Laugh Track

Standard

Management left some notes,

the show needs more Poignant Moments™️

it needs approximately 25% more

human emotion.

In the editing booth

effect precedes cause,

if we so choose.

Throw in a few, oddly familiar

hearty chuckles,

compel the viewer

to react authentically.

I’m sure the audience

was itching to laugh,

I’m sure,

but nothing wrong with a little help.

No pleasure is truly guiltless.

The fourth wall

is merely pantomimed,

the watcher and the watched

enter an unspoken pact,

to affect one another

or disappear altogether.

Jeers, scorn and rotting tomatoes

don’t phase us at all,

that’s showbiz.

Stick around for the commercials,

they’re, in our opinion,

the best part.

Have a laugh,

we insist,

they’re infectious.


Empty Words

Standard

I’m telling myself

these affirmations,

I’m muttering incantations.

I said all the

magic phrases,

the buzz words

and nothing has changed.

Is this thing on?

I held the pointed tips

of my sentence fragments

out in front of me,

hoping to cut through the noise

like machete through brush.

I lashed out,

swinging through

the tangle,

yet the exclamations

fell flat.

Flailing about

yet just barely scratching

the surface,

like a samurai sword

with a blade of

wet cardboard.

The truth isn’t always flashy

or impressive,

or what you’d like to hear,

but it’s the only thing with

enough substance

to breach

the dissonance.

Wield it wisely,

or you’ll put an eye out.


Second Wind

Standard

Sometimes during

a game of inches,

you will have a crisis of confidence.

You will feel as though

you’ve given everything

before you’ve finished,

and lament

the end of your journey

before the climax.

What else is left?

I dig deeper,

in a panic,

and realize there’s nothing.

The doubter’s voices crowd my head,

and they all sound familiar.

No fuel, not even a hint

of fumes to run on,

but I run on

when I was sure I was spent.

The naysayers

continue their tirade,

but I pay them no mind.

The march continues

and the runner’s high kicks in.

I’m going to do the greatest

act of defiance

that I know —

I’m going to make it

to the end.


Revolving Door

Standard

Wherever I am,

I can’t get past it.

I’m back at the start,

seeing the same faces

off to the races.

All of us convinced,

we’re moving along,

getting ahead.

You’re either in, or you’re out.

Follow the flow

of traffic,

come along the bend.

The circular logic

exhausts me,

as I tight-rope walk

between a rock and a hard place –

a quantum superposition

of entering and departing

all at once.

The means

always seem

to justify the ends.

Sorry, other way around.

It gives me pause,

but not enough to stop me,

as the walls nudge and I continue to shuffle.

Where do I go from here?


Complicity

Standard

You’re free to air out

your grievances as you see fit,

but all that means is that

every one gets a chance

to look them over.

The stain is plain as day

ingrained in the off-whites

of your eyes,

it permeates —

it’s in how you carry yourself,

how you react.

And you may try to hide

but the stench travels

for miles.

Don’t be surprised

when you get sniffed out,

it was bound to happen.

Your hands are dyed

and your hands are tied,

but fingerprints, every so often,

paint very clear pictures.

You didn’t start it,

but you didn’t end it,

and now the egg on your face

will not simply come off.

Eat the frog,

eat crow,

do what you have to now

to cleanse everyone’s

palates —

for your sake.


Autophagy

Standard

I’m tired of sweeping it

all under the rug,

of not acknowledging

the harms of an abundance

of clutter.

Yet I am a collector,

every broken piece, loose-end

and so on,

has fallen about,

my feet

regardless of redundancy.

I”m not comfortable enough

in my own skin

to leave it on —

too disgusted with myself

to pick all the empty suits

off the floor.

I’ve yet to come to terms

with the simple fact

that self-preservation

comes by way

of a controlled burn

at times.

With that, I curl my tail

all the way back,

and start to gnaw.

It’s all going to the same place

anyway.


RE:visions

Standard

I hope to have some clue soon,

as you do,

as to who it is

I’m looking at

at this moment.

Apparition, I

can’t be sure if

you or I

are all there.

I know what I’ve seen,

meaning I know nothing

for certain.

I wish not to foment doubts,

but when are we not fibbing

to ourselves about something.

Gone in an instant.

Hollow

as the promises I

made to myself.

Walk right through the walls

I’ve built,

made of finely chiseled,

yet false,

precepts.

Am I here for a good reason?

Or was there something

I just couldn’t accept?


Canary Trap

Standard

Anyone with a high enough perch

yearns to be heard.

The higher-ups watch like hawks,

like harriers staring down

through the spaces between

the bars,

no need to rattle the cage.

Let them talk,

let them spin their yarns.

Tell them what they’d like to hear,

down to every, minute detail

but skewed

tailored anew to everyone you told.

No one thinks about the things that “everybody knows.”

Stymphalian birds,

cruising low and slow

surveying the land,

hungry bronze beaks glinting

long grass blown flat

to the ground

with each

beat of their razor-edged wings.

The hammer and nail

follow the trail

and retrace their tracks

back to the little bastards

who first chirped.


Exploding Head Syndrome

Standard

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.”


Sleep Paralysis

Standard

Hazey under indigo light.

The most I can say

is that I’m in my own space

under my duvet.

Short on details,

I get a line of sight

from the corner.

Someone’s just standing by the closet.

I want to say anything

but I rouse no sound.

The figure shuffles,

mumbles and begins to take one

belabored step

towards me.

I want to get out,

but my muscles barely twitch.

As it’s foot hits the ground,

it bounds over my head

like a tiger.

I want to close my eyes,

but I’m transfixed.

I come to

and it’s 5:18 AM.

Sleeping sure does

take a lot out of you.

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