“A useless love–a connection or affinity that doesn’t fit into the plans of anyone concerned”
It’s that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, world series kind of stuff. You can read about it between the thin lines that separate the years of the skin and the wisdom of the mind. Refractive tendencies on sour dough with a side of judgement. Plastered on the wall that was built in conformity is a collage of all the red flags, signs of things that mustn’t be on the showroom floor. If one a bird the other a flightless and caged Passerine with a muted song. All of me that can be seen is not the me inside. All of me that I show on the floor is a reminder of who I ought not to be again, the raw fleshy exterior of the simplicity people accept as truth. In secrecy a quitter who gives no notice and gets none equally. A man in Portugal can still feel when it’s fucking over, whether it ended in 1966 or avalanched is inconsolably irrelevant.
Tattooed gypsy in a world of her own, who can’t eat. The cupboards left bare, the lazy Susan stagnant and the transient hangry. Chocolate waffles could not satiate the growling creature by the name of Covet. Unconventional rebel just for kicks in an oppressive world, she never sleeps. The bed sheets soaked from the sweat dripped from the barrage of dirty laundry and the vagabond drenched in irritability. Hot Coco could not revive the living dead who goes by the name of Muse. Reaching for the stars in a world forgetting by the world forgot, can she see the Eternal Sunshine of my Spotless Mind as seen by the derelict jury. Each wish is resigned and I say to the good Pope Alexander, I quit.
The metamorphosis between reality and the imagined is clear as tape. The residue of transgressions sticks to the shared mortality that necessitates sustenance. Shit. Muse and Covet are battling in anger out past right and wrong, in a field of mandrakes. Why must they be angry? The music dies on the days sorrow is instigated by separation. No dances and no wine. The tigers eat at night and the lion sleeps. Bare and drunk I still feel it, roots pull to my trunk above. My dimwitted inexperience is merely a subtle form of manipulation that serves to lower peoples expectations and enhances my maneuverability. To be loved is good. To be understood is profound. She might could understand the cryptic humor that lurks behind a Wonderwall. And maybe, she’s gonna be the one that saves me.
“This is what my life looks like when nobody is watching.”
Come in, close the door and hit the snooze button. All of me that can be seen is not the me inside. She’s out there, the other me. That other me might be homeless, maybe a queen but it is certain that the other me has seen things that the real me has never seen. She’s a poet, a knight and the hero, out in that big bright beautiful world. She gets the girl and the laughs. Close the door because I didn’t chase those glory days. I’m not cool, I am a tired old fool. I learned to drink my coffee cold, to stay awake on tired feet. I tell myself I’m rich at last in money and in time. I pour myself a glass of whatever she’s having. Hit the snooze button because I can’t amuse myself. Counting, so much unnoticed counting of things when eyes are elsewhere. My years, my money, my friends as they dwindle down to those in truth. The moments explode with every tick of the clock and click of the door. I’m too young for this one and too old for that one. Meanwhile, she’s out there being the perfect age and the perfect weight. I’m not a tree doing purposeful work with breezes, I am a shrub. I can’t afford many things. I can’t afford to be an artist. I can’t afford not to be an artist. The rules are set in opposition and vanity is not my favorite sin. I fancy myself a fan of lust because shit never gets real. Perhaps though, envy is what I’m most guilty of. Green for her and what she still believes in out there in front of the masses. Maybe I could lose my hurt and anger, goddamn it all I try, I try. I hear the laughter she sparks in so many from in here. Hark the sounds of joy, that bitch is funny. Shift. Tilt. Askew. I contort my perspective out of boredom and play the what if game. Love doesn’t make us perfect, it just makes us want to be, so why does it avoid me so? Do I need new eyes or new surroundings? Do I run this time? How do I wipe the glitter and grease from my bed? Can you Shout that out? Fear has hidden my heart away. She’s out there being kind in the world and I can’t understand why, when the world has never shown a kindness. I dream of marigolds and wine until suddenly it’s orchids and swine. You there, with that face in the mirror, that face full of judgement, I see that you don’t see me. Rose tinted glasses, shit, I lost my glasses. I’m missing two of my four eyes. Still, here I go, this is what I see.
On the edge of the mirror is a smile. Hello mirror, hello smile. There’s a faint chorus hitting a whistle tone beyond what is right and what is wrong. Nobody needs to love me here. I don’t make promises here. Pie crust promises are left in the real world. Time is not wasted as I stare out into the abyss. All the fears and all the disappointments spoon me to sleep. There are no clocks, only crickets. No laughter and no movie quotes roll off my tongue. On the edge of the bed is a dog and what I left in my pocket. Hello bed, hello dog. Chapstick, a knife and some change make it out of my pants. Hello moisture, hello reality, hello 401k. Don’t say moist you asshole. Insert me freaking the fuck out, right about…HERE. I’m a rebel just for kicks now, so let me kick it like it’s 1986. I chew gum and smoke in your face like a bad kid, you know, the outcast, the loner and the weird kid. Speaking of which, cue the text messages. Those are always with me and nobody sees. Nobody sees all the cords attached to all my vices, oops, DEvices. Connected to none by being connected to all. There’s a sketch on the wall and a box of history sitting on the shelf. Hello dead dreams, hello triggers. There’s a mother and her child in the next room. Hello aspiration, hello wish. The moments explode. A rude hush from the day I’ve longed to escape from. And here I am, reaching into the future and the past. The day starts over and I muster up the balls to go to “work.” Work, where I can’t be an artist, only a functional member of a decayed society. I collect broken people and the decay seeps into the clientele. My name is not “Hey you!” I only respond to “action!” not “hey you!” Hello world, how may I help you today?
“This is how I got lost in the wild.”
Slowly, then suddenly. Not succumbing to be anyone’s goddamn monkey, gradually then quickly. The squealers hiding inside the mind, swine of descent, rapid and racing it happened, inside my human body. So disgusting. To be the motorcycle, the bucking bull, the bench on which she sets her truth on display. To be the pen, the guitar, the brush by which she feels said truth. Wandering in a metropolis within four walls, no windows, it happened. Transient in desolution, I couldn’t find a bus ticket, I had no destination, no home and no desire. Had nothing but faith in nothing.
I found a bedazzler at a garage sale, it was covered in grease and glitter. Memories not recycled, lost forever, in my loathsome, jeweled reality. It happened when I ordered gummy bears and a knife. Trauma was not my ultimate killer, but a creator with no reins. No intimacy, just bodily reflexes. Zoom in on my empty wallet, closer. Closer. Crescendo as I tie my hair to the bars of captivity. Fade to red, the lying shaded lips of those in my reach. Kiss the bartender thrice, it happened so that I could taste the Jameson and compunction. Bam.
With a wired jaw and manicured fuck you finger, it happened on a tiled light show. Where was I? Bangkok, Dubai, Melbourne, London, Toronto, Underland or the swamps of sadness? Was there any distinction? I might miss someone, cupid squeezed my ass in the murky rentals of truckers and thieves. Plan B involved some heavy touching, ya. As I would step out into the bright sunlight, nothing gold was visible, man that was a drag. I was an asshole. I was one of the guys. It happened vaguely then clearly. When she cums, she covers her face. I wasn’t real, I was in rehearsal. To be anybody’s baby doll, stuck in a corner, it happened animalistically.
I couldn’t hear the rock n’ roll, the drums faded with every pop, every extended release. Six whole years her sticks lay dormant. Life for all it’s anguish, was mine. She put her drinks up and packed away her palette. So it happened. Pink elephants and purple lemonade dissolved from the internal playroom, allowing a tango in the flaming fallacies. Searching for that something final by the name of life, it happened on an edge, in a field and whilst engorging on noodle salad. Drifting smoothly then roughly, more silence, I was standing on a precipice, ice cold water to catch me.
Never saying die, never hearing live, it happened. Deep into that darkness I pondered, who had left cookies in the bath, keys in the fridge and make up in the garage for me to find? Who put ink on my person along with holes in my tongue and tits? Cloudy with a chance of ass. Who were these wrecked up friends of mine, spilling spaghetti on the carpet, smoking my butts and snorting my bullshit? Who was this person inside of me? It happened with humor, with the jokes and vulgarity I had built in angst, after all the boys and girls that I’d been through. It happened because I was altered from compliance, dancing in darkness, running from the monsters I might’ve fucked but couldn’t recollect. Like my first outdoor picnic, I had no memory of it.
It happened as I remembered the time I spilled the cup of apple juice, the time I pretended to sleep and the time I remained motionless, praying to be turned into a bird. I could fly far, far far away from there, in those moments I chemically allowed the wind to find my face. When I let the me that only I can see surface in a song, a word, a sketch or a thought, it breaths. It follows. I was lost in the wild trenches with a faction refuting silence. A little serving to start, then all at once, it is happening. Lost in the wild and you wanna know why I’m mad. Ha. Life for all its anguish, is still mine.
Time to get real y’all. No fictitious mumbo jumbo tonight. Busted out the old 712 things to write about book, and shit got real and quickly.
“What’s the biggest misconception about you? Write the truth of the matter.”
The pool of self reflection is muddied by the atrocities of self fulfillment. We see what we want, negating what we are and forging ahead. It is in the truth of self that we find not only the disparaging realities of ourselves but the inadequacies we see in other people. If we are honest with our inner being we forget how to focus on the value we hold to ourselves and the bustling world around us, rather, we focus on the visceral decay, the stench by which we deprecate our existence. And that is why man created the existential crisis, the need to purge the thoughts of mortality and short comings as well as the formulas needed to proceed, without caution. If for instance, we want a certain house or a certain car or a certain lifestyle, we more often than not, forget to ask the proverbial questions relating to our character. We so quickly judge the other piles of skin walking around this planet and project disdain and I don’t think anybody really knows the root of this cyclical pattern. This, coming from a gal who does not know how to take a compliment and is very self aware, much to the dismay of loved ones. Some would call me a realist, others a cynic and many a pessimist. I don’t consider myself any of those things and all of those things because my path has justified my mode of transportation.
Misconceptions are bountiful when this old hen is brought in for questioning. Assumptions include uneducated, ghetto, oblivious and hardened to a point of no return. The translation for uneducated is unintelligent or even, as some people have so eloquently put it, “dumb as dirt.” Now, I don’t know about the intelligence of dirt, doesn’t seem like a fair comparison, granted I have been known to get stepped on from time to time. Those who have perceived me as ghetto do so based on my clothes, my ethnicity, my impoverished upbringing and some acquired street smarts which aren’t really smarts so much as they are survival instincts. Oblivious to what I don’t know, but there have been times when people will say something smart or witty and reference a period before my time and brush me off assuming I haven’t the foggiest. Hardened I may be, but do people not know what a defense mechanism is? And I’m the dumb one.
There are those who think I’m some heathenish street rat because I don’t believe in their God or hold their values or because I choose vernacular and behaviors that aren’t classy or “normal.” I say cunt on a regular basis, if I was in England or Australia, this would not be out of said norm. I listen to rap music on occasion but to fortify the ghetto facade, I rap along with no problems. I have had one night stands and I sleep with men and women, how unsavory. I smoke cigarettes, I’ve tried hard drugs and I enjoy marijuana. I’ll tell you what though, I am extraordinarily premeditated in choosing certain aspects of how I present myself. Why would someone consciously downgrade their persona? It’s really quite simple, people don’t expect much from a punk ass like me. I like to keep it that way. I don’t let people down, ever, I mean it’s pretty hard to disappoint when your measure of success is basically zero. My feelings would best be described in a line from the 90s horror film “Scream 2.” David Arquette’s character Dewey said,
How do you know that my dimwitted inexperience isn’t merely a subtle form of manipulation, used to lower people’s expectations, thereby enhancing my ability to effectively maneuver within any given situation?
This all brings me what I consider to be the biggest misconception about myself. Potential. If I had a quarter for every fucking time I heard, “You have so much potential but…” or “You have such potential if you would just…” I would be wealthy and I wouldn’t need to exude energy into anything or aim to fulfill any such potential, I could live out my days watching telly and getting high. My point is this, I have dug deep into my psyche and my inner sanctum. Potential simply isn’t something that is cohabited with the array of distinctive attributes I possess. I appreciate that people see something that isn’t there, it truly is a nice sentiment. This is not a woe is me type of rambling. This is not a fishing expedition. It is what is true for me. To me, by seeing potential and telling me that I’m not reaching it, that to me, sounds like I’m failing at yet another thing. Add it to the laundry list and pick up some detergent on your way home. I’m not a victim of anything but the choices I have made and will make in the future. I accept that I am who and where I am because of me. My feelings would best be expressed using a line from the 90s dramatic feature “Dangerous Minds.”
No, you ain’t choosin’ to die, but you can choose to die without screaming, right? I mean you could always choose somethin’.
I suppose I’m the Judd Nelson a.k.a. John Bender in any group I find myself. What do people mean when they say you have potential? Potential for what? To do what exactly? Everybody has potential. Some people have the potential to become serial killers whilst other have the potential to make a difference in the world and then there are those who have the potential to live a mundane life with the picket fence and are content to do so. You wanna know what I think? I think when people say to someone, “you have potential” what they really mean is, “I see that you can do something that perhaps I can’t and I am glorifying this trait and putting it on a pedestal which sits out of the realm of my own reality.” If, let’s say, someone is a better driver than you, this does not mean they have the potential to be a race car driving champion. If someone has a slight artistic advantage as you see it, this does not mean have the potential to surpass the greats in history. If you like someone’s cooking better than your own, this does not me they have the potential to have a cooking show on the Food Network. I guess what I mean is that what people who say, “you have potential” fail to realize is that they are seeing a void in themselves and potential really is just putting in the practice and becoming knowledgeable due to having a desire to achieve a goal. For instance, the poor schmuck that may not necessarily have the potential to win the Indy 500, actually does, if he has the desire to do so. That nobody without a cooking show, in fact, could have a cooking show, if they have the aspiration. My feelings would best be described using a line from the 2007 Robert Rodriguez film “Planet Terror” wherein Freddy Rodriguez as Wray says:
I’m nobody. It’s the easiest thing to remember. So remember it.
I echo that with a line from the Disney underdog sports film, “The Big Green.”
We aren’t the nothings from nowhere. We’re the Alma nothings.
In summation. It’s not that I don’t have potential, it’s not that I do. It’s just that I don’t have the desire to let people down or to fail. I don’t have a strong enough protective shield. Have I kind of given up on life? No. Well, sometimes. What I have given up on for sure is the life I envisioned as a naive little outcast. I gave up the notion that I am any more deserving of a picturesque life than any other person a while ago. I have given up on fighting the good fight against the forces that know better than I. I don’t know what I want and I don’t know that I’ll be deserving of whatever that is when I figure it out. Tomorrow I may feel differently. Tonight I simply feel small and fractured. My inner sanctum is cruel but not unusual. If I’m honest with myself, I know that what lies within the rough externalized persona only comes out through the projections I display to the world and thusly is free game to be judged. The confinements of my awareness are the restrictions and limitations I enforce. I don’t over extend my own dreams further than my brain can reach for logic and plausibility.
You only see the turn. You don’t see the road ahead
Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante in “Stand and Deliver.”
♥ To anyone who has ever seen or vocalized having seen “potential” in me, turn that shit inward, because what you really mean is, there’s something you want to do or attain and don’t feel confident in your ability. And that’s what I see in you, not potential because I don’t know what choices you’re about to make, I see ability. Do you. ♥
*Note: Simon Travaglia said, “The greatest barrier to someone achieving their potential is their denial of it.”
I acquired a new book, similar to “642 Things to Write About.”
“Select a random book from your shelf and turn to page 53. Use the first full sentence that appears on the page as the first sentence of a new story.”
I closed my eyes and randomly picked “12 Years A Slave.” Flipped to page 53 and the first full sentence was as follows:
On leaving, the New Orleans slave pen, Harry and I followed our new master through the streets
On leaving, the New Orleans slave pen, Harry and I followed our new master through the streets. Who was this Leonard LaLaurie fellow? As he kicked at our shins and spit in our general direction I looked at Harry with an assured grin. Harry looked like a bird that had been captured in the night. I knew why he sang as we were marched through the quarter.
“Corn husks green as my heart as master sews his oats. Lawd stood in the shadows instead of on the boats. Hear me Jesus over the drums that are my feet. Chase away the midnight ‘fore we are the drums he beats. Sazerac as bittersweet as the sounds of those bells. Today is the day I done died and gone to hell.” He sang with such desperation I glimpsed a woman who, for a brief moment, looked empathetically in our general direction.
Master LaLaurie did not have an empathetic anything about him. He mumbled something inaudibly but I didn’t dare ask him to repeat himself. Harry was oblivious to the sound of LaLaurie’s voice and as the young master’s head whipped around, I knew he was going to lash out at Harry. What I didn’t know, was that I was the one who would feel the anguish. The harsh hues of the angry sky gave LaLaurie’s face dramatic contrast and as he raised his leg with full force, raising it enough to meet Harry’s stomach, I saw the devil, and this devil didn’t look white nor did he look black. This devil looked like an amalgam of the people in the streets and those who served them.
“You stupid son of a bitch! You answer me when I’m talking to you!” Master’s voice bounced off the building we were now stopped in front of and punctured the ears of all who went about their business on Royal Street. Harry hadn’t yet caught his breath when LaLaurie positioned himself behind Harry’s hunched over frame. With one swift punch between the shoulder blades, master signaled us to keep walking. The sound of Harry’s breath brought the first relief I felt of the day. It was heavy and staggered, not unlike the building master was approaching.
“Well now, let’s see if you dare ignore Madame. You’ll be begging for my fist come morning light.” LaLaurie chuckled while pointing to the building. “Welcome home.”
Harry grabbed his back and his stomach simultaneously as he made his way to the ornate door. I don’t think he knew how to read, even numbers. I didn’t let on that I, in fact, did. I stared for a moment at the numbers above the arched door. This was my new home, and all I knew of it was that it was marked by malignant owners and the numbers 1140.
*Yes, I know the term is actually “sow your oats” however I took the liberty of using a play on words. Google Delphine LaLaurie, it will make sense.
**Sazerac is a cocktail that was invented in New Orleans in the 1830s. It consists of Absinthe, simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and rye whiskey. Legend says the drink was born at Antoine Amedee Peychaud’s pharmacy on Royal Street.