America My Love, Refrain 4


Have you ever woke up to find

You’ve no one to confess too?

 

Yes it breeds sin terrible and true

to not have some outlet through and through.

I speak to this page and he keeps me sane.

I tell my stupid small secrets of self-pain

 

But I never hurt myself so bad

As a few kids in clad, black

Kids can curse and hack, hearty

Even if you’re a cute and tarty, queen

You can quite quick adopt a scene, dark

Start writing shitty stark, songs

Fill poems with wrongs, in word

Taken from blaspheming herd, dead

With long dysfunction dread, lost

To commemorate your holocaust, wedded

With the wrist-blood you sweated, quick

Almost surprised by the response to a flick, slit

 

But if the emo kids

took a paltry pause

and bothered to listen

They’d hear the conductor’s voice say:

 

Please keep your blood

inside the body

at all times during the ride

Please discard

all of your baggage

before boarding the body.

if you need help securing yourself

contact the nearest priest

 

Ah, yes…

I know the tunes quite well.

The squalling of various clientele

ringing along to the drum beats

of their internal hell

 

It used be that you had to gossip

and you had to churn

out every piece of humanity

In the story marked

on the face of your neighborhood

 

But now people languish

in facebooks and tumblrs

twitters and emails

 

Not an ounce abated

by knowing that cries of help

are so damn dated

 

It’s all there

Packaged and assembled

By the foot of your door

 

Friend four thousand and seven

Meeting a massive mid-midlife crisis

 

Friend three hundred and twelve

Trying to find a major in which to delve

 

Who knows?

Maybe even friend 3

slipping very silently

into the throws of insanity.

 

Oh, the humanity!

 

When you’re at the opera

be sure to grab

One of those Plush balcony seats

well above

The stamping of staged feet

the noise is distracting

And you might miss the acting

 

And don’t forget

Your petite pair of binoculars

You have hidden

beneath the flat of your cushioned throne

without them

You might just stare someone to stone

with the squinting of

Your eyes so prone

 

~Austin R Ryan

Pointless Stories: Sleep in Winter Part 2


My dreams were not kind, though and I knew even subconsciously that I had a class to attend not so long from now with no alarm to save me. I ran through cycles of panic and half sleep. My subconscious offered me the sweet illusion of the personal responsibility I lacked. I dreamt that I would wake up and stare at the clock just in time. Even in my dreams, I did not delve far into the illusion, as my limbs would feel so weighted that I could not exit my bed, and I slunk back into heavy sleep. I dreamt of people entering and leaving my room, demonstrating all sorts of strange behaviors toward me. For my part, I felt too heavy to respond. I fell into a form of sleep paralysis where my body awakened and tensed all over. My eyelids felt heavy. The lines of my vision blurred. Clarity etched its way into my cornea here and there. I would have shut my eyes but the fluctuation between obfuscation and lucidity felt too interesting. Hallucinations of friends and acquaintances started to float about the room, conducting strange conversations that I could not properly recall. I could recognize that I was hallucinating. I had to pry my eyes open and watch reality mesh incongruously with this odd display of fiction fitted perfectly to my mind by a rebellious subconscious. The hallucinations started to scratch at some very old sores of mine. I grew uncomfortable with the stillness that radiated throughout my body. That stillness felt impure and ugly. It felt complacent. Waves of old buried dirt splashed against my mind, and my body hardly even let me see. I felt perfectly still in a very thick way.

I decided I needed to break this up with reason and reminded my mind that I was still not fully conscious. I told my brain to get back in shape and get the body moving. It took a massive effort. It felt like opening a bottle of wine. I slowly churned the action around the base of my spine until the tingling sensation of opening outward spread down my shoulders. My eyes shot fully open for the first time in what felt like hours. I sat up quickly. Only a good fifteen minutes passed. Twenty minutes sat between my next class and I. Ironically, I felt exhausted and let myself fall asleep again. Luckily my internal clock shot me up properly this time, and I woke up resoundingly ten minutes later, giving me the perfect amount of time to gather my things and get to class. I sat wide eyed in the class glazing over reality, just because it seemed the appropriate thing to do after enduring a bout of sleep paralysis.

I did not really take in much of what anyone said, but that might have been due to the class itself as much as my mentality. I never need strange sleep patterns to justify my boredom in this class. Supposedly the class teaches you how to write. As far as I can tell, it teaches you how to write dried up bits of glossy op-ed pieces that already litter the literary landscape. At best it helps you form up that lifeless academic voice into something a touch more persuasive. I made a few remarks mainly to make my voice heard and seem as though I were thinking actively. I felt underwhelmed at how they hit the class. I don’t know what I expected. I don’t know why I would think anyone would listen closer to me than I listened to them, especially in a class we were all being forced to take. I made a childish determination to feel upset about it and slinked back into my own indulgent and continual self-analysis. Later I’d slap myself mentally for getting so damn uppity and apathetic about the whole thing.

I shuffled out of the class and off to lunch. Still sore from feeling alienated by social interaction, I determined that I would not fall gracefully back into the social scenery. I spent the lunch sitting more silently than normal. I got back to my room with a full stomach and resolve to get out of my pointless funk. Unfortunately, my next class was coming up quick and I could not figure out much to do, so I just sloped up against my bed and let my momentum drain loose.

My girlfriend knocked on the door, getting me up to walk to our shared class, as is our routine. I enjoyed talking with her for a while. I always scrounge for a point when I am with her, though I know I really do not have one. I hardly have anything I want to say that I have not said to her at this point, being friends with her a year before starting up the relationship. Part of the fun was looking for something new to say. I would inspect my life and hers for some question of interest to ask or statement to make. It forced me to look a little closer at things and I enjoyed that element of conversation.
Astronomy class proceeded as normal. Having my girlfriend and a few good buddies in the class speeds things along, and gives me something to do when I get bored. Sometimes I would have to shrug off some interaction to get notes down or finish reading for another class. it did feel a bit rude. Though, that did seem the constant balance of a social life, getting efficiently rude enough to stay unbothered when you needed to without pushing people away.

After astronomy I remember sitting down and doing next to nothing productive. I think I spent a solid two hours browsing the internet uselessly before going out to dinner. After that I did sit down and read for a while until my roommate invited over another good friend and sat down to watch a documentary he told our group about earlier. I guess my own distaste for exclusion due to confusion or lack of effort in people triggered and I started to sort of lightly bitch about how we could get the whole group in if we waited until tomorrow. That was not entirely true, so we did resolve to watch the documentary that night. I still insisted that we try to get as much of the gang in as possible. We wrangled in two more people and had a good time of the viewing.

Watching a documentary on metaphysics of personal careers and reading a heady book about lifeless jobs leaves my head dense and my mouth babbling incessantly to clear some of the clutter. We all talked about dogs and I kept drawing back to my own dog, due to my blundering social incompetence and consistent internal dialogue that often draws me back to putting the conversation’s focus on myself or my own experiences. The group disbanded and I felt quite overburdened with thoughts.

The hot waters of the shower helped me loosen the various strands of crisscrossing thought. I left the shower feeling a bit more at ease. I joined my friends on the floor lounge and played some games for the rest of the night.

 

I rolled around in my bed for a while. It bothered me that I could not go to sleep immediately like I often did. My mind felt clear. I felt clean and living happily off of leisure time I would lack in the future. Something gnawed at me though, otherwise I would not have rolled around for as long as I did. I would not weave my blanket around me in so many different ways if I were not looking for the right way to lie. I could not tell if I felt physically or mentally uncomfortable. Gradually my fatigue seized me and wrapped me in that coveted wave of sleep. I knew the morning bell would yell out at me the same way the next day. I knew each step hardly removed me from that familiar buzz. It would strike again and again, morning after morning after morning. I wondered if that morning bell was what kept me awake at night. I am probably wrong. The throb that keeps me awake most likely stems from something much more difficult and vastly less interesting.

Some sort of study I heard about vaguely from a friend, who probably heard it from another friend who read an article citing a book that made the full argument, claimed that people start to embody fictional characters they really love. People project that fascinating fiction into their life because those lines of print must give you an electrical and wondrous sort of life. But no matter how close to Gandalf you get, you can’t come into work late and say that you’ve arrived just when you were needed. Not a salesman in the world dies like Willy Loman and if I really wanted to get a good night’s sleep I’d medicate myself and stop worrying about the existential. Maybe some of us do whatever it takes to make it all seem like a book filled with pointed pages.

 

~Austin R Ryan