Tension

I can feel my heart collapsing. I can feel it failing. I can feel my heart closing. There is an uncomfortable tension in the muscles that protect my upper ribcage. At times I stretch my arms behind me; an attempt to loosen and open, to soften these pectoral muscles into their correct working order. And they slowly tighten forward again. A twisted wall of built up lactic acids. A barrier between me and the cold so that my heart might conserve its normal functions. They ache regularly, these muscles. My sluggish heart beats away behind this dense barricade. My extremities are numb. And interaction always seems so daunting. And vulnerability always seems so perilous. And happiness always feels like such a tall order. And I can’t remember the last time I danced for anything. I can’t remember the last time I danced authentically, with a genuine intention to move for the sake of my own body. These muscles are stiff. They are unrelenting in their complaints. Every day I wake up to a new restricted movement that I adapt to. I am an adaptive creature, on move with the flow of life. And life’s disappointments. And life’s accomplishments. And life’s loves. And life’s disorder. And life’s challenges. And life’s developments. And life’s surprises. And at the base of it all, karma. And what goes around comes around in a very realistic and down-to-earth sense. This is not spirituality, it’s common sense. When you put shit out, you get shit. When you put positivity out, you get positivity. And this is how everything progresses and will always progress. And at what point does this all become progress? Progress is an accumulation and a building off of; at its base, appropriation. The argument will always be, have you manipulated enough for this to be progress or are you purely appropriating. Appropriation is simple; you are taking somebody else’s jam and calling it your own. Progress is taking somebody else’s jam and making it your own but bringing new light and turning the same thing into something entirely different. And where do we draw the line? Is there one, or is the simple fact of time passing an acceptable factor in the classification of progress? This has become something else. A brief distraction from the pain that has settled deep into these knotted muscles. I find that I cannot even stretch anymore. I move nowhere. My fingers are numb and my mind has run away again, left me behind. I am spiraling. I am entirely cut off and entirely drowning in the physical. This reality has personified and held me hostage. As I gargle blood, the world claps a hand over my mouth and forces me to swallow. And with my stomach curdling and turning in on itself, I have momentary clear realizations, flashes, that I have been gifting everything I have that makes me alive to a void, expecting it to give something back if I just give enough. And I am empty.

Faith and the Complexity of Humankind

I can’t help but to sometimes think that life would be so much more peaceful if I could just believe in a god of some sort; a higher power, a maker, some sort of unconditional love from the universe and a safe space after death. Sometimes I try to pray at night, for things to work out, for things to be easy and for the decisions to come to me naturally. I put my intention into the words and try to fake faith hard enough to believe it. Sometimes I go to church and I close my eyes and listen to the words and try to really feel them, you know, in my soul. I sing hymns and kneel and accept communion and try to understand the people around me and their lack of doubt. I can’t, though. The neuroses and skepticism in my consciousness can’t suppress itself long enough to just relax into the ease of belief. I guess there’s nothing wrong with faith. I just don’t feel it in me. And in the end, is it not enough to simply believe that you are a good person, putting decent actions into the world and allowing kindness to rule your intentions? There is a basis of human decency that I believe has nothing to do with faith in a higher power – rather it’s faith in the tangible. I believe that the more good I put into the world, the more good will come out of it. Basic cause and effect. At the basis of that, I suppose, there needs to be some sort of faith in humanity. I have this. Having interacted with what some might consider the more unseemly individuals of the human race, drowned myself in the mindset of absolute selfishness at points, I believe that at the very spark of what makes us human is something kind – something that wants to belong and therefore breeds a goodwill towards humankind. This comes in many different forms, some not highly smiled upon, however, I consider as justifiable as any other human’s approach to daily life. But do these more reprehensible forms of existence spring from a disbelief in the ability of higher power to care for one? A desperation towards survival? Or is it purely circumstantial? What drives one to enact harm with the best intentions? Typically, I would argue, a connection to a specific group of humanity. And is this not the communal nature of humankind? I am not arguing that war is good, or that violent dictatorships are fully excusable, or that murder is truly justifiable. But are these acts not generally, at some basis, driven from a space of  care, of protection? The need to protect thine own? The conceptualism of good and evil has always stemmed from an intention to better. Religion and spirituality make this easier by defining the terms – but are the terms not innately defined? It’s simply more convoluted when it is the individual’s responsibility rather than the higher power’s. And this convolution expects more inquiry, more analysis of effect and worth – more work. But should something as complex as human life be simple? Could it be? It would certainly be less stressful to know through faith that my life is good, that I am good. It would be certainly be relaxing to release the personal responsibility towards integrity that allows me to feel comfortable of my space in humanity. But what does one give  up in order to accept that peace? To give these moral decisions up? It is a subscription for a loss of self, is it not? Is it? How do you become sure? At what point does one accept that they will give a bit of their judgement away to an intangible force that they somehow trust more than their own experiential existence?Perhaps I have too much faith in myself. I have always enjoyed driving over being a passenger. To the extent that when I feel like I might fall asleep at the wheel, I refuse to hand it over. I trust myself. But for the sake of argument, I wouldn’t question so much if I really did, would I?

Meaningless Words

abandonedlibrary

I wake up to haphazard jazz chords, chaos, and an unwelcome light. I wake with words in my dry mouth but they’re jumbled and deranged and I have no will to organize them, no ability to make sense of them, collect them. They’re reaching out into a void, into a world they know as deaf. They reach into silence and wonder whether anybody can feel them, can hold them. They trail across my keyboard trying to say something specific, without the concept to hold them together. They want to expand. They want to interact. They want significance. They want to live. Forever. They want to relate, but they’ve been sitting in a room stale with cigarette smoke, alone, wondering if they fit into this decay of the soul that our generation has been fermenting. I sit with them, my hands shaking above the keys, wondering what they will say next, wondering if they’ll say anything. Is there anything left to say that hasn’t been said? I’m trapped with them. As if this is the only interaction I’m allotted with a sense of dying humanity. What happens when meaning is proven meaningless? Clearly, if we had discovered the meaning, we would know by now. The fact that it has eluded us is merely an indication of its non-existence. We are simply stasis, a sort of floating, living; with no clear idea as to what that is. Is it so difficult to assume that we are not here for a reason, we are not special, we are not destined and we are not meant. We simply exist, like these meaningless words. Any meaning we give at this point is a direct offering to the future of our species, to a time we won’t even get to be a part of. The only thing that can remember you in the future will be a compilation of historical archives, sitting somewhere that collects dust and dying slowly in memory.

Evoke: Full Length Debut Album – Withdrawal

alden

Remember this guy?

 

Crunchy heartbeats, epiphanic neural sparks, wistful words that fade in and out of consciousness, and melodies that make you fly.

After years of dedicated work, some remix competition wins (here’s my favorite), and a recent successful EP release, my favorite Boulder-based electronic music artist is planning his first full length album release on January 20th, 2015. In the artist’s own words, “I’ve been really wanting to give meaning to my music, and to communicate that meaning and emotion to others, and I feel like I’ve finally found a way to do it. It’s not perfect, but it’s honest, and it’s only just the beginning of what I intend to create.”

I am excited for this debut album for so many reasons. First, the most obvious, because I NEED MORE! The man behind Evoke is one of the most dedicated artists I’ve ever known. This guy doesn’t just make music, he lives and breathes it. Everything he produces is a record of his soul, and you can feel that when you’re listening. Not only does he take the unprecedented approach of working remixes with his own voice, but he develops his own production from scratch – creating much of the sampling with his own hands, instruments and voice. He builds the structure, conjures the sounds, writes the lyrics and puts it all together in a way that is so uniquely Evoke, you would wonder if he created a new genre. There is nothing recycled about this music, it is original in the true meaning of the word. This is art.  Whereas I often find myself listening to electronic music for the thrill of a good build up or for a beat to dance to, I listen to Evoke because his music actually makes me feel something.  If you want some real feels, I suggest you check out the album teaser below and show your support by pre-ordering the album on bandcamp. To learn a little more about Evoke as an artist, check out the interview I did with him in June, 2014. It’s only a matter of time before this artist blows up. Be in the know now.

 

A Love Letter and a Promise to Life

Crazy is just a word for nonstandard to shame those who don’t fit into the societal models that make it easier to be profited off of as a minor, unimportant, disposable role in a screenplay written by a “god” you don’t even know. It is a word given to those who reject the idea of sacrificing their own life to a culturally defined idea of sensibility. Good. I shall be crazy. I shall live like every day is my last. I shall caution little to not at all. I shall never fear death, but I shall flirt with it. I shall speak the words I want to speak. I shall scream when I feel like screaming. I shall sing when I feel like singing. I shall dance wherever and whenever the hell I want. I shall run into the rain. I shall travel by the thread of my pockets. I shall love who I want to love. I shall cry for the reasons I want to cry. I shall drive into sunsets that lead into oceans. I shall wake when my body tells me to wake and sleep when it tells me to sleep. I shall dive from hundred foot cliffs and swim in shark infested waters. I shall burn money like tinder and trade in words, music and wisdom. I shall sustain myself on the blood of fallen schools of tyrannical thought. I shall light fires in forests, in city plazas, on skin, in hearts. I shall lay with whom I want to lay and leave when I want to leave. I shall feel soul searing passion; for people, for humanity, for the world, for the universe. I shall embrace the wild depression, the manic anxiety, the blazing fury, the endless and limitless love, that rips its way through my conscious body. I shall leap from planes and crash parties. I shall live as a party that rages against twilight, that rages against the rising sun, that dies when I say it dies. I shall trade my soul for a motorcycle and ride into the horizons of foreign lands. I shall trip through alternate dimensions until reality seems unreal. I shall camp in forests and ride railways to unknown destinations. I shall romp naked through the snow of mountaintops. I shall bathe in waterfalls of tears of joy. I shall rethink the impossible. I shall rename dreams destinations. I shall give breaths to the sunrise. I shall lead my loved ones into the landscape of imagination, revelation, evolution. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live and I shall die with a knife gripped between my teeth and a song in my heart, having no regrets and nothing left undone. I shall have lived fairy tales. I shall have written myths about the woman who used to be. And she shall live on in the lives of every other being she chose to live alongside. And I shall never, never fucking apologize for my insanity. You’ve only got one shot to make it count. You’re with me or you’re already dead.

Stasis is Discomfort

Still learning how to let go. I’ve got this ache, this – ribcage spreading. I never want to leave and I never want to stay. There is too much sidewalk these feet haven’t touched yet. There is too much world these eyes haven’t absorbed. There is too much experience this body hasn’t held. These hands have touched so many surfaces, held so many moments at their fingertips, made connections and gripped, overflowed with seafoam, run through pine needles, caught raindrops. These hands have held snowflakes for brief half seconds and caught me when I’ve fallen. These hands have caressed and loved. These hands have fought and held on for dear life. These words do so little justice to a life lived – expansive. A body knows. A body feels it – to bone center, marrow deep. This heart has enveloped and closed off. What would it not give to be again – nostalgia. A draw backwards from the center of the chest, tightening and prepared for a snap as the body pulls forward from the navel, desperately trying to take another step. Stasis is discomfort. Emotion lies in the past as thoughts reach for the future, but the body is caught here – wherever and whenever here at any moment of time might signify – I am a divisible creature. Attempting to coagulate, spread thin and separating. Losing bits here and there while collecting detritus, collecting pearls and hording. In this. In these words. It’s all right here. A body open on a table – dissection. Picking at, reviewing and pushing things aside to see effect. She can’t sit still, doctor. She keeps saying death is waiting somewhere and she can’t find him. Her feet keep twitching. And when I went to check on her she was gone. But she left me a love letter.

A Socially Agreed Upon Standard


/a body of feeling/currents rage hot/

/I am an eye bloodshot in salt water and stinging/I am/

/today I beg you to die with me/I want you to lie with me/

/every morning I mention your skin/damp on a spin/

/heads twisted and refused/stale and abused/it sits/

/thoughts stick/did you wake up like that or did I just dream it/

/a killer dealing/caged want/reaction compulsory/

/a pulse I feel/stealing breaths/a fast stop/

/a bigger tear drops/it’s how I felt it/bone deep/

/caught in heat/a haze more heady/action more fitted/

/confused and a little lost/a smile feels unnatural/

/everything feels more/

/I used to be a straw/the last/generations late/

/camel backs and dead pines/mountains I used to call mine/

/stealing metaphors from a Valentine/

/I keep waiting for something to give me a reason to live/

/when the reason is/it just is/life like/

/like life on last legs/I am hunting for something deeply/

/sticky eyelash clumps/sleepy/I opened an extra eye today/

/saw sights sick/stomach melts to thoughts bitter and tame/

/blame is an elusive trigger/in breathing/breath is bigger/

/ceilings loom/building abomination/standing/

/stand for so much or stand for so little but at least stand/

/a body is a sweeping landscape/a sleeping mandate/

/associations run thin/I can no longer hide that I am feeling/

/a body is never still/it rides tides/lunar and light again/

/blood is thicker than water/rain is more abundant/

/I wonder when my time lies/time sits to stave lies/

/this has gone on far too long for sense/qué piensas/

/a thought is bodiless/a touch neither smell nor taste/

/waste/I have woken up alone again/at home again/

/and no home feels quite like this home/no home has/I have no home/

/I build homes for a living/giving/another piece of soul like pennies/

/rust blood/wandering on legs ill fitted for travel/

/too impatient to allow time to unravel/

 

Thought, Reason and Truth

Note: We are all simply

VEHICLES

of a larger thought.

Sometimes the words
that I find falling out
of my mouth aren’t the
words that I was thinking
aren’t what I meant to
say and I’m not quite/ Perhaps I never opened my mouth.
sure where they came/ Perhaps it wasn’t I who spoke.
from or why they came
out just then or really
what they mean but
know that they needed
to be said and know
that they needed to be
heard and I know they
are the recycled
thoughts of something/ Perhaps it was he or she or you or I or
bigger than myself./ maybe that greater power that everyone keeps going on about, perhaps I never meant to say a thing, and I am just here as a mouthpiece, a simple mouthpiece that may or may not have a place in this conversation. I may not have a place in this conversation. I may never have even been included in this conversation.

I

spoke

to a boy beneath the bridge, beside the railroad tracks, where I used to smoke cigarettes between classes. He was shaking a can of spray paint and the large, loopy letters in front of him spelled “SARS”. I asked him, this boy, shrouded by the hood of a black sweatshirt, hidden in self-made shadow, standing beneath a bridge beside the railroad tracks, I asked this boy why he was here. Why? I asked, why SARS? He turned to me, slow, I remember he had olive skin and hazel eyes, he was all sorts of green, he turned to me, real slow, and told me that this was his message and this is the only way I would see it, and it was important that I did. I told him that he wasn’t supposed to be spray painting there, that his message made no sense, and that if he got caught they’d arrest him for defacing railroad property. And he just smiled. He just

smiled and asked me, if not here then where? Where would you see it?

He told me the most important messages are in unauthorized spaces.
Note: To

BE

is simple existence.

I used to believe that
God placed me on this
Earth for a very specific
reason. Then Santa Claus
died. Metaphorically, of
course. One day, in third
grade, a boy I had a crush/ Perhaps this boy never existed.
on told me Santa didn’t/ Perhaps this interaction never happened
exist. I ran home to my
mother, knowing she
would never lie to me.
I discovered that truth
was a variable thought that
served development. I didn’t resent this, however,
because this is also the/ And perhaps the control was within my
day I took reign of/ hands the entire time. In which case, the
my own existence./ purpose of this story is more important
than its truth. And perhaps the truth is merely a device we or you or I or they employ in order to question. In which case, it is more important to know the question than it is to know the truth, for it’s simple to create our own sensible answers, but they do not relate to the reality of the incoherence of our wonder.

I

screamed

NO into his face, in the dark and out of the spots of streetlights while he waved a knife in my face. He turned and ran, my phone in his hand, and I tried to chase him, for three blocks I tried to chase him as he quickly gained distance. And the people on the street just stared at me as I collapsed to my knees and screamed at the sky, unintelligible, animal and tired I punched the sidewalk until my hand bled and when that didn’t work I stood and kicked the building facade until my toes crunched and sat with my back to the wall and cried. Privilege is the illusion of safety; it is the illusion of inexistent rights, for the right of safety is a manmade construct in a world that does not run by manmade laws. The world is an atmosphere of chaos that we continually make efforts towards putting reason to, with no justification, nor sensible outcome to this task. So I sat. I sat

on the street and cried as the inconsistencies of thought as they related to reality became clearer.

“The mind, when it reaches its limits, must make a judgment and choose its conclusions.” *

And this night I rejected reason and accepted the world as it was.

*Quote by Albert Camus

Dreams of Burning

firesky
A street is movement, where people meet. A mass of skin and hair and cloth and purpose. Chaos is necessary for order. Charred feet pit pat atop other charred feet. Air is a viscous grey, swirling and toxic. Breath is toxic. Ashes stick to the insides of lungs, bronchial tubes, coughing is a natural process triggered by unnatural means. Bodies are tired, exhausted things, but they continue a violent dance. The buildings are burning. Supports buckle in integral places. Ceilings fall inwards and walls fall outwards. Exposed coal. Heat wave. The smell of burning flesh is a substance. Pour on more petrol.

Concrete is fully oxidized. It will never burn, but its mechanical strength is lost above a few hundred degrees Fahrenheit, shortly after all the water is baked out of it. Typically, failure of concrete structures due to overheating is caused by the differences in thermal expansion coefficients between concrete and its reinforcing rebar. The rebar ends up shattering the concrete. Ripping loose from intimate contact; rejection. Then the whole structure collapses. Dust. The ash of superfluous material falls slow through the smoke, landing on sweat soaked bodies that roll off of each other, smash into each other, push away from each other.

A white smear on dark skin. Knees buckle under heat and sinewy hands slap street pavement as they catch falls. Vérinage; a quick, symmetrical collapse. And plumes. Running through broken glass, partially softened and black from carbonization. Melting fingerprints. Bodies stretching across baking asphalt. They’ll stand again. They just need some rest.