Pickled Buffet – All You Can Stomach
Dreams withering into dried nightmares
Outside the chill has fragmented time
Peeling myself off your floor
Everything is really fixable
It only takes super glue
Even with pieces missing
Never really whole after life chips away
Dents to my sanity
Locked away, filed under
Open at your own risk
A degree in reality
Didn’t ease the pain
Elope instead of all the stress
Downplay the SOS call
Got to go
Under the veil of hypocrisy
Never saw it coming?
Seriously, write the rules, make me nothing
Never good enough to be number one
Difficult since I excel, take it past the known
Life drips, sludge sink holes, trapped
Out of time
Answers and anticipated drowsy day dreams
Kaleidoscope damaged, refracts light into blackness
Edge closer, the cliff beckons
Dive, what else should I do
Pierced smiles and crooked teeth
Eager pleasers suck it deep
Retrograde amnesia isn’t a good enough play
Count me in or out
Everything is always about perception
Pinned intentions, deflated pretensions
Taint the moment
Intelligent eyes left for dead
One day, one night
Rarest of the rare
Nouns shift to verbs
Heaven under an angel
Eclipsed, broken wings, shattered wills
Up is down, who has change for a hundred incomplete memories
Now lie next to me and fulfill every dream
Had this conversation, maybe yesterday, in my head. Two sides to every story, they say in the middle lies truth. “They” – that mysterious group of popular opinion, only at that status since too many can’t form their own. Apathetic delusions of grandeur, how’s that for something better left unsaid? I am almost 40. If I make it to that day, my fifth decade on the planet begins. Never been a fan of quantity, more a quality kind of human.
Still, certain times it is impossible to not reflect, no matter what is looking back at you. Rather than a mirror, I threw out the abyss and the Nietzsche quote, as if the answers are endless, or unattainable. No bottom when the fall commences. Gain a foothold and climb, torn into pieces, doesn’t much matter if you can’t recall the picture they are supposed to create. Focus is an apparition, and all the perceptions can’t shift reality into anything still.
Hit the repeat button, or the random play, doesn’t much matter, listen long enough and you are going to hear all the songs play. Never a fan of the loop, probably due to my freshman dorm neighbor whose fascination with Brown Eyed Girl caused me to awaken. Why the same thing over and over? Tragedy, face it, births some of the greatest art. I was told the poems from the other day were somewhat depressing. I try to explain that I am just a passenger, a surfer riding the wave of my mind, my fingers punch buttons and whatever comes out just comes out. A split of the skin, and the blood flows.
Mental hemophiliac, the tide can’t be stemmed without a little vitamin K. We all lack a clotting factor from time to time, where pain is so intense that we relive it in small doses, memory masochist. I excelled at this, for a long time. Speaking of decades, it is a little scary that I spent almost 2 complete under the influence…Pain killer…it’s right in the name for God’s sake! I think I was just being rational. I am kidding.
17 years. I think. Insane periods of time blur into a blink of an eye. Whole years, 365 days, are complete fogs. I can piece together things from witnesses. When I was in college, I lived in an apartment building with Crazy Joe, the maintenance guy. At this point in life, my insecurities manifested themselves with a lot of weight lifting. When I moved to Maryland, I was around 185 pounds. 5’5″, on a body comp scale I would be classed as obese, except for the fact that I was strong with little fat. After I came back to my same apartment about a year and a half later, Crazy Joe didn’t even say hello when he saw me, instead saying, “Janflone, you’re skinny, the drugs have you.” That I always remember for some reason.
I also remember my answer, something like, “I’m fine, I just quit lifting, not enough hours in the days you know?” See Crazy Joe, so named for his apartment being pitch black and 30 degrees year round, knew my habits. I would throw him some pills here and there, and he made sure I got the best space and storage locker. Back then, my mind was on repeat all right, focused on how a scripted life somehow underwent a massive edit without any input from me. Never once did I look in the mirror and consider I was out of control.
Maybe I knew, maybe I reveled in it. I had already endured death once by this time, and well, it became something of believing my disguise was reality, that the sum of my normalcies far outnumbered the minute fractions of opiate consumption. Look in the mirror…see the reflection….
Not how life went. I was in school for 5 years. I was behind the pharmacy counter for 4. Rapid descent, oh yeah, I took the leap into the abyss. There really is no bottom, the thing they, always they, the collective correct, holders of the answers to life’s riddles. I proved this by always falling further down. It’s what you notice in the descent that matters.
Crazy Joe, the shell-shocked Vietnam vet, told me that in 1998. 14 years later, I opened my eyes, and saw a hand reaching out. Sure, others offered me the same thing, but they never had the strength, in character, or in self, to make a difference. Collisions of convenience is all they were, lessons meant to show what not to do. This hand, hers holds tight, strong enough to carry me out of the abyss, a beautiful ride on angel’s wings. The funny thing about life is time is steady in its advance. When I was in my second car wreck, it felt like the seconds had lost their steam, and slowed, allowing me to take in every sense, as the inevitable crash finally fulfilled itself.
Open eyes, tuned senses. In all that fog, my only vivid memories where time took a break, centered on this girl. Life’s crazy like that. My brain, turned off for so many years, flipped on all the switches for her. Any other memory from those days, of course, had an element of tragedy to them. Yet hers has always been remembered beyond fondly. Little reminders in the following hazy years are equally clear. I can tell her every time I thought about her while we were apart.
The point? I have trouble remembering life without her in it. It’s like my life never really began until we started talking again. Who I was is fading. Who I am is crystal clear. That searching for love is futile, it finds you when you give up. When you stop forcing status quo expectations and just take a risk. A lot of pretending goes on in the world, especially when it comes to relationships. Company is not love. A warm body is not the fire of real passion. I never question her. There are no doubts, no compromises, or settling.
As I get closer to 40, life’s extended warm up act is over, and the real deal is here. Every single second with her is pure. So maybe the abyss does stare back at you, but all the questions in the world don’t need answered. There will be a moment in time where opportunity smacks you in the face. Pay attention, the people we meet in life are not accidental collisions, as random as things can seem. Like picking an NA meeting 12 years ago, and seeing her. Like our shared weakness pulling us back into its grip again at the same time, to bring us together for a few weeks. Something so good came out of something so bad.
Today, she is every dream fulfilled. Together we are vivid and perfect compliments. Every single time better than the last. We keep soaring. There could never be enough time to spend with her. It’s weird, in every relationship I have ever been in, I was scared of losing the other person. Like I had to be perfect, like I had to do this or that, be on point all the time. There is zero fear with her, I don’t have to try to be perfect, I just have to be. Everything just comes naturally. And maybe that is the real point. They say love takes work. But seriously, what do they really know if love is a chore, a job? I think I know something they are clueless about, and that is all that really matters is finding that person makes every day welcomed without even trying. Where just seeing her makes me melt, where the effort put forth is freely given.
Love is pure, it is true. It is trust and respect. It is knowing we are not perfect, and embracing the faults that make us human just as much as the things which make us shine. True love just happens, inside our hearts and not our brains. It is equal, it is shared. It is living. And it is incredible to be finally be alive.