Solastalgia

Envy paints me like a forest;

lush and vast and green

Sadness blues my skeleton

from buried bone to glacier creek

And nothing

congregates the masses like carnage

fusing into bile brown

It smells of death

but to them

it looks like love


via Daily Prompt: Planet

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The people here walk too apace for me,
abetted by each other in their snarls and growls.
Or, maybe that’s the animals; but then, what’s the difference?
They all show their teeth to deter full-moon howls.

The people here favor speed over accuracy,
bowing down to high-grade epoxies and temporary fixes.
But the issue lies deep in their tissue and cheekbones:
It’s all been contoured by Photoshop and adapted from pixels.

The people here are skipping steps on their way up;
They’re missing milestones and breaking news, technological advances.
But they’re still somehow measuring the hour with their pay grade,
because nothing moves forward quite like urban expanses.

The people here are staring unabashedly at me.
They’ll be out for my blood until I’m drained of all my assets.
And if I’m just like them, then I’m just like them; it’s no surprise.
But I’ll confine the traits that liken me to just a single facet.

The people here were trained to stick in upper-class arrogance.
It’s not as if you can take the money from the man.
I have found it’s easier to survive if you say you’re simply passing through,
than it would be to invest in property on their land.

The people here are so much like each other;
swinging double-edged swords around with a lack of finesse.
They pollute with their profanity and singe with their tongues;
they march around with noses up,
with hazy heads,
with loaded guns.

A Few (876) Words On Sexuality and Self-Discovery

I went to the post office yesterday and noticed that they now offer Harvey Milk themed postage stamps. Maybe they have for a while; I don’t know. I rarely go to the post office because I rarely send packages, because I don’t have any friends.

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I’m kidding.

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Half kidding.

Okay, I’m done with that.

We’ve been progressively prying our minds open wider and wider in favor of same-sex marriage for years. Earlier today, this wonderful little bit of news popped up in my Facebook newsfeed:

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Way to go, Fourth Circuit! Blue and yellow have slowly but surely been wiping the board across the country over what once was red. I hope I live to see the day when same-sex marriage is so common that it’s naturally accepted, much like interracial marriage has become.

But that begs the question: Why is sexuality such a prominent thing in our lives? People assign a public label to the most personal human capacities. What’s more is that society places a label of importance on them, as well. This has led us to believe that we have to exhibit perfection in every aspect of our personal lives for the sake of the opinions of others.

If you aren’t a size 0, you’re urged to cover up, because somebody might not like it.

If you’re not white, you’d better not move into a predominantly white neighborhood, because somebody might not like it.

If you’re a practicing Christian, take note to use discretion when you go out to spread the word, because somebody might not like it.

Similarly, if you’re not straight, you really should take caution while publicly displaying affection with your partner, because somebody might not like it.

No matter the circumstance, whatever you do, whoever you are, whoever you love, somebody might not like it. This ‘somebody’ always seems to take precedence over your own convictions. This world is far too caught up in other people’s business; that’s why tabloids are so wildly successful. I can’t speak for other countries, but Americans are too eager to learn what goes on in the bedroom of celebrity couples, or which famous person has been charged with tax evasion, or which celebrity chef may or may not be plagiarizing recipes. And it’s all the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever witnessed.

That’s why the ‘issues’ of same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, or age disparity in relationships are even considered issues. They really aren’t problematic. The people are problematic. They cause more roadblocks on the way to personal happiness and contentment than anything else on the planet. They’re concerned more with preventing other people from doing things that go against their personal beliefs.

There’s a proverb that suggests to live and let live. So why can’t we do that? Let other people do what they want. Remember that what you believe in isn’t what everybody believes in, and that’s OK. That’s what makes this world beautiful: it’s a gargantuan melting pot of colors, sizes, shapes, cultures, languages, belief systems, lifestyles, and practices. I’d rather recognize the beauty in the difference than fight for unanimity.

Ever heard of the Self Evident Truths project by iO Tillet Wright? Check out this video:


 

Whatever rules you live by, please be aware that the same rules do not apply to everyone. If you’re a strict vegan and don’t ingest any sort of animal byproduct, that’s absolutely and 100% fine. But your neighbor might not feel the same. Your parents and siblings might not, either. As long as they support you, what does it matter if they don’t share in your convictions? I know how easy it is to be so passionate about something that you just want to spread it around. Excitement is infectious, this much is true, but don’t be disappointed or feel obligated to ‘convert’ other people to your side.

Going back to the prevalence of sexuality, I tend to feel that too much emphasis is put on sexual preference. To explain further, I don’t consider myself a gay man. I’m simply a man who happens to be gay. Sexuality is a single facet among thousands of others. There’s no need to treat it as some outstanding anomaly; treat it as you would anything else. Who you love does not define you; there’s no reason to accentuate it. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have pride or that you should hide it, however. That’s also not to say that your right to marry shouldn’t be fought for. Press on, and the battle will be won. It’s sad that it’s become a dangling carrot, of sorts.

But being anything other than straight is a mere part of who you are- it isn’t all that you are. On a broader scale, there are so many layers and complexities to every human being that it’s impossible to define by a single attribute. You can pick and choose which aspects of your life you want to represent you, but it’s counterproductive to try to define yourself. To define would be to squeeze inside a box, and we thrive best outside of it.

Do whatever makes your heart content; so long as you are kind, the rest shouldn’t matter.

Be who you want to be. Know that you’re limitless. Preach love, not hate.

An Open Letter to a Nondescript Entity

You

whom I’ve not yet met

Where will you be 
the day you’re to meet me
at eleven
but will not
show up?

Who else
will you be you loving?

Who will be
catching your eye
over the counter
at a greasy
time-sensitive 
oil-glazed bodega
at the corner of 
dalliance
and indiscretion?

Who else
will you be
defaming
under the shroud
of the canopy?

Whose sheets
will you be staining 
beyond 
repair, and
whose screen door
will you carelessly
leave
ajar
allowing the household
cat to
escape? 

The guilt
you should foster
will evade
your ego
which will have gotten
its boost
the night before
from a shadow
on 
the 400 block

Whose palms
will you be burning
with matches
you weren’t 
supposed
to have access to
on the day
of your determinative 
bar exam?

What else
will you be learning?

Your ability
to empathize
will be
latent 
but the sprout 
may wilt
before reaching
maturity 
and you won’t
be able
to cry with
your family 
when the youngest
is to die
prematurely

Whose history
will you be rewriting
to better suit
your own? 

Who will
have called you
in the wee hours
of the morning
just to weep
at the sham
of the life
you’ll have been living? 

To whom
will you owe restitution?

To whom
will you owe money?

To whom 
will you owe time?

To whom
will you owe credit 
where credit is due
for your existence?

Will it be 
blood, or
synthesis?

To you
whom I’ve not yet met

Steer clear
of me
and everyone
that I know
at all costs

Six degrees of separation
will be 
too few 

Please,
you’ll know too much
you’ll be too
familiar
you’ll hit 
too close to home

So save me
the expense
and make
your presence scarce
in mine
for the sake
of me
for the sake 
of my life
and of
my future

Much obliged

C’est La Vie

I want out
of my lease on life
It isn’t as glamorous
as it’s shown in the brochures

I’ll pay the early termination fee
if it means
I’ll be less hard-pressed, and a bit
more
free

For all intents and purposes
I’ve been plagued by
constant listlessness
and a thirst for creativity
that’s insatiable in this
stop-go
over-caffeinated
too-slow-moving
often captivated
under-appreciated
unalleviated
headache and
heartache
b-movie scene

Pedestrians on parade
looking to take left-hand turns
but to the left,
there’s no city shade
nothing but
self-activated hand grenades
and past life urns
that were never spilt
over any other body of water
than the blood of a
fallen
brother
who sacrificed himself
for the good
of the salvation
of the upper class wealth
that never did for him
what he
had done
for them
a thousand times over,
and then
another

It’s not that difficult
to relate
if you’d just
broaden your scope
tear your view from
the pennies fallen through the grate
and look up
and look around
but don’t
look
down
because you’re teetering
on a tight rope
and you’ve got choices to make
your family down
below
waiting with bated breath
to see
which route
you’ll take:
will you press on
forward,
or fall
to your death?

The latter
will flatter you,
make you feel
great
since you’ll have died
while you tried
to make the best of
the matter
only sometimes
will you be granted
a new start
a blank slate
because the rent
was too high
and you were often
quite late

So they
canceled your contract
earlier
than you expected
since you were
too inconsistent
to remain
unaffected
and you couldn’t be trusted
to renew
once again

Then your legs
gave way
and you didn’t
even blink
lost your balance
much faster than one
would think
and you smile
because in your head
you know
that you cheated the system
that you left
all you owned
in the sink,
and turned on the garbage disposal
because the melody
reminds you
of the life you’d lived
before

But you got out
of the lease
because ‘c’est la vie’
was a piece
you couldn’t stand to hear
anymore
and the life that you led
wasn’t as glamorous
as it was shown
in the brochures

We Are Nomads

I was raised

with the notion

that mediocrity

is acceptable.

That without

a torque applied,

I’ll sear my mind

on plans unfeasible.

They swore to me

they’d hold my hands

across the bridge

of wood and wool.

That if it shakes,

it’s good to fall.

That else opinions

are void and null.

But in this way

they’ve set me up

to tread on eggshells

in the rough.

The green is better,

but we’re not worthy;

so we feed on what they tell us,

and we live on what we see.

We’ll never know the opulence

or the wealth, or the luxury.

But we are nomads in our dreams,

and that’s all we need, really.

Struggle is no stranger to us;

it casts an unflattering light.

They push their noses up to us;

let down their walls to fuck with us;

say we’re welcome anytime, then

move further from the central line.

We’re ordinary at our best.

Our rivalry has reached its height.

Now it’s time to come to terms

that they are left.

And we

are forced

right.


Photo credit: Ben Heine.

Click here to see the full view and check out his other work.

What Comes Next?

Ink blots
Kumquats
Tell us what you see
Painted in artifice
Bled from saccharine

Look now
In doubt
Intervals at best
Hard shine
Blind eye
Turned to what comes next

What comes next?
What comes next?

Rapport
Cold sore
Bowing skyline
Graced with your presence
Endurance undermined

Is it he
whose name
is sleep-spoken?

Is it he
who projects
the scenes
You dream
upon the foreheads
of the people
you wish
you couldn’t see?

Is it me?
Is it me?