Answers

My mind doesn’t stop wandering, asking questions
I am looking for the answer I want to hear
What the cause could be that I could love somebody
that does not even a little bit love me.

What lesson is supposed to be learned
What confusing tangle what pointless unhappiness
What a waste of a heart’s container and foil
What a spoiled present and unforgiving test.

Is it not love that I close my eyes and see her
Do I not sit well with her, can I not sit there
Am I not the most patient suitor, do I not simply suit her
How can we not be a good match if she is so fiery, I so easy to burn
Can’t she see that fire can’t kill me, kill this mind, this heart, these eyes, my memory..

But now it sounds like I blame her for not loving me
I shouldn’t blame her but all I feel is blame and shame
I can’t absorb it all, all the worst ideas and thoughts and selfish prayers
I have to let them go, I have to hurl them away from me because they hurt, she is so far away the only thing that reaches her are shouts, no kindness, or well-wishes and no gratitude, what a joke, what of justice, isn’t the law of love unbreakable?

What is the answer?

Then I must conclude that this is not love but obsession. Will she be at the end of the last verse, will she be reciting beautiful language?
No, she is not at the end, in fact she is only at the beginning of it all but
I myself cannot mark the date of the first planted tree that stretched for the rain
The strengthening sensation of touch the desire to be content and alive. The seconds of long period of time when I felt in my heart, in my soul that I found a person I did not know I was looking for. What was the time? Was it when she called out my name? Was it the first time I really saw her? When I heard her laughing behind me? Was it when I went home? When I got homesick for a place I do not live in?

Do you think I am unwell?

Do you think I need help that I have a condition that I need some air, some sunshine,
Water and time to grow up, no, I’m not the fading rose or wilting leaves because of dried up love. I’m cycling on to the white dandelion holding steady against the wind, knowing that the elements will take me away, knowing that my own self-fulfilling prophecy has doomed me but that my feelings are right and real and will not die.
I believe that my immortal fancies are the immortal flowers. I have never fancied anyone as much as I do now.

I believe that after how we have left off, the chances of us as I hope are not ideal
I even feign confidence, thinking I could knock you on your ass, romantically, of course,
Convincing you that we are meant to be as a unit as common sense as mathematical rule.
What are the chances, what mad idea, how likely is that you like me even a little bit?
How likely is that we are alike enough that the equation can yield, the chemistry needed? What sorcery or science can we study that will turn this lead into gold?
How likely is that we could follow the cliché of growing old together and together when we are old we can act young and create the new cliches?

Here, I am with the simple elaborate fantasy, this plan that makes sense to me. It already feels like purgatory, so I write my sentence away for another chance at our life together. So this is a piece for unfair, fruitless, stubborn infatuation that is inexplicably in the imprint of all people.
Is it not more reasonable to say that truth is unreasonable
that dreams are harsh because they leave people thirsty
That hope is desperate insanity and that love is a biased privilege.

Now I have another question. What should I ask her if I could only ask one question? What is the answer?

Yes, she I could rant about, with she I would laze about, only with she should I travel the world round about, I hope she doesn’t forget about me.
She said something to me in the past that I thought was funny – she called someone beautiful, I was confused – how could my world’s most beautiful person think someone else is beautiful?

O she is perplexing.

Ringmaster

In your galaxy, children are shapeshifters to the forms you call out.

You deal in children.

They either listen to you or you shout.

If they can’t transform on command, they’re not as good as the rest.

If they don’t entertain you, they fail the test.

If it’s what you believe, then they must believe it too.

In the alien circus race you create, they must do a perfect run-through.

They need to be measured by adult speed and adult results.

No matter if they haven’t eaten, no matter if they have had no rest, you expect the highest vaults and some superb somersaults.

But they are not creatures as how you describe them.

They are not birds with perfect pitch, they are not lions with protruding chests.

They aren’t bonsai trees you prune and hope that they look like exactly how you pictured them to be.

They belong to this solar system yet you treat them as xeno-morphs.

Some brought up among glamorous stars, others had parents who could only afford red dwarfs.

If one child has lived on a planet of dunes with funny skin, it doesn’t make him worth any less than the one child who lived on a spaceship moving from moon to moon.

These alien kids survived meteor-filled monsoons and the black hole of war.

You saved them from judgment and yet still give them a score.

Your intergalactic classrooms are so diverse yet you teach from one world view.

You say you’re a reasonable being with virtue but your thinking is skewed.

You make assumptions about the youth through what they speak, a tattoo, how they line up in a queue.

If they tell you they cannot accrue enough credits you tell them boohoo.

They should not have been fooling around with their crew.

You have no knowledge on how they express themselves do you?

You have forgotten haven’t you?

Through your mission on becoming an adult that you are a child of Earth-2.

You were once like them – stronger than gravity, pushing and pulling ideas, gaining momentum, accelerating, in a cycle of progress.

It’s not through five paragraphs, not through a machine.

It’s not through a satellite you control, not through anything you have foreseen.

The young freaks you don’t understand release their voices, breaking barriers of silence and inaction.

You place on them energy barriers instead of rocket engines.

You equip them with the obsolete and want them to compete for duties they can’t perform and standards they can’t meet.

No wonder they go underground and don’t resurface.

A child with no wonder because it’s adults like you and me they worship.

It’s no wonder they join the circus.

Love is illogical

Today I discovered the person I love, loves someone else. Throughout this day, I have been looking at myself through the eyes of the messenger serving the restraining order.
I feel as though I cannot close my eyes and the oxygen has left the room. The messenger looks on with eyes of pity but has no words to give me.
He leaves me alone to look at the mirror. Now I am looking at a person I do not recognize.
This young man is holding his breath looking at me. This person’s fantasy has been distorted by the message as well.
This young man looks at me with disdain. He wants to know why I act like a child who cannot use logic.
I reason that
“Love is illogical – it’s one big risk!”
I use all the power in my voice to tell this man, foolishly hoping my shout will reach the ears of the messenger who will tell my beloved person what I believe. Now that I cannot breathe and I cannot speak, I listen for what this young man will tell me.
I look up at him as I kneel down without hope. He looks like he has much to say.
I look at the shoes that he is wearing – the shoes that are identical to mine. He tells me about her.
He says she has healed and she is happy. He says she can sing and she can smile again.
He says she can dance and laugh and cry and that it is all beautiful. He says that she loves me still.
He says there is one love but many dialects. He says she spoke to many people while I never spoke to her.
He says that he loves her too.
The air comes in to the room. I inhale myself.
I look at myself in the mirror. I was surprised that I was still alive.
Why did I think I would die? Why would I curse myself to be a regretful ghost haunting the children of my beloved person?
I survived and I was not angry. I was not jealous and I wasn’t crying.
Even though the obsessive projection of a romantic illusion played its pleasant melody in my mind, it was rather satisfying to hear its song dissolve into the sky like the wind whistling away a dandelion in the breeze. The dream would never be the same again.
Even though it was disheartening and heart wrenching, I have to mention that I am glad she found someone to recognize her. A beloved person that knows this young woman is the promised beloved person he prayed he would meet someday.
Even though, I feel the bite of jealousy and its teeth grating on my skin, and even though within me, I feel the pulse of cells of anguish and bitterness sounding louder than my own heartbeat, I can still say that I do love her.
I know it is one big risk and that it does not make sense but I have hope. There is no science in hope but there is a revolution in faith.
With this faith in love, I know it is transforming everything around my beloved person and within my own beloved self. I prefer to traverse the rushing currents of passion, than the still deep waters of depression.
Today I discovered the person I love, loves someone else. Her beloved person told me that love is worth the risk.

My Stepdad Moby

I remember myself as a child going to bed with hate in my heart. I would curse my stepdad Moby with all the venomous language I could think of. I would whisper the curses believing that if the curses were spoken they would become true like granted wishes. Yet, I did not have the courage to say them if my stepfather was near. I was a child and to me he was a monster. Not the ones children feared to be in their closets, but one of the monsters of the real world. The monster that relished in showing its eyes to you, and its jaws clenching in rage. This was a monster that everyone could see. I did not need to threaten to reveal its existence, but this monster only haunted me.
Moby was always sorry after he hurt me. I remember when he punched me in the face. The last hit disoriented me and I saw stars. I looked down at the lunchbox at my feet and there was blood on it. The blood fell from my nose like the first drops of rain. I remember him seeing what he had done and offered me something to clean my nose. I was surprised by his change of character. I recalled the thought I had that day maybe if I bled more easily the hitting would stop sooner. I lay on the couch in the family room, with my eyes open. I remember me thinking how strange for the one being in this world I hate to have shown mercy. Whenever I visit this memory, I try my hardest to recollect why it is that my stepdad was hitting me. I can’t remember.
I felt injured spiritually. This time was different from all the other moments. It seemed like from anguish and anger I grew a garden of pride, and I harvested many questions. What did I do to deserve this? I lay in my bed on my stomach, my face partially on the pillow and protruding outwards off it. I tried to sleep with socks on to feel warm. It would turn out to be a tradition; I wake up in the middle of the night to take my socks off because I felt too warm. I found comfort in my uncomfortable bed. I slept with a wool blanket and tucked myself in. I loved wrapping myself up into a cocoon. It felt like I was protected and I was being hugged. Perhaps my sleeping ritual was driven by the notion that the day after would be different that I would transform and that my reality would change permanently. I always slept deeply and dreamed many dreams. These dreams were vivid and ones you would examine as if you yourself were a specimen. I had thousands of nightmares but there was never one with my stepdad as the haunter. Even my mind would not use Moby for nightmare-stuff. My mind would not betray me like that.

Moby was not my father. I would have appreciated the beatings if he was my father. Instead, I was the victim of random mugging everyday- he robbed me of my heart. I was the bastard of the family. Every day I reminded Moby that I was not his creation when he saw me. I was the homeless man living illegally in an abandoned house. People would say “home is where the heart is” and I would say, “I don’t need a home.” I discovered that the monster felt insulted by my presence. I was the threatening intruder in Moby’s domain and in Moby’s way. There was a time when I was the only one to receive the pain but soon enough the violence spread throughout the house. Although the special treatment always came to me and of course I would always give it good recommendations. I did not think very long about fear. I accepted the wrath as best as any young martyr could. There were times I would admit to the crime my sibling committed and accept their punishment. Perhaps I wanted to protect them from the beast, they were my crew and they looked up to me. Perhaps as well I treasured the torture. The part of me that liked the attention would enjoy the pain just to be seen. The part of me that wished it did not exist cowered in solitude, hilariously vanquished by the enemy.
I would try my best not to cry. I convinced myself if I grew up to be an adult figure, I would not be hit. Even so, I could not help envisioning the four bedposts of my small bed as a citadel I had to defend. The quest to defend my family’s name and to defend my freedom was the only quest there was. Fantasies gave me a purpose, an occupation, a place where I could make a living. Perhaps that is why I would seek safety in storybooks. In fiction, I would be the leader of the band of misfits overcoming the dominion of a villain. I could be someone who mattered. Maybe I could be someone who would discover a new world or save a persecuted family from destruction. I read that it would require a sacrifice for the good person to prevail. I tried to imagine what the sacrifice for me would be. I was an unwavering noble samurai, a hard-working courageous farmer, an outspoken brilliant scientist, a selfless security guard, strong firefighter, a righteous prince, a captain of a ship on an adventure. I think there is more truth to this as well. All the heroes and leaders were never whole; they were all missing something, like me. I was missing something too.
My fantastical aspirations would amuse me at night. In my head, I would sing my own praises like a lovely-voiced bard until they became soft lullabies that brought me quiet rest and put out the dangerous fires of the iron of hatred scorching the sides of my temple. This hatred became cold jelly enveloping the oxygen in my body, it sealed up my veins threatening to kill me slowly.
Early in my life, I gained a fascination with the heavens, and had a desire to study astronomy. It was exhilarating just knowing that in this region of the universe anything could be possible. That in this deep blackness, angels would lower down fables for humans to enjoy. If I looked long enough into the light of the stars, I could get a glimpse of what paradise would be like.

It is strange to hear now people describe me as being down-to-earth. The truth is when I was young; I let my mind fly away like a kite soaring above. I don’t think I could become one whole person again; even if I attempted to reel my mind in and stop the astral projection of my life, I wouldn’t become whole. I lived for the nighttime when it was dark when your perception was the most opaque. I would look out from the big living room window to the house’s parking lot every day. I would search for signs of him, for a clue that Moby was near. I would look for his old white car or the orange light from a distant lit cigarette in the backyard. At the window is where I could approach him and communicate even though I was meters away. The result would always be the same: he wouldn’t be yelling, he would just be silent, taking in the questions, the blame, the frustration and anger. He would just smoke and listen. Maybe if a stranger saw him they would think he looked grand with his great presence. Maybe Moby was like me retrospectively living in a dream he had neither a curse nor a blessing just the life he made for himself. The only honor and glory he experienced was through his memories, filling his lungs and occupying his sight then leaving him like exhaled vapor rising up until all he could recollect would be the stench and the aftertaste.

I still struggle with the concept of my stepdad Moby and my mother Rachel divorced. Rachel looks for her children and passes me by. She recognizes me as her firstborn but because other people think that she loves me more than her other children, I am passed over. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest too. I now recall a moment that I wished to my mother I was an orphan. I remember dragging her down with my emotional tempest, she looked genuinely hurt. Sometimes I question why Rachel would abandon me and left me with Moby instead of working against him together. I guess she has suffered enough as well. I guess nobody deserves anything really. Nobody deserves or earns their just desserts, we just buy our consequences with our credit. My crew didn’t deserve poverty and mediocrity and abuse but that is what we bought. I guess the devil is a good salesman. Inside this house, this family has so much rage and there are so many reasons for us to be angry. I think my mother has realized that I will eventually become my stepfather. Some part in her realized I would be the monster soon enough. Perhaps there is more than one leviathan, more than one being marked like Cain, and perhaps this group of people God controls is a family. Maybe this all began from sin then worked its way to Vietnam to my stepdad’s father, where my stepdad Moby would be beaten and humiliated until he felt numb. Maybe when Moby smiled brilliantly like a genuine star and his mother hugged him thankful for a beautiful smiling boy, she would know this smile only came into being from abominable wounds and the sins of the father.

I looked to God in my childhood and prayed to him. I would ask for snow days and school cancellations in order to procrastinate in school. I would pray for the protection of my family. I would never pray for foolish things like for life to go back to the way it was when it was good, when I was a pampered baby. I would never pray for my mother and father to get back together and live in happiness. I do remember one particular prayer to God that I asked for so earnestly and fervently. I prayed for the death of Moby. I prayed not for a painful death of his but one where he simply is gone from my life. I used to believe that Moby himself thought that he was God. I feared him more than I did my God.
When I was a seventh grader, Moby broke my nose. It was winter. I remember going with him and his family to go sledding a few days after it happened. In the light refracted from the snow, my mother could tell that something was off with my nose. She hadn’t seen me for a few days and she called for me. For some reason, I tried to hide it. I wanted to keep the peace with Moby’s family maybe if they were happy he would be happy and he wouldn’t have to be the terrible creature he turns out to be. I remember the long awkward discussion, I was silent and so was Moby. When I was brought to the medical officer, I lied, saying it was a sledding accident. It would have been selfish to tell the truth – why let my destruction spread to destroy an entire family?
This peculiar house, I call the Pequod. When it came into being it began the process of decay. I imagine what it will look like in the future. In the putrid depths where darkness is illuminating, that is where the crew might be. My mind’s eye does not waver in the maintaining of the image of hell;I shudder and blink and yet still see. The house’s skeleton will remain intact. It is bare; its hair gone and gone is its skin. Now anyone who would choose to explore would see the horror of what remains. Inside, its veins are being inhabited by burrowing eels, thick, wriggling and ugly. A grand shipwreck it would be, for all to see! I only have one wish and that would be for me to pour all the contents of waters from the heavens to bury deeper this house so it will never see the light of day. The Pequod lies in a trench with bones inside its chambers. And the most curious would not even joke about venturing near.
I am just the dead Captain Ahab. I eat the carrion at the ocean floor. I hardly ever see light. I am lost in the murky deep. I was not moving just moaning for the possibility to inhale life.

Moby never swallowed me up. He chose to leave me here in purgatory with a worse fate than my crew had been left with. I see my stepdad sometimes just floating through life. I used to admire him secretly, swimming menacingly as an undead specter. Now to me he is a symbol of the past, a living dinosaur. I accept that he did not kill me but rather I killed myself. When I chose retribution, I chose to divide myself apart. When I chose rage, I chose to drag myself to the ocean floor . When I chose to become the monster, I chose to be hunted by the currents, the deep-sea grating down my muscles and the water scattering the dust of everything that I ever was. And I hope to God that I am the only one down here. I hope that Rachel will find the survivors of my family and Moby will fix the curse and that God will let me be here just a fossil of hate not being preserved but imprisoned so no other child will go to bed with hate in their heart. The children will sleep and not have any dreams because their life will be pleasant and filled with too much love.

Sarah The Merciless

What did I do to deserve your light?

You smile the deadly smile.

O how I adore the pain!

You bind me and I treasure the torture.

I am your victim and prisoner of war.

I am captured, and enraptured and shaken to my core.

Your presence is a force stampeding over me.

I’m an animal numbed by your attack.

You whistle tunes and I try my best to stay conscious.

You pull on my mind and you grip my heart.

You gut me cleanly with a knife.

I watch your luscious hair fall over your eyes.

The time has come and the hunt is done.

You must leave me now.

I reach out to you and you put your hand on my skin. 

The bristles and teeth do not scare you.

You are so brave to embrace, me, the monster.

I look into your eyes and see love’s ember dancing in firelight.

I float away like the smoke covering my body.

The wind pushes me away from you.

I lose my sight but I still sense you like the full moon at night.

At the height of these stars I feel ageless.

Perhaps from the heavens I will guide you on your chase, and I will guide your daughters, too.

I know many more will fall and fall in love. 

The fire is dying and my remains are charred.

You disappear.

Here, alone without you, without your ruthlessness and compassion, I will be consumed.

I will be food for life to sink its teeth into.

I wish I could have been as merciless as you.

The Ghoul

I am asleep. I try to rise up but I cannot quench the numbness down deep. I dream of what life should be like. I wake up in hell. In the cage of my brain, I can feel how far happiness fell. I question incredulously,

“Is this my reality?”

The smell of ash so sweet and the red wine dusk fill the forest. I hear the running of feet and the drums of my heartbeat. Onward I creep and bleed. I smile my most brilliant smile. I am flush with fear with the face that is not my own. My thoughts scream for attention. I focus on the harmony of death with its slow and pretty melody. I step in time with no goal in mind.

I see her at the edge of the gathering. The ghoul follows me with her eyes and stares. She looks at me with her beautiful eyes and glares. Her twisted horns peak through her long hair. She could fill the void where my love used to be. She sings and I cry easily. I weep because she knows the truth. She knows my pain and she could make it go away. I wish to fade away into the music. I am lost here. There are others but they cannot help me where I am going.

I hear humming from the darkness. My memory returns along with all my sin. I know this poor girl. With shadows advancing, her voice sounding, she says to me one thing:

“You killed me, you killed me, but it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault.”

White, white, white

It is an awful hue, I reasoned. My father considers it the absence of color. I agree. It is a boring, un-creative uniform. It strikes me as a memory not yet recorded, a story not started and an essay not thought through. White is the signal with static that drones on forever. It fires forward then backwards, it rebounds, forming one frequency of dissonance. The white permeates my menial life. White commands the spectrum of the cosmos with power and light. It hums for attention and at times with an ugly yell. I would be a hypocrite to call the color unpleasant. It certainly can be lovely. White is the wind playing with your long hair, the gravity holding me back from flying to freedom, the jaded bones of a whale standing firm as a banner. I don’t hate white. I do find its beauty around too. Why white? I think women who have fair skin are divine. Why do I love their fairness? Is it fair to the other women, the other colors? Why do we enjoy receiving white letter envelopes addressed to us? Why do we imagine with white clouds and not the clouds of sustaining rain?
At birth there is white light and laughter in celebration of life. At death there is white light and laughter in celebration of life. White inlaid caskets, white bed sheets, white lab coats. Memory itself materializes from murky depths of the mind like the subzero canvas of a distant planet. White. All is white. Without heat and without emotion. We are measured along a white line. We are programmed to distinguish the white from the remainder. We all have the white light within us, which is the source of our animation. We are all unique in our design yet still made from white sparkling dust. The universe is one dark laboratory filled with white and everything is made of the same factory components of painted white. In this lab we are all arranged by white. We are placed precisely as to worship and wait on the color white. If we were blind machines then would we still be able to feel the white and the light penetrating our senses? Would we still feel the light leave the eyes of our living parents? Would we become aware of the white smoke of war rising up from fields of white shrapnel and ash-covered corpses? Would we still feel white hot love if we were never taught what white was – what white is? Perhaps we would interpret the dots and the data in our spheres without white. Perhaps we collect collections of matter. Perhaps we would read an infinite receipt containing an eternal alphabet. Perhaps without white we would be haunted by grey phantoms. Or perhaps without the white we would seek out winged photographs, seraphim and pixies. Perhaps there would be nothing and no life. Perhaps the only truth is the white of the galaxies and language. The consuming white then just mercifully wipes away our ideas, and desaturates into a shadow of a shadow. Then we thank the white and the light. The only sound that we hear is the synchronized click of deactivation. A musical epitaph plays that is as slow as time. The echoes of the chorus of hushing and whirring motorized fans that decelerate until stopped. The red light puts me to sleep. All there is left is precious silence. All there is left is black, black, black.