Fear and Living (Live In 4-D)

You might look good
When you’re on paper
But paper tigers don’t
Get fed from the table
So keep your eyes sharp
If you’re able
And don’t turn your back
In the field like Abel
‘Cause brothers love
Taking people out
Trust is an illusion
Erase all your doubts
Try to learn
What this game is about
Life gives you one Hit Point
For the bout
And taking shelter
Will not be allowed
Naps get disturbed
By every noise I’ve heard
Because they built our homes
Like hollow boxes
Every day a different smell
That may be toxic
Though I’ve got no choice
About dozing
It feels just as scary
As leaving my doors open

I got a knock on the door
As I’m dreaming
It’s three a.m.
Do my ears now deceive, then?
There’s a lone cop
Outside my apartment
Open it or not,
I might still be shot, and
I’m also there
In my underwear,
And I almost forgot
Because I was that scared
Turns out
They were at the wrong place
But I saw her reaching
For the piece and now I’m shaken
It could be that easy
To be taken
From this earthly plane and
All from a mistaken
Address,
And how such easy access
To the power to end life
Exists is madness
I want to give
The benefit of the doubt
When I’m in my own shoes
I find myself without it

I’m not here
With a social message
I’m not the type of person
To give the life lessons
But what I said above–
A true story
I’ll never know how many
Close calls before me
I feel worse
For my son, though
I gave him a life
In a world where the gun votes
And all opposed
Never get a second option
Daring to hope
Gets you holes from a shotgun
And then you’re dead and forgotten
A name on a plaque
As your skin’s turning rotten
If you can read this,
You’re still here
But the bad news is
That you’re living in some fear
Can’t fight, can’t run
Can’t talk
If you go a little mad
Then I can’t say it’s your fault
Because this world is a tin
Full of mixed nuts
Nobody wins
Very few get what they want
And life should have a sign
Out front:
Better luck next time
Sorry–it’s your last one

 

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Short Story: The Tack #1 – Finale

 

I entered the laboratory cautiously, wary of an ambush. But there was no sign of anyone.

Except him.

With his back turned to me, Ron showed a casual, chilling unconcern. It tainted the air, a sharp antiseptic even through the mask’s filter.
Everything done led to this moment. Friends, standing with a world between us. A curious reversal, that his perfectly white lab coat contrasts with my darkened defense suit. The villain standing in light and the hero living in darkness.
But darkness is just the space between lights, merely the bridge meant to carry us towards it. I see that now. Though it is a long path, to reach the light, it should be. Endurance is how we achieve justice.
The sound of my footfalls fills the room. The hum of electrical current. The muted city traffic far below.
“Join me,” Ron says, without so much as a fraction of a reaction to my arrival. “You should see.”
I can barely conceal my anger. “Is this the part where you explain your scheme of world domination?”
“It bears no explanation. Look below us, my friend–”
“FRIEND!” My outburst, not a question but a condemnation of the term, carried a near echo. “You killed my wife. You killed my father. You have murdered thousands with your empire.”
“Is this the part where you recount my sins, o judge and executioner?” He remained unperturbed. “I know them all too well. I remember every death. Can you do that?”
I find my rage carrying my feet closer as he continues to talk. “Even now, your memory of the faded and failing marriage degrades, is romanticized into something it never was. Your father neglected you in the name of revenge, and a great many pointless aggravated assaults. Yet you would defend them? Seek to avenge them?”
I slowed my approach. I can’t let him anger me. He wants me teetering over the abyss. “Some of us don’t do vengeance. Some of us learned to live without it.” I take my mask off. There’s little point to it now. “I’m not my father. And you are not his son.   Your father–”
“Gave birth to my father.” He finally turned to look at me, solemn and calculating. I felt unsettled all of a sudden. “My father gave birth to my creator, which in turn created me. No matter. You’re here to stop me from ‘world domination’, I’m here to explain to you that you can’t. And you can’t, you see. I’m already in control of much of the world’s economy, its most powerful leaders. I provide sustenance for billions of people. And I can extinguish them. This process started long before you entered those doors. I needn’t go into further detail, save to say that a healthy percentage of mankind will shortly die. As they ought to.”
“Then why haven’t you killed me yet?”
“You know why. Surely you’ve deduced it by now, or I’ve overestimated you.”
He looked at me, and a trace of the young man I once knew gleamed in those eyes again. I suddenly felt sick inside. “You wanted me to join you.” I bent over, as if the wind had been knocked out of me. “All this death…all to persuade me?”
“Yes. All for your sake.”
“Why?”
“Because you had to suffer firsthand, the grieving of widows, orphans…the loss of brethren.”
“What does that mean?” I trembled with rage. “You were just a kid, you couldn’t have!”
“Of course not. But someone else could have, if properly persuaded. Willis died as the first martyr of our great cause, Kenneth. Your wife was the last. And you, now forged by the fiery wounds inflicted, will stand with me to create a world where none of this happens again. To anyone. Ever.
“No young husband should ever have to hold his dying wife in his arms and see what this world does to the pure and the innocent. No brother should witness an assassination of his own flesh and blood. No son should bury his father so soon. These are the futures we create.”
“Illness,” I groaned as my hands wrapped around his throat. “Why should killing you be wrong at all?”
“It’s not what it would do to me,” he said, “but what it would do to you.”
“Make me feel a whole lot better?”
“You’ll do the same as I, one day, and ask yourself: why stop here? Why is this too far, and not far enough? You think I’m the only monster in the menagerie?”
I growl and squeeze his throat harder. He merely smiles at me, his skin turning red as his circulation slows. “Ash it wash my father,” he gags, “youshallbemyshon…”
I tip over, into the abyss. And then I grab hold of the edge again, loosening my grip. “I’ll not make another murderer.”
“Ah, but you will. You just did. How many more lives are worth your conscience, Kenneth? Are you really so sacred that you would sacrifice these people to yourself? You should be killing me on the idea that it might make a difference, even if it didn’t. We both know it. So do it. Kill your conscience, and save this world you would protect.”
“You’ll get three squares a day, a padded cell, and the world will retain its billions of people. Because that’s not the man I am.” I released my grip on him. “Your plan will be unraveled. Your people locked away and disarmed. Your drugs destroyed, your diseases purged from the innocent. And you will face justice. These things, I promise.
“This day, and all days, I will be a thorn in your side. I’ll save this world from men like you.”
Ron felt the back of his neck, sensed the difference. “What–?”
“The nanites your father injected you with. Or however it happened. A sonic frequency combined with a near-undetectable electrical impulse can shut them down. You have nothing to fight with. And you, like most men like you, value your own life above any so-called plan to save mankind.”
The spotlight of a police helicopter shone brightly in the window. “THIS IS THE POLICE! PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEADS AND SURRENDER IMMEDIATELY, OR YOU WILL BE FIRED UPON!”
Ron knelt down and put his hands on his head. I followed suit. Tactical teams wearing biohazard suits swarmed into the laboratory, fanning out, their heavy weapons trained on us both.
Ron laughed. “Well, look at that. You can always count on the police.” He turned and looked up at them as two police yanked his arms behind his back to put the handcuffs on. “Will there be room for two, by any chance? My friend and I are staying the weekend.”
As the police put handcuffs on me as well, I blew out a breath of frustration. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

 

Commentary:

No idea if anyone actually read this, but it’s one possible ending to a superhero story I’ve been bouncing around in my head for awhile.  I don’t think I’ve got the tone right, and I feel like I made the bottom drop out of it at the end, but it’s a start.  I particularly wanted to have the first half of the story feel like a typical gritty detective story, and the second half turn the whole concept on its ear, and not have a fight as the finale.  I’m still working out how I would do that, but I just wanted to write again and I went with what came to mind this time.

The Hermit–An Unexpected Rhyming

My life was nice like the first chapter
Of a book
There and Back Again
Not much was happening
Life was like a
Box of chocolates–
‘Cause I know what I like
They were all the same type
And
There was peace
Never needing to speak
It was okay–
I concede being least
Had a moment of need
To disagree
Turned into a decade
Of people missing me
Shortly after
Emotional distance
Never let me get past
Cognitive dissonance
And all the hurt could
Get lost like Mirkwood
Lived under curse
Without cause, I did good
Gave up
A lot of things I could’ve done
Made up
When I really thought I should’ve run
Now the trail of fear
Is ahead of me
Nothing feels clear
Will it get the best of me?

My head hits the desk
Before it gets to rest
And disinterest
Replaced the obsession
In the mirror I see
My trangressions
Still there’s forgiveness
From the learned lessons
History doesn’t work
In our favor
The good we do now
Will be forgotten later
Not much incentive
For behavior
When the rules are
Abandoned by betrayers
But the world
Doesn’t owe me any favors
That’s just the nature
Of life’s many flavors
Sometimes it’s bittersweet
Sour and incomplete
Sometimes it’s salty
Jacked up and faulty
I’ll never forget
That night she called me
Told me some things
I found quite appalling
But I’ve got to move
Past her now
Because time didn’t slow
It’s moving much faster now
Feels like
Life is halfway done
And we run the clock out
At the point of a gun

I’m still reeling
Don’t know what to feel and
I can’t relate it
Can’t even reveal it
So much gone now
And so little finished
Still find my life goals
Close to the beginning
Stories started and plotted
Then abandoned
My family’s gone
Because I took them for granted
I didn’t see my son’s
First day of school
Hurts me so bad
I don’t know what to do
And it’s a desperate search
For how to cope
In the darkest of shadows
There’s some kind of hope
And I don’t know
How the story ends
“Happily ever after”
To “Let’s just be friends”
And sometimes
I want to be like Hosea
Go get her back
And forgive the failures
And other times
I want to be a player
But I was never in the game
So I just stay there
In a chair,
And staring at my comics
As if I can ever
Escape all my conflicts
Waiting for my ship
To come sailing
A one-way trip
Away to Grey Havens
Until then
I’m stuck with all the hurt
And hoping for a way
To find what I deserve

 

Brother

Brother
Oh brother
Tell me where art thou?
Tell me where’s your heart now?
Brother
Oh brother
Haven’t you forgot how
We were at the start now?
We cared for
One another
Cheered at every touchdown
Wasn’t that enough now?

I can’t imagine you forgot
You’re everything that I am not
Sorrow is my present lot
The pain inside, it never stops

Brother
Oh, brother
If I was your role model
Then why all the bravado?
Brother
Oh, brother
Now who do you follow?
Some faith that you borrowed?
We cried for
One another
But do you even care now?
‘Cause you aren’t even there now

There was a time
When we were friends
But everything
Must have an end
This message to you
Now I send
You’re everything I wish I’d been

Brother
Oh, brother
Now who will you die for?
Those people that you lie for?
Brother
Oh, brother
Is everything you fight for
Worth what you sacrificed for?
I’m scared for
Every other
When brothers can
Just do this
In the name of being foolish

I’ve never seen my only niece
I find that there is no relief
I buried all my greatest grief
I wonder if you hated me
I’m doing fine
I’m safe and free
There’s nothing you
Could say to me
You’re everything
I tried to be
I failed and you’re
Surviving me

So brother
Go, brother
And do what you are meant for
We’re opposites in this war
So goodbye
Goodbye
Try not to die for them
Or do whatever’s right for them
While I’m grieving you
Grieving you
I’m leaving too
Leaving too
Leaving too

 

Commentary:

I don’t really talk much about my brother, but I was inspired to write this song one morning after a bad dream.  I suppose I’ve buried a lot of the feelings I have about him, for my own sake.  Family has been on my mind more than ever since my wife left me.  I don’t know that I miss my brother.  It’s more of a regret, that no matter how life went, we always managed to be opposites of each other.  I don’t let myself feel, as far as all that goes.  I’ve lost a lot of people I cared about because of religious differences, and I have to live with that.  The only way I can is to not feel as I normally would.  Repression, I suppose.  A poor choice, perhaps, but I had to work with the tools I had inside, not the tools I didn’t have.  So, this was a brief window into the feelings I prefer to keep buried.  Thanks for reading.

Open Mic, 7-12-17

I don’t want
This silence anymore
Until I get
What this moment is for
I think that fully half
Of life is gone
The only thing I have left
Is wrong
All the things I did wrong

On my birthday
All I get are e-mails
From companies
That just want to make sales
I wonder, should
It mean something to me?
I don’t know yet
Of who I am to be
Who am I to be?

I’m lonely here
But no one noticed me
My wife still calls
From deep in Tennessee
My heart is in
A big tail spin away
A garden is
Not meant for withering
It should be growing things

I want someone
To care for me
Tenderly
Be there for me
Intimately
And carefully
Tend the hurts
And share my dreams

Perhaps I’m
Too rough around the edges
And then I’ve
Fallen from too many ledges
In life
Too many regrets and
Too much to forget and
Too much left unsaid that
Led to less fulfillment

One day I’ll leave
And then there’ll be
No one to say these words
I’ll never be
Completely free
Until I’m truly heard

Lonely thirty-something man
Seeks something he can’t understand
Something he can’t really have
A love that for once really lasts
Love
Isn’t that a laugh?

But I think I’ve said
Enough today
I’ll turn around
And walk away

High Society

We’ll shop in the districts, baby
There’s no window shopping cart for me
I’ll drown you in kisses, maybe
I’ll make you see visions, probably
We’re driving my car, dangerous
My heart’s in a race it can’t complete
I’ll make you say, “Baby, yes!
I want you in first place here with me.”

We could live like kings and queens
Just imagine how perfect it would be
And I’ll be your princess,
Your lover, your mistress
High society
With a love like me
You know you’ll never need anything
And I’ll be like Christmas
Your gift wrapped in this dress
High society

I fell asleep on your heart last night
I’m reckless and passionate, it seems
There’s nothing in my life I like
But chasing after the latest things
But you’re my diamonds, baby
With you on my arm I’m sparkling
You might think I’m lying, maybe
But you are the gentleman for me

We could live like kings and queens
Just imagine how perfect it would be
And I’ll be your princess,
Your lover, your mistress
High society
With a love like me
You know you’ll never need anything
And I’ll be like Christmas
Your gift wrapped in this dress
High society

And I still want more
It’s like you opened my double doors
And what you’re waiting for
Is everything you deserved before
You and I will soar
‘Cause you’re the perfect score
I’m loving what’s in store
With you I’m never bored

We could live like kings and queens
Just imagine how perfect it would be
And I’ll be your princess,
Your lover, your mistress
High society
With a love like me
You know you’ll never need anything
And I’ll be like Christmas
Your gift wrapped in this dress
High society

 

Commentary:

I have no idea where this one came from, but it popped into my head so I wrote it down.  I was somewhat thinking of the seductive nature of a credit card, personified, but then it kind of took off from there.  I tried writing from the woman’s point of view this time, obviously a rich woman, unless perhaps that’s symbolic.  You could look at it that way.  I really wanted to write something new, since it felt like I hadn’t posted anything in awhile.  Well, thanks for reading.

Lessons of Love

I have been in love
Yes, more than once
But never found
Just what I want
It’s not in her eyes
Or in a kiss
Now I see there’s
So much more than this
Because love is not
What you can see
It’s about what you
Do really need

Yet love is strong
And I am weak
There’s so much more
For it to teach
I only hope
That I can learn
And this time find
What I deserve

It’s in her voice
And in her laugh
With her I can
Forget the past
When we talk it’s like
Time becomes lost
And nothing else
Is worth my thoughts
It’s about more than
Holding her hand
It’s knowing that
She understands

Yet love is strong
And I am weak
There’s so much more
For it to teach
I only hope
That I can learn
And this time find
What I deserve

So quietly
How love unfolds
As morning dew
Makes flowers grow
When it happens
I suppose I’ll know
And when I do
I’ll tell her so
If the stars will shine
On me this time
I know that I
Will treat her right

Yet love is strong
And I am weak
There’s so much more
For it to teach
I only hope
That I can learn
And this time find
What I deserve

The Greatest Lie

Love is a series
Of stops and starts
Till it stops your heart
Love isn’t really
What you think you’ve got
No, it’s really not
Love is a trick of
The best of you
Then the rest of you
Love is what I’m sick of
An obsession too
How it stresses you

Love is the greatest lie
Of them all
Without it no one would cry
As they fall
Love causes more problems
Than it solves
They say it’s the greatest time
But they’re wrong

Love is a liar
It says, “Listen, here’s
What you want to hear.
Nothing’s required–
Except your life
Everything inside.”
Love is an illness
It poisons you
Tells you what to do
Wish I could kill it
That’s why I’m going to
Be avoiding you

Love is the greatest lie
Of them all
Without it no one would cry
As they fall
Love causes more problems
Than it solves
They say it’s the greatest time
But they’re wrong

Why do I keep coming back to you
When I don’t have the right attitude?
I won’t believe the sweet platitudes
My heart is still chasing after you
I’d rather meet love with my head
So I see the dangers ahead
But all of that’s supposed to be gone
From now on

Love is the greatest lie
Of them all
Without it no one would cry
As they fall
Love causes more problems
Than it solves
They say it’s the greatest time
But they’re wrong

Junk Mail

I’m done with the day
Then I see your name
When I open the mailbox
And it’s back again
Like it was the same
It’s not like I really forgot
My heart is in shreds
And our love is dead
And yet here this envelope torments me
You’re still in my head
The words that you said
But I don’t think you could forgive me
And you decided to set sail
You should have taken all your mail

I almost
Want to forward
Your junk mail
To you
I know it’s
Not a problem
It’s something
To do
I almost
Want to forward
Your junk mail
To you

It gathers in piles
It has for awhile
I guess they never got the message
My heart would go wild
When I saw your smile
And even now I don’t regret it
You changed up the story
Now your territory
Is all uprooted and everywhere
Put yourself before me
And then you destroy me
But maybe in hindsight it’s fair
And you decided to set sail
Without you these walls feel like jail

I almost
Want to forward
Your junk mail
To you
I know it’s
Not a problem
It’s something
To do
I almost
Want to forward
Your junk mail
To you

It’s moments like these that I fail
How love can burn down to the tiniest detail
Why couldn’t they just send e-mail
Instead of leaving me this brokenhearted trail?

I almost
Want to forward
Your junk mail
To you
I know it’s
Not a problem
It’s something
To do
I almost
Want to forward
Your junk mail
To you
To you
To you
I want to forward it
To you
To you
I’d forward your junk mail

 

B.A.S.S. (Bracelets, Armor, Sword and Shield) – inspired by Wonder Woman (2017)

Step to the mic
Sword and shield
The battle will not be fair
So never yield
Great power concealed
In twin bracelets
They never break
So there won’t be replacements
Can’t trust in men
We’ll stay safer here
Never let ’em in
That rule is very clear
Like our water
Keep the isle in order
A man washes up on the shore–
On our borders
Bringing news
Of a Great War
Mankind in danger
Like never before
Only the worthy can
Take the sword
Like Excalibur
One woman has the talent for it

Bracelets
Armor
Sword and Shield
June 2nd
Wonder Woman will be revealed
Waited
So long
Finally it’s real
June 2nd
Wonder Woman will be revealed

Sweep the leg
Like karate, kid
In slow motion
Drop you with a body kick
I stop bullets
With the flick of a wrist
Twice as good so that
No one else is questioning this
So raise your fists
It’s too late for mansplaining
And when the fight ends
It’s Wonder Woman remaining
Relentless
And every night I’m training
A warrior’s gift
Comes from pain that I’m gaining
Achieve mastery
Prevent all catastrophe
Gods in the heavens
And below still mad at me
I take haters
And I’m ready for more
All these keyboard warriors
Aren’t ready for war

Bracelets
Armor
Sword and Shield
June 2nd
Wonder Woman will be revealed
Waited
So long
Finally it’s real
June 2nd
Wonder Woman will be revealed

On June 2nd
I’ll provide the proof
So trust that what I do
Is not decided by you
Hanging my head
At how low they stoop
I disprove you fools
With the Lasso of Truth
Looking like I found
Fountains of youth
‘Cause I’m timeless
Haters realizing I’m finest
Walked away from
A century of horrors
School of Hard Knocks
I graduated with honors
And even scholars
Tell stories so fake
I would know–I was there
I spotted all the mistakes
Man made a world
Where we’re divided
When the foe arrives
They’ll find us united
Before that
It all starts with me
Wonder Woman leads the charge
To the victory
Shall we?

Bracelets
Armor
Sword and Shield
June 2nd
Wonder Woman will be revealed
Waited
So long
Finally it’s real
June 2nd
Wonder Woman will be revealed