(Untitled)

I sail in a ship, not of my design
But of my input
Breaking the waters of a world
I cannot understand
Surrounded by the confusion
I cannot solve
Condemned to a deck
I did not build.

This vessel of mine
I cannot fathom
Raising sails I did not weave
Grasping a wind
I did not request
Heading in a direction
Not of my choosing

As though, of all the directions
It would have been this way
The options naught but empty
Unfulfilled destiny,
For all the choices I supposedly earned
Only one was placed before me
The captain’s wheel fixed
On a destination
I never charted

For all the stars in the heavens
I could only find one
Of all the ships in the harbor
Only one would take me
For all my struggles to alter
The path was set

This vessel of mine
Conveys me by unwilling knots
No more can I assertain
The trickery of fate
When all my decisions
Led me to this predetermined sea.

And what of these bones
And mind that betrays me
What construct is this
In my hands and feet
Fingers and throat
To directly challenge my every desire
With impertinent need.

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Life, Happiness and other Common Complaints

Some day

The ongoing chant of life.

We’re all going to die.

The world is a fucked up place.

Death wanders among us, culling the herd, but not fast enough -too quickly!- it all ends.

Lately, thinking about death gives me anxiety. Today, I was contemplating whether a leaf on a tree lives uniquely, then dies at the close of the season, or whether the plant was the only unique being, and leaves, like fingernails, are simply extra components without “life”. I hope leaves aren’t “alive”, for their lives will end at the whims of weather, accident and just cuz.

If I bend a leaf and it dies, have I killed a unique being? And how long did it live? A day, 5 days?

SO SHORT A TIME.

Are animals also unique creatures? When our cat dies, will he never come back? Will he be reborn again, or is he gone forever?

FOREVER…

When I’m not in the throes of an existential crisis, anxiety cranks up faster than I can scroll through my Facebook feed.

Another Day

In my social circles there’s a common “joke” floating around that once the “baby-boomers” die, the world will be a better place. That’s both interesting and fucked up when you think about it.

It tends to be a reaction to the parent/grandparent generation who think – “well, the world is pretty fucked up. Good thing my kids will live on and fix it!”. Or, those other parents/grandparents who rage against the millennials.

You know the ones.

So between the chants of -“damn those lazy kids”- and -“let the kids fix it”, it really becomes amusing.

…no? Okay, another angle.

Let’s say you’re in line to inherit a valuable legacy -say a silver mine. Your grandparents passed it to your parents who will one day pass it on to you. You’ve been raised in a reasonable lifestyle: food, clothing, shelter, etc..

The mine, however, has some issues. The exploited workers don’t get health care, waste management is nonexistent, the mine has displaced several villages and caused untold damage to the environment, plus, your mine and company have been in a legal property feud since… forever, it seems.

Now, you are nearing legal age to start helping the business, and the more you learn about the various facets the more horrified you become at the numerous issues that are apparent. You might want to make changes to modify or redirect some of the former processes; but of course, you don’t really have authority yet because your parents are still alive, the Board of Directors really run things and you don’t even have a single company stock to your name.

Even more disturbing, you realize that your parents figure that it’s no big deal. When you try to talk about the “company direction” and the long-term effects, they shrug and respond that it’s not really their problem. They just need to continue making a profit.

Of course, when they retire, you can run things how you want, but in the meantime -hell no, there won’t be any changes!

And why can’t you do more to help anyway instead of making more work for everyone? Lazy and ungrateful, that’s what you are, ungrateful of this legacy that has fed and clothed you since you were a mere embryonic cell.

Or whatever.

So you continue to perpetuate the cycle because you can’t change it and you gotta eat. Maybe when they die, you can finally…

And then your co-inheriting cousin shows up. He doesn’t see a problem with any of it, and of course your parents like him more.

Before you know it, you don’t have a dog in this race!

So, you get shunted aside, your opinion doesn’t matter, and none of the problems will be solved.

But the Best Moments

Are when you don’t think so deeply. Smile at the geese in the road. Accelerate and leave the past behind.

Ignore the warnings.

Carve out small moments of “it’s okay”, even when it’s a lie.

Don’t care so much.

And someday it will end.

#MeToo (and 3 and 4 and more)

Do not prod the sleeping beast
Do not come greedy to the supposed feast
Do not disrespect
Behaving like vapid derelicts
Disgrace in every salacious action, word, insinuation, and innuendo.

Do not downplay the frequency
Actions of greatest indecency
The behaviors of animals
Worse than even cannibals
Pretending to be superior, elevated beings.

Do not speak your mind and dismiss
The outcomes worse than an unwanted kiss
Do not become outspoken experts
Thinking bodies are pornography adverts
And flesh another warehouse for your base fantasy.

Because when it’s your turn to defend
And avoid the unwanted attentions of the condemned
When you are trapped and held back
With advances you can’t even track
Tell me how “harmless” words really are when they whisper and hold you down.

Did you know that victims outnumber perpetrators in the end?
In this world, if you contribute to this trend
Best watch your actions and your words
Don’t be swept up in those herds
Lest the sheep you torment grow up to be wolves.

Keep your hands to yourself
Direct that ego to the bottom shelf
You are nobody’s gift
Just another unholy rift
To the shredded decency of society.

Welcome to the face of savagery
With no consequences, it continues unwary
Keep sitting on your hands
Critiquing other lands
When your apathy proves you a hypocrite.

And you, the silent ones
Stacking ignorance like retirement funds
Invalidate reality
Deaf and blind to the scenery
Culpable, approving, and complicit in your inaction.

You are even worse somehow
Turning your back, not making a sound
See, hear, and prevent no evil
Yet another useless medieval
Because you know and still do nothing.

Do not defend or excuse
Do not accuse or misuse
Each being is royalty
Extend support and loyalty
Honor each precious being.

What happened to respect?
Did society destroy and neglect
The very fabric of humanity?
In favor of sordid fantasy?
No, it was in favor of evil, screwed priorities, and pure selfishness.

And you, who know so much
Who never encountered an unwanted touch
Keep your stones inside your rock garden
Lest your words return from the mouth of your warden
Since when does existence equal temptation and breathing equate seduction?

Rant and rave
Against absent justice craved
What a mad world we enterprise
Where the innocents are despised
And the predator is congratulated for their crime.

 

picture credit: http://bit.ly/2y1Fsfz

Trophies

Every day there is a new addition
Another blank spot filled
Every day another addition
To the wall of trophies.

There is one of every race
One of every color
There is a category for every gender
Every age
Every rate.

Every day
So many trophies

And the angel looks at the trophies
And weeps.
With abject sorrow and pain
As the shelves only multiply
And continue to fill

A wall drips down
And the tears fall down
The shelves climb high to the sky
A torrent of tragedy.

Did you know that trophies
Are something that serial killers
Take to remind themselves
Of the moments.

Trophies.

So which killer is this?
With shelves to the sky
Filled with trophies of every color
Race,
Age,
Rate?

This killer is silence.

This killer is hate.

This killer is rape.

This killer is ignorance.

This killer Is Evil.

This killer lives among us
In our silence
And our ignorance
And disbelief.

And until the silence is broken
And love returns
And rape is abolished in word and deed
Until ignorance is washed in wisdom and creed
We will continue to be nothing
But trophies.

Standing on the Bridge We Burned

We cannot return to the past
No matter that the regret lasts
Or that penance drips sorrow

They fear us because we are the shadows
Color of the night
We are the offspring of the stars

But we are not a generation of peace
Misplaced rage
Some say -stupidity-  yet just ignorance.

We don’t think, just speak
We don’t ponder, just tweet
Thoughtless mind, empty chatter.


Image source: https://laitma.deviantart.com/art/Iris-Broken-Bridge-532571670

Mocha #2: It’s Official, I Guess… [I Know but Cannot Say]

It’s Official I Guess…

Is there a right way to talk about preferred names and pronouns in the workforce? Is it even anyone’s business? 

As of a few days ago, my work world has been informed of my preferred name and pronouns -different from the legal ones.

I’m not sure what to do with that.

It was kind of involuntary. My new job segments into 2 sets of peer groups. I’d informed one peer group since I’d felt okay sharing and it was my first time saying it OUT LOUD to work colleagues and having them call me by my preferred name was… the best feeling ever!

I just started working with the second peer group and was more occupied with bare necessities, like office space, where to eat, where to park, who do I work with, etc.. I hadn’t really gotten around to notifying this peer group and set of supervisors about this information.

But the peer groups chat with each other, and before I even thought through how I’d approach a conversation around my pref. name and such with the second group, I got a text asking me about it.  I briefly explained, impromptu, while resisting the urge to apologize (knee-jerk reaction is to apologize for nothing).

I kinda feel mixed about it, because it was outside of my control and it was an involuntary conversation rather than a proactive one. And I feel awkward. And such.

And, I hadn’t even figured out if this was something I even wanted to do -work and personal life are separate, right?

I’m a planner. I want to really think things through before making a decision about anything. Especially this sort of thing which would impact every facet of life. I don’t need extra -isms: I’m already on the docket for racism, sexism, sexuality-ism, personality-ism, religionism, wrong-place-wrong-time-ism,  etc. etc..

Now, I get to add genderism, awkward-ism, underlying prejudice, extra levels of difficulty and how will this impact my job role?

I don’t want to be the “new curiosity in aisle 3” so to speak. I just don’t want extra attention when I want to live my life. I hope this doesn’t become a thing where it’s the queer elephant in the room during conversations.

Joy…

 

I Know, but Cannot Say

I stick to poetry much of the time lately because I’ve been struggling to write the stuff in my mind. Why?

Because it’s not like anyone is going to read it.

Because the big data collection peoples/companies will simply scoop up my brain to analyze my likelihood to buy [insert-product-here].

Because it’s a control thing?

Maybe.

If  I could, I’d talk about my old job, how much it killed parts of me that I didn’t even know I had, or that I took for granted. Nothing like the first job fresh from uni to kill your soul. How I can’t get that enthusiastic about anything anymore since I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop and for someone to start screaming and calling me shit. Waiting for the shunning and isolation, for everything to be insufficient and for promises to be broken.

I guess I’d talk about the isolation of being in a culture that isn’t supportive of me. Breaking away from the structure of religion, and going back to my parents’ house every once and awhile with them staring at me with these eyes of “you’re going to hell”.

Like I don’t catch every time they say “god willing” or “May the lord bless you” or “may the lord be with you” -fuck that! I don’t need a lord. I don’t need a god.

No one’s there for me, I don’t need anyone like that.

I just need a good friend. But those are nearly as hard to find as an honest politician. Unicorn.

I’ve pursued that unicorn, that dark horse with a conical sword on its forehead. I wanted to be its passenger, so bad. I couldn’t chase it, couldn’t lasso it down. A fucking mockery.

Often times, I’d catch a rhino instead. Ungainly, endangered, and ultimately someone else’s property.

If I ever do catch that unicorn, I feel like I’d need to break its legs to keep it mine. Then it wouldn’t be a unicorn. But it would be mine.

Hi. I’m worth more.

I’d talk about how the theme so far is to crumple oneself to fit in or get used to being alone. I pay for my individuality with company. Cause I’m too much, not enough, inappropriate, or something.

I stand in conversations, silent, and staring at the people around me like “who are you?”, “why are you faking it”, “why are you asking so many questions, I’m not that interesting”. It’s like mentally stepping back to the corner of the room, just watching and observing and analyzing.

Imagine being at a party. You go in, you don’t know many people. You grab a drink, smile, and embed yourself into a conversation or two or twelve. Plastic crinkles in the background and you realize almost suddenly, that the whole room is filled with mannequins. Mannequins you have nothing in common with, that are impossible to connect with, that speak another language as part of a foreign species.

Nothing to do except leave.

But I can’t leave my life.

I’d talk about how life feels like hostage negotiation. Picking and choosing battles, except the battles are life and death. I could die walking out my front door just because of who I am. Being okay with that.

I’d talk about how we are all tadpoles in the boiling pot and we’re close to 100 degrees Celsius, and 212 degrees Fahrenheit. No one’s going to jump out, or say anything. So we’ll all die together. Goodbye planet earth – we’re going to be sun 2.

I’d talk about life being the structure of our own unique cage. You’re born in one, then you build one for yourself. With your style and aesthetic, one that you can stand to live in. The bars are habit, the ceiling is you saying “I can’t”, the walls are your perceived limitations, the floor is the core of your spirit.

Build it right, it can be a prison or a home.

There’s so much I could talk about. But it’s not like anyone wants to hear it.

I have so much love to give. But it’s not like anyone wants it.

The beauty of the future is that it can change. I’m not waiting for it to change. I’m growing me to become a evolved self. The core of me is alive and real and won’t ever die.

The only thing that dies is my faith in humanity. In love. In friendship and brotherhood.

Maybe I’m in the wrong part of the world for humanity.

 

Iced Fire

I have all your secrets
I hold them in the palm of my hand
Will you stay
Or should I leave?
Or should I never plan to succeed?
Perhaps I will find purpose
In the echo of your steps
Leave me again, leave me forever
Ever undone.

I could never find the words
That would make you stay
The devil swore I was meant to be alone
And chuckled when he escorted me back
To my cage
I wasn’t meant to be embraced
These arms harbor brittle branches
Never the warmth of a soul.

I hold these memories close
But like ice and snow, I could never
Manage to get warm
When will my bones freeze
Until I cannot feel
All the wounds that never heal?
The only thing more familiar
Than the taste of my blood
Is the gentle caress of your dying love

Like a candle burning out
Cling to the last vestiges of your presence
Before the altar of the forsaken
Ravens wait to pluck and tear
And savor a heart that was never there
Broken like our vows
Shattered with our distance
Did I stay, or did we both walk?
Did you stay, was I the one who walked away?
Did we both go our separate ways
Who stayed and who was left behind?

Repercussions are naught but concussions
A lurid reminder of the impact of your love
Why warm my flesh when you’d only
Freeze my bones with your absence
Take your flame and fire
Leave me to the graven plaque
Let me crack in the silence
And cave in the solitude
Let this stolid breath
Fade away into nothing
The fog of lust against the chilling chains
Of forbidden kisses

The torment of mentioned lines
Review the whispers for lies
Can it truly be so innocent?
As a farewell? A goodbye?
A never see you again?
Just because -what was the cause?
Why did you leave?
Will knowing salve this cold
Or just jut an icicle
Into my veins.

Intensely turquoise and covered with frost
Surrounding the void holding all I lost
The final flicker dies
Crackling shudder
Sprout frigid wings
I’ll be your snow angel
With you I melt
The ice will keep me whole.

Mocha #1: I still [miss] Remember You…

I declutter.

Facebook was finally on the chopping block.

Time to leave all the pages I never visit, the people I’d forgotten I’d followed, the groups I graduated past.

And then I found a page I was still following. And I remembered why.

So, this is for you.


I remember your smile and humor.

The ginger child on the bus when we carpooled to the christian (xian) private school in the middle of farmland. I still remember your smile and laugh, how silly you were. The pranks, the jokes, the silly faces and bubbly personality.

How you drove your brother crazy sometimes.

You were the funny one, he was the serious one. The Ginger Brothers. He wore glasses, you did not.

I always thought of you as part of two. Two peas in a pod, even though you were the younger brother.

I remember joking with you during the long bus rides. I was pleasant to everyone and in a casual way, our interactions had gradually extended to that gray place between acquaintance and friend.

Then again, I was in high school and you were in middle school. I couldn’t say that I took you seriously, but any gap in age was bridged by humor. I could be silly sometimes and you made me smile too. And I learned that your humor belied a deep intelligence I hadn’t encountered in many of my peers.

It was such a gray time. And a ginger ray of sunshine was a welcome gift.

I remember the day you gave me your necklace. I think I commented on how cool it was. You had two, and you gave me one. I was surprised, people rarely gave me gifts. I thought you were joking.

But you weren’t.

I was concerned, a bit, that it might have been some sort of gesture. In my limited experience, guys give gifts with strings. So I was on guard for the next few days, but nothing changed.

You were silly and charming as always and didn’t give me moon eyes. Thank goodness!

We could be friends.

Thank goodness, it was nothing more than a kindness; not even a motive, just selfless and almost thoughtless giving. The innocence of children.

I wore that necklace for a time. A gray string connected to spikes shaped into a cross. It was the perfect mix of gothy and xian that I could get away with wearing it and it was the perfect example of my style.

Time flew by so fast…

I left.

I barely remembered.

I went to college.

Two years later you were dead.

Like a pebble of ice, I could not define the sense of loss. Unlike the sense of not seeing someone during the day to day, how do you fill that sense with the knowledge that you can’t even remember the last time you saw someone? Someone you will never see again?

The why was a mystery. It was sudden, quick, and hopefully painless.

Rumors -stupid and vicious- were thankfully silenced. A funeral was held. Memorial passed.

But I was over 300 miles away, and completely off the radar. Frozen, I mourned from afar.

A distant sadness. Regret. It was a selfish grief. Resolving the smile of potential with the cold clasp of the grave. Realizing that the ginger peas were now a ginger pea, I would flip back through the fuzzy memories and try to remember.

But it was like grasping space or embracing a galaxy. Futile, impossible, and vaguely insulting.

If I had known how short the time would be…

I found the necklace again. Somehow, it has survived several moves and stayed with me. I took it as a sign.

A way I could remember you.

For over a year, every morning, I’d look in the mirror, see the necklace, and remember. It wasn’t a prominent display, but it was enough.

The only time someone commented on it was during warmer weather when an observant professor noticed. I’d been in his office hours for years, trying to understand some difficult classes that he taught, and during that time, I had never worn jewelry. I explained, haltingly, that I was remembering you.

But I didn’t say that your memory was drifting farther and farther away from me.

Over time, the necklace seemed to get heavier and heavier. I experienced neck pain and migraines, but it was a small price to pay. No longer a memory, the piece had become more like penance.

I could barely remember your smile. I was chasing a phantom and the memories faded like mist in the summer heat.

All I had left was the memory of your smile and that twinkle in your eye.

And then the necklace broke.

I held the broken string in one hand and the cross pendant in the other. It couldn’t be fixed, I didn’t have a chain to put the pendant on.

And I swore I heard the wind whisper that it was time to move on.

Even if my cynical mind denied it; -sign or not- the necklace could no longer be worn.

You were more than a piece of metal and string. I might have forgotten so much, but you never slipped far from my mind.

The irony of memories is that you always remember someone being the same as the last time you saw them. 

You could have finished college and started a career by now. You could have married the girl of your dreams and had your own ginger child.

So much that could have been.

Like a story forever incomplete -or prematurely ended.

If a “being” or “god” is responsible for your demise, I’d like to know why “THEY” thought you needed to go. I’m still angry and sad about that.

I’m sorry.

I miss you.

I still remember…

A Message to Burn

Image credit: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/aug/15/1910-fire-region-consumed/#/0

They will never know how much you swallowed. They will never understand how much it hurt. Hindsight can only glance at the depths of emotional gradation sinking deeper and deeper in the well of yesterday.

You are completely validated in your anger.

The forest steams in the late afternoon sun, the stench of smoke and ash sinks into your bones. Grey and coals blanket your feet, the stoic fossils of trees list in anguish as their twisted fingers impale the sky. Sparks still pop, but more in hush and awe at the aftermath. Heat sears your feet, the white ash hides the glowing heart of flame hunkering down for the moment but ready to rise anew.

You wonder if it should rain. The clouds froth overhead, fading from light to dark and back again, mirroring your tumultuous thoughts. Should you have mercy or should you add more fuel?

Weariness descends suddenly. The cinders in your palm sting and gnaw greedily at your melting skin. Pain inflicts you despite the death of the forest -as if the trees had infused their agony into your flesh.

Should you persist? Or should you forgive?

Thunder rumbles, lightning forks through the clouds. Darkness falls, a final curtain. A fat droplet slaps your cheek -more follow. Stinging droplets of ice prickle the carcass of the smoldering forest; steam sings as the liquid infuses the veins of fire.

The embers flicker in your hand. Rain torrents with wrath and fury, each drop a tiny dagger of retaliation. You thought the fire to be all-consuming, but underestimated the rage of the skies.

A final song of sorrow, ash slogs into mud, the caramelized trees surrender their orange flame for blacked rags. A cleansing rain that moistens the dust and death with the promise of something new.

You know that it will take time to heal.

The wet streaks on your face aren’t (just) rain.