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I’m no good at meeting people in the eye
but I speak with my lungs
so– why does it matter?
I sing and dance with the girl in the mirror
but nobody knows
so– no body bothers
You can strip me bare to my skin and thighs
but the body is cold
The body stays covered
“Why don’t you talk? Why don’t you moan?”
See, my flesh is of stone
and your fingers– daggers
The trick is to twist and pry off my bones
take the joints– take the loins
take a breast– take another
Take whatever you’d like, Doc
The tongue– the lungs
are all that matter
When I tell them I’m a Schizophrenic, everyone knows what’s best for me. Every plan I’ve ever made are manifestations of this overworked fever brain. I want control of me, you all know better b/c I’m a car running backwards, steam pouring into a tea kettle, a car with its pedals mixed up trying to floor it but I stop moving. Hey, we’re just trying to help. No doctor, you are trying to kill the only part of me I’ve ever valued. This car doesn’t run right but I am the fucking driver. Hey kid, you don’t know what this means. I beg to differ jackass, I’ve been broken for 12 long years I think I know what it means by now to live my life in a movie I can’t direct. I began running from their screen tests at 12, realizing the dead bodies filling the construction sites were no more real than movie props and probably couldn’t hurt me anyways no matter what the mannequin mouths say. Hey there, we’re just trying to help. No doctor no, I’ve seen your hands in the ghosts of CAT scans a vivisection of the homeless mind. Asking us why we stopped taking our medicine. Well you wouldn’t pill pop either if your drugs didn’t fill your frontal lobe with worms teething away at your self-control.
History Lesson: Schizophrenia has never been a set of symptoms, in its lifetime it’s encompassed everything from mental retardation to epilepsy. It’ s a label for those in which the medical system is done putting up with. And they have always tortured us. Binding, electroshock, drowning, castration. We are the perpetual casualties in the war for our own sanity. And when they said your healthcare was a war crime and to stop shoving ice picks in our eye sockets, you found chemicals to do it for you.
Add a brand name, add a prescription, you can label anything help. You give us medicine to make us puppets, and you tug on our strings, and we twitch, and we get our own row on the bus because we twitch because no one wants to sit next to us because we twitch and we look disheveled and smell bad and no one pulls the string that says shower. Just a wrench on the road we keep moving. They tug on our strings but we keep twitching, keep talking to ourselves b/c no one else will listen, no one else will understand. So doctor, listen and look at my hands. See how still they are when the strings are off.
Records scratched, blending
hymns that we
sell, to children
learning their lessons and being told
to change stations, but never their
Lyrics form propaganda to
the deaf, and those who lose
themselves in the verses.
Replaying again, again, again,
identically, normal harmony-
twisting nerves blind.
Memorize them, we are told,
contain what the library could never
record amongst their pages.
Ink bleeds like the tears of
those who lived amongst
our seldom beliefs.
Victors write the cursive
letters of trenches and war
but only as morale.
Those who lost are mere propaganda and,
you study now what we know
to be agreeable.
The arched roof within the hallowed court of the king was large enough to fit in over one thousand seated spectators and five hundred additional standing ones. However, the grand hall was empty, save for a black-hooded man observing from his corner, and the head judge who sat atop his embroidered, raised chair. While tickling the inside of his palm with a stray bird’s feather, the judge was interrupted by the obscene shouts of an accusing woman erupting down the brick halls. In all the time it took the judge to raise from his slouch and throw the feather back into its drawer, the woman and an uncaring guard had come through the chamber doors.
“The bastard was listening to us,” she yelled to the guard. “Death! He deserves nothing other than death! For making a fair maiden go through such drama, death!”
“Now, that’s for the judge to decide,” the guard droned back. As he stepped in, a long, shimmering metal rope followed, extending behind him until reaching a cuff latched around the neck and wrists of an elderly man.
This cuffed man was clearly a beggar based upon his ragged appearance. Patches of missing cloth lined his dirty garments, and, as the judge across the way could attest, he smelled like a sewer rat. But, the most noticeable accessory held by the ancient beggar was not among his clothes. Rather, it was in his eyes. Whether it was from his birth or from some accident occurring after, the old man’s eyes were lost in a thick, gray mist.
“What brings you here?”
“Worthy judge,” the guard replied, haphazardly guiding the beggar by his arms and throat. “This lovely woman brings to you her grievance against this man.”
“This man!” The woman said. “He’s a vile, immoral specimen of trash! A mumblecrust whose existence pilfers the various security measures we have justly gained! I have seen him through the night, acting blunderous and inept while being bashed with liquor. And I have seen him in the day, idling like a shirker anxious of the Sun in front of numerous churches and homes. He delivers society nothing, while we all award him taxes. But, of all the kinds of idiocy this man commits, no trespass is greater than what has come to pass this very morning!” The woman looked down to hide her face, struggling to continue. “This morning he–” she turned red. “My lover and I found him outside of our home, surely listening to the two of us as we…”
“As you, what?”
“And for that, death is the only fitting punishment!”
“Is what she says true?” The judge asked.
“I—” the old beggar spoke with a raspy, strained voice. “I do not drink.”
“About this morning.”
“I swear it was an accident.” The beggar’s throat grew red vibrating against his metal restraints.
“It was no accident!”
“How does one accidentally peek in on—sorry, I mean overhear—an intimate setting?” The judge continued. “I feel like, given what was happening, there could be no accident involved.”
“No, sir,” the beggar strained. “I was only walking the side of the road when I heard what I thought to be such loud sounds of distress. I, being a mere old man without a home for myself could do nothing to help a person in danger. But, I thought if I could just hear what details were occurring, I could find a way to assist.”
“I wouldn’t want you to assist!”
“I admit to overhearing them,” he continued, “but it was completely unintentional. If I have committed a crime unknowingly, I am deeply sorry. It was not my will to offend anyone.”
“Yet, you did offend,” the judge spoke. “This woman is quite upset, and you have now confessed. The judgement is rather easy for me. The penalty for peeping into the private lives of others is acid to the eyes. The intention is to blind.”
“That sounds unnecessary.”
“Exactly!” The judge agreed. “This woman would think me so barbaric to double blind a man? No, of course I would not issue such an inhuman punishment. Instead, I’ll decree a just one. A sin committed with the eyes warrants the loss of sight. So, inspired by that, I’ll cut off your ears. Guard, please kneel him before me.”
The guard dragged the man before the looming chair and kneeled him down. Concurrently, the judge went over to the man in the black hood, took from him an axe, and lazily sauntered back over. He had lined himself up with the old beggar and asked for his head to be bowed.
“The restrains don’t allow it, sir.” The guard muttered.
“Very well, I’ll enter through from the top of the ear. Quick, hold it steady.” He made a motion of winding up the axe.
Before the guard could voice his complaints concerning the man’s aim, the old beggar spoke up. “Please, sir, let me hold my own ear. I accept that I have done wrong to this woman, and I accept that I am deserving of punishment. But, you see, I wish to keep my ear. I value it as one would value his own eyes. And, if some horrible man came and popped your eyes out, would you not want to keep them? I fear, though, that once you cut them off they will hit the floor and become quite dirty. And my hands will become dirty as well as I try to search for them. And what if some cruel joke is played and I cannot find them because the court’s executioner has kicked the parts away from me? For these reasons, I ask that I can hold my ears while they are cut, catching them before they hit the floor.”
“I thank you, kind judge.” The beggar spoke, wriggling in his restraints. The guard freed his hands, and his right one went to grip the lobe of his right ear between his thumb and index. It was unfortunate, however, that the old beggar, lacking any semblance of body strength, had to rest the heel of his hand along his unkept jawline. And, as he gave a stilted nod to signal his finished preparation, the axe came down, wedging off the ear and slicing through half of the hand, separating it just above one of the fortune lines. Both parts fell together to the cold floor, whispering a wet impact as it hit.
“I am sorry,” the old man said, “I did not mean to have my hand in your way.”
“It is fine!” The judge yelled. “Now then, off with the other ear! Let us make haste, I am too busy for this to take much longer.”
“Of course.” The beggar grabbed at his left ear, this time making sure to grip the top. The old man’s strength in his arms faltered again, however, and he found himself having to rest his knuckles against his temple. “Please,” he spoke, “I value my fingers and hands almost as much as I do my ears. If you can avoid them this time, I would be truly happy.”
“To avoid the hand and slice the ear? That is what you are asking of me?”
“Of course,” The judge lifted the axe overhead and swung at a wider angle, missing the hand, and lobbing off the ear, attached still to a third of the head.
We’re not peanut butter and jelly, we’re more like French fries with ice cream. We’re a last-minute plot twist in a movie scene, the one that makes you go “woah.” I talk of you and I talk of me, and then it’s us. You weren’t a lifesaver, nor a float to come by. You were more like Time. I mistook the rush of water for life and tried to get back to the storm, but it always left me cold. With you, it’s a candle laying blankets of hot wax around its flame. Melting ice into puddles of water, stepping into rain with coats and umbrellas, splashing around in the aftermath. I thought love was supposed to be a hurricane, twisting me around in waters, causing ruckus everywhere it touched. I thought it should sweep me off and make me fly in a tornado, fast and furious in the borders, calm and stillness at its core. Your dictionary has slapped all that senseless, told me love is not from the outside. Love is attracting butterflies to live inside your stomach, to flutter their wings and make you listen to how you carry a red sun inside. To learn about the trees and their fruits, breathing oxygen in you. The task of exploring caves in the north and the south, with the stealth of air, always new and fresh.
GMOs in the water, the plastic bottle melts and pollutes the drink?
Pay ten dollars for processed, PH leveled, filtered, icebergs.
Micro-organisms, muddy clouds between the palms and dripping,
drink with the disease, non-boiled from the dig, or die of dehydration.
Dairy free, high fiber, all natural, packaged, pristine and clean,
dietary issues are worth the extra wages and the weakness go away.
Days long chalked cheese, rotten on driftwood, no refrigeration, fermentation,
eat the liquid rot and the maggots that thrive from it, added protein.
Hat backwards, tinted shades, resting, on the brow. AC blowing on the back porches back,
a cool shower or a glass cubed, helps sooth the noon’s hot sun.
Lay in the shade of mud slabbed sticks, picked and placed loosely together,
waves beat the skin raw and crack the crevassed lips, begging, always weeping.
Save for 30 years and build that second story, humbled sanctuary that dreams dream about.
But with electric, stainless steel appliances, so the gas bill won’t break the bank.
In 30 years, I’m still here, sitting, waiting for something to change,
Again, and again, what is insanity, but wanting water to be something it is not.