A Mind at Ease

What’s in a mind?

An old cassette wheel

Winding and rewinding 

The faults and tragedies 

Of our past? 

A cloud hovering in 

White space as 

Static churns 

And binds scratching 

For release. 
This mind is a game of 

Sudoku I can never win. 

It’s a child holding a bottle

Of pop he has shaken. 

With a desire to ease his thirst,

He only holds the bottle

And refrains from twisting the cap 

With his chubby fingers 

Slick with fry grease. 

It’s a blue sky kind of mind, 

A black bird in a world of doves

As the trees echo through their branches: 

“Blackbird fly.” 

But fly this mind does not. 

It’s a wooden rocking chair 

Bolted to the ground

From which an old woman 

In tattered cloth sits. 

This mind is a stale reject.

A Rose dress screaming 

At a wall because it’s yellow. 

This mind creates life

And destroys nonsense. 

Like waves but never the ocean,

Like a clear mind your fingers

Have smudged. 

Three guys and a girl

Walk into a bar, 

How fuzzy is your mind? 

Drugs and laughter 

Expand the mind

But alcohol and gossip 

Restrict its flow. 

Which does this mind prefer? 

They see the outer shell

Of this mind. 

A pale orange, 

Light blue, 

Peachy, thunder storm

And earthquakes 

kind of mind.

With pages and pages 

Torn, rewritten, erased, 

Scribbled out, burned, 

And sent through a shredder

But only to still remain on 

The shelf you’ve last 

Set them. Next 

To the vase and the window. 

It’s a cut and dripping blood

Kind of mind. Blonde curls

On the floor with an idea

Mind but a voiceless exhale. 

Mind over reality. 

What is reality. 

Does it have a mind?

A bisexual, torn skin, 

Screaming lungs, 

Laughing eyes, 

Twirling dress,

One day driven 

Kind of mind?

What’s in a mind? 

Nonsense and disorder, 

For this mind. A create your

Reality and fuck the tradition 

Kind of mind. A mind of 

Sunflowers and summer rain. 

A quilted bed of snow mind. 

A hushed midnight sigh mind. 

A mind at ease. 

Lost People and False Realties

Travis found another bottle of lighter fluid in the back seat of his Jeep and clumsily tossed it over to Marcus, a guy in a black hoodie who then drenched the remaining branches and tossed them into the fire. The world around us didn’t matter in this moment. Before, we all piled into trucks, jeeps, and a Rav4 and managed to remain conspicuous while trespassing on private property. We pulled over on the highway, turned off our headlights, waited till what seemed like the last car rolled passed, then pulled in between a few trees where a path had been created, not normally seen while passing on the road rolling at 70 miles per hour, that is unless you scoped it out a day ahead of time.

This path must have been created by kids with motorbikes or four-wheelers. With twenty-some people crammed into a Dodge, Chevy, Jeep, and a crappy Toyota the stutters left bruises on each other’s heads and the tight quarters to awkward small talk. The guys in the trucks slowly rolled over every whoop as the rest of us in the Jeep and Rav4 took the risk and skipped over every jump and crashed down into the pits until our entire vehicle’s bright red and steal blue body was coated in a thick layer of mud.

At the end of the trail the scenery opened to where we could see the crescent moon gleaming against the river. The trucks were parked along the edge of the river to block the sight of the houses that lay across the water. It was somewhere between one and two in the morning when we first pulled off the highway, but when we were here time didn’t matter to us. We were in the age of invincibility and may as well have worn “F You” across our foreheads. To me this was my family, the twenty some group of people with whom I hung out with after school but wouldn’t dare acknowledge in the hallways. This was our group, our army of weirdos, popular kids, jocks, and drop-outs that could no longer stand the cold breathe of conformity, so instead we lit the world on fire.

From behind the two trucks could easily be seen a community; mansions owned by the rich with their opaque outer shells that cover up dysfunction and lose their allure at night. In front of the two trucks was a blustering fire, lit with rage, and fueled by lighter fluid and excess gasoline poured into glass bottles and launched into the flames. We fed off of the sound of breaking glass and the appeal of an erupting fire, a gust so strong there is no doubt it grew higher than the truck barricade hiding the pearly houses.

We drank, we yelled, and we smoked. We sank deeper than the pits we drove into but screamed the entire way. Together we were falling, a clan of overly emotional and angry kids that saw nothing but the hatred that blinded them and the overwhelming heat of flames. Our minds were dazed and fuzzy but that was a feeling we embraced.

Travis stood on top of a dirt pile and yelled obscenities with no real meaning, however, the message was all too clear. In response we yelled back, a strange sound along the lines of animals roaring and chanting, mixed with the revving and grind of four-wheelers that were brought along in the beds of the two trucks.

Nothing in that moment made sense and that was more or less the point. We all carried so much stress from attending or formerly attending a prestigious high school, living in a community with the weight of normalcy pulling us down, fighting to find common ground with our desires and reality, and facing the day with a fake smile when all we really wanted to do is run away and never look back. When we were all together and as far away from being sober as possible is when we felt that we had finally made our escape, but what we didn’t know is that eventually one day we would be forced to face reality with nothing to show but the hatred behind our eyes and the mud stuck in the treads of our shoes.

Eventually this day came and we had to make our decisions. A few found their realities in jail, some in college, one continues to run, and one saw facing their reality all too much. For me, I continue to write and rewrite my reality, taking control of what I am instead of leaving fate with all the power. And in my reality, I found that none of my friends from our adventures deep into the night, surrounded by nothing by trees, flames, and beer bottles had a place.

August 15, 2016

“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.” – Tupac Shakur

 

Recently I have been feeling stuck. I reply situations or scenarios in my head and try to justify in some sense that what I did was originally wrong and could have been better. There’s instances where I reanalyze situations that have happened weeks ago, and yet their presence is still potent like a rancid tv dinner left in the fridge.

I’ve spend nights dreaming about issues that should no longer affect me. I get nervous around people with whom I think I have made a fool of myself in front of, but I bet they have already forgotten about the whole incident.

My new goal is to learn to move forwards and to release all negative tension that I unconsciously allow to sink into my brain. These thoughts are too much like drugs. I feel that I cannot be a better person unless I have these thoughts to keep myself in line; however, I’ve finally reached a point of realizing how dangerous thinking abo9ut the past is for me. Now it’s time to forgive myself and free myself from the figurative ropes that have been tying myself back from reaching happiness.

The Unchangeable Man

What is the most changeable part of an old man? His hair, surely, but definitely not his mind. The hairs on his head rework, thin, and disappear, but his mind will never reform.

So what is it with the old man who lives next door? He sways on his deck-swing every morning while smoking his pipe. I’ve grown to memorize the tobacco he smokes just from the times I’ve rode by while on my bike on the way to school. And each morning he raises his stale eyes from behind his round metal glasses just enough to peep at me as I pedal by, then grumbles to himself. He lives in routine.

Last night I sat on my roof overlooking the trees that flourish over the land across from my house, and I saw him. His metal framed glasses reflected against the dim streetlamps as he silently swayed into the woods. Afraid the old man would get lost or had dementia, or something, I followed him.

He took the route along the creek and didn’t trip over a single rock. His feet knew their path as if they’ve done this 100 times before. I stumbled behind as I followed the glow of his flashlight and kept my distance to not be heard or seen. When the old man stopped, so did I. When he turned around to check his surroundings, I hid. When he took in a breath I mimicked him, paranoid my breathing was competing with the creek’s gentle flow.

Soon he stopped, faced towards the creek, and reached into his pocket. I found a thick tree to hide behind and peaked my eyes around it just enough to take in the strange man’s movements.

He pulled something out of his thick wool jacket. It was round and small and glimmered under the flashlight’s rays. The old man stepped towards the creek and stood between two trees that leaned in towards the water at a peculiar angle. I saw the old man lift his head, take in a breath, glasp his hands together, bring them to his mouth, then fall to his knees and weep.

I turned around and redirected my eyes away from the old man, the man known for throwing rocks at teens for egging his house. Instead, I now know him as the old man who cried along the creek, an unknowing side to the man who shut his front door in my little sister’s when she tried to sell him Girl Scout Cookies. Now, he’s the old man with a story not written across his face.

Living With Sham in a World of Greatness

We all strive for greatness,

but in my greatness

I am shameful.

Shame,

the drug my body

has fallen upon

and has lived.

In shame

I dream.

I dream of a better tomorrow,

I work and rework

my inner self,

and pretend my life

can get better.

Greatness,

what I may have achieved

but refuse to see,

the chalkboard

whipped clean

when it was already beautiful.

I, many times

have earned my right

to be happy. Every day.

But I won’t let myself see it.

So, what is greatness.

How do the ones

who never allow themselves

to see it,

earn it?

A Child’s Room

Don’t look upstairs, mom. The young girl in her dark tattered dress scattered up the wooden steps. Each wooden board screamed under her tiptoed feet, her dress spun and swayed with delicate threads pulling away from its form. She fluttered into her room, threads following behind with the curly hairs on her head slowly raising towards her bedroom ceiling. She quickly, but quietly, shut the cracked and chipped wooden door before her wonderland erupted.

She turned around in her room like a fairy in the forest. She danced and squirmed, her hair raising higher and higher with the loose threads of her dress while stars glide from wall to wall. Water trickled down from the sky above her. Her toes burry themselves into the sand below her tender feet just before a gust of wind blows her dress as the stars rain down like the water and find the threads of her dress. She giggles when she begins to fly. Her dress a bubble filled with air, the stars directing her up and towards the open sky. The rain washed her face and dirty dress clean and the cries and yelling downstairs slowly become silent.

Like a Child Learning to Ride a Bike

Remember that time you bought me flowers? It was the first time you ever expressed your admiration towards me. Every flower petal was perfectly in place and you said it was no big deal and I deserve it. You told me you loved me and I believed you. Your heart shined through your light blue button-down and your smile softened as you waited for my reply. Like a child standing in front of their class, butterflies fluttered in my stomach as I stuttered through my response. A response that lead you to cradle me in your arms and kiss me with lips as soft as silk.

Remember that time you told me you wanted to marry me? We were laying side by side when you took off your necklace and put it in my hands. Your eyes slowly glided from my hands to my face, undressing my body in an imaginative gaze until their found their place, sinking into my green eyes. A valley of wonder and promise. You spoke with tender words, as your hand tightened around mine with the necklace tangled in my fingers, then told me you loved me. You waited for some kind of reply, and like a child dancing in the rain, I gave my response. A response that lead you to cradle me in your arms and kiss me with lips as soft as steam.

Remember that time we sat for hours in your car? You remained motionless, your palms tightly clasped in your lap with your face lowered and eyes streaming with anger. Maybe it was something I said. Something you said. Something we both didn’t say. I left you car with eyes swollen and bloodshot, but later that night you texted me and said you loved me. You waited over an hour for me to reply, and like a child talking to its mother, I gave my response. A response that lead you to buy me flowers, with petals tender yet torn, you cradled me in your arms and kissed me with lips as soft as morning light.

Remember that time when the bed felt cold? Words were sharp and emotions were tender. You were resting beside me, body heavy as stone as an ocean churned between us. I rolled over to face you, and with your back as your barrier, you formed a wall to keep me out and my sorries away. I closed me eyes and wished this would disappear, but when they reopened your room was a blur, distorted between a watery haze. I whispered “I love you” and waited for your reply, but like a child lost in the woods, the tree did not respond. No longer would I be cradled in your arms and kissed with soft and tender lips. I got up to leave that night and you didn’t even stir. Your body remained motionless, breath steady, and eyes hazy. I turned to face you as I stood holding my jacket when the ocean sent a wave of clarity to wipe away my tears. You may once have told me you loved me, but the flowers you have given me have since wilted and died, and much like a child baring cuts and bruises, I learn from my mistakes and decided to move forward.