For the Love and Hatred of the Bottle

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Because life is so much more difficult than they teach you in high school, and some of us can only manage that reality with that burning elixir that offers a refuge from our racing thoughts and competitions with ourself. We crave the break that a bottle can bring. Not to be considered a position of peace, by any means. More so: a tool of management for those who have learned the delicate balance. Just like we set an alarm, schedule our plans for the day, and make our own half-assed attempt at an acceptable appearance, we’ll eventually fill our glasses. Ironically, it is the very aspect of life that I always feared the most…

A child in need of control can be a force to be reckoned with, and I fought like hell every day to do anything but disappoint. Perhaps, this is the very thing that I still struggle with now. That lack of control is bad in itself, but the helplessness that lies beneath is intolerable. As an adult, I won’t allow it to take hold. As a kid, I was powerless. With an emotionally absent mother and dealing with being placed in a care-giver role to the drunk that I proudly called my dad….My future was set in stone from the day that I was born.

I knew that I was different. I saw; I heard; I felt—not the black and white, not what I should have, and not what I was being programmed to see. This heart was too strong to be programmed. It saw all the sloppy grays that the world painted over. I saw my mom leave for work, and I saw my dad and me watching down the road far too late at night for her arrival. I saw my sister go to bed with a smile, oblivious to anything but the fairytale life she believed in her naivety. I saw my dad disappear to his own world, his only form of coping. And, I always went to find him…

There was a time when I couldn’t have been any more than 5 years old, and I was so excited that Dad was spending time with me. Real time, coherent time. He took me outside to draw pictures at the picnic table of our (literal) white picket fenced backyard. Mom was gone again. It never really mattered because, when she was there…It was never for me. I remember every game we tried to play ended with her lecturing me on the rules and paying attention, like the game of Memory was the SATs instead of the cartoon pictures that laid in front of us. Or, every time that she took a picture and I had to present myself just right. Hell, she couldn’t even take a picture to save her life. But, all that mattered was that I looked just like the little doll that she dreamed that I could be. I was dressed like my sister and expected to act the part as well. All that I was doing was seeing the grays, and the shades multiplied with every time that woman treated me like the family defect. The thing was, I was never the defect. They just hated that my eyes lifted the veil of their own dirty little secrets.

Dad had to leave again. It turned out that the drawing had an ulterior motive, and so did that pretty little fence that contained me. I tried to hide my disappointment, with my head down low like I was really working hard on my very best drawing to show him when he returned. But, he didn’t come back. I walked to the gate. I knew how to open it; it wasn’t that hard. I roamed around the house to find him, but I knew that I wouldn’t really. The beer was in the garage, and I didn’t want to catch him.

It seemed like an eternity to me, but I was so little. And, he was so mad. He was already drunk when I met him back in the fenced-in yard, and he was fighting his own tongue to scream at me for leaving. I didn’t, Dad. I waited for so long. I liked the funny man that you drew when we sat at the table. Can’t we just draw? I didn’t do anything; I just tried to find you. Please don’t punish me for that. I always try to find you.

We’re done, and he’s putting away the paper. I got a glimpse of being a kid that day, and I ruined it. It was my stupid fault for stepping outside of the white picket fence. So many times since then, I struggled with the confines of the expectations of that family that were entrapping my soul. But that was the moment that I truly realized what a lie that fence held in its presence.

If we went back to drawing that day, it could have changed my life. But, the bottle held precedence over the one person I felt close to: My dad. You’ll never see a white picket fence at my own home today. I’ve learned firsthand that no amount of paint can hide pain. And, that is the harsh truth that carried on the cycle for him, his family, and all that I am now.

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The Blank Pages of a Broken Man

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You know how I realized you were dead inside?

When you treated me like every other meaningless affair…

When your words stopped cold,

Making way for self-loathing and mindless ideations.

You tore apart before me, so many years ago.

I watched your eyes dim then,

After our adventures and dreams lit them on fire and taught them to sparkle.

I broke away to save you from everything that I was becoming

Because I knew that your soul deserved so much more

Than the train wreck that I had to offer.

But, I never forgot the way that I closed the pages on our story.

I wanted to read it again,

The familiar tale of something so great that it had scared me away.

But, years later, I waded through the ashes to find those verses,

Burned away by my own carelessness.

You lend your heart out now,

like the blank sheets of paper that it has become.

For, you’ve forgotten the meaning of filling the pages.

And, I shattered the pen.

Night Writing

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Nighttime scares the hell out of me because it holds an illusion that is forced upon us every 24 hours of our lives. It’s the only time that an unseen mirror can burn your eyes at the sight of your own life, without the faintest light to show the picture. We’re meant to black out and forget it all, when the night evolves from day. But, I fight like hell.

Because I still see that mirror, and I still feel that pain. I will never find it in my soul to begin to understand the way that your minds fire and smother to ashes, like clockwork. I wouldn’t know how to stop, and I wouldn’t care to. Mere sake of schedule, exhaustion, or the compliance of the world beneath my feet—my thoughts are the standing ground for everything that I am, despite what I am told. It never stops, and I have the human body that contradicts itself by allowing it all to happen.

For I was born to see beyond it all. I was born to see, as well as feel the grays beneath your black and white. Everything that we are told is fake and insubstantial to the bigger picture. That truth has resonated in my soul for as long as I can remember, and it has gained strength with the tests of time. This curse and blessing are not lost on me, for I know the purpose: It lies beneath my wandering pen…

Reaching for Darkness

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“I couldn’t love a soul,” she said, as she closed the blinds around her and reached for the darkness that she now held dear. Not a single heart could get in, and she thanked the stars for the walls that she had strengthened with time. “I have tried like hell to keep them far away because I’ll be damned if I feel that pain again.”

With her eyes jeweled with tears, and her head in her hands, she confided her secrets to nothing but the sure darkness that she had created in this space…in her very being. Mere moments passed before she lifted her head with a rush of fear, for her vision was not entirely veiled. All around her, the light slithered its way through the futile blinds. Tiny bits of sunlight, through the cracks, bled truth that cut her with the inevitable pain that called: She could not hide from the sun. It fought through the darkest of rooms, the toughest of shades, and the most shattered of people.

As much as she fought to look away, her eyes wouldn’t allow it. They fixed themselves to those tiny specks that folded the darkness. The truth was that she could never hide. The light would always find her and her beloved shadows…

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She Waits…

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“You know what’s going to fucking tear you apart?” she confided into the darkness before her, as the agony unveiled from her eyes, “When you realize that the person who sets your soul on fire will never spend their life with you.” Every night, like clockwork, she would face the solitude and silence that would inevitably bring to surface the pain that she wrapped so tightly away with the sun. She lost him, and everything that promised to be the life that she would long for for the rest of her time on this Earth.

And, all because she gave. Or, did she give up? Everything that she was, and everything she was made to be faced the collision of the concreted expectations and the cut and dry life mapped out before her since the day that she was born.

Her existence was a conflict. Everything she ever knew, loved, or stood against held a damning lack of standing in the hell she was roped into. Dreaming became a synthetic pastime. When, to her, it was oxygen. Goals were put into boxes, collecting dust from intruders or fire from brainwash. And, love? Love didn’t exist. Not in the world she was born into, regardless of the truth in her soul.

Because love needed depth, and her mind fought to fly. The dark brought on nightmares with the silence, whether her eyes remained opened or closed. Her greatest demons resided in the shadows, though she couldn’t sleep to the truth that called her, thirsted by the burial of the mundane life that she now knew to be her own.

And so, she learned to survive in the parallel universe that was set before her. During the day, she woke up, showed up, sucked it up, and everything in between. And, the whole time, she fought to stay normal….She never forgot the night: Her blanket in a world of cold.

She loved the memories and the truth and the belonging, but she hated the way that it stabbed her heart and crushed any meaning that she could contribute to. The struggle was unavoidable, and the pull was addictive. Night had to come, and she was fused to the web that wove its strings around her.

When her past haunted her and caught her in the midst of her breakdown…It drove its claws into her constantly, taunting her with the whisperings that she had sold herself to the societal norm that she had loathed with the one that held the power to drive her to the ground. She armed herself against them with a drink in one hand a pen in the other. The darkness would call each night, and she would follow with no regard. The daytime was wrong, in every way…but night was bound to come.

The world could fight to find it’s rightness, but she knew where it laid from the very start. Come into the darkness and feel the beckoning. She waits, and the memories will follow. She can only be loved in the dark…and isn’t that the very best way?

The Blood of a Soul

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My subconscious continues to write, as I tire. Pure emotion drips from this pen, regardless of my current state of mind. Alcohol fuels the fire, and the burning of my throat and my thoughts holds the hypnotic power to bring black and white to life.

This is writing, in its truest form. The rules are tossed to the wind as the ink is freed along its paper roadway. How else can we see the blood of a soul?

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Wild Words and Poison

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30 years old, and I couldn’t tell you if I welcome that barrage of thoughts that march with alcohol, or if I fear them. But, I can tell you for damned sure that I open my mouth to every drop of that poison…and my pen hand shakes with anticipation as the heat of the words fill my existence.

Love-hate, at its finest. Dropping that pen would mean that the poison runs its unprecedented course through my body, and paper directs it toward its purpose. Legitimately my muse, the paper makes me visible.

So, write me. Write everything that bleeds through that poison and climbs its way toward a voice. Write long nights, started early and cursed to my aging, swollen eyes. Write regret. To never find that mountain that allowed two feet to find a hold toward dreams that wept so far away. Find loss. And, above all…find failure. Words unspoken by the day-to-day but growing by the fate of poison and the moon. Forever in my mind, unsilenced until they find their way home.