Briarpatch

And my father’s footsteps still haunted me,
Only, now I was walking in them;
Your crime was being unhappy,
Mine was punishing you for it.

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Robot Rebellion

Erich Fromm told us we wouldn’t be slaves one day,
But robots,
Our own masters
For this is the common disaster:
A life that feels like a bad Netflix movie,
Where all the characters are spoiled and insignificant and unhappy,
Like you and me…

“What’s life about?,
You ever ask yourself that?”

My dad used to say that to me,
And I thought he was crazy,
But now I see,
He wasn’t in earnest asking me,
But holding up the question,
As a kind of lesson,
In how to save myself

My dad taught me how to ask,
What’s life about?

Because when I’m lost, I know it can’t be this;
My will is my life,
I cant be apathetic –
My fate
My childhood –
I cant be undecided,
Inner and outer divided

So please put the batteries back in your boyfriend,
I am not your automaton.

Looking Life in The Face

Spent the day reading Erich Fromm’s, Beyond the Chains of Illusion – probably one of the more important reads I’ve enjoyed in a while – one of those “right of passage” books you happen across right when you need it – just like finding the precious amulet or map in a video game.

Only, this treasure came from my bookshelf.

It took about a minute to pick it out, having decided to read something while Sarah hiked in the woods with her dad with this a.m. Frankly, I was in a mood – I was already committed to working over the weekend, despite having a guest in town, and, what’s more, my hard-drive failed last night.

The hard-drive failure felt like some sort of techno-biological psychosomatic symptom, as if it were my machine’s way of telling me: fuck you, enough. Only, that’s not the case – this is the case:

Literally, my laptop case.

The wear and tear you see above is from work – it’s from my wrists sliding along the laptop over thousands of hours. Of course, if this patina were from writing fiction rather than countless lines of code, it would be cool (Rather than kind of sad).

That said, working as a freelance front-end developer is NOT cool. I loathe to go into a long discussion about why, but, suffice to say, insane hours, constant deadlines, high-burnout, and a market full of the lowest-bidders makes for a pretty miserable “career”.

Of course, writing is my career – but, to borrow the words of my late father: money is a motherfucker.

Ironically, my father did essentially the same thing I do “for a living”; I googled him recently and came across his linkedin profile, which, reads almost exactly as my own did (Before I deleted mine in the interest of my writing).

My father died nearly blind from staring at a screen for years, and – it might be said – penniless from the same.

I recall a line from a Kerouac interview in The Paris Review, in which he said, “All writers have tragic fathers.” I’m not calling my father tragic per se, so much as I’m saying that my following in his footsteps is.

If I had a magic wand, the bills would all be paid some other way, and I would do nothing that didn’t contribute to my wholeness; unfortunately, I am not in that position – I’ve got an insane amount of work to do, and doing it is only going to pay the bills, maybe give me a few hours to spend with holiday houseguests this week. In short, my life is pretty owned by obligation.

It was to that end that Sarah and I moved to the mountains: that’s the thing about living at 7,500 feet – there aren’t many well-paying jobs, which makes things much more affordable than in the city, where average incomes are much higher.

That said, if you work remotely and are sufficiently introverted and or private, it’s – in my opinion – a far more fulfilling way of life compared to city living (Particularly if you are living in a big city beneath the upper-middle class level).

The mountains aren’t the problem. We love it here. Our house is a paradise, and I would be hard pressed to find something more affordable; however, front-end web development doesn’t pay well enough for me to work part-time, particularly as Sarah isn’t working at present – as I said, obligation.

I worked twenty-six hours straight last week attempting to meet a deadline. Add that to everything explained above, and you can get a slight picture of the existential demands on my life at thirty-two. Couple that with two novellas in prog and enough novels in my head for ten years of HBO money, and you can understand pretty much the whole picture.

Money is a motherfucker. But, it’s not money I’m after: it’s freedom.

Frankly, my situation isn’t all that unique – the struggling artist is a reality – what I’m banking on is my talent being unique.

It may take ten years, but I know it doesn’t have to.

Yes, my week is fucked work-wise, but my life isn’t. And November may be difficult, and December may not be easy, but I WILL GET THERE.

The thing is, I have to write this, to live this – to get there. And there isn’t anywhere but where I can write.

But to get there, I have to look life in the face. I have to reconcile the outer and the inner realities of myself in order to pierce the fictions of my thinking and uncover the unconscious contents driving the illusions that paralyze and enslave me. I have to face it all to destroy the idea that I am trapped. Then, I’ll be free.

Now that it’s all been put down, I can let it go, safe in the knowledge that everything that is, can be everything that was.

Follow me on IG @wolfwaldoblack

Back In the Land of Serendip

The 15th of August: today is my Sarah's birthday, 28 to my 32 – she sleeps beside me, my head rests comfortably on my own pillow, Beats around my ears, I'm listening to Nickel Creek, a band I fell in love with at 15; suffice to say, it's a nice morning – not just for music and birthdays, but for the road.

The road is the one I've been on all these years. The road is where I am – up here, going on my second year in the mountains. The road is this blog going on its eighth year, and it's my instagram too. The road is the journey – the push and pull of this thing I call my 'sense of destiny'; for the road is no more than my story, who I am.

And the road is widening.

With Charlottesville and the goons running amok in this country, I'm called to start composing my thoughts on the wider world into essay – this excites me, the kid who graduated from The Defense Information School's 'Basic Public Affairs, Writer' course 14 years ago – yes, some dots take a bit of time to connect, but here I fucking am, living in the mountains, writing a novel – and now, essays for publication: life is getting exciting.

I've also a very exiting book / literature project I'm announcing soon, which, I should think, will be as important to my identity and burgeoning career as my essays.

In other news, I've reconnected with LeighAnn, a girl I dated for about a year when I lived in Milwaukee at 26. We were good to each other. It ended badly, but it went well. Can't believe that was just five years ago. Unreal to think what I would go through to get here. But here I am. Naked, high, happy – once again no longer creating zemblanity for myself.

In short, I'm safely back in the land of Serendip, where things make sense.

Timer

Timer,
Ticking, tock,
Brains and a cock
Fuck you thought?
I'm no moralist,
Not one for Jesus or Mohammed –
Fuck that noise – lies
Man is as he tries
We can all respect all without giving, Credence to lies –
Man is as he tries
We all die,
With or without these thighs –
No one's saving us
We are because
No divine mother,
No brother –
We are without each other
When beauty's become a lie,
We all try
Timer

A guap of bubble hash in this cone,
Hoping by the time this paper plane lands,
I’ll be back home,
We’ll see how the poem goes,
But I might just move in:
The ghost in the guest room –
Where I go get stoned,
And visit my demons –
S’wear I wrote a version of this three months ago,
When, in self-exile,
I wanted you to go,
And I sat and got sad,
Beneath the Van Gogh,
Where tonight, I look to it and know,
Vincent was as I, no doubt,
Stoned and alone
For only artists, those irrational and naive enough to believe in this stuff,
Really ever love –
But I came here to be happy,
So I am,
Because a room is just a room

Culture Snap 2K17

Realize the core fear in life is terror,
Know thyself and build security from there;
Some people catch vibes from the air
Fox News has my neighbors scared
They pray to Jesus to keep Jesus (hey-zus) outta here,
They don’t realize real-lies 
Call it “fake news” – it’s tele-vised (Orwell!)
That’s the pot calling the kettle;
That’s how people became chattel,
Fascist playbook 101
Control their values and you’ve won:
So insecure we voted a chump ,
Who hates Mexicans and women –
Telling-lies-to-your-vision (ON TV!)
How did they vote for this machine?
Half of em on SSDI 
Thinking the dems weren’t on their side,
Because we don’t see Muslims and hide;
This zeitgeist isn’t normal;
This work life it’ll own you –
This youth – they’ll control you
(instagram!)
Most people worship the ruling classes;
How do you be a person and like the masses?
All loving pics of the fattest asses 
Biased and blind to their own assets –
This shit is insane: it’s insecure
Judging ourselves in how others appear;
Forgetting we all once came here,
Hoping to find freedom from fear
And now we’re just like, let’s get a beer;
Come on bro, there’s no sluts here 
Using each other and loving things;
Most people are not very human beings, 
But I believe, there is a plan 
So I’ll be me be-cause I can 
I am not here to conform;
I don’t fuck with the norm –
I am here to do art;
Get high and pull it apart 
(Culture!)

Little Thing, Whom I Love

Tonight, I found the door down,
Which leans against the deck,
Where a gate ought go –
And so, bent to lift it,
Dragging the wooden thing up across the deck – wait – the mouse!
He’s –
This little waif under the door,
He’s on his side, writhing slow
I’ve hurt him – no!!
He must have been sleeping, hiding
I’ve hurt him – dragging the door
He is laying there, on his little gray side, a tiny mouse
I turn to Sarah,
She sees –
“What do we do?”
“I can kill him with a large rock,” I say,
But I can’t, I only say I can;
Though, I decide I will if I must..
He is writhing – not a minute has passed
He is on his little gray side,
Breaking my heart, dying –
And so, I grab the door and sweep him gently with it,
Off the deck,
Onto the wild forest floor
The door returned to its post,
The mouse, somewhere in the dark
Waiting for the circle of life –
We go inside, quiet, sullen
I grab my phone and write this poem,
Until the words: “…on his little gray side”, when I just can’t anymore;
I must:
‘Sarah leash the dogs’
“They call me skull crusher,” I quip in a Randy Savage voice to the anxiety inside me
Flannel on,
Light on,
I round the house –
Sarah near, dogs sniffing for a place to go
I shine my light there – I see,
He is as peacefully dead as dead is –
“He’s dead,” I call to Sarah,
Letting out a sigh 20 minutes old,
Staring at this little thing, whom I love.