Colors Bleed

Shades of black

distilled from haunts too dark

fade the paint of my portrait.

Storms bubble and surge

through my wake.

Melted glass

sizzles beneath my eyes

feeding the blemished lens

of my demise.

I blink

one and two

as I gaze into the pieces of a broken mirror.

And again the colors run through

bleeding between

the spaces so near.

 

motions in my peripheral

Once every couple of months or so, I step through the massive doors of a window shiny high-rise in Seattle. I walk past the center desk and over to the elevator. I push the up button, wait a depressing long while, and then step on.

The elevator is usually crammed with people—old people in suits and ladies wearing scarfs that scream bright colors—and I end up crammed in the middle. I always push the 12th floor button, only to realize it’s the 14th floor I need. The door finally opens, and the fragrance odor mice scurry off, oblivious.

I turn to my left and head to the desk where a scandalously clad secretary sits. I check in, and she hands me a clipboard with a survey attached. I fill it out, 1:30 pm hits, and my doctor greets me in the waiting room with the standard:

“Hey, Mr. Luplow, great to see you…thank you for coming in.”

“No problem,” I say.

Now, what you’ll want to know is of the deranged bus ride that gets me to this point.

It’s the same thing every time: I sit at the bus stop and pretend to be deaf so no one will talk to me. I look at my watch every few minutes, hoping it will read 11:38—no luck—I slump back into my mental stupor. And all the while the rain never stops and the voices of the crazies next to me continue to grasp for my attention.

When the bus arrives, I glance at the weathered blue and white paint that holds the memories of what it has seen and climb on; each step pulls me deeper into its misery. I scan my Orca card and make my way to the very, very back to a window seat.

At this point, I enter into a dream-like state where nothing seems to surprise me. I remain a spectator as I peer through the fog and watch these peculiar ghosts on the bus:

A blind man sitting next to me asks me where we are, but I don’t know—I’m lost in my mind—so I tell him I’m blind.

A few rows in front, a woman sits knitting a scarf. She carries on a complete conversation with herself. And when I think I’ve had enough, she eats an orange, throws the peels in the isle, and curses at them. (People, this is why LSD is bad: the damage just isn’t all that attractive.)

Later, an elderly woman sits next to me, pulls out a bottle of perfume, and sprays it: it misses her, hitting me. A giant, lubricated cloud of smelly matter attacks me with a force that shatters me where I sit. The label reads: Lavender Smiles and Cheerful Rain. !!What the HELL!!

And to make the trip worse, the driver is insane. He fidgets in his seat as if ants were crawling through his veins. His face tweaks out as he crinkles his nose and blinks his eyes with excessive force. I never know what is going to happen. (I can handle reckless: I know a gal who drives in a hasty rave to the point where I feel compelled to send my parents an “I love you” text message, but at least she knows what she is doing.)

The whole bus ride blends together to form one, epic black hole of mental demise, fueled by others’ idiosyncrasies that help me take my mind off my own of.

“9th and Howell!” the driver shouts, “Don’t forget your valuables.”

I step off the bus, walk two blocks north, and up some steps. And there I stand, facing to large glass doors.

Her name is Grace

Look at her, look deeply…

I knew her.

She had a pale white face

smooth as porcelain.

Her hair was silky

perfect.

Eyes of crystal.

A soft gaze that held

mine in a trance.

Yet

beneath her charged smile

lay emotions bubbling

in tear steeped sorrow.

Sharp

blue and black glass flitted in her soul

chiseling away.

A plague of darkness

circuited just beneath her skin.

And beneath the surface

of her glassy walls,

rain dripped the poetry she hid

from all.

She was a dear friend…

Existing Nonexistent

Shiny surfaces reflect my dreams

back into the eyes that gaze.

I flip through the pages of my mind,

catalogued

meticulously.

I search for the letters that form

the words

that once were

just a shiny surface.

…………………………………….P.S. I may not even exist.

A Simple Cold

Today, at my workshop, a lady explained how several of her patients had passed away—she is a nurse. Someone spoke up, “Well, there is a cold going around…” A cold?! Really?! I’m sure that’s what killed them all… I thought. Truth is, isn’t one, epic, metaphorical cold that gets us all down from time to time? The mind, body, and soul can only handle too many poor decisions, too many colds, before it succumbs to the depths of the earth, buried six feet under.

Just for today, I will view my recovery as a good thing: As a way of prolonging my life.

Lost In Time

Smooth sailing, that is what it normally feels like as I cruise down the street in my car. Street signs, buildings, cars, they all pass me like they weren’t even there—just a daze. At night, lights blend together. And sunrise and sunset even fade by unseen. My eyes remain glued to my rearview mirror. Ever-changing cars and shapes blow by, a split-second scene, then gone. I manage to peel my eyes away and look in front, and then I slam on the breaks, nearly missing the truck a few feet away.

I often lose sight as I lose myself in my rearview mirror: I forget about the life ahead of me as I gaze into the life I left behind.  Perhaps it’s the familiarity of my past that’s comforting, or perhaps it’s simply that my eyes are blind to the beauty of change—change is unknown.

Someday, oh, someday these indelible moments will forge with a realization that past, present, and future are all one, enclosed in a finite urn that vibrates with the voice of mortality. For mortality negates all three when we reach the realization that only our character remains eternal.

Until It Hits

Down 4th Ave. I walk. Snow falls from the sky as confetti. I turn left, then right, and head down an alley—a long, black tunnel. My sight extends only a few feet in front; my feet seem lost in dark matter. The breeze picks up, stirring the air. A light turns on, and then another… For a split second, my eyes adjust. And then I see a swarm of fireflies jetting toward me. Closer and closer. Each one filled with boiling glass. Swarming around me. Penetrating my flesh. Ignorance is only bliss until it hits.