Penny wise…pound foolish

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Imagine..if you will

A razor sharp melon baller 

Glowing white with heat

And you scoop a perfect little ball

From the inside of your thigh

The wound cauterized instantly

The smell of bacon permeating the air

The admin, at your place of work

Holds the jar’s lid open for you to deposit 

That perfect little ball-of-you

The price you pay for your paycheck 

But you continue on

Filling your tech pocket

With an iPhone X

Wrist covered in a 2nd gen iPhone watch

All so you look less like a golf ball 

And more like, well…everyone else

Now we could certainly discuss

The scoop value of your gaming PC

The loss of blood was so great

Getting that goddamn Lexus 

You had to pay in installments 

But we give of ourselves in many ways 

When your partner drags you out

To the company clambake 

And you’d rather just read a book

The decision to compromise 

Is certainly worth a scoop

Don’t you think?

The day you threw away 

That copy of US News and World Report’s

Ranking of the best colleges 

Your fingers worn smooth

Running across Iowa’s Writers Workshop 

So you could sign mortgage documents 

Sliding five little you-spheres

(The first of many)

Across the mahogany desk

The banker immediately fashions into

One of those kinetic desk sculptures 

He pulls two orbs-o’-you back

They swing, hitting with a soft

Wet

Sound

But the middle ovoid sits still

The fourth and fifth spheroids 

Taking up the trajectory 

You suddenly realize

That all these times

You’d given up

Parts of you

You’d given up

Mass and subsequently 

Force and inertia

Soon there’ll be

No more

Pushing

Back

At

All

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Show me

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Make me forget

For even just a second

That I’m going to die alone

Make me want nothing more

Than to wipe away your tears

Forgetting my own

Knowing our sorrow’s tributaries 

Share the same source

Jagged disappointments smoothed

By years of melancholy currents

Our very roots penetrating 

Dense, ancestral, red clay 

Laden with heart’s blood

Distract me

From the need to crawl 

Into some dark, unknown corner

Surrendering myself to the stillness 

Show me that our words

Even the desiccated ones

Are tumbleweeds

Rolling across lost landscapes

Leaving seeds of inspiration 

Show me that today’s atrophy

Is overridden by tomorrow’s triumphs 

That your faith in me

Was warranted

That love

Was not wasted

That stillness

Is irrevocable 

That light can penetrate

The deepest of darknesses

Show me…

Why?

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Scrimshaw your pedantic lessons

On my bones

Repeat yourself until the cilia 

Of my inner ear

Lay flattened like clear cut forests

And I lose the frequency of you

Then teach me how to read lips

Use white chalk to outline

Those of use who question you

These cookie cutter outlines

That cleave away the useless bits

Leaving a homogenized army

Of trained test takers

Who have forgotten to ask why

Who believe our only choice

Is blue versus red and left versus right

But it’s really you versus us

Keep haves having and the nots nodding

I’ll admit I’m a square peg

My corners rounded off over the years

But know that the bits of my soul

I sold at the company store

Were just to fulfill Maslow

So my mind could break through

Your prime time television programming 

Your Monday night football frenzy 

Your rally to condemn the kneelers 

Your lack of televised coverage

Of Dakota Access pipeline 

Of #NeverAgain marches

Of the tear stained faces being deported

My rounded corners belying 

A sharp mind that looks

For shadow-dealers

Behind every choice I’m spoon-fed

That’s covered in KFC breading 

A mind that looks for subtext 

That questions everything

The mind…of a poet 

Hope for the Best

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She went to the store with a hope-filled heart. Each step her optimism grew. She smiled and nodded to people she didn’t know on her way to aisle 12. There she spent the better part of fifteen minutes looking for just the right card. A card for the birthday of a beautiful young lady, the vision of which her minds eye kept from years ago. Only positivity. With the perfect card found, she made her way to the bouquets of flowers. She wanted to remind her of the beauty in the world. The natural, pure, unadulterated world. She sat in her car, after checking out, and penned a note in the card through tear-filled eyes. Still smiling all the same. She drove the few short blocks to her house, knowing nobody would be awake at that early hour and simply propped the card and flowers against the front door. She hopped into the car and drove home. Walking in I could tell that she had been crying, but before I could ask why…she hugged me, stronger and longer than she had in a while. Smiling, she asked how the baby was, and I smiled back and said, “Fine.”  She picked her up and held her tightly in her arms. Her eyes welled but her beautiful smile never wavered. 

“It’s gonna be okay, baby girl,” she whispered. 

[My wife and I have custody of her niece’s 6-month-old daughter, while her niece deals with her demons. On the surface we wish her niece and the father of this beautiful little girl will get their shit together, as this perfect bundle-of-joy deserves to have her family. But, on a much deeper level, we are falling in love with her. I know how much my wife has wanted a little girl, us having two boys, and see the glee with which she dresses her up in cute little girlie outfits. So, I’m afraid, that my fear of losing this little girl, of seeing the loss on my wife’s face, that I’m becoming a wretched person with each passing day…hoping the demons never lose their grip.]

A match

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Drunk from lack of sleep

Thoughts are rats scurrying in the walls

Of a long ago abandoned building

My head snaps to the muffled sound

Of wiring insulation being gnawed at

An almost coherent thought

Waiting for the spark of epiphany

That follows the arc flash of insanity

Despite my bare feet standing in a puddle

Of my own urine

I know myself to be well grounded

I try to concentrate on the task at hand

But emotions are a cloud of gnats

That just won’t clear away

No matter how much I flail my arms

They crawl into the corners of my eyes

Into my nose, ears and mouth

I’m overwhelmed

I breathe in and out

I need to get to the now

I sit in lotus

What was urine is now gasoline

I’m a Buddhist monk

At a crossroads

Dropping a match

Deepest Fear

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My deepest fear is not being me. I don’t mean that in any conceited way, that I don’t want to be you, but…we’ll I don’t. I want to be me, or me but better. But, if I was better, would I still be me? Am I a different me than I was yesterday? If this idea of me, really is some ever evolving thing or state, like an asteroid that passes through the atmospheres of people and books and experiences…having chunks of myself torn away, honing myself into a new me—different from having gone through the experience, then maybe there really is no me, but the present me. The right now me. A different me than the me that wrote the first sentence of this post. A few minutes older. A few neuronal connections exist now that didn’t before. So, maybe my deepest fear is misplaced. Of course, I could go down the route of, “all I ever really have is the present me.” I definitely see the truth in that, but it doesn’t assuage this boiling fear beneath the surface. So let’s forget the present me thing. Maybe it’s not this construct of me that I fear to lose, but the cognitive foundation that gives me the ability to sustain and evolve the construct in the first place. I think I’m getting closer here. What I fear is: traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, strokes, aneurysms, tumors, etc.—basically anything that takes away my ability [my ability] to be me. I think I could handle the loss of limbs, hearing, sight, and possibly all of those at once…if I could still communicate. If I could still express myself in some way. This would, of course, change the present me, and limit the types of experiences that could change this construct of self, but through communication/expression I could not only sustain, but evolve the present me. I know I’ve muddied the waters a bit, by jumping around with words that seem to contradict one another, like change and sustain, but I think you get the picture.

Now this is what I fear for myself, but I also fear any harm coming to loved ones (family/friends, etc.), but I’m curious: what is your deepest fear?

“V”

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I don’t know where to start. She was the first girl to really make out with me and she was really good at it. Us, just a couple freshmen in the inner city. She took me from zero to 90 in four-point-three-seconds. Just when we were rounding the final turn she pumped the brakes. I was breathless. Confused. So unbelievably grateful that she chose me, but devastated that she’d brought me to heaven’s door, and said she just wanted to be held. I figured she was making sure I was the right guy, so I held her until she said she had to go home. I walked her home, holding hands, and I finally felt like I had worth. She had seen something in me, something even I couldn’t see. The next time we hung out my childhood friend was over and she was different. She looked at me like a flavor of ice cream she had enough of…too much butter pecan and in desperate need of a palate cleanse. And just like that…she moved on. Lying in bed I could hear the familiar wet smacking sounds of her, working her magic. This was the beginning of my Pink Floyd, The Wall, stage…everyday, all day on auto-reverse. To this day, The Wall can transport me back to the frailty of my teenage years and I feel an unnameable loss, a hole, that remains. I quickly learned that she pumped the brakes with my friend, as well. Somehow that made me feel better. It became a theme, though. Her showing up at gatherings of me my friends. Choosing her next victim. It got so, those of us she used, would put up two fingers, almost a peace sign, but with the back of the hand. It was a sign of camaraderie, like soldiers who’d fought in the same war and came out the other side, but far from unscathed. It was, also, the first letter of her name…V. Somehow Mikey, the best looking of our group, got to walk her home more than once. He had that all American look, with feathered hair and a shit-eating-grin. He had somehow found the magic key, but as long as they were together he never made it across the finish line. I moved away, while they were still an item. Years later, after they had long gone their separate ways, he told me during a phone conversation, that she had been such a great make-out-artist, because she had been taught, for years…by her father. Her older sister had got engaged and was making her escape, but V had worried that their father might turn to her younger sister to fill the void, and none of them wanted that. Like THAT was where they wanted to draw the line. The girls’ aunt cornered Mikey, at one point, and made him swear to never say a word. He carries…we all carry, that shit with us. The thought of this monster and his three daughters. I tried finding them. Facebook. Classmates. It’s like they simply disappeared. I no longer feel bad about how our time went, but can only hope that she felt safe and maybe normal, if such a thing exists, for that little while, when I was just holding her.

My post “Tempus fugit” originally posted at Sudden Denouement, A Global Divergent Literary Collective

I imagined walking across the ocean floor The immortal lobsters and jellyfish my friends I said, “I wish I didn’t have to breathe.” I thought of wasted time and dreams deferred Of taking this split life and making it whole I said, “I wish I didn’t need to sleep.” I thought of money wasted, as […]

via Tempus fugit-Erich Michaels — A Global Divergent Literary Collective

Inured

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Remember when coffee felt like it was boiled in the depths of hell. When a broken promise brought real physical pain. When vegetables raised bile to the back of your throat and you made yourself sick, just to get out of having to eat more. The taste of artificial sweeteners…what fucking devilry IS this?!? Spicy food. Shots at the doctor’s. Using a public restroom. When the sound of adults arguing made me hide under the bed and I cried myself to sleep. The way a loved one’s look of disappointment hurt your heart. Asthma taught me, as a little boy, that even drowning on dry land will pass. Jesus, even with asthma, I hacked my fucking brains out on the first few cigarettes, only to become a pack-a-day smoker. The steady weight gain of middle age, until you find yourself buying shoes that slip on easily. The boss’ condescending tone, from a guy you wouldn’t even bother holding a decent conversation with. Watching my little boy in the window, as I drive off to my 9 to 5. Some of the deepest transgressions end up changing us but become just phantasms we try not to remember. I’ve been here before, so just rip the goddamn bandage off. No I don’t need to look the other way…just try and get it in the vein the first time around. I have become inured. But, but…sometimes I wish I felt every bit of it. Because I’m starting to wonder if I’m putting up with more bullshit than I should, and, most of all, I think I should still be crying everyday from your passing. I miss you, our conversations, and my biggest fan. This world/growing old/time has made me numb, has made me a monster, and I’m not even sure if I feel bad about it.

Notes On A Suicide by Hemingway – A.G. Diedericks. A very introspective piece on self esteem and imposter syndrome.

The cosmos misplaced me left me to meteor into this zeitgeist of insipid distractions Where i roam as an anachronism under the city of lights in pursuit of remnants from Lutetia with nothing but a pen & piece of paper to live on Problem is I’m not a poet Let me tell you how i […]

via Notes On A Suicide by Hemingway – A.G. Diedericks — A Global Divergent Literary Collective