i said no
like swimming to shore against the tide
deeper and deeper, the current we ride
enveloped in water, no hand and no boat
mercy of the sea, and further we float.
in hollow allure, we resign to wait
for an empty promise, an uncertain fate.
no funeral, no grave, and no hearse
no body or reason, this terror is worse.
we look toward the sky, deep breaths, and a smile
a sobbing mother, a never born child
an anxious love and faraway land
our struggles have names you won’t understand.
we trust in time’s course, but hallucinate
ask how much of love we can learn to hate
haunted by ghosts that move us to stay
but to you i said no, and i slip away.
like drowning at sea while in sight of the shore
i can’t help but think, could there be more?
a gulp of sea water and a gasp for air
i listen for you, but you are not there.
i look toward the night and the setting sun
watch as the sea and the sky become one
into the waves i disappear
you look for me, but i am not here.
This Is Why
Because I don’t want to spend another winter making cookies without licking the spoons, another autumn baking muffins without ever trying one, another summer without an ice cream date.
Because I am sick of waiting for something to happen, something to make things better. Because your institutions and procedures failed us, because we were too difficult, too demanding, too complex, too confusing.
Because I never needed a trazodone to sleep; because Barbara Blue was wrong. Because fuck your needles, your paper gowns, your files. Because I never squeezed out all of the dressing and I didn’t like your meatballs. Because your code-locked door, barred windows, and armbands never contained me. Because what you did was insane.
I had never thought about suicide till you suggested it, lined us all up and made me see I was abnormal because I wanted to live. I could see through your masquerade but you couldn’t see through mine. The politics of you; the politics of us. We appeased your methods just so we could exist. You saw us, not what we were. You saw what you thought you made us, but we wouldn’t cede that power.
Because I am dying for what you say they would kill for. Because you are the spokesperson for something you’ve never experienced. Because it is not “just,” it is not “only,” it is not “almost.” Because it is what I damn well say it is, and you can think what you think of that.
This is for those who are disappeared in systems, in every white-walled building designed to heal. This is for those whose struggles have no names. This is for all the patients and prisoners who knew better, or knew differently. This is for all those who never had a choice, for those who come from somewhere and have had the existence of that place denied. Over. And over. And over. And now.
This is for those who are afraid. For those who make you think that it’s okay. For those who fight back and never win. For those for whom each day is a tragic collision, a lesson in futility. For those whose hours fade into days and years, for those for which the same light marks the dawn, the dusk, the day, and night.
This is for those whose lives are stories, from headline news to fables. This is for those who said you shouldn’t, can’t, won’t, and already did.
Because we shouldn’t have to tell people it’s bad. We shouldn’t have to scream so loudly and cry so quietly. We shouldn’t have to die to be noticed. We shouldn’t have to explain why. We shouldn’t have to fight just to survive. We shouldn’t have to live this way. We can’t. We won’t. We already did.
And that’s why I’m doing this. Because I owe you nothing. And when it comes down, I will be there to watch it fall.
it wasn’t just a moment, a kiss, or a kill
the simplest explanations are not true
among the suicides, chaos, and quiet tears
the last that i could blame is you.
shivering in darkness, heartbroken and weak,
i cried of desperation and despair
an open wound, a severed heart, cancer in the veins,
no criminal but fingerprints were there.
what if freedom only means a little less of this
for the children that will never live
if innocence subjective lets the invader walk
then who are those that are held captive?
in cages of the captors, corralled first in their brains
your vision of the future doesn’t see
how unseen prisoners shatter chains how
your ideal existence sets them free.
in knotty thicket, churning seas, and embers in the dawn
the misfit and the drifter find a place
passivity presents a patient pliant calm
i grieve when no one sees my face.
Hello, We Are Alive
Whimpers in the wind, “Hello, we are alive”
The wails, the weeping never ends, even the newborn cries
When the notion of tomorrow is no more than a doubt
We all try to break free but we know we won’t get out.
Decaying into madness, we think on time gone by
We shout into the ocean, we scream up to the sky
To you we pledge allegiance with tears in our eyes
“Is this what it means to live or what it means to die?”
We’re stripped down to our bones, invaded, and replaced
Eclipsed with affluenza, our stories are erased
None of us are more than the badger, bird, and shrew
A tyrant unselective will decimate you too.
But the chorus of the sentient persists among despair
Our past affirms there’s nothing that we cannot bear
As it all comes down, our spirits will survive
We’ll remain unconquered, “Hello, we are alive.”
In the constant quest for liberation, what reserves can be drawn upon for strength and longevity? I am surrounded by the unwary bound and the discontented boundless. No limit feels right, yet no single liberty feels safe, and no freedom has ever been enough.
They say they find it in the wild. A reverence and commitment that grounds, calms, and sustains. It winks, it predicts, it prepares, it expects. It is a place, a state of mind, a feeling, and a way. It forgives.
I don’t. I write to keep it together. I’d rather be “too” than “not,” but somehow I am none of those things. I am the verbs themselves without their modifiers, just plain, sometimes understated. There is always something more than me. And in the constant quest for liberation, the more is the sought.
They say they find it in each other. A community of shared struggle, where emotions are infinite and there is no envy or fear. These are those whose intentions inform actions, where accountability to the mission trumps loyalty to the moment. These are those who forgive but remember.
I don’t. I answer to the amorphous liberator. But in true self-sovereignty, do we answer at all? Do we owe it to each other to be who we are or to become who we wish we were, in this moment, in this life, in this place? Our epitaphs will speak of who we were, not who we strove to be. That never was, and what is is what is now.
They say they want it for me. A calm acceptance of my being, untied, unwound, unshackled. For my acquiescence they yearn so deeply, and in haste and urgency they try to induce it. My desires and their aspirations collide; our own identities become hazy. Is liberation a form of surrender? When you are not free, how do you define what freedom is?
I don’t. I will give no definitions nor ultimatums, and in this I am losing myself. But if liberation is surrender, it is in this that I will become free.
six step plan
a perfect six step plan to put you back on track
you went too far west and you need to get back
here we catch the fallen, we heal the hurt in pain
we civilize the wild, we convalesce the chained.
we manifest your destiny, we compost your rot
we sell it back as safety until the next is caught.
create dissatisfaction, stifle the displeased
aggressor and the victim, majority appeased.
a perfect picket fence, two kids and a dog
seven o’clock news, praise the demagogues
here we consummate a dreamy Stepford Life
a prosperous career, a beautiful wife.
a new baby is born, a single mother killed
baby starts to crawl, the kids are falling ill
families separated, baby starts to walk
foreclosures and raids, baby starts to talk!
a promotion and a bonus, a riot in the square
tear gas, tasers, blood; baby has some hair!
handcuffs and confinement, the family’s getting rich!
aggressor and the victim, fathom which is which.
a perfect six step plan to restore the peace
made by plutocrats, enforced by police
we bolster the equipped, reinforce the strong
cage the discontent, deem their feelings wrong.
we manifest our destiny, we assure our own death
in euphoric fantasy, we find our last breath
a perfect six step plan, but we will not sustain
no lifeless plan can flourish, no soulless man remain.
mine is yours
empty greetings, hollow hugs, and how are you’s suffice
it’s care, it’s love, it’s empathy, with no sacrifice.
mine is yours, our struggles one, our scars and tears and pain
still learning to live, starved flesh and bones remain.
recessed and unnourished, a drop rises a wave
while hundreds are heroes, that drop is still brave.
an unwelcome relief, it crashes onto shore
with faith in words unknown, it rises up once more.
wreck and crash and pound and clash, i heard you could see
oceanic mayhem, waves trying to be free.
but soothing repetition muffles out the sound
acquainted with the crashes, you don’t notice the drowned.
no scars, no wounds, no witness, just stories of the dead
if you don’t see it bleeding, has it really bled?
peripheral, extraneous, unsubstantial, small
the strongest of the trees will unexpectedly fall.
fatality of ego, account for what we’ve lost
disappearance, death, the consumed ego’s cost.
if only you had listened and humbly recognized
that mine is yours, our struggles one, one’s fall is both’s demise.
just a bag of bones and everybody’s blind
cast away the purpose, singularly defined
starving, saturated, strung out but surprised?
an archetype of culture and everybody dies.
but maybe you and i can numb each other’s pain
maybe you and i can break each other’s chains
maybe you and i are each other’s missing part
maybe you and i can mend each other’s broken hearts.
and maybe not today, no maybe not for long
well, maybe not ever, maybe it’s just wrong.
maybe we just are and forever will be
itinerant souls, unattached and free.
just palpitating muscles, intermittent thought
captured, trapped and fleeing, is everybody caught?
we have infinite love and infinite grief
where is the liberation? where is the relief?
just a bag of bones and everybody’s wrong
truth and inspiration, we follow along
raging curiosity that quenches our dissent
we don’t give an answer and that is our consent.
rising up to conquer, to dominate, suppress
religion of submission, the dominators blessed
trademarked slaughter juxtaposing domestic suicide
success of rags to riches, a dainty princess bride
to singular power, a panopticon’s guard
accept our shoddy value, released into the yard
reactive vile swine, a calculated scheme
merciless chatter, melodious, obscene
gaseous poison above, injected below
we learn through observation
there’s nothing left to know.
rising up in desperation, to aggress, to defend
untamed lawless beasts, space and time transcend
forgotten how to love, we fabricate some care
it’s a wireless connection, nothing’s really there
paradoxically, the liberators caged
the singular power, satisfied, assuaged
as underground uproots, the trampled on reclaim
autonomy, esteem, barricades aflame
a severed body bleeding, a culture is condemned
we learn through observation
what are you teaching them?
"Earth Below, Sky Above, Fire Within."
I sit outside in the perfect fresh early fall air. It smells so wonderful. Soft hair, flowy scarf, and chirps of crickets and birds. I sit outside in my favorite light. Magic light. Everything is glowing. Maybe I am just a little bit too?
But I am empty. I am physically empty and that’s not a good thing anymore. As much as it feels like that’s the reason for my glow, it’s not.
It’s the air.
The trees and barefeet and crickets and fluttering birds and the promise of rest and love and care from people and from myself. The ground below and the sky above and the vibrancy in between. I missed out on the in between.
For nine years I missed out.
I am going to say, oh so soon, that these days of emptiness were the old days.
This will all be over and I will be victorious.
I can do this and I will.
With the earth below and sky above; there’s fire within.
8 Simple Ways to Control a Populous
1. Create unattractive and uniform identities for those you intend to exploit. Examples include prisoners being “inmates” or “bad people.” Bad people deserve to be punished, so we punish them. Employees who stand up for themselves are “whiners” or “complainers.” Whiners don’t deserve to be listened to, so we don’t. By creating these negative alternate group identities, it is easier to exploit individuals as they lose inherent worth and value.
2. Homogenize standards for measuring success in order to make exceptional performance impossible. By setting (often numeric) blanket standards that focus most often exclusively on output, diversity of individual and community can be overlooked. With homogeneity, a single system is depended upon for accountability, one that is simply incompatible with most environments and communities. In this way, no individual can become exceedingly valuable, securing class hierarchy.
3. Make people believe they have choices. Offer people choices. Whether or not they believe the choices really provide any useful autonomy, they cannot complain as long as the choices would be evident to an outsider. Having choices also removes responsibility from those in charge, as blame for any negative externality related to the choice can be assigned to the chooser.
4. Maintain popular paranoia and desperation just enough so group unity becomes impossible. If individuals fear for their own well-being or ontological security, they will betray and backstab others to protect themselves. Thus, it is important that no individual feels safe or empowered enough to take risks that would jeopardize class structure.
5. Show people the door. If someone is upset enough about a situation, tell them that the only obstacle preventing them from leaving is them. By giving the person this option, the blame then rests on the individual if they choose to leave or if they choose to stay. Also, present them with alternatives to their current situation, making sure any alternative is less desirable.
6. Keep people distracted. By keeping people’s attention off of real problems and real solutions, the status quo can be maintained.
7. Never accept blame. Always find a scapegoat, whether it be specific or ephemeral. This way, there is no place to assign dissatisfaction and it simply festers with the unsatisfied individual, disempowering and tiring them.
8. Complicate process by creating opportunities for bureaucratic inefficiency. By keeping people busy jumping through bureaucratic loopholes, you can either exhaust them or confuse them enough to prevent them from feeling personally empowered.
How dare you
You better be grateful for all your goddamn blessings because there is a cost to your fortune.
It looks like death.
We are not dying; we’re being killed. We sweat and starve and stay awake to slow the gunshots, clot the wounds, tend the fire.
It’s the party for the end of the world. Tell me some lies so we can keep dancing.
There’s nothing wrong. I’m fine.
A calm tranquility
A quiet discontent
We live, we breathe, we die
All are divine
For when we are born, we are
When we die, we are
And in the twists, tangles, and turns
We stumble and we are.
We are who we are
And we do what we do
All to see another dawn
When we are.
Things I’ve Learned About Life
1. Being introverted means you are internally charged. Being extroverted means you are externally charged. Both are great.
2. Old habits resurface, or perhaps they never disappear. Quitting a habit is like falling out of love.
3. Most people are actually quite selfish, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t nice or helpful.
4. There is a difference between understanding and internalizing.
5. You’ll never reach the same high, but you will reach new highs.
6. All animals that aren’t mammals are underrated.
7. Most people prefer to drink water at a very specific temperature. This ranges from steaming hot to ice cold.
8. Love is not weddings, roses, or rings. Those things are expressions of love if done right and products of capitalism if done wrong.
9. Loneliness does not mean absence of company.
10. You will never be able to be with all the people you love at once.
11. Your hair is your hair and it’s going to do what it wants and that’s just the way it is.
12. Rich people have it easier but they hate admitting it.
We have always been reaching.
Arms and hands, they’re reaching, but never far enough
The wanting and the absence form desire
Starving beings dying, unitary mind
Any semblance of nourishment admired.
The arms, they reach, they touch, they hold
Then cling and hurt and lose.
Creating worlds that don’t exist
They learn to love abuse.
Can a void feel better than the hope of being filled?
Hope is just a figment of the mind
For we have always been reaching
Arms and hands and bodies intertwined.