Soy sauce.

I put too much soy sauce on my rice a minute ago, and I don’t usually do that. That made me mildly depressed because I remembered that the rice they served us in school wasn’t really all that great. And then I also remembered when I put too much soy sauce on my shitty rice back then, and the other kids made fun of me. They were right to. It was amusing. My packet had ripped beyond all repair. I made a mess. I am a mess.

I have the overwhelming urge to hurt you, as I’m sure you innocently marvel at my irreverence. Maybe it’s because of my rice. I’ll probably never do it though, reader. I don’t actually know you. You sure as hell will never know me, no matter how much I’m willing to divulge. But even then, I want to drive a stake through the part of your brain that manufactures all the melodramatic tactics that have gotten you this far. Right smack dab in the center of whatever gland produces the hormone that makes people have to talk you off of a cliff, when they’re on their death bed. All the self loathing and pity adds up on my time card. A handsome sum on my paycheck. All the fantasy. All the poker faces. Too many pipe-dreams, and I’m not a plumber.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, a stake through the brain or something. You’re a vampire, and half as romantic.

Or at the end of the day, I could just pour too much soy sauce on you, and remember why I hate salt.

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Debbie-Downer.

It’s been brought to my attention via the all-knowing hub we call social media, that a number of people I used to know have died recently. Not at the same time though… that would be pretty sus. 

I didn’t know them well enough to mourn.

I didn’t even know them well enough to be around to witness their lives, apart from what we shared in a classroom. I remembered their names, and even what they were changed to after the divorces forced them to choose between Daddy or Mommy’s last name. They mostly chose Daddy. He had the PlayStation, the sugar cereals, and let them stay up late, after all.

I predicted that their faces would’ve grown to look exactly how they ended up looking. I didn’t come to their birthday parties, though. Not my jam. Sorry toots, I hated sleeping on the floor cuz a year went by for you. Everyone’s basements smelled like brass. They gave me headaches. I always woke up terrified for the first couple of seconds, forgetting that I actually wasn’t sleeping comfortably in my own bed for the past eight hours. I never had dreams at sleepovers.

Some could call me a counterfeit friend.

A forfeiture.

Some would call them reckless motorcycle drivers with a lust for thrill. Early-Mothers with an opioid addiction. Boys shipped off to fight in a war they don’t truly believe in, shooting silhouettes they were taught to hate. Kids who played hide and seek in hard to reach places; their bodies lost, and donated to time, only to be found in ventilation ducts on a roof. A bit too good at hide and seek, Keith. A bit too good.

I would still call them good people, 

each and every one.

People who didn’t always know better

People who weren’t always treated better.

They were probably nice to me.

I was probably nice to them.

I remember making some of them smile, even. 

That’s enough to keep me alive.

It will never be enough for them, 

or their lead-foot, 

or their pill, 

or their trigger.

The thing is, when I knew these people as a child, you never thought twice about the mortality of the freckly red-headed kid, who always brought Yogo’s and a cereal bar to school and wore track pants everyday (the kind that made a swishing sound with every step), or the cutie with a happy family life, strumming on a time relic’ed, secondhand guitar at recess, with a smile bigger than the campus. 

You don’t have it in you.

Not then.

Not yet.

You never looked at the chick playing four-square and thought, ‘you’re probably going to get knocked up at sixteen, 

ditched,

bitched

and stitched, 

and die of an Oxy O.D. at twenty-one, with your brother left to fend for your child.’ At least I hope you don’t think that; Jesus Christ. How vile of you.

You never thought that one of your childhood sweethearts would be interrupted from strumming her lovesick-six-string, only to receive news that the body of her older brother was discovered cold and bruised, in the vent of a Micky-D’s, and then also have the gall wonder why she would never smile again.

You don’t imagine these things as a kid.

You couldn’t.

You shouldn’t.

But as you grow older, and your life is plagued and saturated by the lack of life, and even the theft of life around you, it’s sometimes difficult not to look at everyone you know and love and think ‘You are all going to die.’ Better yet, ‘I’ll have to bury all of you, and that’s heavy on the heart, as well as the bank account’. 

Might as well be a Goddamn sweetheart in the meantime.

At the very least you begin to find a solace in the fact that, ‘Yes, we are all going to die, fucking duh. You’re not special’. It’s hard to fear something so inevitable. Not much fun in that. You should probably get a hobby.

Buck up.

Pop a smile like a perky pill.

Hug, kiss.

And be kind.

It’s what the dead died for.

Show them it wasn’t for nothing.

A list of things I find romantic.

Vibrato; thick, heavy, powerful, controlled vibrato.

Perfect meter.

Imperfect meter.

Perfect pitch.

Imperfect pitch.

Technique.

Lack of technique.

Experience.

Vocabulary.

Unsent drafts.

Plane crashes.

Plain crashes.

Quiet friendships.

Suicide letters that go in a special box, that you never live up to. Or die up to.

Improper grammar for the sake of poetry.

Geodesic domes.

Expectations.

Sobriety; perspective. 

Bird nests; homes built of garbage-earth and debris.

Food.

When somebody really knows how to pet a cat. I mean really knows.

Drowning.

Asphyxiation.

Out-of tune-pianos. 

Body farms. 

Graffiti; in hard to reach places. Like painting on my heart. You’re a vandal. A felon. Sandblast it off before the kids see it on their way to school. Problem is, I love graffiti. Lacquer it. Permanent. Fuck you, I think.

Unrequited delusions of grandeur; Reciprocity doesn’t always mean equality. Shit in your own hand, or wish in it, I don’t care anymore. 

Pajamas.

D-minor. 

Flogging yourself in the back. You’ll never see the scars. Even they hide from you.

Food, again.

Trills and ornaments.

Travailing melisma and delicate, lyrical phrasing.

Bow control. From frog to tip.

Diminuendo, more than crescendo.

Death.

           Dying.

                      Dead. 

Metaphors for the poor.

Life.

           Living.

                         Dead.

Art.

My Home Improvement Fan-Fiction.

Today, my brother asked me if I would eat a Maraschino cherry out of Richard Karn’s ass for a million dollars. I said I would do it just for the Maraschino cherry. I like those. I like money too.

Win win, baby.

I can also do Tim Allen’s signature grunting noise very well. Uncanny, even. Behold my talents, as they overflow from my being.

Things about me. Take notes.

My grandfather is a Freemason and I’m still waiting for this to affect me.

When I was five, I cried because Steve from Blue’s Clues left Blue’s Clues. I don’t remember why it hurt so good.

I mostly get emotional when I see people being good people, to other people. It happens often, so the only option I’m left with is to believe that most people are good people.

The only time I’ve ever driven was a go-cart in Florida for my tenth birthday vacation. I peaked then and there. Don’t ask me to do anything for you, unless it’s listening. Otherwise, I’m grossly underqualified to see to the completion of any task you might have for me.

In high-school, I had a teacher who had a very big mouth, and it was apparent when he spoke. His words were wet, and he smacked his lips and tongue around like he owned the place. It made me uncomfortable. I couldn’t take him seriously when he’d yell at other students because there was always an extra salivary syllable after each word. Directly after his class, I would walk straight home listening to Enka and smoke elephantine amounts of pot when I got there. It wasn’t ‘ol Smacky’s fault though. I got a B+.

My mom used to think I touched myself in the shower a lot, but actually I just had poor time management skills at six in the morning. Sorry…?

My friend once called me a poet because I knew what simile was. This is probably a direct consequence of that. 

I’m not proud of it, but when I was fifteen years old, I fingered my girlfriend in the back of her dad’s Ford Explorer while we were all at a drive-in theater in Pueblo, Colorado. The kind where they pipe the audio through your car’s stereo system, until everybody’s cars sync up to create a hysterically amplified, sonic borg large enough to be heard in the next town over. 

Her parents were twelve feet away from us focused on the screen with an unyielding zeal and attention, the likes of which I have never witnessed before, and we were probably horny. Teenagers are gross. It was an Adam Sandler movie, and I’m fairly certain that was the bigger of the two sins going on at the moment. When the movie was finished, her parents apologized because the movie had a lot of curse words and sexual innuendos in it that they weren’t prepared for. My girlfriend and I choked the ironic laughter down like she asks me to choke her in the bedroom. Teenagers are gross.

I took gymnastics for a second, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter.

One time, I went to that same girlfriend’s-Godfamily-Step-Aunt’s wedding and I think it sucked kinda…? I was there for the whole thing. I stayed for reception too, and stole the Goodie-Bags of candy off of the tables of the guests that didn’t arrive, and gave it to the many children in exchange for them not making fun of my long hair. Those cruel little bastards had me running a prison-protection economy, where I would trade the goods (i.e. candy, in place of the usual pack of cigarettes or porno mag) for my own safety (i.e. my self-esteem, in place of the usual prevention of a shanking, or shower-sodomy-session.) 

I still don’t remember who was getting married. I just clapped when other people started clapping as a chick in a dress walked in holding the hand of a bald-guy with a soul patch, wearing a tuxedo that had purple on it somewhere. Lowkey, I was fantasizing that I was just attending Howie Mandel’s modest, under-the-radar wedding in Colorado Springs. Maybe then I could consider myself lucky. My girlfriend wasn’t aware of that fantasy of mine. She wouldn’t have laughed anyways. Maybe she would’ve, I don’t fucking know.

There was a local newscaster there playing the role of the Master of Ceremonies, and his voice was nice. He had a rich, deep baritone. 

Something had to be done about the anxious, lonely boredom that was welling up inside of me, painfully lumping behind the wall of my throat, like when you force yourself not to cry. 

You know, that feeling of there being a bird trapped inside your larynx, waiting to escape the moment you give those muscles permission to collapse. I wanted to cry there. 

It wanted me to cry.

So I took initiative, and distracted myself. I walked up to the local newscaster (which was pretty much as close to fame as I’d ever been at the time) and said to him, 

“I think you’ve told me the weather a couple of times.”

He replied,

“Yeah, I think so too.”

I nodded and said, 

“Thanx.”

You could tell I said it with an ‘X’ because I do a great impression of myself acting hip in front of strangers.

He concluded with,

“Alright.”, and smiled like he had rehearsed this awkward transaction that meant so much to me for no reason. 

That’s when I realized

he was the only friend I had there.

Jesus probably touched himself, too. It’s okay.

There are those days where making every limb and appendage of you coalesce into a productive, waking, walking body seems like the harrowing ascent of Mt. Everest, or the descent of Christ into Hell to free those righteous captive led astray by the oh-so tempting devil. It’s a task.

I ‘ m  n o  c l i m b e r.

I ‘ m  n o  C h r i s t.

But this is one of those days.

I’m a sensitive person.

Not ‘Tumblr’ sensitive.

Not ‘little bitch’ sensitive.

Not ’empathic prick’ sensitive.

Not ‘crybaby’ sensitive.

But at times, I still shiver.

For me.

For you.

For others.

For family.

For God.

For lack thereof.

Call me cold.

I’m technically a man, but I still say boy. I’ve paid taxes. I’ve owed taxes. I’ve paid my owed taxes. American to the grave, I suppose. The only things that are different about me since I’ve become an adult is that I’m slightly more well hydrated, I need to shave, I have short hair, I have daddy-issues, my eyes don’t tell my brain the right things anymore, my neck hurts, and I can’t just masturbate out of boredom like I used to. 

Shucks.

I enjoy talking to fewer people, but I’m better at it now. I’ve learned how to forgive. I’ve learned how to be forgiven. I’ve learned how to be guilty. I’ve learned how to guilt. I’ve learned how to think. I’ve learned how not to think. I’ve learned about others, and I’ve learned from others. They help me learn about myself, and learn from myself.

I learn.

“I”

In a country where Nazis are spreading like wildfires, I still get caught up in making strange faces to myself in the mirror just to see how far I can go before I look socially unnaceptable. 

I’m simple.

I’m distracted.

Sometimes I like to mimic what a stroke looks like, drooping the left side of my face as if my batteries need changing, and romanticize the dread that me and my loved ones would surely experience. And then I swiftly return my face back to normal because I would begin to embarrass. That isn’t a pretty face. Like our mothers said, “Don’t make funny faces; it’ll stay that way”. You’re right, Mom. Every stroke victim was just faking a stroke, and the stroke — stuck.

Dread and dream are one letter apart.

That kinda sucks.

Maybe it’s on purpose.

I like to close my eyes and see how much I can trust my equilibrium and intuition to lead me through the house.

I can’t trust them very much. They are both the source of my anxiety, probably.

Heh.

Probably.

Trust and thrust are also one letter apart, but that’s just a little bit more comical.

I still didn’t laugh though.

It’s coming to my attention that most of my sentences start with ‘I’. Apologies are in order for my lack of variety. You’re just lucky I capitalize them sometimes. 

My old teachers would hate that most of my sentences start the same.

Any future therapists I might have would love it.

It does their job for them.

I’m selfish.

This is my poem.

It’s terrible,

just like ‘I’.

But I fucking love it,

and I fucking love ‘I’.

Take ‘I’ away from me.

I dare you.

I’ll still always be willing to give everybody my ‘I’, so long as it helps them through their sleepless nights. I wonder if they’d ever help ‘I’. People think ‘I’ surely have everything together.