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Alex Hoffman Jun 2017
I lie awake in the wooden room
I have constructed in the woods
dreaming of pretty things.

Knots like ochre eyes stare down from the oak wood panelling.
Outside, the wind brushes up against the fogged glass
laid into the side of my house,
a feeble proxy to the coyotes song
rippling through the ballooning darkness.

I built this home, all 275 square feet,
lugging tools and supplies through the barren acres.
I laid each brick into the fat black earth
preparing the foundation,
laying my life into it
nailing each board around me.

When spring rolled in the trilliums poked
through the earth to admire the commotion.
Later came their friends: the mountain-pride, 
buttercups and harlequin lupine.

In my dreams, the lupine could become a cloak of royal silk
wrapped around me,
the King.

Golden ore and stalks of silver
poking through the earth
where trilliums once grew.

That night I dreamt of pretty things
Shiny things still blotched my vision in those days.
I didn’t yet have a roof to stare at
late into the night, and the stars
burned through the treetops and into my
dreams.


Daylight was for building.
Laying the hatchet into wood
driving wood into frames,
with little metal nails from the hardware store
many acres away

Where men bought sidings and rope
for homes with Ikea furniture,
their wives wearing sapphire rings
and golden hoops
and all the pretty little things
I dreamt about out here,
in the forest.

Here, where sun cascades
through my windows in the early dawn.
So I close my eyes, and
decorate the silence with dreams
of pretty, pretty things.
Sep 2016 · 796
From the Road
Alex Hoffman Sep 2016
Droplets of sweat flattened on our foreheads under the weight of a mid-August sun—flattened into ovals of sticky sodium, catching specks of stray dirt swept into the air from the passing semi’s and transport trucks, whipping the wind into torrents of chalky highway dust.

Pressed high against the skies curved plain, we used our thumbs to browse the passing cars like pages of an anthology enclosed by a narrow spine of asphalt.

But when one pulled onto the shoulder and we approached the passenger side window, we too were ****** with the expectation and appeal of a library—mutually eager in the labour of conversation for the currency of experience.

For a moment, as the prairie receded in the side mirrors, our car became the baseline of a frantic cardiogram, crowded by the landscape of rising granite walls and low-hanging canyons, and the space between our separate lives closed like parallel lines drawn by gravity to a magnetic core.

We pushed our destination west, as far as it would go, safe on the heels of expectation. In motion the passing towns crackled like neurotransmitters firing signals over axons of black asphalt. But each time the car slowed to release us, one more they faded into a rancid stasis, that, once more, we aimed only to depart.
After a summer hitchhiking across Canada.
Alex Hoffman Mar 2016
I think it’s important to make peace with your long line of perpetually confused and self-indulgent ancestry once grasping at and fumbling through a life at which they, preceding you, assumed they occupied the centre of and sought to prove this to mostly anyone, with rapacious might and puerile visions of their own success story, which no matter how successful would always only occupy the dark corners of their blood-successors’ historical records of themselves, which is to say you, adding them up with other people who were once important to them and stuffing them into some numerical equation on which they occupy the left, and you the right side of the equal-sign, but all of which exists in the vast and endless vicissitude of spinning void, of which you both (and us all) occupy some cosmic equivalence (and importance) of the universes stray skin-cell, somewhere on the foot perhaps, unconsidered and left alone until we all disappear into the casket of an unrecorded history.
Mar 2016 · 990
How to survive the office.
Alex Hoffman Mar 2016
8:00 AM, Monday, Nov. 14th, 2016: Alarm goes off.

He rag-dolls himself across the flat. Past the paintings that huddle on the floor against the walls, past the unpacked boxes concaving from dust and into the shower where he keeps the alarm clock and pliers to turn on the broken shower handle. The bed is a place where thoughts unravel like yarn that one can never quite ravel back to its former integrity, so he doesn’t like to stay there long. Instead he concentrates on the two-day **** smell that trademarks his bathroom. Always two-day ****? He thinks. Never one-day?


“WHAAAP WHAAAP Click” he hits the alarm with the edge of his fist and starts the water, which hits the floor of the tub in a carbonated rattle that emulates the patter of the office water cooler being rinsed and refilled, rinsed and refilled for the last twelve years (his personal duration with the company). Avoiding the water cooler is thirsty work but allows him to dodge creepy office gossip. It is enough in the morning to have to shout “good morning!” in a practiced timbre and twist one’s face into a look of serenity to flaunt at coworkers. These, at least, he’s mastered. He thinks practicing these last two items out loud.


Feeling reasonably damp he shuts off the water, towels down, climbs into the clothing he set out the night prior, grabs his computer bag (also pre-stocked/sorted) and marches through the front door, hair still damp, climbing through the frozen city air coloured by police sirens and the familiar song of commuter impatience and into his Honda, saturated in tree-air-freshener fumes.

The radio: “BOW CHIKA! BOW CHIKA! Bow Bow HEY!….Clap along if you feel like a room without a….” bludgeons him through the stereo so he cranks it louder still and try to keep up for about a block, voice horse and deprived, so he settles for a low hum but ultimately feels like a ******* and opts for silence. When the thoughts start to unravel, he turns the stereo back on, half mast.

The bassy throbs of his heart assaults his rib cage, so he’s almost at work.
“Hello! HeelloO!” He practices again bringing the car to a stop, his left foot hitting the pavement as the Honda leans forward, backwards, then goes still. “HE—llo!” Back through the frozen morning, fiddling the keys in the lock and into the building.

The front door of the office presents its sickly yellow face and last minute sighs are exhaled.
“H…cough HeelloO!” He invites.
“Morning! Debbie returns. “Hey!” answers Rick. “Yo, yo,” says the intern whose name he feel terrible about forgetting. “How you doin’ today, Mr. C?” He asks.
Why the **** would he ask me that, it’s 9am, he thinks, but musters a “Me? Great!” in a tone that plainly sounds like Droopy Dog after receiving news from a physician that begins with “I’m sorry, Droopy” so he adds “just another day in paradise!” Something he picked up from young ****-types in university. 
“You?” he directs the question not only to the intern but the entire room to demonstrate gusto.
“Living the dream!” Says intern; “Couldn’t be better!” Says Debbie;  “Another beautiful day! Another beautiful day…” Says Rick.
They stare back at him with their mouth-corners quivering, eyes twitching, neck-veins prominent. They’re literally bursting from the seams with zeal! He thinks.
“Couldn’t be better,” he thinks. “Living the dream.” He settles into his headphones, a small fire welling in his gut. Don’t these people ever get tired of being “great?” He thinks, queuing “Three Little Birds” on his iPod, watching the waves move in, then out, in, then out on his new animated “beach theme” desktop background. 



He settles into his headphones but can’t distract his way out of the thought: why can’t I live the dream? Why everybody else, and more importantly, why not me?
Alex Hoffman Mar 2016
One day Zeus called the God of Happiness and the God of Sadness into the academy of Olympus. He announced that he had prepared a test to see which of the twin brothers would forever dictate the lives of humans on Earth.

“You each have a blank paper at your desk. Happiness, Sadness, your task is to convince me in a list of 6 items why the humans should take after you and not your brother.”

At the end of the hour, the brothers turned in their papers. Hard lines formed in Zeus’ forehead as he read:

1. Whether you achieve your goals or whether you fail, in X years no one will remember.
2. You can make all the money in the world, but you can not take your money to the afterlife.
3. Often things don’t work out how you want and/or expect, and life moves on anyways.
4. Life on Earth is fickle. You can fall victim to chance and die at any moment.
5. Whether you play it safe and work a secure job or recklessly pursue that which you love, at the end of your life the outcome will be the same: death.
6.  You are part of a young and insignificant species, circumnavigating a small pocket of the universe, doomed for inevitable catastrophe, and nothing that you do (or don’t do) matters compared in this bigger picture. (According to what Earth-inhabitants know as “science.”)


“My sons, your papers are identical save the name at the top of the page. Tell me my sons, which one of you cheated on your test?” Zeus thundered.

“It was I,” said Sadness, “I read from Happiness’ page. Your test was too difficult for me, so simple in nature.”


“And it was I,” said Happiness, before Zeus could interject. “I stole the answers from Sadness’ mind. This way the people of Earth would follow my dictum no matter who won.

Zeus’ eyes burned with the fire of the underworld, scorching the flesh of his sons’ faces, which waned until their skin bore no light at all.  

“Cheaters.” Zeus accused. “You are unworthy of Olympus. As punishment I will send you to Earth. For as long as Earth spins, you will no longer be brothers but will face off in battle. Your lists are identical and so too shall your army’s be governed by these identical rules. When Earth ceases to spin, he with the largest and most capable following will alone return to Olympus.”


The sky vibrated and became impossibly bright, and when it ceased the Gods were standing at the corner of Times Square, each holding a sheaf of pamphlets containing the 6 laws they had created. Then, they did the only thing they knew how to do as a human, for it was the only thing they had known humans to do.

“Pamphlets here, get your pamphlets! These pamphlets have the answers to everything you’ve been looking for!” Happiness shouted at the crowd.

“I’ve got pamphlets, here! If you want to understand life, get these pamphlets now, now, NOW!” Spoke Sadness.

And so the crowd began to divide, some taking pamphlets from Happiness, some taking from Sadness, both groups eyeing each other suspiciously, holding their pamphlets close. How superior each group began to think they were—they had the true meaning in the palm of their hands. They had the winning cards. They knew what lay behind the vale of life.
About perspective.
Feb 2016 · 1.2k
The Coin Toss
Alex Hoffman Feb 2016
Nobody “breaks” out of prison. Steel bars are hard enough to bend. One escapes through careful planning—months of fierce attention to detail. Until one day, when the conditions are absolutely perfect. Then, one escapes by beating the system.



One afternoon, while you are observing the doldrums of prison, someone will approach to offer you a key. “Only $5” they will say, “and this key will guarantee your escape. For it is a skeleton-key.” Now, there is an old saying that “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is,” which is easy enough to say. But you have waited so many years in the colossal boredom and misery of prison. For $5, who knows—this key could guarantee your escape. What’s five dollars for the chance of escape? So you take the key, which turns out to be plastic, and immediately snaps in two inside the lock.



Certain lessons in life stick, and this is not one of them. If you drive up to a red light, for example, your foot will naturally reach for the breaks. But this type of lesson has little to do with emotions.



Bad days, on the other hand, will make the entire world feel hopeless and cruel. Even if yesterday had us believing in a world that is beautiful even when it’s ugly. On a bad day, there is no beauty at all.



So, beating a bad day isn’t always about coming to a solution. Sometimes, it’s about endurance. 



When you’re upset, it isn’t just because things got heated with a friend, or because of failure, or an unusually cold week on your holiday leave. When you’re upset, it’s because you were put on this earth to be upset. If you need proof, walk outside and ask—you will never find a person who doesn’t know pain.

But there are two outcomes to every coin toss, and even then, it isn’t as if the other face has disappeared. It is only hidden from sight until the next time the coin is tossed. And though you may not see it, you know for certain that if you turn that coin over the opposite face will be there.



This isn’t to say that our emotions are guided by the same lottery as a coin toss. Life, I hope, is full of choice and circumstance that exceed the simplicity of chance. But it is at least fair to say that, whatever the circumstances, you will outlive pain

…eventually. 



Sometimes you’ll have to endure many unlucky coin tosses. It will begin to seem as though they will all be unlucky.

But think hard—the other side is there.



Escape is coming, but you can’t break the bars. So keep your eyes open. Be patient. Every day is a new toss: no matter where the coin lands, the outcome is yours.
A short musing on how to face life and its inevitable sadness.
Alex Hoffman Dec 2015
The only proper way to be a conversationalist is to convince yourself that you’re boring. If you can strip back the hard shell of the ego, and look down on yourself from the eyes of an apathetic God, you will likely (and hopefully) see just how boring you really are. It isn’t a sin to be boring, in fact there are many advantages to honest self-depreciation.

The main advantage, is the way you approach a conversation. “Interesting” people find it difficult to silence the affected score-keeper that dominates their internal dialogue and ruins any chance of an honest and engaged conversation. It is the voice that reminds you to show interest with your body language, and keep a dumb happy gaze laser pointed into their eyes. This dialogue is obsessed with authenticity and genuine conversation, and therefore a natural sociopath.

Luckily, you are the stunning definition of boredom, an extracted dictionary cut-out of un-interesting, and nobody could possibly give a rats-*** what you have to think—least of all the Voice that controls the inner-dialogue. That Voice has packed it up to find a more interesting vessel…maybe the person standing across from you in conversation. 


Because you are so boring, and they are the Oxford personification of intellect and fascination, you should pay careful attention to what they say—no time to worry about how they’re perceiving your reaction to whatever it is they’re saying. You are too busy to notice what sort of body language you may or may not be using to validate their half of the conversation. Instead, your time is spent carefully hanging on their every word, digesting it and projecting the whole bit into a colourful scene in your imagination. Instead, you’re too lost in the excitement of their infinitely more interesting life and impossible wealth of knowledge offered to you with each word that they speak. Instead, you are actually listening to the words that come out of their mouth and not the ones that speak to you from the inside of your own mind.

This is what it means to be in conversation. This was the point of our social nature. And in a world of needy social-media junkies grabbing at the cuffs of potential ‘followers’ and ‘likes’ and trendy passer-by’s, the last thing anyone needs is the high-pitched whine of another “interesting” millennial.

Lucky for you, you boring sack of yawning sloths, that you aren’t interesting too.
Nov 2015 · 917
If We Challenge Nature
Alex Hoffman Nov 2015
In the open space below the mountains
lakes and rivers, trees dancing with moss shawls and furry tips
the rolling breeze that bathes us into peace
Our surroundings that dictate our disposition

If we reduce it all to steaming rubble,
grey concrete and loud sharp horns
the peace dissipates
and though it is curious how we are affected from the outside in
if we challenge nature, we’ll never win.
Nov 2015 · 1.3k
The Burning Leaf
Alex Hoffman Nov 2015
The smell of sour smoke

the long sword of devotion
to the welcomed lack of air
and the promise of quick happiness

to the burning leaf
we’re all the same
one brain
to eliminate the threats from
our mind, the burning leaf
the boiling smoke, and calm sensations

Day proceeds to
night where the desire is hot
sun up or down,
you’ll always smile when the burning leaf is
around only until you deplete it

empty your pockets
the leaf demands loyalty
your life demands stimulation
the perfect pair for addiction
without accountability
it was you who lit up
it was she who was there for you while you did
your best
intentions are subjective
But all falls smooth to seduction of the burning leaf.
To M.J.
Nov 2015 · 390
Catatonia
Alex Hoffman Nov 2015
It’s a cruel death, the death of hope.
a fire where breath expands the flames
from oxygen of depression
comes carbon dioxide life,
difficult to swallow
with rusted lungs

In the mayhem of inspiration
The fuel burns as the motor idles.
hot to the touch
everybody evades.

The signals we’re sending
a question of life in a black shawl 
a cry for help
lost in the rush of early-morning traffic
Too tired when we get home from work to even care.
Nov 2015 · 800
Death by progress
Alex Hoffman Nov 2015
Raised on instant gratification
rewarded for *******  
spread out on our screens
society based on ratings

Like bad movie critics,
we send mixed signals to artists
confuse our creatives
and give pleasure to mediocracy

We’re old souls
in new bodies with prosthetic limbs of plastic and glass
extensions of our memories and minds
we’ve built a reliance on them

One day when the sky cracks in half
satellites will fall from space
we will all be crushed by
The fruits of our progress
killing us slow.
Nov 2015 · 561
Dopple Gangers
Alex Hoffman Nov 2015
My own eyes betray me.
They fight down any chance of peace.
I approach you as a friend, and they ******* into foe.
Scatter my handshake into reproach.

I promise, my intentions are clean
Even if they give you ***** looks.
If there’s one person you can’t trust
It’s that ****** that sits at your emotional steering wheel.

He looks like you
Dresses like you
Sounds like you
Everyone thinks he IS you.
He’ll take any ******* chance he’s got to drive you into brick walls
And bail for you to take the blame, 


Nothing but a dopple-ganger
Trying to justify the actions of a psychopath
Who stays out of sight
Convenient, 
I’ll always take the fall.
Nov 2015 · 364
Life?
Alex Hoffman Nov 2015
You spend your whole life walking towards the edge to look out over the view, and when you get there, it is nothing but white air. And you fall into it.
Alex Hoffman Nov 2015
I didn’t want to face the harsh, true words of The Voice or put the energy in that change required. I wanted to drown in my ego. I wanted to flip through my social-networks, my validating Facebook page and perhaps consult better advice from my mother. But I knew that he was right and what needed to be done and I was prepared to do it… I think I was. But a good friend once told me that writing is painful and I believe now what he was saying more than ever. In order to succeed I needed to **** the part of myself that for whatever reason believed that I already had. When you cut off your willingness to learn, you cut off your fuel source for which to produce. It isn’t humbleness—no, humbleness suggests that you have produced good work that you must now be gracious and small rather than tower over the meek peasants that grovel below you. What a ***** word. No, you have to know you’re bad. Push each key down with a sweeping uncertainty that flows forward in effortless delight and carnage. You have to be bad. You have to not care, not what they think but what that chattering, high-pitched buzz of ego and “sensitivity” thinks about you, and especially what it thinks about your failure. You’ll have to get used to that. You’ll have to do strange things that are not quite immoral but resemble something close to opening the gates to a dark alleyway of confusion of despair, then going down it on purpose. Sitting down in this alleyway, among the muck and rats and denigrated newspaper, this is where you do your work. So long as the words flow and the mind continues to unravel, you will have the patience and satisfaction to make this your home. Cold, dark and ugly—it’s your life and it’s beautiful. Some see it as a selfish pursuit, but what a funny opinion that is to see from down here in the dirt. I’m sure in some ways it is. But it is also a sacrifice, the offering of a letter written in blood and shards of broken spirit and signed off to the bleeding youth of tomorrow’s heroics. They’ll be the one’s to save the world, they will think as we thought and they will be driven to make sacrifices of their own. But not without a little word of advice from the now stinking-bodies piled against the dumpsters in the alleyway soaked in the fog of time. Not without my advice—or at least this was the thought that kept me burning. Perhaps also why some choose to draw razors across their arms, to cut to the source of life and un-dig the hidden meanings and answer a few of the questions that keep us alive. Even if the answers are not buried here, and we know it. It is enough to dig, and find the bones of other diggers that have died in the sun of their own hole, their skin melted off and liquified but absorbed by the sand. Having their company is enough, in a life of strangers. It is a friendship that extends through time because it is timeless. It is The Voice in your ear that tells you to keep going, and knows that somehow it is worth it anyways.
On writing.
Oct 2015 · 1.2k
Artificial eyes
Alex Hoffman Oct 2015
You soften your eyes
Trying to hide your resent
As I do the same
A haiku about a friendship that has gone sour.
Alex Hoffman Sep 2015
We’re going through a transitional period
trying to be good friends to one another
yet overwhelmingly self absorbed.

We got no time to think about legacy’s.
Our future takes cover from
the worry of the present
kicking the shins of our courage.

We smoke to forget
Drink to muster the drive to begin
Eat out of pots washed in
gas station sinks.

We collapse each moment into a screen
capturing scenery with black boxes
documenting life behind pixels and glass.

We thrive on uncertainty
Middle fingers up
to the system
that gives us shelter
that we exploit to find freedom
overturning the stones of a complex world
looking for definitions and characters
to call culture.
Sep 2015 · 434
Waves
Alex Hoffman Sep 2015
Our lives move in waves of unimaginable excitement and waves of crippling boredom. Long rivers of suffocating incompetence leading into a waterfall of rapid evolution. Each day rides on the back of a revolving barrel of emotions. No matter how much we learn, how hard we try, how many years we put under our feet, we will never find a path of permanent confidence, happiness or success. Perfection is a mirage luring us deeper into an endless desert. Don’t chase it. Even if you believe with all of your heart, in your bones deep inside—it isn’t real. It never will be, and never was. Our lives move in waves. ride them with style. Don’t sit there, letting them hit you. Don’t drown in apathy. Ride them all. Each time you will fall, but you can’t ride forever. It isn’t up to you. The ocean isn’t yours. But so long as you have a life, you have a choice to use it.
Sep 2015 · 9.4k
The Zen of Hiking
Alex Hoffman Sep 2015
Though the first carried more miles, the second day of the hike was totally and unapologetically uphill. 
When you ascend, hiking becomes the zen of endurance.



First, you are stripped of all the pleasures of hiking. Your excitement is boiled into lactic acid. Your love for the trail is baked, hardened and dehydrated into thoughts of laying down in the sun until the heat shrivels you into an unconscious raisin.



Try as you may to put on your “isn’t hiking just a slice of heaven?” face, strangers passing you on the downhill stride can only see your “PLEASE GOD, HELP ME OR ******* **** ME” face.

As much as hiking really is a small slice of heaven, there is no denying the living-death of taking 10 straight miles to the knees under the chaffing hell of a 50 pound sack in the relentless sun. 


But when you’re back in an office, sitting on your cushy little ergonomic chair, you long for the sweat and the torture that forces your mind to the ankle deathtraps of mountain terrain. To the deep valley behind and below you, and the crystal basin at the foot of the granite Giants.



The worst thing you can do is ignore the pain—that makes it relentless. Instead you focus on the pain until you become it. The only thing left is the moment between each step, when you remember why you are here and what it is worth. Every time your foot touches dirt, it leaves twice the footprint. One on the mountain and another in your memory where you will safeguard the misery of your ascent and hold on for dear life. One day, when your knees are too weak and your body can no longer table your pack, all the pleasures and joys of the trail that you once thought dissipated in the steam of uphill toil will come rushing back with the magnified strength of every year between you and the present you once knew and respected enough to actually live.

And if you didn’t, if you let it only be pain to get through and not to focus or dwell on, then that is what it is and will always be. A dull memory of pain, dark and somber and incomplete.
Wrote this after a backpacking trip to Yosemite Valley. It's accompanied by a photo, which you can see here: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/how-to-embrace-the-zen-of-hiking-with-purpose/
Aug 2015 · 709
For Zadie
Alex Hoffman Aug 2015
The new family dog
sits at the table
with sugar in his cereal

I talk to him so he won’t be lonely.
I ask him how his day was.
He looks at me
through his brown dog eyes
sitting in the chaos
of a hallucinatory disease.
I sit at the sidelines
of gradual Death.

I babysit him on weekends
and even from the shore, i can see him
on his island
chasing the tail
of dissipating thoughts.

He wasn’t always a dog.

He had a big bushy afro.
And a truckers moustache
that got him attention from the ladies.

He managed an automotive parts franchise
and travelled often.

He owned twelve of the worlds finest tobacco pipes, and
smoked *** out of all of them.

He married the love of his life
at 19 years old.
When the doctor told them, she would never bear children.

But he watched
four boys become men.
And only two were adopted.

He became a grandfather
and every passover, he sat in the throne
of a kingdom
he built.

His grandchildren
loved him
unconditionally.


When he tells me these stories now,
he sits behind glass, where he watches the kingdom.

Without him.

Sitting at the breakfast table, I want him to know:
I love you, I can’t help you.
I love you—
Goodbye.
A poem about Alzheimers.
For my grandfather, who visits my grandmother every day
though he can no longer take care of her.
Aug 2015 · 2.3k
Canoeing in Algonquin park
Alex Hoffman Aug 2015
In Algonquin, before the dawn
before they’re clouds, the fog rises
tucked under the echoing loons
above the fat smell of wet soil
before the day becomes day
before you are a person
and the light of day breaks
the green sky casts a hue
incubating the lake
until life becomes life
until you become human
Written about a canoe trip in algonquin park
Aug 2015 · 883
When you see it
Alex Hoffman Aug 2015
In the hollow space inside the soul
It is the universe and the atom.
In a space of good fortune and rebirth, so close to death—
It is present moment and past; divine and crippling; boundless and mortal
Golden with ecstasy and layered in the decay of sorrow  
For a brief moment we are able to see it.
Silently we stare at everything that is
Nostalgia already dripping from every moment
pooling at our feet in the regret of lost time.
Jul 2015 · 1.3k
The argument
Alex Hoffman Jul 2015
You think to yourself
“I’m always going to be mad at them”
You hope it’s true, though you secretly know it can’t be
When you’re mad you want to be mad
When you’re sad, a part of you feels alive
So you hold that grudge. Hold it tight
Because tomorrow, you might be happy
—back to square one.
Jun 2015 · 4.5k
When you go camping
Alex Hoffman Jun 2015
When you go camping,
and the world lifts itself from your shoulders
and the problems back home seem silly and irrelevant
human life, and
what you may have been trying to achieve
in your leather black ergonomic chair
and your dark polished wood desk
seems silly and irrelevant
The world is here, in the wood-pecker’s tap-tap-taping in the trees
the checkered calculated lines of the water being pulled to shore by the wind,
viewed from above
like the birds that push themselves into the tide and float
back to shore then push themselves out again.
the world is here, 
forgotten by the city, and the construction worker’s crack-crack-crack of the hammer
the calculated system of traffic guided by flashing lights, turning signs and abrasive horns
from behind the wheel 
where the man sits in a satin black suit and smooth leather car seat
sipping at his morning coffee, purchased for $2.25 and cradled by spring-loaded cupholders,
until he reaches for the silver handle of his glass office door, and stops
looking down at his brown-leather shoes that cut into the rounded bone on the side of his ankle
and decides,
time to go camping
May 2015 · 1.2k
My mother's vodka
Alex Hoffman May 2015
Her fat arms raised in the air
twisting her lips up, creasing her eyes
“Ha!”
She was loud and boisterous

Through the dull shine of her square frames I could see a dim light flickering in the blackness
A motor, sputtering and rusted into a slow churn
A sailboat, with sail at half mast

When she left this earth,
she would leave nothing but those fat arms.
—The memory of that crooked smile, burned into my memory

Like an ape making faces from inside the cage
She would never get out
So she would stir ***** into her drink, and
like an ape, threw her **** around

She would die in her cage.
Me, smiling at her like a child,
taunting her from the outside.
Apr 2015 · 424
The Fear
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
We all fall in the shadow of something greater
Our father, or brother, and mostly our fear

I sit here in the shade, patient as ever
But I can’t tell what’s killing me faster

The fear makes me drink
the drink drains my blood

I draw it all out with a knife and a shrug

Another form of adrenaline 
to waste my time as I waste away

Another life wasted
By fear it is claimed
Apr 2015 · 445
In the Evening
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
Sometimes when you go to bed, you know just the way you’re going to wake up.

It’s best when you’re excited, and it’s difficult to fall asleep.

But what’s more difficult, and most difficult of all

Is when it’s difficult because you’re afraid. 

You don’t want to get into bed

You don’t want to admit defeat.

Crawl under the bedspread and sheets

And know, 

Nothings been fixed

or saved.



it never ends

sometimes it bends,

but never breaches


It’s tattoo’d on 
your pitiful soul. 



So only you can see,

Forever, 

Who you really are



laying awake,

disgusted.
Apr 2015 · 41.2k
Split Personality
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
The split personality which exists within us,
constantly battling for the spotlight of your mind,
feeding off your acquiescence to their imposing forces.
Beating like a drum at the sides of your skull.
Apr 2015 · 803
The Looking Glass
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
My cat was afraid to look in the mirror.
I would scoop him up under the belly, and hold him up to his tiny reflection.
He looked away, always with a painstaking look on his face.
Never once, looking into the mirror.
The tiny brain,
unable to perceive the strange and complicated reality which meets it right in the eyes
it’s own eyes
making it all the more terrifying
and real
and therefore
Necessary to neglect.
Apr 2015 · 7.0k
Cigarette Butt Sandwich
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
Cigarette butts and grey ash
like the static of a tv. screen
occupying every cup, plate and empty beer can.
Ruminating across my mind in circles
an answer remains at the heart of this confusion
too weak to acknowledge, or at least too afraid.
Apr 2015 · 1.4k
Genuine
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
I sat at the foot of his bed, and he stood beside me with his pants half down, the top of his belt hugging the base of his **** and a thick bed of ***** hair curling over his jeans. On the sides of his upper-thighs where they grabbed the hips, his skin was striped with razor lines.

“I cut myself here so no one can see.”

People never trust you with these sorts of things when you’re sober. Then they open up to you with such shocking honesty and determination to reach something human in someone else, secretly trying to identify something human in themselves.

I thought to myself “what kind of genuine advice can I give him?” I thought this because I didn’t actually have anything genuine to tell him. I was riddled with uncertainty—which I certainly wasn’t about to reveal to him.

I kept searching for the advice that would mend the sores of my half-panted friend with his bare thighs in my face and his heart on the floor in-front of my laced converse. But I had nothing. So I simply told him, “Want to get lunch sometime?”

He agreed that we would.

A few days went by, and both of us got distracted with life as tends to happen. Our lunch date felt more and more remote. But then I started to feel a little sad myself. Then I started to feel a lot sad, and I thought about death a lot. I wondered if this was the way he felt before talking to me, so I called him and asked to meet me for lunch.

We met up in a Chinatown bar, drinking cheap beer and trying to be young. After a few sips, he asked me why I had been feeling sad lately, but I still didn’t know what to tell him. If I had known, I would have had an answer for him when we sat by his bed, drunk.

I don’t think he knew what to say either, so we sat at the table and drank.

He told me I was a great man, and lucky too. I told him he was the best man I knew.

But somehow we both knew we had lied. Or at least our good praise cancelled each other out.

That night, I got a phone call. He had moved away in the night across the country. He told me to come visit, and I said that I would. Naturally, I never went out to visit him, he was simply too far and I didn’t care quite enough. But I still think about what I would say to him.
Short story
Apr 2015 · 1.4k
Our Grandmother
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
Our grandmother sat in the corner, an irish-plaid towel hung over her legs, in a wheel chair, drinking two litre bottles of apple juice and orange juice, the little droplets hanging off her chin, her head tilted back. She said as a little girl, she would always try to get as much vitamin c as possible if she felt herself getting sick. Now she just drowned herself in the stuff. We kept telling her orange juice is not a viable cure for cancer, so she started drinking apple juice too.

She got diagnosed with cancer a few days after our grandfather died. They say couples always pass within a few months of each other. My grandmother hated my grandfather, so her vigorous orange and apple juice guzzling was really an ambition of divorcing his name from her in death; she didn’t care whether she passed or kept on living another hundred years, so long as no one associated her death with his.

As I left I locked up, remembering to leave my key in the door for Rooty (whenever he got home). We could only afford one key, and couldn’t afford a doormat to leave it under.

I told grandma if she just went two days without buying lotto tickets, we could get another key. She says it’s just her luck that one of those days would be the day her ticket goes to someone else. I didn’t see it mattered, she was gonna die any day now anyway. She wants to win so bad I often think if she did win, she’d die right there on the spot, her life’s greatest ambition crossed off the last line of her to-do list, and being too dead to claim it would be forced to forfeit the prize leaving us here alone with one key, a cellar full of juice and still no doormat.
Short story
Apr 2015 · 299
Side roads
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
I drove down a side road
Because I’m a man of adventure.
It was a beautiful path.
The birds sang.
Honey smell in the air.
A breeze sustained.
The sun kept my skin warm.
The soft clay held me in place as I negotiated the turns.

But it was a side road.
It only strays from the main drag for so long.
Eventually, I’ll leave the road—as I always do
even when I don’t want to.

Otherwise risk the possibility of parking the car
Getting out.
Realizing it was only a side road.
The likes of which are only infinite and true
When you leave them
And when you re-travel them, it’ll be that of mind and not of body.
Apr 2015 · 501
The human condition
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
Our memories last only long enough to allow us to learn a lesson, that, by the time we are done learning, we have already forgotten—our minds wiped blank by encroaching knowledge, a new lesson, making it’s way into our mind.

It’s a ****** wheel. All the activity cancels itself out.

to work towards a goal; to **** yourself slowly
to remain still and try to remember happiness; you will die unfulfilled
but even the most fulfilled men and women
die, only to forget,
Even the happy
die, forgotten

So our lives are cruel continuums
circular tail chasing
quick whiplash memory
depression.

I **** myself slowly
boiled in the human condition.

beaten by a life
that never mattered
Apr 2015 · 569
The hull of a rock
Alex Hoffman Apr 2015
in the centre of obsidian
my skull hanging with crystals that form overtime
when you leave your mind running
like the calcium deposit in my teapot
the crystals form overtime

But overtime,
the *** has stopped working
no water can fit through the spout anymore
so i’m left with this kettle, so full of water
my tea cup is empty
it’s empty and now useless

with nothing to pour
into my tea cup
I’ll waste away
and so will my cup
and so will my kettle
Mar 2015 · 655
The Friendly Man
Alex Hoffman Mar 2015
I met a friendly man today

“Hey! Whatcha workin on?” He said.

“Oh, just work.”

He beamed at me, a stale glaze dampening his eyes.

“Just work? You don’t enjoy it?” He smiled at me. 

I looked up from my work once more.

Mouth puttied into place.

Wax eyes.

“Just work.” I replied. 

He told me to “cheer up!” 

But I wasn’t sad.

I tried to keep my gaze steady
to keep from going sour
glazed over and false happy.

His **** eyes.

Were sadder than hell.


I wondered what my eyes looked like to him
and if this is what it meant to be human.
Mar 2015 · 420
It
Alex Hoffman Mar 2015
It
It reverberates with a vast and low drumming across the hollow space inside the soul, occupying simultaneously the distance of the universe itself and the unimaginably minute.

In a space of good fortune and rebirth, so conjunctionally close to death—

It is present moment and past, both godly and cripplingly mortal, to the place that resides between eternity and transience.

Both golden with ecstasy and layered in the decay of sadness,

For a brief moment we are truly able to see it. So silently we stare at ourselves and everything there is, 


And we know.


With nostalgia already dripping from every moment and pooling at our feet in the regret of lost time.

— The End —