Life lacks sense without fantasy.
Take me back to my virtual reality.
Crushes and dreams empower me
more than past friends and family,
obligations that burden each day.
Held down to the dirt by gravity,
I reach through glass for an escape.
New love born of old lusts,
new life molded from dusts,
Out-of-body, in my own head,
I live a dead life and embrace
rebirth in virtual reality.
Life lacks sense without fantasy.
The twilight ahead me hid your face.
I saw my reflection in your place,
a burgeoning burden, future omen,
Cold War brewing each day.
I gifted distance as a grace.
I misread your response. Filled in the blanks
with the words I told others at your age,
but you are not the same.
Neither a broken branch nor a fallen seed,
you exist apart from me. I see shadows
I interpret as the battles
I fought at your age. I built walls to escape.
They grew between us through cracks left unfilled.
If I destroy them, will you build one of your own?
Blame it on the past that preceded your presence.
Blame it on the plague, but you are not sick.
Blame it on premonitions that I push you away,
but only I fulfill that prophecy. You are not the same.
I wipe the fog I mistook for a mirror
and see your face unblemished by my own.
I feel like I’m Frieza, a natural prodigy,
untrained but willing to change.
Sometimes a spark convinces me I can overcome
the gods if only my heart would beat again,
but no battle brings me alive. No world entices me.
I languish in hell in wait of an escape,
a wish I still take for granted. I said the words
to manifest my dreams into reality,
but the universe never understands me.
I wander the world a ghost trapped
between two dimensions and tangents.
Even if I possessed all the strength in the world,
lost in another dimension, I slip through, cracked.
Bring me back from the dead, I beg you.
I’ve grown so cold, but with you by my side,
I would transform. I would shine solid gold.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.