Moonlight Sensing

“Caterpillars Have Hope,” by me

Waiting for the day
Where I become myself;
Something different.

I awake in this cocoon daily,
Trapped by thin layers that I made myself.

Confined by the environment
I chose to settle in.

It’s just a stage I say,
So I don’t try to escape

Instead I close my eyes,
Put faith in my cocoon,
And wait to truly wake.

 

A poem I wrote while having a brief introspection. I wrote this while slightly intoxicated, sitting in front of a wall of windows with all the lights off, well past midnight. The windows are open, and the breeze is slight. The moon lights up the construction area my apartment overlooks, I could sit here and just stare at it forever. I don’t understand the infatuation, but I don’t fight it either.

The Asshole and His Horse

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attempting to run through the flames

I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t beat a dead horse. The horse has already experienced the thing people fear most, no not public speaking, I mean death, and by beating it further, you only make yourself look like an asshole.

This being said, I think the little man in my head that sees me going to work day after day, hating my job, sees me as that asshole beating a dead horse. You see, my horse was once a full blown race horse, with intentions of working it’s way up from line cook to manager, and from manager to owner, but time got the best of it.

My horse suffered a tragic accident about six years ago. It was cruising around the track as it normally did, slowly climbing it’s way to the head of the pack, becoming the horse everybody looked up to, and the horse everybody went to when they had any questions, and then it was introduced to the worst human being it had ever encountered in it’s short existence.

Dropping the metaphor for this part, one of my favorite managers transferred to South Florida, and was replaced with the devil incarnate. Being head cook on the line, I believe this manager came into the restaurant with his sights set on me, looking to knock me from first to last, slowing my metaphorical horse from first, to dead.

Everything I did was wrong, and if I managed to do something right, I didn’t do it fast enough, and if I did it right, and did it fast enough, I was living in a reality that didn’t exist. I was yelled at for everything, everything on the line was my fault. If I showed up to work on time, I was late, if I showed up early, I was accused of trying to sabotage his labor bonus. My horse, along with the part of me that wanted to excel in this industry, suffered a tragic accident, but it didn’t die quite yet. It just became filled with rage, and dreaded it’s every lap around the track.

My horse died on a Friday night, when the shit hit the fan. We were slammed busy and on an hour wait. The food starts running long, and my manager is in the window just screaming at me demanding that I fix everything that is going wrong. I’m sorry, did I seat the entire restaurant at one time? Did I ring every table in the dining room in simultaneously and expect it to come out in a timely manner? No, I didn’t.

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Rage Level: Saiyan

I last about an hour before I red-out. I’m getting berated while getting beat down in sheer volume of tickets, I can’t handle it. I walk off the line for a quick breather, just to get my head back in the right place, and to get away from my managers incessant nagging. I’m in the middle of taking my first peaceful deep breath as he walks around the corner screaming at me. Cue red-out. I remember walking towards him and screaming at him, but I don’t remember what happened between that time, and the time I was back on the line cooking. I just remember looking down the line and seeing our grill cook laughing. My horse died.

I worked as a robot the rest of the shift, completely mentally checked out. And it’s been that way for going on seven years now. The little man in my head sees me clock in, beat that poor dead horse for up to fifteen hours a day sometimes, and then go home to drink the pain away, like the asshole he believes me to be.

My horse has been twitching recently, as I’ve been sending out my resume, and I believe he may be coming back to life, but as everybody who has ever seen any zombie movie knows, nothing comes back to life quite the same. Much as a zombie, my horse will come back to life with an insatiable thirst for blood. Blood being success of course.

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IT

Stephen King is a master craftsman. Every time I pick up one of his books I’m sucked into the story, turning page after page with ravenous curiosity, I must know what happens next.

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“IT” is no exception. It took me a little longer to actually fall into the story on this one, but around 150 pages or so, I completely forgot I was reading. I became part of the story.

This book takes focus on a group of friends in Derry, Maine, and the experiences they have together. During the book, there has been a recent bout of child murders, and while all the parents are being cautious, all the kids just want to have fun.

I just finished the series “Stranger Things,” and though not written by Stephen King, to the best of my knowledge, the whole time I was watching the Netflix show I just couldn’t help but think “this is right out of a Stephen King book.” When asked how to describe Stranger Things to people, I first ask them if they have read IT, and if they have, I tell them it’s just like IT, but without clowns, and no grown up side to the story.

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The story takes place on two timelines, one when the group are still children, and then another when they all return to the place they all tried to forget. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for all things sci-fi, and without giving anything away, this book took a turn I did not expect. I was not in the least bit disappointed.

Side note – A much younger coworker was talking to me about Stranger Things over the weekend, King’s IT came to mind, and that’s where I first realized how similar the stories were. Case in point, if you fell in love with Stranger Things, and haven’t read IT, chances are you’re highly capable of falling for IT.

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The Office

Have you seen The Office? Have you ever heard of Netflix? Are you familiar with the internet?

Just a few questions I’d ask if you’re answer to the first question was a no. The Office is my all-time favorite comfort show. No matter how I’m feeling, I can put on any episode and be temporarily swept away from my own personal shortcomings in life. It will almost immediately alter my mood, and I’d go so far as to say I’m a better person after watching an episode or two.

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Jim and Pam pranking Dwight keep this show alive

The show spans 9 seasons, and is about a paper company in Scranton, PA. It takes you through the daily workings inside the office, and everything that comes with working in a small space with many personalities.

I’ve seen the show at least four or five times through, as I usually put it on when I’m about to go to sleep. It clears my mind, and instead of trying to get to sleep with all of my daily problems floating around in my head, I can fall asleep with a smile on my face thinking about how ridiculous Michael Scott’s life is.

Michael Scott is one of four main characters in the show, and he is also the office boss. The other main characters (IMO of course) would be Jim, Pam, and Dwight. The dynamic between these characters is a combination of writing, directing, and acting genius. Every time I re-watch this show in its entirety, I notice something that had previously gone unnoticed. A minor detail becomes apparent, and I make a connection to why certain other things happen on the show.

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It seems someone else agrees with my main selections

If you really haven’t seen this show, you have to give it a chance. It is THE go to new relationship show. If you aren’t totally comfortable with a partner yet, put on the office, share some laughs, and get to know each other through the conversation that pops up due to the situations portrayed in this beautifully put together show.

 

Plan on Planning

Between writing, work, and trying to keep up with school, I’ve found that planning isn’t as meaningless as it used to be. Prior to this semester, I’d been out of  school for a few years, and the only thing I needed to plan was when I had to get out of town to stay sane. I never needed to jot down my schedule, and make time for certain “activities” on a daily basis. I didn’t understand why so many people couldn’t keep track of there responsibilities and obligations. Turns out I just didn’t have enough going on.

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here

I bought a planner for the first time since one was provided for me in high school, a good 12 years ago. It’s not only extremely helpful, but also a bit nostalgic. I remember being shown how to use our planners on the first day of high school, and how useless I thought they were. Back then my planner contained more poems than it did plans, I used to write all over it in attempt to stay awake in my earlier classes, paying attention just wasn’t an option yet.

Nowadays, if I don’t write out my plans, they’ll get forgotten about, and my grades will show. I have about ten assignments a week, and I still work 40 plus hours. Work is thoughtless, and doesn’t require planning, but it is also monotonously mind numbing. By the end of every shift, my mind is wiped clean of it’s prior obligations, and is instead focused on the post-work rage that it’s now enduring. Why couldn’t that shift have gone smoother? Why was I getting blamed for things that weren’t my fault? Why weren’t my coworkers being as efficient as they could? Why, when I work the grill (busiest station by far), do I find myself having to jump on saute and push a few items out?

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By the time I clock out, the only thing I can think about is getting a drink, and forgetting about everything that happened in the last eight or nine hour shift. Here enters planning, saving my night from being a drunken fit of vomitous venting about how bad my night was. If you find yourself struggling to remember the order in which to get things done, I’d highly suggest planning. You don’t have to write everything down, just cover the basics. On Tuesday: you work at ten, should be off by eleven, then you have to get home and write a blog post. Planning at it’s finest.

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Iles Brought Me Back

After dropping out of college for the first time, I took a break from reading, one I much regret. I was skateboarding in 105% of my free time, and working until three and sometimes four in the morning. That all changed when I went to visit my mom for Christmas about six years ago. I was looking at her bookshelf and asked if she had any recommendations to get me reading again, part of the problem was that I hadn’t really found a favorite author yet. She recommended I read The Devil’s Punchbowl, by Greg Iles.

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here

I was hooked from the first few pages. The book is part of the Penn Cage series, and it starts out in a cemetery where he is to meet someone to discuss secrets dealing with his hometown of Natchez Mississippi. The book takes you through Penn’s adventure to make his hometown a better place, as he does in most of the Penn Cage novels. This was easily the longest book I had ever read at this point at over 700 pages, but that wasn’t a thought in my head as I couldn’t put it down. Iles made me fall in love with Penn, and this is the book that got me reading again, and ultimately led me to the conclusion that I should pursue a career in writing.

When I finished Natchez Burning a few years later, after reading all but two of Iles’s books, it was about four in the morning, but I was so moved by the ending that I got out my computer and just started typing to see what would happen. I saw the sun come up that morning, and got about halfway through one of my favorite, and first, short stories I’d written.

Before Iles I was all poetry, I had written a few things for school in English classes, but mainly emotional poetry. I have about six or seven journals that are packed full of my wild range of emotions throughout high school, and the time after. They are quite interesting reads, funny, sad, unbelievable, and at times, quite shocking. While they are some of my favorites, they will stay in my closet, and thanks to Iles, and my mother of course, I have begun my quest to have something more than poetry published.

If you’re interested in Greg Iles, you can find him here, and if you’re interested in any of my poetry, you can find it here. The further you go back on the site, the older they get, and there’s about 550 posts right now. Enjoy!

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How I Ended Up Here: A Kitchen Tragedy

They say the mind works in mysterious ways, and I’m certainly a believer. I started working in corporate kitchens almost twelve years ago. I was surrounded by older men and women who appeared to wake up consistently hating life. I told myself I would never settle. I would never be so content that I would allow myself to be subject to hours and hours of stress everyday, and be alright with it. But here I am, eleven-plus years later, doing the exact same thing, and only getting paid a few dollars more.

I was a good student, I just never learned to study because I never really had to. I stayed on the “honor roll” until my senior year in high school, when I got my first “C.” I graduated with a 75% Bright Futures scholarship, and had no hint of anything remotely near an idea as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I enrolled in Santa Fe Community College, which was basically an extension of high school, and found out that studying was something I would actually have to do to be successful.

This was the first time stress had introduced itself into my life as a permanent fixture. I was working at a deli thirty hours a week, and trying to be a full time student. I felt as if I was incapable of studying, in part because of two unruly roommates, who also happened to be two of my best friends, and the fact that I had just taken my first drink of any type of alcohol a few months earlier and was completely enthralled with the euphoric episodes I’d have while drunk. Needless to say, my mental focus shifted from studying to drinking, and from making it to class to sleeping enough before I had to work. My grades took a hit, and after my second semester I was on academic probation, which would be the first, and least serious, of any probations to come.

Two semesters in, and I was still without a cause. I took a semester off to gather my thoughts (drink), and find out if I could come up with anything that sounded interesting and slightly fulfilling to spend the next fifty years doing. I spent my entire time in high school writing in journals, and my thoughts would always run wild when I’d pick up a pen, but for some reason I never managed to put two and two together. I wanted to be a writer, but didn’t realize it until I had already lost my scholarship, dropped out of college, and began developing a serious alcohol problem.

I was already excelling in the cooking industry, being that I have half a brain, and am a hard worker, but I was still telling myself not to be content. Don’t settle, don’t settle, don’t settle. But with every year passed, and every drink downed, I was becoming more and more content, and like wet concrete in the sun, I was settling.

No matter how settled I get, concrete can still be broken apart, mixed together again, and laid down to set somewhere completely different. I intend to write my way out of the kitchen.

NOTE: This blog will take you through various experiences of my life, hard times, good times, horrible times, incarcerated times, near death experiences, and current rage if it just so types itself out.