Prophets for Profit

One commonality I’ve noticed

Is that, people love to tell others

Not to subscribe to another’s bullshit

But watch, and listen to their own.

Another commonality I’ve noticed

Is that, these same people

No matter how delusional

Will acquire followers like sheep to a Shepard.

And they do it warmly, and with a smile.

And they’ll agree with you entirely.

They’ll make you feel safe.

They’ll tell you what to see and how to see it,

Treating you like their own personal parlor trick.

Their greatest illusion will be their acceptance.

While the bullshit they feed

In return for a profit—they’ll make themselves

The prophet—which they need to feel sound.

One commonality I’ve noticed

Is that, people who can’t be alone

Will do everything it takes not to be alone

Even when that means taking you with them.

They will win your will, with or without your consent.

They will make it feel like your own choice

To gain your trust, and dissolve you of fear.

Though fear isn’t always a negative—

Often it’s a tell tale sign—so

These commonalties I’ve noticed

Are geared to my liking, but at least

I’ve got the peasants fortune to tell you

That, prophets for profit will always be cunning.

And though wolves wear many clothes,

So do Shepards.

Being silly on my Soap Box Tree, Jan. 2021

Insomnia: A Short Story

The television’s on.

It’s freezing in here.

I should probably be asleep, but I’m not.

It’s 4:53. It’s always 4:53, when, click, the heat turns on.

Now the draft from the window’s competing with the dull heat, which smells like last years dust, pouring through the vent, above the door, which leads to the living room where the TV’s still on.

In about an hour the sun will be up and it will be another morning.

I can’t tell yet whether or not I’ll be excited or scared, but either way, I have to write my grandmother—thanking her for the letter she sent a couple days prior—she used to fill the cards with glitter but doesn’t anymore…

Perhaps there’s a glitter shortage, I don’t know.

I’ve been pulling my beard out again, which I don’t like, but still do. Why? A doctor would probably claim it’s nerves but by this point in life I know better than that.

It’s funny really, thoughts, how they come and go as easily as a hair can be plucked from your chin.

If I had eggs in the fridge I’d probably boil some for breakfast but I don’t have any because yesterday while shopping I’d debated prices in my head for what seemed like too long to be debating prices of eggs, causing an uncomfortable feeling I just couldn’t shake, making me anxious and aware that I’d been standing in the isle for what seemed like eons though was probably only a couple minutes, still, too long to be debating whether or not I wanted to pay 2.39 or 2.99 for a dozen of eggs.

The heat feels good now, while the right side of my face warms up, the left side is still dealing with the draft from the window.

Common sense tells me to close the window though my better judgement says to just let it be. What’s the point, really?

It’s 5:06 now. It’s always 5:06.

The repetitive nature of this statement keeps recurring in my mind as if the idea isn’t fully mine, though I use it anyway.

Perhaps it’s my conscious mind coming back to me? Perhaps it’s programming I just don’t have the strength to deny, either way…whatever.

It’s 8:08 on the East Coast. My mother’s probably pouring coffee, reading the morning news. My brother’s probably already dragged himself from bed and into work. My nephew’s to school. My sister-in-law to her studio where she makes jewelry from metal and her imagination.

Their routine gives me comfort because right now I don’t have one.

This pandemic has us all in a pretty weird state of affairs, though, my affairs have always been pretty weird now that I think about it.

At least I’m writing again. That’s good.

Everything is pretty all right right now—knock on wood.

And what if this is as good as it gets? Hog wash.

At least it’s warm in here, closing the window, watching the sun rise.

My nail beds are long. I’ve always been told that. “You’ve got piano hands,” they said once, go figure, I don’t play—if I did this would probably make for a better story though, well, you know.

Turning off the TV seems irrational as it’ll just get turned on again tonight, unless, unplugging the TV—Ah! That’s better.

Insomnia, it’s the breakfast of champions.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the letter.

Hayati

Your aura
warms my spirit
barefoot in awe
I wonder
whatever tomorrow
brings, today
my love is endless,
as warm
as the white light
which paints
my shadow
onward—
Hayati

White Light Oracle Deck

How often have you judged yourself by your looks rather than how you feel? For this average white guy, countless.

If I could go back, all those years, and stand next to twelve year old me, would I have the courage and strength to tell that nervous boy watching all the other children, swimming, laughing, and running—playing shirts v.s. skins—to quit worrying and join in, that it doesn’t matter how chubby you feel, or how different you look, that as long as you love and accept yourself, no words from another can harm you, or would I just sit back and watch, still the observer unable to join the party?

It’s funny how something so simple as taking your shirt off to swim can be so detrimental to a young child’s self esteem and yet as adults we often forget what that was like or rather what external forces beyond our control led us to believe ourselves unworthy of such a simple, yet harrowing task.

As in childhood, so as in adulthood, what we allow to harm us will.

Commercials show us long, slender, sleek models who seem to effortlessly fit in to their surroundings while being rewarded with warm smiles and admiration for seeming perfect.

Television shows and movies give us well manicured, quintessential versions of ourselves that often seem more like science fiction than what actually is.

Billboard ads and magazines are placed conveniently to fill all our psyche with blemish-less detail to promote this false sense of unattainable beauty that even when met, there’s ultimately an even whiter teeth formula, or wax to whisk away our imperfection.

It’s a cycle that even before the mind has time to develop, stunts it’s growth and like a cavity begins to decay all sense of self worth.

How often have you judged yourself by your looks rather than how you feel?

For this average white guy, countless.

But it’s taken all those countless times to figure out that it doesn’t matter in the slightest, especially as a child who’s developing.

So would I tell that twelve year old me to take his shirt off and go swimming with the rest of the lot?

I don’t think there is a clear answer other than that instead of telling him what he should or shouldn’t do like all the rest of the world, I’d allow him the opportunity to listen to my story and decide for himself.

But I would say this. Chances are that boy or girl over there thinks there nose is too big or there ears are too small. Chances are that kid who cringes to put on his glasses everyday feels just like you do now, wondering what others will think of what makes him human.

Perhaps I’d reassure him that everybody has stretch marks, even the biggest, strongest athletes. Even his mother, and what could be more beautiful than sacrificing your physical form to grant another life?

But we all figure it out in our own time.

I know he did.

Clearwater Beach Florida

it’s ok to feel blue too.

I think I’d rather not

I mean ok

Let me walk a block

Get my thoughts straight

Try and help out

Make you feel great

If this was high school

Basket case.

I think I’d like that

I mean no don’t

If you bite back

I could go home

Take my shoes off

Draw a warm bath

Some use a toaster

Here I’ll right back.

Got a new job

Got a new face

Got some new friends

To help replace

No that ain’t right

I mean ok

It’s a bad trip

Depends what you take.

Is that a sick joke

Or the new wave

Is that a cut throat

Or a switchblade

Is this real life

Or a showcase

No one can hurt you

Just be brave.

Had a dog once

His name was courage

He could sense pain

Like a surgeon

One day I woke up

He had broken

His chain and ran off

But that’s the breaks kid.

See the sunshine

And the bus stop

See the shadows

And the rooftops

Even your grumpy

Great grandpa

Smiles sometimes

Don’t last long.

So if you feel bad

Just know I like you

If you feel sad

I’ll feel sad too

We’ll sing a singalong

In a sad room

Kid it’s ok

To feel blue too.

Yet still I turn to the East in longing.

I was nothing more than excuses,

a great big ball of disappointment

which she tried desperately to employ.

At the bottom of it, I was fragile and weak.

In the pits of despair I looked to love,

but could not fully know love without

loving myself, which by terms of engagement

were cut like beautiful red ribbons from her hair.

Give me death, I’d beg.

Give me peace, I’d scream,

unaware that there was any difference between.

Still she’d try, day in and day out, pushing forward

like an endless train car of hopeful desire.

We’d even escape together too

with nothing but the wind to guide our path

and the rise and fall of the sun to persuade us forward.

Knee deep in the escape of journey we’d prevail,

until of course the final push where and when

like a wrecking ball of fate our souls would wither

in the crest of the sun upon the blind horizon.

Even now, I still turn my sights inward

reminded of her beauty and strength,

channeling it outward where I can walk

head turned high among the many shapeless eyes

who know nothing of my past, care nothing of my future

who’d rather see me not than to judge.

Yet still I turn to the East in longing.

And like all those many times before I know

even if we were to change(our minds) we couldn’t.

Though my count of crows is high

I know that one day it will be but one.

Until then I’ll keep this in my breast pocket

along with my sunglasses, where I reach for them sometimes

when my heart is heavy

where I can’t bear to look away

where I gaze into the distant clearing

and watch grasshopper spring

from golden stalk to golden stalk

blissful in the quiet light.

alone and warm and aware

The sun is warm on my face

grey shadow upon wood grain

stuck somewhere between

sympathy and harmony

with the universe

and where a headache should be

there is none

and where a heart should be

there is stone

and where I should be

there is shadow

alone and warm and aware

cast too across wood grain with

the closing doors of another work shift.