How gluttonous of me.
Continuing on, pleasantly ensnared like a mouse on a glue trap
Eyes bloodshot, they're glued, too. White and blue light—
It's feeding me empty calories.
Gorging on useless words and talking images.
No— keep scrolling. You've been doing it since this morning anyway.
Half the day is already wasted. But I should overdo something significant.
It's too late, though, sloth is a sin too. I know.
I called in sick to work today.
Because you only wanted to exercise
thumbs and forefingers.
I'm having a mental health day.
Wow, you have such a hard life.
I guess I'll be here for the next little while, but I'll feel useless.
I still haven't moved, too much time zooming in,
Envy settled on her pictures to find any flaws.
Oh—she narrows her waist and plumps her lips,
But she looks better, anyway. Better than you for sure.
Skinny supermodels travelling the world.
They don't deserve it. They're copies anyway— silicon and plastic, bodies for likes.
I need to get over it. I don't know why I care so much.
But I keep searching hashtags for more,
Somehow I still lust for lives I make fun of.
Now go check his post and see if he's still with his girlfriend.
Oh, he is. Double tap anyway. Leave a kissy-face.
Send a hint! He'll never realize you want him.
Who cares if they're happy— you want him more. Like it to say it all.
I forgot—wait! That photo from the Summer,
In that tiny bikini, you'll look great.
Smoothing my skin—contrast, exposure. Saturate to sunkissed.
Make yourself look great, you have to.
But I was really uncomfortable in that swimsuit,
At least it looked good. Don't delete it. I won't.
I'll take pride in a false appearance. But I'm tired of fitting a mask to go online.
Oh good, you're getting lots of likes.
But it's not enough. I should have more.
And only 2,616 followers? Pathetic.
That's nothing. Do whatever it takes for more. I'm too greedy.
I know I don't look like that—
In person, I mean.
But if they think you do, you'll get the most attention. I hesitate to keep myself counterfeit.
But wait, look, I lost a follower!
Oh. It's my old friend.
Fuck her. What's wrong with her?
I remember when she trusted me with so many secrets.
Share some hurt. But we used to be best friends.
Post one— yes—do it, even better to use an anonymous account.
Ruin her life in an echo chamber, call down the wrath of media and fight to the death.
But I can't go on like this forever.
Well, if you don’t, you aren't sinning enough to succeed in this age.
The Undertaker’s Dream
Daylight faded, slumber called him into the night,
The undertaker rested, his work now out of sight.
His dreams took morbid turns, as they always would,
Of caskets, graves, and teary eyes— things he understood.
Along a dreamscape's road he walked, tombstones stood for miles,
Shovel clutched, he chose a plot, began to dig a while.
This grave is for himself, he dreamily realized in surprise,
Hate's last breath at your doorstep, in his "Here Lies" eyes.
All and through the evening, his digging did not cease,
Carry on, carve out the hole for tomorrow's new release.
No escape or help, only, I think of scales of truth—
That his life would end right here, not any fountain of youth.
As alternate truth vied, forever in a rush towards his finale,
Nearing the End of Days awaited without dally.
Not just the undertaker's dream—
But unnatural motives there to guide him,
Backward curiosity the reason,
His role a corpse to be would bind him.
On waking he was caught, with his hand in his own till,
The grave before him, really, his own coffin soon to fill.
Getting here, I'd say everyone misrepresents it— cinematically, I mean.
Stale air and concrete walls closed in on me earlier during processing. My autonomy was violated as they clicked cameras at me. I'm unsmiling, naked as the day I was born, and handed scratchy clothes— my identity erased and replaced with a number. The clanging keys and buzzing doors disorient, and I'm led to a sparse mini studio with lifeless grey walls. An uneven, thin cot and metal toilet welcome me. The closest thing I have to a window is the cell-bar door to the corridor, where a guard roams back and forth.
I conceded that I'd be greeted with painful shrieks and howling shouts of others echoing down the cell block, and the newbies would be seated alone, head in hands, mind racing to establish how they got there. I don't think everyone is an irrational murderer like they tell us... some people are probably feeling self-resentfully accountable for their non-violent burglary offense, tax evasions (ironic), immigration mistakes, or their ceaseless drug habits that they've tried to stop a couple of times leading up to now.
Though, I'm sure there are still plenty of inmates who are unbothered, thinking, what's a few years a pause before going back to what got me here in the first place? I would say that life before already feels so distant to the former, whenever they arrived. Friends, family, freedom, namesake— gone. For the latter, I don't think they're thinking about it, just living out this nice little vacation from the exhaustive nature of committing unlawful acts.
At the scream of a whistle, we shuffled to the dining hall, tense and silent. I stared down at whatever the 'making-school-cafeteria-lunches-look-like-a-Michelin-Star-meal' of the day was. I think guilt or indifference would come back into play here again. The inmates who knew they fucked up— though still less culpable than others, look down to avoid the glare of anyone who might see them as weak, while those who firmly and aggressively deserved their sentence had defensive eyes darting around the room, watching over their tough hides especially closely. Then, we were herded back to our cages, heads counted like preschool children after recess. This was surely emasculating for the hardened criminals.
It's difficult not to want to ask what happened to the person sharing my cell or those passing by, but I preferred not to speak if it wasn't necessary. I figured I'd get to that in a few days once I'd processed the new situation. I'm not exactly a guiltless type who fears nothing.
After hours of tedium, a bell rings for yard time and I fast blinked as I stepped into the sunlight, blinded temporarily. It was shocking and the air felt different, almost foreign, even through the chain link fences and watchtowers. Some inmates would be pacing the far end, struck by a heated argument. Others tossed a basketball around or played cards. Mostly, though, faces would be blank with boredom.
At this point, I found an empty patch of dirt to sit down in, staring at the sky, trying to reminisce about the freedom of open spaces and the warmth of a loved one’s touch. But it was a bit like recalling a dream upon waking. Too soon, the bell clanged lazily again, and everyone was lined up and counted. We trudged back inside. I had some time to myself— as myself as I could get. I wrote a bit before lights out. I didn't sleep that first night and long, dark hours stretched endlessly ahead while my cell-mate slept seemingly peacefully. He must have been here a while.
Tomorrow will be the same routine, the next day too. If Hollywood wants to show this cinematically, they'd be better off using a movie like Groundhog Day. After some monotonous days, I knew I'd simply be going through the same motions, now I'd join up with the thousand-yard starers wandering aimlessly within the walls, biding my time until release.
Alone amidst an abounding abyss
and azure aspirations age again.
Agitating already angry airs
and aching, awaiting anxiously.
Anticipating any affection's afterglow.
I Watched As You Grew and I Cried
I watch you: I watch as you bring different women to our home. That's the only time you hold me anymore. You took me out for the first time in years a few months ago, and I thought you might want me the way you used to—but no.
These days, you sit down on the bed where we used to practice. The girls giggle and yearn at the sight of your shaggy brown hair and your fingertips tickling my strings, wondering what else they can do. The melodies you spit out must only sound nice because you're gorgeous. They'll say you play like Clapton or Reinhardt.
I remember the day you picked me out from the store, your mother telling you,
"Reach for the one in the back with the broken High E String, its on sale for less. Your father will fix it when he's home from his tour."
All you wanted was to be just like him, a musician. Your eyes lit up when you saw me sitting there, unchosen. I was meant for you. I relished your gentle touch as you lifted me carefully off the shelf, testing my strings with a tender pluck. I felt, deeply, you‘d love me well. I was much bigger than you then, you could barely lift me.
In our early days together, I lived for the brush of your boyish, learning fingertips over my frets, coaxing out simple and delicate melodies until your parents told you to go to sleep. I vibrated with joy at each new chord you mastered, glowing with pride at your dedication. You lavished me with polish and fresh strings, taking meticulous care of me like your father taught you. I was the music in your soul manifest. We were inseparable then. My mahogany glowed under harsh, yellow bedroom lamps as we performed our favorite songs— hours of practice paying off, mom's tears and dad's applause.
But, years later, you're 15. You formed a band. Gone were the gentle ballads we once played together. You cranked up the amps, thrashing power chords with abandon. I strained my voice to be heard above crashing cymbals, my notes drowned out by screaming vocals. The tender boy I knew was replaced by a brash, ambitious teenager desperate to rock. You all screamed along as if fighting each other to be the best. It hurt me. You were always the best in my eyes.
In time, you learned control. It took around two years, but you found bandmates who complemented instead of competed. The college bars welcomed our renditions of well-loved classics. I basked in this return to form, desperately willing it to last. The audience would clap and sing along to the notes we always practiced growing up. Eventually, it was you and I against the world once again.
I knew you weren't old enough to drink for those few years that followed, but it seemed to make you love me more— so I never told anyone. At this point, you'd have your shitty beers and strapping whiskeys, and sit alone atop a barstool on stage. You held me gently, bobbing your head and tapping your boots while our voices, intertwined, greeted with keen sways by our small fanbase of barflies and weekend revelers. Our duo played songs that we learned together when you were young; those you were too embarrassed to showcase, in fear of your peers' scorn.
Then you got busy. Life intervened, and our music became an afterthought. I languished between occasional gigs that were more about the money and women than the art of our harmonious lovemaking. New priorities, new friends. My strings grew dull, untouched for months on end. I longed for the hands that once gripped tightly onto me. You drank too much to love me now, and left me sitting in a corner of your room. You used me as what I wasn't made for. You'd come home late and toss dirty towels and sweat-drenched clothes at me. I fell over once, but you were too fucked up to notice.
I lay prostrate for years to follow. You left school. You got a job. You shoved me in your closet when you moved apartments— I'm not sure how long I've been here. Now when I emerge, it’s for show, not love. You use me to impress women who couldn’t care less about our history, that don't hear the songs we used to play together. Their sharp nails scrape roughly over my frets, marring my surface and leaving chipped nailpolish between my strings, while you teach them "how to play me." They hold me like an object, laughing at their clumsy attempts to mimic you. My scuffs and worn finish are ignored.
Inevitably, you don't love me anymore. I go back in the closet between your dates. My body grew old and my strings loose— some have snapped and curled by now. Your father would be disappointed.
Those women pretend we sing in dulcet tones because they love you as much as I did, and they wouldn't want to offend you. But I'm just a guitar, I don't have feelings.
Profane appetites once inflamed my being, but now my yearnings are unconsecrated. Before, I understood just how to scaffold them—clever tactics and the heady thrill of plotting each gruesome tableau, engineering every lurid detail as a painter filling his spattered canvas. Now my brushes, chained at my sides, gather dust. I'm a ravenous addict denied my fix as I languish in this cell. Please, let me be filled up again with the warmth of those cravings—blood tasted sweet before they wrapped this noose around my neck. My last meal, my own body to feed me...maybe then I'll finally be satisfied.
Tender bud, Spring births
New soul stirs, fresh hope blooms green
A promise begins
Blazing, Summer's sun
Energetic heat fuels growth
Glory fades to Fall
Winds shift, ripe fruits collapse
Preparing for rest
Winter's air descends
Blanketing earth in stillness
Soil of new life, in death
An eternal dance
Her back to the door, she stands,
the wall adjacent whispers sounds of creaking wood.
It smells of peeling white paint— the strips curling like wrinkled fingers,
beckoning her to the stained mirror again.
The dark oak beneath the wall's pearly surface is old and rotting.
She contorts, turning her body at every angle,
pinching and prodding at flaws sculpted as youth drifts from sight.
One glimpse, please, of something— to feel human and fresh,
youthful once more.
In these reflections, a statue built in years lost to the world.
A piece that used to wait for vistors,
who dragged gentle fingers along smooth marble,
that now pay no mind to stone skin of a bygone era.