Everyone Knows

Reality is a construct created by evolution and society.
True Reality is inaccessible to us.
Dreams and nightmares might show us the seams
But the curtain is never pulled back.

There are hidden lines and vectors.
Colors and shapes we can not see. Thoughts we cannot think.
Reality is a shared hallucination with as much substance as fog.
The thin slice we experience is enough for most.

What wonders or terrors are just out of view?
What symphonies or cacophonies play in the silence?
What unknowns exist right here around us?
What might we know tomorrow?

Counting Stairs

… One Two Three …
When I walk up or down a set of stairs, I count them.
I don’t count my steps while walking.

… Four Five Six …

There is safety and comfort in counting stairs.
I’m afraid to miss a step, stumble, and fall.

… Seven Eight Nine …

There are nineteen stairs going up to my apartment.
Eighteen really but I count the landing as the last stair.

… Ten Eleven Twelve …

I find it satisfying to count the correct amount.
Sometimes I get distracted and miscount.

… Thirteen Fourteen Fifteen …

I might count seventeen or nine or eleven stairs.

… Sixteen Seventeen Eighteen …

I’ve never counted more than nineteen because
it’s much harder to over count stairs.

… Nineteen Twenty Twenty-one …

Wait, how many stairs did I just count?
How much farther is it?

… Twenty-two Twenty-three Twenty-four …

… Twenty-five …

I’m Falling

superherofalling

I’m falling. I think. Not in the metaphorical sense like my life is going down hill or my depression is consuming me. I think I’m actually falling. Sometimes I feel like I should be flying but I’m not. Most of the time there is just this tiny bit of dread deep inside. No it’s not my depression that’s more of a general heaviness about everything. This is more specific.
I’m falling. This isn’t the real world. I’m dreaming or hallucinating or delusional. I’ve been falling for a long time I think. Maybe. Did I actually experience twenty-seven years of life or do I just remember experiencing those years. I’ve either been falling for a long time or I just started falling. I’m not sure which is better.

This world feels real. I have a job. I have an apartment and roommate. I have a cat. I pay bills and buy groceries. I keep living this life because I don’t know what else to do. But I think somewhere, I am falling. I need to catch myself or land on a soft spot. I need to fly. I need to soar back up into the sky. I need to face whatever knocked me down. I need to save the people depending on me.

But I’m falling.

Homeward Bound

A woman drives through the night on back roads. The only light comes from the headlights of the car. It’s a good car but old. Long flat lines, a solid frame, and power steering. Not a classic by any standard but it suits her needs. At a crossroads, she stops to check her map and notes. The paper map has been unfolded and refolded so many times it doesn’t remember how to lay flat. She unfolds a section and then another and a third before finding the crossroads. So far from where she thought she was and farther still from where she wants to be.

The classic rock from the radio ends and local news begins. The radio like the car is from an earlier era. No digital tuning or LCD displays, not even a cassette deck. Just two knobs and a row of mechanical preset buttons. She hears a name, Mr. Prescott. She knew a Mr. Prescott when she was younger. Could it be the same Mr. Prescott? A city name is mentioned. She makes a note and checks her map. It’s not far. The leads she gets are never far.

She just wants to go home but it alludes her. After high school she left the small town she grew up in and hasn’t been back. Now she can’t seem to find her way there. The roads seem to twist and turn away from where she wants to go. Every turn she makes is the wrong one.

She turns left at the crossroads and the radio signal begins to grow weak. She presses the preset buttons until a new station come through clearly. Country music fills several hours until another local news broadcast breaks in. Another name: Mrs. Garcia. Did she know a Mrs. Garcia? Was she the old lady on the corner? She mowed her lawn in the summers for ten dollars. The news ended with a bumper ad for the station. She makes a note of the town’s name.

The sky lightens and the back road blends into a two lane highway. She slows as she enters a town and cuts off the radio. The gas stations, the fast food restaurants, the local diner, the motel, and the signs to historic downtown. It all looks familiar but not quite right. A lot could have changed in the years since she had left, so she will take the day to drive downtown and around a few blocks. This isn’t home, she feels, but she has to check.

In the evening, she will drive out of town and turn onto a back road. She will turn on the radio and listen for something to lead her home.

You Dream Of

You dream of a forest. Trees stretch up into the sky around you. There is silence as you walk. A small animal runs past you and you give chase. Bounding between trees, dashing through bushes it will not escape you. A final burst of speed and it is in your jaws, hot blood spills into your mouth. It jerks and then is still. You tear and rend the flesh from the body. After you are sated, you rejoin your packmates. You are tired and find a soft place to lay down and drift off to sleep.

You dream of a dark place. The ground is soft like mud but not wet and it does not stick to you. The air cold and smells of nothing. The forest is gone. You should find your pack but you are too tired and can not help laying back down.

You dream of a city. The building crowd toward each other over head. The street smells of shit and urine. Rats swarm over garbage. You hurry home because your mother is waiting for you. She calls to you as you enter the apartment. You walk across the room to her bedside. She is sick, bedridden, and probably dying. She begins to cough rolling half way onto her side. You cover her mouth with a cloth to catch the spittle and blood. She collapses back exhausted from this meager action. You leave her side to prepare the medicine that was your reason for leaving her alone. It may not make her well but it will at least ease her pain. A short coughing fit of you own leaves faint blood spots on the cloth. The medicine is ready and you help your mother drink it, knowing the no one will be there for you when you need this. You lay down next to your mother on her bed, the only bed. Your eyes close. Only a nap, you tell yourself.

You dream of a dark room. The bed is so large and soft. You mother is gone. This is not your home. You struggle to the edge of the bed. Exhaustion washes over you and you lay back down.

You dream of a hospital, gleaming white and polished chrome. The doors swoosh open and you run to the receptionist. He points you toward the floor and room where your partner is in labor. The elevator seems too slow but soon you are there. For hours you comfort them, until finally your child is born. The nurse hands you the wrapped bundle of joy. The side rail is lowered and the three of you snuggle on the hospital bed. You kiss your partner and look into their eyes. This is a perfect moment. You bask in the love and happiness of it. You lay your head back and close your eyes.

I woke up in my bed. Alone. More dreams, I thought. I stood up feeling alien in my body for a second. Too tall, no claws. My right hand reached for a ring that was not there. I looked at my hand. No imprint from a ring, no tan line but I felt its absence. My apartment was suddenly too quiet. I listened for mother’s wheezing breathing. Too many rooms. She lives with Dad and is in perfect health, I remind myself. My arms came together to cradle nothing. They had never held something so small and precious.

I shook the dreams from my mind and left the bedroom to take a shower.

Whispers of Another Me

The dream doesn’t end before I wake up.  For a few seconds, I am both myself and someone else.  It fades quickly but I am left confused by the snippets of dream I can remember.  Another life, other friends, other allies, other enemies.  A graveyard, a mask, searching for something.  None of it makes any sense now.

I can’t help turning the tattered memories of the dream over and over in my head; trying to find the edges that match up.  This is what our brains are meant to do.  Find patterns, make connections, tell stories.  But the story left behind is too incomplete, too disjointed by dream logic to make sense to the waking mind.

For the next two hours I struggle to find myself.  I’m lost in whispers of another me that existed in dream.  I have been many people in many places but I always come back to this waking dream called life.

Something Not There

The wall behind the bathroom door is empty
It’s always been empty
You wouldn’t hang a painting there
You wouldn’t put up pictures there
So, why do I feel like the bare wall is wrong?
I don’t remember anything being there
I don’t know what should be there
Something is different about the wall
But nothing has changed.

In the kitchen, up near the ceiling,
where the cabinets meet in the corner
The cabinet doors face each other
No place to hang anything
No place to mount anything
So, why do I feel something is missing?
It doesn’t make sense to put anything there
It would block the cabinet doors
Something was in that corner
But nothing has ever been there.

Or maybe I have it backwards
Maybe nothing was there before
Maybe there is something there now…

Something I can’t see
Something I can’t touch
Something I can’t hear
But I know it’s there.

I feel it watching
I feel it waiting
I feel it wanting

No, no, surely not.
Just a trick of the mind
A random misfiring of a neuron,
I insist to myself.

Still, I can’t stop checking
Behind the door,
In the corner.

Checking for something not there.

A Whole World In My Head

“I just need to make a phone call,” I yelled at the uncooperative operator.

“Please deposit ten cents for the first five minutes,” the woman’s voice intoned for the fifth time.

“This isn’t a payphone,” I explained, “It’s a business phone. Please can you connect me to 555-5820 or just let me have a dial-tone.”

“Please insert twenty-five cents or hang up the phone,” she repeated cheerily.

“Please!” I pleaded, “Just give me a dial-tone!”

The phone began to scream a piercing monotone beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep–

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