The Chemical Process that Causes Colors to Fade

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Sometimes…
The presence of a certain person
Will misfilter and cross paths
With my senses and I see
Pigments of my imagination.
They call this synesthesia
And it happens to everyone
From one sense to another.
I guess I’m just blessed
With an unending pallet of colors
My mind uses to paint your presence
In an otherwise
Dull and grey canvas.
I can still place your
abstract brushstrokes behind
My emerald green to sky blue eyes
And they burn as brightly
As neon bar signs.

Not for the first time, probably
But for the first time I can remember
Your colors dulled and detached
Like someone scraped the paint
from the walls we all try to escape
From the confines imposed by life
to wide open spaces
Where freedom is mural of chances you took
And for a moment I couldn’t lay my hands down
to find the crack in this plaster cast memory
Until I saw the colors fade
As you flipped back your head
in an intimate kiss with glass
As you upended a temporary lover’s body
Mouth pressed against his
You spun the bottle ’til it landed on you
And you prayed with lips as saints do
Communion wine without the sacrament
Is just wine
As you took the blood down until
Your colors dulled as time and abuse make them.

Listen.
I am not a teetotaler, a movement in temperance
My words are not that of judgement or prohibition
Listen…
As my heart war drums my sternum
Snare strung with anxiety and sadness
Because this subject is not pen and paper
Because my heart is not dull to the pain that it senses
In anyone.
I wish my anhedonia would come with a side of numb
But it doesn’t and so I worry like I’m human
I sense the prickling of something beneath the haze
And I want to understand it but
Then again
I’m admittedly afraid to ask
But my family’s past is a lead weight underneath my brain
It reminds me it’s there every time I turned my head.

Let me tell you something.
My dad, a railroad man at the time
Made off and out too often with a bottle of whiskey
Drinking straight from the open container
Imbibing alcohol like life-giving water
Only this water went stagnant and poison
As it ate holes straight through his gut
Ulcerated and rotted, his stomach
bled from its protective lining
eaten away by time
As he exsanguinated whole bottles
Into his stomach
Hemorrhaging.
Sometimes, it seems, masking the pain
Is a genesis for more:
An equal reaction.

And then again,
My grandmother was a fan of 7-up
As long as it was coloring a glass
of Canadian Club Whiskey
Chased with pain killers, opioids
Pills she spilled into her hand to kill
Pain she claimed she had from knee replacement
And a metal rod fused to her spine
Sit up straight and the things you swallow
Will go down just fine, won’t they?
Her body took the abuse
like a clay pot buried under
years of past regret
The pressure of a husband who
Barely pretended to give a damn
And so she drank.

I remember one time I drank from a jug
With handle
Because I thought it had water in it
On a hot day in the sun, that was welcome
But when the liquid touched my tongue
I spat it out like words of disgust
I was not old enough then to draw up.
Candy is dandy if you like the taste
You’ll spit out liquor quicker
If you’re not expecting the burn.

Self-medication led to deterioration of her body
She couldn’t tap her body into a wall without
Blood oozing up to the surface of her skin
Dying her skin in patches of black
Hematomas look like leprosy
When you accumulate enough.

Understand.
These are not scared straight stories
Just context of someone who’s worried
And while I realize I may be blowing things
Out of proportion or misconstruing the evidence
I cannot unsee the vibrant evidence
That you are more than what I see
When you absorb that bleach
And you fade like a sunset into the clouds
of the nighttime.

Truth be told,
I’m afraid.
Because I feel like I’m the only one who sees it
And I’m not here for guilt or shame
Just can’t be the one to enable any pain
And I want to ask you just one question
It’s stuck in my mind like a nail
Are you happy?
Because it feels like you aren’t you.
And it’s hard to miss someone
When they’re right there in front of you.

Our Lives are a Motion Picture on Endless Reels

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I came across this quote when I was perusing the internet for something interesting to do. I’ve written a post about this in a past life, but this just sums up my stance on art so perfectly:

“What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or which is done by experts who are artists. But couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?” –Michel Foucault

I am Not an Artist

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If we are somehow connected on any social media website or, by chance, happen to actually know each other in real life you’ll notice, while I consider myself a creative person, I never refer to myself as an artist. This is not meant to be a cut at people who call themselves artists. In fact, I happen to know several people who have devoted their current existence to creating art or supporting art in the local community. However, you will never find me referring to myself as an artist. Perhaps it’s prejudicial or just one of the many random hang-ups I have about the most banal things in life, but I feel so pretentious when referring to anything I do as “art”.

Let’s be clear. I am a writer, an aspirating musician and I try to be a photographer when I can find my camera (it’s in a box somewhere and I don’t know where I put it). I carry a notebook with me at all times where I compile ideas for song lyrics and I’m constantly working on new songs and ideas in my head. But I don’t consider myself an artist. Others might. But I don’t.

My experience with art has been an interesting one. I have a good friend who spent a good portion of a year traveling, using her art and coming up with new ideas for art while traveling all over the place. I have another friend who gave me an awesome print of a painting she did of Henry Rollins for my birthday one year and I love it to death. I have yet another friend who was working on creating masks and made one based off imagery for some tattoos and things I had written. So, my life is not without creative people and it is not without aesthetic and artistic endeavors.

I just can’t call myself an artist.

My experience is based off attending an art show or two. While I adore the people I knew who were showing, it was really hard for me to feel like I fit in. I think, culturally, artists have been assigned their own subculture and are often rendered their own little area in the world where they are allowed to exist outside the realm of the people who don’t share their enthusiasm for creating new and beautiful ideas. I see this perception in myself and in other people that artists are an untouchable class in the sense that they can do something a lot of other people can’t. This may be partly true. I know someone who creates some of the most detailed work I have ever seen and it’s because of her deadly attention to how she composes the piece and, especially, what brushes she uses to create her pieces.

At the same time, I also think people are intimidated by creative people when they, themselves, are not creative in that fashion. I am not a painter, at least not like the people I know. My hands shake terribly all the time and I don’t possess the coordination or talent to draw or paint with any great precision or detail. That’s just not my gift. I don’t belong in that niche and I am somewhat intimidated but those who are. I don’t think they are better than I, necessarily, but I do find myself avoiding events where I would have to mingle with people like that. Well, that and social anxiety but that’s another blog altogether.

I don’t think creative abilities should be a deterrent to being creative or making something new using the tools that God gave you. We are all built with the ability to use our minds to create, we all just do it in different ways. In theory, someone who work wonders with fixing vehicles should be on par with someone who can create masterful works of art on canvas with a brush. Someone like me who spends a lot of time creating new ideas with the English language rather than clay should be no less of a creative force.

Maybe it’s just me and my own perceptions I’m trying to repair but I just can’t shake the feeling that, sometimes, art is treated as its own particular club where only the elite creatives are allowed membership. I think a lot of people have that perception as well because art has often been lifted up as the ultimate of the aesthetic pleasures. I’m not putting down anyone and their talents; I am merely addressing something i’ve perceived over the last few months. But I still don’t consider myself an artist. Creative, intuitive and maybe a wordsmith but never an artist.

Because, if I’m an wrist, than everyone else is an artist too.

Secrets to Make You Suffer

There are things about myself that I don’t tell a lot of people.

I realize that by writing this I’ll be airing all of these things out but judging from the reader stats on my blog recently I don’t think I have to worry about any secrets getting out any time soon. And, even if they did get out, I don’t suppose it would bother me too much. I’ve come to the point where I’m sick of sitting on these “secrets” of mine and I really would like to do something with them. And it’s not like I’ve never done anything to entertain these dreams they’ve always just sort of fallen apart or have been taken over by life and I don’t have the time for them anymore or maybe other people don’t have time for them anymore and I can’t do them by myself. Whatever the case, these are some of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and things I really love doing.

I’m a writer, first and foremost. I would think that would be unbearably obvious considering the amount of “content” I churn out on this blog as well as other, more personal venues. I’ve got a story I haven’t touched in a month or two but I spent a couple months prior putting about 10,000 words into and am nowhere near finished with. But it’s there and I hope to get more work done on it some day. I like to write poetry, too. Go back about three weeks in the archives and you’ll find some of my latest stuff. My influences range from slam poetry to Ginsberg to Henry Rollins. I can’t stand a lot of poetry. I hate Robert Frost.

I try to be a musician. I’ve been trying to learn to play guitar for over a decade and I’m still more comfortable with playing hardcore punk than I am anything else. I’ve played in a few bands since I was 16 or 17, all of them relied on the heavier side of the musical spectrum. I love playing music live more than the writing process which is why I never really focused on it before. I prefer a collaborative approach to writing rather than someone bringing a full song to the table. I can scream pretty well and I’ve learned how to do it without blowing out my vocal chords. What most people don’t know and what sort of sparked the idea for this blog is that I can actually sing pretty well, too. It’s pretty rare that anyone hears me singing outside my car, shower or room. Well, there is the occasional karaoke bar where I’m usually met with a decent reception.

But not many people know that I like to sing.

And not a lot of people know that I am a performer at heart. It’s one of the things I love to do most and haven’t been able to do for too long. My poetry lends itself to more of a spoken word kind of vibe and I really love telling people things through poetry. It hits harder than just a simple speech or homily. Just like a song has more impact when there are people to hear it. So, maybe I need to find outlets for the things I create. This blog was a start, obviously, now that I think about it.

Now to find out how to damage the rest of the world.

“I too have suffered for my art. Now it’s your turn.”

In Bright Red

You must understand
I am not an artist
at least not in the
conventional sense or
as limited as my talent
gets.
The magic weaving of
a brush across an empty
canvas was never gripped
between my bony hands
and I could never
work well with
coordinating and
uncoordinating color
because of my
own sense
of blindness to the hues
that get planted
on yer pallet.
So, understand that I am
in awe of what people can do
with a simple stroke of a
brush to their chosen
medium.
My mind never really
worked that way.
Though I can see vivid
technicolor nightmares
that tear holes in the fabric
of my thoughts
I could never find the right
way to translate them to paper.
The old cliché is that a picture
is worth a thousand words.
I think I can honestly, and with humility
claim that I’ve gone far and beyond
that number and I don’t think
anyone really gets it.
You can’t get inside,
in between these temples
and see what neurons firing
violently can do.
The color red is most vivid
in my dreams.
A red so powerful and bright
you could say it was almost
ideal.
When it fell upon the shoulders
of a black dress it was
like a bomb exploding in my
retinas
even though I wasn’t
really seeing it.
And then again, the black
against the paleness of the walls
to where the skin of arms
almost fades into the skin of the wall.
And the color only becomes more striking
when surrounded by
gold, black and bronze clockwork
ticking away her steps as she
added the distance between us
and my hope was subtracted
from the moment but…
With such vivid colors,
my mind must have become preoccupied
because the thought never crossed my mind
whether the color would come back or not
and I woke before I could find out.
And when dream becomes reality
I realize it is time that I hold fast to
what I have and to the hope
that when colors are painted
on the inside of my brain
only to be let loose on the
white of a page in black characters
that while my nightmares may come true
the reality of the situation is,
I must maintain grip on hope
that my dreams may see the light
of the canvas yet.
In bright red.