Old wounds and something you thought you’d forgotten, stuck in a loop you keep forgetting you are repeating.
There is a pink doe sleeping in the grass and they taunt me with their crown of daisies. I can't forget their blue eyes in the golden sunlight. White Jasmine and sparkling gold wine in the springtime. Blond hair through the smoke and junkyard steaks on the paper plates. Pink roses, lavender tea, baby blue cherub, white skin, fox blood, none of them meant for me.
I can't see their face anymore, they don’t exist anymore. Even in their own time the memory of us will fade.
Golden heart locket filled with a ray of sunshine… waist of my precious time. I remember you like the lyrics of a once favorite song, every curve familiar, every lyric etched in my brain, but when I close my eyes it's all gone. Remembering a time when you cared. Oh darling don't let your roots grow out...
I'm deleting all my memories of you. All that's left now is unreadable corrupted data. I don't want to be part of strangers' alters and I'd wish you’d let up on this curse already.
Maybe they were right in the end, no better than any man, toxic and self centered, I’m still holding on to dead flowers in my fists. Lemons and teeth never pulled. Terrified of women, femme faital, and the snuff porn star.
It feels like the warm sun will never grace me again and I am haunted by this. This person I long for no longer exists, did I have a chance to save them? Did I crush these babies' breath to pure pulp? It never occurred to me that maybe you just didn’t love me all that much in the end.
Now they're just an angry dog and I'm just a ram in the field.
Oftentimes in my life I have found myself with the strangest feeling as if I'd just come out of a coma. To most they would say “well that's just how anxiety feels” or “oh that's just stress” but I wonder how those people would react if I told them that it was just that, the feeling going in and out of a coma. Well almost exactly that, for the amnesia that befell a comet survivor was also befalling me as I fell down through the stars. Though I black out I was never knocked out cold, I was just going about my life, and then I wasn't, and then I was again, in my memory never knowing where I stopped living my life and started back up again.
444 - home is calling
1111 - wake up call from the other, bringing light open up to new things coming in
222 - new beginning, relations, compassion, trust … keep positive keep love
I don’t listen to what I’m told because I’m so tired of the truth hurting like an ice pick in my throat.
It feels like a bomb went off but it’s never stopped exploding.
Do I love unconditionally and excessively from falling down from Saturn or did it make me learn to hate? How do you become unlovable? Being excited for another person's intimacy is just an essential part of the human experience. Nights in San Francisco are always colder than I want them to be, and I always feel like I’m a guest no matter where I lay my head.
“If you keep making that face a bad angle will fly over and make it stay that way forever.”
Survivors guilt wares the clothing of the covenant and rides on a pale white horse
“You’ve mellowed out….” Or maybe I’ve just been put out one too many times. I’m out of energy to fight Thanatos. If he won’t listen to my screaming cries I guess I just need to be quiet and wait this out.
555 - Let’s do this again but this time I’m inside out
I'm so devoid of meaningful closure I keep having dreams where you apologize to me for all the things you’ve done and as time passes I realize how deeply I just want to mend things and be friends again. But… I know that you’ve burnt this bridge down so much I’ll never be able to cross it again. But… I miss you and I’m aloud to hurt and I wish you’d stop haunting my dreams.
333- something new
I’d like to be a stranger… always…There’s nothing quite like the fleeting moment when you're someplace new for the first time. The first time is the only time it will be the first and that unfamiliarity is electric in its experience. To discover the unknown for the first time brings more comfort than the place I can navigate with my eyes shut tight.
11:11 - Not sad it’s over, I want to be happy with the good time even if it ends in blood.
4444 - Tired of being angry, just want to live.
I saw a dead bird on the sidewalk yesterday
I saw my name in the sidewalk yesterday
I watched the sun set over the ocean
Bitter sweet, I feel it coming
1021 - Need to keep moving like a shark. Feel the shape of my skeleton. With firefly’s in my chest I feel like I am on the stop block waiting for the sound to go off. I can feel I’m about to be running for a while. Blood child, the room begins to spin.
555 - the tower is beneath me but I’m still struggling to justify running like this. Never wish this upon my worst enemies.
111 - trust your gut that you are right. How tiring it does get when you have been scraping at the walls screaming for help. Screaming to make a dent but never escaping that small lip inside the hourglass, that last little bit of sand that doesn't slip in to pass the time.
I need the winter in order to appreciate the summer otherwise indulgence grows dull under a sky that’s never blue. The thunderstorm feels anger and brimming with grief in the same way you do when you feel you cannot win. It's pounding rain makes you feel less alone confronting the ugly reality of life. I genuinely hate the bitter smell of rain in the spring. Confronting generational trauma and curses and truly understanding them deeply feels the same as pouring salt into an infected wound, you must confront its hollowing truth face to face and bare the pain lest you let it to fester and rot, eating away at you
1111 - I keep waking up at exactly 11:11am
333 - something is coming and I keep seeing messed up eyes. I’m worried about my eye…. my eyes…seeing
11:11 - 444 - 555 - 11:11 over and over again 11:11 they’re calling, wake up.. is it already time to fulfill my contract, to come home… close the circle, finish the loop, where you were before you will be there again but in a new flesh.
All I want is to have a little home secluded in the New England woods or something where I paint and can lay by a fire and warm my agony filled body in peace.
Every six months I travel into a city to show my art and then dissipate into the woods again.
I hate living in the cities and being around people and diseases and I hate being in pain.
And I just want to be alone with just a few folks I like in a little cabin somewhere away from everyone where I’m not in pain.
I don’t want to work, I don't want to make money, I don't want to go to movies or bars or restaurants.
I want a cat to sleep in my chest while I relish comfort in a pile of pillows looking up at a skylight where I can see stars at night.
I hate people, I want thunderstorms and trees, I want to live somewhere where I am content staying in my little space forever.
I want a stream I can put my aching feet in in the summer where I can look at rocks.
I don’t want to see another car or bus or train ever again.
I’m tired of social media, I want books, I want to write, I want to be dirty and free, I don’t want to think about skin care or makeup or what is in fashion.
I want to be warm and safe with vegetables and fresh goat milk for breakfast.
I hate people, I hate the city, I want to live alone in a tree far far away.
I want to smell moss in the summer and hear birds and drink herbal tea and make my own candy and clothing and be barefoot.
I want to paint watercolors on my porch in the sunlight and I want a big bed made of logs with fur pelts to sleep under at night.
And I want to not think about a clock and just spend a whole day on a loom weaving or beading and eat carrots and honey and keep chickens and goats and drink spring water.
I wanna talk to animals and make wreaths out of green spring twigs and have wild mushrooms and berries and swing on a porch swing and sing to myself.
I need a real way out. I need to be somewhere far away where I can breathe.
I’d move back to California if it meant I could live someplace secluded and calm with big trees and wild rabbits.
I’d move anywhere if I could be happy.
No cell service, just internet in one building and one land line, no expectations but to make art and make merry with the deer and like minded people and food that tastes better than anything I'll have again.
I’m tired of sleeping on the floor and eating trash and being in pain.
I want to take a hike alone in a rainstorm, I want to hear the trees talk to each other, I want to see the stars.
I want to have two seconds where I’m not hearing the maddening hum of electricity.
What I’d give to live in nowhere Michigan by the lake in the woods.
What I’d give.
I hate people and steel and plastic and cars and trains and planes.
I hate the never ending noise and the alienation and the hatred.
I hate city’s and sound and grime and gas and oil and processed food that makes me sick every time I eat it.
I’m afraid that the place that is miserable is not a city but in fact myself.
And I don’t know how to live with that or what I should do.
Everything feels like a shell of what it once was and I feel like I’m hoping for something that does not exist.
And I become disappointed when things fall apart.
And now no matter where I go, I’m going to miss wherever I am not, because I’m hunting for a feeling and not a place and that feeling is something that is not coming to me.
I had a fleeting moment in my life where I was content and it’s now since passed and everything I do to recreate that feeling is empty and hollow because I long for something I can’t get back.
I fear even if I get as close to it as to taste it again it won’t be the same and I’ll be disappointed.
It feels like the best time I’ll ever have is in the rear view mirror and it hurts because it was such a small sliver of my whole life.
The thing is I know I was still sad during those moments of comfort and it makes me wonder too if I’ll ever be happy?
Even if I can get back to that place of content I don’t know if I’ll be able to ever reach something better which is full happiness.
1. Will You Still Love Me 2. Buy One Get One Free 3. Today 4. I Laugh With Mirth
5. HIM 6. Brain 7. I'm Dead, I Think?
1. Will You Still Love Me
Will you still love me when I can no longer remember your name
Will you still love me even when I can no longer see you again
Will you still love me even if it causes you pain
Tell me please
Today I smile
Today you smile
But can you say that today will always stay?
Will you still love me when I no longer can smile
Will you still love me when I can no longer sand on my own
Will you still love me when I force you alone
Today everything is perfect
Today I am happy
But can you say that today will never break away.
I hope you will
Now your smile is fading
Now my life is darning
Will you still love me when I'm gone
Will you still love me?
2. Buy One Get One Free
Four arms are better than one
Two heads will reign supreme
I am two in one
Listen to the beat of my hearts
I am you and you are me
Sale on me
Half price and get the depression for free
Two for one
I'm a bargain
Buy one get one free
I’m consolidated and liquidated
I'm subpar on clearance
More than one mind
More than one time
Don't break up me and me
Sale on me
Half price and get the depression for free
Two for one
I'm a bargain
Buy one get one free
Maybe one day (one day)
I'll be free
From this cage
One day (one day)
I'll be just me
Plan as my eyes can see
Sale on me
Half price and get the depression for free
Two for one
I'm a bargain
Buy one get one free
Today I woke up and I found I was not the same
For some strange reason I had gone insane
The hands on my arms had switched
And I soon found myself somewhere I did not know
But for me I did know where I was
Why is it that
I don't want to hear your voice until you speak
I don't miss you until the sun goes away
Why is it
I'm okay with you being so far away
Why is if that at night I feel like you are here with me
Why is it I don't feel you until the light leaves
When you are my sun
I woke up this morning
And I found my head was on backward
Somehow it had found its way to be completely wrong
And why, oh why, was my ribs burning from anger this morning
Why, oh why
I have nothing sacred
I shout it to the sky's
Why is it I feel bland so fast
How can I be so warm yet I am freezing cold
Why is it I feel this way today
When I woke up my feet were backward
My legs bend all the wrong ways
I was able to do literally everything but what was right.
So tell me why
4. I Laugh With Mirth
A war wages between us all
Between roping our flesh
Or taking a fall
There is no way to stop this madness
When you're falling through time and space
Why, I could have had this
When the acidic screeching of harpies is all I have to credit
And when the putrid stench of failure is all I've made
Is it safe to say all is well
Perhaps it would be me who killed the king
I took his rings and crown
And pretended to be him as I danced around
Three feet off the ground
It would be funny to think I miss it
Being the ruler of filth
A war can never be won
Not when both sides are being fought by the same man
How could he see the opposing so clearly
Why it's simple
His javelin dripped in his own crimson vitality
Yet he is that one to cause such fatality
What a pitiful soul he is
When the flaming fury of God’s wrath is all I have to hold
And the blood sodden rages of lost souls is all I own
Is it safe to say all is well
Perhaps once upon a time there was somebody he cared for
But the life drained from him
It left him cold
And I stole his riches
And I stole his curs
Nobody can bring me back
I'll be driving the black hers
To the graveyard of the filth we once ruled over
The sight of the battles that took all the lives
Of the men who burned bright as the nebula
I will always see them
And so shall you
They all love HIM more than me
I wish I could be as alluring as HE
I'd love to triad places with HIM
But I often forget that I could never be
And I often forget I'm unloved
I know why HIS cold charms win
But by god my heart needs some care
I know I'll never make it out of this but by the gods I want to be free of HIM
If I can't have what HE has
I don't know where I'm going
I could tell you who I am but I have too many faces
I can't tell you who I was
Every time I got shot down I got back up but when I stood
I found there were more copies of me
I split and no we don't seem to fit back together
All my problems stem from one thing
It's a funny little bit about me
Part of my brain seems to be missing
And you can tell me I'm all lies
But I find it hard to make up the part where I simply am not human
No I'm not a robot but maybe I should be
If there was a way to glue me back together I would hope to it
But screw it
I came out not screaming and crying but ready to start dying
7. I'm Dead, I Think?
I don't think you ever saw your own face in the mirror
I don't think you remember me
Do you remember
Every time I see your eye I see it
I remember it to
I don't think I've ever seen myself smile
Tell him I left it under the mat
Yes, the one outside the front door
Portal to hell
I can't see our reflections anymore
I need all of the attention
I drain of their soft hands and heavy wings
Won't you let me go
I don't know what my face looks like
Send me an angel
Save me from myself
I'm running away again
I keep dreaming about the apocalypse
I'm going to die
I can’t stop it I can’t stop it
I've accepted it
Why have I taken morality
I felt the cold snow silence my heart
I saw the look of fear in the eyes of the damned
What is it
I'm ready to die
For a moment I felt like I knew what it was
I saw for a moment what it meant to be dead
I saw myself cry
I'm shaking now
I don't remember my face
I feel the gun to my temple
Blade to my throat
Breeze on my sweat soaked face as I sit here
Knowing what comes next
Am I okay with mortality?
1. Were You Listening 2. The Man With Soulless Eyes 3. Missing 4. nomoreangles
5. I Just Want Resolution 6. Blasphemy 7. Vodka and Old Gods
1. Were You Listening?
Yesterday I thought I died
But I was disappointed to find I was still alive
I couldn't hear anyone speak
But I saw their lips moving
Were they talking to me?
2. The Man With Soulless Eyes
It's so cold here
When I cry my tears freeze
With my clouded breath I can't see
I shout but my voice dies
And I scream but it's only lies
When I cry from my soulless eyes
It's so cold here
Give me the rains I want to steer!
My love is cold like the snow so I'll
Crash the carriage into the lifeless trees
And let my bones rest in the snow covered leaves
My blood is a brilliant vermilion paint
Melting the frost
It turns to brown rust
And I swear to God it will taint
All the lovers who fallow
Into passionless frost
With their hearts beating so faint
Maybe twenty years from this time you'll find my bones
Cold and alone
Filed with moss and snow
Let my sorrow wash over me and haunt me on the marrow
Then you won't be lost in my soulless eyes
My blood no matter how delicately it splashes on the white canvass
Shall never be as brilliant as the stars that splatter the blackened sky
And just as before
When I close the door
My sore arms will turn from red to brown
And when I close my eyes I'll wish they were part of the sky
Their black and empty abyss are soulless as a night with no moon
And without the moon I will crash this carriage
Without la lune to illuminate the earth's winter skin
I'll be lost in the pale flesh
And be let to crash into the black bones of the forest
Spilling my blood so fresh
The forest empty as my eyes
Will capture my soul when I die
And I'll be lost to time
Oh what a crime?
I shan't be missed
All those lies
Ah yes, I'm the man with soulless eyes
It reminds me of something I can't remember
Like when you know you've lost something
But you can't remember what you lost
And honestly, it's a bit like drinking cold coffee
You can't quite enjoy the bitterness it brings you
And honestly, I'm missing something important here
When I've proved myself right
You still want to tell me I'm wrong
And you can't give me what I want
So why am I even trying
You never were intriguing and I'm just going through the motions
Just going through the motions
I can't and I won't let you know if I have emotions
Nothing is pure or good with me so don't expect anything please
I'm sorry I made the mistake
But I can't take back things like that, now can I?
oh if you let us we will latch onto you and fall deeply madly infatuated with you too if you let us in we will grip onto everything and pull it apart let us live oh boy if you let us in we will pull at your wings mother me mercy i see youre angelic and i cannot resist oh the wings oh the feathers i cant help myself claws and eye extra limbs limping limping i cant help myself oh just you just you not revenge theres no need for that i just want your feathers claws extra eye tall tall strike me down i know nothing about you i just want to someone like me ah no no no not again dont let yourself fall for another angel little demon boy demon boy dont do that no more angels no
5. I Just Want Resolution
Grip onto me with your lust
If my friendship is true then I'll let you take my love
If I say, "I love you" break my bones
Snap my wrists covered in blood
Though my knuckles are bleeding this sap is not innocent
And though I wish to tear your world apart with my teeth
It's sadly ironic it's you who's come to reap what I have left
Grip my neck as hard as you can
Crush my hopes and dreams
Crush my body, just like flowers beneath your rough hands
And even as my blood pools around me I'm let to believe
Oh god, you're not the one killing me
But how can that be when you're breathing
And I'm left faithless
If I'm the victim then why do I feel like the villain?
I'm drowning but you keep telling me it's the other way around
But why aren't you struggling?
Why are you laughing at the tears in my eyes as I gasp for air?
I came here for solace but I was given nothing but bad memories
And was told to make something of them
And instead of solidarity I received pity
There is no resolution in drowning in your agony
There is no solace in picking at the scab that will never heal
And so, I chose to sleep with my demons
Claws and teeth will comfort me
Since your soft flesh only cut me
And I will hold them close to me when I dream of you
Because I know they will always be there to keep me safe
And I know they will always tell the truth
If humans are inherently evil what is a hell hound to me or you
You've beat all the good left in me
And I'm soon doomed to repeat your blasphemy
This is not resolution
If I have to shake the hands that tore my dreams right out from my scalp
There is no such thing as feeling resolved
When all you know is the crimes of Gods
you'll never see me as a martyr in the eyes of your monotheistic god
the deities aren't man and they do not rule like your false kings
how can you pass judgment over me
how could i have been so wicked in the past life to deserve this
the fates have this planned out for me
i will paint myself in the blood of your god so you will look at me
i am the man you need
i am your synthetic messiah
wash your bones with my holy tears
your western lord is the one i will bend
my stigmata is infected as my wounds seep distrust
7. Vodka and Old Gods
It tastes like death and decay
Even though it's sweet it rips the roof of my mouth
It burns my stomach like acid
But it calms my brain and restless heart beat
My skull hurts, fighting tears that have been tugging at the corners of my eyes
I'm so loved why am I so sad
My bones are cold as ice even when I'm wrapped in a thousand layers of black wool
My shoulders ache and my arms ache and my nails ache like I've been clawing out of the cold and cracked winter earth
Bounding from the ground like spring itself
My throat burns from fighting these tears
I'm so loved but why then, why am I so achingly sad
I'm wandering in a glass
I can see myself looking into my own eyes
I'm empty and sad
What do I want?
Come with me let me take your pain away into the abyss
Whiteness blinds me as an angels’ voice sings
Is she singing to me
Rolling in tears and dripping in sweat I drink fire
Despite the burning in my eyes I don't think I'll be able to sleep for a thousand year
1. Heavy Heart 2. Cliché Fruit Pit 3. Sweet 4. Chalk Lies
1. Heavy Heart
If all the love I had for you could be converted to gold
I should be the richest man to live
But the cliché truth remains
That in my youth
I shall never be able to love you
If I could collect the stars
And give them on a sting to you
Would it be enough to make up
For all of the galaxies and star dust filing your eyes
Would you be surprised?
If I could empty the sea
And give you every ounce
Would it be enough my dearest
And would it make up for all I am not
And all that I am?
If I could collect all the light
And shine it on you
Then supposed it be enough
To compensate for my morbid fate?
Would that be enough for you my beloved
Would that make up for all the tears I have made you weep
From when I scream in my sleep
From when my eyes are sunken so deep
Would that make up for it all?
2. Cliché Fruit Pit
Cheesy and classic, I understand why eating the fruit of Eden curses man
Ignorance is bliss and the truth cuts deep
Tasting something so sweet is the most painful thing I have ever endured
Cavities I cry I have cavities from this peach
I sunk my teeth deep into the fruit and bit right down to the pit
My my how does my jaw ache
Grinding though cyanide and core of a stone fruit
I'm drowning in sweet nectar and I can't breathe but I still don't have enough
I need more now the sweet taste has touched my lips
Rose and jasmine will forever permeate my senses
It burns my throat
All three still sting but it was drawn from my lips
Drowning in sweet sweet honey I gurgle out a cry
They bubble up to the surface and pop on the feathers of angel wings as a terrible chorus of my voice lift into the clear night air
Overused and powerless in the wrong context I save it for the very last as every breath I draw is wasted on these words
I try to bite more off the fruit but I cannot tear any more flesh from the pit
My yearning is more true than any fantastical nights
I have found the dangers of starting the gods in the face
So hot it give you chills
Amber and sweet like honey
It burns your throat
It's potent like cloves and rose
Everything is golden
Sap roles down your face
Roles down to you lap
Sweat pores into the glistening pool
You'll start to drool
Your heart pounds blood through your sweating hands
Can't gab into it
The fire is dim
Soft like a pillow yet jagged are the bones jutting from you
Blood sweet like wine
You are the divine
Your horns crack glass as you soon pass
You're truly here for a good time
Sex and sweet blood
The pools he sips from dark like his eyes
Black like the night
His smile says hello but his eyes make you want to go
The flame is bright
And phantoms haunt you tonight
4. Chalk Lies
I said to him "I want to grip you tighter desperately but I'm afraid you are made of chalk."
He said to me, "I promise I'm not made of chalk as long as you promise to not grip any tighter."
And then he asked me to grip tighter, he told me it was fine despite my promise.
But when my hands curled around him and gasped on, he crumbled to chalk dust.
"You promised me you weren't made from chalk!" I shrieked.
"You promised to not grip tighter!" His powdered remains shouted back to me.
"But! You told me to grip tighter!" I cried back to him.
"I never said anything like that! Look what YOU did to me!"
Finger pointing, playing the victim, it's all my fault because I did what you said...
But that's just how you are.
Dream Sequence Poem from Ego Death (2020)
When you wake up slipping into the deep pool you will discover three eyes on the back of your head and three broken clocks in my nightmares. In a drunken haze from the bags that drag my eyes down heavy with the second hand of a clock. When you are awake you feel like you’re wandering through a night terror, seeing old dreams while you sit awake in the illumination.
Life only exists in its purest form when you are asleep. Fighting falling deep into the dark haze of ghost images kept at bay by caffeine. These dreams have been feeling like gladiatorial coliseums, with a pounding heart and organs that hurt from acidic erosion. Sit here and play at the grim reapers slot machine like the human snowflake, you are forever living out self fulfilling prophecies in the white static.
Maybe it is too old for you to remember foolish magic things. “Why should you bring me around humans who will only hunt my gold? They will only eat it as all humans do” said the glinting blue dragon, angry in his smoke. “Look... I’m magnificent, no human should attempt to fight me for my forfeits.” You agree with him.
The monorail theater is what you must chase down when you are late for class. Vultures won’t let you go? Won’t let me go? This theater is haunted but keeps running along its track. You drive a semi truck to get back to a place you once knew in San Francisco. Jettison out to space to die and you wonder if you were tricked. Conjure up some blue flames to avoid the impending flood levels, the ditch far too deep to protect you now.
Poverty festers in a mansion with its untrustworthy medicine. Everything is broken, your brother is trying to stay positive, how can you be positive when you are in agony? Can’t they just anesthetize you? Blind and vampiric in the basement, sipping on soup made from lilacs. You see your old self, you wish to peel your skin off. The lilac soup is lovely compared to the fear and gout. A street full of great, cancerous maple trees, all this rain causes the trees to bleed into the wall paper. Too much suffering you can’t feel anything when the dark figure hunts you down in this house, if you don't look it cannot find you, do not look.
I saw a golden angle in a cage on a street corner and he was in pain. In Italy you will terrify your enemies for pleasuring your pain. Strangers kindness brings you home with a full belly and a head full of familiar wonder. Sunset will show you who you really love, then there will be nightmares about separation anxiety. Don’t let them die before you see them again. Blood poisoning, veins are turning dark blue while green lighting goes through them. You’re dying, why are they laughing at you? Now the electrical storm drowns you and Chicago floods with blood through the train grates, showers, and the eyes of friends. You see it all sitting in a colorful library as you try to eat with relatives using customers you don’t know sitting across from a lost love. Nothing tastes real alone now in this library of shame. They are posed by the old gods, like trusting people you’ve forgotten. If you eat the fruit, pomegranates will fill your blood with the gods, you belong to them.
Everywhere you look faces in mirrors and knives being thrown when you try to look. We are truthful but as long as you don’t look at the demons, they won’t hurt you. When the sun goes down you scream when you see yourself in the reflective screens. Then an uninvited brass band crashes an upscale garden party you did not want to be invited to. A church is now burning as you carelessly sleep inside. Like an angry score scorching you never settled. He’s wronged you, left you with die much anger for yourself, for others, and for him and who he could have been.
Held captive to manufacture continuity in a place you’ve never been before. Oh so very tired. Not yourself anymore. And you don’t know where you are anymore, existing in no place and no time. You have so much to do but you are so very tired on A clear November day where the ground has grown red with fallen leaves, trees freshly bare. You feel like you are being watched.
Could this be hell?
The boy with butterflies and broken ribs
Somewhere there is a boy with butterflies hatching in his ribs.
It hurts him, chokes him, no beauty will escape. There’s nothing inside, again he pulls the weeds but this time the sunflowers won’t grow back. Just decomposing compost, turning to dirt and stone weighing him down to the bottom of the lake.
And how I hate these scars, I’m feeling them a lot more these days. Every line aches and thirsts for blood and wine. It doesn’t matter if you don’t mind them, their grotesque persistence is not what makes me worry, it’s the aching.
I want to remember what I was waking up for, but sometimes all I see is corporal static as the TV stations of disappointment are flipped through. I want to remember holy places untainted by a cruel spirit. But they lack funding from the station provider.
Ribs hurt now, laying on the floor, I can’t sleep through the pain. Dose it make me cry or is this just a physical manifestation of rotting blood, marbling like purple lighting. Thirst for forgetting when I’m gripping to try to remember the good.
Why do you look for some one to kick your ribs in, maybe that’s why they hurt so much. Or maybe they hurt form the crushing guilt of searching for love in empty wells. Oh these brittle bones, they ache to be softly wrapped in silk.
If I’m dropped again from this height my frail bird bones will just snap. Breathing in this cage feels like drowning sometimes when I’m alone.
And the flowers can’t fight the fear that grow though the stones. But if it can be pulled from the stones maybe there will be an end.
An ending is not always somber. Perhaps the death of fear will allow for a new beginning. And let us suppose that decomposed ribs will no longer ache from braking. And maybe at the bottom of this lake we will all sink through the soft sand floor. Find a grave to be held in, and start again.
Artists burnout on the internet age: How censorship and the state of visual media sharing is killing artists with burnout.
Originally posted July 9th 2019
2019 seems to have been one of the worst years yet to be a creator in the digital age. Why is this? There are many different factors to consider what is bringing about this widespread notion of burnout and hopelessness among artists and content creators.
A few things I should note before going into my essay. This is purely a personal opinion piece and is in no way meant to be taken as fact or science. All the statements I make are merely options and are not meant to disrespect anyone's hard work or insult anyone. Also my opinions will be focusing mainly on visual media such as illustrations, paintings, and digital art but can also apply to film, wiring, sculpture, music, etc. Before I take you down the rabbit hole I highly recommend reading THIS article to help situate yourself in a timeline of the decline of digital art sharing. I should also note I myself am a young but fairly experienced artist who is feeling the heat with failing at building a community and following in this digital age.
With that out of the way let's jump into the meat of the issue here, burn out. Burn out is when you essentially run your creative juices to their very limit and find that creating no longer brings the catharsis that you are used to. It is something of art block and exhaustion caused from over working and can mean different things to different people. However it is anonymous that this feeling is harmful to one's mental health and well being. So how is it that so many artists seem to be suffering from this? I began to wonder why I myself was feeling sluggish like a worn down workhorse who was worthless when I no longer was able to produce. At first I thought I merely had just pushed myself too far. However this perspective changed as I began to talk to fellow friends who were creators and saw numerous amounts of people online talking about these feelings. After about the 50th tweet I saw about an artist feeling “burnt out” I began to try to inspect the elements of our climate for creation that might have been a factor in this awful widespread feeling.
A huge contributing factor is the climate change of the platforms we have available to us to share our work with communities. Over the years of the internet (but particularly in the 2010’s) there has become a wide spread change of the way in which we consume and communicate digital media (see mentioned article). The once robust landscape of art platforms to choose form and ways of building communities has become squeezed into a few big name social media platforms. The days of deviantArt and friends have since left use and now art fights for the limelight in a sea of unrelated information. As of 2019 there are no public platforms that allow for NSFW or mildly controversial artwork to be shared amongst an audience with fair game. Though things that pass the bill also tend to not have that much of a fighting chance either. When you boil it down what is causing this kind of mental distress it comes down to what I call the three C’s - Censorship, Capitalism, Competition.
Let us begin with the route of the problem, money. As much as we all don't want to admit it, the number obsession of these social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube) comes from the unfortunate tie between success and money. Now this sentiment may not go for everyone, I’m sure it doesn't. However for many younger beginning artists the internet has become a way for us to turn what we love into a mildly profitable life choice without falling into the starving artist box. But in order to achieve this one needs some surmountable level of success. I'm sure you've seen plenty of things that say “you just need to build an audience” which is true for all art but it swiftly turns into the number obsessions and addictions associated with social media. Ranging from follower counts to the amount of interactions with pieces online. There is a strangely awful and unique feeling of seeing a piece of work you felt was wonderful just flat out flop. Because so many artists are forced into such a small variety of social media platforms there becomes less room for a sharing community and more of a competition mosh pit. This is not to say that making friends and building community is impossible. That said, it is definitely not as streamlined or easy as it used to be when there were more options for people to build communities on other corners of the web. It has gone from small communities widely spread out to what feels like competing with everyone in the entire world, which is not really how things have worked for art until this century. All of this to say that the greed of capitalism forcing corporations to conglomerate and force artists to compete in order to make a profitable living has driven making art on social media to be exhausting, especially for those who do not or cannot produce like hound dogs.
Unfortunately because of the way our media has been filtered it has created an unfair amount of competition amongst people. It is not just the lack of variety of sharing options however, there is also the dreaded “algorithm.” This is a really loose term that gets blamed a lot but it basically refers to the way in which websites have changed out of linear based post viewing in favor of “relevance” or “popularity” viewing. Unless you are constantly creating many platforms such as Instagram or Twitter will stop showing your followers your work. In order to get any kind of engagement on these platforms you need to be at best posting multiple times a day just to be slapped on your followers’ dash pages. This way of breaking down post sharing might be more profitable or sound better to the companies that host social media but it leaves artists to be forced into an insane work ethic. In order to build community and gain relevance one has to constantly produce work at an inhuman rate, no wonder people are burnt out! It slowly zaps all the fun out of being a creator as you are forced to either fall into irrelevance in this computerized haze or work yourself mad to stay afloat. And this demand for constant production is just unrealistic for many, including people who might have other jobs, attend school, or have a disability/ illness.
The algorithm is not the only roadblock that artists have to work against in this minimized digital sharing landscape. Censorship is rampant and has effectively destroyed the way in which we are able to share our media. A perfect example of this was the great purge of Tumblr back in December of 2018. The reason so many people were doesn’t (beside the blatant destruction of a huge sex work community) was the fact that many artists who livelihood resides with making NSFW content were instantly removed from their main source of income and communication. It was not just NSFW artists but those too who made things that were deemed inappropriate for the platform's content. This same censorship carries over if not more severely onto Instagram (a platform owned by Facebook) and Twitter (which is slowly moving the way of Tumblr with its treatment of NSFW content). Not only is censorship an artist’s biggest enemy but because only real sharing platforms are so strict, many people cannot make what they want, or have to lock their work behind a paywall through places like Patreon (who still shadow bans NSFW content by the way). Not only that but with these changes to policies it's essentially impossible to gain a footing at a NSFW artist or someone who makes things that aren't “family friendly”. Like YouTube blocking sponsorship on videos containing curse words and LGBT+ content (which is a bigger beast to deal with yet) or people being shadow banned on places like Instagram or Twitter.
Alright so what? What can we do to “fight” all these different beasts. Is there hope for burnout among artists? Unfortunately I think burnout for content creators is only going to get worse if this continues to be the only way we can communicate and reach out beyond our own small communities in real life. We might very well be better off and more successful without these platforms in the long run (again this might not go for everyone but it is an idea to consider). Until there is a complete overhaul on social media and art sharing I'm not sure if people will be able to fight burnout on a mass scale. But for yourself it might be time to log off. I think many people need to take a wellness break, a vacation from creation. Log off, put your tools down, go read something, watch something, visit a museum if you can, plan a day out with friends or a vacation if you have the means. Spend time researching your next work of art instead of continuing to grind yourself down in the cogs of this rat race. Your human life is worth a lot more than how many likes your art gets on Instagram.