Category: Poetry


The Setting Sun

Late at night when the darkness gleams
And the shadows start to thicken
A fog of silence settles in
And your heartrate, how it’s quickened.

Consciousness, it slips away
And nightmares settle in
To resurrect the darkness
Locked beneath your skin.

Secrets hide within memories
Until the forsaken hour
It’s here they prowl the ceiling
And unleash their midnight power

Spider-legged and rodent-teethed
Clacking their onyx claws
Your fears spiral overhead.
And brandish their razor jaws.

But there he is, your deepest fear
Dangling from a twisted thread
With inkspill eyes and devil grin.
He plummets for your head.

But your mind snaps to and reason returns:
Roll away and the nightmares will flee.
This was but a late-night terror
A witching hour reverie.

But then needle feet press down.
A weight lands on your back.
The pain sets in and the fear returns
Your mind turns a deepest black.

Its pointed feet prick at your skin
With a terrible tick tick tack
It scuttles down your spine
Leaving prickled tracks.

Not all terrors are imagined.
Not all terrors can be undone.
Lo, heed the eerie warning call
Of the setting sun.

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This is the Sideways

Car clock reads….8:02. Laptop reads….1:02. Stove clock reads….7:02.
Tick tock goes the clock when you’re a pocket watch in a vise.
The jaws close and squeeze hours from the timekeeper’s hands
Pressure dislodges minutes locked in a gold case.
Tick tock goes the clock as seconds drip from the pocket watch in the vise.
That’s how it goes when you’re pressed for time.

Juice the grandfather clock chiming the hour.
Pull its cork and release the years fine as wine.
Stored for ages in their coffin-shaped cask.
Oaken aromas waft as you drink your glass of time.

Cracks in the cask, seams stretching, boards creaking.

Car clock reads…..6:42. Laptop reads….11:42. Stove clock reads….5:42.
Time travel without travel. Stationary existence in more than one timeframe.
The car clock has forgotten daylight savings.
The laptop has forgotten its long since exited foreign borders.
Only the stove tells the truth.

The future, the past, the present state of affairs.
Tick tock goes the clock. Year, month, day, minute, second.
Written in ink deep as a wishing well coated in the flowing copper
Of wishing pennies that liquefied under the pressure.

Of deadlines and timelines and the inevitable lifelines.
The hour is now, your time is up, your seconds run dry, and if you aren’t ready this very minute….

Car clock reads….4:12. Laptop reads….9:12. Stove clock reads….3:12.
All these hours misaligned to the time in which I currently reside.
If I live these times disconnected from the narrative of the here I live
Am I removed from the train tracks of time? Have I jumped off to see
There is more than the forward motion the train conveys.
This is the sideways.

This is the road less traveled, the path less wanted, the road uncrowded
By competition petitioning for fairness and rules and construction of more
Train tracks expediting success and glory.
Write the rules, make the game, so we can do the same.
This idea is a beautiful one. Results without effort. Fame without trial.

Pour your seconds squeezed from pocket watches in vises,
Into your wishing well. Put the cork back into your
Grandfather clock and store that time wine for a better age.

Do not drink your time drunkenly.
Sip.
Use your minutes wisely.
Build yourself with every second.
Learn, grow, know, improve.
Your growth nurtures those around you.
Happiness engenders happiness. Strength engenders strength.

Be rigid and regular as the pendulum.
And always keep moving. No matter what.
Time moves on and so do you.
No matter what.

Car clock reads….2:22. Laptop reads…..7:22. Stove clock reads….1:22.

Biological clock reads….exhausted.

But, pleased.

Violins Over Violence

I prefer violins over violence.
What more can I say?
I don’t need vini vidi vici
to get where I’m heading.

But you? You’ll never understand.

You can yell at me and cuss me out
But you’re not getting what want
If that’s the way you do it.

Why should anyone be afraid of a bully like you?
You belittle, you degrade, you step up on that stage
And paint yourself to be the paragon of perfection.
But you know what? Knowing what I do and seeing what I’ve seen,
Your mask doesn’t impress me.

The shrivelled skin you hide behind your mirrored mask
Those imperfections you can’t let others see
Know that they show around the eyes.
Little peaks every now and again appear
In the holes of your disguise.

The one part you can’t cover
Because then you’d be blind in your lie
Well, they’re what give you away.
And the scars that you won’t show?
I know they’re there. They have to be there.

And (laughs) it’s funny.
Simply because you don’t reveal your scars, your deformities, your eccentricities,
I can picture them however I please.
Though they may be the minor remnants of an insignificant burn,
I imagine you became trapped in an inferno you originated simply because you wanted to light a fire under someone’s ass.

See, those scars? Your imperfections?
I wouldn’t mind them if they weren’t slathered in slander and misdirect.
We’re only human, and hey, I have my own.
But I accept mine so I can accept those of others.

Honey wins more flies than vinegar. But no matter how much you smother
Your acetic personality in artificially sweet molasses,
I’ll never do what you want.

Yes, there are some that will. But they’re playing your game
To take advantage of you.
Like minds flock alike.
The geese will come.
And, guess what?

Molasses and feathers don’t go well together, as history has shown.

Your artificial friends, they’re all playing the Art of War.
With them, there will only ever be victors and victims.

But you did this to yourself.
You put on your mask, you put on your armor, you hid behind your barrage of insults just to protect the shriveled man you know yourself to be.

What kind of life is that?
I’ll keep listening to Beethoven and his violins.
While you mimic Bonaparte and his violence.

When you get banned to your own private Elba,
I’ll write to you out of the kindness of my heart.
I’ll send you this message, simply written:

I prefer violins over violence.
What more can I say?
I didn’t need vini vidi vici
to get where I was heading.

Welcome to the World

Welcome to the world,
We’re glad you’re here!
We waited so long for you to arrive,
And now you have.

But now that you’re here,
We have some rules you must follow.
They’re not difficult rules,
Just….a few mild suggestions.

Guidelines?
Sure, we’ll call them that.
You can stray from them if you wish,
Well, not really. Not at all, actually.

Your spot in the world is exactly the size of you.
Don’t move your arms or you won’t fit the mold.
Don’t arch your back or you’ll lose market value.
Don’t try to fit into another slot,
It’s not yours. Stay where you belong.

Those rules are just the beginning, though.
The list isn’t too much longer.
Except, it is.
It really is.

And these rules are just the basis,
For how we need you to behave,
We expect you to know the others,
Without being told.

So please, read the following carefully,
Study them, memorize them,
Put them to use,
And don’t step out of line.

If you are male,
We want you to be strong, protecting, ready for a fight, and obedient.
We need you to be active, aggressive, quick to anger, quick to offense.
And please, don’t talk about “gay” things. Sensitivity is for the women.

If you are female,
We want you to be dainty, graceful, submissive, and obedient.
We need you to be caring, emotional, beautiful, and skinny.
And please, don’t talk about men’s business. It is not your concern.

If you are straight,
We want you to get married, make babies, and practice a respectable religion.
We need you to have the very image of a perfect relationship and a perfect family.
And please, only befriend other married types. Singles mingle with singles. Remember that

If you are gay,
We want you to keep your business to yourself. Forget all about pride.
We need you to behave straight in public.
And please, don’t even hold hands. It’s disrespectful.

If you are bisexual,
We want you to reassess your life. You are lying to yourself.
We need you to realize bisexuality is a lie. Choose one or the other.
And please, choose to be straight.

If you are transgender,
We want you to stop making such a big deal about yourself. You want to cross dress, big deal.
We need you to stop trying to change your name and change your sex. God made you who you were!
And please, kill this fad. It’s catching and I’m scared my wife will become a dude and make me gay.

If you are white,
We want you to use only the words white people use.
We need you to hate any race other than your own.
And please, keep complaining about the government. Because it fixes everything.

If you are black,
We want you to behave yourself. Be a model citizen.
We need you to shed your individuality and expression so the racists can feel safe.
And please, no rallies or riots. They scare the ignorant, the stupid, and the biased.

If you are Asian, African, Native American, Hispanic, or any other race, mixed or otherwise,
We want you to realize you aren’t the favorite topic of discussion right now.
We need you to be patient because chances are we’ll get to you soon enough.
And please, no rallies or riots. We can’t fathom that anyone other than blacks get angry.

If you are blond, act like an idiot.
If you are brunette, wear glasses, you need to look smart.
If you are a redhead, sleep with everyone. You are wild and crazy.
If you are bald, wear a hat. Nobody needs that reflection in their eyes.

If you are male and have long hair, cut it.
If you are female and have short hair, grow it out.
If you are a male with piercings, stop that now.
If you are a female with piercings, that’s hot.

If you are male and have a beard, shave it—no, keep it—no, shave it—no, keep it.
If you are female and have a beard, what is wrong with you?
If you are a male with all female friends, you have to be gay.
If you are a female with all male friends, you’re clearly a lesbian.

If you don’t talk at all, you’re a creepy murdering psychopath.
If you talk too much, you’re a lunatic.
If you have no sex, you’re clearly closeted.
If you have too much sex, you’re clearly a slut.

Okay, almost done, only a few more.
You’re still with me, right?
This isn’t too many rules?
You’ll remember these in the morning?

After a date, wait three days before you call them back.
Wait a minimum of three weeks to call them your SO or tell them you love them.
And propose before three years, otherwise you don’t love your SO.
But, you must end the relationship if your best friend disapproves.

When attending a birthday party, bring a gift, no matter if you like the person or not.
Always say hello and make eye contact, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel.
Never talk about your true feelings, pretend you are happy and fine and an optimistic person.
And never compliment anyone. Always insult them, they won’t mind, they’ll know you’re joking.

Seriously, insult them. It’s how you make friends. Forget deep emotional connections.
Never be the first one to leave a party, it will make you seem weak.
Always follow the fashion rule book. If you disobey, you’ve lost your status.
Always network, bribe, fake it, lie to maintain friendships and work relations. Your job requires it.

Don’t ever reveal the real you. No one will like them.
Make a fake exterior from paper maché and popsicle sticks. Wear it always.
If you feel like someone might accept the real you, forget it. Keep the real you hidden.
And never let your guard down. People judge you always. You can never be yourself.

Never be the first to ask someone out, it’s a sign of weakness.
Always dress up. Always. Going to the beach? Wear something formal. Not kidding around.
Wear something that shows off your muscles. If you don’t have muscles, get them or get out.
And make sure your shoes are more expensive than what you’re wearing. Except for your giant watch.

Um, what else? Be polite, but don’t be nice. Make them feel like they belong, just not in your circle.
Whisper about people behind their backs. Tell their secrets to everyone. No information is safe.
Don’t trust anyone. Keep a knife hidden in your shoe and a gun strapped to your waste.
Find a religion and practice it, but hate everyone practicing a different religion.

And please, just a reminder, no original thoughts.
No adding rules to this list. All other unspoken rules are to be followed but not recorded.
Do not be creative, do not think for yourself, do not stand out in the crowd, and do not be an outsider.
If you don’t belong, pretend like you do. Being an individual is poisonous to society.

Follow these rules, follow them closely.
Recite them in your head until they are engrained in your mind.
Society functions on uniformity, obedience, and loyalty.
Love your country, obey your government, love society, obey the rules.

And if the machine needs you to sacrifice everything you have to keep it running,
Throw yourself in head first. You have nothing more important to do.
Keep your nose to the grindstone. Fight the fight I say is right.
And for the love of God, do not question what I’m telling you.

That’s how we lose people. That’s how they disappear.
Keep your head down. The nail that stick’s up gets knocked down. Remember that.
Don’t provoke them. Don’t be the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.
Follow these rules and life will be thoughtless and easy.

Welcome to the world,
We’re glad you’re here!
We waited so long for you to arrive,
And now you have.

A Revolution of Honesty

Loneliness isn’t just being alone
With no one around
Loneliness isn’t a one man
Island.

Loneliness is having the desire to
Fit in
But being unable to do so. For whatever the
Reason.

No man is an island, or so
They say.
But one man can hide an
Oasis of chaos.

Pent up deep inside, all of the worries that
No one else knows
Buried far beneath the surface
Everything left unsaid.

Loneliness is the unwillingness to
Settle and give up one’s self.
Or the conviction that you have something worthy to sell,
But no one is searching for your wares.

It’s living on the fringe, fitting in with no one and
Being a little too different.
But only just a little, because the crowd that is different
Has no interest in you.

The causes of loneliness? They’re the
Fixes for loneliness.
Don’t believe me? Take a look inside
Yourself.

When you were lonely last, what did you do?
Pick up a hobby you didn’t like? Just to impress
A soon-to-be friend
Right?

Or was it that you lied about yourself? To impress
That guy or girl?
Or that you buried your truth, to let your falsehoods
Shine through?

Loneliness stems from lies.
Everyone lies to themselves. And
Those lies shape who we appear
To be.

We present these lies as our
True selves. But
Do we even remember our
Real selves?

We crush our dreams and stomp our
Ambitions. Just because someone
Doesn’t like them.
Appearances. Just smoke and mirrors.

If everyone let their real self shine
Loneliness would
Evaporate. We’d all know that we
Belong.

If everyone let their true self shine, we would
Stop trying to impress others and
Finally have the time to simply be
Us.

Remove your lies and at last reveal what’s caged
Inside. Your inner monster is nothing more than
The perfect mate for someone else’s
Hidden fear.

Open up
Let it out
Share yourself
And realize

Loneliness is a two-way path.
Share yourself and accept what others are
Willing to share. Erase negativity and
Brave the fear. Be the change we all need.
Let’s start a revolution of honesty.

Turn Left

Our life is nothing but a road.
Every trip may start out on side streets,
But it eventually merges with the main stretch,
The main road,
The highway, the byway, the toll road, the expressway,

Because that’s the fastest way to get to the future.
It’s the quickest way to get where you’re going.
But everything blurs by.
Every detail and memory
Becomes only a fuzzy recollection.

Do you even remember those roads you like to drive,
When you’re not rushing from one place to another?
The ones that drive past cornfields, or through forests,
Or meander through the mountains?

When was the last time you took the scenic route?
It takes longer to get to your destination that way,
But isn’t that the point?
On those roads, we see the beauty all around us,
Not just the grey of commercial tedium,

We feel more alive and less a cog in the machine,
When we turn off the main stretch.
Because that’s what makes life interesting,
The turns.

The main road could take you straight through to the end,
But should you let it?
Because when you reach your final destination,
The trip is over.

Take the scenic route.
Take that turn.
You’ll have seen more when you reach home,
And you’ll have taken your time getting there.

Why not start now?
See that intersection up ahead?
Go on…
Turn left.

A Lesson in Empathy

Hide the guns, hide the bleach,
Keep the razor blades,
Out of reach.

This will prevent suicide.
This is all it takes.
There is nothing left to do.

Lie to yourself if you need to,
But removing the means, the ways,
The methods, the tools,
Does nothing at all.

Without a hammer in hand,
An average human will grab a rock,
And pound in the nail.

When cutting branches from your kid’s favorite tree,
To prevent them from falling and breaking their arm,
They will use a ladder,
To reach their favorite height.

Whether by creativity, ingenuity,
Or necessity,
Repression inspires revolt.

Being forbidden to partake,
Increases the desire more.
The well-behaved turns into a rebel,
When their forward paths are blocked.

Out of sight out of mind will only work,
For the ignorant,
The weak-willed,
Or those foolish enough to believe,
That they can trick themselves.

If the production of guns were banned,
And all existing guns were destroyed,
The number of death by guns would decrease.

Congratulations,
You’ve achieved your result,
You’ve dropped the gun deaths to zero.

But the overall statistic will not have changed.
Why?
Because you’ve been fooling yourself.
People aren’t killed because of the tool,
People don’t die because of the weapon,
People are the cause, guns are the means.

Even if all guns were outright destroyed,
And production halted,
The hunter,
The hobbyist,
The terrorist,
The enthusiast,
Would find a way to reproduce the weapon.

With suicidal thoughts harbored in the mind,
All that matters is the end,
And the ends justify the means,
Even if the options are one fewer.

Bleach, guns, window panes, neckties, and sleeping pills,
Are one and the same,
In the eyes of the desperate.

They are the one thing,
That will make them happy again.

We mustn’t address the means,
We must address the cause.
Suicidal tendencies, psychopathy, sociopathy,
Rage, insanity, trauma, depression,
Are what we need to shine a spotlight on.

Not on hiding guns away from our suicidal children.

I’m sure you mean well,
But you’re doing nothing at all.

Sympathy is useless because there is no connection.
Showing someone you care is not understanding.
All anyone wants in this world is to make a connection,
Even just one connection,
That says, without words,
I’m glad you’re here.
Your life has meaning,
And I would not be the same without you.

Make that connection and they would not want to hurt themselves,
For fear of hurting you.

Start saying,
You matter to me,
Instead of,
I feel your pain.

We all could use a lesson in empathy.

The Pattern

Dust beneath the windowsill,
Falling to the ground.
So it seems it always is,
When no one can be found.

But when time is lost and memories are shot,
A room is still a room.
For everything that happened there,
No remnants remain to loom.

The meaning we assign to things,
Is a silly, trivial thought,
For the things that truly belong to us,
Surely can’t be bought.

Funny, though laugh I don’t,
Is the importance it seems to gain.
We are what we own in life, the masses scream aloud,
It all belongs to each one of us, no matter how mundane!

Love lost, meaning shot, everyone has long forgot,
The obvious incongruity of want versus need.
For it’s been years upon decades upon centuries,
Since reason has given up and fleed.

Expectations, responsibility, money, and deadlines,
All man-made problems only suffered by man.
Though that irony seems to evade everyone,
Naive to the master plan.

So take every bit of that conformity, unity, normalcy, sanity,
And burn it to the ground.
We can only be ready to grow,
When we have truly found,
A way to break the pattern.

Zimbabwe

Our screens grow bigger and our apartments grow smaller,
Our lives grow longer and our attention grows shorter,
Our ability to live deepens as our interests grow shallow.

We have at our fingertips the ability to experience everything,
We could watch the sun flare from just miles away,
We could witness the birth of an ecosystem fathoms beneath the sea,
We could read words of scholars and philosophers hundreds of years old,
All from our screens.

But do we take advantage?
Seldom few do.

We complain about the rising college rate,
About the number of dropouts,
The uneducated,
The failures,
The losers.

But education doesn’t come from a school,
It doesn’t come from a book,
It doesn’t come from a teacher,
Or homework,
Or rote work,
Or endless repetition.

It comes from experience.
It comes from taking part in the living reality,
Taking in the knowledge around us,
The information flowing through us.

It comes from a connection to that information.
It comes from intrigue, inspiration, curiosity,
And insatiability.

The information is there on our enormous screens,
But we must seek it out so it can find us.

Don’t judge people based on the quantity of their degrees,
Or the standing of their university.
Judge them by their thirst for knowledge,
Their inquisitivity,
That wondrous glow in their eyes,
That would surely die if you said they were,
Unqualified.

Tests, resumes, essays,
They’re all just words on paper.
Give this human being a task to do,
And just sit back and watch.
They’ll reveal how driven they are,
Without you even asking.

Drive is a beautiful thing that moves us forward.
But it can’t be squashed because of standards and money,
And shitty bureaucracy.

Let them have their bigger screens,
So long as they expand themselves,
Enlargen the world,
And improve those around them.

Sure, they should get out every once and a while,
But it’s quicker to Google Zimbabwe than to fly there.

Eloi are We

In a world where politics reign and good deeds are ignored,
Is it worth being purely talented?
Or must false interest, overused banter, and shallow conversation,
Be mixed with what is really of value?

In a world where individuality is celebrated,
But conformity is sold,
Can the unique emerge above the formulaic?
Contradictions everywhere.

There should be no incentive,
To remove quality, just to be rich.
Popular is great for the average,
But it’s useless for those that can see the transparency.

Art has become simplified, distilled, diluted,
Meaning, nuance, and form have taken the back seat,
Flash, wonder, and awe move to the front.
The quickly evoked emotion ensures continuous success, apparently…..

Whatever happened to subtlety?
Whatever happened to implications?
Why did we become this blunt ensemble,
That no longer thinks for themselves?

Are we too numb to recognize this trap we’re in,
Or have we simply become too comfortable in our laziness to climb out?