I Want to Laugh/I Want to Cry

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Despite having

both sides of the same coin

you can’t make heads or tails

of the ambivalence.

The opposing sensations

never cancel

each other out,

to become indifference.

Instead, both emotions

carry-on and veer-off,

like you’re being

drawn-and-quartered.

Your inner monologue

is a screaming match

between two diametrically

opposed parties

who are not making any headway.

How does one make sense

of the things at their very core

not adding up?

Hell isn’t all fire

and brimstone.

Hell

is getting everything

you’ve ever wanted in life —

and it still sucks.


Exploding Head Syndrome

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I’d like to be at peace,

at least,

when I fall asleep.

Finally nodding off,

counting sheep,

I’m between my sheets

on a cloud

breathing at ease.

Thoughts begin to warp,

and cease

using normal logic,

and I’m far away from my body.

And then there was nothing

but empty space.

Something far-off

in the vast reaches

of a resting mind catches,

spontaneously combusting

the sawdust from

every stray thought I’ve ever had.

I’m pinching myself,

when I might be ablaze,

and feel nothing,

jolting me awake.

A surreal moment passes,

as I sit in the dark,

unharmed.

“Well, that was something.”


Apocryphal

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Every one knew

that one kid in town

whose father worked at Nintendo,

so he was privy to everything.

Whose girlfriend went

to a different school,

but he swore

she looked just like Jennifer Aniston.

Who told you,

tearfully, to watch for crocodiles

lurking in the creek

behind your house,

although they are

not native to the region.

Did you think twice

when you dove in again?

Did you do a double-take

at every mossy piece of driftwood?

Is it worth the trouble

to move mountains of horseshit,

or is it better to just

drop the shovel?

In the Flesh

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I wish the fire

in the pit of my stomach

would warm my heart

during cold nights,

but the heat

doesn’t quite

travel that far.

I belch up smoke,

because I am only skin and bones.

My Achilles’ tendon,

sore and raw

from javelin wounds

that won’t heal,

because I can’t stop

picking at the scabs.

I am only human.

If only I could

power wash

the spaces

between the folds in my brain.

Unravel it, rinse it off

and wring it out —

but it has to stay

in the case

because it doesn’t travel well.

I am the sum

of all my defective parts,

inextricably stitched together

with connective tissue,

take me or leave me.


Inhibitionism

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In the throes of

cost-benefit

analysis paralysis,

I change my mind.

Give me a nudge,

in the right direction,

just enough to budge,

and overcome the friction.

Pivot after pivot,

like I’m double-jointed,

but I’m too rigid

to be a contortionist.

In the midst of

figuring it all out,

I think twice.

I’ll come around again,

as I move along the bend.

In a moment of clarity I ask,

is this just how it is

forever, then?

I’ve begun to understand myself,

then I thought better of it.

Mantis

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Candy-striped prowler

among the tiger lilies —

waiting for the next insect

and unshakable idealist

who doesn’t understand

when something is too good

to be true.

When you only have swords,

everything looks like

it could use a little

off the top.

It appears you’ve been caught,

trespassing on my petals

and I’m very sorry for

the inconvenience,

but I’ll have to

cut you down.

There’s no hostility,

I’m just doing what

comes naturally.

My own, not quite accurate,

reenactment

of Judith Beheading

Holofernes.

Heaven is Under Our Feet

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You may never

step in the same river twice,

but it feels

all too familiar

to tread water.

We’re up to our knees

and it seems

we’ll be bogged-down

for a while.

You must accept

that if you get down and dirty,

you’re bound to leave

some footprints.

Press on, press on —

the adventure doesn’t end

because our shoes are scuffed,

our pants

caked with dirtclods,

our hair more mussed

than when we just woke up.

The world is your canvas,

and you are equal parts

artist and explorer-

this morning is a once-in-a-lifetime

opportunity

to simply live.

Just make sure,

upon your return,

that you don’t track any mud

on your clean carpets.

There’s a time and a place

for that.

Clockwork

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Despite the flashiness,

try as it might,

lightning never strikes

the same place twice.

Power without focus

is just bluster.

Clocks, especially

the broken ones,

are much more consistent

than that.

But with nothing set in motion,

a steady hand

does not impress.

When the gears move synchronously

tooth-by-interlocking-tooth,

we can read deeply

into the kinesics.

To your horror

you may find

some things in common

with the automatons.

We all know the truth —

imitator,

yet another simulacra

lost in the wrong end

of the uncanny valley,

you tell yourself.

But who’s more convincing?

Antimatter

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We could learn so much from each other.

We’d tell and retell

our favorite stories,

take a walk in the park

and have a drink in the bar.

Finally, we’ve met

each other’s equal and opposite,

but there’s one catch:

we must stay at arms-length.

I want to know

your perspective

but all this time

with no contact —

there’s too much pent up

energy.

We could tear-up space-time

or wake the neighbors

both would be pretty rude of us.

I wish we could

have just one friendly meeting

without annihilating

everything.

Don’t get too close.

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Enamel

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Though we were different,

we were not mismatched.

I always admired,

how the things

that would stop me

in my tracks,

rolled right off your back.

While onlookers may say

that I was clad in armor,

made from the “skin of my teeth,”

you did much more

for me.

And though we were not equals,

you and I made great partners.

All-in for every

moment under the flame.

You made making it bearable

look easy as could be,

and I put my energy

where it was most needed.

And though we were not the same,

we fit nicely together.