Battling the Demons
It seems there are times more often than I’d like to admit,
That I spend watching the ice melt,
Into the caramel color,
And the pile of ash and embers grow into a mound.
I think of my failed dreams in the cage,
How a head kick and a right hand,
Shattered my pedestal,
That was already fragile.
I miss the restless nights in the gym
Suffering in beautiful agony,
As we sharpened our swords,
And made savage our minds.
I fill with regret of my dwindling number of friends,
Whose children I’ve never seen,
Whose weddings I’ve always missed,
Whose friendships I’ve left to wilt and rot over time.
I miss the frozen nights by the campfire,
Drinking winter’s lagers,
Putting v-cuts into our LFDs,
And worrying about the ratio of girls to guys.
I fight the shame of the money I was given but never made,
The silver spoon that I’ll never live down,
The people I’ll never make proud,
And the fact that I exist but have never lived.
So I fill myself with venom,
To cloud out the shame of never leaving a mark on the world.
Because of that thought that comes every night to keep me up,
Has anything I’ve ever done really mattered?
The curves at late hours,
The stacks of empty glasses in my kitchen sink,
The pills that keep me awake,
And the ones that put me to sleep.
Sometimes I decide not to count them,
Or I take a few too many,
Hoping I’ll find some kind of peace,
And my pain will end at last.
The first time she’ll just keep stringing you along your freshman year. She knows you’re just a puppy dog who follows her like a shadow. She’ll put you in the friend-zone and you’ll lose the respect of all your friends and peers. After a year of mindless wandering you’ll start to burrow in anger, self-loathing, and loneliness. A couple of years will pass and she’ll start dating the guy who made your life a living hell in high school. You’ll assure yourself the salt on the wound was earned somehow.
The second time she’ll forget about you. She’ll be older, full of baggage, and you’ll think you can fix her. Christmas Day you’ll get her presents from the heart while she’ll tell you a tall tale about your gift getting lost in the mail to excuse the empty spot under the tree. After a few questions she’ll finally admit she just didn’t get you anything. You’ll cut off communication and she’ll decide not to put up a fight to prove you wrong. You feel her plant the seed where your distrust in women started to grow.
The third time you’ll get caught off guard. You just focused on being you and becoming successful. She’ll work in the same supermarket as you and start wondering why every guy gives her attention except for you. You’ll fuck it up by letting the excitement consume you and trying too hard. Eventually, she’ll pass you up and start a destructive relationship with your childhood friend’s older brother. You’ll realize your circle of friends is much smaller than you thought. The self-destruction begins.
The fourth time she’ll be in your creative writing class. She’ll tell you right off the bat she’s a lesbian and you’re a rebound but that she has feelings for you and then acts on it. You won’t know what to think but hope for the best. Eventually, she’ll stop responding to your texts and you’ll let what you had disintegrate over time. You’ll stop caring and start treating women like nothing more than a night in bed.
The fifth time she’ll claim your heart. You think you’ll have your partner in crime. You both love Jameson, The Office (U.S. not U.K.), and act on the shared dreams of seeing the world one city at a time. After a year you’ll come to the realization that she’s been lying to you since the start and stealing from your mutual job. She’ll never admit it after all the destruction but you’ll know in your heart she was holding the knife plunged in your back. You’ll give in to all the women you told you had a girlfriend to out of spite, revenge, and just trying to go numb. You won’t feel a thing but the guard you finally dropped will be reinforced and stronger than ever.
The sixth time you’ll go date a local as an expat in a foreign country. After two weeks she’ll tell you she met someone else and wants to spend time with him too. You’ll dump her without a second thought. After that you’ll go on a string of blind dates your friend set up. You’ll be successful, educated, and treat them all like you would want someone to treat your future daughter. They’ll all find a petty excuse to say you’re not good enough. You’ll sit and wonder what was the point of all the sleepless nights working, studying, learning the local language and becoming a gentleman was for? As a result, you’ll go on a binge of sleeping with any woman you want. You’ll convince yourself what’s the point of being a gentleman if it just means you’ll finish last every time?
The seventh time you’ll be in a new foreign country and within a week you’ll meet someone who gives you that warm feeling in your stomach. After two weeks you’ll suddenly realize she’s not who you thought she was. She’s twisted, unkind, and lacks understanding in meaningful relationships. You’ll tell her as nice you can you just want to be friends and she’ll retort with the most hateful slander you’ve ever heard. How she can’t wait to fuck whoever she wants now, how she never wants to see you again, and that she’s the bitch that you recognized deep down inside but tried to look past.
Then you’ll be at home. Watching Netflix in Taiwan, pan-frying marinated steak, sipping an ice-cold Budweiser; and you’ll be lying in bed, staring up at the white ceiling, thinking to yourself maybe it’s time to die alone.
Finding There Again
I’ve left on a journey,
I’m not sure where to,
But I think I’ll find it
Or it’ll find me.
I’m hoping to find a pair of long legs
In my bed,
A pair of four-legged fur balls
I’ll call my kiddos,
And a breathtaking view.
Either with white sand
between my toes,
Or the smell of pine,
As I make my climb to the summit.
Money is nice,
But my heart beats
For the small things.
The marinated rib-eye you crave every Friday,
The loud laughs over draft beers,
The set of curves you keep for yourself.
The starlit sky on a cool night.
I think I’ll get lost along the way,
Likely, a little more than a lot,
But that’s okay, my dear,
Because I know I’ll find it.
I just can’t lose the fire,
That I’ve been feeding
For longer than I can
I used to be right in the head
Until I opened up a person
Just to see how we worked.
I had love for third worlds
Until I saw Vietnam skin
My pets alive.
I used to see the good in people
And have heroes
Until the network showed me
The demons always win.
I used to believe in true love
Until the harpies sung their twisted harmony around me
And I realized true love has long been buried under
Concealer and smooth lies.
I wanted to see the world
Until I realized that the hate just gets deeper
The farther you are from home.
So I chose to embrace the hate
To let it consume me
To welcome the demons in
Not with painted faces
And red horns.
The people who sat with you at your dinner table
At your workplace
Who took up the empty bar stool next to you
But you knew you were just another face to be used and forgotten.
So you waited
For the miracle that never came
Questioning your faith
Doubting your purpose
Letting the rage eat away at your spirit
Until there was nothing more to consume
So it began to feast on your sanity
Or whatever was left of it.