A Subway Ride to Brooklyn

The clicking and clacking of the steel wheels hitting the tiny gaps between the track rails.

An adult man sitting and reading his comic books fresh from his subscription box, oblivious or ambivalent to the world around him.

His long boxes lean against his cane, and I can’t help but look over and see what panels he’s reading, and who is fighting the bad guy in this particular issue.

Two women, talking away about politics while one knits; the automatic movements of her hands are marvelous to watch. Each loop and hook is exact and robotic. It is amazing what people can accomplish while also talking about problems at work.

A woman is staring at me as I stare at them, I wonder if she is thinking of me? And what does she think of my own particular habits and peculiarities.

SCREEEEEEECH!!!!!!

For a moment we are all jostled together to pay attention to the same phenomena. A misplaced brake and its cacophonous call break the individual hypnoses we all have. Our phones and their headphones, our books and their highlighters, and our needles and threads.

But then it’s back to the woman staring at me again. I wonder if she knows what I’m writing.

Peace With the Mountain

Look at yourself; you have to learn to make peace.

You must know that there are just some immovable objects in the world that will always be stuck in their place.

There are edifices that have been in place for decades, for centuries, for millennia that will not change. One would imagine that, over time, people can chip away at the stone and make a new sculpture, but the mountain remains. It is connected to the earth, to the world, to the universe’s very existence too deeply for any revolutionary’s chisel to make a crack in the indelible stone. It was there before your birth, your years have not worn it down, and it will shade your grave at the end.

You have to learn to make peace with the mountain.

There is the community, who has seen countless souls come and go, enter this world and leave it, be transformed and disassembled. Generation after generation, the pilots and masters of these age-old ships change without changing course. They are people who hold the wheel steady, no matter the pleas or cries of the passengers; they must move forward. The course has already been set in their captains’ eyes, and the blinders of age and loyalty forbid them from looking to see the world on their sides morph and transform around them. They are on a mission towards perfection, but they cannot see the wake of lost souls made by their titanics. They believe that their ships are going forward, but their anchors drag and destroy the floor underneath them, all the while refusing to see the damage as they trudge along toward the horizon.

You must make peace with the captain, the man who holds the ship steady and firm.

There is the mirror, and the reflection of the man that you have become. Eyes worn weary by countless attempts to change his soul. A body scarred by his own hand, trying to cut off and cut out the parts of him that do not meet the mold. There are the black pools of his eyes; peer down and into them and you will see a lifetime of searching, aching, anger, happiness, despair, triumph, and defeat. Look into his soul and you will see the swirl of madness, love, pain, yearning, and hope.

You must make peace with the man in the mirror, you will never look up and see another in his place.

There is the infinite, the undefinable, the unknowable, the unbreakable Creator. He makes worlds and destroys them, He gives mercy and takes mercilessly, He gives life without hesitation, and takes it back without explanation. He makes men broken, or breaks them, or makes them break themselves; He is beyond both destruction and repair. He is all of existence, and man cannot grasp His mantle or see his countenance.

You must make peace with Him because He is peace, and because there is no other choice. Rebellion brings nothing, for He creates the rebel within us.

You want to pick up your hammer and break down the mountain, break down the ship, break down yourself. Scream until there is no longer air in your lungs, cry until the sadness has drained from your body and left you floating in an ocean of pain, yell until the world left standing is filled with the resonance of your despair and wait for the echo. Nothing will come back, and you will be left alone.

Now take your hammer, and tear it all down. Reduce the mountain to rubble, topple the captain from his ship, shatter the man in the mirror, climb to the heavens and take the throne from the infinite. Yell, scream, cry until you are drained of tears and floating in an ocean of despair, until all that is left of the barren world is filled with your anger, your sadness, your hate, your desperation, your defeat.

Look back, see that the mountain, the captain, the man in the mirror, the One above are still there and that your eyes have deceived you. They all stay fast and firm, your mind has only seen their destruction in its turbulent and swirling depths, the madness stirring the pot faster and faster as your spin in a world that is unmoving. You must make peace with the madness, that sweet madness, that only you can see. You must make peace with loneliness, with the difference between your brain and the man across from you. You must make peace that there will never be peace, only periods of calms between complete and utter destructions in your mind.

You must make peace with this, you must make peace.

I Just Want to Work

I wrote this poem a year ago when I lost my last serious job, and thankfully I’m doing better. I hope you enjoy this first piece for the blog.

 

I’ve had five jobs in two years.

One of them was supposed to be my dream job.

One of them was a stopgap,

One of them was something just to get a paycheck

One of them was supposed to have potential,

And one of them I thought was the door to something amazing.

All of them ended the same,

I just couldn’t hack it, or I moved on to something whose promise of something better never panned out.

I just got let go after three weeks at my last job, and I thought I could make it work.

The Saturday before I got let go, I cried in the back row of my synagogue, with my face covered in my prayer shawl so no one could see; but everyone could head the sound of a desperate man trying to stifle his cries because of the shame of being vulnerable in public.

My wife has told me this has happened every time I have a job.

There’s the honeymoon, the start-to-get-into-it, the stress, and then the explosion.

It’s not even the emotional ups and downs that really get to me,

It’s calling my father agains to tell him that I lost my job.

That pause of just a few seconds feels like of a lifetime of disappointment, of worry, and wondering if his only son will ever get it right.

It’s looking at my wife and telling her for the umpteenth time that she’s going to have to carry us, carry me, while I try to find the next thing I’m bound to screw up.

At a certain point you realize that it’s not the jobs that are too complicated and stressful, it’s not the bosses that are overbearing, distant, cruel, full of lip service, or indifferent that are the cause.

It’s me.

Something about me or what I’m doing is what’s causing an endless cycle of self-disappointment.

I looked in the mirror yesterday and just wondered if this is a guy who’s going to be another statistic of someone with bipolar disorder that can’t hold down a job.

I sat on my couch yesterday and realized that if I was to disappear in that moment, the biggest worries that I would think about were whether or not my student loans would go to my wife.

To be honest, I thought in that moment that if it wasn’t for her, I would have shot myself by job loss #3.

I’ve told the few people I’m close with that this last one didn’t work out, but I’ve lied and deflected to a lot more people than I’d like to admit.

I wrote this at 2 am in the morning, because I know that I have absolutely nowhere else to be when i get up.

I don’t know what I’m going to do.

I don’t know if I’ll find something that works.

I don’t know whether or not I’ll ever be a productive member of society,

A person to be proud of,

A person that makes a difference.

The only reason I get out of bed in the morning,

The only reason I even want to wake up,

The only reason that I haven’t just ended it is because there is a small tiny sliver in me that has hope that I’ll be ok.

Those moments of calm between the tempests of depression so heavy I can feel my sheets swallowing me,

And bouts of anxiety that make it hard to hold a glass without shaking, that make it hard to read and focus on the words, that make me spend entire nights just thinking about how much I will fail;

Those little islands of calm are where I see that I can do something.

Where the voice in my head finally gets through and tells me that I’m going to be all right.

I have good friends, a loving wife, I have support.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll land a job soon,

I can’t promise that I won’t go home and cry myself to sleep again.

I can’t say that I will not think about driving my car into a tree on the way home,

But I can say that the next time that little door of hope passes in front me,

I’m going to grab it with everything I’ve got,

Force my way through,

And know that there will be something good on the other side.

I know that job number 6 is there.

It has to work,

I have to have hope,