Impressions on Impressionism: Giverny/Entomology/Trap Music

Floue mais intelligible, nous sommes tous des impressions.

Oil greens laced through lavender sheens, views from a turf-laden shore. Vines waltz through railings, coalescing with their man-made supports. Water and sky, an amalgam for the eye, what is reflection and what is atmosphere? Nymphaeceae circlets, fractal florets, delicate mid-afternoon rays caught in tranquil pools.Nonsense colors at an inch’s glimpse. Odd splotches, ridges and valleys of violet and cyan. Craters of cremé with rivulets of mustard. Separate and clashing. Chaos at the tip of a brush. Polished maple, lanced with horse hair, bound in nickel.Days spent reading “Order of the Phoenix” under pointed leaves. Vacationing in the north, roaming fields of daisies, mounted Clydesdale. Scrounging for silvered change, Coinstar nickel and diming for a quarter tank. Lavender outside of my workplace, calming aroma in the night over rooftop crises. Clear Caribbean, enveloped, intruding on a coral biome. Spoonfuls of Cool-Whip our of the container, no other food in the fridge. The cover of “Flower Boy“, driving through Dallas, “take me back to November“.November must have been glorious: Paris, circa 1840. New eyes born to an unimaginative planet, born to a race fixed on defined lines. “Je n’aime pas, Oscar“, they must have touted. Maybe it’s because you created something beautiful out of the ordinary. Maybe it was because it forces us to identify with nature. Maybe it was that you meticulously globbed, dotted, and lacquered chaos into blurred beauty. Maybe your recordings of the seasons reminded them that their time was passing too quickly as they sat under their parasols drinking Cabernet. Maybe it struck them with fear and concern when they subconsciously realized you painted empathy, that you painted humanity through nature and oil.Hazy, colors bleeding into each other, I know that I’m Giverny, France 1906. A bunch of splotches, independent from the next, caressing their neighbor, solid and fluid. Sometimes memories run into the next, sometimes a smell, sometimes a color, all evoking specific emotion. A gorgeous fog clinging to a set point of existence.I’m fighting to keep my existence this undefined. Like the scales of a Lepidopteran, fine, iridescent, each one important and part of a whole. Consistently reminded that bold lines are even bolder when they’re trying to draw you into a silhouette, and eventually a mold. Categorizing, organizing, ranking, assigning value, regardless of if the value is understood or not. Consistently fighting my hypocrisy of “I want to be more than one thing, but you have to be one thing to me“, pushing through life creating my own heartbreak and disappointment. Loyalty with no strings attached.Let colors bleed into others. Stay confused and changing and be honest about it. Humans only act like they’re defined because it’s easier to get comfortable in a cage than in the open. We only define because we’re selfish, we only organize because we’re scared, we’re only tied to time because we’re lazy. We only lack direction because we try to only experience one.Water Lilies float under a Japanese bridge and so do I.Inspired by:Oscar-Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” 1914-1926Tyler, the Creator’s “Flower Boy” 2017The Mexican Bluewing: Myscelia ethusa Existential conversations with my siblingsSanta Monica beach: 10:57 pm

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Celestial Bodies: A Romanticizing of Ancient Light

Stripe, stripe, stripe; Morse in the headlights. “Truly Random Code“, half-dollar, lemon crème moon, Orion’s Belt aligns: Cruelly open road.

12 degrees.

It’s as if the atmosphere falls away at night in the winter. The solstice rolls around and that infinite nothingness plunges it’s fingers into the dirt. Everything’s brighter. The clouds are translucent against the moon rings. I’ll start singing songs about Space, thinking back on summer nights, “Moongod, where’s your glow?” Sometimes I’ll make myself believe that I’m the only one watching those celestial bodies creep slowly through the sky, “Maybe my new friends will invite me out to stay in their Milky Way real estate.

Alpha Centauri is the closest star to Earth at 4.37 light years, and somehow we can still see it in our sky. We’re consistently observing the past as we look into the sky, seeing light that’s been traveling billions of miles, and we greet it with indifference. I’m always looking down at a light 6 inches from my face, more worried about whether this light shows me a spark or a laugh. We used to worship and marvel at the stars but now that light is in our hands. Hollow, controllable, fragile. Sufjan said that Jupiter was the loneliest planet but I think he was wrong. Earth has inhabitants and they abuse and neglect her constantly. As Jupiter’s great Red Eye swirls about it’s surface humanity is prying the life out of the Earth and pretending she’ll be fine, or forgetting she’s even there. Just a lonely blue speck in a sea of black. “Blue, the most human color.

Sometimes I’ll make my own constellations, trace the lines of my whims and imagination. I just want to create my own lines, making the sky something new each time. Tootles lost his marbles and so did the rest of us. Not only will we not chase our own dreams, but we’ll go out of our way to make sure others don’t either. I caught a glimpse of a future I wanted, and I played it out like a romance in my head. I’ll take in every moment of an imagined self, smile at how happy that Thomas is, let my heart leap a little. But there’s always reality and others who want to take that glimmer in your eye.

It’s no wonder when I gaze out at the dipper that I pine and brood.

“Look at how small I am.”

And then I feel that loneliness too, somehow paired with connection and understanding.

“I don’t want to be alone, but I don’t want to be infatuated either. I don’t want to be everything to someone or to myself, just something to someone and better than yesterday. I want to be consumed by what I love and not have to worry about having my passion taken away by others. I want to be connected but I want to be alone. People are like constellations, I’ll trace those lines differently each day. I want to be able to admire the constellations I’m not a part of. We’re all just star dust anyways, right?”

Inpiration from A Lot Like Bird’s “Truly Random Code” and “Trace the Lines“, The Devil Wears Parada’s “Moongod“, Salvage My Dream’s “Alpha Centauri”, Sufjan Stevens’ “Planetarium“, and Regina Spektor’s “Blue Lips

Aaron West, Crystal Meth, and Holiday Fractals: A Letter

Dear Loathing,

You’ve been one of my greatest friends throughout the years, suctioned to my brain like a Lamprey, swimming behind my eyes, distorting my perspective. I always knew those weren’t floaters but rather translucent snakes reminding me of how much I hate myself. Every time I rub my eyes, stand up too quick, or look at a light for too long, you’re always there.

And I wish you weren’t.

I spent years believing things couldn’t get better. From crisis to crisis you assured me it would always be this way. Behind every negative word said to me, you would echo, “They’re right, you know?”

And I always believed you.

I’m trying to get rid of you, trying to build up positivity. So when my methed-out Step-Father messages me telling me I’m a “pussy” and that I’m “not a man”, I only believe it for a little while. When I get disappointed or heart broken I only believe it’s my fault for a little while. When I’m defeated, I don’t stay there wallowing like I used to.

I went from “I’m starting to believe that there’s a God and he hates me” to believing in myself instead.

So when my brother tells me he loves me and that I’m the reason he’s still alive, I can detach that Lamprey from my Hippocampus. When my friend encourages me in my passions, it gives my brain a moment to heal. When I think about leaving this place behind, moving out to the mountains, I’m not filled with doubt or feel defeated.

It’s been a long while since I’ve had hope, and I’m afraid I’ll lose it. It’s Christmas Eve and it’s snowing, and to most this would feel magical. The sight of snow fills me with fear. That cold white dredges up so many bad memories. This holiday season has always been hard and I’ve been so disillusioned over the years. You always comes back, Loathing, and that’s why I’m afraid. Every time something negative happens I know that you’re waiting with a handful of dead sunflowers ready to spit in my face and say, “I told you so.”

I’m trying to dissociate the white of the snow with the trauma in my life. Snow is such a wonderful thing and I’m tired of feeling afraid of it. I’m tired of it reminding me of you. I’m clinging to hope that you will stay away, that I’ll have the strength to keep fighting you, and that I’ll continue to have the will to pursue a more whole me.

Sincerely,

Your Oldest Friend and Newest Enemy

Continental Divide or A Depressed Man’s Guide to Folding Yourself

Ache.

Resonating through snow-capped peaks, pulsating through the soles of my battered Nikes. There’s a groaning. The slipping of plates, tectonic quakes, millennia of friction and reformation. Earth has many spines to walk on, the white, osseous snow, gold her marrow. Thin air cracks the skin, nosebleed, crimson drop marries hexagonal flakes in a salacious rosé. The mountains always give me so much, it felt like a pitiful sacrifice, accidental, minute.

Rumination; digesting experience. Inevitable.

I’ve spent so much time in my life trying to forsake myself.

I’m a mountain that has been moved.

Spent years pouring out pieces of myself because I was taught altruism is Holy, and the self is to be cast aside.

I’m a river that is all dried up.

I lost my salt. No spice in life. Settling to be a vessel. Settling to be a pump.

I’m an ocean nothing floats on.

Always looking past the sky in an attempts to glimpse heaven. A concept. Intangible.

I’m a sky that nothing wants to fly in.

I kept putting aside existence. Allowing others’ passions to be more important than mine.

I’m a sun that doesn’t burn hot.

Shame embodied, never knowing myself to be anything else. Offering nothing but loathing to mirrors.

I’m a moon that never shows it’s face.

Lip service. Conflicting morality. Too tired to save face anymore.

I’m a mouth that doesn’t smile.

Tired of being poured out. Tired of “being a light”. Tired of being a silhouette.

I’m a word that no one ever wants to say.

Fold up my legs, fold up my arms, forget me in the attic. I hope that origami self collects dust while I figure this new one out. I hope his memory becomes a hazy vignette when placed next to my future. And I thought about him while standing on Mother Nature’s spine, that Origa-Me. I thought about when I gave up my faith, when I started making those creases, how hard it was but how freeing it felt. I thought about my father figures, and how I didn’t want to reflect them, making that first fold. I thought about my therapy, about my traumas, all the parts of myself I gave away, shaping and folding. I thought about my mother and how many times she’s said, “I just want to see you happy” as I put in the finishing creases. I thought about the freedom I felt in that thin air, the excitement of placing that Origa-Me self in a box as I dreamed of a future I wanted. How satisfying the hops of a hazy IPA were as I pulled down the ladder. The callouses on my fingers from copper strings felt more authentic as I place the box under the rafters in the corner. How the mountains shifted like I did, slow and steady, as the edges of my Origa-Me self starts to yellow. How my groaning went from disembodied and pained to purposeful and passionate. Dreams don’t seem so outlandish. Free to indulge in happiness and hope as other boxes surround that paper man. It’s uncomfortable because it’s new, it’s uncomfortable because it’s making me whole. Galvanized, compacted. Turning to exuberance and anxious excitement; a different kind of

Ache.

Seeing Self Regain “I”

Maybe it’s in a thicket of conifers, maybe an isle in the gulf, maybe in a bay window, sun-soaked yellowing pages provoked by thumb and index. Smudged hearts and streaks left from the Windex.

It’s so difficult to find joy. Under a rock,  perhaps hidden in some tea leaves; Earl Grey. 

Grey, grey, grey.

It’s the filter over your eyes, scales and veils, caught in Kansas with no Oz in sight. Left dreary and dreadful, with only cynical realism because these synapses hold Seratonin ransom like a POW in the Land of the Rising Sun.

But the sun never comes up. Caught in perpetual dawn, your whole earth groaning for the sunlight. Blades of grass and limbs of leaves stretching just to get a peek.

Even from the peaks, no light, no dark, just tepid glow. Knowing there’s good, so out of focus because of the bad. No lenses to change, shutter speed slowed to seizure.

Paralyzed.

Caught in a waltz of “I need to be heard” and “I won’t say a word” like a nun and a mime on a ballroom floor. It’s not gracing your ears like a dandelion in the wind, more like the incessant tapping of a pencil on a desk, an anxiety-ridden insomniac leads the cadence. It’s not so bad at first, but it sinks in to the bone, sucking you dry of happiness, no Patronus charm could fend off the horde.

I want to believe it will stop, I want to see the Reds and yellows, be a jolly fellow, greet each day with a warm ‘Hello’, a little Beethoven in the background on the cello. Like every moment a miracle given from Yahweh, so precious, so Crimson, so whole. The summer nights holding hands while the fireflies lit the fields, you tell me you love me and I believe that it’s true. Or those days by the beach when I made you that castle, I want to build you a kingdom, a Queen of the sea, shells in your hair and sand in your toes.

It’s not a matter of choosing light over dark. There isn’t choice with a grayscale voice. I wish it weren’t so, stuck here with my woe, when my woe won’t leave me be.

So Christ will the sun rise only in Japan, or can it rise for me? Where Joy can be a reality, and the woe plays a lesser role? Find time to find time in a busy heart? Your Lazarus witnessed the wrath and decay, but breathed fresh air with dead lungs. Your woman of Serene drew living water from a man with no shame. Your Judas let loose that silver and your Peter walked tall on your waves. 

Can I have a simple mind? It’d be just as much a miracle to me.

I know I frequent your ears with my breath stained of needs and wants. Crude and honest because I’m exasperated. Crude and honest because I hate who I am. Crude and honest because I know you don’t. Maybe some day I’ll see your hand guiding me. Maybe someday we’ll have more to talk about than my self-created, obsessive woes. Maybe someday you’ll convince me I am wanted.

Poetry: Romanticism in the Ordinary

Don’t treat me like the shores today. Can I be something more stable?  Not in pieces, thrown about by tides, crowned in seafoam.

Yeah, I’m always so beautiful when the sun sets on me. Yeah, I’m always so comfortable beneath your feet. But in the end you’ll turn again to your landlocked abode away from me.

I try to cling to any crevice I can fit. I just want to be so close to you, be with you wherever you sit. But I’m just too agitating to your pale skin, you’ll wash me away, down this drain of despair whilst you’re reading in your den.

Can I be your breath, or could I be the light? Something you can’t live without, allowing you to see the beauty in every day and night. Quite alright, the thought of being in your lungs, where I’ll hang on your every word from the tip of your tongue.

Maybe just a blanket and a bed. Providing you with comfort, shelter, safety, a place to lay your head. So precious with it’s dreams and visions, caught between REM and bliss we could kiss and laugh our day away.

I could be your foothold and get your through this climb of memories and hours we call life. We’re always expecting so much more, some adventure, some caper to whisk us away so reality isn’t as real. But love isn’t found in coves on the Gallapagos, on beaches by the coast.

Find it in someone’s eyes and find it in their hands. Find it in the way they laugh or the way they make demands. It’s in the crinkling of a nose, a freckle on the cheek, I promise you, I’ll prove it to you when we meet.

I just need a love that wants to hold hands in the sun, walk creek beds in the summer, drink a beer, take a run. I don’t want to find you in the extraordinary, that’s not where you are, it’s who you are.

So when we meet just know one thing, I will do everything in my power to let you know you’re lovely, to let you know you’re gorgeous, to let you know I’m whole.

Poetry: The Night I Sang My Prayer

In the kitchen one day, swooning over my past.
The reminiscence of regrets regurgitated from my heart.
Between thumps the bumps in my road I can’t avoid.
It’s all gravel now.
Broken to pieces, dust in the air.
It’s a gavel now.
Self-conscious, I’m not fair with the way I view myself.

So a thought it crept and a song it leapt from my heart into my tongue
From across the room my hearts impending doom is what I had sung.

Bereft of embarrassment of humility at the throne bending low every aching bone for solace from every sigh and moan my lungs had blown of feeling alone, bleeding for the grace you’ve shown.

“I thought I wanted you, but it was only redemption I sought. The fear of being myself, being left with naught. Of feeling sorrow for never doing what I ought. Spitting on every soul you ever bought.

You were supposed to fix me…

I didn’t want a love affair

You were supposed to heal me….”

Thus from my lips it did depart, that I wanted my God for His power and promises. Singing “fix me”, “I need you”, “take it away” in the Key of C, such abysmal pleas in the happiest Key there could ever be.

Sitting in a silence after my melody, realizing my fault in my tepid honesty, that God was only God, some far off concept all stars and nebulas.

Well Yahweh, why’d you let me do this to you, shrink you down, dull you to a more tolerable hue, watered you down so you were easier to chew.

Why’d you let me take that first bite?
Take my fork! Take my spoon!
Take my teeth if it were needed!

“You’re bull-headed, my son, and I needed you to see that there is only room for you and none for me. I know this life’s been painful and I know the breaks aren’t clean, but without them you never would have seen that you only needed me to preen your image and not your soul. See that I am existing, see that I am whole.”

I forgot you were real once because I remembered me, glad you still love me with my fleeting memory.

Poetry: Midwest Reflections In a Seaside Mind

I had a thought today, and it wasn’t new. They’re always there and never few.

My margins have been shrinking from closets to cabinets to crevices too small to breathe in.  There aren’t enough folds to be made in these paper lungs to fit.  No space to expand, just close walls and stale air.

That’s where I find myself when on these drives.  The brisk gusts lose their bite, the drone of the rubber on road becomes a dirge. “Oh grave where is thy victory?”

In my heart.

These mid-west highways haven’t been home for ages.  Hills like headstones, trees a bouquet from a past lover.  The rocks cry out, “Here lies your future, you gave up on it long ago.”

But I tried to keep it alive, I tried to feed it daily, but three square meals gets lofty when you can’t make ends-meat.