Violent Opposition

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Don’t bother taking out the trash,

It’s wasted energy you’ll never save,

How can you long for what you had?

You fear of looking back,

Thing’s aren’t that bad,

 

My pencil is so far from sure,

I watch it wander through an empty page,

A fateful card that went unplanned,

It left me on the floor,

Hung inside a closet like a mockingbird in London fog,

 

Don’t bother singing for today,

Moment’s of silence pass in frozen rain,

And though the fires burn to pay,

A heavy quiet shook,

Over all who saw,

There’s something wrong,

 

Don’t bother wishing for a cure,

Ten thousand souls will pass unnoticed here,

And if your mind forgets the draw,

The details of the small,

Lying on a stretcher near the answers that you can’t recall,

There’s something wrong,

 

Don’t bother trying to stop a war,

It touches anyone who’s felt the pain,

And though our lives are ever strange,

I think things could be worse,

I think things could be worse,

I think things could be worse.

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Chameleon

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Never known why I should bother keeping it simple,

Suspicion and loving made equal,

Life made fair,

Singular hope of the wounded,

Don’t know what I want till I need it,

 

I could be anything, truly,

Chameleon, is it chance when we meet?

It was all worth the wait,

You absolve me,

There is no risk without reward,

Come home with me,

 

Why are we so purposefully vague?

A hypocritical mistake,

Saying what I need to like I’m paid,

“Thank You, Yes Please”

Never fearing,

Karma, collateral damage,

Only consequence of thought,

The future you want,

 

Never known why I should bother keeping it simple,

Safe inside a glass car,

Only notice the unequal, overreact at dinner,

Stop before I start,

 

I could be anything, truly,

King of my own, chlorine and dead leaves,

I’m the ivy overgrown and undying,

No plans, no reflection but the one you see,

 

Why are we so purposefully vague?

A hypocritical mistake,

Saying what I need to like I’m paid,

“Thank You, Yes Please”

Never fearing,

Karma, collateral damage,

Only consequence of thought,

The future you want.

Scar Tissue

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When I was 14 I had surgery to correct an inguinal hernia; a swollen area of skin above my groin and next to my right hip. Like most things, I let it lie, assuming that because there wasn’t any pain it would eventually correct itself. A month passed before I finally revealed the issue to my father, whose alarmed reaction did nothing to reinforce my mental mantra that everything was “fine.”

When they finally cut me open, it was worse than expected. It took two iron mesh plugs to mend my torn muscle and hold my intestines in place, and when I woke I could hardly stand or walk. That first week was misery, made tolerable thanks to the 2004 Olympics and double doses of Vicodin. After that first week I felt some of my strength beginning to return, inspiring within me a false sense of physical confidence that certainly didn’t help my healing.

But weeks passed, the Olympics ended and the red line on my stomach became a pale one where no hair would grow. I joked to my friends on how I had metal in me, inviting the girls to feel for themselves though they were hardly the ones I wanted doing so. The mesh plugs used in such surgeries are designed to fuse with the skin and muscle, in essence becoming part of ones body and thus minimizing the notion of such a foreign object being within. After a while, I forgot about them.

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But like all old wounds, turn just the right way and they’ll remind you of their existence, whether that pain be sharp or ghost-like, whispering the moment of their creation. Despite the years I can still feel them from time to time. And of course, the scar is still there; a visual reminder of my utter mortality not unlike those wounds rendered invisible, yet nonetheless just as present.

I often find myself writing about the blessing and curse of having detailed memory, such as I do. I’ve read that memories are rather fickle things, that those our brain choose to keep are the ones we most often send electrical impulses through by thinking of them, thus forestalling their evanescent nature. In that way, those with sharp or even eidetic memory find a surplus of blessings and curses: moments we long to forget and others we wish to relive.

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It’s a beautiful mixed bag: a snowy morning in a zoo, alone with nothing but stillness broken by the howling of wolves; the pure energy in the opening song of your favorite band, suspending you in that moment as if the lyrics were written for you; the intent of calling a loved one, only to have them die before you found the time to do so; the sudden, crushing realization of solitude within an airplane flying thousands of miles away from home; it’s laying in the grass with fireworks above your head on the fourth of July as “Stairway to Heaven” finishes the same time as the finale; it’s an army of tumbleweeds rolling across the freeway as you do 70, until you finally hit the big one in a burst of laughter and dust; it’s falling for someone you find can’t love you back, just when you thought you’d nearly made it.

Whether I intend to or not, I keep my curses, even the ones that leave scars. They juxtapose the blessings quite nicely I find, contrasting rather than canceling them.

The first week is always the hardest. After that it’s all scar tissue. But every now and then, with just the right movement, dream, or thought, they say hello and remind you that the past is just as prevalent as the present.

Do Your Homework: Halloween History and Modern Misconceptions

note: This is a piece I wrote last year on the history of Halloween and some of the misconceptions surrounding it, especially by Christians. Indeed the article was inspired by a comment I overheard by a Christian calling the holiday Satanic in origin. This article is part rant, part history lesson, and part examination of why one defines something as “evil”. I hope you enjoy and, as always, welcome your thoughts/comments. 

Not long ago, I found myself irked at a conversation I overheard concerning Halloween and it’s supposed Satanic/non-Christian roots. I listened, not chiming in because I knew I didn’t know everything about its origins. I vowed to change that as I put in my headphones, blocking out their convo with The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack. Life is better with a bit of irony.

The history regarding Halloween is a long one dating back some 2000 years to the ancient Celts of Northern France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Their new year began on November 1st, marking the end of summer and the autumn harvest and ushering in the cold, dead months. Winter brought death to the land, and the Celts believed that during this transition the spiritual and physical realms were closer than any time during the year, even overlapping.

Their festival of Samhain was one not only celebrating harvest, but also their dearly departed. The spirits were believed to roam on that night and cause mischief, and this is where many of our traditions begin to take shape. To avoid recognition by the spirits, people would dress in masks and costume (often animal skins). They would even leave food offerings outside their homes so as to appease the restless souls.

Me, age 7, dressed as my favorite anti-hero ‘Spawn’

By 43 AD, nearly all of Celtic territory had been conquered by the Roman Empire, and the harvest tradition merged into two festivals: One honored the goddess of fruit and trees—Pomona; the other festival, called Feralia, celebrated the passing of the dead into the afterlife. The symbol of Pomona was the apple, and is the likely inspiration to “bobbing for apples”.

Fast forward to A.D 1000 and the Catholic church, in an effort to replace the Celtic-inspired traditions with a church-approved holiday, create “All Souls’ Day”, a time to honor the dead as well as all patron saints. The festival was known by many names, including ‘All Hallows Eve,’ ‘All-hallowmas,’ and eventually Halloween. Strict Protestant beliefs slowed the spread of Halloween in America, and though the holiday existed in one form or another in areas such as Maryland, it was popularized by the surge of immigrants brought from the infamous potato famine of 1846.

Paganism is not another word for Satanism.

That isn’t necessarily the title of this section but it very well could be. Defined, a pagan is, “a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.” I’m not here to argue in favor of the beliefs of pagans; I’m here to argue against the skewing of definition.

1992; Me (age 2) as a dinosaur with my cousin.

The connotations of Halloween have become connected with Satanic themes only because those making such claims have either: A) a fear of the supernatural (though the Bible is full of plenty of that); B) a deep misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of history; C) an inability to separate the misdeeds of one group from another.

I recognize the fact that there have been instances of Satanists utilization of Halloween themes for their own agendas/uses. This falls in line with option C (as listed above). An example would be the swastika. Prior to its adoption by the Nazi party, it was a symbol of Buddhism and quite literally meant “to be good”. Only by the atrocities committed by the Nazi did it come to denote an evil nature. Turn it a few degrees clockwise and it becomes a symbol of peace, yet that is a fact often forgotten. It’s a sad example of one group ruining (or defining) something for everyone else. So as with anything, context is key.

A symbol takes on meaning by nature of those employing it and through their actions. It is first and foremost a human creation. The swastika could just as easily have switched places with the Apple logo. It’s a funny, albeit discomforting thought.

I’ll be the first to admit Halloween in itself is a horror themed holiday, however mild or extreme one chooses to celebrate, so I can understand it not being to everyones fancy. I have a friend who has nothing against Halloween one way or another; he doesn’t believe it to be evil, it’s just not his thing. Fine. I’m cool with that. I don’t like ranch dressing. We don’t need to argue over taste.

The image of skeletons and anything spooky seem to repel many Christians. Take Dia De Los Muertos, the Hispanic holiday which brings families together to pray for and remember loved ones who have passed away. The sugar skulls, marigolds, and other gifts are motifs of a culture, not of a cult.

Before you say it, yes, Halloween has become commercialized. But I choose to spend my October enjoying the things I love most about the season: the changing of leaves, the atmosphere, carving pumpkins, an old horror movie classic like The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Pumpkin bread! If you’re not into all that, I say to each his own. Just don’t go grouping something, or someone for that matter, into an ‘evil’ category before you’ve done your homework.

-David

Novocaine

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Talking yourself down,

Focus on the moving light,

Left to right it waves like a friend that I made,

In the distance no mistake,

What you see is a sign,

 

Memory brings some relief,

Amber clear but fleeting as fine,

What is there to know but what I shouldn’t try?

There is nowhere else to go,

Swear that I wouldn’t mind,

You may find it unsettling,

 

Unmake the bed and kill the lights,

Savor what you always rush,

Enough is enough surely this time,

Sit back and relax,

Conquer, divide,

I’ll try to calm an atom bomb,

Count down to one, let there be night,

 

Nothing is free, take me outside,

Tell me what to do like you know the way,

You are my novocaine,

I know it hurts, but it’s fight or flight,

The room is white,

And the ghost is mine,

 

Confusion all around,

In case of emergency, die,

Good to see you too for a little while,

I don’t have that much to give,

I just want you to smile,

Is that such a bad thing?

 

Unmake the bed and kill the lights,

Savor what you always rush,

Enough is enough surely this time,

Sit back and relax,

Conquer, divide,

I’ll try to calm an atom bomb,

Count down to one, let there be night,

 

Nothing is free, take me outside,

Tell me what to do like you know my name,

You are my novocaine,

I know it hurts, but it’s fight or flight,

The room is white,

And the ghost is mine.

I Am A Stray

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Was I wrong to want you nearer?

To take my pulse and make it clearer,

The weight of this I could bear if I wasn’t so scared,

I guess fair is fair, if my time is over,

 

There wasn’t much said aloud when we lost our hold,

And the streets that we’ve seen look obscene but they’re paved with gold,

 

I’m walking home with the sound of silence,

Trying not to kill the mood,

Things we say dissipate like an old flame,

Don’t ask what I tried to make,

I am a stray,

 

A few words of advice were given,

A few things I’ve done I want unwritten,

Can’t find the ground even now you’re a kind of smoke,

And I solemnly swear I don’t know if I used you both,

 

I’m walking home with the sound of silence,

Trying not to kill the mood,

Things we say dissipate like an old flame,

Don’t over think what we made,

I am a stray,

 

You asked where I came from,

The answer was too long,

See you like a summer storm the kind that can remind you what your name is,

And in the safe place you confide you’ll never know what’s right until you taste it,

 

I’m walking home with the sound of silence,

Trying not to kill the mood,

Things we say dissipate like an old flame,

I wish you were here today,

I am a stray,

I am a stray.

Mid Year Shenanigans

Mid Year Shenanigans

I managed to keep May-August pretty busy and memorable.

This summer has been especially characterized by two things: movies and shaved ice. I’ve over indulged in both, always going to the same Hawaiian food stand where they make you a veritable mountain of flavors for a mere $4.

Among other things, my sister and her rambunctious kids came to visit; I enjoyed a trip to Sacramento with my mom and Grandma (and one delicious blood orange margarita); met my grandpa for the first (and likely last) time; trekked to a hidden spot on the river with my old pup Thunder; got addicted to the complex board game Arkham Horror; and finally had a lovely August “Friendsgiving” dinner with some pretty rad friends.

A great summer indeed, but I can hardly contain my excitement for what comes next: Fall!

Concrete

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It’s quiet again,

We wish you were here,

But you seem to want out,

Like a lost dog,

 

It’s quiet again,

It rings in my head,

You sleep alone,

Without feeling awkward,

 

An animal growl,

A smile turned to scowl,

Returning me home,

For a reward, thankful.

 

Absolute.

 

You are unbreakable,

You are pure concrete,

And you leave me wanting,

For whatever may come,

To see what stays hidden,

Absolute,

You are unbreakable,

You are pure concrete,

And you leave me hunting,

For whatever may come,

To see what stays hidden.

 

My breathing is strained,

The air is too thin,

Up here where we are,

Mindless banter, for hours,

 

Why do I persist?

I’m muddled by this,

Too conscious to look good,

And too proud to give in.

 

You are unbreakable,

You are pure concrete,

And you leave me wanting,

For whatever may come,

To see what stays hidden,

Absolute,

You are unbreakable,

You are pure concrete,

And you leave me hunting,

For whatever may come,

To see what stays hidden.

Thaw

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You kill me coughing, invade space, turned down,

My ears are humming by the morning you invite me out.

Leave me defenseless, left me longing for acquittal,

Give up searching for the meaning like a heathen in the deep end.

 

Where were you,

Hiding out when I was freezing,

Summer cool,

Thaw for the feeling,

Where were you,

Hiding out when I was freezing,

Summer cool,

Thaw for a temperature.

 

Closer moving closer till I lose my mind and meet my limit.

 

Last thing we need is for you to revolve,

Wind your way in anonymity from what you want.

You ridicule a word and you make a face,

I’d like to be mad but I can relate.

 

Take a pill to dream and help me to remember,

Pass the time until it’s passed and leaves us feeling better,

Before long I think we’ll start reminiscing,

Doing what we please just like a heathen in the deep end.

 

Where were you,

Hiding out when I was freezing,

Summer cool,

Thaw for the feeling,

Where were you,

Hiding out when I was freezing,

Summer cool,

Thaw for a temperature.