Marathon

5E76A3B1-7C64-4D4B-8148-F1C73510D6CE

I’m tired. Wondering if this marathon is worth it. There are moments of happiness but these bittersweet, pixie stick, sprinklings don’t make this dead horse I’ve been beating taste any better. I need these motions I’ve been going through to have a sense of novelty, or this tin man is gonna start waving off the oil, and let the tears that always seem to be just at bay flow until the rust sets in. But we are what we do and I’m just a lumberjack who, as a child, dreamt of seeing the stars—thanks to my mom and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. No matter how fast or hard I chop these baobabs I don’t clear any sky. Even the mightiest of oaks bend to the will of the wind over time. I think that’s how I ended up here. A steady northerly. Now I’m a twisted bonsai on someone’s mantle and I’m trying like hell to drown out the screaming birds that inhabit my tree felling dreams. I’m just wondering if the promise of a new day is adequate payment for today’s indignities—if this marathon’s finish line is worth the effort. So many have went from tired to retired to expired in short order, but that’s the carrot they dangle. Carrots help you see in the dark, which might be the key to dealing with your golden years. I hope, by then, I’ll be able to shake the chill that’s settled in the marrow of my weary bones. 

Deepest Fear

FEC762FF-CB80-4197-AC70-C99F2BA0ADB4

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?

LinkedIn feed writing prompt: remote controlled brains

1E8BEFD1-54F1-49CA-BFD5-57AB0D51C689

[The following paragraph showed up in my LinkedIn feed. It has such insidious implications that I thought it could be a great writing prompt. I won’t say much more, as I’d actually like to see your take on it.  Please don’t hesitate to leave your idea(s) in the comments.]

Here it is:

Feeding medicine directly to your brain: Researchers at MIT have developed a hair-thin device that can be implanted deep into people’s brains and distribute medicines via remote control, a potential game-changer for patients suffering from diseases like Parkinson’s or depression. The implants can bypass the blood-brain barrier — which can sometimes block medicines from reaching their intended destination — and limit the potential for undesirable side effects. The researchers aim to connect the implant to medication pumps that will sit beneath a patient’s skin, which can hold more than one kind of medicine and be refilled with a simple injection. • Share your thoughts: #DrugDeliveryBrain

Dryad

A1CB9B16-37A8-48D7-8975-BC2DBA1C046A

I’m thinking of trees

The rough on the fingertips

The cool darkness beneath

The others that look like winter

Looking at me

Pointing at their flat rock

Scratching, scratching, scratching

Pointing their driftwood fingers

To their snow white scratches

Their mouths open

The sounds that come out

The crunch and snap of the forest floor

The growl and yip yip of wild dogs

It affronts the ears until the cooing begins

Then it’s all sad eyes and cooing

I miss the smell of decay

The feel of wet moss underfoot

I try to tell them, the winter people

Let me go home

Let me go home

I rustle, I chirp, I warble, I ribbit, I buzz

The stupid winter people do not understand

I begin squealing, shrieking and screeching

Until my voice cuts out

I cough a small drip drop

Of inside water, the color of dying trees

Into the palm of my hand

I curl up on the floor

Running my fingers across dead wood

Imagining the softness of grass and moss

A parallel me

On another earth

Critical period hypothesis

Missed window for language acquisition

I am a dryad

An anomaly

I am closer to the truth

Than the winter people will ever be

Figments of a Mania – Henna Sjöblom. If art is supposed to make you feel uneasy…Henna is a true artist. Another spectacular poem found at Sudden Denouement!

I saw her in the dark of my eye stretched out on a polyester blanket, puffed-up cheeks and threads of pink bubblegum stuck to her hair the /maggot-eaten/ stockings barely covering up the /cigarette burns/ along her legs riffles trough the pages of the /holy/ bible, decides she doesn’t have time patient may sometimes […]

via Figments of a Mania – Henna Sjöblom — A Global Divergent Literary Collective

I am

7C9BA6DE-2993-4229-A028-0FE37FEDEBDB

I am the undeliverable letter

With no return address

The faded love poem that waits

An eternity to be gifted

The song that sits at the edge

Of understanding never sung aloud

I am the unread manuscript

That only felt warmth in a 3am house fire

The wilted, unpurchased, bouquet of roses

That would’ve brought a smile to their lips

The fledgling that wasn’t quite ready

Left longing for the warmth of nest

The apology caught in the throat

Behind ego’s lump, that’d reconciled the two

The unsaid vow of the heart

Afraid it would go unreciprocated

So, deliver me; gift me; sing me; read me;

purchase me; push me when I’m ready; say

You’re sorry; and, say you love them.

Take the chance, be uncomfortable…that’s

Where life begins.

Afraid

16B5BED3-534D-4158-A7A7-3751B32AB4C6

I’m afraid

I’m afraid of me

I’m afraid

That we aren’t just what we do

Butcher, baker, lunacy maker

But what we COULD do

Capability is culpability

I’m afraid that a lifetime’s

Transgressions

Sublimely sublimated

Lies beneath rice paper skin

One scratch and the equation

Comes undone

A gushing hemophiliac

Simmer to boil in a picosecond

My foot steps off the hose

Back-pressure seeking equilibrium

Bruised ego is the vacuum

Liquid rage siphoned from a wrath tank

Spraying across the asphalt

Filling the chalk outlines

Of life’s regrets and iniquities

Just world hypothesis circles the drain

Why would you…?

Why couldn’t I…?

I’m afraid

I’m afraid of me

I’m afraid

That the scratch will never come…

Immortality

Ankh

Most of us, if not all, are afraid of what comes next…the big next.  Now, I’m not going to get mired down in a philosophical treatise on the afterworld or reincarnation, rather I am going to center on the simple act of leaving the life you know behind.  Death waits for us all, whether we want it to or not.  We worry about the state of our affairs, “who’s gonna support my loved ones, who’s gonna take out the garbage on Monday night,” and so forth.  The question that burns the deepest is, “how long before I am completely forgotten?”  At least if I am remembered, in some way, then I live on.

Those of us that blog, do so for certain reasons, like catharsis, or sharing beautiful moments, or introspection and trying to understand what it is to be human…reaching out with this to say that we are not alone.  We read the words of others to experience their human condition and to see not only what makes us different, but what unifies us as well.  Beneath all that, I think, that we yearn for immortality through our words.  Many of the bloggers I see have already published books, and in that alone deserve our respect and gratitude for adding to the chronicles, while some of us (yes me) are still finding our voice with hopes of one day writing the next Great American Novel.  Is that too much to ask?  If I can string the right words together, in the right sequence, I can live forever.  It’s wizardry.  We are trying to cast a spell, but if we do it wrong we could find ourselves lost in the oblivion.

This carries a lot of weight.  I have always allowed fear, more specifically the fear of failure, to paralyze me into inaction.  If I do nothing then I haven’t failed yet and the possibility of success is still there, but if I try and fail then the dream dies.  Now with age comes wisdom and I have learned at the intellectual level that this is false, that we learn from our failures and can always try again, but at the subconscious level I am still scared shitless.  A prime example of this fear induced paralysis was, for me, going to college.  I didn’t go right out of high school.  I went to work through temp agencies, at warehouses and factories and found myself having nervous breakdowns that bubbled up when I would think, “is this my life, am I stuck?”  I had always wanted to go to college, but the fear told me that if I go and I flunk out, then factories and warehouses will be all that’s left for me.  It took every ounce of my resolve to fill out the paperwork, but in the end…I flourished.  I loved it.  I wish I could be a career student to this day.  Now I won’t get into the irony that I am now employed at a factory in a managerial position, as it would change the tone of this entirely.  Rather, I am going to talk about hope.

As most of you know, I am now the proud father of a beautiful almost-five-month-old son.  Now, as much as he can serve as a wondrous distraction, he has also given me my immortality (at least that’s how I see it).  He looks so much like me that it’s like having a window into my own infancy.  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of my future self sending my current self a letter that not only explains what’s coming, but the right decisions to make to get there…perhaps this’ll be a future post.  Now I know this concept seemed a fantasy, but it will happen…not for me, but for my son.  I am the letter from his future and hopefully with my help he can make the right decisions and avoid certain pitfalls.  Okay end of tangent.  This newfound immortality means that it isn’t all riding on me becoming the next Stephen King.  I can begin to write with a sense of insouciance.  The weight has been lifted, by the hands of a 17 pound, almost-five-month-old mini-me.

So, watch out world…here I come!  Right after I change his diaper and I figure out a new way to  make him smile and laugh.

Exhume

Brush the decaying leaves aside
Uncover that moss blanketed stone
Slide your fingers along it’s cool belly
Digging for purchase with dirty nails

You think you’re free
You’re hold yourself back
The tightness of scar tissue
Keeps you from reaching out

Fingernails bending over backwards
You lean back on your haunches
The stone makes a wet sucking sound
Suddenly you find it balanced on edge

It’s natural to fear pain
Fight or flight, you’re lizard brain’s defense
A drowning victim avoiding the depths
A burn victim shunning the bonfire’s warmth

In that moment you almost let go
Letting the rock settle back into its bed
A scab allowed to re-adhere to wound
But, instead, you give the slightest of tugs

What life is it, if all you do is play it safe?
You end up an unopened vintage fishing lure
You’re value tied to the condition of your box
Your hermetically sealed heart undonated

It falls at your feet with a thunderous thwump
You step on the muddied underbelly to assess
A circle of black loam surrounded by grass
The smell of childhood drops you to your knees

Hefting the weight of love and heartbreak
One in each hand you find love lacking
Your understanding of love’s gravity is false
As it is based on experience and you’re green

Centipedes scurry and worms slip beneath
You press your hands into the softness
You uncover old Polaroids beneath the surface
Your first love, your high school sweetheart

You still believe in fairytales but as warnings
Since you can’t have the devil without god
You can’t have poisoned apples
Without happily ever afters

You spread the photos out before you
You wipe them clean with salty tears
These moments were meant to be mourned
Release the ghosts, an exorcism of forgiveness

You realize the next love could eclipse all
Make all that came before mere shadows
In a world that’s become perpetually noon
No longer a cloud, love shines from above

You grab a handful of dirt and sprinkle it about
Covering up the photos, but not to hide them
Fertile soil, free of weeds, welcomes the sun
Tear soaked memories begin to sprout flowers

A bed of perennials and a stone grave marker
You wipe your fingers across your face
A warrior’s face paint
You’ll swim the depths and sit fireside

No longer afraid