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Eric L Mangum Apr 2018
I have a million goals
scrawled across my arms in ink
so that I never forget
and never quit.

Each one is a star in the night sky, that I
am leaping for,
hoping that phosphorous isn't as combustible as dreams are.
Happy thoughts and wishes upon stars,
I live in the clouds
because moments are what we hold dear
I'm always falling for them
Eric L Mangum Apr 2018
With just a few words, I've forgotten why I was there
Not for a moment does the laughter seem out of place,
or the smiles at all forced...

And I find myself asking, "What was I running from?"
I'm terrified to face reality
To accept the word finality

Yet there you are, putting all of us at ease
Grace in a mortal body, a lighthouse for the lost,
And I didn't want your dying to be my last memory,
only you've never seemed so alive...

In a world of fallen angels and broken halos,
It's hard to ignore your wings.
How blind were we, praying for a miracle,
When there's a miracle lying in front of me...
Dedicated to Crystal Owens, a friend taken from this world too soon...
Eric L Mangum Apr 2018
I've got a rap sheet written in the first degree.
With reasons and excuses as to why the blame shouldn't be put on me
and fingers pointing in every which way
passing fault to every other person who’s mug shot
should be taken in my place.
Yet they still threw the book at me.
Preaching the “Ten” as if they were law (ignoring their own hypocrisy)

I’m a messed up child, masquerading as a revolutionary…
I’m an egotist, masquerading as an anarchist…
yet, the only revolution I’ve made is around the bottle
and the only chaos I’ve inspired is in the mirror.
My memoirs preach of everyone else’s transgression
Titled so eloquently -
“How to f*ck up your life 101”

You see, we’ve literally written the book on this ****.
Playing teeter-totter on the brink of half full
and half empty…(Which are you?)
The optimist or the pessimist?
Or like me, the one spinning faults in the stars
weaving fictions between every memory
laden with my inability to accept my story for what it is
a work in progress.

And when I say, we’ve written the book on this ****-
All the reasons; where, when, how, what and why?
Answers and excuses so superfluous…or some variation of the word
that I can’t pronounce, and that this point,
don’t give a **** to try-
I mean it.

Realization is a *****-
Damning everything in its path!
Like the nightmares we hid from under our baby blankets (obviously Linus was onto something),
as if the thin fabric of our imagination was enough to hide us from the nightmares buried in our hearts…
there is no half full, no half empty
and no one but ourselves to blame.
You see, everyone's a work in progress.
The night lights shine with a new purpose/revelation we can’t ignore.

And this time
I **** well don’t plan to.
Eric L Mangum Apr 2018
Staring at this mirror trying to understand/comprehend the man, no, the boy, I see.  This reflection is a mockery of everything I use to be, everything I want to be.  Even now I see my hands are grasping at straws, trying to build this façade up around me.  A castle with its very own moat.  But the algae are still just mold.  And the big bad wolf only needs to ******* down.  I’m green with greed and envy, there’s dollar bills in my eyes, gold in my teeth.  Got everything I could ever want, but God knows it is not what I need.

Something’s missing.  Plaster this add “looking for a soul” on milk cartons and ship out these words to society.  Enlighten them.  Enlighten me.  Please, oh please enlighten me.  Realization may have been delayed, but once the light erupts, you’re blinded by the facts.  What are missing are friends…family…love… I’m the opposition to altruism.  It’s always been about “me.”  All this is a rot that transforms my promises into moans, a zombie always searching to satiate a bottomless pit of desire, never satisfied.  It’s time, time to break this looking glass.  Because there’s one fact, undeniable.  I’m done with selfishness.  I’m done building my own funeral pyre.
Eric L Mangum Apr 2018
Let’s call it a contradiction.
Not like skittles, but something more.
**** and bitter like the words we said to each other the night you left.
Yet sweet and heavenly like the moment we met.
I could sum up our whole relation into one simple fruit, that’s so far from simple.
All our emotions, precision, imperfections create this guard around your heart that I want so bad to tear down.
Like an onion, only sweeter, I want to peel away your fears.
Open your soul to the “could be”s and not to “what could have been”s.
I’ll pluck you down and guide you away from the edge, there’s no need to dread the fall.
I know I made a mistake.
I know you are bruised from my ignorance.
But if you yield your shield to me, I’ll drink you in like the elixir to my forever.
I still remember how lips tasted the first time we kissed.
Like a fresh squeezed orange…
God, I hope it’s not the last time I taste it.
Eric L Mangum Apr 2018
Three roads with no indication of which way to go.
Makes me laugh because I thought the crossroads were a place to start anew,
but there's no yellow eyes and no promises of a better life.
Even though I've been flipping coins with my soul for a lifetime trying to find the meaning behind this.

Life, what is it?

“A deal with the devil would just have been another great adventure,”
I thought. I hoped.
Disappointment and I have become more than acquaintance,
more like lovers where arms embrace and
"I love you"s are as shallow as the bowl of cereal I'm trying to drown myself in.
“Another lost cause,” you whisper in my ear.
And when that fails, I'll find myself on a downward spiral to the end of this bottle.
Where the looking glass awaits to swallow me whole.
Call it a paradox, because the worm is enveloping me whole as if I'll enhance its' high.
And I am Ma'Dib searching the Dunes while the Red Queen searches for me.

This war is endless, this moment timeless.
And the lack of trees still doesn't substitute for the absence of voices in the wind.
Just one more turn down the river bend (save us, save us)
But I'm no messiah…
Flip the world upside down once again, and then call me Jack.
I am climbing back to the surface, cursing Davy Jones' locker
"You'll never f**king have me!"
Then finally…at long last…finally…
A moment of peace follows. I collapse.

Sitting now with my back against this tree I wait for the future to arrive, in a blaze of fire.
I'm going down, down, down this ring of fire. This ring of fire.
In a turn of comedy my life's become a country song of lyrical genius but infamous chords and volumes.
Where no one remembers the band except in fleeting memories…
You call it destiny, I call it devastating and as I approach the forks to this crossroad, I pause.
I pause to say, "I'll be back."
The only question left is,

"Will you wait?"
Eric L Mangum Apr 2018

The guide doesn't show the way.
Only the end.
There are no math/maps to the number of ****-ups that led me here.
But I'll fill you in on a secret (keep them whispers).
1 plus 0 equals 1
Do you understand my reasoning?

Chapter One: Shame

Fourteen was so easy!
Endless number of cigarette butts
taught us the ways of coughs and dry vomiting
You are such an amateur! Can you do better?
should have known that that road led nowhere…
But back alleys and the introduction of such sweet surrender
"honestly the high isn't even that good"
Then hit this and hit it hard
My nose still stings from the pharmaceuticals grounded into fine powder
You had me hooked.
I was an addict.
Soon I'd have jumped through burning bridges for another ****** snack!

Chapter Two: Dodging bullets

Kind of think they should teach a class on S…T…Ds
Or maybe I shouldn't have dropped out
the night before Ms.
(pay attention to the lack of a ring on that finger)
gave the lesson
Then again
a proposal for ***…class
probably would have ended up with more than me in detention
Or would have found us in the girls lockerroom
(she was only five years older after all)
Screaming obscenities between thrusts and moans
And lighting up underneath the bleachers
"I didn't know you smoked"
And I didn't know you were so experienced
Pity fantasies are only fantasies
Mistakes are still mistakes
And it wasn't till three years later that I wish I hadn't missed that class.
Countless used condoms found themselves on the side of abandoned roads/streets
with just as many left forgotten on dashboards
A miracle the tests came back negative

Chapter Three: Cross One

So call it superstition, but reminders are needed
nothing stains more than that of ink
Cross one (of four) finds itself now on my chest…
three nails intertwined. Tight.
You might as well as have crucified me then love
I introduced you to the life of falling stars
and you introduced me to fact
You get hurt! Deal with it (stop being a baby)
Tears meant nothing to you,
Even though you were my atlas we're free falling now
and glass shatters when it crashes down
We'll pick up the pieces later
if they matter…

Chapter Four: Snakes

Emotions became taboo.
I locked them away in the dark (lost in some circle of hell)
Praying light would never find them
A warning scrawled in blood-
This is Pandora's box
You would have thought that that was a euphoria of aphrodisiacs
A mess of mating hormones
because soon I had a line of woman (what is this? Wal-Mart?)
Promising me they could show me what love truly is
And I found myself trapped by snakes
(why was this so cool for Indiana Jones?)
Where's your whip? is the only thought coming to mind
Their promises sounding like hisses
"You willllssss lovessss meeessss…."
I wink back at them- keep on thinking that

Chapter Five: Spoiler

1 turned out to be multiple choice
A) Me
B) Me
C) Me
D) All the above
Were you able to make a decision?
Truth is that I'm still guessing…
Process of elimination
Ignorance was so much easier when we were young
Parents wrapped everything up in innocence
Such little angels but…
(where did our baby blankets go?)
the facts still remain-
we knew what we were doing
Still do…you whisper
Read on at your own risk-
At this point there is no more denial
((pay attention mother-
pay attention father!)
This one's for you…)
I have been asking what my biggest problem is?
Answer: ME!

Chapter Six: Denial

We look the other way, scream out in defiance
"There's no way!"
"This is not my fault!"
Where have we heard those words before?
Give it up-
This is a movie
And you are right on cue
Keep up the emotions
Maybe give me a little more
(yes daddy…)
The camera loves you
Even more than I do
I already knew that…
I can't take it anymore.
I know it’s my fault.
Will they catch the subtle differences
between drip drops?
Or will it be too late when they realize that the iron smell
Isn't me hitting another joint (thinking they don't know)
but a redecoration of scars…
Will they care?
I doubt it.
I can already hear my father's voice-
This'll be one hell of a cleaning bill
Thanks for the sincerity old man…

Chapter Seven: Cross 2

Ten years of absences-
Broken promises and empty "I love you"s
I've heard them all before!
I'll hear them all again.
Part one:
"we'll go next week"
You lied like all the times before.
Wasn't long before Washington was in the rearview
and California filled the windshield
Like bird ****
at least that's how it made me feel
Not Alaska, just you
"I'll be back"
You don't need to lie, I know you won't
Just like all times before…
Part two:
You were less rewarding
and with all my problems
It was no surprise they were your favorites
Guess 2/3 isn't so bad when looking for angels
I must have been one hell of a devil
with how quick you downed that cocktail
(opiates and narcotics)
As if you were drowning yourself in pain relief
My soul shattered,
but you'd never see anyways
Goodbye was all I could manage
before your eyes glazed and the door slammed behind me

Chapter Eight: Zero

Always loved the term melting ***
Throw in:
hollow cries,
too late goodbyes
and my favorite of all
Call it what you will, but denial is still denial
You can tell where the pieces were jammed together
Picasso would be proud
Amazing what you can do with super glue
a shot of whiskey
and the promises of no more (you)
It was heaven at first
Each star blinking out like nightlight bulbs bursting
A sunflower affect across the skyline
Call me Tyler and
I'll forget you
with a 9mm to the throat
Steel tastes different then I imagined
And when you add one to zero-nothing changes love

Chapter Nine: Devine

Let’s have a moment of peace
Or not…
wink wink*

Chapter Ten: Last Cross

And X marks spot
where cannons burst.
Flares ignite
and love ones die.
Call me Hawkins, Jim Hawkins
but we’re traveling in style now
the freighters of before give way to cruise lines
and instead of running from pirates
we’re the ones waving banners of
blackened skulls
"Never wanted to stay young anyways"
Now dig boy!
What's funny is that you never had to ask,
because I still have the key to oblivion
Atlantis/Pandora's been discovered
(Hell is escapable apparently)
And where you cut the flesh from my chest,
The cross solidifies
opportunity in its place
I'm still bleeding
You snicker. Insert. Twist.
"I'm sorry," there's a smile on my face.
"For bleeding on your white shirt"
WHERE IS IT? you ask
You'll never know though,
Nothing was ever there…

Chapter Eleven: One

From conception we were ******
innocence dies quick (what, at like nine?)
And if you knew then that I'd be a burden
I'm sure you would have wrapped that tool tighter
Don't worry, I feel bad for you too
Who wants disappointment?
but I am a poet
Can't you tell?
I wrap all of this sadness, self-deprivation into prose
where you laugh because of the wit
which is really nothing more than my-
Inability to articulate…

Chapter Twelve: Solution

The guide doesn't show the way.
(where are the road signs?
did you forget to mention something boss?)
Only the end.
There's no math/maps to the number of ****-ups that led me here.
(I'm sure you lost count.
I know did.)
But I'll fill you in on a secret
You can scream it out if you'd like!
1 plus 0 equals 1
Do you understand my reasoning?
Of course you don't…


Clear as day,
the question is simple-
How do you **** up your life?
Answer is no new news.
It all starts with 1 (you)
add everything that amounted to nothing (0)
and you are left with 1 (you)
But don't worry, you were destined to fail from the start…
but we aren't are we?
Why did you join me?
No answer.
Just the smile that started it all.
Original draft has notations for this to be spoke work.  Due to formatting issues, those feelings cannot be expressed properly, but I'm sure the point will come across just fine.
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