Haunted

Inside out, the guts roam free.
The terrible truth of insanity.
Sex, power and money can’t
Match the sour in this stomach.

Rhythm claimed, silence conquered,
Routine found, resurrected again.
Sleep deprived, tottering nerves,
On the edge again and again.

Living a truth my body can’t stand,
Taking a dose of reality a day.
On the level, in the zone,
Out of hell, and right back in!

Mange of cruelty, sty of freedom,
Ebbing slowly toward the center,
Trudging through the abandonment
Of a lost soul, a broken heart, a death.

Imagine the pain, you’re there, I’m here.
Countered the plane of twisted confusion.
Day to day, the grind tears through me,
The tears don’t come, but they stain all the same.

Solace

crossing quotes into the desert of ambition and sensory overload,
acheing for a truth that resonates in the soul, mind and heart.
staying mellow is my goal for the moment, a steep climb from
where I stand, in the valley of mixed episodes of manic-depression.

chaos rules inside my brain, echoes of cries from down deep,
swooping and grapping, the hands of terror and excitement,
follow my every move, invade my every thought and emotion.
the journey is arduous, the provisions are few, a pill here, a pill there.

thank god for insurance, thank god I still have a job, thank god for
my wife, my family, my friends, my doctors, my counselors.
without a support system, I would be a ship lost in a sea full of
tempests and monsters, with no anchor, and no shore to sail to.

sometimes the whirlpools catch me in their spin, but I sail on,
and I break free, eventually, sometimes pirates attack, even
come aboard and tease my sanity with rape and pillage of my
stability and quietude. There is no peace in the storm.

But mirages sometimes turn out to be islands,
And a break comes with a smile and a helping hand,
A generous soul steps in to consider someone else’s woes,
my woes, my heart, my feelings, my thoughts.

Yes, there is a calm to the storm,
And an eye at the center of every hurricane.
I find solace somewhere, in some face full of concern,
in a suggestion that actually helps, a practical, earthly wisdom.

The Ultimate Questions

“Slam!” your head goes to the wall,
The barrier between you and the ultimate
Fulfillment, the meaning of existence,
Your existence, and the purpose of your life.

You can’t see through, you can’t see in,
The truth, the passageway, the gateway
To your salvation, not of your soul only,
But of your earthly, very human, life,

The body you breathe with,
The heart you feel with,
Desire with, yearn with,
The mind you reason with,

And yes, also the soul that gives
You life, the spark of genius
Imprinted on all of you,
That makes you, you,

That fire, that passion, that inspiration
And identity that tells you that “Hey,
I am me, I am the person who lives
In this body, feels with these emotions,

Exists, strives, fights, enjoys, suffers,
Struggles, connects, rejects, hurts,
And yes, also senses the earth,
Other creatures, other “me’s” all around.

“I am me, who is different from anyone,
Or anything else on this planet, in this
Galaxy, in this universe, or any other universe.”
“But,” you hesitate, “Who am I?”

That is the question that follows you
Every day of your life,
Keeps you up at night,
Haunts you, every step you take,

In every action, every reaction,
Every experience, with every feeling,
Every vision, every nightmare,
Every dream, every desire.

So, what is the answer?
And where, from who, or what,
Can it be found?
It would be nice to say,

All your questions can be answered,
All your doubts relieved, all your yearnings met
With a soothing, comforting
Affirmation of solace and contentment.

From this person, in this century,
At this place, in these words,
You may find truth,
Truth about yourself,

And truth in relation to everything
Else in your life, your experiences,
Your thoughts, your feelings,
Your hurts, your rage, your suffering.

In this religion, the “eternal truth”
Of all of existence is answered.
In this philosophy, the everlasting answer
To all questions is found.

But, is there really any place,
Any person, any time,
That holds the ultimate answer
To the ultimate question?

If there is, then why do members
Of the human race go on dying,
Suffering, doubting, scheming,
Yearning, hurting, losing, killing,

Wasting away into nothing,
From dust to dust,
What meaning is there in life?
What truth can be found in the end?

And if that truth can be found,
Why has it not redeemed the earth
And the heavens, the men and women,
The innocent creatures, and all the rest,

Of the earth? Why do we all continue
To search, to strive, to yearn to escape
This earthly existence, to find, in some
Other dimension, a better life,

Or simply, a release from this plane,
This prison that is being human?
Why do we go on searching?
And when will it all end?

Rumbling

Bling, blang, stop, ching, wing it
Stop fighting so I can slip through,
Please I don’t care about that, just
A bit of slack to go with my treats

Watch, witches will wail over roof
Tops at midnight like clocks in a
Metro town don’t leave don’t cleave
See it real see it true can’t be it me

Wander around the sea and the band
The noise and the hand of something
So ridiculously crazy and comfy if you
Go for that kind of thing, do you?

I’m not one for licking ticks but some
Times people prefer to take trips all
Over continents and things for some
Dastardly reason got me really how so

I don’t know just sayin’ that’s all where
To you get your joy I find it in strange
Places in simple things on quiet blinks
In comfortable sinks and pillows think

a gift

surfing the spam of life is like coming to the realization
that it’s all nothing important, just noise in my ear,
just distraction, just hidden agendas and dogmatic
mumbo jumbo. But does it really mean anything to
me personally. No, I don’t think so. Can I relate to it?

Of course not. It’s not within my paradigm, not my m.o.
I don’t see the world, myself, God, other people the way
that you do, and my values are different, as are my likes
and dislikes. The lens I see through is tainted by many
experiences, some worth the trouble, and some a tragedy.

And some actually are good, they lift me up, bring me to
a higher plane of existence, not necessarily closer to God,
although that is possible, but into a new self-awareness
and appreciation for life and how I interpret it. I see with
new lenses when I am gifted by another person, especially

when it is a gift that I did not merit or deserve. I was not
ambitious to claim it, but in fact it was a surprise. That is
how true gifts are: they are not expected nor asked for.
They come from another dimension inside someone else’s
head who is thinking or feeling on a totally different plane.

And all of a sudden, there it is, in all its glory. Some might
say grace happens, some might say shit happens, and they
both might mean the same thing about the same experience
or gift. Just because it is a gift, even a good gift, doesn’t
mean it will be appreciated, and especially not reciprocated.

The true gift has no expectations, there are no strings attached,
there is nothing owed, no tally of debt or favors, nothing counted.
It is all descended from an invisible cloud, which is why when so
many people receive a real gift, surrounded by all its genuine
mystery, they commonly ascribe it to a god or God. Because it

is a miracle, pure and simple. It is not the way of nature, of the
survival of the fittest, but given unconditionally, for no reason but
one: love. Love is such a mysterious thing, it comes in all sizes,
shapes, shades and colors. It comes from all directions, at all levels,
in all types of relationships. But it is not common. Definitely not.

Love is so foreign to most of us that when it happens we are filled
with disbelief and denial, rejecting the simple reality of the thing
in favor of some mysterious supernnatural power, as if only a
supernatural being has the capacity, the strength, the wisdom,
the knowledge, the power, the generosity…the grace to give it.

Or, we ascribe it to chance, which totally discredits and demeans
the value of the gift and the standing of the giver, as well as the
relationship between those receiving and those giving. That is the
truth of an every day tragedy, but the reality of gifts. They are
unrecognized, unappreciated, taken for granted, and denied, simply
for lack of trust.

Rules, Rules, Rules

Support–we all need it, crave it,
Loooooong for it, constantly,
In this world of struggling souls,
Empty and full of meaninglessness.

But how, and where?
What do we do when we’ve been shut out?
When we’ve been rejected by tradition,
or regulation, or discipline?

I once worked as a instructional assistant
For a local alternative high school.
I was a great tutor, mentor and
instructional assistant, for the most part.

Only one problem–I had no concept of
Following the rules that I never had to deal
with growing up, that were never an issue for me.
Rules that have been enacted because of “concern”

By parent organizations, teacher conferences,
principals and assistant principals, probably
just trying to keep order in the chaos of their
crazy job, but which impinge on the freedoms

of everyone around them: students, teachers,
parents and even themselves.
Rules, rules and more rules.
And the more rules that get enacted,

The more discipline it takes
to enforce those rules–blech!
I was never a disciplinarian.
You have to really, really get under

my skin to make me even care,
let alone say something,
and you have to drive me insane to
make me actually do something.

in today’s school systems,
this is not acceptable.
for the most part,
you are a babysitter first and foremost.

if you can squeeze in a little bit of
learning around that, more power to ya,
but I say all those crazy rules can many
times hold students, and teachers, back.

Freaking Out

freaking out is not a new thing for me,
but sobbing my eyes out is.
last night I did both.
what a weird experience.

being bipolar is usually manageable,
but when your doctor goes changing your
meds too much you end up in a mess.
last time I had a major change,

many years ago, with a different doctor,
I ended up suicidal and
admitting myself to the mental clinic.
now THAT’s not a fun experience either.

at first you think you’re on vacation,
then you go to group therapy and
doctors start giving you a hard time
because you write weird stuff on paper–

NEVER keep a journal in there!
They will read it without asking,
and they will misinterpret it
and then grill you for hours,

and if you mention anyone’s name
in there, any one you like or don’t like,
that’s even worse.
at that time I was into free writing

in a very “out there” way (worse than now),
with dangerous and scary thoughts
that scared some nosey, suspicious
people in there even more.

they start overanalyzing everything
you write and accusing you of having
plans to carry out every fantasy you
have about anything, ANYTHING!

They forbid you to be alone with
people you are attracted to,
even if you just wrote something down
but have explained to them

in no uncertain terms,
over and over, that you have no
intention of carrying any of
your wild fantasies out.

after that experience I learned
my lesson: keep all wild fantasies
to yourself when around anyone
who might be the least bit

judgmental or who has any
power over you whatsoever.
when you enter a mental hospital
they won’t admit you without

you signing your rights away,
giving them complete control
over you and the ability
to keep you locked into

their clinic until the doctor
assigned to you deems it
okay to let you loose on
the public again.

the first time I went to
a mental hospital,
my psychiatrist told me
I was just scared of my own

thoughts, but was in fact
no danger to anyone,
including myself,
because I had a good

value system and knew
right and wrong and
respected that.
so, next time I had a

problem, they would not
take me back, no matter what.
that doctor saw to it,
that I would never be allowed

back in that clinic again, I guess.
weird. WEIRD, I tell you.
They only want people who
don’t want to help themselves

so they can force them into
doing what they don’t want
to do, not the people who really
are moral and want to get better.

is that what our health care
system has come to?
was I not worth their time
because they needed the bed

for someone who they could
lock up for a longer amount
of time and who would fight
them tooth and nail instead

of be reasonable and rational?
do they want to help people, or
just control people?
Enough said.

Standing Out

Stand back, look where you step,
Watch out, or else!
That dogma is flyin’
Around these parts,

And it might just
Hit you in the heart
Or the face.
Condemnation is waiting

Around the corner,
Behind the pew,
Or the smirk.
Judgment sleeps

With the preacher,
And hypocrisy is cheating
With his wife.
Who else thinks

Sadly of you,
Depends on your claims
Or your profile.
Who will be watching

When you sneeze,
Is only a matter of
Second look.
Who will think

You’re against their own
Depends on your cheek
Or your chatter.
Longing looks

Don’t go unnoticed,
And searching eyes
Cry desperation.
“Just the type!”

They say to themselves.
“Looking for trouble!”
Is on their mind.
So consider this warning

Before you step
Into the doors
Of any institution,
And look both ways,

Before you cross.

Making a Connection

A cue, a call, a reaching, a bit of desperation.
It pulls us from our normal routine,
Rocking us to consciousness of need and situation.

How do we respond? Do we ignore it?
Do we deny it, pull back, hide from those urgent people
In our lives, who could use just a little bit of a helping hand?

Sometimes I pretend I have better things to do,
Other interests that fit my personality or even my “values”
Better. Isn’t that ridiculous? But we all do it, sometimes.

In some ways, it’s how we survive the chaos of our lives,
For if we responded to every need around us,
We would go mad with our consciousness of our own

Powerlessness to change the tragedies of the world,
With its corruptions, devilish plans and abuses.
But what can we do? What little things can we do

To do our part, no matter how small, just to help someone,
Somewhere, with something? Can’t we stop for one moment
Every day and consider someone else’s needs besides our own?

Certainly that is do-able, without causing our own chaos
To increase or adding to the millions of needy voices
Crying for help, searching for someone else to do their bidding.

We can do a tiny bit, just enough to give us a sense of contact,
Compassion and participation in the hurts of those around us.
That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Secrets

Dreams wake us from the dead for not so brief moments in time,
Coax us into the netherworld where ghosts and goblins smell our soul,
In its complexity and corrosion. They smell the blood of guilt, shame,
Secrets, pride, greed, envy, murder—yes, we’ve all yearned to do it—

And infidelity—we’ve all thought about it, fantasized of what could have been,
Or what might be, and as we gnaw at our own flesh and bone in a cannibalistic,
Seething desire to consume, conquer, take control, we leave the helpless,
The hopeless, the homeless, the hungry, the lost, the innocent and the gullible
In our wake.

We have sucked their souls and bodies dry like spiritual vampires, regardless of the pain and suffering they must endure. It is ourselves we praise, in our inner focus on improvement and domination, it is our body we worship, in the energy and time and money we spend to look attractive, it is our freedom we guard like a vicious animal, and it is their freedom that we prey on with a death grip of a constrictor.

How do you spend your day, deep down, and what to you dream about, secretly yearn for, more than anything else? That, my friend, is where you stand.