Poem: “Untitled”

The maze is long, the fog is thick,
The ladder is dripping with rain.
The cut is deep, the memory’s intact,
And there’s nothing to eat but more pain.
The chamber is wide, the margin is thin,
The paper is folded and taped.
The mind is empty, the heart is full,
And somebody’s soul has been raped.
The way is hindered, the door is locked,
Escape is futile at best.
No one’s concerned with the clock on the wall,
They’re too eager to die with the rest.


From my upcoming book: Existential Bullshit. Stay tuned for more details on the release.

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Poem: “Intimacy”

You can’t hide you away from me.
I see unseen things you can’t see.
My mind is a riddle your God left behind,
My heart is a word humans haven’t defined,
Your love is an echo that’s beating in kind,
Like stripping all leaves from a tree.

You can’t listen to thoughts I won’t speak.
I have three cracks, but only two of them leak.
My pain is an arrow that knows where to strike.
My wounds are a splinter, my pride is a spike.
Your body upon me would break like a dike,
Flooding water and drowning the weak.

You can’t ponder what I won’t show.
I know things that no one should know.
This life is question that dying implies,
While death is an answer that certainly lies,
And somewhere between there are laughter and sighs,
But in the end, there’s nowhere to go.

You can’t steal me away from your past,
My future’s behind me and coming ‘round fast.
You thought you could break me, but now you discover,
The tables have turned ‘pon you and your lover,
And death in air like a blanket does hover,
As you come to know me at last…

…and see me as I really am…

…and tremble.

Confessions

a (2).jpgNo one ever wants anyone else to know just how fucked-up they really are. We’ll do anything to cover up the blemishes in our personalities and hide our shortcomings. Whatever wicked shit we have done in our lives (and we have all done wicked shit), we will stop at nothing to present a modified version of ourselves to the people we know, and the people we meet, a better version.

“If they know how fucked up I really am,” we think to ourselves, “they will never accept me.”

I intend, here and now, to violate this basic aspect of my nature, this need I feel to pass off a nobler version of myself so that anyone who might someday read this will accept me and, if I’m fortunate, even like me. I don’t need that kind of superficial bullshit in my life, that mask-wearing crap that forbids anyone from knowing the real me. I’d rather you see the real me and reject me than give you some fake version and have you accept that.

So, let me begin by saying this: if I were to divide my life into two piles, with all the good things I have done on the left and all the bad things I have done on the right, the bad pile would be ten times larger than the good pile. That’s not me feeling sorry for myself, that’s just the cold, hard truth. I’ve done some heinous shit in my life. No, I have never murdered anyone, but sometimes the pain you can inflict on someone’s heart or mind causes their life to be much worse than death could ever be. Thus, murder, while appalling, is not the worst thing you can do to someone. The worst thing you can do to them is force them to live day after day in unending, horrific anguish. I’m not saying I’ve done that, either; but I do assert that pain is relative. I might do something to you that carried no malice, but you may come away from it scarred for life.

Short of murder and forcing someone to live in lifelong torment, I have done some sinister shit. I’ve cheated and lied and stolen and used people and manipulated situations to my benefit. I’ve committed errors in life and then blamed others for my mistakes. I’ve been selfish and cold-hearted at times, and I’ve even turned a blind eye to the suffering of the people I profess to love. When I was young, I would “con” women into bed, take what I wanted from them, and then never speak to them again. I treated women like they were objects that existed solely for my momentary pleasure and nothing more. I’ve shown disrespect to people who deserved more respect than I ever will, and I’ve conducted myself in a judgmental manner at times, even while pretending to be this open-minded, accepting person. I have pushed my agenda while ignoring the needs of others, to say nothing of playing with their minds so that they end up believing their needs are synonymous with mine. I’ve been a bastard sometimes, and in the past, I knew that and simply didn’t care.

In short, I’m no fucking angel. But I think the difference between myself and a lot of the people I know is simply that I recognize my faults and do not try to blind myself to them. I own who I am, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And while I’m a fervent advocate of the power of self-acceptance, let it never be said I use my self-acceptance to permit my bad tendencies to run rampant. It’s certainly true that there are few things in life as important as learning to accept yourself. Nevertheless, it is wise to keep in mind that self-acceptance is never a green light to just go ahead and do whatever the hell you want. With the acceptance of self must also come, I think, the acceptance of responsibility. We are all beholden to pursue mental and emotional health inasmuch as is possible for us. Perhaps it’s a pursuit that will never come to fruition, but it should be pursued nonetheless. I feel that anything less is cowardice.

That’s why I remain committed to battling my less than admirable tendencies so that, at the end of my life, perhaps I really will be a better version of myself.

And yet, when you think about it, I suppose an argument could be made that being a better or worse version of yourself means nothing, in the end. Indeed, if all the roads of life end in death, who’s to say a good reputation is a better than a bad one? What does it matter? If there are two men who die in a train crash, one of which was a good, honorable man and the other of which was a piece of shit, does it really matter to the coroner or the gravedigger? As the molecules of both men disintegrate, do the atoms that made them living creatures care about or even know of their good or wicked reputations? Even those who will remember these men, those who can say at the funeral, “I knew this guy; he was a great man” or “This asshole deserved to die”—do these people really matter? They too will die, as will all who remember them. The point, I guess, is this: in the end, if all ends in dust and death and decay, does matter whether you or I choose to indulge or deny our wicked urges? Isn’t one just as arbitrary as the other?

To which some may say, “Well, our actions have repercussions. Our good choices leave a good mark on the world, and our bad choices leave a bad mark. Our choices matter by the results they yield in the world.”

I suppose this is correct, but it’s also incorrect. I mean, we can talk about repercussions and results, but how lasting are they? How far do they reach? When our Sun finally collapses in on itself and the solar system dies with it, where will those repercussions be? When this Universe eventually comes to its inexorable end, as all scientific data says it will, how will the consequences of my good choices or the consequences of your bad choices echo on in the cold, entropic eternity of that nothingness? They won’t. I may donate a million dollars to charity, leaving a legacy of astonishing goodwill in my wake, or I may murder ten babies and leave a big bowl of fucking misery in my wake, and while the humans who are affected by my actions may suffer while they live, they too will come to dust and all memory of my good or bad actions will be lost. Is there in real meaning in my actions, then? To wit, does a tree standing in a forest today feel the ill effects of a tree that was toppled in the same spot several centuries ago? No, I don’t think so.

Our actions, then, would seem to have only that meaning which we attribute to them whilst we live. In this sense, the correct paradoxical answer is that, no, our actions have no real meaning, and yes, they do have real meaning.

This is yin and yang existing together at the same time.

I say all of that to say this: I have done heinous shit in my life, yes. But my choice, such as it is, is to nevertheless aspire to be better than have been, and I do this because it’s what I want, because that’s the meaning I choose to give my own life. I prefer good over bad. Maybe all the bad shit I’ve done won’t matter in eternity any more than the good shit I plan on doing from now on, but in either case, at least I’m responsible for my own choice.

In any event, I close with the words of Jerry Garcia: “Without evil, good doesn’t mean that much.”

A Brief Word on Sex.

It’s been said that women give sex to get love, and men give love to get sex. It’s also been said that women are picky about whom they sleep with because, on some mental/genetic level, they realize they have only a finite amount of eggs to dish out, while men sleep with pretty much everything because they have infinite supply of sperm. Whether or not these statements are rooted in fact, I have something to add to them. Two things, really.

The first is aimed at women.

Women, I think the word “slut” is a synonym for “brave” and “free” and “empowered.” It takes very little courage to remain celibate because you’re worried about your reputation in a world of people with bad reputations, but it takes a shit-ton of courage to fuck around like a man and not give a shit. It takes a lot of courage to live exactly the way you want without caring how you’re judged by the idiots of this world. Food for thought.

The second is aimed at men.

Men, I think the women in your life would be putting out a hell of lot more if you finally got it through your head that the female orgasm is 90% based on what’s going on in a woman’s mind, and only 10% based on what you’re doing. So get into her mind, strangely mixing kindness and love with confidence and solid sexual skills, somehow blending tenderness with aggression. That’s hard to do, I admit. Oh, and really, really listen to this part now: that 10% based on what you’re doing? It has less to do with your dick than it does clit stimulation. For the love of Christ, learn that already.

I have spoken.

A Brief Word on Boobs.

Speaking of anatomy, let me pontificate for a moment on the female breasts. What a fascinating topic these are! What’s interesting is that all of the straight men I’ve ever known loved boobs, and most of the women I’ve talked to also like boobs. I think the only demographic that doesn’t like boobs are gay men. And even then, it may not be that they dislike boobs per se, it could be that they’re just indifferent to them. I think I’d like to speak with a person who vehemently does not like boobs. The mental processes of such a person, while baffling, would be of great interest, I think, to humanity.

I sometimes wonder about boobs in the animal kingdom. One time my girl cat’s mammary glands, after she gave birth to a litter of kittens, swelled up with cat milk. She seriously had the feline version of a rack happening. I just wonder if my boy cat got all hot and bothered when she walked by. You know, did he lose some blood to the brain the same way I would do if some bulbous jugs were paraded in front of me? Or is it just a human thing? See, this is what the experts need to be studying. There should be more academic interest regarding boob arousal in the mammal world. But then not everyone is as deep and curious as me.

I’m mostly an ass man (obsessively so), but sometimes there’s nothing in the world as comforting as resting my head between two welcoming breasts. Ah, such felicity!

That’s all. I’m done now.

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Random WTF Thoughts, part 1

There’s an old story I recall hearing one time about a hospital in Japan where a young patient was brought with a bizarre, unidentifiable illness. None of the lofty doctors there knew what it was or how to heal the patient. So they brought in the janitor. The janitor!? Why the fuck would they do that? They did it because he was the smartest human being alive in that country. But why was he a janitor, then, you ask? Sadly, he was an “untouchable,” a member of the lowest level of the caste system. He was so low that regular people avoided eye contact with him, considering him something less than human. Nevertheless, they brought this guy in and he looked at the patient and gave an order, and all the other doctors hastened to obey. They followed his orders, and the young patient lived.

Why did they listen to the janitor? Because they had to. He was right. Regardless of who he was, what he did, where he came from, or how low he was in the eyes of all the “normal” people, he was right… and they had to listen to him. “Untouchable” or not, they had to listen to him.

I bring this up because I was observing in the shower this morning that the highest personal goal a human ought to have during their lifetime shouldn’t be to attain goodness. Being a good person is a noble thing, but I think it should be the second highest personal goal a human should have. And I would urge everyone to always err on the side of good rather than evil, to pursue kindness and nobility and honor and integrity and all things admirable… but… the first thing a human should strive to be… is right. When you’re right, the patient lives. Good and bad are neither here nor there in this instance. To be right is to know, to be right is to have all the information, to be right is to be in command of your mind’s processes, to be right is to always be able to answer truthfully, regardless of whether what you did was good or bad.

I strive to be good, yes. But I strive even more to be right.

Merely Decent

No one is all good or all bad. Often the “best” of us, if there is such a thing, are those people who, just as quickly as they can love, can turn on you and descend into stark unpleasantness. I take an example from my own life. I love people. I really do. I love my species, and I desire what’s good for them as a whole, and for the individual. And yet, if I’m standing in a line at the post office, or driving down the road, or sitting down for what is supposed to be a quiet dinner somewhere, and some idiotic human starts ruining my perfect moment with his irritating voice or his kid’s piercing cries or his creepy habit of staring at me every fucking time I raise my fork to my mouth, I want that person instantly removed from me and, if possible, put in the stocks. Therefore, I observe that there is good in me toward my fellow man, and there is also malice in me toward my fellow man. A lot depends on the day, my mood, the atmosphere, whether I slept well the previous night, or any number of contingent factors. This is why I seldom, if ever, pat myself on the back and think of myself as an admirable bloke. I’m not admirable. Nor am I pitiable.

I am, at best, merely decent.


Taken from my book, Collected Essays.