O.K.

What was love but rigid with mass — but an imprint firm-pressed in solid brass,

And what’s it now but a loose phosphene beneath an angry sun?

What was truth but a game with rules, to win which I could once use my own tools,

And what’s it now but amorphous, shapeless nothing to no one?

 

When all concepts become tangible, all that they govern seems more manageable;

Now that these objects are eroding, I finally can see

That the lines I so dutifully drew, and the organized ideas I once knew

Were never existent in the first place to anyone but me.

…question everything in dark times. Try your hardest to imagine every possible outcome and ruminate on each one with care, considering every person, place, and/or thing you might affect. From there, make your decision and stick with it. Sometimes, it’s better to stand in the rain, but sometimes, making an external change is the best thing you can do for your internal wellbeing.

A Machine Recalls Love

Chemicals run their course through my stone-cold body and gradually dissipate as the hours roll on without you.  My membranes remain intact, and they seem impenetrable to my brain, but that old lump of neurons only serves to slosh around in its cavital cage, unable to view any of the aforementioned activity it attempts to analyze.  I receive message after message through the screen — line after line of characters placed and spaced strategically with the intent of eliciting some sort of deviant chemical reaction from the baseline.  With an apathetic glance, I dart my eyes here and there, to the next group of characters, and to the last of every chatbox, then click for another minimally stimulating time.

A message from you clears the way through the gray, smoky blur, and so my discord swiftly sorts itself out into an organized, invisible stack of ideas as long as my small intestine that starts within it somewhere and ends at my head, ready to be carefully spoken or typed.  My body reassembles itself and all the abstract, left-minded details build themselves into a right-minded structure, plastering a picture vividly for the floating eye in my previously narrow-minded brain.  I react before I categorize the cause, and every previously procedurally performed reaction happens naturally; I simply act as a medium through which it manifests itself.

I am warm, and I am safe, and I am alive.

Woman of Two Hearts, by anonymous contributor

I’ve learned that life is full of mysteries.  Of the things I’ve seen, none have been stranger than the woman with two hearts.

Our first meeting was relatively ordinary.  It was a pleasant summer day, and I was asked to interview her for a community publication highlighting artists.  The interview was typical — straightforward questions and straightforward answers, with very little in the way of discussion.  It was a pleasant experience.

One thing led to another, and I started to speak with her as a friend….  That was when I started to notice strange things.  She was erratic and her level of energy fluctuated wildly.  I was worried that it may be a medical condition, so I asked.

That was when I met her a second time.

She revealed to me that she had two hearts.  These two hearts, they operated differently – they had different rhythms and different speeds.  She could sometimes control which one was active. More often than not, however, they would switch on a whim.  These hearts both knew of each other, and loathed the other’s existence. There were countless battles for dominance that never resolved themselves.  They also knew of the happenings in the outside world — and knew of me.

The heart that had revealed itself to me, the one kept secret, begged me to forget about it and move on.  It was happy that someone chose to listen, but insisted it would be for the better if I forgot about it and carried on.

I was unable to sleep that night.  I had a lot to process. Two hearts?  I never heard such a thing in my life!  And one wanted me to pretend that it did not exist?  I had to make a difficult decision. Do I refuse the heart’s request, do I comply with it and pretend it isn’t there, turn my back to this deeply kept secret that finally found someone it could reveal itself to?

The next day, I gave that heart my answer.

“You revealed yourself to me in an act of good faith and trust.  You chose to risk hatred, fear, and misunderstanding instead of hiding yourself away.  I do not turn my back on those who brave those risks.  I refuse to pretend that you do not exist.”

I stunned it with that answer.  There was an extended silence.

Then, ever so quietly…

“Maybe that’s why she gave me consciousness… to allow me to make a friend in you, too.”

As the autumn winds came and went, my friendship with the woman with two hearts grew.  The hearts learned to tolerate each other. I patiently worked to try and nurture the secret heart that had revealed itself to me.  The days came and went and the bonds grew stronger.

One winter evening, as the air chilled and clouds brought forth the yearly snow, something changed.  The walls the woman with two hearts had built up around her… they shattered. And as she opened up to me, something in me changed as well.

In that moment, both of the woman’s hearts realized that they had one thing in common — they were deeply in love with this man they had opened up to.  Likewise, I realized I had fallen for this woman and her two hearts — as flawed and different as they may be, I enjoyed their unique heartbeats and patterns.

There is no greater experience in the world than the pure, unconditional love that can only be found in people like her — those who are able to overcome their situations to seek a better life for themselves.

I’ve hopelessly fallen in love with a woman with two hearts, two minds… and I would not have it any other way.

The Aftertaste of Tears

When I finally emerged from the thick, gelatinous, murky mass which habitually traps me in my room, barely leaving any space to breathe, my face was irritated from being covered in its ooze; it streaked down from the mauve-gray folds of skin beneath each of my eyes, forging jittery fluid trails and leaving behind burning patches of gritty, natrian pebbles to scrape off.  The taste of these little scratchy crystals was an empty one, but a part of me was simultaneously lost and freed when I threw one toward the back of my throat and swallowed.

The autumn wind was calm when I first stepped foot outside of my dorm.  To my right was the road leading to the dorm where I once stayed and to my left was the surface of a speckled sun on Earth, softly glowing behind the edge of the tower, which radiated a warm front that carried itself on the breeze to form a blanket over the land below it, where I could feel it envelop me as I floated forward toward the commons.  I climbed, I ate the usual matter, I felt it run through me like ants in the sand, and I waited.

My meal did not sit well as I retreated after dinner.  I reached my next destination in an interval which coincidentally seemed like all the time in the world and no time at all.  I got lost in the river of math problems tortuously ebbing and swirling swiftly down the page after I dropped my limp thighs onto the chair in the lab, and the rest of me fell with them.  All I felt like doing was burying my face in my hands, exhausted from my long fast and the stress that caused it.  Soon enough, though, I allowed the boys to laugh with the sleep-deprived girl in the room who knew nothing about anything they were doing for a little while.  The scenery was lucid when I emerged from the lab after a tiring two hours.  The blaze in the distance had spawned choppers overhead, and the sweet, chipper autumn breeze had become a steady onslaught of blades — brisk, sudden gusts that might as well have thrusted sharp leaves through the skin of my arms through my overcoat.

The poignant pain of it all was refreshing.  I remembered what it was like to be scolded for relishing in such things for too long.  My world was on fire, and I wished it would coerce me into the raging, distant inferno, first clutching me in its grasp with its vicious arms of air, then thrashing me about until I returned to where I was eons ago, before I had a name or a recognizable face.  I wanted to melt into it, but all I could do was stand still, frozen in the current.  I could almost taste the tears I shed earlier.  I could almost experience firsthand the pain of years past all over again.  I could almost feel human again in the surreal, wavering world, only defined by the corners carved by the streams of wind that rushed around my sides.

Shadow

Wherever I go, a lowly shadow decides to follow along with the one created by my obstruction of the light from hitting the ground.  It can dance and sing and embarrass itself, and it surely has before — I remember it clearly.  Nowadays, it only pretends to be the other shadow, dolefully hoping it will feel just as fulfilled as in the past, just like I play off being indecent in the past as a joke and attempt to morph myself into the shape of a desirable, “real” human.  Although this shadow and I have much in common, it doesn’t carry over into a friendship.  There’s nothing enticing about either of us.  We deviate ourselves from some greater, larger entity so we can free ourselves, but we only end up abiding by the same expectations as we did when we were one — when the silent shadow was a part of my original one and when I was not separate from my body — a lone soul, voice, heart, and mind.

I learned last year that I can never run away from myself.  I can’t escape my skin, even if it crawls for hours or days on end.  The shadow has a similar story that finishes with the same familiar so-called resolution; my regrets, my troubles, and all that I drag along that it is forced to hold cannot be avoided all the time by a shadow which twirls blindly up mountains only to plummet from a cliff after carelessly wandering close to a particularly craggy edge.  Unfortunately, any desire to venture outside of our little boxes has faded with the influence of newly-attained common knowledge.  Perhaps someday, this will change, but for now, I am the voice of more than two, and I cannot speak quickly enough to convey this pain.  I will continue on my slow path toward the light, though, not to relinquish the shadow, but rather to introduce it to something foreign to it that it just must see in its lifetime.

What else can I do?  I cannot change how I feel or what exists and what does not, but I can decide what to do with it.

Note

I wish for this to be my note,

The last thing that I ever wrote;

I know it’s sad but just be glad

I even took the time to quote

 

Emotions from the past and now,

And dreams that I’d achieve somehow,

If I’d have had but just a tad

Of will to keep myself afloat.

 

But, even still I cannot bring

Myself to do this selfish thing;

To get it done, I’d plague someone

Who’d have to clean my room and ring,

 

And loved ones I did not forget —

So, wasting this life sans regret

Just won’t be so, and so I know

I can’t give into freedom yet.

Dedicated to a Delusion

I saw her in my slumber

And when I was awake;

I witnessed countless times

When her life was at stake;

 

I always tried to kill her

And the warmth she’d share;

I’d even stoop to belittle

Her when I didn’t care;

 

She was my best friend,

And she was my enemy;

She was an emotional mess,

And she was a logical prodigy;

 

Now, I have caused her end,

After years of time, finally;

I’m now set to eternally obsess,

For I didn’t realize she was me.