beyond the light

Just beyond the light

There is tomorrow

Another line

Another page

A story yet untold

That only you can tell

In your unique way

——///

Our youth

Fields of grain

Too many intersections

And not enough time

——-///

We lived and we tried to feel love

As it was sold to us

We tried to be something

Nothing

Anything

——///

I felt the shift

I felt myself losing tune

Yes tune

We rang loud

And out of tune

We lost touch with people

Humanity

We looked to our palms

And our timelines

But it told us nothing of our times

Twitter is not real

Facebook is not real

It does not give you the supper table

The summer mornings

In the south

The green stalks of corn

The ice storms in winter

The kerosine Heat

——///

We live and die in the hashtag

But we haven’t grown up to maturity

Poverty is more than we can comprehend

It’s a relationship to money

It’s habits

It’s not just wanting and not having

——///

These lives just beyond the light

The gift of life

Look past the last headlines

What we are

We are here

Now

Alive

—-///

More than politics

More than religion

More …

——///

“Be what you were…”

I look at art

At words

Films

From the 90s

And I feel a disconnect

I don’t know this person

This person doesn’t know me

I can’t see the tv from across the room

I keep moving my couch closer and pretending it doesn’t matter ….

Pictures give us words

——///

We are textured

Quilted

Struggled

Immigrants

—-///

Downsizing

Can you downsize the American dream?

We can find answers in 5g speed

We are born with a cellular plan

But we don’t know our neighbour

A pastors struggle on Monday morning

—-///

Are we red and blue state ?

Disconnected

People vote, or don’t vote, for various reasons.

One Party is the single issue party. Or the anti vax, anti mask, lower tax…don’t take my guns?

No, one party is the American dream, Reagan party, read, communicate, write, dream, love your country, write your wife love letters from across the room. You’re groomed from a young age to vote red.

The business owner. Trying to dream.

The other is college kids, millennials, like it or not, woke, sensitive to every issue, minority, apologising, how will the kids make it during this economy?

Most of us are somewhere in the middle not on the fringes…who’ve lived through a handful of economic collapses…

Most of us have lost someone to this virus…

I was talking with a nurse and she was telling me of the horror of a patient dying…of the horror that people still think this is a hoax, the fact that these patients are protected by privacy laws and this creates a gap…and we will never know…but they know…and for them…this is a nightmare…

Now, what do people vote on?

Somewhere in the middle.

We have more in common than we think.

The whole silence is violence

be woke to every single new thing ….

that’s a big tab…

the answer to winning votes and states

is not be the most liberal…

it’s connecting to the country.

We are all Americans.

Unplug from social media,

You can block and unfollow each-other all day long but these are real people with real lives and real votes and they are not going anywhere, they’re our neighbours our mothers our siblings.

what do we all have in common.

Return to the vision. Return to common sense, adulthood …

you can build a platform and a table with room for everyone.

We can’t go back…we go forward…beyond the light…or we fade into oblivion…

Francis Cash #17

Francis: have you seen the news!

Ethan: What did I tell you about watching the news…

Francis: It’s the end of the worlds…there’s no point of snax anymore.

Ethan: Then don’t read the news.

Ethan: Listen, your reason for snax, was made up by guys like me. To sell snax. There’s never been a point to anything.

Francis: You stole that from Adsmen.

Ethan: 1st it’s madmen and yes, because it’s true. The only thing you’re competing with is yourself.

Francis: So I should zoom faster and take more naps?

Ethan: sure:

Out of mind

There’s a man

Going around

Passing out promises

Gold and silver too

But the success

Never reaches down this far

No,

They won’t follow you down

And every woman I know

Works harder than two men

And they love

And they bleed

And they sew up our needs

And like Cash said

“When the man comes around”

Well, they won’t follow you down

So we fight

And we survive

Even when our paychecks

Barely make it through

What else are we to do

The silver and gold

Doesn’t come down this far

But they pass it around

With promises too

But they won’t follow you down

—-///

And I

I can’t write

My head is filled with clouds

I try to sit

But I can’t breathe

I watch the colour in the trees

And I think

About the dumpster on the side of the road where we used to get shoes and we used to get books…

And I think

About time

I hope I’ve used mine

Well

I think about the old man

Who lived in a school bus

And had a teenager for a wife

Her eyes said she had escaped something worse

A sort of curse

But I was too young to understand

Now, I think as I try to write, what good am I? What good am I?

If we can’t listen

If we look away

What good am I

And what good have I done …

A clouded head is part of Crohn’s

Just like the ache in the bones

The shouting stomach

The anxiety and the depression

I write about it but I can’t talk about it

And you’ll never see it

I guess

We all are just stories in the end

And we want what we want

And we say it sets us apart

And we expect others to know

But part of us stays on the road

Because even we don’t know…

And all we have is time…

Liberty

I think we forget

What it was really like

Two wars

A collapsing economy

Faster than the Great Depression

The month he took office

We had lost 800,000 jobs

Just in that month

Within a year

We had jobs growing instead of losing

Tech and globalization

Education and healthcare costs

Economy bubbles

Heated

By investors

How do you build something that works for everyone?

One wife

A reader

A picture of the american dream

The promise that you could

Work hard and reach any dream

But we were not ok with that

How do you figure out a way to process truths

Facts?

If we live through

Algorithms

Through a phone

That build on our biases

Polarizing us

Watching only media that puts us in a bubble …

How do we value truth ? And facts ?

Character and honor

This is not Reagan country

This is not Kennedy country

This is not Mayberry

They would not recognize us

They would not be proud of us ….

Human decency and respect and empathy

Should be base value

But it is not here…

What happened to the values that carried us here?

The basic values

Be honest

Be kind

Treat everyone with respect

Work hard

What happened to us?

How can we

Return

Would Christ still say

“Forgive them for they know not what they do?”

When we say things like

“We knew what he was.”

“But.”

If my ex wife or a woman is vulgar

Or loud

It’s wrong

But if a man does it

It’s presidential

How do we come back from this

We are so divided

And how

Can we pray ??

When we say things like

“This man was put here by god,to stop communism…”

I thought we wanted smaller government ?

This is not Reagan country

This is not a shining city on a hill

We are unrecognisable

But

I still believe

In the seeds

In the ability to believe in ourselves

And our communities

We can return

And we can

Meet the cause

Should Christ have refused the cross?

Should

Our fathers

Refused to storm the beaches of Normandy?

We’ve never been here before

Because we have

Technology

That we don’t even understand

And it’s using

Our own weaknesses against us

But we keep looking for an intruder

Liberty has fallen

We shaved her head in the marketplace

A spectacle

For the world to see

And they will remember

How we’ve acted

What we’ve said

And how we defended ourselves

And reasoned and split our minds in half ….

How do you back pedal?

You can’t

Like

Trying to find the census Russia smudged

Because it showed the unnatural death count

In the 30s

So they shot the census takers

Here we are 33k deaths in the US

Masks

Shutdowns

Businesses closing

How do we move forward ?

What happened to chivalry

To classic badassery?

To rising to the challenge ?

Leadership?

We are more than masses

Blue states,red states, we are more…

Our parents lost jobs in the first recession

They lost homes

We are survivors

We are Americans

The Crisis of man

Thoughts on aging in the coming age

It’s cold, 39 degrees. I turned on my heat this morning, I’ve tried to not think about it. But like the moon landing, I couldn’t help it,

I think…

What must it be like to go so far. To only find dust, and isolation?

for four years, I’ve tried to watch and observe…

I was married, I’m now divorced…

Women without men are an idea, women with men are a complication…

We altogether are a complication. A mood in itself.

We post on dating apps, photos of ourselves in Egypt and camping and we want a man with a car, a house, a job, a pleasant disposition. And he has to make us laugh…

But he’s too short, he’s too round, his eyebrows are too thick…

I can’t take you to Egypt, I hate camping…I like my solitude…

I haven’t played a video game since 2004

Can I just cook you dinner, play a record, dance with you and tell you, you’re the nicest thing I’ve ever seen?

We want absolutes

But we want to be accepted

But we have requirements

—///

You reach a certain age, maybe it’s just me…

You reach a place, you take stock of your life…

What have you really achieved?

Are you what you want?

How does one maintain faith?

It feels so far away…

How did the astronauts handle

Something so grand

Becoming “fake.”

How does one live ….

Age to age …

—-///

Tuesday

We vote

I’ve watched

As we use an algorithm

I’ve watched as we do not talk

To each other

I’ve asked myself how our children

And our youth will remember this

What have we taught them

Shown them

What example

What do they consider presidential?

Honorable ?

Decent?

What is life?

What does a leader look like?

Empathy?

To our children

To the young people

To the rest of the world

I think about how I grew and changed

And what I have been impressed with

Over time

And my heart has ached for so long

For the young people

Globally

For what the new leaders

Across the globe

What impressions are we leaving

What are we saying?

—///

Tomorrow and I feel

Really

through most of December

The world will be on its toes

The money making machine of american headlines

—–///

But how do we go from here?

We’ve screamed

We’ve marched

We’ve demonstrated

We’ve left our kids at home

We’ve thrown more work on them

We’re gutted

Outed

It’s not the degrees

It’s the regular jobs that carry us

The ones we looked down on

It’s not the student debt

Or the bank account

It’s the ability to stay calm

Under pressure

It’s the ability to process information

The ability to think

And make a decision

—-///

Something is amiss

within my faith

—–///

Within myself

—-///

I seek solitude

—-///

We used to have Hollywood as a job

Now it’s a bubble that tells us what we should do,

Social media

This algorithm

Marches

demands rights

And puts our vulgarity on our forehead like we are screwing on the table at thanksgiving…

And vulgarly demands that the family and the world be ok with it…

It leaves nothing to the imagination.

We can’t miss a paycheck

If we do we are homeless

None of the people I know

None of the minorities I know

Are even resembling of this nature

—////

Yet we continue to use the algorithm

When it doesn’t even reflect us

We say everyone has shown their true colours this year, that’s just not true

Everyone has always shown us their colours…we just didn’t want to hear them or see them…because we wanted them to be what we wanted them to be.

The algorithm simply shows us what we want to see…

We wanted the same for us too…

This is the crisis…

The crisis of ….

Of humankind.

—-///

To be without faith

Without honor

Without drive

Without ambition

Without privacy

Is to be empty

Void

Surely there is something left of honor

Of privacy

Of respect

Of character

Of faith…

I do not know

I look to the sky

And I pray

But I can’t find anything

You see

Truth is something we are meant to discern not the media or the newspaper or social media or apps

Or smoke signals

But our eyes and hearts and minds

—///

What is presidential?

What is decency ?

What is character ?

—///

I envy the self that writes this and does not know of tomorrow or election results or headlines

So much of our government relies on the honor system

And if it is abused

So much can go away and be re written

And we understand so little of this

—-//

Space is cold

It’s vast and it’s dark

And so is my heart

It began years ago

In small stages

Small misgivings

I wanted a family

I wanted a home

I wanted to love and cherish and be loved and cherish

I wanted to take care of someone

To have this purpose

And

Now

I only want this solitude

To disappear

To fade away

To understand what purpose is …

The world is raging

I hope we can find ourselves

I hope we can stop for a moment

I hope we can look up

And ask for help.

Death is real and random

We are but a moment

And hate

And greed

And this crisis

Is too much

Maybe you reach a certain age

And it happens to everyone

Where they feel like the new generation has everything wrong

Only

Now

Right now

I feel like none of us are ourselves

I feel like we’ve all been duped

Even the best of us…

Maybe it’s just me….

I feel like we are in a bad dream

And the acid rain is falling

And the church bells are ringing

And the boots are on the ground

And the ashes are drifting like snow

From the ovens over the ridge

And

They are about to show us the ovens

Used to cook our brothers

And we are about to hold napkins over our mouthes and breathe

“I didn’t know, I didn’t believe….”

“But…”

And

I fear

What reason did we have to build this machine?

What purpose?

What crisis

How did we get here

—-///

You reach a point

And you ask

What have I really achieved

I’m not any of the things I wanted to be

I’m still empty

I’m still void

After such ambition

Of youth

Do we look back

Only to see the void

Quiet

Coldness of life

And see

Ourselves?

We can’t stand the silence

We can’t even sit with it

We can’t even walk with it

Or drive with it …

We can’t sit with ourselves ….

God help us.

On the Importance of being

Is poetry important right now?

Is it relevant?

Did the ’90s have it right?

Is God dead?

Why even bother?

How do I write or create and give proper representation to everyone…

Can it even be done?

—-///

Look at the Sistine chapel

The creation of Adam

What if we all stopped and froze

What if there were no German poets?

Because they halted their breath after WWII?

You have to speak

You have to be brave enough

To look at yourself

Look at the world you walk through

And make notes

—///

And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes.

-Job 2:8

Job didn’t have a pastor, a minister, a doctor or a psychiatrist. He didn’t have anything, his family were dead, his livestock dead, his wife was unkind. She told him to curse God and die. in an effort to give him some relief. And ease his suffering.

But he said

“I can’t, I know too much, I’ve seen too much, I can’t go back…”

He scraped his boils with pottery…

To give some relief….

—////

Art,poetry,creating is important because it is what we live for…

It’s the colours of living. It’s life…

You’re unique, you stand out, you view the world separately and differently, there is only one you.

We’re not supposed to fit in.

Or be like anyone else…

That’s why history has those few remnants, those that create.

They look at the world and they make notes and they write what they see.

Fb, apps, algorithms?

If you’re waiting for it to be safe…

To discern truth for you?

You’ll die waiting…

These things are not the truth tellers…

That’s me and you…

It’s up to us to discern what is truth…

I’ll say it again…

All of this fake and false and upsetting and black clouds and thunderstorms and the future is dead and god is dead and we have to remake everything so it’s perfect and there is no hurt hearts or shocked eyes?

It’s not real.

Too much perfection is a mistake

It’s up to us to discern truth

What we see and what we read

We Create

We speak

We build a better tomorrow

Because we live through and in today

All the algorithms

Will always be just that

An algorithm

A process

A highway

For Information

But it’s up to us

To drive it

And discern the navigation

Like a library

—-

So yes

Poetry

Art

Life

Is always in the now

Right here

Right now

It’s so important

It’s you

It’s our hearts

It’s vital

To our existence

So go

Create

Live

Be bold

If you make mistakes

It’s ok

That’s just life

We grow

We live

But do not stand in fear …

We can’t go back

We’ve seen too much

We’ve lived through too much

And this art

This art is for everyone

There’s room for every heart.

-E

The 40 hour work week

– why won’t she talk to me? I don’t understand…we had so much in common and now she’s just disappeared again! She comes and goes and I don’t know what to do…

I watched as my friend continued this emotional rollercoaster holding her face in her hands, blaming herself, hating herself, for simply caring or opening up…

-Listen,

I said

– you may never get the closure you want or feel that you need. And you have to be ok with that. Some people, go through people. When they’re bored, or lonely, or missing something…some people get easily distracted and just lose track….they have tunnel vision. When it’s on you it’s great. When it’s not it’s cold…

I don’t know what to tell you, it’s really up to you. What are you going to be ok with? We all work. We all have lives. It takes 3 seconds to send a message. Are you worth three seconds?

(Our other friend waved his hands in the air agreeing.)

– you know,

He started his own soap box of psycho babble

– it’s in what you give. I always give a lot of cash and attention

I stopped him

– Your girlfriend didn’t fall in love with you because of your presents, I don’t know, maybe she did, maybe she didn’t…but she also left you….

She fell for you because you gave her your attention

You let her know when you were thinking about her

You let her know even though you were busy, you were working, that you were still thinking about your queen.

You valued her…

The presents were just a plus and then you stopped and you got lazy after you got her and she left

Because she knew what you were capable of and she knew what she was worth…

You have to dance with people

And you have to let them know you care

And you have to make your mind up

What are you going to be able to live with?

Half hearts ?

Mediocre

Or are you going to show up

Say what you feel and mean

But have a standard to it

(He just stared at me)

– anyway it’s the presents, you have to buy your way in.

(Stop man just stop.)

– I don’t know what is right or wrong

People want to be craved, they want to be desired, they want to be fought over and pursued. And some people get so used to looking for something better and all the choices that they forget someone may not pick them or chase them and they just go through people. Or they can’t make a decision at all.

They freeze

I don’t know

It’s really up to you

But you can’t make her mind up yourself

You can only make yours

What are you going to be able to live with?

(She stared at the floor)

– I don’t know, I’m not sure….everything hurts.

Haunted October (2020)

I dreamed I was having a beer with the devil. The bar was empty, it was just us, and the bartenders…

So how are you feeling

I sat there, saying nothing. Listening, feeling the room. Knowing there was something else there as well.

It’s so easy, you know, to dismiss, all of …this…(he waved his hand gesturing) this God thing. Don’t you think? But with a year like …this…you really outdid yourselves.

-what do you mean?

Oh, this? I had nothing to do with this. You should ask that guy, he’s been here the whole time.

He pointed across the room. A shadow sighs, and steps into the light. His eyes are tired. He looks about my age. I didn’t understand.

I told you last time, you think you’re so righteous and self important. When you’re just vain. People serve themselves. You can’t win. Not when they can get immediate satisfaction. And the best part? I didn’t even have to do anything. You, you did this yourselves. With your toys. Your free will and creativity. The worlds you built yourselves with social media…

You’re all little gods…

With your own personal Genesis…but you’re destroying your worlds…and there’s only hell here. They forgot that…didn’t they…every paradise has a hell. Where else do you put the misfits? The rebels…

Your Guard knows…

(He motions to the figure.)

I don’t know him, I’ve never seen him.

I shook my head

Oh but you do, he’s been with you the whole time, and all these dreams you’ve had? “Past lives” that’s just his previous assignments. stories if you will. Isn’t it cute how you prayed for him to win battles when you were growing up?

I drank my beer and looked at him again. He looked tired.

Oh he’s not almighty no. He has a branch of banks. They’ve been here the whole time. And he makes withdrawals so he can blend in and live. But he is a warrior. Vietnam, WWll he’s even seen the future.

I thought he wasn’t almighty?

Listen, we can move through time but we can’t make the Mona Lisa appear out of pizza.

My point is, I’m not to blame here and if you think it’s going to get better. You should really see the future. It’s a real kicker. An X-File if you will. Everyone wants to blame me. But the truth is. The things you’re afraid of? The darkness you pray to keep out at night? It’s inside you. It always has been. And that’s what scares you. You and me? We’re not even the same. I wanted to be God. But you guys, you guys wanted to kill God.

The room grew cold.

My glass chilled.

I looked around

The room was filled with people again. Everyone was on their phones. Reading their own profiles, their own newsfeeds.

I closed my eyes and thought about the past. Tried to grab hold of something that was textured and pure. No, sure. Something sure. . .

Believing in god was easy. Or at least in something more. When you had seen a storm or a fire.

The chaos. I watched all of the college students…Anne sat down. She was saying something to me, something about breaking up with someone. “There’s just too many options, too many people in the world…I’m keeping my options open. Who tells anyone that they’re the best thing that’s happened to them this year? That’s lame and now standards.”

I smiled…we were shot through. Our parents fought and died and we were bankrupt. I thought about sitting outside watching the city getting bombed …or maybe it was another dream. There was another girl there …she was a dancer…we were drinking and watching the fires…

I wondered how soon we all would realise that we’re lucky to meet anyone that really looks past their own nose and sees us. Really …really sees us. And I thought about how poor we were. And how happy we were. And I thought about how empty we all are…constantly reinventing ourselves chasing change until we die.

31

Maybe

The morning picks up the pieces

You cast away in the night

Stitches them together with wind and bone

Maybe you don’t get the life you first believed

When you were young

You won’t age another year at the stroke of midnight in someone’s arms

You’re just an alcoholic poet

And you’re on your own

And maybe I just can’t silence

All the words in my head

And my thoughts are filled to full

Maybe I feel alone in crowds

Maybe her blue eyes

They help me stand up

Maybe they catch the silver sunlight

Maybe she’s the queen of all I’ve seen

Maybe

I figured out we don’t live forever

Maybe there’s a ghost that follows me

Reminding me

Of the view from the grain of sand

The salt in the water

Where did these weights come from

Who built this home?

Who put this sadness here ?

There are notes I cannot play

There is grief here

Maybe we are the same

Maybe someone has something worse

Maybe it’s the friend that’s sick

“I think I’m sick. Maybe I have what you have…” he said. Recently he found out he has cancer…

Maybe it’s the constant pressure to be and provide and succeed

Maybe it’s knowing we are not permanent and I may not have enough time to be all that I wanted to be

Maybe the morning will pick up the pieces I cast away at night…

Everything changes so fast, we are not what we once was…I hope you know…some days you are not what you want to be

I hope you know,

I hope you

I hope

I hope

You know

Fires burn out

You never know what’s coming for you

Things end

Friends die

Loss hurts

And there is a pain

That doesn’t go away

And maybe I’m running from poverty

I’m running for my dream

Like some people run from gluten

And body fat

But in 3 minutes I will be 31

And I remember 3 minutes of tornadoes

I remember 3 minute seizures

I remember there are lifetimes

There are empires built on sand

Inside three minutes

—/

Maybe you’re never what you thought you’d be

But there is still morning

And no one owes you anything

So write to her

About her eyes and the morning

And her beauty

Because all of this ?

This is fleeting

And you won’t be here…

Fight it

Hold on

It will not change it a jot

You can not change what has been

Write letters

They are textured

They are sacred …

I tell myself to get up

I tell myself to be as I was

But I don’t know how

I don’t know how

Interior blue

We make from the interior of sadness

Poetry

From the fires of life

We create art

I was inspired

To write this

After

Wanda Coleman’s poem “Wanda Why Aren’t You Dead

It is not an attempt to replicate

It simply opened my eyes to bringing our demons to light

——

I am intrigued by you

I am curious about you

You make me nervous

I cannot put a label on you

Why do you dress the way you do

You always dress up

Why don’t you just relax

You’re not like anyone around here

Why are you still here

Why are you here, why haven’t you left yet …

You are not a writer

Don’t write about your pain

Write what you want to write

You don’t want to be a burden

Don’t whine

You stupid fuck

You’re not a real writer

You’re just like your father

You’re a failure

You’ll probably die young

You’re vomiting randomly

You’re probably dying

Crohns

Don’t be picky about your food

You ate potatoes growing up

You know, no one is really going to love you

No one is really going to be attracted to you

You’re too fucking weird

You’re probably even bad at sex

You’re a quitter

You quit your career

You left your marriage

You left your town

You’re running

You’re less than nothing

You will never be happy

Why are you still here?

You’re going to keep faking it

You’re too much for people

They are merely curious

Nothing else

Why haven’t you killed yourself yet?

You know, no one else will ever want to sleep with you…

You’re too awkward

Your stomach

Your scar

Why does your stomach growl so much ?

Can’t you make it stop?

You’re too thin

Omg I hate thin guys

Why don’t you just let yourself have a dad bod

You work too much

You should relax

Just take all of your sleeping pills

Then you can relax

You know I’m going to kill you right?

You will probably die alone

Like your dad

Why are you even still here

Didn’t you go to college?

Oh my god, I feel so bad that you didn’t go to real school

You must be so dumb

There is nothing here for me

There’s no reason for me to be here

I hate everyone here

I feel like you’re suddenly your own person

You want your secrets and your life

You walked out

Quitter

You gave up

I thought you were different but you ended up being just like the rest of them, selfish trash.

You will never have a marriage like your grandparents

It’s not your fault

It’s not your fault

Love doesn’t have to hurt

You can let yourself have a flare up

You don’t have to write it funny

You can vomit as soon as you get home

And it just be a flare up

You can eat cheesecake

You can write how you feel

You are still you

You’re going towards something good

You are ok

You don’t have to be perfect

You don’t have to be perfect

You can be good

You can be good

You are enough

You tried your best

Your best was more than enough

Because it was still – you

You

Are

Someone’s

Something

Make someone’s day easier

Let them know when you think about them

You never know who you will lose

Let it go

You never know what’s coming for you

You are broken but still whole

Be here now