Annihilate This Week #3

I have been pacing around my house for what feels like weeks now. Nervous energy, a taste like burnt offerings and burned bridges lingering in the back of my throat. Wind and rain rattle the windows, but it’s forecast to be in the high 70’s in the mountains next week. Good ol’ spring in … February? Tree frogs singing at night, blossoms pushing through the winter blight. In February. A comfort and a sense of impending doom at the same time. Three nights this week, coyotes howl across the valley. I lift the needle from the turntable. Turn off all the lights, step out onto the porch and listen. I don’t know if it’s a trick of my imagination or not, but I hear the soft padding of feet scampering through the meadow. The wind whips wisps of clouds across the horizon, and everyone wonders just how much vinyl chloride made its way here from Ohio this week.

I wish I smoked sometimes, a contradiction for an asthmatic with an anxiety attack for every shortened breath. Smoking would give me something to do with my hands. A burning, a raw searing sensation settling my raw nerves while killing the ones that live in my lungs. (Yeah, I don’t know if that’s actual science, but it sounds cool, so fuck off.) A decade ago this summer, walking around this shitty little tourist trap mountain town at during one of the lowest of the lows, I saw graffiti on the back of a construction sign, all thick and bold lines.

 “Smoking kills, but I want to die.”

I get it, and I hate it at the same time.

All my dreams are haunted this last week. The past and present blur together in a nightmare miasma of troubled sleep. Anxiety dreams where I never left Pennsylvania. Worries about the future. The past creeping in from beyond the wall of sleep, late at night, vulnerable and laid bare. The black of night gathering outside my window knows all my secrets and has no mercy to spare. Then there is the downright bizarre: the dream where my best friend and I found ourselves in a strange amalgam of the present and a fictional past. We were on a suicide mission, baby. Loaded down with explosives, ready to strike a blow against the fascist state. We aborted the mission at the last minute, for reasons that were lost to me upon waking. Then, then, I got distracted by wanting to steal a weight bench.

Which is just maybe the most on brand shit for me, ever.

I submitted a story, some of the best work I’ve done in a long time. Then I considered withdrawing the story on account of how tired I am of the same cycles and shady characters drinking the ink from all my pens.

I don’t know what else to say.

At one point did all your living become surviving?

To all my friends and enemies, running from death, I love you, wherever you may rest.

Except the fash.

Never the fash.

This is for the hearts still beating.

Annihilate This Week #3

  1. Converge – First Light
  2. Converge Last Light
  3. Disfear – Fear and Trembling
  4. Planes Mistaken For Stars – Say Not A Word
  5. Against Me – Even At Our Worst, We’re Still Better Than Most
  6. Cold Cave – You & Me & Infinity
  7. Future Islands – The Chase
  8. X – Under The Big Black Sun
  9. Peter Murphy – Cuts You Up
  10. Lebanon Hanover – The Moor
  11. Slugger – How Much More Can We Take
  12. Unfun – Rain City
  13. Coliseum – Sunlight In A Snowstorm
  14. Evil Conduct – Time Is Running Out
  15. Thou – By Endurance We Conquer
  16. Wear Your Wounds – Shine
  17. Etta James – All I Could Do Was Cry
  18. Percy Sledge – At The Dark End Of The Street

Los Angeles, Again.

I am not here
In this lonely little room called home,

This place
One day blurs
Into another
Then blurs into one more.

Pull closed the blinds
Block out the light
Close my eyes
Drift, softly into restless sleep
On a lost melody
Drifting above a concrete
Desert in synthetic bloom
Pulsing, humming
With electric life.

I am home
Within concrete canyons

They’re not rumors anymore
At the sound of the tone
The time is now
One hundred seconds

And what I wouldn’t give
Just a few of those
Wasted years
You know you know you
The ones spent weathering
The storms of resentment
And wrath

To spend a few seconds
As the second hand counts down,
Regaining love once lost
All wrapped up
In those fleeting moments
Of connection

Sleeping in the safety
Whispered words that never wound
Behind closed doors
With the deadbolts locked up tight

Shutting out the cold
Closed against the winds
Of disaster

I always joke with my students
Writing is what I love most
Even though it will be
The death of me
That is
If warheads screaming
From the sky
Don’t put an end to me

Before the curtains close
I would like very much
To write one more story
A story
That did not end in tragedy
But a tale
Of life
And loss
And triumph
That told itself
Until the end
Until the circle closed
And the characters healed
Lived full lives

This is, we are.

Saw a dead mouse in the driveway
Walking home from work
Not a mark on its tiny body
Just like it was lying there, asleep.

It seemed significant
Or like it should be
Like when we were young
And my friend
Came across dismembered
Bird wings lying on city streets
Every day for a week
She took it as a sign
That the world is ending

That’s when we started
Drinking cup after cup
Of black coffee
In the opening
Days of the anthropocene
Desperate to know
What it all means

Back then we wore
Our worries on our sleeves
We battered our hearts
Against every street
Like they were our shields
Drank through our nights
Into the morning

Now we wait
And watch
Powerless to stop
Unable to look away