auspicious winters

The hour between 4 and 5
in January
in Michigan
is my favorite moment
of everyday.

If the suns out anyway,
because if we’re blessed
with a clear sky in winter,
at 4 o clock
gold kisses the naked trees
and radiates from buildings
in contrast
to elongated shadows
drifting lazily across the ground.

I get caught up
in the distraction
of lifes necessities
and I forget
what I’m supposed to be doing.

And then it’s 4 again –
For a moment
those auspiciously stubborn
naked trees cling to their gold
and allow for time
to stand still
so light can dance
a little while longer
anticipating the length
of summer
and the warmth light shares
when it rules time.

 

coffee shops

Coffee shops
act as my sanctuary these days
because I’m hopelessly addicted
to the smell
of the coffee shop.

I like when coffee
burns down my throat
like I’m drinking
molten lava.

It’s sort of how whiskey feels
when you drink that
on summer days
by a river
with the smell
of lake water
perfuming your hair.

I like when coffee shops
only play jazz on the radio.
It perfectly encapsulates
the hustle and bustle
of making coffee
but it’s also pretty chill
because you always have
a few minutes
for coffee.

I could live in a coffee shop
but not like a Starbucks
but like the grimy shop
that was in my college town,
before gentrification took over
and the building became whitewashed.

It was the perfect place,
with turquoise walls covered
in art that was found
or from local artists
selling their labors.

The concrete floor
was carpeted with
rugs that looked like Persians
but were probably not.

Sometimes they’d play jazz
but sometimes it was punk rock
or classic rock
or something kind of weird
and
you just wear headphones
on those days.

It sits on the corner
of a busy street
and you can sit and watch
the cars go by
and look at this church
across the street,
that makes even churches in Europe,
a tiny bit jealous
because  it’s a stunning display
of Renaissance architecture style.

Once I snuck into the church
because I Just wanted
to see the inside.

It was amazing inside,
and a guy sang to me
some hymnal I wasn’t familiar with
and to this day,
I think that’s the only time
that sort of thing has happened.

I was trying to see the organ upstairs,
but the singing man said I wasn’t allowed.
I knew that already,
but rules are meant
to be broken sometimes,
because you have to live a little.

But it’s easy to claim ignorance
in situations like that –
Some people think
rules are more important
then they really are.

Even today,
sitting in Starbucks,
inside a strip mall
I can still think
of sitting in that cafe
where I discovered
that I too,
am pretentious about coffee,
looking at that beautiful church
an its orange brick.

The coffee shop
isn’t like that anymore.
they cleaned it up
painted the walls white
and made it another
place with the same
minimalist style,
which I like
but when everyone does it
it lacks personality
and maybe thats
what I really hate
about modern life.

goals

It’s December 3rd and, given the title, I’ve somewhat failed at my goal to write consistently for 30 days. However, I am accomplishing the result of wanting to begin the challenge and that is to write more, develop more consistency, try different ways of writing and seeing what happens.

It’s very hard to write every single day and I think more so, around this time of year. Sometimes, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Other times, there’s just nothing to say or rather, nothing that seems interesting enough to say. I’d have an idea, sit down and begin flushing it out and as I began to explore it, it gets to a point where even I’m bored with it.

Creating this blog, however, has been sort of like going to the gym for my writing skills. There have been many accomplishments:

Poetry – 

I started writing a different kind of poetry than I have in the past. I’ve always been a fan of free verse style of poetry. I’ve often struggled with my own poetry because I am not very good at rhyming in interesting ways but poetry is more creative than that, I think. Similar to how art doesn’t necessarily have to follow the rules to be art neither does poetry have to follow a distinct set of rules to be poetry. I’m figuring out my poetic  voice if that makes sense.

Short Stories – 

I’ve never written a short story, exactly. I have stories in my head, all the time. My mind works like a movie and I have scenes of characters in mind; I often wonder what happened before or after this moment. I struggled for years to figure out how to expand on these moments and make it a story. I don’t think The Ship is going to be the next Harry Potter, but it is in an accomplishment in writing it, learning from it and moving on from it. In college, I had a scriptwriting professor who said,

Write your first script. Fight with it, agonize over it and complete it. Then put it away and move on. Then read it a year later and remind yourself how shitty it was.

This has stuck with me forever because that’s The Ship. I’m aware of the literary holes in the story but I’m getting it out, it’s almost to the end and the next story is going to be a little bit better. You have to start somewhere.

Thinking –

I’m being more creative and thoughtful. Having this blog has given me things to think about and consider as I sift through ideas on what to write about. It’s allowed me to be a bit more of an active participant in the world around me because that’s where my inspiration has come from. I’m more investigative as I look for something to spark my interest or speak to me in any sort of way.

Goals – 

I have a lot of big dreams for my life and sometimes it seems overwhelming and daunting to think about them. This is a confidence issue for me, as to pose the question to myself you think you’re that good to accomplish this? and it’s kind of like well… maybe? It’s a terrible idea to always consider the grandiose and forget about all the other things that have to come together first, in order to achieve that. However, I’m learning to set small, attainable goals and seeing the results of achieving those and building on that success.

I was concerned I wouldn’t have anything interesting to say but the blog is proving me wrong. Maybe I do struggle to write every single day, but I am writing more now than I ever have. It’s been interesting to see as well, what sorts of posts get more attention, as I explore different ways to write. Overall, it’s been a good learning experience and I’m pretty excited to see how else I can grow the blog and which ways it will evolve over time.

Well, those are my thoughts today. Until tomorrow, friends!

 

time

I walk between worlds
accumulating outliers
that drift
on outskirts
closer to the center,
than I can reach
on my own.

Confirm my normality,
embrace the dissonance
of the configuration
that compiles
this shape
of human.

I’m an east coast sunrise,
an erratic display
of golden light
dancing on the Atlantic,
and the skies extraordinary ability
to fade from yellow to blue,
without ever creating green.

She’s an artist
the mother of us all,
she makes no mistakes
but rather, she’s Bob Ross.
Because there are no mistakes
in art…
just opportunities

And why shouldn’t
I dance on the Atlantic
with her wild, untamed
beauty?

How do you capture
the ocean?

Not to contain her
but to celebrate
a world inside a world;
crashing against the bits
of rocks that dare
to stand taller.
But she takes them with her
because even the rocks
are subjects of Time.


Those are my thoughts for today. Until tomorrow, friends!

the ship iii

Another page in the world of The Ship. What will learn about Jade and her world today? If you haven’t already, I implore you to read Part I and Part II of this series.

********

I woke up the next morning and headed to the bridge. I was greeted by Opal, my copilot. I met Opal in the Simulation when we were kids. We grew up together, being each other’s right hand through all the hurdles of adolescence. We both found out about the Simulation at the same time.

Opal didn’t immediately leave the Simulation, as I had. It was the moment I had discovered my mother wasn’t a real person. She was an algorithm of human traits thrown together to see what would happen. How could I remain in a place that I couldn’t distinguish what was real and what was fake? I was raised by a Simulation that thought it understood what it means to be human but failed to understand what is beyond logic.

That wasn’t the case for everyone. Opal’s parents were both real people who had walked in reality. They had lived there for years, but were required to enter into the Simulation for the lives of their children. They were grandparents now to her brother’s children and saw no reason to leave anymore. Understandable, this reality isn’t kind to the elderly.

What did it for Opal was finding out her husband wasn’t real. Every meaningful person in Opal’s life was real and that was enough for her to remain in the Simulation. I envied her for this. When she had met William, she felt a sense of completion and was eager to emulate the companionship and completeness she saw in the people who surrounded her. They had children together and followed a dreamy, perfect projection of their lives.

It was a Thursday and she mentioned to William that she should visit me in reality. She wanted him to come with her but as she said this, William stared back her with a confused look on his face. She came to a stop in her sentences and the room fell silent. Opal explains it as the loudest silence she had ever heard because even though there wasn’t anything making physical noise, the inside of her head was reminiscent of the ancient nuclear bombs we read about in our history class. William wasn’t real, because William didn’t know he was a Simulation. Their children weren’t real.

It was three years ago, Opal left. We’ve been working on the ship crew together, ever since. When I stepped through the door of the bridge, she didn’t notice me. She was intent on a beeping noise and a map of the stars being laid out before us.

“What is it?” I asked.

Opal jumped slightly and replied,

“I don’t know, we are getting pulled into orbit and… the ships sensors found a rock, I think with possibility of something to sustain us. I sent out the androids, see if we can get anything on it.”

“Well, that’s the most exciting thing to happen in 3 years. How long will the androids take?” I asked.

“Probably a few hours,” she explained.

I let out a sigh and then said,
“I went back in yesterday, to speak to Sam.”

“You did!? What happened?” Opal cried.

“He’s married to someone else. She’s not real though and he knows it! He designed her! Like that’s weird, right? …I don’t know how he can stand it. I asked him if he was ever coming back and he said no.”

“Yeah, definitely weird. I mean… obviously.” she laughed and then asked, “Are you okay?”

“I am. I don’t know why I went back. I guess just to confirm it, closure or something.” I replied.

“I think you’re doing just fine without him. You’re the captain of the whole ship, you could shut him down if you really wanted to. Fuck him.” She stated and then asked, “Should we get Ansel, about this?”

“No, not yet. Let’s wait for the androids to get back. It’s probably nothing important.”

“What would we do, if we ever met hostile life out here?” Opal pondered.

“I don’t know. I mean we’ve never found anything overly remarkable anyway. It’d be kind of cool though… if we survived, obviously.”

“What’s it beeping about?” Ansel asked as he entered through the southern door of the bridge.

“We are getting pulled into orbit and the ship found something on a rock. I’ve sent out the androids to get a better read on it, see if it’s worth checking out.” Opal explained.

“Oh good! I thought something broke again.” Ansel laughed to himself.

Ansel had been fascinated with the ship ever since he got in reality. He had left the Simulation when he was 15. After living on the streets for several months, he met Kegan who told him not to worry because even the Simulated streets were better than reality. When Kegan realized Ansel didn’t know about the Simulation yet, he opted to tell him the truth as a way to comfort him. Ansel didn’t see it as a comfort, however. He became obsessed with the notion of a Simulation until he read one day, children as young as 14 could enter into reality if they chose to and with parental permission. Ansel forged his parents signature and went to the Oracle to ask for a release. He never went back.

He first searched his parents in the log book to see if they were real. He had hoped they weren’t because at least then he could just hate the machine and accept humans might not be bad and had simply lost control of the Simulation to create such trauma for children. As he went through the register, however, he found that there is a deep darkness in humans, when the names of his parents came up on the screen.

After that, Ansel became obsessed with the ship and how it worked. He wanted to know everything about the Simulation and what the ship was designed to do. He became the apprentice to the head engineer, Liam. Liam had never had children and took in Ansel like a son. He loved and cared for Ansel and I think if Liam hadn’t taken care of Ansel then and cooled his fire, he would be a dangerous person now. Ansel still felt anger and bitterness towards his parents but could understand they are the outliers.

When Liam died, Ansel took over as head engineer of the ship. Opal has recently become his apprentice. She’s more interested in the software of the Simulation and how it’s structured rather than the actual ship. She’s been increasingly obsessed with the Simulation for the past few months. I suppose we all have our hobbies, what else are we going to do for the next 3 – 6 years?

********

Want more? Part IV is available! Until tomorrow, friends!

TV

Commercials are really weird these days. To be fair, they’re generally less offensive, but I just saw a commercial that was advertising the mid-term elections like a UFC fight.  Then the next commercial was about car insurance set to dancing club music. I seriously don’t know what TV even is anymore.

I went to school for film and media with a focus on TV. So far, the closest I’ve been to working in “the biz” was tech support at a call center for a cable company (which is a terrible job btw). I hadn’t had traditional cable TV for almost 5 years and suddenly I had free cable and every single channel. It was an immersive experience and I feel like all I talked about with anyone was TV. TVs were on at work, I was talking to tons of people about TV for 40 hours a week,  I would go home and continue watching TV. It was a bit much and I noticed how my daily behavior would change. I’m not suggesting it’s TV’s fault but TV was definitely a factor as I was so saturated with it.

Working in the call center made me hate traditional TV. I spoke to countless shut-ins who’s only connection to the outside world was their TV. They would talk to me about how scary the world is but statically the world is actually getting safer. If the TV went out, the person on the other line would panic about what to do until it was fixed. I never knew what to say because TV is only 1 way to pass time in a world of infinite possibilities. But these were often elderly people, lonely, sometimes really sick or physically disabled, separated from the world, afraid of it and their whole lives wrapped up in the TV.

This… is sad.

I had always seen an artistic side to media whether that was a TV show or an advertisement. The sheer power of media to be able to show people the world, tell its stories and show its beauty. But instead, I saw unimaginative advertisements to encourage consumption, sensationalized, polarized news stories and the same sitcoms repeatedly just with slightly different faces from channel to channel. TNT airs Friends reruns all day long and BBC airs Star Trek all day long. MTV rotates between Jersey Shore, Catfish, and Teen Mom. These are literally the same shows that were on when I stopped watching TV 5 years ago. Obviously, I realize there have been some good shows but the point is, why has so little changed in the last 5 years?

Except, of course, mid-term elections are UFC fight apparently. I get wanting to get people more interested in politics and encouraging more people to vote and so you advertise something more interesting than what it is. I mean seriously. All you can do is vote but are you really going to watch the “smackdown” on CNN as they count the votes for all 50 states? You might as well watch paint dry. Once you vote it’s useless to watch the anxiety of numbers, whatever will be will be. If the results aren’t satisfactory (which they won’t be, at least not completely regardless of your opinions), you continuing fighting your personal good fight. I can’t stand this approach that feeds off of anxiety and fear and irrational anger. Instead of asking what we are angry about, we use scapegoats and blame some abstract ideas in a vain attempt to satisfy ourselves.

That’s what TV does now. It gets people all riled up over the wrong things. There are lots of interesting things happening in the world, good and bad and everything in between. Media has a way to show us those things… or not show us. There’s a UFC event to count votes but no one cares they found liquid water on Mars. I don’t mean to paint the assumption you shouldn’t care about the votes or that you should care about liquid water, it’s bigger than that. What I mean is, there’s a lot going on in the world and it’s not healthy to wrap it all around the window of your color tv. Especially if it’s just sort of toxic. Watching the counting on CNN isn’t going to change the results. It only serves to make people anxious and angry.

Again, I want a better world than the one we have. I want better entertainment options, not a counting show dressed up as a PPV fight night event. I guess I have a lot of thoughts about TV and movies but the way a culture chooses to entertain itself and the stories that it tells, are a reflection of the culture itself. From my perspective, the popular media paints a dull, uncreative, anxious culture that I think it more beautiful than that.

Well, those are my thoughts for today. Until tomorrow friends!