9 TO 5

as i ride the metro returning home from my 9 to 5
i look around me and see all these faces
faces transfixed on the glow of their devices
the dull droopy eyes of those who have accepted their 9 to 5

these faces are somehow okay with waiting for the weekend
some are somewhat okay and others are somehow completely okay with bearing the pain
because the weekend is around the corner and soon they will be able to
soothe that pain with some greasy food and a purchase of a gadget or a trinket
that they slaved away for at their 9 to 5

where is that spark in their eyes as they stand here in the train rocking
bathed in the blue glow of their devices
it’s all surrender unwilling toleration slow deterioration
for the sake of hopefully eventual liberation from their 9 to 5

but how are they to break free from the 9 to 5 because to break free from the 9 to 5
you must create a 9 to 5 if not for someone else then for yourself
and it better stay a 9 to 5 because it might turn into a 9 to 4 and then into an 10 to 2
and very soon it will turn into alcohol and poverty and back to someone else’s 9 to 5 you go but
duller looking and more sunken in and that spark in the corner of your eye is nowhere to be found
and this is when you accept you really accept this time your 9 to 5
your 9 to 5

and then forty years go by and you haven’t changed
not much anyway
you said you would but that was forty years ago
the train has changed and the gadgets and the trinkets have changed
but you haven’t changed except you don’t tap your foot nervously anymore
and you don’t hold onto the grab rail as tightly anymore
and you don’t even look at your device anymore
you just look somewhere up with your dull droopy eyes
without much hope and no longer with any urgency and you don’t look relieved
that the weekend is just around the corner because the weekends after all these years
the weekends are now just part of your 9 to 5 and there is no urgency none at all
because your 9 to 5 well it has turned into your 22 to 62 and nothing will change
because it’s been like this for forty years

and here you are standing next to me
as i am thinking all this standing next to you
returning home from my 9 to 5 and wondering
well what else is there to it? 

DRIFTING OFF

The fluorescent bulbs flickered off and she froze, holding her breath, eyes wide with adrenaline. It is this abandonment in complete darkness that she feared most. She knew the blackness would wrap around her like a tight knot, like the wet towel around her head absorbing the beating of her pulse at the temples into its cold and heavy, spineless twist. From a far recess of her memory, as if propagating from the inner backside of her skull, a muffled melody made its way into her semi-consciousness, softly flooding her senses with spaced out, delayed reverberations that she couldn't quite keep track of. She tried to follow the rhythm, but the rhythm kept getting tighter, more fractal-like, more mathematical, and she finally let go and just let it envelop her, and make her heavy to the point where she began to sink into her bed. The sensation of sinking got unbearable when her head began to spin, then her body, around her head, as if her head was the pivot point. Spinning counterclockwise at increasingly nauseating speed she finally willed herself to open her eyes but when her brain gave the command to the eyelids to open, the eyelids didn't because they had been open all this time, and it was at that moment that another violent rush of adrenaline into her blood made her panic for real and the spinning became not only counterclockwise but also circum-axial, and the rhythm went from white noise to focused and eardrum-piercing ringing, and the mattress disappeared entirely, yet she still felt like she was drowning and at the same time like she was floating upward into the darkness, and the only thing keeping her from floating away completely was the heavy coldness of the towel pressing down on her white forehead. She tried to open her eyes again, throwing her head backwards as if her eyes were simply stuck looking inward due to a mechanical failure of some sort, and as she kept trying to twist her neck in all kinds of ways the coldness of the towel started to turn into heat, first mild, then severe, then completely unbearable, and so she screamed for help but her tiny squeal, constricted by the thickness of the pain in her chest, failed to escape her head and got stuck to the far end of the roof of her mouth just outside of reach of her tongue. She tried to swallow but her throat was dry and inelastic like an old cracked tire, and when the muscles finally contracted something went terribly wrong and she felt cold air in the back of her throat and then she felt her sinuses fall through the hole that had appeared in the back of her throat and she heard them land on the cold bile-colored linoleum floor. Having lost her ability to inhale she started to bite at the air, her jaw protruding forward to the point of dislocation and attacking convulsively, uncontrollably at the used-to-be air that had so suddenly turned into what seemed to be denseless vacuum. The field of her pseudo vision started to glow brown-red like caked blood, flashing bright occasionally, epileptically, as if back-lit by a malfunctioning strobe light. Her temples pounded like sledgehammers against the sweat-drenched towel, her arms began to shake violently, until her shriek finally got unstuck and got propelled into the darkness and suddenly she froze, and the spinning stopped, and the rhythm slowed down and decayed, and it all got silent and peaceful, and what remained was the very final-sounding reverberation of her small cry until it too was completely absorbed into the impenetrable and all-surrounding dark.

FROZEN

If only you could see yourself right now. If only you knew how pretty you are. I can see you from an angle that to your eyes is inaccessible, except via photography. But even that wouldn't do you justice. At this particular moment I am the only one who can see you the way you are. Living. Breathing. Real. And even the slight tension in your brow is somehow very beautiful and deeply meaningful. There is a life in you so inexplicable, so profound. Your search for happiness is an adventure full of joy, just the way it should be. I guess I was wrong in thinking that that adventure had to be painful. Or maybe I'm in love and everything just seems less painful now. 

How do I show you how I feel deep down inside my being? How do I explain what it feels like to look into your eyes? To smell your skin? To feel your warm breath on my neck? I have the image of your face burnt into my retinas, and everywhere I look I see your pretty ghost. And when I am somewhere far away, sometimes my nose recalls the sweet scent it enjoyed when pushed against your cheek during a kiss. Like pollen to a bee it stuck to my delirium. And I don't even know where you come from. I do not know what sequence of events and magic produced such a sophisticated being. And I don't dare to try to figure out what sequence of coincidences made us bump into each other in this universe. Like particles that started the Big Bang, we, too, collided to create a new beginning. And now I'm sitting in your room and looking at you as you type your story. And while I know that time is limited, right now I feel like it is frozen.

REVERBERATIONS

Your voice, it crawls across my skin,
And I can hear your thoughts igniting.
Our link's distorted by the amplified sensations.
We've been in overdrive too long.

Confusing signals have me craving closeness,
My vision blurs, your colors reach my eardrums, 
And I can almost taste the rhythmic bounce
Of your elusive echo.

You make me wish my life was like a photograph. 
Just you and I, bound by a frame, immortal. 
A perfect moment that's immune to time. 

Now tell me, is this love?
Or just the thickening reverberation of my loneliness?

MICROSCOPIC DUST

“Please read your journal!” — she pleads, shoving it into my hands, begging me to see her with clear eyes. But my eyes and my mind are anything but clear, although I am convinced otherwise.

“I remember what I wrote, ok?” — I say as I think of all the promises I made in that journal. Promises reassuring her that I could keep my anxiety away from our relationship. I continue to sit still, but my insides are burning. It isn’t anger, but rather something more viscous and more elusive.

“I think you need help.”

“Are you serious?!” — I glare at her.

“Yes! I mean it!” You have that face again — the distant, evil face. I’m scared.”

I cannot believe that she is seriously suggesting psychological help. I mean, I am fine, dammit! If only she wasn’t so demanding for answers that I don’t have. I look at her. Her cheeks are shiny and red from tears, her eyes — glossy. She is so pretty, so cute, but there is nothing I can do to stop this mess. We’ve gone too far and who knows if this will ever subside. From within me, from a level of conscious awareness, emerges the desire to wrap my arms around her, kiss her tears away, tell her over and over that she is the most wonderful person in the world, until all the pain that I caused is replaced with warmth and peace. But I can’t move. I am locked inside a destructive subconscious pattern that was put in place by god knows who or what to sabotage everything good we had between us.

“I can’t be here right now. I need to go for a walk. I need to think things through” — I say, getting up and heading for the door. She bolts off the bed and in a fraction of a second she is already clasping my wrists, crying, begging me to stay.

“Please don’t go! Please! Let’s talk, please!..”

“I have to go” — I say as I look past her into nothingness. The pattern has a strong hold over me and I am powerless. I break away from her as gently as I can, but there is nothing gentle about the situation. It’s all brutal and violent in contrast to the peaceful New York basement apartment setting. As I walk up the stairs I don’t look back, leaving behind my purity and my love and my happiness who is standing there in the doorway in her slippers and pajama shorts, shocked, devastated, and crying.

The night streets glide over me as I walk senseless in some uncertain direction. All I can hear is a loud buzzing in my ears — a kind of sound that rings endlessly after the most powerful explosion is followed by utter silence. It fades in and out of my head as I zone out between intersections. I walk and I walk and I walk, the world around me nothing but a synthetic projection of whatever the fuck life is. How did things get so bad between us? How can I ever go back into that apartment and into that girl’s life after leaving like that? I couldn’t. Several months later I will find out that on that night I left her heart forever, never to return. That night, somewhere in the busy streets of Manhattan, between trash bags and swarming yellow cabs, I lost her love.

When I open the door to the apartment, she is back on the bed, cheeks still red but her eyes — tearless. They study me and my every move for any signs of answers. Those answers make sense to me, but I could never explain them to her. Especially after what had happened. Better to not say anything at all, but that’s not going to work. I can’t be silent forever. Her gaze is demanding explanations, and once again I feel numb and speechless.

“So?” — she asks, firmly.

I look up at her and try to say something but the words aren’t coming out. Because they aren’t the right words. Nothing I can conjure up in my head feels right. The truth is — I am torn. I love this girl and I need to tell her that, but my personal problems and insecurities are right in the way and I cannot break through them. She shakes her head like “Come on, just say something already”. I want to yell “I don’t know, baby! I don’t fucking know!” I want to yell at myself, at my own confusion and paralysis. That’s when I get that gnawing feeling of hopelessness that kids get when they can’t do something even after they’ve tried many times. My chest grows heavy with heat that radiates into my throat, and I hear myself say “umm…”. What a great start. In my head a million thoughts — a synaptic explosion, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot for the life of me comprehend why it is so damn difficult to explain how I feel. As I look at her I begin to see in her eyes that she is growing distant and beginning to give up on me. On us.

I don’t remember what I said, but whatever it was — it “fixed things”. The next day we went to Central Park and walked around, although mostly in silence. It was so strange to be free of the destructive pattern. I felt so right and so in love with her. But in the back of my mind I knew that there was no fixing things. Those wounds — they were forever and they were eating at us, like incoming waves eat at a sand castle.

It was a disaster waiting to happen. When things were good they were really good. But when they were bad they were really bad. Really really bad. Our fights didn’t just weaken the walls of our castle, necessitating a little maintenance — no, they destroyed the whole thing, leaving behind a wet, shapeless pile of unrecognizable mess. And although we tried to rebuild the walls every time, the waves kept on coming. So when she decided that she didn’t want to play in the sand with me anymore and went to look for better fish in the sea, there was no way I could keep the castle standing on my own. And it would be useless anyway because she didn’t want a sand castle. She wanted a stone fortress, strong and indestructible, but my what if’s would turn any stone she offered into microscopic dust.

FOR NOW

Hair dark with wetness sticks to the ceramic of the tub. 
Blue inhaled smoke tugs at the inside of the lungs. 
The surface of the water breaks around the knees, 
They feel exposed and isolated just like you. 

Submerge. 

Submerge with all the heaviness you feel, 
Just let it pull you down. 
And once your vision blurs, 
And once you find you can no longer draw a breath
Release the scream that rolls around like pebbles in your chest
And let it bubble up, away from the constricting pressure. 

Then, when the water cools to an uncomfortable squeeze, 
When it pulls all the dirt and hurt and tension from within you,

Rise up.

And watch the droplets of remaining pain roll off you oozing skin and shatter on the floor. 

You’re clean. 
For now you’re clean.

DISSOLVE

Stuck
And your pillow doesn't smell like you anymore
I squeezed you out of it
Getting my fix
When you return I will find you again

There are many faces but I don't want their eyes
When I open doors the hallway's empty
Come back to me
Come back

The steering wheel was made for squeezing
And I've been using it a lot
The road keeps drifting to the side
The world unfolding right before me
And suddenly I feel your hand
On top
Of mine

It's time to cross out yet another day
And I wake up
My arms around your pillow
It's time to step into the sunlight
Dissolve in it
And miss you more
And miss you more

THIS IS REAL

and now is the time to realize that real life is only right now a dream so surreal like a beam of light eating through film in my dream oh yes from my dream for my dream by my dream as i swim through your fears fighting mine so surreal so unreal i can feel there's not much to reveal how i feel yes you know how i feel but you feel just the same not in vain guaranteed we prevail we survive every time there's no time to define how much time it will take to reveal what it's like to be real to be live to believe that this dream is a mine to be found in your eyes looking back into mine this is love this is real it's a dream i'm asleep in your arms i awake and i shake till i see that i'm still in your arms you are real this is real this is real
 

SHADOWS OF SPIDERS

24 pills. 600mg of allergy medicine. Only active ingredient - diphenhydramine. One person. A whole world of emotions suppressed.

Shadows of spiders. Faces of loved ones. If I go back, I might never return. Why do these shadows interest me so much? Is it their openness? Their inability, or their unwillingness to hide the truth?

(on phone)


... The last in the pack. My roommate is at a get-together with his friends and I will have the room to myself for a few more hours. I smoke only a half of my second cigarette and head back to the room. I am feeling a little dizzy. Probably from chain smoking. I get to the room. There I get a pen and a piece of paper - I know it will be impossible to type on my iPhone later.

(on paper)

I play Dramamine (Modest Mouse) from my laptop. Beautiful song as it is, but I'm sure it will make more sense later on. I get myself a bottle of water - it will be essential as my trip progresses. Then I lie down in my bed and wait. Feeling more buzzed. Eyes relax and go out of focus sometimes. Several minutes later I decide to make a short playlist that contains six of my favorite post rock songs. I put it on repeat. Starting to see occasional flashes, but they are only occasional. I am in a curious mood. I've always wanted to see more of that beautiful world - the world of my rawest emotions. I love my family.

5pm. Harder to focus eyes. Vision is a little weird. Some more flashes. Walking feels different - it's more like floating. I turn the volume down on the speakers. Even though the music wasn't too loud to begin with, I want to be able to communicate with shadow people more easily. So Audio hallucinations? Maybe. Maybe not. Tingling on the tips of my finglers. Carpet looks slightly different - more red it has a reddish tone to it now.

Already have dry mouth, but it's not too severe. Writing and spelling becomes more challenging. Short term memory starts to slowly disapper. I see some patterns on the sheet of paper. Some more flashes. Hand become heavier. So far so good. Taking a break from wiriting. E

5:05 - Ti It felt like more time had passed. Only 5 minutes - that felt like 20 mins. Harder to compose sentences. Vision blurry, expecially when I look Hard to concentrate on the writing. I'm using a pen for that reason. With the pen I can use my muscle memory to put words down on paper. Some bright dots fly across the sceiling. Body heavy, vision glitches. 1st audio hallucination. Roommate said "Nope". Short term memory is almost gone.

5:15 Hands fe hold an to imaginary objects. Can't focus my eyse - cant's ,& is can stare at 1 point forever, letters start to jump around. B Time dilation is extreme. More audio hallucinations. Music a llittle sad.

Gonna go drink some water. then bathrom

Heard people in& my roommate. It was more like a visual. Flash starlled me. I cm thinking of writing scp faslter for my short term memory is fuckesd. Completing sentences requires enormous effort.

5:26

Taking a break from writing.
I

5:30 Loud sounds are sem very unpredictule - you I don't expect it to happen and it startles.
Can't wrte anymore. Very distracted. y
Fuckd.

Ill migbe I'll come back contine come back letter to writing later.