Archive for July, 2013

Against the Grain

Posted in Random Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2013 by bigtuna185

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I was at the beach today. Gorgeous outside. 80 degrees, breezy, but warm. I laid upon my towel, my rectangular fabric territory, quietly staring up at the sky, pondering the vastness of our world and the universe in general.

To the average human right now, the expanse of creation is pretty much infinite. There is not one person who would be able to live to travel to the edge of the universe. I doubt that there’s even a person who would be able to travel to every inch of this planet! In short, the world we live in is limitless, and yet we are somehow meant to cope with this by coming to terms with our own mortality.

Heavy thoughts for a relaxing day at the beach, I know.

It was about then that I shifted my gaze to the seagulls, vile predators of dropped snacks and consumers of chaos. The average person doesn’t give them a second thought, but I watch them. When they aren’t anxiously awaiting the careless motions of the crowds, they’re trying to fly…somewhere. Who knows where it is that they need to go, but damn it if they aren’t determined. Whether the wind is with them or against them, these stubborn birds, like Ahab chasing his White Whale, make multiple attempts to leave the place that they have gotten comfortable in, most times just ending up back where they started.

As “advanced beings,” we have a tendency to look down on anything that has a predictable behavior. We know that seagulls, no matter what, will chase food that we throw towards them. However, I have to ask the question: How is it that we are any better? The allure of new worlds and possible life on other planets is tantalizing to the point that we seek it out, expending precious resources for such privileges. We attempt to fly into the wind to reach our destination, only to be blown back to the place where we started. We are not yet powerful enough to get there, or else, we were never meant to get there in the first place.

Maybe it isn’t something as profound as life on other planets. Maybe it’s a job that you’ve wanted for years. Maybe it’s a relationship that you’re struggling with. Maybe it’s that new iPad you’ve had your eye on. Whatever the case, everyone has something that they will try to obtain no matter what the cost. We push onward through the elements hoping that we make it through to the other side when sometimes we just seem to fly in circles.

The next time you go to the beach, think about these things. What is your “dropped sandwich?”

Respect the seagull, for although he is a slave to what feeds him, at least he’s brave enough to go after it.

Uno (A poem)

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , on July 30, 2013 by bigtuna185

Independence, solitude, isolation, loneliness
Four different words
One single meaning

Independence is a lie we tell ourselves
When we want feel mature
When we want to feel accomplished
When the world pushes us and we push back
This is the mask we put on, swaggering about
Everyone needs help from someone
Everyone wants to be noticed
We’re all just looking for a spotlight on stage
To illuminate our struggles for the live studio audience

Solitude is a cave that the fearful recede into
Dark, hollow, restricting, and suffocating
Nothing grows
Rays of light filter in
Like blades sharpened to lethal proportions
Harmful to those not well-adjusted
To being seen

Isolation is a solid wall of opposition
Sheltering the weak
Atrophying the muscles of those too cowardly
To step out of the comfortable zone of protection
And risk injury
Risk embarrassment
Risk an awkward situation
Leaving one unable to stand alone

Loneliness is honest with itself
It doesn’t pretend to feel
For the sake of appeasing a crowd
It recognizes one as one
And that one plus one would be better
But that one is currently minus the one thing that would remedy
A once in a while drop in (ba)romantic pressure

It is better to feel lonely than be a liar
It is better to feel lonely than be a coward
It is better to feel lonely than shut out the world

Loneliness desires connection
Loneliness doesn’t give up on itself
Dug deep inside of every lonely soul
Is a seed of hope, desperate for rain

Monsoon Season (A Short Story)

Posted in Short Stories with tags , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by bigtuna185

Viscous fluid crawled down the transparent sheet of glass separating us from the outside world. Precipitation fell from the heavens like it was the end times, like revelation was upon us. Holy Spirit wind barged through the limbs of trees, doing a discourtesy to Mother Nature. The howling of the elements only served to make our shelter seem hollow and empty. A flash of lightning traced the image of God through the sky. The thunder crackled like a fire reaching its apex and displacing any air hidden within the kindling, suffocating it. It was dark outside, the sun blotted out by the secondhand smoke of the Lord.

We had no power. I tried to read her face in between spectacles of light, subconsciously counting the seconds between sight and sound. The brunt of the storm was only a couple of miles away, and getting closer. We were suspended in time, shackled by grains of sand in an hourglass, the motion of celestial bodies in a vacuum, and victims of the plans of an authority greater than ourselves. I tried to hold onto the moment before it, but it wriggled away the same way that a loyal pet doesn’t want to be picked up. She was expressionless. She made faces that made it appear that she felt something, but inside she was neutral. Apathetic. Indifferent. My existence to her was of no consequence, a seeming triviality. She repeated her cursed mantra once more.

“I don’t love you anymore.”

She wanted a reaction out of me, but to feel was to lose the game. I had already lost, but I didn’t want her to know that. My soul was weeping, and I didn’t say a word. People tend to look at awkward silences as something to be despised, but I always knew they were worth much, much more. Think of how many words are wasted daily. Think of the conversations that lead to dead ends. Think of breath that could be used for life instead of death. In a given day, how much of it is completely silent? When are there no background noises, no outside chatter, and no distractions? No, silence is that still untapped mine of gold waiting to be discovered. Looking past the contrived societal notion of “awkwardness,” the stillness and the quiet allows for reflection and enlightenment better than any new age religion can boast.

I was given a look that demanded an answer. The gift that keeps on giving. I didn’t have anything to reciprocate the non-sentiment. I shrugged my shoulders.

“I guess you should probably go then.”

If she had cared for even a second, she might have shaken her head as she walked out. She might have come back in to give me her two cents on how I should have reacted, trying to control me like she had the rest of our relationship. She might have…but she was not mighty, and I was done taking orders. Instead, she rose from the chair she was sitting in like an apparition. If the sun were visible I’m certain it would have passed right through her. It almost appeared like she floated away, a haunting spirit gone to wander in search of a new host. I should have been concerned about her driving in such terrible weather. In a way, I always will be concerned. In that instant I was more focused on keeping my living room carpet dry.

She hesitated for a split second, a brief flash of humanity assuring me that it was more than just a dream. There was still hope inside of her, maybe not for me, but for someone. Then she stepped out into the rain, pelting her as though sinners were casting stones all around her. I don’t know if it’s possible for a person to be moving and yet seem stationary at the same time, but that’s what she looked like. A walking contradiction. My windows watched her leave.

I tried to comfort myself. “You’re better off without her. You don’t need the trouble.”

I tried to battle myself. “But we could be so perfect! The only thing standing between us and happiness is a willingness to try!”

I accepted the harsh reality. I would come to terms with the way that things were going to be from now on, but each piece of heart that gets added to the collection makes it harder to adjust the focus on the perspective lens of life. Girls, lovers, soulmates have come and gone, each one minimized to circumvent the pain, never completely eradicated. There was no immune system to purge me of romanticizing what could have been. The only cure for idealizing something is to become its bitter cynic, and that was its own disease. That wasn’t me, but I didn’t know where to find who I truly was.

The peals of thunder faded in the distance. Clouds thinned and lost their ominous complexion, dropping their surplus like a leaky faucet. There would be more storms. With some, the symptoms are easy to tell, and those you can prepare for. I trust storm clouds in the morning more than the sun. Seeing the sun first only dampens the mood when the forecast turns bleak. It may sound depressing, hopeless, desolate. That isn’t the intent. The best way to avoid disappointment is to always expect rain. Don’t forget your umbrella when the torrents inevitably return. Monsoon season is upon us; stick to higher ground.

Lunar (A poem)

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , on July 30, 2013 by bigtuna185

All-seeing eye
Illusionary spectacle of light
Peering down into the dark
While representing darkness itself

Its glow is not its own
A halo forms
A crown
Coronation of the queen of the night
Dusky royalty

Some days you are bashful
Hiding behind the shadows
Peering around corners
Others you have disappeared
Behind a curtain of murky deception

But you are still there
And I am the same

You exist in dualities
Complements of completion
Hope stares through the silhouettes of
Finger-like tree branches clawing towards the sky
Despair oozes from your pupils
Dilating, dripping, drooping
Leeching, latching, and sapping life

I trust you with the tides of my being
I bask in your secondhand radiance
Illuminate the gloom when the candlelight dwindles
And I am left wondering, dreaming, wishing

Natural Minerals (A poem)

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by bigtuna185

There are no labor laws in the mines of the brain
Working every hour of every day
In any and all conditions

Rain, snow, sleet, hail
Fatigue, distress, euphoria, devastation
It does not rest
It does not take breaks

The eyes may close and the body may sleep
But synaptic impulses fire off like emergency flares
A tiny beacon in the black
A voice gently shouting “I’m here! I’m here!”
Awaiting a rescue that will never show
Echoing and reverberating within such imprisoning chambers

And though there is no guarantee of an outcome
No assurance of a yielding of fruit
Of a mind picked of treasure
We throw our weighty tools on our weathered shoulders
Trudging hypnotically onward into the subconscious depths

For whether it is rock or dirt
If it be minerals or gemstones
Precious diamonds or tarnished coal
We always take something back with us to the surface

Matriarch (A poem for and about my mother)

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by bigtuna185

The title “mother” is synonymous with warrior
Stoic, battle-hardened soldier
You have seen great tragedies
Coupled with hard-fought,
Tooth and nail, inch by inch,
Scratching, scraping, grinding forward
With grim determination,
Victories

You have been the outsider looking in
Exiled by God and Country,
Family and Comrades.
With no one to turn to
You turned inward
Relying on resolve
And the inner strength that legends are made of.
There will be people who sing of your great feats
For ages and ages hence.

You have been betrayed
Scars and bruises became routine acclimation
An inverted Ten Commandments chiseled,
Tattooed across your back.
Still you carried the burdens
And put to shame advocates of injustice.

You did not question the virtues of right and wrong
Nor stop to ponder the inconsequential noise of the rabble
Unselfishly, you acted for your children
In every deed, admirable.
With every step, grateful.
You forged a path where there was none
So that we might have a place
To grace our feet
And walk towards waterfalls and mountains
Able to refresh our spirits
And conquer our demons.

It is only you, O’ Life Giver,
O’ Life Bearer,
O’ Defender of Childhood,
Girder of Discipline,
Protector of Innocence,
That is able to pass on these lessons.
You alone are the stalwart driving force
Pushing us onward in our noble campaign
O’ Matriarch of my soul.

Caverns (A Short Story/Writing Exercise)

Posted in Short Stories with tags , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by bigtuna185

It smelled like a cave, or rather, what I would imagine a cave smelled like. Rising structures of brick, mortar, concrete and glass rose up like vast, sweeping walls. Buildings stuck out like hand-crafted stalagmites. Rough to the touch, cool to the hand.

Water covered streets evoked scents, memories, impulses. I’m hungry, or maybe I’m reflective, or perhaps it’s just nausea. It’s all the same, emotion that is. Chemicals bubbling over spontaneously, spilling out into speech, thought, action. The entirety of our civilization is run by chemical reactions exploding from within. Poisons and panaceas, a cycle stuck on repeat.

Sitting alone, isolated, I observed citizens strolling through a public park. Grey skies, obscuring nutritious sunlight. Verdant green thriving amidst the grinding machine of society, peacefully warbling onward. Small birds flitted to an fro, whizzing past my head, grazing the tips of my ears in a daredevil fashion, brown-beige blurs flashing through the sky like feathered lightning.

Step by step these people wandered about this man-made Eden, and I wonder how many of them stopped to think how it all fit together. Not scientifically, for science robs the wonder and whimsy of everyday miracles. I wonder if any of them stop and think why colors can be so brilliant or dull, why we can see color at all, why we perceive an urban oasis to be beautiful. Are they grateful for the shade of a tree or its gift of oxygen?

Who alone among the masses thinks metaphysically about the functions of the world? For that matter, who even thinks anymore? Where are the original ideas, sparks of creativity lighting the fire of ingenuity? What happened to a world of pencil and paper, scribblings of genius? Instead we are slaves to our outlets. We are plugged into a world without wires, perpetually connected, but never connecting.

I wonder if there are those that wonder like I do. Those who stay awake at night with incessant fervor and dedication, silently issuing an alarm for revival, for renaissance. I like to believe there are others out there, bursting through that circle of light towards revelation.

The confining space is not civilization or society. The only cave we have left to emerge from is our own mind.