Is this what it means to be alive?
The heavy thud of strong ***** and cheap beer
Sounds slowly throughout my empty body.
5am sinks into 6 am
And I remember that I never made a wish
When I was blowing out my candles.
Warm suds mix with the remnants of my birthday cake,
As my trembling hands focus on the glass container
Beyond the slightly dull kitchen knife
That rests alone on the marble countertops,
Facing it's long sleek body towards my upright torso:
A modern take on spin the bottle.
No one cares, here.
Houses flood in and out with lonely crowds of
"Nice to meet you" and "I've missed you so much",
Until all you can hear is a constant drone of yesterday and tomorrow muddled together in a ***** sink.
Is this how it feels to grow older?
Each year seeps into the next, and sometimes I forget my name,
Lost in the American dream of party hats and pinatas.
There's nothing real here, anymore.
It was all left behind: all the cherry stained finger tips, macaroni noodle jewelry, piles of presents by the living room door:
There's no room for any of it, now.
The train rolls by like tiny knights clinking around in their brass armor,
Off to slay emerald dragons that only appear
Right before sunrise,
And evaporate before their presence can be uttered from the lips
Of anyone ****** up enough to see them.
Another year has snuck it's way into the room,
Gradually slinking over to the small leather couch,
Where I dutifully await its arrival.
Outside, the world grows restless;
Sleep walking, the city streets begin to dance and pulsate with empty ambition,
Jerking back and forth to the rhythm of the rusted train tracks
And nameless sounds of empty avenues and sidewalks.
Knees curled to my chest, I'm five years old again,
Listening to the tired clamor of white and grey birds and the smell of salt water.
Everything's easier when you only know enough to paint your world with the same colors
You found in library books and pamphlets from the aquarium.
Now, the acid in my stomach churns with yesterday's Taco Bell
And the distant squalor of seagulls falls flat against the ***** windows
Of my second story apartment:
Nothing grows here.
What's left of yesterday's light
That hung around until the morning,
Slowly spreads across the kitchen floor
Until it reaches the thick, shiny skin
Of our resident house plant,
Basking in its sorry habitat,
It's spindly arms reach out towards the window,
Only to be smushed back towards its fleshy body
By the paper thin mesh netting:
A testimony to the world around it.
I'm fourteen, again,
Fighting back tears in algebra class and planning my Friday night,
Because life turns the color of Nebraska mud
As soon as you dilute your reality with that of everyone else's.
Sounds are only as poignant as our imagination;
Afraid of what we would hear,
We force the fairy tales that once flew freely throughout our worlds,
Into a tiny ten minute daydream,
Too brief to ever be accepted as anything more
Than a distant memory of a half there story
That served no purpose
Outside of entertainment.
We've replaced never land with shopping malls
And Main Street.
Throwing our arms up as we pivot down onto the paved floor-
Fairy dust can only hold so much before failing,
Leaving us to our own devices
And a slew of infomercials and prime time television series.
Being nineteen isn't that different from any other age.
The past continues to build up like caked mud
And dog **** on the bottom of peeling, white tennis shoes.
One, two, three,
Maybe growing up isn't so painful after all,
Until you look back and realize you accidentally
Left your entire life behind in the process,
Tucked away in a musty banana box
Between a broken pink dresser and old magazines
Somewhere in your mom's garage,
And the more you think about it,
Try to remember it in every subtle detail,
The more you gently try to force it out of the crevices of the past,
The more faded and distant it all becomes.
Age makes us clumsy, time makes indifferent,
And nostalgia will drive you mad.
The light in our eyes that was once illuminated by childhood ambition
Now shines from the reflection of a glossy
Photo album that lies face down
Amidst the remains of an instant milk childhood
And birthday wishes that gave us something to believe in.
Now our gods rest indifferent on the chapel floor,
Reaching out from under cedar pews
To grab the ankles of desperate sinners,
As they drift up the isle
To drown out their passion in holy water.
Nothing changes, here.
All around us, the same old song falls effortlessly from the end of every syllable we
Mindlessly spit out like watermelon seeds.
Generation to generation,
We preserve our day old revelations about what it means to feel,
In the hopes that we may fight off death
By forgetting that we were ever alive.