To The Depths

Coming home I felt like I was going to my grandparents’ for the holidays. I’ve crossed the threshold from “going back” home to “visiting” home. It feels foreign, like I almost don’t belong. Though my parents aren’t from here, I was born and raised here. I’m from this place, but not of this place. I’ve felt comfortable here, I’ve felt a strong conviction to stay here, I’ve wanted to be here before. Now I feel tired of it. Maybe I’m just seeing it for what it really is. This place is desolate. I love the nature and being stranded, but this place is desolate – free from culture and a sense of motivation. People get stuck here; people rot here. I love my friends and some of them have shitty jobs, but they’re still good people and they get along. But some of them just get so bogged down and stranded that they can’t pull themselves up. They’re lost. Gone. Once you’re gone, it’s not easy to come back, and it has to be driven from within - that doesn’t happen.

I wanted to see friends tonight, so I did. Too bad about the raging, drunk, underage high school girls who ruined any semblance of intimacy. Too bad for people’s preoccupation with various sedatives and inhalables. Too bad for people’s apathy and self-pity. I see so  many people that make me so bitter and cynical and jaded. So many people that eat away at my hope for humanity. I know it’s not their fault, but they have some responsibility. They’re all worth so much more. Especially my friends. Get off your apathetic asses and grab what you want. You’re worth more than skipping JCC classes. You’re worth more that driving drunk and snorting coke. You’re worth more than finding solace in promiscuous sex. You’re worth more than working at some disgusting restaurant and smoking your fears away. You’re worth more than department store display arrangement.

This place is so backwards and it eats people whole. I’ve defended this place before, but there isn’t much here that is worth defending. I have my parents and sister here. I have the Shaws here. I have my dad’s land. I have a handful of friends, but they’re slowly either dispersing or dropping off the face of reality. More and more I feel less for this place, less a part of it. This is my home, but it’s not worth this struggle. I have a few people worth so much more than any place and I’d rather follow them. I have so little connection here that I almost feel homeless. This place is a swamp. Only the lucky get out, the rest slowly decompose into toxic fumes.

I miss those innocent days when we didn’t know anything; we thought the world was endless. Then we had to wake up. Some of us fight it by trying to escape it; some of us just work within it. I’m trying to understand it. I miss driving in that shitty red Pontiac to eat at the Brass Tacks in my bike shorts. I miss that reality that we ignorantly succumbed ourselves to. Too bad the real world is harsh, and money is real. I guess some people just can’t handle it. They hide behind fights or drinks or blunts or college or work. I refuse to hide. I’m taking this full on and I’m not backing down. I’m not going to be stuck and I’m not settling for what I’ve got. I just wish they could all see the other side. I wish they could have the drive to fight to get there.

This place isn’t any different from anywhere else. The country, the suburbs, the city, East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, it’s all the same. We are the privileged complainers. We have so much handed to us that we let ourselves turn to empty husks of dust. TV, videogames, parties, bars, movies, clubs, whatever just consume us. We get in these routines of apathy. I know so many people from other countries who fight and work so hard to have something different from what they grew up in, but we just settle. There’s more out there. I want to help others get to a place similar to the life we “enjoy” here, but what if they just let it do to them what we’ve let it do to us?

I guess there has to be some of that dilapidation of the human spirit, the human mind. I just have such a hard time with it. We have to let people do their thing, but when it’s people I love, people with whom I’ve shared months and years of my life, it’s so hard. It’s even worse when they won’t communicate with you. Some of my closest friends just don’t talk to me, so when I try to get together with them while I’m here; they don’t exist. I miss you.

People don’t change. Only situations do. Situation let you know more about the person, and sometimes that hurts. It’s not that you don’t know someone now; it’s just that you never knew them and now you’re just seeing another side of them. I’ve come to realize that I knew so little about even the people I was closest to. Maybe my bias towards them masked a lot of things, but man it’s so sad when you remove yourself and look in from afar. That innocence is never reclaimed. We can never get that back. They’re just memories. People just get more complicated, more folds, more dark corners, more winding corridors that life has led them down and left them at the end of. We just become darker with age. So much darkness and cynicism. I want to be positive, but how can I be when people treat themselves and each other like such dirt? I see so much beauty and value in every human being, but when they don’t realize it, it just turns to mold.

I worry that I’m receding back into myself, that the people around me will mean less and less as I continue my life. I plan on traveling a lot, so I won’t be able to make tight connections, and I’ll have to fight so hard to keep the ones I have now. I’ve lost some, for now. I want to regain them. I’m willing to try. But when there’s no response, no effort, then what can I do besides give up? I know that if they’re true friends, they’ll come back. I’ll be tight with them again. It’s happened a number of times, and I figure some of it is just because I’m forgiving. But should I always take that? Is it abuse to just ignore someone and then want to get together and be friends again? I don’t know, and honestly I don’t care. I’ll keep letting them back into my life. I’ll just keep guard of myself. So much disconnectedness. I want to have a tight community of people, of friends, but either they give up or I do.

I’m fine with just a few tight friends. But keeping them close is so hard. Especially guys. I guess you can’t really try too hard; you just have to let it go its own way.

We’ll see.  

I want to live in a house that is integrated into the outdoors. All rooms can open freely onto the outside and be part of the outside. Leaves on the wind could sweep through and water could be shot through to clean the floors. Rugs could be picked up for this. Fresh air would circulate and there would not be a disconnect between inside and outside; there would not even be thresholds, everything could just roll in, roll out. Seals on the doors or whatever would make the house weather tight, keeping out water and cold when necessary. In the hot months, all could be open and rain could drizzle in; it would be ok, and would probably be routed out in some clever way. There would be no permanent fragility – no carpets, only rugs, no overly dainty items meant to be kept forever and out of reach of the elements. It would be an area halfway between the forest or the meadow and the prisons we currently condemn ourselves to, devoid of sunlight, fresh air, and natural undulations in moisture. It would move naturally, avoiding the so often seen and felt desire towards permanence and solidity. I want it to be of the earth, not on it. What’s wrong with a few leaves in your tub, ladybugs in your living room, a turtle on the kitchen floor? We’re fine with dogs and cats and the like, but even they’re seen as bothersome in some homes that hold perfection and tidiness as paramount. So I say tear that down, at least for a bit, and allow some “clean dirt” into the home. Soil in your toes can be swept off the oak boards, frogs can be scooped up off the wool carpet and tossed back into the pond, mud can be washed down the drain. Let the sun drain in, unhindered by layers of glass, unblocked by walls of sheetrock. Let the air pass through, unburdened by passageways through cracks and crannies, maybe give it some beads to toss as it goes down the hall. Make the world your home, and let your home become part of the world. 


i want someone to worship at my church
and i want to worship at that someone’s church
but i don’t want it to feel like organized religion.  
i want it to feel like god.  

Your lilies grow in the back of my skull,

Shut tight and quivering in the warm spring night.

The dew sets on your lids, kissing your lips,

Your stems bend under the weight, soften and warm.

The sun, still far off, begins to breach the distant earth,

Your bulbs rooted deep underneath,

You begin to reach up to meet the coming warmth,

An instinct rather than a choice.

You never expect the sun to go cold,

But you forget the clouds that striate the empty blue.

The dew lifts in the light, returns in the shade,

Always present in some form,

But you can’t always feel it.

You begin to open,

Reveal your fragile beauty,

Always trusting the warmth and the dew.

The open stars of grounded, pigmented nectar

Dance and sway in the coming heat,

Emanating an exuberance and brightness seemingly unknown.


Maybe this day will be less harsh than yesterday,

Of course, that doesn’t take much.

As long as your roots aren’t nibbled at,

Your leaves remain untorn,

This day shall certainly be better.

Growing back what you’ve lost,

You give off that pollen so sought after,

That sweet burnt gold powder.

Flying in, the bees and butterflies waltz on your ballroom,

Collecting your priceless essence,

And flying away to places unknown,

Always taking a little of it with them.

What when the frost comes?

Does it burn and ache,

Or is it like a slow numbing?

Forget about that for now,

Only feel the light warm breeze,

And the dampening of cooling humidity.

The dew begins to fall,

Collecting again on your earth.

By the time this first sun sets,

The back of my eyes are crowded by so many open petals;

I can barely shut them, tearing and swollen.

As the summer ends, your petals close,

If only until the next spring.