Monday, March 18, 2013

Saying Goodbye


I can remember how tight he held my hand.
How fast he pulled me along, the sound of the old leaves crushing under our feet, the panic in his breath as he yelled at me not to look back and just keep running.    “Just like we talked about remember?  You stare straight ahead, you run, keep your eye on what’s in front of you.”  I knew we were in trouble.  

This wasn’t the first time we’ve had to get somewhere in a hurry, and we’ve run from all kinds of things before.  But this was different, whatever was behind us scared him, and the fear dripping from his every breath terrified me enough to do exactly as he said and not take even a moment to see whatever horrible thing is finding its way towards us.  

I tripped, he pulled on my arm, I feel behind, he pulled on my arm, I ran out of breath, he pulled harder on my arm until it felt like it was going to come off.  I knew he wasn’t trying to hurt me, far from it, he was doing everything he could to stop what at this point felt like the inevitable.  The more we ran, the more terrified he seemed to get, as if that that thing behind us wasn’t getting any further away, but instead minute by minute closing the gap as we stumbled our way through the thick.  

The only time he looked back was to look in my eyes and try to reassure me we were going to make it, but each time it only made me realize that this was bad, we were in trouble.

One last time he looked back at me, with a face I will never forget, and said “Remember what we talked about?” My gut sank instantly. “You run, you don’t stop, even if your blood boils you run until you can’t run anymore.  You do just like I told you.”  His face changed “This is it..."

He let go of my hand screamed “Don’t you dare look back!” and let himself fall behind as I ran harder than I’ve ever run before.  He didn’t need to say anything else, I knew exactly what he was going to do, and as much as it made me almost throw up as I ran for my life, he taught me right, and I knew what I had to do.  So I ran, I ran and I listened to him fall behind enough until they were right on top of him, that’s when I heard the screaming, and that’s when I ran even faster, desperately trying to escape the sounds of him being picked off by that awful thing so I could have enough time to make it, maybe just far enough to lose them.  He taught me well because he knew me well, he knew I had ‘the something’.  That ember that never goes out despite how hard the world tries to snuff it from existence.  

After running until I collapsed from exhaustion, I was far enough away, I lost them.  I was so tired, I couldn’t even cry, I just laid on the ground and let tears stream down my face as I desperately tried to catch my breath.  I was alone, but nothing had changed, the world was still just as awful as it was, it just had one less good guy fighting in it now.  The only words that ran through my head over and over was “what am I going to do?”.  What am I going to do?  I’m alone, lost, and in some deep shit that I was no where near ready to cope with.  “Ready or not, here I come!” says the world, and in that moment you have two choices, fight or die, get up or give up.  He taught me well because he knew me well, he knew I could get up again, even if I didn’t believe it myself.

I could have laid in those woods forever, just waited for death to come and show me where it just took my friend, but that thing inside of us won’t settle for that, and so before nightfall, I found my way to a tree I could climb and set up my nest for the evening.  Just like he taught me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Treasure


I guess I've been dead for some time now…
How could I keep this up for as long as I have if I wasn't?   
After losing everything there is to live for, going forward seems more than pointless, or blatantly foolish, but an insult to the sanctity of the world I've lost.  I've never been one to do what I’m told though, so I’m sure it’s no surprise to see me out here, walking in the face of all the good advice that I was once the kind proprietor of.  There’s a good reason why I find myself walking alone, though “good” might not really be the word for it.  I’m alone because no one should have to see all that’s become of us in the face of this great tragedy, none are meant to see the worst of this through till an end so bitter, I can taste it getting stronger and stronger with each day that passes into this ultimate unknown.  So why am I so special?  I’m not, and I guess that’s the point…  It’s not without her that I find the will to endure another day, and had I not made that promise to her, I would have ended this so so long ago. I suppose that is the only thing alive left in me, and that ember, that spark, deep deep down keeps me lit to carry it on into the darkness of another day.  I suppose it’s enough to carry me on, after all, this world has so little to give anymore, even the smallest things can become treasure…

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

White Lies - Date Unknown


I tell her a lie to indulge her sensibilities.
Something to hold the questions at bay long enough for me to think of something to say.  The days are hard enough as is, and now isn’t the time to burden her with the awful truth.  Though I’m sure she’ll be furious with me for not telling her sooner, she’ll also know why it was probably for the best, after all, there are some things that are just belter off unseen.  That’s the world we live in, and some of us have to bear the burden of witness, the whole truth and nothing but…
The others, those who can’t stomach it, we do our best to hide them from the abyss, the void that goes so deep it stares straight back into you.  It’s not a matter of if they can handle it or not, it’s more about holding hope that some of us can grow up and live in a world without having to know the terrible price it comes at, having to see the truth behind these walls.
It’s not like it used to be, these are no longer matters of choice, we do this because there’s no one left who can, and unlike those who can keep running with their backs turned on the world, we can’t go quiet into that good night, we cannot give up without a good fight…  Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I’ve already lost everything and that this struggle is all I have left that I haven’t given up on or had taken away from me.  Maybe that’s why I lie to her, because I can’t stand to see what little innocence we have left to be taken away by this, just another casualty of war….
This shelter I try to keep over her head is a reminder of the way things should be, and how much they’ve changed in so little time.  Even with all the doom and gloom in my heart, I never thought we’d turn on each other so quickly and so viciously.  Our only saving grace was my equal viciousness in holding on to what was really keeping us going.  Not just the food or the water, but a reason, a hope, a way out.  Anything that came between us and that saw just how awful and ferocious a man can be when he’s backed into a corner.  It’s that same panic that I’m feeling now as I try to figure out our next move, how we’re going to find our way out, and how much longer I can keep lying to her until I finally need to tell her the truth…

April - Date Unknown


She always carried herself with the grace of a goddess, as if she took the breath out of every room she whisked her way into.  That’s how I knew something was wrong, not that anyone else would notice though, not unless it was someone who knew her well enough, someone who could see that freighted look in her eyes, someone like me. 

We can’t keep up the act forever, eventually the burden of living this fight starts to break through, and all that leaks out are our desperate attempts to hold it all together just a little longer.  Few can keep it up as long as we have, and even we know our time will come, but what scares me is I thought she was like us, the ones left behind to tell these tales to the young, so hopefully someday they can stand here and do the same.  But those eyes have a different story to tell now, and it’s not the one about the girl who had it all and lived happier ever after.  Instead it’s the same old story of the fallen and defeated, the ones who let the sadness take its hold and drag them through the mud of the awful truth.  A good soldier knows when to leave the wounded where they lie and press on, do or die…  But despite all the sharp edges this world has carved into me, she still brings softness to me and reminds me of the most important reason for why we fight.  So that even the hardest of hearts can find that grace to let themselves melt, if only for a moment. 

It is this softness that I cannot simply abandon… 
I can’t turn my back on the one thing I have left, on the very reason I picked up this sword in the first place.  I can still remember basking for hours in the glow of the fire in her eyes.  Those first few times seeing such unbridled passion, and one that wasn’t turned within.  It’s far too easy to be selfish with such radiance, but for her, for us, freedom was the only language we spoke , and neither of us could get a good night’s rest until that was the world we were all living in. 

How things change….
How the fight changes us….

Perhaps like martyrs we bear and absorb these burdens so that the light we once touched can stay lit in this dark world, and like the muse, we get none of it for ourselves. 
But is it a price worth paying? 
Or is this loss what I have left to give?
I may never know, but it’s the choice that makes us human and that’s all this has ever really been about.

Though we’ve lost sight of that, maybe this cold lonely look in your eyes is exactly what I needed.  A reminder that the end is always nipping at our heels, and much like her, I have too much unfinished business to give up now.  Though I’d love nothing more than to stay behind and kill myself trying to drag her out of the truth she’s chosen, I’d do no justice to those cold nights when her eyes kept me warm….

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Don't Look Back - Date Unknown


I've never been very good at letting go, but then again that’s why I’m so good at keeping things together. 
I suppose I’ve lost sight of that for some time now, and the longer I’m caught in this grasp, the more I start to wonder if it’s finally time to loosen my grip, to give up, to finally break a promise I never thought I would break.  I've become like those foolish old men I used to admonish for their stubborn ways, lost, chasing a world dead and gone long before they are.  Some are lucky and they find their time in the world, their place in the mix of it all, but so many more are standing on the shores of time waiting for the impossible to return.  Like good patron saints their dedication is unquestionable as they stare into the void of what used to be and wait for death to take them away from this world they can’t cope with.  Unlike them it’s not too late for me to find a new way, to cut these losses and move on without the burden of what will never be.  But the only way is forward, and maybe the only hope, is to let go and never look back.

Thunder - Date Unknown


The storm always brings a lot with it.
More often than not, it brings along thoughts of you, thoughts of how we used to dance around in this rain for hours without little care for much else.  Now I'm standing out here alone in this darkness waiting for the thunder to come, so when it finally fills the air and shakes me to my heart, I can call out your name and hope it will be carried across the sky to somewhere you might hear it.  Part of me knows you’re out there listening to the sounds of the rain, listening for that faint whisper of your name…. 
The other part of me though, thinks I’m a fool to bother, that even if this whisper could reach her, you wouldn't be listening anyways.  Still, like the young boy I once was I try to carry the best of my hopes out from my dreams and into the real world.  I try, despite how much better I know, to hope that someday you might be brought back to me.  That perhaps like the shamans of the old I can summon you back from the dark, back to where I need her most. Have I just become a victim to the delusions of this dark magic?  The false sense of power it brings to us in our times of need?  Or do I keep coming back out here because I can’t stop thinking about you, and that part of me knows, more than anything, that you're out just waiting to hear your name.

Virtue - Date Unknown


There’s a simple reason why men like us carry these burdens on our shoulders. 
We simply can't bear the sight of virtue lying in the mud when there’s no one else left to carry them anymore.  It’s sad, but the truth usually is.  What happens when even the most dedicated of saints can’t keep up the fight anymore?  When the pointlessness sets in and leaves our foundations in ruin?  When not all the good will left in the world is enough to lift us up and carry our way of life any further?  I suppose it then becomes a question of dying by virtues side, or going on in a world without it.  Some things we’re willing and able to do without, now I am left asking myself if this is really one of them or is the road ahead one I’m just not willing to go down?  How long have I been here asking myself this?  I guess all that really matters is the journey towards the answers, trying to figure out the awful mess so that maybe still, even after all this, something good can still be found.

Restlessness - No Date

Restlessness… 

That’s the only word I have for it. 
The night has left me sleepless, alone, and that sweet soft drawl that always makes my eyelids heavy, is nowhere to be found. Instead all I’m left with is emptying thoughts rattling around my head like thunder in the night. Questions that scream so loud I can’t even sit quietly in the dark and try to find my way to some rest. 

This thirst has me tossing, turning, pacing through these halls until I can’t take it anymore. It truly is a maddening feeling to be a prisoner to your own head like this, to know that I have little choice but to face the fact that this thing won’t put up with the games I've been playing anymore. 

Cigarettes don’t really help, but they give me something to lie to myself about. After a while I’m out on the streets watching the city while it sleeps. I can’t help but be overcome with a sense of jealousy in the stillness of it, how even the most awful of beasts can find peace… What does that make me? Something worse? Does it even matter?  At the end of the line I am still just a lost boy out in the night trying to find his way to a home that isn't there anymore, wandering with pockets full of false purpose. 

Despite this, the twilight always takes me in with open arms. Maybe that’s why I keep coming back to her like this. She never cares why I’m here, or judges me for the sins that keep me in her lonely embrace, she’s just content another one of her children has found his way back to her. Like any comfort though, the night comes and goes. She can’t be here for me when the sun sends her hiding for cover, then I am just left to another day, exhausted and no closer to finding any answers to keep the nights like these at bay.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Wings of Hubris


Sometime I wonder how we ever got such stupid ideas in our heads.  
How we ever thought that anything could ever stay the same, or why we even want it to for that matter.  Life is flux, and it’s meaning lies in taking your new house of cards that you’ve spent all this time building and sending them crashing to the ground.  The same destruction breeds opportunity, it is only out of our ashes where we can rise up and find the heights that we crave.  For so long we’ve built pedestals and platforms to pull ourselves up so we could climb higher and higher without having to fall.  But nobody beats the crash, eventually it comes calling to bring all of it back down to the ground.  Except this time we’ve build the whole world up here in the clouds, generations of us, some who’ve never even seen how deep it goes down.  You can kid yourself for as long as you want, eventually the truth comes calling for us all.  Only this time it didn’t want just us, it wanted to take away everything and anything we have built for ourselves.  Our penance for trying to live in ignorance of our own nature.  Some lessons are harder to learn that others and some bear greater weight if you do not learn from them.  This was our undoing, our great hubris, and like the sun, when it comes, none of us will find the shade.

A Promise Is A Promise


It’s harder out here than I’d like to admit, especially without you here to give me all the reasons I need to keep going.  There is an awful horror in how little I have to say, and yet there’s a head swelling with questions and ideas that I can’t get out of me.  I used to be able to just sit, clear my mind, and let you slowly take it all apart, take it all away.  Now I’m left with nothing but a bucket of sorrow that keeps getting heavier and heavier to carry with each day that goes on. Yet I cannot let go, I carry on, and I swallow whatever lumps I must to get me through the day.  When staying alive is all you have and it takes everything you’ve got, there isn’t time to “deal”.  You push, you break, you bandage, and you keep going.  After all, there really isn’t anything else that matters.  I haven’t seen another living person for over 6 months now, and as far as I know, I might be the last one who carries anything left of the old world.  But it’s a vein sentiment, it’s nothing but a side effect of trying to keep something so much more important alive.  What I still have left of you, and the promise I made to fight until the end.

Parks, And What They Meant To Me


There’s a lost reason behind what brings us back to these old places.  A thirst that’s out of reach, lost in time with nothing left behind but the aftertaste of regrets that came with it.  I suppose we drag ourselves back here in a futile attempt for relief from their wake, anything to try and scratch the itch it leaves behind.  I don’t consider myself much different, other than the fact that I should know better, but even that doesn’t free me from the same old compulsion we suffer from.  We all have our reasons, our hopes for what might still be left behind to help bring you back to that time you are trying to find.  More over bearing than the scraps left behind is the decay of what used to be beautiful.  The unmistakable sense of loss that cannot be swallowed, not in the face of such a terrible change.  No matter how it makes you feel, the truth is the world doesn’t care, it goes on with our without your consent.  Our biggest disillusion was thinking we could ever stop the change, that we could keep things the way they are “just because it feels right”.  Eventually the excuses tire, and when it comes time to choose the next path, you’d better be ready to move, or to be left behind to join the ghosts that couldn’t take it either.  It has always come down to choice.  Sometimes there are many, sometimes there aren’t any.  But they are ours to make, and they are ours to pay for.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Questions and Answers

The winter always brings stillness with it. 
The world frozen and sleeping, even the most awful of things have to seek shelter from its clutch.  Out here in the drifts time slows down, and this rush becomes a drug that only comes around once a year.  You’d have to be insane to go out in storms like these, and since insanity makes such good shelter, I hurry through the worst of it while it still gives cover.  The mistake most men make is not to see the most obvious of things, countless times audacity has crept up behind the worst of villains, they were just too caught up in the shimmer of impossible things to notice before it was too late.
I suppose this is what separates us, though we could argue on and on about who’s right and who’s wrong, at the end of the day I’m still standing.  They’re dead, gone, and clutching the worthless virtues they died for.  Being alive is being right.  It’s as simple as that.  “The Meaning of life” is a deceptive phrase, life isn't here to lecture us about meaning, life is asking you a question and the answers are simple.  You can get it right, or wrong.  Life will still go on.  But the answer becomes what you make of it, and if it falls on the wrong side, you won’t be around to argue anyways.

It's for us.

People used to call this the end of the world, but it’s nothing but the end of us.  The world will always go on, we’re just too quick to forget that.  I can remember the look in people’s eyes when they realized this, long and hard they fought to convince themselves otherwise.  I had to watch a lot of men struggle with holding onto what they now know couldn’t be true, that whatever this is, it’s meant for us, and it won’t end ‘till we’re all gone.  It’s these profound horrifying consequences that were our undoing, because there just isn’t any escaping it, only acceptance.  The ranks that were left (if any) feel quickly, and ‘every man for himself’ meant something again.  As terrible as this is, it pales in comparison to what we did to each other in its wake.  There’s nothing to be done about it though, all you can do is be sharp enough to see this life for what it is and stay ahead of anything that’s trying to take it away.  In the end I know that it will win, that I’ll either make my choice or not be given one, there’s no denying that.  But this hasn’t won yet and we’re still, for one reason or another, keeping up the fight in hopes of something that we might be able to lean on, something that can bring some rest from all this.  At the end of the day, I have to be real with myself, there’s no doubt in my mind that I will keep that up until my end, but the world, it can go on without me….

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hold on - Date Unknown

There’s something about your smile that I will never forget, but that curse is one I chose to bear.  I would rather be tormented knowing that light in my life is gone than never have touched it at all.  Even in these darkest of days when I have every reason to just give up and let it pour into me, it still carries me through.  These memories that we hold are all we have left anymore, so it is important you keep the right ones close.  This is why we fight for them even to the death, because they only live inside of us.  I’m not ready to let your smile die yet, I’m not even sure I ever will be.  Regardless it has taken me this far and I have no intention on giving up a good thing.  A curse it may be, carrying you around inside of me like this.  But it’s a curse that has kept me alive, and even in my worst battles I can remember your softness guiding my blows so they were true.  When we were together, the world stopped and anything we wanted was at our finger tips, because all we wanted was each other.  I still reach out for you in the night, and each time I’m crossed again by the loss and knowing the dream I was in is the closest I’ll ever be to you again.  As long as I am here though, I’ll keep on dreaming and that last place you're still alive will be with me, safe…  For now that’s good enough for me.

Simon is hurt

They've been closing in on us for a few days now and we’ve been moving as fast as we can, but Simon’s leg is broken and each day he’s getting worse.  We don’t have a whole lot of time to rest, the next stretch is fields and flat ground for a few miles so we need to take advantage of that while we can.  It’s becoming apparent that Simon’s condition is not improving and the prospects of recovery aren’t promising. Already I can see him showing the signs of infection and sepsis, without medicine he’s done.  It won’t be long until we have to address this reality and decide what to do.  These things are never easy, and Simon has been with us for a while now.  We will miss his hand in our struggle, but we will not let him be the end of us.  It’s never easy to have these conversations, the kind we never used to have.  None the less we’re forced to see things for what they are, that is if you want to stay alive.  There’s always a question of whether we tell him or not, if there’s any merit in giving him a choice in how it goes down. Sometimes it’s best to do the right thing, to end it for him swiftly when he least expects it.  There’s been plenty of time when we’ve given people the choice to be left behind alive and hope for the best.  But leaving people like that to become just another corpse…. Well, it’s never sat well with me.  Not just because it adds one more body to the problem, one more dead to walk and chase us through these woods, but because it’s an awful thing to do to a person.  To leave them to find the answer to the question we’re all terrified to figure out…  What it’s like to become one of them…
We’re going to have to start climbing when we reach the hillside and it won’t take us long to get to the cliffs where we can rest.  Once we get there and everyone can see how bad it’s getting, that’s when we’ll do it.