Oh, just Saving Face.
April 17th, 2009 by Lex

From Cary Tennis about saving face …

Now, what bugs me is we talk about these things as if we really know. And we don’t. And we lower it by talking as if we know. Why do we do that? I think: because we know how much power it has, the taboo. We know how much power it has, so we pretend. We say, Oh, it’s only sex. Like, oh, it’s only God. It’s only death. It’s only the mystery of existence. Like, it’s only the mystery of existence, and don’t worry, I have devices. (But I do have to get up in the morning and go to the guillotine. Just warning you. Sorry.)

… paired with another find on we-make-money-not-art. A Marx and Lenin from Eastern Germany that never got to quite save face. And we say, Oh, that was just a time past, just an idea thought, now over, now history, now no longer us.


4-Panel Story: End.
June 11th, 2008 by Lex

The arc concludes.

Finally, a rest.
I was too strong in letting go.
There is a hole in the earth for each of us.
This is the end.
What a way to spend a Saturday.
Can’t even catch my breath.
Always hungry for more, no matter how far we go.
I guess it was always an issue of trust.
This is how belief is forged.
A beautiful ending to heartbreak.
I deserved this.
My weakness always shows.
No matter how much we build, they always tear it down.
Fright came at last.
An unbearable cold settled in our hearts.
So much water.
So much more to learn.
The water circled us like a tremendous vulture.
An expert in going too far.
Some sort of bright oasis in this storm.
Subdued by the wind, the thunder quieted down.
The mist settled to the ground, revealing our salvation.
A flock finally at home.
What is a herd without a shepherd.
Nothing could stop this kind of tyranny.
I would give anything to have made it work.
It was not enough.
No hole too deep for you to hide in.
I’ve earned all of this.
There is only so much to say about the obvious.
The clouds parted, revealing a piercing ray of sunshine.
I saw it finally, beyond the thorned branches.
She was so beautiful in that moment of letting go.
I landed hard, too hard.
A soft landing, undeserved.
We’ve built it together.
Asking questions got us this far.
Thorough and final, this process.
How could one quench a thirst like this?
Another life, thrown away.
I discarded the old, and headed up.
Learning to fly was only the first step.
And why not?
Too easy for this sinner.
Impeccably peaceful.
No more searching, no more questioning. It is all here.
But of course, there was not enough time.
All that remained was time. Time to waste.
The lights flickered and I lost your hand.
An answer too final to doubt.

4-Panel Story: Middle.
June 9th, 2008 by Lex

We come to the middle of the story, and there are many paths to take.

After years of pause and wait, the collision feels all too sudden.
I remember how you tried to pull me back.
Oh, how you tried to force me back to you.
For a long time, there had been some sort of momentum. No more.
I ran, finally free, finally broken down into tiny pieces.
It is strange how quickly things seem to be moving now.
We muscled through the pain together, only to be stopped in our tracks by the tempest’s wrath.
No matter how much fight went into the effort, it was in vain.
Slow and steady, just hold on.
I don’t remember what happened after the sinking.
The world spun, sky blurring into a mess of blue and white.
Couldn’t breathe, each gulp of air filled with emptiness.
There was so much to see and take in, but we raced by, barely able to notice.
They went back to where they came from, leaving nothing but emptiness behind.
Looking back on it, there was no control at all over destiny.
The journey was absolute, decisive.
There was no regret, only a permanent sense of loss.
The road traveled that day has left a long scar in my memory.
There was nothing we couldn’t do, until that final goodbye.
One step closed, day by day, we inched towards the finale.
Couldn’t see past the tops of the trees, too thick.
Further and further, we descended into a dark madness.
I climbed on, with the fact that you lay on the cliffs below burning away at my thoughts.
I guess we’ll never see each other again, not with this distance between us.
Your silhouette moved further and further way, until nothing was left but the distant shore.
I cried out your name, once, twice, but the thunder swallowed my words.
Nature roared with laughter at our struggle, waiting to swallow us whole; or even worse, just one.
I blame our choices for getting us here, but the only way is up. It is far.
I have no mouth, but I must scream.
The travel is long, exhausting. You are tired, burnt out, on the verge of collapse.
He built you up just to tear you down, layer by layer, until nothing was left but the long road back.
Your trust got you to this dreadful place, only perseverance will get you out.
Feeling the wind behind our backs, we gave the final push to freedom.
With heavy hearts, we struck a path downwards.
Like echoes reverberating against the cold walls, your memory faded out of existence.
She would never forgive me, so I carried my burden through the landscape to easier ground.
Hour after hour, prying open those eyes, wrestling with my own soul for some rest.
Just another minute, I thought, just one more chance, one more is all.
Never giving up ground, never a single moment of respite, just the body plunging endlessly.
The sound drowned out all hope, muted cries muffled by the enormity of the moment.
I have been looking for the rest of myself, but found only worthless nostalgia.
The thunder within dwarfed the turbulence outside, nature just a pale comparison of the human soul.
Finally closing the loop, I plunged back into the unknown darkness.
The gap widened further. Shadows swallowed the distant shore, a life forgotten.
Everyday we reinvent ourselves, forgetting those that we leave behind, forgetting what we once had.
Crushed by nature’s brute force, you gave it all away.
Pure distilled boredom filled the room. It was you.
A lovely face disappeared into the darkness. She never loved me enough.
Still eating from the same plate, all these years later. Haven’t you learned?
It was too easy to laugh, to ridicule this suffering, a trap that you had just escaped.

4-Panel Story: Beginning.
June 8th, 2008 by Lex

The below lines are loaded in and randomized in the project 4-Panel project in the first block. There is also a middle, and an end.

Exhausted beyond physical pain.
We are far past despair in this place.
You have traveled too long.
There must be a way to stop this.
One of these days, it will not be so dark.
You’ve relived this day, over and over again.
Venomously, time crawled.
Cannot hide any more, too tired.
Only leftovers, again.
We have been through this before.
I would never have wanted this to happen.
We pitied you.
The punishment fit your sin.
You were once so righteous.
You were once so beautiful.
We envied you at first.
You are living this nightmare.
There were no more dreams.
I have lost the ability to speak, or see, beyond the fog.
The never-ending fruitless search.
I was gone then, perhaps too early.
Never felt horror like this.
Had never been as broken as now.
The last one out, too late.
If I had just one more chance.
They never taught us to wait.
Just children, you said.
My thoughts dissolved in regret.
Wish I never met her at all.
It wasn’t love.
It could not be true.
The crumbling was slow, precise.
The collapse was too quick to notice.
Years of wasted sweat.
You wasted it all, our lives.
Walls dark, always closing in.
Hard to breathe in this cage.
All my memories, neatly packed into a box.
The wind erases my pain.
Why won’t you leave me free?
Right here, end it, please.
I couldn’t make the first move.
Against you?
Another empty cause.
Yet another patriotic flame.
Why is it so hard to finish what was started?
Dread overflowed the senses.
No end in sight.
The river raced down, past any sensible rest.
The fall accelerated, burning the senses.

The Narcissist, in Three Parts.
May 22nd, 2008 by Jordan

I. Superego - the Narcissist Wakes

The Narcissist wakes, and when he showers
Little flecks of gold wash out of his hair.
Into tinted parked-car windows he’ll stare
For moments – oh, if they were hours! –
Only slightly delaying his entrance
To class. He hears the end of the sentence
“…up to nature”; thinks “Christ, he’s on Act Three
After two weeks. If it were up to me”…

The Narcissist dreams his syllabus while
Iambs flutter past him and down the aisle
Toward eager unsophisticated ears.
Disgusted by these would-be Shakespeares,
Numbed by the cascade of effulgent praise,
The Narcissist rests in the chrysalis
Of acrid vanity, transforming his
Puerile discontent into winged malaise.

II. Id - A Nightmare

Before the wicker blind splinters the light
Into shards of dancing dust, before
the sun shames the cool-burning signs
into giving up the ghost, a flatbed
crashes along second avenue
toward some calamity, and I breathe
the furied air - forced warm dry and hurried -
half-dreaming of dew.

You told me not to think like that,
your lip arched in a wrought-iron snarl
And cold to my knitted brow, pearled with sweat.
“The body wakes in stages,” you whispered
Into yesterday’s ear, “a process as banal
As it is unknown.”

(Am I having that wonder yet again?)

A familiar scene: encased in the seamless
Sphere, reflective to a fault - like Escher’s
self-portrait, but inverse (You know the one:
The hand, real, one threatening tendon
pointing to the artist’s clowned, catcher’s
mitt face). Beat your dead arms frantically,
Revive the betrayed and betraying limbs.
No help: they’re bloodless.

How to escape this mirror ball, where
The tempest of transposed shapes pose a new
Semantics, and the echoes pervert words
Yet unmouthed? Who knows? Narcissus, this is
You, and not-you. A wish, a whim, a mental tic?

(the fever breaks)

Such is the logic of lost days: we read
the braille of the past with rubber gloves on,
the message being the bumps, not the lie
of curves. But, mistaking want for need,
we traded the timbre of the master’s brass
for the pure false tone of a reverie.

III. Ego - Actually

Outside, though we couldn’t say for sure,
The ground was still cold,
And the gray woolen sky
Pressed itself into the fallen snow,
Leaving it just as gray.

We sat, dipping our fingertips in candle wax
and talking of future selves as our fingers
Peeled back the evidence of identity.
Actually, we spoke of football and war and
Other things of which we knew nothing.

It was enough to hear your voice
And watch your nimbler
Fingers carefully shed
The dry, whitish sheaths.
Actually, they were yellow.

Actually, we stood at the window
And stared wordlessly at
A world blanketed in fleece,
Or gauze, our fingertips
Still coated with wax.

Untitled I.
April 18th, 2008 by Jordan

Lighter to letter,
We litter the lot; later
The ash blows away.

Six O’clock (For JSW)
April 3rd, 2008 by Jordan

The excuses have all been recited -
Ev’n the gloam does not descend but attend,
A squire biding time until beknighted -
And so each feint rings false, but we pretend
(As we have always done, and yet will do)
That these barren seconds may yet bear fruit.
But what the dusk-deep’ned sky reveals is true:
That is, “production” is a fool’s pursuit.
So wring your hands over work unassigned
If you must, bask in an ever more fraught
Sense of self. Or don’t, for, you know, the mind
Is an awful thing to waste: on this: for naught.
Oh, but do not ask for whom the bell tolls;
For, come six, you know where the Big Boss strolls.