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Joshua Wooten Dec 2016
what lie spawns from this murk,
muttering, slithering, telling us
that we may banish our troubles
if only we turn our eyes from them? -
that simply playing the actor's role
for a world that suits the histrionic
can change who we are?
projections of detachment
through routine ignorance
will not fool the world we inhabit -
can not fool those who know us best -
for they both know what cripples our minds.
the beast named doubt had sticky fingers,
made away with all our self-assurance
one day when we weren't guarding it too close.
we pretend we were too clever for it's ruse,
say we saw right through, kept intact -
we say it strong, with faux confidence:
paper-thin, the clearest falsehood.
we are the ones with impurities
striking our skin at ugly angles,
cracks in the resolve we chase after
that turn to cliffs we cling to
for the smallest thought
we can fight what ails us
by simply taking shelter in ourselves
and turning the lights out.
people need to learn to face their problems and directly talk to those they involve
Joshua Wooten Oct 2016
so the house turns to ash,
the old boards to embers and smoke,
aged and grey, tasting the air after arson -
billowing from burning carpets and curtains
and drifting from windows, doors cast open.
the book-page butterflies spill out
from shelves and cabinets
on black-stained breeze
while pieces of flare stuck in mirrors
think, give light conversation
about the past to the opposite wall -
to old paint peeling off
so delicately as to be a flower
in its likeness of a gasp,
crying instinct - impulse:
a single bloom born to a gesturing wind
which whistles under new petals
singed, wearing wallpaper patterns
packed dark with little bicycle men
wearing top hats and suit jackets
and women all done up in dresses,
dancing like flames.
i'm not sure why but i love this piece
Joshua Wooten Aug 2016
if I walk for a while
I can get out of the city,
the chaotic place
echoing from the causality
of all of the wire skeletons
and every silhouetted structure
painted against the sky.
the night burns a brighter dark
than the shadows of skyscrapers,
and the architecture is an oily black
droning a metallic buzz
that sticks to the road
and the people that cross it
with cars and shoes
so they remember where they are;
drop their inspiration
down storm drains and gutters
and forget the words
they worked so hard to find again,
searching their closets and dressers
for eloquence they can't remember
tucking carefully under their pillows
just the night before
or was it a month?

I can keep going for hours
watching mile signs pass--
reading them with no reason:
mile 337, 338, 339--
feeling the road beneath my feet
writhe like snakes in its unevenness
and turn to dirt and pebbles
that keep pace with my steps,
******* into boulders
that roll slowly forward--
but I leave them behind
in whirling eddies and clouds of dust
kicked up by my trudging
and the sighs of wind.

the signs are becoming infrequent.
they skip numbers now as I pass -
surely 764 doesn't come after 749 -
I can't see the old buildings anymore
and all of the buzzing people
are safe in sound, far away
too far from the mile 764 sign
to hear my heaving breath
or my beating heart,
but I can hear them both.
the last mile sign is scratched off,
the number on it replaced by silver:
crisscrosses and a crude, scrawling zero.
below the mile sign is nothing -
a steep drop ends the ground,
swallows the snowball boulders
and signals my rest.

here I sit and dangle my legs;
I lean against mile zero
and stare into whatever it is
stretching out forever before me.
this is where the storm drains empty
and all of the inspiration pours out,
I've decided, like surging rainwater.
beyond the last mile is an ocean,
troubled, violent waters in the distance
but almost mirror-like at the shoreline,
so far under my feet
I can barely see it.

is this a dream?
one grows tired of dreams
and yearns for sleep.
the boulders groan forward,
hurling themselves one by one
off the edge to the water--
they fall quietly and are no more.
I want to follow them.
I close my eyes,
push off of the sign,
fall quietly as a rock.
for a moment I am open,
****** into beauty and inspiration,
my lovely splurge of hyperactive thought
and then I wake up,
return to the city that buzzes
with useless words
and lost musings.
my shoes are where I left them.
I decide to slip them on -
I know if I walk for a while
I can get out of here -
one grows tired of sleep
and yearns for dreams.
I wrote this one after a period in one of my literary doldrums.  (one of those times when every word I write sounds unoriginal and fake and I can't stand anything I come up with--not fun) but this kind of describes how my mind works when I do write well.
Joshua Wooten Aug 2016
this modern nation is a quick read,
a stolen glance at a cue card -
a political pitch to the preoccupied
and a script for the social-scene-complacent -
cues are confused for cures
but you can't fix what's damaging itself
with every mindless media post;
sound the laugh track
and drown the issues.
criticize the bare human face,
watch, revere the irreverent -
celebrities paint a new mask,
become a vaudevillian magazine ad
and we can't stand ourselves as we are;
copy plastic faces, calm the nerves.
maybe it's vanity
or maybe it's a way to ignore
the person wearing the mask
because the blank face underneath
the oil-paint faux beauty
reminds us too much of what we've become;
only the faceless need to paint one on.
spin the truth so it tastes sweet
and acquiesce, swallow it down,
take it with a dose of the relatable
and some self-medicated doubt
while the paper we crave digs our graves.
it's all fake but it's safe
so we accept our reality,
overjoyed that we hide so well together.
but the youth thrives on boundaries
like they're fences that need jumping
and they get caught up in this world
that doesn't hesitate
to spit hatred at the innocent
and dismantle plans for peace.
too young, they're painting new faces,
facing the famed like they're gods,
shaping themselves in the image they see.
classic literature is laid to rot
in the corner of a room
lit only by a computer screen
and all we do is watch,
watch the flies collect,
follow the moths and maggots,
drawn to light and the smell of decay.
usually, I dislike writing pieces like this--ones that address directly the topic I choose--but this time I didn't think there was any better way to say what I needed to say.  too many people are willingly a part of a plague-like social scene, and I can't stand it
Joshua Wooten Aug 2016
ouranos is pulling a thread
in and out of the pinhole stars
as earth slips it's orbit -
atlas dreams of endless oceans, waves
and his planet sleeps on driftwood,
careening quietly from its perch,
boundless in its fleeing fall
from tired shoulders and arms.
the planet sifts through stardust
and it's occupants rifle through reason,
fiddle with contrition.
what information was misread -
who's to blame for the falling sky?

time moves through amber and sap,
too slow to count with blinking digital numbers
or those in ardent analog.
why do the clocks' hands have icy fingers?
glaciers call the seconds years
and so "time" is no more -
the sun cannot thaw the hands
that push the past away
and pull the future to articulate itself.
the present is collateral to the two
in their eternal twirl through non-being.
the duet becomes a triad
and the triad: a singularity,
but it is not a violent transition -
no, it's edges are soft.
they are soft.
the mind calms at this softness.
time is such a strange, absurd idea
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