Pulp and Strings and Other Things

 

I am a raw wound of yearning for all the things I know I don’t deserve.

I keep leaving my heart all over the place – sinewy little pulps of blood and muscle here and there fused at the ends of threads, hardly holding onto enough for myself; it’s a wonder I’m still animated. Flouncing from beat to beat on heartstrings stretched taut from place to place trying desperately never to be held down but forced flat against the earth pulled in all directions at once. Face held tight against the ground, I can’t look up; eyes burning with dust. For all I know in my blindness, I’m in a foreign city where I know no one. Dirt stuck between my teeth and suffocating on thoughts of home(s). I am a net, catching everything that lies between me and all the points my heartstrings have fused to; miles of slick taut sinew, picking up bits of debris on their paths. And the heart still beats, unemptiable; tight. If only I could pull one string free, I think, I might stand up and breath again. I won’t though. Organics don’t work that way. You snap one tendon and you’re broken. I damn my heart until I realize that it is my own, my will holding my face to the ground; punishing it as if it should feel shame for its wild abandon when it was only following its innate need to love everywhere it could. And I settle into the earth, shifting a little to make it more comfortable. I admit the grass is soft against my cheek. And the smell of earth is pleasant.

I hate myself so much. I mean, I don’t. I think I’m amazing. I mean, I think I’m naive. But I also think I’m intelligent. I mean, I don’t have any real depth of knowledge. But I have a lot of things that I care very deeply about and I could speak to those for hours. I mean, not like I care about anything so much that it drives my need to live. I realize that life is purposeless and the human need for purpose is a sort of counter intelligent survival mechanism. But I think I’m meant to do something big, say something big. I can feel humanity collecting in me. I think I’m supposed to be a part of something. I mean, I don’t believe in fate or anything ridiculously mystical. It’s not like I think I’m destined for greatness. But I checked my tarot yesterday and it told me good things were on the horizon, and I felt that deeply. I mean, I don’t actually believe it. I’m pretty sure I’m doomed to live a mediocre life until my debt catches up with me and I become so overwhelmed that I’m forced into a life of poverty in a small town  surrounded by people on a completely different wave length than me. I mean, I don’t really think I have any sort of specific wave length. I am a reflection of my surroundings after all, we all are. But I do feel like my particular collection of reflections have made something unique. I mean, I don’t really think anything is unique; it’s all existed before, it’s all been done before, it’s all been said before, it’s all a regurgitation in certain ways. But I do think that I have some sort of different perspective on it all. Not that I think I’m special. But I do.

I spoke to my younger self today. She lives inside me and looks through my eyes sometimes and I can feel her there, crouching close behind the back of my eyelids and peering out. She thinks that the rusty peels of green paint flaking off the subway tracks are pretty. She also likes graffiti. And strangers. She spends too much time staring at strangers, wondering what makes them who they are. She wonders if their younger selves are sitting behind their eyelids, too. Glancing at her. I can feel her smiling and waving. Sometimes she likes strangers more than the people she knows. The people she knows tend to disappoint her.  I spoke to her about that today. I asked her why she has such trouble trusting people. She couldn’t really articulate herself well. She’s only six, after all. She just started crying like she always does, so I left her alone for a while.

I once told the world that I felt everything. I can feel the breath of my neighbor brush against the back of their door as I pass by. I can feel the tenseness in my coworker’s left shoulder while I work beside him, it’s why he leans a little bit when he’s standing still. And his left hand twitches very slightly every so often. I can feel the joy of a new mother when I walk by the hospital; it overwhelms me, it’s so bright. Or maybe that’s what it’s like to be alive for the first time. I can feel the sorrow on the subway. I can hardly ride the train without crying, it’s all around me. The man across from me hasn’t seen his family in over fifteen years. They hardly speak. He misses his wife. The woman beside me is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. She keeps rubbing her paper hands together. It hurts. I can feel the anger in the world, at it. It holds deep in my muscles and begs me to scream. I have to work hard not to scream in public. I want to. I want to know if the people around me feel like this too. Or can they only feel their own feelings? How peaceful that might be, I think, but then how do you know what’s going on around you? I can feel the silence in distance. I wish we talked more.

My heart fell out once, you know. I was disgusted by the splash of blood on my brand new skinny jeans, the big plop of a stain on the wood floor. I picked it up and it wilted and wheezed in my hand. I gagged. Why do we always depict hearts as such cute, smoothly curved, perfectly symmetrical little emojis? They’re not. They’re gross. Hard but squishy. Wet and warm. My heart wheezed again in my hand. I looked around trying to find something to put it in, all the while a grimace pasted across my face. I tried to hold my breath from the tangy smell of old blood. Why was my heart so grey? Had it always been like that or did it just happen? It looked stale and sickly. I found a mason jar on top of the cupboards and dropped it in. It made an unsettling sticky noise as it plopped in. I went to the fridge and peeled a bit of orange zest to drop in with it. My friend showed me to do that with my weed to keep it hydrated. If you left it in too long, though, it would mold. I’d check on it tomorrow.

I find myself talking to Nobody. And Nobody is listening. And Nobody is responding. And You are Nobody. Blank faced backboards for my neuroses. And I, an existent vacuum. Reaching out to the outer world I cannot touch, there is no penetration into the claustrophobic space of my own. Except You are everything in here. I don’t know how to make You any less. YOU. Any of the You’s. And I find myself consuming You’s until I can make enough of a Me to pass as an I. And then I am Somebody. Instead of Nobody. And then maybe I can live in the world like all of You. And maybe someday You’ll call Me You too.

I can feel humanity in my bones tonight. It hurts. Trying to escape from my finger tips, I raise them high above my head. My heart is pounding for everybody that is alive in the world. My eyes are raining relieving droughts for the desert. Is there any other way to exist? Must I feel for everything? I cannot let thoughts past. I grasp and gnaw at them like a dog worrying until they’re hardly anything but mangled masses of tooth marks. I worry for you. I worry for me. I worry for the whole. It is so comprehensive, so defunct, so abrasive, so much, so. It is so. SO! FUCK! WORLD!  World, you are so heavy in here, stretching out my muscles and testing the structural integrity of my bones. I’m trying to hold all of you but I’m so tired. I’M TIRED! I thought I’d escaped you. I’ve been withdrawing. Practicing purposeful ignorance. I’ve been focusing on my self. I’ve been trying to find happiness without you. Ignoring you. But you crept in here with me like you knew where to find me. What crack did you sneak your way in through? Or did somebody leave a door ajar? And you used that as a personal invitation. And now I am on fire again. Great. Take a seat, I suppose. We’ll be here for a while yet. Crisp and burning together.

I woke up on an ocean shore in a world of grey. Grey waves crashed upon shores of dark grey and jagged rocks that stabbed up towards a clouded sky of greys. Grey sea foam bit at my ankles, pulling grey sand back with it into the undertow. I looked out at the grey horizon, where one grey met the other. My feet were translucent white and puckered. I’d been lying partially underwater. The tide was receding. I sat up, unsettled. It was cold. I tried to think, perhaps formulate a question, but my mind was just a mass of grey cotton. I stood. I walked towards the rocks that jutted out into the water, climbed them. I toppled over one and cut my knee. I realized I was naked. I continued to scramble from one rugged point to the next until I crested a certain zenith where I could see beyond. I looked out at a grey beach that stretched on forever, littered by collections of toothy dark grey rocks breaking their way up through the grey sand. I looked out at the ocean, a roiling grey still. Suddenly I felt a pressure on my shoulder and I startled and meant to scream but no sound came out. I gripped the cold hard rock and slowly turned my head to look over my shoulder. I sighed a rush of relief, my skin flushing pink. My mind restarted, synapses firing sluggishly at first and then at overspeed. “Where have you been?” I asked. “I was right behind you. You never look behind you. I was trying to call your name, but it was like my voice wasn’t working.” My mouth twitched up into a smile. I hugged him. He was pink, too. Flushed and smiling and nude. We stayed like that for a while. Holding each other. Listening to the waves growl. My blood moved peacefully. His breath kept my neck warm.

 

 

 

The North: Winter Might Be Coming But It Isn’t Here Yet

IMG_3024 (2)

Sylvan cocktail building.

IMG_3015 (2)

Meet the sled dogs.

IMG_3008 (2)

Dusk on the North Shore. Grand Marais, MN.

IMG_2999 (2)

My feet are numb.

IMG_2988 (2)

The cliff’s edge. Grand Marais, MN.

IMG_2971 (3)

Oo! Birds! Lake Superior.

IMG_2969 (2)

The misty bay. Grand Marais, MN.

IMG_2967 (2)

Sentinel. Grand Marais, MN.

IMG_2961 (2)

The harbor. Grand Marais, MN.

IMG_2957 (2)

The Gunflint Trail. Onion River hike.

IMG_2955 (2)

Oh hello there.

IMG_2952 (2)

River hikes. A different world.

IMG_2942 (2)

Waterfall bathing. River hiking on the North Shore.

IMG_2923 (2)

Waterfall hiking. North Shore.

IMG_2917 (2)

Wilderness explorers. North Shore river hiking.

IMG_2911 (2)

How I missed moss. River hiking on the North Shore.

IMG_2908 (2)

Iron water. North Shore.

IMG_2906 (2)

Contemplation. North Shore.

IMG_2899 (2)

Waterfall hiking. Wilderness explorers.

IMG_2879 (2)

A different world. Onion River.

IMG_2877 (2)

A galaxy all its own. Onion River.

IMG_2870 (2)

A galaxy all its own. Onion River.

IMG_3126 (2)

Whitetail ribcage. Northwoods.

IMG_3124 (2)

Whitetail corpse. Northwoods.

IMG_3122 (2)

Remnants from hunting season. Northwoods.

IMG_3117 (2)

The abandoned. Northwoods.

IMG_3116 (2)

Fish keeper. Remote Lake.

IMG_3113 (2)

The surface. Remote Lake.

IMG_3106 (2)

The boat. Remote Lake.

IMG_3099 (2)

Modes of transportation. Remote Lake.

IMG_3097 (2)

The captured. Remote Lake.

IMG_3086 (2)

The fish. Remote Lake.

IMG_3053 (2)

The loon. Remote Lake.

INSANITY

THIS IS ALONE

IS WHO

IS ALONE

IS WHO IS

ALONE IS

WHO IS

ALONE IS WHO

IS ALONE IS

WHO IS ALONE

IS THIS WHO

IS THIS ALONE

IS THIS WHO IS ALONE

MY SELF

BY RECOLLECTION

IS WHO

IS THIS MY SELF

MY RECOLLECTION

IS SELF

IS MINE

IS MY RECOLLECTION

ALONE THIS IS

MY SELF

THIS IS

MINE IS

IS THIS IS

IS THIS INSANITY

IS THIS

INSANE

BY MINE

THIS WHO

IS MY

SELF SANITY

WHO IS

THIS INSANE

BY SELF

MY SELF

MINE IS

THIS ALONE

INSANE WHO

SELF BY

RECOLLECTION

IS INSANITY

IS ALONE

IS WHO

IS SELF

IS MINE

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS INSANITY

IS IN

SANITY

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.