Hearts and Likes

A single heart once fed me for days
fruitful with future possibilities
fueled by walking winter nights together.
You were drunk. So was I.
You on beer, I on sight,
but we both sobered quickly that night.
I knew from day one the dream would end,
but prolonged it with “let’s be friends,”
but we were never friends, just hobbyists.
We committed to different trades.
You were a teacher, and I was a slave.
You continued your vocation, but I changed.
I found now love made from plastic, vinyl, and metal.
My diet outgrew meat and moved toward grains,
fruit I could grow on my own.
I tired of the chase. I never caught what I wanted.
Even when I did, it never looked the same up close,
lacking the glimmer that trapped me a mile away.
Too many wrinkles, sour humanity,
not enough of the glamour I drew
from the hearts on screen that symbolized dreams.
They were only flashes of light, distractions
from a life I did not want to live. Now that I do,
the hearts float away like clouds
I’m unable to grasp, but nothing is lost.

Image by footiechic from Pixabay

Asylum

I found peace in the asylum
roaming like a lion among the inmates.
They do not notice me—
they struggle with their own demons.
I once sought their sight,
but their eyes are a chain.
I threw away the leash.
I walk on my own through a world
I no longer know. Indistinct voices,
indecipherable sights line the arcade
but do not disrupt my day. Pandemonium
cascades into distant white noise.
I return home warmed by the flames
and cooled by the night that is all mine.

Image by Anja🤗#helpinghands #solidarity#stays healthy🙏 from Pixabay

In My Bed

How far must I move from the bed
to prove I’m not dead, but awake?
Another body could offer evidence,
but then what value does life have
if solitude lacks substance alone
and truth is determined by democracy?
I was not the first to fall into fantasy.
I played with dreams like toys as others
made careers out of their conspiracies.
They have the right idea. I take life
too seriously. Gods, magical creatures,
and superpowers only I can feel.
I can embrace it all. I can make all dreams real.
The bed is but an object that senses perceive.
The only true reality is subjectivity.

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

Mirror

The mirror calls itself light when sunny outside
but cannot be seen during the night.
Lovely platitudes grace its clean face
until something stands in the way.
The clouds will still come and the seasons
will change, but the mirror only shines
when the sun brightens the day.
At night, it’s just another wall.

Image by Ich bin dann mal raus hier. from Pixabay

Mask

No face exists underneath this mask.
3D printed plastic replaces old flesh
lined with vinyl to smooth out the shape.
A vice held the pieces in place
for three months outside direct sunlight
until the seams stitched together.
The gestalt of mismatched materials
gives the surface a marble expression.
Unmoving lips produce a voice now heard.
Unseen eyes hide but observe.
Painted contours imitate real life
and conceal true emotions from sight.
Shade from the heat and shield in the storm,
the sun does not frighten me anymore.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Living at Home

New month. New me. Same as the old me, but slant. Normalcy returns as society reopens, but I hope to hold onto the lessons I learned the past three months with me as I step outside for more than coffee. The loneliness sucker punched me the first week of the quarantine, but life becomes surreal when everybody you see is behind a screen. I am lucid in my dreams, honest and direct with my intentions, which I am not in reality. I fear the truth will isolate me, but what do I have to lose when already isolated? I survived this season’s solitude. I thrived in it. I learned to live with myself as I lost the opportunity to distract myself with other people. I found joy in virtual raves and video games. I dabbled in arts I sorely neglected. I found validation in the mirror. I found a life within my home.

Size Doesn’t Matter

I felt like a failure all my life. Despite a lucrative career, a lovely house, and an active lifestyle that cannot fit all my ambitions into a single day, I still do, because I have not written a novel. I dedicated over half my life to that dream, mostly to neglect it but never to relinquish it. It inspired me to persevere even at my lowest points. If I was not a writer, what was I?

The eleven seconds it takes for the final boss theme of Mega Man 4 to loop taught me that brevity does not diminish the artistic essence of a work. I do not need to hit a word count to be a writer. I write poems, I blog, and sometimes I write short stories. I may not be a novelist—I cannot commit to people or stories for that long—but I am a writer. I will have to relinquish those dreams of becoming a famous novelist, but to be fair, how many writers dream of becoming the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, and how many do? I do not want to write to fulfill a dream that no longer inspires me. I want to write for my own sake, and I do not want to write a novel.

Staying Sane During the Quarantine

The quarantine will test your sanity. Even I, somebody molded by the darkness, can fall too deep if I don’t tread carefully. Some will try to drag you down quicker. This is how I keep myself together when I’ve spent a little too much time in my house.

Avoid social media. Especially Twitter. Twitter is the physical manifestation of hell, tempered only by memes. You will only find misery and anger, panic and ignorance. Some people get off on panic, and they will be the ones who pollute your feed. So will the conspiracy theorists who insist nothing is wrong. At the very least, treat social media like alcohol: enjoyable in moderation, but too much will turn you into a drunk, and not the fun kind either.

Keep in touch with friends and family though. Even the introverted need a dose of society now and then. When too distant, I become more cynical, and I grow to distrust those I love until I see them again, at which point it feels like waking from a bad dream. Now is a good time to use social media for good for once! Skype parties? FaceTime conversations? Might not be as good as the physical alternatives, but preferable to isolation.

Stay physically ands mentally active. I already miss the yoga studio and the gym, but I can practice yoga and exercise at home. I can also read, write, practice the violin, draw, and do everything else on which I procrastinate. There are so many things worth doing at home, and doing these things will keep your mind and body intact, and like drinking water, it may not be as sweet as doing nothing, but you will feel better for it.

Have boundaries with work. Working remotely is a mixed blessing: It guarantees a continued income, but it also means you have to work. I have already noticed that some people will work well into the night and will send me messages long after I clocked out. I used to feel obligated to respond immediately, but nowadays, I will turn off the notifications after a set time. I can help them with whatever they need, but that does not mean I should. It can probably wait until the morning. Don’t allow work consume your life just because others will.

Find the opportunity in the missed opportunities. I created a new mantra earlier this year as I struggled with staying home instead of going out even when I knew I should. I could never choose solitude over society. Society bloomed with potential while I already knew what roamed in my head. Now I have no choice but to choose solitude. Honestly, I am looking forward to this part. I wanted to cultivate a strong home yoga practice. Now I can! I could never find the time to read or write, but less time on the road means more time in my library! I wanted to eat less junk and eat more homemade food. Considering how anxious even delivered foods make me, that’s definitely going to happen now! This is going to be such a tragic time for so many people. I may not even be immune, but I do think I am in a much less vulnerable position, and I don’t want to squander this time. I can become a better person through this crisis. Not only will it benefit my own life, but I can be of better service during a time when many lives will rely on the compassion and mercy of others. What else will I do with my time?

Insight

Grant me greater insight
to spot the spiders above me.
The sight frightens me less
than their unseen presence
when they lift me off my feet
and pierce me through my heart.
I can flee what I can see
before it kills me, but I distrust
senses that twitch at the wind.
They cannot discern dreams from reality.
I mistake strangers for soulmates
because of a nostalgic fragrance,
but if I actually saw through the glamour,
I would see nobody I knew or ever would.
I would walk through the fog
and open the door to a greater battle,
one that I could actually win,
because I trained all my life for this.
Not for love, but to win.

Dickinson on Apple TV+

Emily Dickinson is back, bitches!
Exclusively on Apple TV+
for only five dollars per month or free
with the purchase of a new Mac or iPhone.
Fuck the Mandalorian and the Simpsons
beckoning us from inside the mouse house.
It’s a trap that will break your back once you step through.
Neither have been good for decades,
and the live-action Lady and the Tramp
is a piss-poor imitation of classic animation.
The Little Mermaid looks good, but that’s free on ABC.
I will not stop for Mickey, though he kindly stops for me.
His carriage has horses but no wheels
and travels in circles with the merry-go-round.
Fast, but always returning to where we started,
stuck in the past chasing after plastic figures
printed from the same mold. Some silver, some gold,
all cheap and unable to stand on their own.
The castle deteriorates. The theme parks fall apart.
The honeymoon approaches dawn.
Change the channel and support real poetry
in Dickinson, played by Hailee Steinfeld,
featuring Wiz Khalifa as death.
Let the past die. Kill it if you must.
No more bad live action remakes.
Embrace something new. Apple TV+.