In Control – a flash fiction.

Hello there observer.

“Tom, there’s no way that they can take another round. See that ocular leakage, way over tolerance.”

“Yeah, yeah I know Bill. I can hear too can’t I? Ancestral recall or personal identification with Canis lupus do you think?”

“No family resemblance but that baying is putting my skin on edge regardless. How you want to do this? We’ll get some sympathy views if we drag it out—personal favorite of mine I’ll have you know since this is our first time working together—might even get a couple more weeks out of the budget. Holds a lot of risk with this pair though from what we’ve seen and neither of us wants to explain why we’re carting off a pair of body bags.”

“Fair point. How would you feel about a hybrid? Start off slow but keep an eye on a drop dead date where it all crescendos again and forces a clean cut. Watched Geoff do something similar once. Takes finesse, as always, but it can be done.”

“I’m game, closeouts are your arena anyways from what I hear, I’m better at the fluff and the early game. Just let me know the confidence and insecurity tables you want to use before we start so I can keep things on track.”

“Retro-consideration and empathetic quotients are going to be key factors as well. Can you send Jim to let psych know that we will need their numbers first. Future orientation has always been lacking in 5KY3 and like you said, we don’t want any b-bags.”

“No problem. Such a shame.”

“What?”

“Really thought it was going to work this time.”

Addiction is a Beast

To highlight the feeling of insanity that comes from active addiction.
Feels about right.

A sense of calm resignation is starting to settle in. So often shunted aside still for madcap panic and desperate flailing as this faltering shell of a body which carries an acidic sonofabitch that wants out while refusing to take pleas, no’s, or prayers as a hint to get lost. It’s there on the outskirts as the magnitude, the absolute fucking magnitude of how colossally I’ve screwed the lives of those around me up, while trying to ruin my own existence..

It always sat there just on the outskirts, even when it should have been blatant. The self concocted cocoon of ignorant bliss I had woven around myself to keep the realities of life and the need for growing up at bay made sure that even if I was looking at it head on, I wouldn’t see. I’d spin it internally, sometimes to deflect the judgement and actions needed, sometimes to punish myself further and feel so amply deserving of it while begging confusion to those closest to me.

God help me. I sat there blind to love, affection, nurturing, opportunity, friendships, my children, the actuality of LIFE itself. 

All in favor of an endless repetition of the same monotonous actions. Awake, chase, get high, drink, crash, rinse and repeat ad infinitum, The same rhythm that most humans are going through their awake, cabinet, coffee, drink, functional, productive, competent portions of their day to day.

What has it cost? 

I’m sitting in the mountains which are my peaceful place, body too exhausted to hike or sleep. Dimly aware that I’ve imploded yet another beautiful person’s life, tucked mine into an 18’ trailer, and spiraled into oblivion while desperately fighting a battle that can’t be won on my terms. Beginning to come around the edges of what that actually means–to be so viral, so toxic and caustic in someone’s life that you can literally see it reshape their entire being from what they were prior–knowing that even if it wasn’t intended, that’s what happened. 

To know that the fiber of your being is so saturated in selfish self-hatred that it closes you off to the possibility of trusting and believing that anyone could actually love you for a person you don’t even know any longer, yourself? Knowing that sounds like Narcissistic Personality Disorder and digging around to see if there’s ways to be less of a screaming manchild asshole only to find that if it’s really the case, there ain’t shit to be done?

To realize that I don’t even fucking know what things I actually enjoy in life? To have focused so many countless hours on a single destructive course that it has literally obliterated all remnants of understanding about what joy means. How love is shown. What fun is. How to treat others or myself in any sort of a humane way laced starkly with the deep confusion of always being at odds with myself to begin with. That I have erased inborn gifts, destroyed my mind, poisoned my body wildly–that I will die younger than I had to and may never have the chance to see my children again. That my children have been growing up without their father.

Being aware now of the wreckage and turbulence behind my passing from those unlucky enough to have had me walk into their life “chaos incarnate” as I used to joke. To not even be able to apologize in any sort of a meaningful way yet because time and action is all that really will matter, could matter at this point. To not be able to say thank you sufficiently where I mean it within such limited scopes as I’m tooled to have the capacity for. The endless dreams that have died in lieu of one more hit, one more drink.The beautiful dreams that staggered onward beneath the weight only to have the carpet ripped out from under them again. The smashed hopes that held them aloft for so long.

It is seriously time for a change. So for the first time in YEARS, I’m throwing in the towel, surrendering, and just going with it. I have a bed at a program starting in a few days, a kennel for the dog, a storage spot for the trailer/home, and a hiatus from school while I straighten myself out and make some so critically needed changes. Peter Pan with a crack pipe and a 100u shot–fuck it’s old. 

The next time I write will be on the back end the next 30+ days probably, so until then, thanks for everything and all the kind words, help, camaraderie, and digital awesomeness that is everyone else out there. Addiction’s a beast. Mental illness is a beast. But neither gives any permission to keep perpetuating that cycle endlessly or to inflict them on those around you.

Time to give up the fight and go back to the drawing board, starting fresh all over again.

Night Tan Under the Supermoon

Layer a white cold blaze

in circular pool

hung

where the reflection of day

carries to the infinite

teeming void.

Shadowscape of eternity

ever beyond 

incandescent blue skies,

milky clouds,

beyond sun-blinded sight,

always sitting.

Wonderland of possibilities

bending even science

to use imagination.

Endlessly faltering

towards an unknowable end.

The Gods baubles

spin deftly

through the deepest darks

of cavernous black gone noir.

Never bound,

never stuck,

not clasped tight inside

of opulent bondage 

as we marching mortals

on our madhouse Earth.

Into that idea –

that dizzy concept which

forged new words

to try and constrain

something so terribly VAST –

where all is birthed

through cataclysm,

fiery destruction,

demises so profound

dust from their corpses span eons,

rages as a furnace

crafts awakening

in billions of new forms.

Peace is found

within mirrored 

microcosm eyes

of any

who would choose to pray,

take silent reverie

in joyful awe,

of beauty without boundaries,

and their own

immeasurable nothingness.

Gigi

Dogs love grass.
Friends until the end.

Crazy dog on a leash nipping the beak of an Alpaca,
a little bundle of terror–so damn happy.
She’s out on four paws in the noonday shade,
fucking with a goat-kid we saved from the grave.
Throws herself carefree in the still biting grass,
rolls until she can finally hit that perfect spot in need of a scratch.
No shame in her game as those jowls go flapping,
smiling like the devil inside,
bounds off into the hills,
roaming free now,
ignoring all but her truest calling.
Glinting light off one scarred eye,
covers up the mysteries of whats come to pass,
it’s always in the past,
and we’ll know not why.

A Tiger in a River

Chalk dusted finger tips with an adrenaline jolt, zip-lined neuroses adjudicated by the moment. Lost in torn pants with a carabiner thread, socially anxious and awkward but alone and without the dread. Gripping on with rubber soles to shaky rock faces that feel so full. Flashback moment to a Tinsel strewn river, if I could take it back I wouldn’t pause though time chases me forward and I don’t know how to abscond from it’s endless quiver. I’m still fletched after return though I know somewhere I missed a target, if wishes were fishes I would have at least saw it. Easier to murmur the words to myself, ride the curve up where it’s simpler to stare down at the gulch. I know that it’s basic to stay on a track, ask not the questions that are staring right back.

Creature comforts exchanged for a soul, I suppose that’s one lesson I never learned right when I was out in the cold. It’s wicked out there, in the beauty and grease. Amidst all the foragers of life, love and what to wear while we bleat. If the greatest of tokens was untouchable sadness with no way to atone, then here on a hillside covered in muck, I’d whisper to the shadows that flicker “thanks for giving a fuck.” Without their whistled movements to cast contrast to light, the trees would feel lifeless, faded out, make for a lackluster sight.

Shadow Boogie, Starlight Feast

Baby, give me gasping galaxies of infernal heat to warm the vacuum where once I lay. Cut dusted fragments of the stars from my body and my mind–it think find its soul which till remembers the last whisper and caress out there where we made our nests in nebulae, powdered our faces in fractal fission and wept at the insane beauty that stretched to the unknowable ends. Give me whetstone tones of tenderness to grind on down these rough edges, I know you will. Fine tune my harmony to match the orchestra, I know you will. Love me gentle and love me brutal, I’ll do same. But, on the nights I go to bathe in the shimmer and glimmer of dead Giants birthing monstrous infinities while listening to shadows hum their lonesome shaded songs….on those nights, I am forever free.

Institutionalized Child Abuse – an outline and a solution.

I’m terrible at formatting on WordPress, but here is a very succinct set of slides on the issue of the Troubled Teen Industry and my proposed 5-step process to mitigate the damage being done to thousands of children annually, prevent further abuse, and compensate the victims and families of those who have subjected to this type of malicious programming.

All thoughts and feedback are welcome, this is a very personal issue, but with movements like #breakingcodesilence, podcasts like #TalkTroubled and the involvement of the Survivors of Institutionalized Abuse – there is a real opportunity to shut down a deceptive, profiteering, and vicious industry that has taken a toll on so many.

Thank you.

-S

Fragile Bully

Tongue twisting
word misted
lofty ethics
suddenly shifted.
Verbiage awry
crooked context,
sand quickens
sickens the truth
with maddening lies.
Bullheaded bully
vacuum packed
morals gone dead
done right
presented cleanly
above suspicion
heartless lips
soulless head.
Accusations flutter
steer recklessly
fly rashly
land poorly
eventually die.
Miserable life
distorted denial
avoids change
ever always en garde
tromping a perilously pointless
and petulant hike.
Existence’s trials
trails marching for miles
dust caked grins always grimy
shiver obscenely
spit softly back at ’em
–shake the fear off and smile.

I’ve been on both ends of the stick I suppose at different points, something that I’m not proud of, but can admit readily enough. Whether it was spawned from fear, trauma, etc, doesn’t quite qualify as an excuse for how I behaved at points during my life, it was my responsibility to “not be an asshole”. Feeling someone play out their own internal sickness in the same way towards me is an eye opener.

Tattered, tired, and angry though someone may be, it has to be an echo of some truly painful and unresolved issues to advise an individual dealing with a mental illness that they are despised and everyone is in the eaves waiting for them to die. Shitty and deeply manipulative behavior, knowing that the recipient can literally do nothing other than just sit with themselves, absent means to defend themselves without seeming more culpable as a perpetrator of something justifying such vicious and cutthroat suggestions. There is no power in the words themselves other than what the recipient gives them.

Maybe though, in some ways, it might just be how a person deals with their particular brand of sadness and pain–the only way they know how, lash out. Go for the throat. God knows I’ve done it before more times than I care to think if not totally in that literal context. A whipcord reaction to hurt those that hurt you, even if it is based on incorrect judgement calls and assumptions.

Everyone heals in their own way, and while that doesn’t make it right, finally, I can put myself in the other pair of shoes and understand the feelings behind the words. Temper my own frustration and resentment at the unnecessary cruelty with patience and accept that it is what it is, and life will continue to move on. It’s not worth giving though or dwelling on someone’s words when they are bent on hating or hurting you, let ’em go by the side and don’t look back.

Someone once told me, if someone’s an asshole and lies or treats you poorly, at the end of the day, they’re the asshole, not you. I’ve been an asshole plenty across my life, and that makes a lot of sense.

We have only ourselves and our actions to control–for better or for worse.


10 Grams of Meth in a Toilet

I know a man who threw away 10g of meth. Down a toilet. Intentionally, during a moment of lucidity. He woke up from his dream. He didn’t do it for the posturing or the bragging, he did it because he had a fucking moment and things added up.

He saw his future was his past and all that was going to come again. The regrets. The broken relationships. The self-hatred. The loneliness and the pain. The body count and the desperation. The stagnation. The missed joy and thrill of life. The empty smile and the personal failings. The prayer for death unanswered.

It hit that water in the toilet and didn’t even stain the water with some indication of all the soil and grime that its brand had left over the years. All the marks on his morals. His appreciation of life. His awareness and understanding of the world and himself. His inability to connect and always be “other” – not in a way he was proud of, but in a way that left him sullied and greasy where it would always be felt most.

He wasn’t going to revisit and replay what had come before. He was learning gratitude for all the experiences, painful or pleasant, and that meant realizing that the pain had only needed to happen once. He didn’t need to put his hand back into the fire like always. it was still fucking hot and he was worth more than scorched flesh. He wanted to, could, and will become more. He’ll evolve, be seen in the mirror as true to himself, a good friend, an honest and genuine man, and as a survivor not an unchanging Peter Pan chemical fiend. Wreckage for decades as his only gift to the world, a Lost Boy playing pirate to his own loot.

He had learned, was learning, would continue to learn. He would grow.

I know a man that threw away 10g of meth. Finally took a dive and emptied a bag, got back on the horse, and welcomed in a change for once.

Stay that road fucker, I miss you.

I Was a Stigma to Myself

All credit to Emotive Brand for the image.
So often I would sit and wail about "why"?
The frustration unending,
the obsession ongoing,
a gut wrenching demand to understand
that in itself
kept me from the knowledge,
the peace I sought.

Sick in the head druggie,
psychopath,
crazy as a shit house rat,
lunatic,
insane,
addict,
"something's wrong with that kid" -

Drug user stigma phrases shown on an image with a haloed syringe from the words.
All credit to Stonetree Harm Reduction for the image.

I tried to own those labels
make them something to be proud of.
I tried doing that,
by doing all the things
I imagined people with those labels would do.
I followed that up,
by demanding that I not be persecuted,
not be judged,
not be looked at differently,
though I had just behaved in a way that demanded all those things happen.

Now I come to terms,
sit with the idea of peace,
find pride not in my actions
but in the understanding
that awareness and acceptance bring.
To know that I am not an actor playing out roles,
that I lost myself,
but I am a survivor,
no longer needing to play the role
of victim or perpetrator anymore.

It's a small thing,
Which means so much to me.
To be able to introduce myself,
engage in a conversation,
with confidence.
Know that I accept who I am as a being,
that I no longer let labels
define who I choose to see myself as,
act as a script for my identity,
or be my scapegoats when I screw up.

That like so many others,
I am the hero
and the villain,
of my own story.
That my abnormal mental states,
my addictions,
all the resulting experiences,
are gifts to allow me opportunities,
to shine my brightest
against the backdrop of adversity,
and decide just how much of it there would be.

To know that there are others out there gleaming,
and if we encounter each other
it could be in the form of respect and love,
admiration for the battles fought,
no matter whether they were felt won or lost,
an opportunity to compare notes and grow.

I'm not ashamed of who I am,
or where I am today,
I am disappointed in many of my choices
but they have been mine to make,
and they were made.
I used to have a vision of the perfect person,
someone that I would measure myself to
and inevitably fall short.

Today I am me,
released on the world
perfectly defective,
beautifully abnormal,
gifted with challenge and capacity for growth.

All of it,
so that I have a chance to become
an oh so slowly evolving,
human being.