Tag Archives: poem

Party of One

Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned
Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned

What follows is an ode to self-defeatism. To those of us who over-share when someone asks, “How’s it going?” To those of us who proclaim our circular reasoning until we sound like broken records. It’s about when we need emotional reinforcement, but lack the language to ask for it. Unable to get into the specifics, we say whatever comes to mind. Too bad our minds are scrambled. Our conditions create a language gap, an abstraction, an anomaly in the exchange of ideas.

Like broken computers, we don’t communicate. We spout off an error code. We kernel panic. We blue screen of death. We say we need our space. Then we forbid our guests from leaving. We ask for brutal honesty. Then we accuse them of ganging up on us.

This is an ode to those ironic cries for help. The attempts to lure people in only to push them away. When we walk out of our job, because we want a raise. When we duck out of the party, because we want people to talk to us. When we give the Batman goodbye, because we want people to notice us. We’re quiet, because we want to be heard. We hide, because we want to be found. We run, because we want to be chased.

We want to get under your skin. We want to get into your head. We leave messages on bathroom mirrors, in magnetic poetry, stashed in paperbacks to be discovered later. We soak our boots, step over welcome mats, and leave footprints down hallways. We key cars, impale pillows, and shatter portraits. We burn letters in the sink. We leave messes. We leave evidence.

Here’s to those of us who vague-book in the middle of the night. Who say something serious we can always accuse our commenters of reading into. Here’s to the divas, the drama queens, and the boys who cry wolf. To those of us who keep it real, in the hopes that someone will call us out on it. To those of us who get sloppy in the hopes that we get caught. To those of us who wear our injuries like merit badges, only to rediscover our shame.

This is about the fixes we discover when left to our own devices. It’s about the moment we spot the evidence of our own self-sabotage. When we face palm at the revelation that we’re the ones who are hitting ourselves. No one can fix our heads, until we realize that we’ve encrypted our thoughts. We’re the ones with the most at stake. We’re the ones who have to break the code.

We have to identify this pattern: stress from without creates stress from within that creates stress from without. Continue reading Party of One

The Residual Blues

3rd Blue Rose

They say that lizards can feel
Where their tails used to be
They say the same thing
Of amputees
You took my heart with you
When you parted with me
But I still feel the space
Where our love used to be

My phantom parts
Call me from afar
Like secret agents
They tell me where you are
You took an arm and a leg
Now I’m out on my last limb
Left with the chore
Of filling the empty spaces in

Clipped and severed
Left with only the stem
There’s a phantom image
Where a flower would have been
You left your aura
Your essence behind you
Open my eyes to
A residual shade of blue

Residual Blues cover

You made me feel

Like another person entirely
Now that you’re gone
That person’s here to haunt me
The ghost of moments past
Squealing like a banshee
Scaring me shitless
Making dissonance of my harmony

Did you hear a thump in the night?
Did you feel a chill?
When you think of what we had
Do your arm hairs stand still?
Don’t get too close to mirrors
Don’t even say my name
My ghost is breathing down your neck
Just waiting to be summoned

Clipped and severed
Left with only the stem
There’s a phantom image
Where a flower would have been
You left your aura
Your essence behind you
Open my eyes to
A residual shade of blue

2nd Blue Rose

I took up smoking

To taste more like you used to
You put the nicotine in me
Before I started to
Our love has been ashed
Right down to the filter
But whenever I cough
I know it’s still there

Clipped and severed
Left with only the stem
There’s a phantom image
Where a flower would have been
You left your aura
Your essence behind you
Open my eyes to
A residual shade of blue

(There’s a gallery of roses after the jump)

Continue reading The Residual Blues

Harvested

IMG_5090Her eyes
Were bigger than her belly
Until she
Got her fill of me
Left a mark
With her molars
Ate all my good parts
I’m what’s left over

And it feels like I’ve been harvested
Of all the love I have to give
Of all the heart I’ve left to lose
A bit worse, for lack of use
It’s time for me to get my shit
To perform another exodus
I’m going back to the meat locker
I’ll wait it out another year

I will
Yes, I will
I will
Oh yes, I will

Built a wall of newspapers
Comicbooks, and magazines
Headphones, bottles and
Laptop computer screens
Tried so hard to lick my wounds
To imagine myself happy
Turns out that I’m the thing
That’s been eating me

And it feels like I’ve been harvested
Of all the love I have to give
Of all the heart I’ve left to lose
A bit worse, for lack of use
It’s time for me to get my shit
To perform another exodus
I’m going back to the meat locker
I’ll wait it out another year

I will
Yes, I will
I will
Oh yes, I will.

IMG_5143

Full Red Submersion

Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned
Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned

Everybody needs their space. Everyone has their comfort zone, their bubble, their line that you just do not cross. We keep our guards up, because the world is constantly hitting us with its battering ram. We wall ourselves off, because we know what it’s like to feel exposed. We wall ourselves off, because we value the things we’ve already lost.

When those walls feel like they’re closing in, it’s because someone is pushing on them. When we don’t feel like ourselves, it’s because someone has gotten under our skin. When we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, it’s because the thing that haunts our dreams is lying on the other side.

We’re always told our problems come from within, this piece is about the times they come from without. Continue reading Full Red Submersion

Boot Straps

Photo by @Raishimi  follow her on Twitter. Check her blog here.
Photo by @Raishimi follow her on Twitter. Check her blog out here.

Ever lean on your support system only to find it can’t support your weight? Ever vent only to find yourself plugged up? Ever put yourself out there only to learn there’s a curfew for people like you? Yeah, I know the feeling. You ask for a hand, only to get the low five. Either they don’t get what you’re going through, or they don’t want to.

It’s hard to find a sympathetic ear when they’re all wearing headphones. It’s hard to rest your weary head when they all have such cold shoulders. It’s hard to get the storm cloud out of you when all you’ve got are fair weather friends.

You try to tell your story, only to realize you’ve become a cautionary tale. Continue reading Boot Straps

The Emperor is Naked (Song Lyric)

Photo on 6-13-13 at 2.02 PMNo one tells the emperor
That he’s standing there naked
That he had too much to drink
That he ought to go to bed
Tiptoe past the elephant
With your eyes on the floor
It’s gotten pretty bad
But you can take a little more Continue reading The Emperor is Naked (Song Lyric)

Pigs Will Fly (on writing song lyrics)

Pigs will FlyI wanted to be a musician in a past life. The problem was that my lyrics were too personal, and I couldn’t be bothered with casting myself in a positive light. I subscribed to John Lennon’s philosophy of songwriting, “Gimme some truth.” My favorite song writers always gave me a jolt, like they pulled the words right out of my head. Their lyrics were honest and self-deprecating. They turned the thing that made me feel isolated into a universal experience. Their humiliation numbed my own. Continue reading Pigs Will Fly (on writing song lyrics)

The Writer’s Alibi (Audio Short)

This is an idea that originated on Twitter. The Tweet went:

Turns out a lot of writers have had this thought. We’re a solitary lot. If some flatfoot thought we looked good for a crime they’d be grilling us for awhile. We’re the red herrings that are mistaken for piranhas. They’d see our calm demeanor as a mask to hide our neurosis. They’d see our quiet manner as a smoke screen for an underlying rage. They’d peg us as self-involved sociopathic narcissists.

They wouldn’t be too far from the truth.

Under the harsh interigation room lights, they’d make us tell our stories. They’d ask where our ideas came from. They’d ask, “What do you mean you let your characters tell the story? Do you hear voices? What else do they tell you to do?”

Tread very carefully when answering their questions. They’re not fans and you are not at a reading.

Tell them to check the date and time stamps in the meta data from your document files. Tell them to interview all those poor souls you’ve pushed your story on. Get your beta readers on the line, tell them you’re going to need a whole lot of feedback to get you off the hook for this one.

***

This is my fourth audio short to feature a soundtrack. These pieces are heavily influenced by the Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe a radio dramas from the 80s (worth your time).

I’m digging the contrast between the jazzy upright bass and the haunting ambient synth. It’s like beatneck poetry scored by Aphex Twin.

Now it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take you for a stroll through the graveyard. Disembodied fingers walk the scale of a harpsichord, unearthed from the basment of an old manor, clogged with cobwebs, detuned by time.

Top that off with some knee slapping, finger snapping percusion.

I’m really proud of this piece. I’ve listened to it way too many times already. Continue reading The Writer’s Alibi (Audio Short)

Curbside Noir (Video Short)

This is a video poem shot on my iPhone. A study in low light, lens flare and auto focus. I was looking for a visual component for my audio short Curbside Noir. It needed something to match the somber tone of its music and the spirit of its monologue. It had to be dark. It had to paint the world in silhouettes and shadows.

When it rained on the walk home, I took advantage of it, bobbing from entryway to entryway, hugging the storefronts. I cupped my fingers into a tarp over my phone. Then I let the storm put on a show.

Drizzle swarmed the street lamps. Headlights set the air aglow. Droplets turned everything into a reflective surface. Puddles tinted the street a shade of amber, light mirrored in the asphalt. I shot what I could before the rain water could trickle through my fingers. Forgive me if my white balance is a little off.

Waves mounted the curbs. Tide came to the boulevard. Little rivers flowed down the sidewalk. My shoes went for a dip. My jeans weighted my ankles. Water had pooled in the rolled up denim. There might just be a tad bit of motion blur.

Trees argued with the breeze. Leafs fluttered with the thunder. Branches swatted at the night and my video is all the better for it.

Enjoy it with the blinds closed. Continue reading Curbside Noir (Video Short)

Curbside Noir (Audio Short)

This is a soundtrack for those moments when you’re stuck in limbo with just your impotent rage to keep you company. When you’re pacing back and forth on the same street corner. When you’re caught without an umbrella and you just soak it all in. When its pitch black outside and it suits you just fine.

This is an internal monologue for when the bad guys leave you in a pit of snakes. When you’ve got no traction and you’ve got to claw your way up. When life doesn’t bother to give you lemons. When it just squeezes you dry. When the hand of fate presses you down into your lowest possible moment. The one that comes right before the revelation that you either have to make a change or be changed.

This too will pass, but you’re the one who’s stuck with the mess it leaves behind.

This is your pain in black in white, emphasis on the black, on the Rembrandt lighting, on the shadows it casts. This is the alley where they catch you. Where you make your last stand. Where fedoras are helmets and trench coats are security blankets. Where you’re puzzled but never quite defeated. You’re an artist with a brush up your sleeve. It’s time for you to make some outlines on the sidewalk.

This audio short is about that film noir attitude seeping into our lives, empowering us to stand up to each and every son-of-a-bitch that comes our way. This is the first of my audio shorts to get its own score, a haunting piano melody, infused with synths and a subtle beat. The piece needed this haunting soundtrack to bring you to that dark alley, where you’re surrounded by thugs. Pain and its henchmen, here to collect their debt.

Pain has already made such an awful mess of our lives. Let’s make a mess of it. Continue reading Curbside Noir (Audio Short)