7; My American Nightmare I

7.1

The near to distant future is glaring in my eyes,
with the glimmer in my irises
as I look at high horizons.
While the sun is setting on this day
and is rising on my night.
As broad as mountains, the near to distant future,
spread out in its fullness just before me,
still here I sit.

For it is not just one event which I am grappling with, no,
I stare through to the end, with restless legs,
impatient.
Wanting to vault the steps which would make it manifest
and suspect that one decision now
could settle all the rest.

And I attempt to still my nervous jerks this way and that,
my jittery hands…
the gap seeming as if
it’s getting greater as I mind it.
Ominous skies impose upon my retinas,
vacantly my pupils skitter about the clouds…
I look around, but am not certain of what I’m looking for,
or at.

And I entertain a doubt or two,
but in truth I’ll say it’s seized me by the soul.
And say I know which way my heart would choose,
but something’s markedly unsure.

7.2

On the void at the edge of “life”, those already inside
tell me theirs is the lead I should let be my guide.
So I linger at the precipice,
seeking to find some way they missed,
waiting for the void to split an inch
and give its blessing.
But the moment now is nearing
and I must make a decision.
Crucial at this crossroads, o if if I had the vision
of the best possible living.
Conscience calling not to give in, and I would gladly stay
but they’re urging so my presence.
Say I should go with them, say my welcome’s well worn out,
that home’s not one I grew up in.

7.3

What now? Now…I wait for a send. There is no sign
discernible enough for me
to make the kind of judgment appropriate or accurate
for a situation such as this.
This is as new to me as it is to you,
and I would no doubt misread the sign
unless it came at me directly.
So now I wait for word. For I’m ready to go, or ready to go
a different way, another way; the pieces,
aright, after all these years, are in place,
with people I don’t really trust,
and the processes have already begun.
But I am stuck here indoors, on guard,
until a simple “yes” or “no”,
or a letter full of questions and concerns,
or a list of the steps to course,
finds me as I am.

About all else I can do for now is pace, or sit, or pace, or sit;
or sleep…like shit. And wake in night
alone again, or watch, affixed
the sun, my eyes: its set, there on the adjacent bank
of the river of my sacrament.
Day by day this dragging on of hope, or even faith,
is thinning out my psyche…
and I admit that I’m afraid to think of what will happen to me
if what I gave away this time
is rejected or refused.

7.4

‘We’ll see’ is the phrase
I’ve been saying more than any other these days.
The most ‘at a loss’ I’ve ever been
about what’s going to happen with my life.
Trying not to flee the anxiousness
any more than I already have…
closing the blinds just to sit with it a while, away from day,
dimming the sunlight.
My eyes stray, looking at things,
but thinking of other things…
how I may have colored outside of the lines of truth,
and whether or not I traced them right.

7.5

I’ve been too long by now alone in it
to know just how much I’ve withheld,
and how much I could truly give.
And wish I could just live
within the eyes of others,
and not be left dead at and in the distance
which has only gotten further
than it ever was before.

7.6

I must sit here and, or for to, write through,
or with, these tremendous anxiousnesses…
write anything,
when it stills me more than medication.
And go on filling up more pages
with almost empty content,
with not much here needing to be said,
for I think I ought to say it there.

But I have said, and said enough?
or was it really that I said too much…?
I hadn’t thought of such a thing
as being too forthright or honest.

And I scour books
which don’t seem to lend themselves to me
so easily anymore.
Ominous or imposing, intimidating to my soul;
tormented, even terrorized, not to lethargy,
but stupor.

And I cannot shut out their voices,
degrading me with noises,
from people
who will never come
to know of me in person.

7.7

Cornered, so I closed the curtains
so I could hear them.

Startled, so I shut my eyes
to listen.

For when my eyes were open,
my ears drew back defensive…

their gestures
threatened.

7.8

The music is loud
to drown out the sounds
of the voices arising to mind…
where has gone the solitude
in which I am at home?
Spoken at, or about, but never really to,
and so,
I cannot stem the viciousness
that’s been clawing at my psyche.

Listen: they are behind the words,
not in or with them.
And I can only vaguely hear that which is spoken
through that which is said or sung.
But there, it’s there: their voice, a voice,
behind, but also after
and before,
and above, beside, below.
And it is present, but only just:
faintness, from a distance…
the noises which can say enough,
the screams and incantations, the rote
of ritual observances…
and the spontaneity I suspected
was somewhere there within them all along…
if even only stifled.

7.9

I heard a stir behind closed doors
of conniving toward I know not what
or even why I’d be involved
in someone else’s plots.
Yet still my voice, unheard,
is shunned or blocked at every turn,
and I no longer know whether or not
it’s safe to speak aloud indoors
without my being heard.

I sense some camera’s keeping watch,
implanted somewhere in the walls
by those who seem to hold a grudge,
or those who are just bored enough
to make a show of what I’ve done.

And it’s no doubt become irksome
being stalked for information,
or dissuaded from the places
where I once felt most at home.
And I know I’m tender-hearted, sure,
and have my foolish moments,
but have been around enough by now
my heart’s becoming closed…
business nearly has it broken
and mine doesn’t have much left in store.

7.10

Dispirited, utterly, and rather discouraged. To think
that something I’ve been working toward
might not work out.
Something I’ve put so much energy into,
to not be brought to life, and for me to be left with
unfinished projects, and failed ventures.
For the way I’ve been making,
and the path I’ve been following,
to be suddenly blocked, with some sense, this time,
of its finality, of its being at an impasse,
and for me to have to go one of the other ways
I’ve been avoiding…
saps me of vitality.

To think that when I think, I think of this. To think
my hope has gone from me completely, or to think
I’m so confused and overwhelmed by the prospects
that I’ll succumb to the despair
toggling with my confidence
and give up entirely on the kind of life I envisioned
however many years ago
and have been busily making manifest.
Only to have touched, but not to have attained to.

And yet, it is freeing, I suppose, in a way, as well, to think
this might be so.
To put these back-to-back mistakes behind me
and move on.

7.11

I was run out of the towns,
both here, in this one, and there,
in the one I was making myself out to be
prepared for, to step a foot in
and enter into as an equal.
Now the net, too, makes me anxious,
for that has been ground-zero
for the attack upon my psyche
(or in other words, my soul)
one too many times for me
to feel that much at ease with.
And I’m stuck here for now with myself without love,
a bunch of books and a word processing program
and so on and so forth, a sunrise and sunset
and a goal
to not let down the world…
and to not break the promises I’ve made, both to myself
and them. I’ve finally gotten rest, but still
this wait is wearing me thin enough
that the friction’s starting sparks
upon the carpet I’ve been pacing on.

7.12

My feet are numb from pacing,
my soul is dry from writing,
and I am inside dying
to live to see the day.

7.13

There seems no other way than to continue on this course
and walk through its thickets with hope
it lets me out of spurs and thorns…
which shoot into my feet, and stick into my socks,
and scratch around my ankles
and catch my denim at its taper.

Alas it is so yes, no other avenue at which I’d look and feel
more warmly welcomed than this alleyway flanking
the main streets of the downtown of the world…
with its dirty patchy pavement and grimy unwashed red brick
walls, behind the storefronts selling liquor,
where the clerks step back for smokes.

7.14

And I cannot get to sleep so simply in these nights,
for that same dream recurring since my youngest self:
Laying on the lawn in a heavy rain, my back against the grass,
at the first house I grew up in.
Body begins to rise toward the sky,
the water’s running off my skin
in what seemed like a lift, a weightlessness.
Arms sprawled out to the side, hanging as loosely as my legs,
as I ascend for some time, high into the open airs,
head not turning, face seized skyward.
Neglecting left and right, straight up into the gray mass,
a dark matter…breathing in, and
fall, let go? not sure.
Back first toward the ground, breathing out,
ligaments draw upward, spine curves,
head bows forward.
Fell, or let go? Hit the ground,
leaving a concave mark in the earth.
Looking up, rainwater tapping on my irises
and casting blurs over my pupils.
I don’t recall ever reaching whatever it was
that was drawing me up,
or if it was even anything at all.

Then I will fall to earth, again, once more,
after my being drawn toward these ominous skies,
so full of saturation.
For by now whatever it was that’s been drawing me forth
has let me go so often that my indentation in the dirt
is almost through the crust.
So close I’ve come before, enough that turbulences shake me,
but still I’ve not yet made it
over through the weathering.
It wears me to be so within reach
and yet be dropped again,
and feel my back colliding with the grass.
I can’t tell if there’s some invisible cord I’m supposed to grab
and lift myself the rest of the way
into the upper atmosphere.

7.15

Held up in this room now used for storage,
where a peninsula has formed from my unmade bed
someone else has slept in,
and likely slept with someone else in.
Where I’ve laid awake, listening:
the household full of family friends, again,
voices, not just in mind.
Pierces of laughter through the music never paused,
and another sleepless night
on the near-side of alone.

7.16

Melancholy. Homesick, but always home.
And I’ve been drinking everyday, and most days, all day.

There were wide horizons once,
now there’s only what’s in front of me:
a blank page and a blinking line.

It’s come my time to speak. My heart beats against my drums,
and I’m getting quite light-headed
as it fills itself with air.
My hands shake, I hold onto the desk.

My eyes are laying in a bed, the blanket is a page.
My dreams aren’t remembered. I don’t wash the blankets.

Empty stare. What a bustle
I look through.
Home is behind them,
music’s in my ears.
Leaves are sticking to my shoes,
and my socks are wet.

The lighting is dull, the room is lonely…
at least I’m alone.
I eat a salad on the edge of my bed,
the bed is in the kitchen, where the table used to be.

It’s Friday night. Music and chatter
from the bars up the street,
and the house parties down the street,
and the people passing by. I wonder and try to sleep.
The streetlights beam through the bends in the metal blinds.

7.17

Could be for the better though,
for my sake, yes,
but morely so for theirs, for sure…
for I can’t yet see “the brighter side” on my end for all this
anxiousness
which seizes me to be inside.

And I’ve gone lost, and ‘losing hope by now
in just about all others but myself…
and ‘guarded,
but attentive
to the currents passing by these pixels…
one by one they go, and my heart is here, again, alone,
like very nearly every other time.

7.18

Lightning strikes at midnight
all along the mountains,
the storms are on again,
these hills are in upheaval…
this home is strong but shaking,
my soul is inside blazing
again in facing its distresses.

7.19; A Part Apart

Considering myself a part of,
and yet for so long I’ve been apart from.
It’s almost as if half of me is missing,
or as if I have been living in two places all at once.
It’s still here in the dark. I’ve gone so far outside myself
that I can’t shut off the possible-thoughts
others might have when sensing my soul…
having gone and given so many bits of it all
to the world at large.
I am here, staying put,
but my regards are straying to various places…
so many voices,
I no longer can so easily discern my own
among the rest.
I have to speak aloud
to hear my self…
but even this is not enough
to keep for long within first-person.
My pronouns drift to “he’s”, and “it’s”, depending
on whether it is my self or my works
to which is referred.
And I have gone beyond myself or beside theirs:
eavesdropping on hearsay and gossip
about someone who I don’t know if I resemble
at all or all that much anymore.

7.20

They start and do not stop, they stop and don’t return,
when I answer or I ask;
they return in their own time.
Another comes again, another reader I suspect?
I sense perceiving me through text
that sits there just before them.

I pace or lay through night and day,
I fidget in my seat. I wait
and here’s another word
which comes to mind…
from them, or me, I know no longer which
is which. My friend
has fled, and beside them
not a single one
is around to lend a hand.

And I no longer leave my den
to reach them there…
afraid, I am well hid within,
but now
I’d rather be with them.

7.21

They cut the grass
and pile the leaves.

7.22

The hawk flies to a tree,
I hear a screech,
and see a fall.
My walks have not been calm these days of late;
they are ridden with an anxiousness…
they are full with thoughts of home
being invaded…
and it’s now become as if
I’m not quite where I should be,
even on my dailies only five minutes away.
I make it partly through and turn around,
doubling my pace just to get back that much faster.

And I don’t pray these days,
but still commune.
I can barely seem to think anymore
about anything other than horrible things happening
to myself, or someone I love.

And it’s midnight in my psyche
these thoughts are dark I know.
And I wish that I could write about something else,
and thus then give you something more than this…
but my method has become a madness.

Night, no longer standing-in here for
the eerie hush over things all.
Night’s now too with shots and sirens,
with explosions and with silence…
from out of which come voices,
and this is not a joke.

And I think some have mistook me
for the one who made it up.

7.23

Have patience, and faith,
give thanks,
through these:
our days of tribulation.

7.24

Exploring the great indoors,
during these late night writes
of a psyche finally freed.
Given over early
to the nature
which consumes me.
Where I am of,
but not yet in,
the world.

7.25

It would be nice to be again unknown, the things I’ve said,
not left in anybody’s memory, my face,
unrecognizable, unnamed,
my figure, mysterious.
The void has been filled,
content goes, for some,
with form;
I mean something to these.
Maybe why I’ve gone to working through night:
so as to not be regarded for a while,
so as to not be thought of as anything,
so as to not be thought of at all.
But absence raises questions…my goal has failed.

7.26

I attempted to belong, and found it that I couldn’t.
I was the wash out with the tides.
I was the rotted plank which needed to be replaced.

That kid’s a piece of work!
That kid’s a brooding storm!

He should have stayed in church…
he’s always staying home.

We put up a facade, you’ll never know who we are.
We hide ourselves in your blind spots.
We are the air in your lungs.
We are the pulse of your heart.
We are the synapses in your brain.
We are the electricity signaling you to go.
We are the spark, but not the burn.

You are not who I thought you were.
“You were the one who broke things.”

You are not who I thought you were.
“You were the one with a plan.”

7.27

I don’t bring much of myself along when I go out into public:
an empty husk
which you fill up
while my soul’s hovering around the environs.

And you don’t see me there above you in the rafters:
the puppeteer, pulling the strings,
both those you think are on me
and those you didn’t know existed.

And barely do you hear me underneath your firm foundations:
a poltergeist
making noises
from the basement
of the established.

But do not look for me in rafters,
do not look for me beneath your feet,
do not look for me behind your forehead
for it will only suite your fancy,
and I hide myself beyond ‘hello’.

7.28

Power out…
Barista 1: “What do we do?”
Barista 2: “Well…nothing”.

7.29

Making room for the muses to move me,
if they should choose to do so.
Waiting in the dark at night
for a summons
from the nether realm or the ether regions:
spirits! wisp before me and I start,
staring down the hall
is there something there I cannot see?
which can see me…
some creature, staring back at me from the other side.

Is there something in the rooms
waiting for me too,
to walk in unawares
and sleep there while it stares?
I hear the floorboards creaking,
I hear a gentle scratching,
I hear an eerie tapping on the thin white wooden walls.
I hear a subtle breathing, see orange eyes,
teeth and claws…

see the deathbed and the birthright,
see the letters and the laws.

7.30

I must sit here and, or for to, write through, or with,
these tremendous anxiousnesses
write anything, when it stills me more than medication.

And I’ll fill up more pages with almost empty content,
with not much here needing to be said
for I ought to say it there.

But I have said, and said enough? or was what I said too much?
I hadn’t thought of such a thing
as being too forthright or honest.

And I scour books
which do not lend themselves to me
so easy anymore.

Ominous or imposing, intimidating my timid side of soul
tormented, perhaps terrorized, not to lethargy,
but stupor.

For I cannot shut out their voices,
degrading me with noises
from people who will never come to know of me in person.

7.31

We are heavy-hearted, but we are not yet hard-hearted,
though at times I wish it were so
for it seems you get further along
in having less attachments.
In being so detached, I wrote before, too much,
and it outran me, or
ran me into thickets
before I knew what was going on.
And I freed myself from them only
to find myself floating
barely conscious of where I was going
or what I was doing there at all.
The nothingness, no,
the meaninglessness,
my turning nihilistic
generations after it had gone so out of fashion…
always too late,
always too early,
and always ever out of place,
and surely always yearning.
And filling this void in which I’m floating
with stuff.

7.32

I’m already on a walk before it starts,
there, on the dirt and earth and asphalt
my soul yearns
to be outdoors
with the pine trees and the oaks
and the flowers and the brush…
for these insides haven’t spoken a word to me
in months,
and out there I can speak aloud,
and mutter to myself,
and guess that trees and plants have heard things
no one else has, yet.
Expressing thoughts with my hands, my fingers
and my palms open and close,
releasing the energies of my experience as I pass,
leaving footprints in the dirt, and dirt-prints
on the asphalt.
And gravel from the road
wedges itself in the furrows of my soles,
goes falling off my shoes
from the friction underfoot.

The trees sing in the breeze
in a language my ears cannot yet understand.

7.33

The gravedigger’s been busy:
six feet of earth each:
for God, humanity, history, art, and the author…

the funerals were set for Sunday
but the hearses arrived empty…

the crowd seemed rather displeased.

7.34

The index finger I once felt to be nearly touching mine
has portaled elsewhere with the rest of the body
of which it was a part.

And I am alone in a painting
that’s been on a ceiling for centuries.

Generations have come and gone as I look off,
seemingly indifferent,
but I am not:

I have turned my head to hear them,
I have laid back for to listen
to the murmurs of processions,
and the shuffling of feet,
and to the awe and solemn incantations
and what’s there buried underneath.