The Product Nears its Expiration Date

What do you think you’re doing crawling out of your box?

We tucked you in so nice and neat,

cutting pinprick holes into this carboard shell just so you’d barely breathe.

Through each gap there’s space enough to cram through enough to satisfy.

Chug down the dose, the hope, the realizations, and call it even on the day.

Categorized, stereotyped,

we’ve drilled a label into your abdomen.

Ostracized, paralyzed,

accept the placement provided.

Do you want to be mad?

Who do you think deserves a wayward pointing blame?

Do you want to be mad?

Who’s the target?

Slash out when a sad man approaches and scratches sprout from your knee.

Analyzed and monitored and pushed out with an assurance and guaranteed debt.

It all seems as though the puzzle was figured out.

This is where you’re meant to follow along.

Do kindly fold your hands together in the face of diagnosis.

So you want to be alone?

You said you couldn’t bear the thought.

So you want to be alone?

How about you stay alone?

And we stand back to watch you toil as you twist away in a cage,

built for you and made with material you provided.

Context is the content of the gray matter that’s been mined empty.

Scream at a blank screen that isn’t answering back.

Worry not, all else have been informed your number’s next in line.

A single drop of blood is a postcard to Hades announcing a ticket purchase.

Maybe you should crawl back to where you came from,

back to where it’s safe.

There was a real world looking in when you were busy looking out

Maybe you should scramble into where your bed has been made.

We wrote the script for you.

We wrote the script for you.

Do you want to be mad now that you’ve got what you wanted?

A little floodlight can hover over the tomb at night.

That small hope must keep burning bright.

You’ll be dragged to the end without a sound.

Until then you’ll spend until you dry.

( ❤ Mitch)

Touring Our Future Tragedies

On the edges of the sidewalk she’s spiraling,

sending a numbed mind pirouetting down the boardwalk,

bouncing from every open door like a pinball without a course,

sinking into any empty bar stool that beckons her over.

I’m tethered to where fear tells me not to go.

With dragged footsteps I’m thrust around every dark corner.

We fall and stumble and march and step forth but we aren’t falling deeper together.

To the balcony she’s caught swaying,

saying she’s spotted the Golden Gate bridge and the waving water

lapping up against her ankles as if Atlantis called from beneath,

promising respite for a weary traveler.

Faulty heartwork machinery prints desire out for the mind to follow.

I bear the same cannonball she cradles to her chest.

We trip and tumble and forge on and forward but we aren’t coming closer together.

In the shaded bedroom haunts she’s hiding,

claiming discovery of personality in manufactured throes,

driving up and down streets that forgot her name,

visiting faces that forgot their duty to not turn about,

calling Atlas names for holding the world up when he should have let it drop,

and she could’ve taken a swan dive off to a finality frontier.

But she exists in still frames of a head on a shoulder blade,

propping her dancing body upright as she sails around the tables.

I promised myself to never blink in the case I’d lose a single illustration of happiness.

But she only exists in still frames of a head on a shoulder blade,

and I’m trying to chase Jesus down a bottle of pills.

Stare off into the azure abyss and it sits silent and still as a blanket,

as unassuming as a force could be.

“Dive into Atlantis to find me.”

A selfish part of me clung to the cables like a dying leaf grasping its tree branch.

We fell and stumbled and marched to our beat but we didn’t fall deeper together.

( ❤ Mitch)

Tumble Down the Highway

Sleepless at morn, shadows under eyes,

stumbling from the foot of the bed to the pantry pill box.

Hazy with thoughts gnawing like gnats

orbiting about, catching momentum from incessant worries.

Drunk now from the sense of dullness

reaching from the blank page and injecting its will.

And the happy faces around will always speak the same repeated lines:

“The peak is in the background.

The golden days are graying out.”

And they’re always around the cul-de-sac of ethereal realms,

waiting to play as if the hours were rendered motionless.

I could be out in that memory’s sun and bask in the fading light.

The cracks of winter would be shed in the decaying glow.

Instead I sit up, a pitch-black sky,

monitoring the minutes passing by as rest evades grasp.

Hazy with thoughts gnawing like gnats

that gang about the ugly sphere of unyielding insecurity.

Curled up now, back arching down,

scrambling for a crevice to bury into and feel a permanence of warmth.

The visions bleed into ash if I’m careless and blink too fast.

Mist clouds the irises.

The ink washes off the script.

Phrases gush over the edge of the table and outline a pit in the floorboards.

I could sink into it and find the nothingness of a plotless conclusion.

But there’s a wave in the distance from a passing crowd,

laughing and calling from a rusted street sign.

Holding out a hope now on a chopped tree limb; no one is looking back.

Holding out a far hope to snag another’s hand; the chill of seasons rejects.

I know a name or two but I fear I’m losing it in the mist.

I want to keep one or two of you but I can’t see through the mist.

Sleepless again, shadows grow long,

tracing an empty frame since abandoned by its host soul.

Hazy with thoughts gnawing like gnats,

and with quiet resignation I let them crawl into my mouth.

( ❤ Mitch)

Sisyphus Cringed

This place reeks of the smell of passing nights

and the stray stains of mistakes that sprout ghosts from the carpet.

The roots stack high to the ceiling.

Scale the vine and at the top there’s the same giant to find.

Floating back down to a coffin made out of bedsheets,

only to bounce straight back to the stratosphere of fear once eyelids shut.

She’s got her hand reaching out whenever the cold air is near,

prying each ear open to bottle up the same words inside.

I built a glass house of pill bottles and razor blades.

Glued it down top to bottom with currency.

A stray rock towards balcony’s perch and imaginary Maginot crumbles to dust.

The smell remains festering in the cracks.

It’s entrenched in the empty prescription crevices hungering for a weed to grow.

This place reeks of the smell of passing nights

and the promises screamed at a frail, broken frame,

wondering how limbs diminished to sinew.

At the peak of the white walls there are only more corridors;

a prison complex dressed up in memory as if it held certain truth.

The labor of slicing nascent dread from the climbers dulls steel and costs pounds.

Sisyphus took gauge of the scene and cringed at the fray,

for the veracity of mythology merged with misguided steps of history

bear common eyesight of circadian faults.

In the well of every hope is the knowledge that she’ll be reaching back,

and if there’s an interlude in the charade, the brutal touch will be craved.

It takes the pushing and shoving of plates to brew temper into action,

and nights have since passed where motion regressed to an unknown nothing.

The crust has sunk into a ball of gases that speaks in individual tones,

said “Adam was a cheater and Eve was a liar,

take solace to the grave for happily ever whenever.”

It’s staged in the drama of peeling walls.

It’s tattooed across the miles of dead skin.

I can smell it as the moon bows for the morning,

and it sits in its place be my sight conscious or wandering.

So I’ll cheat by the pills and pay their tolls,

singing songs over the telephone line that the medication is working fine.

Right at the time the giant is reaching down I’ll laugh in its face.

Her power is nil, my power is hers,

and beckoned on command I fall flat into cold air.

This places reeks of the smell of passing nights.

And the stray stains of mistakes that sprout ghosts from the carpet.

Higher and higher and higher they climb.

( ❤ Mitch)

You Have Died of Dysentery

Carry the heart away, so said history.

The whispers of wagon wheels professed the value of endless forward motion.

Off west with you to move the floorboards.

Plant stakes in a different guise.

Shake hands with brand new faces.

Each gesture mechanical; a surgical maneuver

to push out the older thoughts.

Dwell somewhere else and dwell no longer.

Dig away at the river bank, so said desperation.

Gilded dreams of faded footprints made a fantasy for a pointless fool.

The result never equals the fable.

Peel away the wooden planks.

Toss a dart on a compass with fingers crossed.

Lay down soil next to new faces

to forget the close, old figures.

Dwell somewhere else and dwell no longer.

Grind away against time, so said ancestry.

Teachings of prior days grounded in uncertain survival bred a cyclical psychology.

Mind never passes through atrium.

Rot is the only constant.

Cut away at memory’s fabric.

Lay out fresh architecture

to block out the old residents.

Dwell somewhere else and dwell no longer.

Fall to sleep across an atlas but topography remains sharp as ever.

Tie yarn around the pins, trace crisscross patterns on state lines.

The pen marks spell out history.

Off east to shift the floorboards over the borders,

treading over the drawings traveled over all the other times

trying to avoid the old haunts.

Repeat every somewhere and dwell ever longer.

Find a new line where the old line already was.

( ❤ Mitch)

Spitting Venom Through a Revolving Door

Steady sits the firing squad.

Limbs rest primed for motion.

An array of trigger fingered opportunists.

An itching desire craving a name to stand and aim for.

Send the shackled judged down the factory line,

churning out excuses to wave away porcelain cracks.

There’s always a chance the seams may break.

There’s a chance the wandering eye may catch a weakness in the design.

Let scissor blades cut picture frames.

Fold corners over the wrong parts.

Tear paper into the perfect words.

Make flawless out of flaws.

Play camouflage with origami

and pray the lying world will stay tucked inside.

Dressed up puppet master when working at the strings,

yet bleeding softly through irises when no other gaze can see.

Commanding pawns from the crack of the dawn.

Leaking precious misdirection to satisfy the hypocrite’s diet.

Blink once shifting pieces and the guns are reversed.

Pursuing prey to pronounce the blame on the targets.

Hastily taping over holes in parchment that emerge in vulnerability.

Blink once shifting pieces and the guns are reversed.

Hear the call from the choir: Liar.

Here comes the call from the choir: Liar.

The prize is yours to keep as only backs are visible now.

News travels fast if there’s a trace of blood to gnaw at.

Shot across the bow and out come the paper scars.

Shot down by your own gun who took you for a target.

Unchained watch idly by.

You burned down every bridge you could’ve run down.

Ready, at attention, accept the newfound burden.

No contours to disguise the deceiver exposed.

That which acts with abandon always swings back in time.

Rendered Wingless

She always knew that spring was her favorite season.

Shedding cobwebs in the leaves’ glow she sang:

“This is where I turn over.

This is where the heart begins.”

Scribbled in the edges of a notebook, hope lived out its days,

tracing flower outlines as an anniversary of promises years past.

Wake and rise.

Come outside.

I’m aglow when I see you shine.

I live inside this light.

With fingers intertwined, she believed in different days.

Someday there will be a gaze that sees past simple flesh.

There was no warmth from your address then.

Kept your troubles huddled up in peeling bedroom walls,

projected into images full of faces never known.

Faces that weren’t yours.

Wake and rise.

Come outside.

I’m in the driveway tonight.

I live to see the light.

Pale skin was quaking under suspicion of being found out.

Somewhere tucked away was a sharpened edge made dirty.

Someone was drawing disappointment on those arms.

There were black lakes growing on her back.

And she sang, “that’s probably what I was worth when I opened my mouth,

and I was nervous enough that I needed a punch back in line.”

And I tried to say something rehearsed in a new way but tripped on the memories.

The crows were knocking on your heart’s door,

Banging on for more.

Wake and rise.

Come outside.

I haven’t left you to this fight.

I live to know the light.

With fingers intertwined, she marched to olden days.

The ink on the notebook edges had dried up under shaded branches.

The sun had melted clean and dried up the clouds.

I was tossing stones at the bedroom window looking for a smile.

She was speaking in romantic tones, turning a lying boy into a saint.

And I tried to say it never had to be carved that way into the fabric of your history.

I wanted to reach out and hold a setting star, breathe color back inside.

But she sang, “this is my lot and I will not buckle under any swing.

This is how and where I’ll lay my weary head and I won’t need another’s warmth.”

The crows were clawing at her heart’s door.

Hanging on for more.

Wake and rise.

Come outside.

I’m waiting to see my friend.

Where has she been?

I always knew that spring would be the hardest time.

Tracking trails of dust on a book shelf to untouched reminders.

Brush the age away and her face seems frozen in place.

Hindsight is barking in my ear that I should’ve read the fear.

There’s a marker laid to enshrine the name but I don’t see any of you.

Fading numbers tell a story but they’re short on the details.

The light of you doesn’t shine through and I think I’ve lost the thought of you.

Staring deep into the fabric of your history, wondering why you engraved it that way,

knowing I existed inside that vibrant glow and there’s no traveling back.

Here come the gang of crows fluttering about the rocks.

They’re digging talons into your memory,

hanging on for more.

( ❤ Mitch)

Attenborough Watches with Pride in His Eyes

Circle about the brickwork.

Dart through the alleys to close in on the prey.

Vibrant eyes are a violent girl’s prize.

That pulse is quaking the frame and quickening feet.

“Oh, I’ll get what I want out of you.”

Deconstruct the soul for timber and tinker about the blood,

crafting a refuge to sail above the flood.

It’s a personal ark odyssey, take two of every part of this.

No protest from those lips so push past the reservation.

Go ahead and come on, pounce on this.

I am a fading flower thirsting for a lie.

Go on and use me.

Voice is stripped away; promise I will not sway.

My skin is a flourishing forest to tend to all the need.

Sink into as I sink without a sail to lead.

Fingers flail about for reciprocation hanging in perpetual limbo.

Her smile’s twisting in those rare brushes of acting out.

Scratches sign a map on the small of the back:

The blueprints of desire laid bare for excavation.

It’s shaking my vessel dry, it’s sucking out the air.

Sink into as I sink without and I love the feeling.

That pulse pounds just for me, a cheater girl’s fantasy.

“Oh, I’ll get what I want out of you.”

So go ahead now, claw at me.

I am the loyal pawn, obey everything.

Go on and use me.

I am a starved heart, I’ll cherish anything.

Now there’s a note to nothing left to gather dust.

There sits a lasting message to testify to never meaning.

Peeling away the covers on my faded geography,

scarification mountains a dull red memory,

a deserted boy’s deluded harmony.

Was I too much if I asked for too much?

Was I used up and measured empty?

You liar, don’t pretend it failed everything.

You liar, you remember everything.

Running now just to recall the chase.

Fighting an urge by replacing an urge to replace the streaks.

Slicing at roots for the love of a purpose.

Adhere to the passion never felt because no matter how far you get

it’s the best possible love you cannot forget.

( ❤ Mitch)

Porch Sounds

How did it come to be that the voices of these streets

faded into fleeting recollections of echoes?

Figures once set in place move freely about the board,

leaving traces in blurred snapshots a thousand words cannot describe.

Like shifting clues into place, I’m matching facades to faces,

scrambling from context as memory drains itself to a desert state.

It used to be so simple, so perfectly simple

to find a friend behind every frame.

One knock and the day erupts in motion.

And now it feels so desperate, split across and made separate.

Knocks go unanswered.

There’s no time to answer.

Perching on the throne of metalwork recreation,

we declared ourselves kings of the forest and a second could never age us.

Somewhere along the lines between holding onto youth and expectation,

the cracks opened miles wide and I’m afraid we’ve all fallen deep inside.

Looking upon mud and twigs where grand designs once stood,

staring out into a stranger’s backyard, chasing sounds of familiarity.

How did it come to be we ended up alone

after struggling so hard to reconstruct our disassembled bodies?

Molded by this potent nurture do these drones march to practiced beats.

Punch in the cards, sever the throats, leave selves at the door.

I sit nursing my faulty machinery watching days move without me.

There’s not a name to turn to anymore.

Hereby all are declared null and void—let succumb to black scratches.

If this is the triumph of expectation then only one lesson is to be found,

and there’s just a single story to describe from moving signs.

Spend time wisely, spend time well, but the moments do pass.

You’ll crash down.

Dreams used to be so vibrant in past years.

It was so easy to picture in color.

Let spin the calendar globe and the ink runs dry.

The revolution breathes the words unwanted.

Everything you love will vanish.

Everything you love will vanish.

Everything you love will vanish.

Everything you love will vanish.

( ❤ Mitch)

In on the Target

Come to find an encroaching storm with vultures in the wake.

Come to find a caved-in complex, left to tend to future injury.

As the thunder rains down beaks to pick and chew,

I smell a rat

somewhere festering amidst the ruin.

Bring down a hammer on the character I play.

Say the phrases so painstakingly chosen to say.

Slither forth, bark your independence, but it won’t own you.

Blank home faces are all we are and we are carried all the same.

Come to find our carcasses enshrined in eager wings.

Come to find an abandoned ship left to aimlessly sink itself.

The water runs from a man-made breach,

and I smell a rat,

somewhere keeping my head low.

Try to run but I’ve got claws buried in sidewalk cracks.

Those phrases so painstakingly chosen to say

will whistle through consciousness in each strained step.

Shift in time but the character you play won’t age a day.

Not in my eyes.

Come to find bones bled to dry and shine in perfect white.

All the same it is ended to be with no regard to betrayal.

Passing through halls, catching a glance,

and I smell a rat

entrenched in the hollow of your chest.

I see a rat

crawling wreckage to wreckage.

Wave your hammer round and round but I won’t collapse.

Wield the weight of vitriol but I don’t shatter.

Lightning bellows from the marching clouds gathering ever closer.

In one strike the vultures spiral thousand at a time.

Shout above the whirl of wings but recognize this:

Push me under, I’ll drag you down.

Push me under, we’re bled empty either way.

(<3 Mitch)