant. It stuck out to me the very first time I heard it, and still does. Oh, and the border line (no pun intended) is a good one too.

2. NF – Real

That nurse came into my room, she told me I’m sick in the head
I’m in hip-hop’s hospital bed with a pad and a pen and a brace on my neck
They told me that I’m never leaving. Why? I am as ill as it gets

Man, NF. What do I even say about this kid? He’s just now (finally) exploding into the rap scene with his recent track Let You Down going triple platinum. The quality and nuance of his writing, coupled with his completely fresh perspective (he’s a Christian rapper who doesn’t curse, rapping about the difficult issues we all face) has placed him in my top 3 all time artists. Plus, he has the darkest backstory ever and the death of his mother is one of his most significant driving forces – precisely the situation I find myself in. This particular line, however, stood out to me because of the clever usage of “ill” as both an ailment and it’s slang interpretation. Quick note, I might actually do one of these Top 10 lists for him alone because his writing is truly on a level that very, very few people can compete with. Expect to see a lot of him in the foreseeable future.

3. Eminem – Killshot

How the fuck can him and I battle?
He’ll have to fuck Kim in my flannel
I’ll give him my sandals
‘Cause he knows, long as I’m Shady he’s gon’ have to live in my shadow

I mean come on. The feud between now-blowing-up (mainstream) newcomer  Machine Gun Kelly and Eminem is one of the most entertaining back and forth’s since Biggie and 2Pac. It’s breathed life back into hip hop, and was a much-needed non-political headline dominating news feeds just weeks ago. While MGK’s Rap Devil was a more than just a solid punch, Em’s Killshot…well, killed it. The track is jam packed with some of his best writing since the old days of Slim Shady. This reference to his original identity literally casting a shadow is simply an incredible bar. Truly great wordplay.

4. Rachel Platten – Fight Song

Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

Yeah, I know. No homo, alright? Its a good song! Anyway, Rachel’s writing in this song (which is about battling depression) is just amazing. Her meaningful lyrics probably explain why Fight Song peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top 100, doing precisely what the line here says she would do – make an explosion. What a beautiful story she can now tell, as the impact she achieved inspiring women with this song is huge.

5. Witt Lowry – Let Me Know

I guess that’s what we were taught
We open up depending on how many drinks we have bought
He wants your head and its ironic, he doesn’t care ’bout your thoughts
You’re one more drink away from drowning, feeling empty and lost

I often wonder what really it is that I offer you
At least you feel my touch, even if it’s just when I walk on you
Alone but together, we always make it less than it seems

It’s funny how if you have feelings, you’re weak, so we say less than we mean
Your hands on my chest, you whisper, “What do you want to do next?”
Our generation’s taken love out of sex, and so the question is left      

You probably haven’t heard of Witt before (if you have I applaud you for finding good music). At the moment he’s still more of an emerging YouTuber, but recently has been gaining a lot of traction; starting his first tour just last year. His writing is similar to NF’s in terms of relating to everyday struggles, but he’s a bit more brash with his language. Let Me Know is perhaps one of his hardest-hitting accounts regarding dating as it is today. Witt’s lyrics here pour out his soul’s dark, depressing, yet so bone-chillingly real reflection of how many relationships in today’s world are shallow and superficial. The title and chorus is a reference to his plea for people to share their deepest, genuine feelings with one another – rather than projecting the fake facades we’re all so familiar with. The title & chorus make this evident: if you love me, Let Me Know.

As for these verses, the first line I highlighted probably shouldn’t need much explanation as to the double meaning he achieves; one which I think will particularly resonate with women who can relate to such men. The included the second because its such a concise statement that conveys so, so much. This track hits so hard that you should check it out like, now.

Let’s call it our halftime break: YouTube: Let Me Know by Witt Lowry

6. Hailee Steinfeld & Grey (feat. Zedd) – Starving

I didn’t know that I was starving ’till I tasted you
Don’t need no butterflies when you give me the whole damn zoo
By the way, right away, you do things to my body
I didn’t know that I was starving ’till I tasted you

This is just a really fun song. While the lyrics weren’t written by the artists, they’re still meaningful. Short and simple, that first line takes a creative spin on the concept of our appetite for love. Good writing!

7. Elle King –  Ex’s & Oh’s

I had a summer love down in New Orleans
Kept him warm in the winter, left him frozen in the spring
My, my, how the seasons go by

This is another fun one. The tune is so catchy, in fact, that its easy to overlook the nuance and depth to the writing (also not by the artist). Even the title itself is clever; playing on exes and the XXOO hug/kiss acronym. This verse here I liked because of the juxtaposition between the two seasons and relating them to her treatment of the ex. Very smart scribbling in this track.

8. Julia Michaels – Heaven

Love’s my religion but he was my faith
Something so sacred, so hard to replace
Falling for him was like falling from grace

All wrapped in one, he was so many sins
Would have done anything, everything for him
And if you ask me, I would do it again

It makes sense that Julia’s songs are full of great writing; she began her career in 2010 as a songwriter for major headliners such as Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes, Justin Beiber, and countless other pop stars. Her growth in the industry has been a heartwarming tale, as in 2017 she finally released her very own single for the first time. The smash hit Issues peaked at #11 on the Top 100, launching her from songwriter in the shadows to singer in the spotlight. Her 2018 single Heaven, featured in (the basically soft-core porn) Fifty Shades Freed, is about the love/hate effect that “bad boys” tend to have on women. The lines I pointed out showcase Julia’s amazing ability of using imagery to convey her feelings and messages. One critic even praised her skills saying that “Michaels manages to summarize the entire Fifty Shades franchise in just two lines: ‘They say all good boys go to heaven / but bad boys bring heaven to you‘”. She’s definitely one to keep an eye on moving forward.

9. The Revivalists – Wish I Knew You

I wish I knew you when I was young
We could’ve got so high
Now we’re here it’s been so long
Two strangers in the bright light

Oh, and I hope you don’t mind
We can share my mood, yeah
Two strangers in the bright light
I wish I knew you, I wish I knew you
Oh, I wish I knew you when I was young

Ugh. This is such a beautiful, yet so freakin’ sad, song. As the music video illustrates, its about two emotionally-hurting elderly people finally chance meeting at the end of their lives; immediately connecting on a visceral level. Written by a team of songwriters, the lyrics capture the full spectrum of feelings during their encounter: inexplicable elation as they spend the whole night dancing under the stars, to tear-jerking sadness felt wishing they had more time to spend together now that they’ve found the person they’ve been searching for their entire lives. Oh, and the “share my mood” line is a really cool one.

If you haven’t heard this one, definitely check it out.

10. Andrew Lloyd Webber – Damned for All Time/Blood Money

I came because I had to, I’m the one who saw
Jesus can’t control it like he did before
And furthermore, I know that Jesus thinks so, too
Jesus wouldn’t mind that I was here with you

I have no thought at all about my own reward
I really didn’t come here on my own accord
Just don’t say I’m
Damned for all time

I couldn’t write a top 10 lyric list without including Andrew. Not only because of the obvious (his use of language is incredible), but this musical has a very special place in my heart because the 1970 original was my mother’s favorite film ever. The nostalgia and memories that sweep over me when I listen to the soundtrack almost always bring a tear or two to my eye. As far as the lines I highlighted, I could just have easily pulled them from any song on the entire album, as they all have powerful wording. This one I liked because it really casts a light on Judas’s perspective, and how he genuinely wanted to do the right thing by turning in the man he idolized. What’s more, the wording reflects that Judas knew exactly how much Jesus loved and understood him, even going as far as to say he knows he will be forgiven for betraying him. Such a very strong portrayal of the depth in their relationship.

So there you have it, peeps. That’s my take on the Top 10 Plays on Words taken from my limited peek into some playlists. There’s so much more I could say, but for brevity I’ll save that for another time.

Thanks for listening, and happy writing!

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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Letter to My Lost: 1

My love. My all. Such memories do we share. Memories such as the times we’d awaken to the sun’s shimmering rays darting through the window, on those soft linen sheets as you’d rollover, greeting me with the morning’s first kiss. Memories of your fingers gently gliding, cusping the back of my neck, holding me as if you’d never let go.

I so long for these moments. I cannot help but wonder where you are and what dangers lie ahead. Each day, without exception, I sit gazing out this window at the calm beach and its soothing waves; the soft sound of the salted water drifting to the shore. I think of us, my love, walking along that cool, flawlessly smooth sand with our hands clasped tightly together, enjoying the warm breeze as it passes through us without a care in the world.

The days are proving harder, my love. Each day without you further shatters my soul, as my thoughts are imprisoned by the uncertainty of your welfare. I miss you every waking second of the day, and am greeted by your embrace only in my most deepest of dreams.

Tell me you will be returning soon. I cannot bear the thought of going through this every day. I miss you, my Braden. I hope my letter finds you well.

Please come home to me.

With everlasting love,

Your Lilliana

The Ward & the Bone: 12

“Grr Barker, you’re up early.”

Trotting aimlessly through the hedge maze outside of Cage Spamalot, Master Squirrelin spots the new King on a morning stroll.

“Aye, Master. I found it difficult to slumber this morning. I am used to my princely duties, but now that I have inherited the Bone, I find that the responsibilities weight heavy on my conscience.”

“This is understandable, my Liege.” Squirrelin says as he pats Grr Barker on the back. “Your newfound tasks must cast an unimaginable burden.”

“They do, old friend. They do.” Barker sighs.

“My King, there is something I must share with you. I have spent much time digging through the archives. There is something I believe that must be addressed.”

Intrigued, the young King raises an eyebrow.

“Go on,” he barks.

“Barker, I have known you since you were just a pup. You know that I have always had your best interests at heart. May I speak freely?” Squirrelin asks.

“Of course,” Barker nods.

Stopping their pace, Squirrelin places a hand at the King’s chest. Looking up in surprise at the gesture, Barker turns to the mage to give him his full attention.

“There is much peril brewing in the East.” The old Squirrel says.

“Peril?” Barker asks, caught off guard dog.

“Yes, my liege. Peril. Much of it.”

Squinting his eyes and slowly casting his gaze toward the rolling hills to the East, Grr Barker suddenly wafts his hair back.

“These lands are as secure as ever!” He barks with confidence.

“My liege! You must listen.” Squirrelin pleads. “There is one who remains. One who was not felled during the War of the Realm. She is a Phelyon known as Corgin La Fey. She is mustering a massive army to reclaim what was once theirs!”

Recognizing the sincerity in Master Squirrelin’s plea, Grr Barker’s arrogant smirk fades into a look of concern.

“Are you certain of this, Master?” He asks.

“I am.”

“Hmm.” Barker hums, stroking his beard. “I shall consult my Bites about this. We must purge the Realm of any evil if it does, in fact, remain.”

“It remains, my liege. It assuredly remains. There is more…”

“Oh?” The King Barks.

“Yes.” Squirrelin asserts. “The prophecies have foretold there is but one way to defeat this scourge. You must recover Excalibone! The sword your father wielded during the War of the Realm. It is the only way that this Corgin will be defeated.”

“A quest, you say?” Barker barks.

“A quest!” Master Squirrelin repeats.

“Then it is so!” Barker shouts, head held high. “Myself and my Bites will take on this quest with honor and return balance to the Realm!”

“Excellent!” The magic-wielding rodent exclaims. “Excalibone!”

“It shall be mine!”

 

What Are You Waiting For?

All the things out there you see, they’re shining, glistening, calling thee. Why wait? Its there, right in front of you, all that needs to happen is for you to stand and do. Do, don’t wait, don’t put it off, you get one life and time, it costs. Please don’t let yours go to waste, dream your dream with utmost haste, chase it till your legs are through, and when they’re gone your arms will do. Make it there, no matter what, don’t give in and don’t say “but”, this life is yours and only yours, I tell you as I’m on all fours. I beg that people understand that life is not some fairy land, its filled with things we need to do and if undone, then it’s on you.

So simple things can really be when eyes are open and you see, take a glance over the sea and wake up to reality. All the things you dreamt you’d be don’t have to fade into the breeze, you can make these dreams come true if only you believed in you. That’s all it takes, I speak the truth, so much is wasted in our youth, if only we could comprehend that time is not a thing to lend, it never stops taking its toll and always ends up with our soul.

I ask you, what is it that you’re waiting for? Someone else to open the door? Listen, friend, please listen close. Absorb these words before your ghost. Your time here is not infinite. We don’t know what happens when we quit. Some say God and some say not, but either way we’ve got one shot. One chance to do the things we dream, one chance to love both you and me. Take this chance and never stop. Take it to the mountaintop. Take it to the ends of Earth, and give a reason to your birth.

Throughout your life, find every door. Fill your heart, then fill it more. And when you find something to love, ask yourself: what is it that I’m waiting for?

The Ward & the Bone: 11

“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.

Alone

So many things in life I see, they’re happening all around me. The love, the kids, the joy I see; they sooth my heart and set me free. The warmth I feel when I emcee is cherished oh so fervently, and even when they disagree I only smile, lovingly. Under this Umbrella Tree sits my past and my own memory, and as I watch the fun and glee I can’t help but to think of me. The child that I used to be, when in all the world, importantly, the only thing that mattered was how to climb that big, tall tree.

So quickly do we rush to grow. I need not say it, for you all know. This life that He thought to bestow flies by so fast like that photo taken by the best of show that all the others want to know. They need to know because they lie, as they get mighty and so high, and as the time comes when they die, they suddenly now say goodbye.

Remember me for all my deeds, the feigned actions and false decrees, for all that flows in this here breeze is reputation; legacies. The things I did when I was young, they matter not; they’re all unstrung. That song I sang, I never sung; I hung it on this lying rung. No lies escape misleading tongue, just look upon us, who among? Who among us can be tried? Who knows, who’s now identified? If logic, here, shall be applied then think and please come to decide that all who feign, and all who lied will one day cleanse and purify.

And now I sit here, though unknown, looking down at pad and phone. I think of all the time that’s flown, the love I’ve lost and past I own. I am no King that holds a throne, I am no skeleton or bone, I’m only who I’ve always known, the same thread that my life has sewn, what once was hidden, now is shown. The man I am was forged in stone, my spirit; glass that She had blown, awaiting this new brighter tone, I cherish that I’m all…alone.

Meaning

I ask myself, what does this mean? This life of black, and white, and green. What happens at that final scene, when curtains fall and casts are seen? Will all the actors reconvene? Will they fill the gap between the ones without sin who are clean and those that dwell in the obscene? I find it funny, this machine, it always churns out the foreseen, predictably forcing to quarantine the things that really should be seen. Well now I tell you, King and Queen, I rip the cover from your screen, exposing your elite routine just like the Saint of Augustine.

In the East, his thoughts attacked, and though the deck was oh so stacked, his arguments became so backed that they enjoyed a huge impact. Have I lost you? Yes it’s strange, see sadly in this day and age, the ones who think that they can wage a real war instead disengage when they’re thrown into the cage. They take their place upon the stage, with trembling knees they start to gauge the fear, the love, the hate, the rage, and then they put their pen to page.

Yet when you look them in the eye, they clam and crumble, and I ask why? Because this age of lights and screens, it lays the pavement to their means. They’re so accustomed to these scenes, conditioned from their tots and teens, that when you ask them what it means the only answer is “it seems”. It seems the point, though, isn’t clear, and when I think it’s getting near it fades away like Hathaway to Will Shakespeare.

I leave with this, what does it mean? Ninety-five or seventeen; dry land, free air, or wet marine, what lies in this dark, deep ravine that none will see till they’re unseen? My fingers comb this evergreen as my mind drifts to the unforeseen; I wait for my own Magdalene, and unlike those, the Philistine; await the promised figurine.

My Biography

Alone in darkness, thoughts embark, and though this page displays my mark, nameless I shall now remain as embers’ heat begin to wane.

Uncertainty is close behind, forever shrouding this dark mind. I fear I may have intertwined the light that shines so bright behind the madness in this room upstairs with other shapes; those unfit squares. These pieces, see, they don’t belong, yet when I try to right the wrong I’m greeted by the same old song who’s tune just drags me right along, its lyrics say to “just stay strong”.

This is my life, these things you read, I’ve told the world that I concede. I give my every waking breath to live without the fear of death and make each day the best I can, to help and heal my fellow man, to be the one who gives their life to try and pull the piercing knife that penetrates hearts of men, that dagger of our constant sin.

The judgement that so rules this land, I cast away, its purpose banned. All it serves, its only stand, is harm or hurt, please understand.

Every second, every day I chase a dream that’s far away but every single moment spent I’ve sacrificed for my ascent. Its all been planned, accounted for, and let me guess; by thirty-four I’ll look back as those toasts are poured for changing locks to open doors. These poems I write, they aren’t for me, they aren’t to show the world I’m free; they’re nothing more than thoughts and things I’d write in my own diary. There is one thing that’s different, see, between the world and folks like me; that every single thing we think is shared for all the world for free. Our thoughts and all our passions flow, just like the light through this window, and when the doubt begins to grow we cut them down, like throwing salt on frosted snow.

So many say they write in vain, but please allow me to explain that none who know the strife and strain will know until they feel grit or grain. I’m cheating on my healing; I want to stop the hurt that’s seeps through every vein and yet I can’t stop sleeping with my pain. Pain of memories lost, that now I know I’ll never gain, acts that now I must abstain, and things from which I force refrain.

Now’s the time to stock the ship as unknown warriors crack their whip. The time is now for fellowship, so load the gun and soothe the grip, and forge unlikely partnerships for once its out you can’t acquit. This room has now grown pale, moonlit, and all the thoughts that I transmit are meant to peel the fake from real, to call out what is counterfeit.

And as I end this plead and plea, I’ll pilfer from philosophy the bits and pieces I agree and cast away the false debris. The lesson that we all should see is that we’re of the same old tree whose branches bare uniqueness, yes, but become the same as we undress. While we’re different, nonetheless, there are qualities we all possess: the need to love, the need to feel, the need to shape our own ideal, these are things that we all need, a hunger which we need to feed. We’re all connected, its true you see, regardless of geography, no mind for color, biology, we all are here and share this tree. If one thing I can leave for me, the purpose for my reality, it’s to show the world community.

This, nothing more, is what I want in my biography.

The Story Tellers

The Story Tellers

Mysterious, whimsical; uncrackable shell

Are we who stand before you with a tale that we shall tell

Scribbling sonnets, haikus and more

Holding the key to life’s Happiness Door

Thinking and thinking, absorbed in our thought

Creating the worlds that the people have bought

Our role is so simple, just write a release

And give them a glimpse of our dream world of peace

Escaping the rest with a needed respite

Removing the darkness and casting its light

You enter our world where you can adjust

And create in your mind a place you can trust

This is your Haven, it was made just for you

As you let the harsh world fade so far out of view

Forgetting your stresses, forgetting your strife

Immersing your mind in this alternate life

We writers, we get it and do all that we can

To give you some hope; to be somewhat of a friend

Inviting you in to the world that we dream

As we share your same struggles and relate through our theme

That’s why we do this, as we regrettably know

That the world can be horrid, a frightening shadow

So we try to provide a thing that can quell

The fear of the world, through these stories we tell

Writing, as it Relates to Me

I want to share something with you.

I want to share my perception of the thing that saved me from the dark halls through which, until recently, I was being forced to traverse. See, for the longest time I felt as if I’d been carrying a curse, as I walked through things as mundane as the local mall I’d occasionally pass a mother and child and, with something as simple as a short glance at a purse, I’d need a moment to sit down and stare at the ground  and just get lost in thought as my eyes locked in on my shoes seeing the eight little letters that make up the word “converse”. And as in thought, I was immersed, I’d notice the Mom and child fade away from my peripheral vision as the scene in my head was dispersed as instead I looked up and recognized how diverse this whole room was. Something which made me wonder why, despite my attempts to be rid of my curse, was my focus still so combative and stubbornly perverse? Why had my eyes, as if by some magnetism, drifted toward this mother and child, as images of the nurse from the fourth floor of the ICU and of the hearse I never wanted to follow behind began darting through my brain as if I’m now being coerced into this seat where I could at last allow my burdening thoughts to intersperse?

Yes, I would like to share my perception of this most wonderful of creations.

I wish there was a more intimate way to share these times where I just, simply, sit down. Times, whether it’s on the ground at the dog park, or in a seat on a patio bar downtown, or a high table at Jonathan’s, where I can usually be found after a long day of work as I diligently add to my writing background. I wish there was a way for more people to be around when these beautiful moments, which are so rarely found, sweep over us as the most profound thoughts come at us; endlessly inbound as we take the simple and start to expound. It is these moments that instill awe and confound, metaphorically providing the sensation of living a whole life afflicted by deafness as we now, at last, hear our very first sound.

Its something that I wish we all would do more often.

And by that, I mean share. Because the life that I lived before words were my ware was one for which, now, I just really don’t care. I was shallow, I was selfish, I was fake and unfair, and I now, here in hindsight, even hate my old hair. See, there’s one thing I promise; I emphatically swear. So much weight can be lifted, when you open and share. And while yes, the things I write are written with intentional flair, this sentiment I’m typing is as real as a prayer. Get the weight off of your shoulders, and you no longer care for stares, as everyone around you knows precisely the wonderfully flawed thing that so courageously stands there. There are no more secrets, no more lies, no more burdens that you bare, and the only thing you’re donned with is that gown of truth that you wear.

Its like that feeling you get when you’ve been walking through a scorching hot zoo all day long and everyone’s been like “let’s look at this, and this, and that, and this,” when all you really want is a freaking sip of water as you finally finish walking through the African safari exhibit and at last arrive at the centrally located walkway of mist, which leads into the food court and you now can finally order the largest water of your life.

In other words, you feel refreshed.

And that’s the feeling I want to share, which I mentioned before. I don’t think its necessary to explain what I was like before I began to write because not only was I a bore, but I’ve actually already covered it so instead let’s look forward and consider the things that the future has in store. Because the one thing I want to make abundantly clear, as my depressingly sad thoughts turn to into long awaited cheer, is that the very thing I’m doing has quite literally saved my life from what would have undoubtedly veered in the worst direction I could steer had I not, through my tears, come to the realization that I feared which I had been so afraid was awaiting, unavoidably near. So yes, I should pay homage to that which put my life back in gear and that is this: writing.

Words. Words have saved me.

Words have saved me, you see, because despite all the pain and the malice which have coursed through me for so long, a certain sense of liberty has manifested recently that, honestly, I can’t explain as I sit here with her picture, with my dog, and with my thoughts; which, inexplicably, seem to finally be set free. And while I don’t fully understand why my brain has allowed me to take this unfamiliar, seemingly carefree approach as of late, I don’t want to do anything that might cause it to flee, because it’s a sensation for which I’ve been waiting every hour, every week; a feeling that could be described as the long-awaited blossoming of green leaves which at last expose themselves after patiently waiting through a brutal winter that for so long tormented their sad, barren tree.

I want this feeling to last forever.

Yet I know that this, sadly, is an impossibility. But that won’t keep me from constantly, aggressively grasping my life as I force it forward; as I refuse to let anything slow my pace. There is not a thing in this world that will keep me from storming the castle that I see before me. No, I will recruit each and every fiber within me, arming with fire whatever soldiers I need to ascertain that I have an adequately sized force and undefeatable army through which I can destroy with impunity anything that dares stand in defiance of me and the alliance that I have created which now stands beside me.

Arm me with words, and I will destroy anything that gets in my way.

Because words, you see, are the infinite expanse on which we can set sail; for they make up this deep, endless sea of possibility that, in all actuality, contains the only vessel that boasts the capability and the necessary degree of sheer diversity upon which I can pen things such as Continuity, or my poetry, or anything else that I might hear or see that I think needs to be recorded, holding full culpability for the thoughts that I think, the sounds that I hear, or the sights that I see. It is only through words that I can fully express myself.

And that, my friends, is writing; as it relates to me.

Make Drinks, Not Promises

You want to hear something funny that happened to me today? I hope you don’t say no, since I’m on the patio of my local town saloon, roughly six hours past high noon, aimlessly thinking as I stare up at the moon and writing these very words that I now recite for you. So if I may, I shall politely presume that your answer is yes. And if it isn’t…well, I apologize because at the moment it’s the only tune that’s playing. So please respect this small commune as we share our feels in this cozy little room, collectively wrapping our individual feelings together like an awkwardly intimate heart and soul cocoon.
Glad that’s out of the way.
Back to today. I think most of you know that several years ago I was dealt a blow of immeasurable magnitude, causing me to throw an entire career to the road as I diverted my entire existence toward destroying as much hate and woe as I possibly could. I did this as I was gripped by an influence that the mother I lost would always bestow with a hold so tight that, unequivocally, I know will never lighten up or come even remotely close to ever letting go.
So yeah.
I think as far as that whole part of the story, I can digress. Because if you read literally anything else I’ve written, it won’t take long to learn more than you probably want to know about her, the impact her death had on me, and how confusingly, oxy-moronically, luminously dark I’ve become as a result.
But you see, I had no other choice but to tee this part of the read up by sharing, at the very least, a brief, abbreviated version of the history which led to this very moment. Now, I commit (admittedly with glee) that for the remainder of this poem, I will agree that you have no cause to fret, as you are all now set free; relieved from the pain which I’m fully aware that I far too often share through sad recounts and melancholy pleas.
Don’t say I never did anything for you.
But seriously…I wish I could articulate the enormous degree of sheer appreciation that I should more often decree for each and every beautiful person who’s taken the time to read the things that I’ve written. I don’t say this enough, but the sensation one experiences when they’re told that someone relates to their writing, or that their work resonates is so powerful it can bring one to their knees. So let me express my gratitude. No pain tonight. Fair?
Man. I should do this more often.
So today I was caught in typical deep thought about pretty much everything I just brought to attention with my aforementioned words which, for you, have carefully been brought. I realized, looking at all the past things that I’ve jot, that the vast majority of themes which I spot are plagued and distraught by the same sad and depressingly dark plot. A realization which, amidst my reflection, suddenly struck me with a thought. A thought (I’ve now since been taught) that I’ve subconsciously sought since that most impacting of days; when the straight life I was used to was tied into a most impossible knot.
For the first time in thirty months, eighteen days, and roughly two hours and forty-seven minutes…I felt relief.
To be honest, I have no idea whatsoever that caused this spark which had finally caused my consistently low mood start to climb, or why it happened to occur at this particular time, or what forces were working to make it so abruptly ignite; liberating my mind from its pitch black paradigm. The only thing I can be sure of is that I was compelled to adjust the tones of this metaphorical rhyme that has incessantly been my life since she the day that I lost her; the day that she died.
It was one of those fabled, fleeting moments in life that we dream of; a moment that most spend time wondering if they actually exist or whether our culture deceitfully represents them through fiction to keep us from succumbing to the harsh reality that, sadly, most are forced to share. I would almost go as far as to say that this moment was “indescribable”. Although I won’t go quite that far. No, I know better than that.
Want to know why?
Because “indescribable” is a fucking oxy-moron, that’s why. Like, who the hell allowed it to even become an actual word? Webster? Who even is Webster? He sounds like a huge bitch, to be honest. I mean come on. One cannot claim an inability to describe something while simultaneously using the very word asserting their claim to describe it. Like what the fuck, you guys?
Whatever.
So, here we are. Finally released from the negativity which for so long I’ve been scarred. Oh, and by the way, I know at the start I said I was sky-gazing on a patio, but I’ve since moved to the inside corner of an adjacent bar. See, I really enjoy posting up from afar, observing the people as I smoke a cigar, on occasion intentionally making awkward eye contact with folks as if their eyes were that very same star from stanza one. Well technically, I should have said moon, because that’s what I said I was looking at earlier in this poem; but moon doesn’t rhyme with cigar. So for anyone that may have picked up on that hopefully subtle difference; please, be silent. Like the lamb.
Or I will feed your inanimate corpse to those creepy Hannibal pigs after providing my inordinately sophisticated dog Mr. Baxter a once-in-a-lifetime feast of your human brains. Brains, obviously, which lacked any semblance of intelligence; a candid truth made obvious by the simple fact that their recently deceased owner failed to abide by a very simple instruction.
So yeah. If you picked up on that…shh.
As I continue writing with this long-awaited perspective that now abounds, I suppose its high time we arrive at the underlying theme which (for these 1,031 words) could be found lurking about these pages in a sort of subtle, poetic background. A point I’ve been waiting to make that for this entire time has been handcuffed; its wrists tightly bound in anticipation of the most profound moment to come around and confound, astound, and surround each and every person who experiences this prose with a most relatable, common ground.
By the way, there are a shit ton of words that rhyme with ground. Like Italian greyhound, burial mound, merry-go-round, circle around, and etcetera. Well not that last one but you get my point. Wait. Circle around. As in, let me now circle around back to the point I was just making before this particular stanza of rhyme distracted me from the message I’ve been waiting to expound. A message that, despite how long it’s taken to arrive, is actually quite simple.
Drinks.
Yes, you heard me right. Drinks. And I’m going to refrain from guessing whether or not that is making any sense whatsoever at the moment. It probably shouldn’t, because a word such as “drinks” doesn’t even loosely relate to anything I’ve mentioned so far. So technically, if you found some kind of connection between the two, you either don’t understand what words mean on a fundamental level, or you’re some kind of savant that can read between the lines so deeply its scary. In fact, now that I say that, if its the latter – please keep it to yourself. Because that would kind of creep me out.
So yes, back to my message: drinks. The reason I thought of that particular word as it applies to the motif I could relay with this 0.7 Pilot G2 filled with black ink was this: its time I end my tendency to over analyze and overthink. Its time that all of the black that I’m used to turns into something vibrant, like pink. Ok, maybe not pink. Pink reminds me of this traumatizing moment I had in 5th grade at the old skating rink. And no, I will not elaborate. The point is, I’m tired of all the promises I feel pressured to keep. Not the ones I’ve made in regard to my life and what I intend to do with it. No, those promises define me; they’re the sole influence that keeps my values and actions in sync. The promises I refer to, ones of which I now announce I’ve severed the link, are the ones made to society. The ones which serve only to degrade my self-perception, sadistically watching my dwindling confidence as it plummets and sinks with an expressionless smile and emotionless wink.
And that, my friends, brings us to the one point in this poem where I very clearly explain what I mean with all of this disorganized, scattered banter.
There is one thing I realized today as I took a hard look at life. A thing that almost always rings true. A thing which, I imagine, applies to us all. From the tallest of tall to the smallest of small. From the one’s sleeping in gutters to those waltzing at balls. From the center stage dancer to flowers on the wall. The philosophical pacifist to the meathead who brawls. That goofy croquet club to Tom Brady’s football. From the Qui Gon of Jinns to the Darthest of Mauls.
I realized, quite simply, that drinking alcohol from a crisp, cold flagon is SO much more fun than being lame and pondering existentialism.
Anticlimactic?
Well, I hate to say this since its so out of character…but too bad. Because that’s the earth-shattering, refreshingly shallow reality that I discovered this evening as I gazed so deeply into the moon. Or star. Whichever the fuck it was. So I’m going to make one final, meaningful statement. A statement of which I hope I can maintain an intimate awareness of for the remainder of my years on this Earth.
And despite the whimsical tone that’s accompanied this piece so far, you should probably take the following statement to heart. So please…I respectfully ask that you remember these words, for they’re spoken genuinely from the most doubting of Thomas’s.
Always make the strongest of drinks. For drinks are indescribably more fun than life’s impossible promises.