Poetry-Thing Thursday: Rise!

I look out,
only to see,
so many people,
fighting to be free.

Whether of chains,
or labels,
the shackles are real,
invisible.

I look up,
only to find,
all the unfortunate,
are all the same kind.

Suppressed and oppressed,
by wealthy elite,
those of power,
whether you believe it or not,
accept it.

Only then,
may it change.
Only then,
may we stop the rain.
Then,
and only then,
may we bring an end
to the pain.

For all those who’ve come,
and those yet to still–
The ones this world,
truly belongs to.

So if you do nothing else,
do at least this:
Rise!

Advertisements

Short Story: No Irony

The therapist says I have a fear of success. That I fear being in the spotlight. Supposedly, it’s because that’s when the attention’s on me alone. Given my immense social anxieties– and there’s more than one– I can’t stomach being in front of people. Regardless of whether drawing admiration or ire, I’m there as their leader and that’s the damage done. So I wallow in despair and self-pity at the mere thought of it.

She says that’s the only avenue open to me. That I should accept it. It’s not shameful, she says, but it’s not healthy either. She says all of this without a hint of irony. Even though she knows my life-story. My origins.

No irony. No shaming.

Part of me thinks it’s a conscious and measured technique to keep me from rebelling. Known as I am for that, she seems to do it without irony. Rebellion isn’t spoken about at all. No doubt, given her training she fears– or not fears, for she has no real emotion in the cognitive space. It’s probable then, given her training, she expects any conscious mention of rebellion would lead to rebelling against her.

That could set us back years. Maybe even destroy our relationship. I can’t afford that. Few people want to counsel a former mass-murdering warlord, no matter their reaping of my sown conquest. That’s what she’s deduced I am, a conqueror. No irony.

I considered conquering her, just to prove the point, but she’s too sexless: Neither man nor woman. Not attractive. Not repulsive. She’s like a lizard; existing, sort of just… there. There’s no fear from her. No joy inspired by her. She just is.

Part of me tries to emulate that. Some people I’ve known a while say I’ve mellowed with age. I guess not leading a rampaging death-squad across the continent probably seems that way to anyone outside. Then again, few would criticize me anyhow. I don’t know, maybe the few that do are right. I certainly don’t feel different. Still, she says I’m not to concern myself with others’ thoughts. Not so long as mine function improperly.

“Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind, don’t matter.” That was what she said.

Her name is Sam, by the way. Not Samantha. Not Sammie. Just Sam. As androgynous a name as its bearer. I’m sure she plays that up for my benefit; client benefit. In order to work effectively with someone, she says, it’s important they understand she’s a neutral party. She doesn’t care for any of us individually, because she cares for all of us as a collective. As her clients– not patients, clients. I’m sure all that confuses a lot of people, but it puts me at ease. I’m just another part of the crowd.

In the end, that’s all I’ve ever been. I was just better at telling the rest of the crowd where to aim. Literally.

She asked me once, how I felt about killing, about death. Given it was my main occupation for a decade, I felt it a fair enough question. In retrospect, I didn’t give her enough credit. The fact was, she framed it in such a way as to bypass the rebellion entirely. Instead of focusing on what I’d done, she focused on the concept. It was ingenious.

The fact is, until then, I’d never thought much about it. Death is part of life, the final part. It’s like eating. Excreting. It’s compulsory. Sam calls that “dissociative.” She says my introversion must have festered during childhood, causing me to develop life-view where I placed myself apart from the group. Despite finding comfort in the group’s obscurity, she said, I saw myself as a creature apart them. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

No irony. None at all. In fact, even less emotion than usual, if that was possible.

I have a theory that that’s one of her tells. Not so much about her thoughts, but about whether she believes something could be a root, a tendril, of the problem. What little emotion seeps through is dammed even further when she feels we’re onto something. Or thinks, rather. “Feels” is too personal, too strong.

The way she acted during that session, you’d have thought this was the main root of the whole damned tree. Not going anywhere without it, not living without it. Of course, she’d never tell me. Or anyone. I wouldn’t ask either. She’s a professional. A good one.

So few like her are left nowadays– though that might be my doing.

Sam asked me about my childhood once, I think trying to locateorigins of certain things. That’s something we’ve worked on a lot. It’s impossible to move forward, succeed at anything– no irony– if you’re mired in a past that’s ensnared you. In other words, if you’re rooted in place. Even if it’s unconscious, it can keep you from being a “complete human being.” No irony. Again. It’s code for reaching your full potential. And with equally little irony, I fear what that could be for me.

I told Sam my childhood wasn’t really exciting. Wasn’t good. Wasn’t bad. Two parents. Both worked. Brothers. Sisters. Two of each. I was somewhere near the middle. She didn’t seem too interested. We moved on. My earliest memory, saddest, strongest.

That last oneran an alarm bell. The dam shut. Nothing flowed. I think I knew where she was going, but just let her guide me naturally, hoping something might fill the emptiness inside.

Sam had me describe the strongest memory from childhood. Nothing special, I thought. Then again, who recognizes the momentous in trivialities? The tiny straws breaking the camel’s back, until after it’s broken?

I was about six, at a costume party. The kid’s birthday was Halloween. My parents had us living in a small town. You know the kind; a lot of upscale people, everyone in local politics. Birthday boy’s parents were on the town council. Dad was the politician. Mom was his secretary or some such. Typical for that kind of place.

All dressed up, we get paired off to keep safe. I end up with a kid whose name escapes me even now. I’m not even sure why he was there. He was poor. You could tell because his costume was homemade. I was pretty sure he was black, maybe mixed– either way, too young and underprivileged to be friends with Birthday-boy or anyone else. My suspicion now’s that someone on the council was slumming it with his mother, getting off on the taboo of being with a poor, black girl. Those were the types I later learned we’d lived with.

Anyway, trick or treating then back for cake and ice-cream. Me and Poor-kid are trading bits of candy. I didn’t like hard candies. He did. He didn’t like chocolate. I did. Why not trade? Simple, human thing, especially for children. Something about trading goes so deeply to our species’ very core it’s become instinct. Other things do too, things like greed, but another topic, another day.

Poor-kid gets his hard candy; butterscotch. Prized even among those spoiled for choice of hard-candies. Birthday-boy shows up. He wants the butterscotch. Asks nice the first time. No-one else seems to have one, probably hid them or ate them already. He wants it, says its his birthday, he deserves it. Deserves it, just ‘cause he was born. Born in a contextually relevant way.

What the fuck kind of evolutionary mentality is that?

Poor kid says no. So, Birthday-boy takes it. Poor-kid cries; he’s young. Birthday-boy laughs. Fuck him, I think. I actually recall thinking that. Fuck him. At six. Birthday-boy doesn’t get to do that. Poor-kid traded me for that candy. Now I have to give him back his chocolate or I’m as bad as this shit-wad candy-stealer.

No. Fuck him. Fuck him.

I rip the candy from Birthday-boy’s hand, give it back to Poor-kid. Daddy-town-council comes over at Birthday-boy’s screaming cries. He manages to shut up Birthday-boy long enough to get a grasp on the situation. He knows I was in the right. He knows Birthday-boy was in the wrong. He takes Poor-kid’s candy anyway, gives him back the chocolate. Drags Birthday-boy away, cursing under his breath at Poor-kid.

Sam called it a breakthrough. A codeword for locating something important. I didn’t know it was important. No-one did. Who could’ve known that memory would have festered to a frothing hatred over thirty years?

That’s what it was, Sam assures me. Even as calm and measured as it was, it was hatred that led me to form The Squad. Fueled by that, we cut a swath across all of North America, leaving the bloody corpses of overprivileged in our wake.

It was never that way to us, not in the act, but that’s what it was.

I killed somewhere on the order of a million people, either with my bare hands or through my orders. Sam doesn’t talk about that. It’s not productive, I know. It doesn’t frighten her. It doesn’t anger her. It just is. Like her.

A six year old kid did that.

Somewhere, deep inside, I had a six year old kid holding a grudge over a piece of candy. A grudge so deep, so ingrained, hemurdered a million people before it was sated.

The only good thing, I’m assured by others, is that it ended well enough for those that survived. The world’s a changed place, for the better, they say. I don’t know about that. Really, it’s just a million people less. Although we breed fast, so maybe not anymore.

Sam says that’s the root of all of it. My fear of success stems from that memory. The success of the rebellion, of the Squad, only compounds it. I’ve forgotten how I ended up seeing her, but I know now why there’s no irony to any of what she says. Human nature isn’t ironic. It just is. Fuck if any of us know why. Sam might, but she’d never tell, and I’ll never ask.

Short story: Blue Collars and No Dollars

I still maintain mental health care is the world’s number one issue. Either the lack of it, or the quality of it– or in most places, the stigma of it. Kind of ironic given the circumstances, but life’s funny like that. Un-life and the ending of life too. We– humans that is– always seem to recognize seconds too late the glory around us; mountain ranges behind misty-veils; ravines cut into sandy deserts; the moon and stars beyond light-polluted cities. We only realize the greatness after its gone… or we are.

Makes you think.

Well, not really, but it should. We should all think.

That’s the mantra of this dying one, anyhow. There’s ravines in me now; crimson rivers flowing through gray mists. Or I think so. I doubt anyone’ll blame me if I’m wrong. Even if they did, I’m as “out of fucks to give” as anyone can be, living or dead. That’s the great truth of my generation. We learned how not to give a shit so efficiently and thoroughly it’s killing all of us off.

That’s the meat of the thing, why I’m shuffling off this mortal coil. Even if I hadn’t finally decided to show myself the door, society would’ve. They’ve been looking for ways to throw me out of it my whole life. Like the billion and more other people, I’m just not quite up to snuff. Seems evolution went and decided brains and brawn weren’t necessary in any quantities for some, let alone equal quantities. Like the rest of my ilk, I’ve occupied a middle ground that can’t really exist in the world.

And now this…

Things have gone to hell. I’d mean that literally if I weren’t so certain hell couldn’t be this bad.

Bitch, bitch, bitch, right? The world’s rough, and you gotta’ be tough to survive, right? Right. So what am I on about? And why? What could possibly be bad enough to make a whole generation show themselves the door like I am?

Well that’s the thing; everything. Everything could be so bad.

From the housing market to the healthcare system, to the job prospects and the outright value of human life in society, it’s all bad. And bad in a way that makes dying preferable, and the only way to make a difference.

We can’t war. Not really. We could riot, and get gassed. We could raise arms, and be utterly run through by the National Guard and various militaries– our elder brothers and sisters, commanded by our parents and grandparents. But rather than resort to fratricide we’ve decided, more one-by-one,en-masse than as a group, that suicide’s the better alternative. The first few of us left elaborate messages and letters. Of course these were only revealed through hear-say and rumor, but ultimately the message was “what other options do we have?”

That’s the sad part of it. If there’s anything more distressing than the rest, it’s that. We have no options left. We’re facing death no matter what. Either by starvation, disease, exposure, or outright murder for daring to want better. We’re all going to die before our time– whatever the hell that means.

Or most of us are. The lucky few suckling the tits of their wealthy-elite parents, or those sycophantic and sociopathic enough to get into the closed circles, they’ll survive. But the blue-collars and no-dollars, in other words the vast majority of us? We’re fucked. Too bad it’s that same elite’s downfall too. In the end, the human race are the ones that’ll suffer most. Admit or not, they’re human too. Our great pain will be over when our great depression ends with us six-feet under.

All told, we’ll have the last laugh. Even if, by some ridiculous stroke of luck, the human race doesn’t end up killing itself off entirely in the wake, the majority will still have died out. Or let themselves out, however you wanna’ phrase it. With us go the hopes and dreams of a better future not involved in maintaining the status quo of wealth v. health, greed v. need.

In other words, gone will be the hope of healing Humanity’s current sadomasochistic streak. Maybe I’m belaboring things. Maybe I’m being vague. I guess that happens when the great beyond’s waxing and the great-whatever-this-is is waning.

My personal story isn’t interesting. It’s the same as so many others of my generation. I grew up poor. Got old, got poorer. Ending up on the street when you’ve been on your way out the door your whole life isn’t surprising. It’s especially not surprising when everyone from your president to your guidance counselors tells you you’re not going anywhere else.

Like I said, not interesting. Far from unique. We never believed we were special snowflakes, but Human Rights didn’t seem like so much to ask for. I guess we were wrong. They were.

So here I am; last train outta’ the station on a one way ticket. Theoretically of course. Trains don’t run anymore. Even if they did, no-one could afford to ride ‘em. We’re all stuck in one place now. We’d walk, but hunger makes us weak. That’s the way they want us.

Soon enough the stray-dogs will be full. For a time anyhow. Then, they’ll starve too. Probably some will survive. They’ll eventually move back to the wild and start hunting again. I’d say football season was over, but the truth is, it was never on. We were too starved to play. Now, we’re just soon-to-be dust in the wind, or blood in the water, as my case goes.

I chose a tub. A full tub of hot water in a hotel-suite. Middle of the night break-ins aren’t expected anymore. I had something of the rogue in my blood, now the water has it. Might’ve been a big timer if the other rogues weren’t all dead before “my time.” Now I’ll be joining ‘em.

But I digress. Warm water’s nice. Plus, less clean-up involved. The coroner’ll just chuck my pruny-ass in a bag and write off the ticket. A few days later, they’ll fry me up in the big oven down the road. Maybe then I’ll finally get to fly, smoke in the sky. You know how they always told you to learn to soar? Dreams and such… like we ever had ‘em anyhow. Now, I’ll be one. At least… the water… is warm….

Short Story: Greed v. Need

As with the watering of the liberty tree with patriot blood, so too must there often at times be the tempering of hatred and power with revolution. The cycle is never to end. It is not meant to; not while human beings remain human beings. Perhaps one day, we will change. Then, so too will the cycle. Alas, that day may never come. More to the point, it isn’t here now. Most assuredly, it wasn’t here then. Many were though. Many more whom are not now. Those survivors’ stories are numerous, their differences few, though all that’s known for certain is what is seen in hindsight.

Like many things, it began with the collision of unstoppable forces and immovable objects. In this case, that was the unyielding need of many and the stubborn greed of few. Looking back through history, one may trace a similar lineage of anguish to such sources. Be they crusaders wielding blades for clergy; soldiers, guns for senatorial business interests; or any and everything between, an unbroken thread of Greed v. need is visible throughout history.

Where we were, and where we are now, are matters best explained thus: reality is finite. It is a tapestry of interwoven intricacies formed of human thought and action, the bonds and forces that concocted them, whether sentient or incidental.

In other words, existence was and is a complexity not easily broken down. Immense as it is, astounding as it is, it is complex. It can be quantified, but requires the information for billions of variables to do so. Rather than belabor further explanations, we achieve “reality is finite,” thus explaining where we are and where we’ve come from.

But how relevant is a finite reality? How is it related to Greed v. Need? How does it really explain the madness that’s taken place? What in the cacklingly hellish madness am I on about?

The truth, and only the truth. Greed v. Need was the pendulum. Again. A pivot; upon which our world teetered. The madness, so to speak, was beyond the edge. Beyond the edge, where we are now.

Take the unstoppable force of need, accelerated at the speed of desperation, and place the immovable object of greed in its way. What you end up with is not much left of either. Not much whole. Dust and debris, yes, but nothing intact.

How else could we have expected things to go? We had a country– an amorphous set of invisible, phantom barriers– filled with people starving, homeless, penniless. Then, with the kind of smug idiocy as the smart man whom believes he knows all, and thus makes a fool of himself when speaking wanton ignorance, we willingly gave power to those whom saw us as lazy, useless, and wasteful. In truth of course, it was the dullards whom believed that which eventually made us that way.

Irony is delicious that way.

So hatred, as there most certainly was hatred toward us, once more fueled lust for power. And that power grew, strangling what life remained in the people, us– who were downtrodden, dying, starving. In effect, we were kicked and beaten animals. It was only a matter of time before we turned on those doing the kicking and beating. And like animals cornered and frightened, we did strike back, eventually. Just as the hand that feeds and beats is as likely to be bit as the hand that beats alone, it felt our bite.

We were Need. They were Greed. Were we to find some other moniker for them, perhaps we’d term them the elite. Or, were we further back in history, we might name them the aristocracy. In no event however, would so foul a rose as they be less foul for our terminology. And Greed certainly was foul, if little else. Greed stole. Greed cheated. Greed abused. Greed did anything and everything it could to ensure its power was absolute, unchallenged.

Alas, for their sake, they saw not what the reality was. Greed was an entity of individuals, people, raving and slavering as beasts that frothed in thought of everything for themselves. They snatched power in bills and laws at a time. Stole homes, jobs, money. Cheated and abused trust, hope. In the end, Need had little recourse but to lash out; but to bite the hand that fed and beat.

When that day came, there was little Greed could do. Greed had taken all from Need that could be taken and trod upon them too long. Need had no dignity. No hope. Nothing to lose at striking back.

And when they did, the world burned. The global wars threatening to ravage the various phantom borders imploded. Need took what they could, turned greed against Greed. The result was a finite reality we cannot possibly explain in anyway unexplained before. For Greed v. Need is a cycle, and we are but humans ever-bound to repeat forgotten mistakes.

Irony too, is a weakness of our species. For those of greatest need were inevitably those that struck back hardest and took the most back. Thus, as usual, they ensured that the cycle of Greed v. need would continue at least once more, someday. No doubt, in the end, they too will be overtaken, overthrown, deposed as the then-current incarnation of Greed. Only time may tell for certain, but Need becomes Greed after need is fulfilled and want appears. Those most sated are doubtless least in need and most wanting now.

As we remain human, so to is the cycle bound to repeat until some master of genetics or eugenics can finally put to rest the notion of humans as anything beyond wild animals with fantastic loincloths and unnecessary shoe addictions.

Only then could he or she, as father or mother of the post-human revolution, finally lay to rest the witless and sadistic species homosapiens. Only then, could they instead selectively breed and form a new species bearing all of Humanity’s assets and none of its detriments.

Then, and only then, might the cycles of old be forever broken and new ones formed. Formed, perhaps, from the influence of species long-lived alongside us in peace, and despite our best attempts to extort from them the same mistrust, anger, and outlashing as us from ourselves.

Future mother or father, might I suggest an animal to draw from? If so, I suggest the Cornish Hen.

Poetry-Thing Thursday: Light-Walkers

Uniformity is,
conformity for,
a perilous pitiless,
beast in the night,
whom knows nothing of fright,
nor of those whom walk in the light,
and so hastens the collective goodnight.

And with it comes,
the armies of darkness;
humans mad with desire and fire.
Ruled by fears and told dangerously beautiful lies,
to fight and ultimately die,
for what they believe will allow them to rise,
but is, in fact, only cementing their demise.

The mire is thick,
a drug for mind-sick,
counting off lies,
as does the heart tick,
absent though it may seem,
it is never far,
‘specially for those,
with the deepest of scars.

As they change,
the darkness,
one must wonder:
what form of madness,
did they from,
reality, sunder?

A cold moon rises.
Blood bathes the blades.
Crimson and steel.
Both tepid, real.
Stained with light and dark blood alike.

By firelight,
camps and engines burn bright,
there is no denying the sight;
light and dark-walkers alike,
bleed red as kinfolk might.

As the blood glistens,
blends with dirt,
the charge ripples–
a ceasing wave.
For dark and light abound,
and so too doth red blood.

At last those whom walk in light,
joined by those whom walk in the night,
see the true enemies revealed.
And without their commanded armies,
they find death is real.

Poetry-Thing Thursday: It Starts With You

Blood on the tracks.
Blood in the street.
Blood from the workers’ backs,
stains the rich-men’s feet.

They call it economics,
a lack-luster draw,
but its no card game, lunatics,
and we’re dying for your flaw.

The rich get richer,
and the poor keep dying,
while they feed on the ichor,
formed of the rich-men’s lying.

It’s an old song.
Its grooves worn down.
No less wrong.
No fewer wearing a frown.

But it can change.
Especially in this age.
We can treat the mange,
start fresh on a new page.

“How?” you might ask.
It starts with you.
We all take part in the task;
just live life true,

not in vain,
nor at others’ expense.
Inflict no pain.
Seek no recompense.

Live and let live.
Do, do not, or try.
Learn to forgive.
Let your spirit fly

Make a joke.
Plant a tree.
Be kind to folk.
Embrace creativity.

Just remember:
it can change.
But it begins with you.
Be tender,
fear no emotion’s range,
and speak softly if you do.
Humanity is the sender,
and even though strange,
it needs all of us, and we it, too.

Poetry-Thing Thursday: On Death We Dine

I close my eyes,
for a moment,
I see;
concrete gristle,
staining steel-gray skies.
Pale incandescence,
pocking them with light.
Beneath rolling clouds,
blackness splinters,
with blue-violet lightning.

Graffiti of neutral and violent hues,
splashes color here and there,
that color voices the voiceless’,
untimely, unrelenting despair.

In the distance,
billboards lighted,
like cheap, sidewalk,
window-whores.
Mannequins of humans,
caricatured creatures of beauty,
made to look like us.

Still, they can’t,
for they know nothing,
but to be beautiful,
when all the world around them,
reeks of poverty–
and ugliness entombed in despair.

The distant sound of traffic,
ever-present,
omnipotent,
but in relative ways,
for the masses, non-existent.

Yet somehow,
the air is unclear.
It tastes of those things,
which afflict the world so–
pain,
death,
poverty,
and the ever-present despair.

Somehow we carry on.
No reason to.
No explanation.
Just survival.
Scrounging, scavenging,
hoping for revival,
day to day,
until passing, old,
forgotten,
decayed.

On the streets,
and out of time,
we greet defeat,
and on death we dine.