My War

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You gather your armor, beaten, somehow heavier from the years of use, and you fight the demons once more.

You fight the demons and you rage against their walls. Storming fortresses in the hopes of destroying the dungeons they mean to place you in, the tiny dark holes wherein you’ll die and be left for forgotten.

As you lash out and against, you hear a Voice continually humming in the back of your brain like a semi-automatic tattoo gun, inking onto your mind the suggestion that you should just give up, just stop already, just go to sleep.

Just go to sleep.

A distraction at first, it coyly swallows every last demon warring against you till it becomes the entirety of your war. In an effort to dismantle dark forgotten holes, it begs you to enter one of your very own construct, but only once. Once, and forever and ever amen more.

You can say no, but in so doing, understand that the demons will reappear. The goddamned demons will reappear, stronger and angrier than before.

Say no anyway.

Make no mistake, this will be a continual war. The demons need not food nor rest nor restocking. The Voice itself prattles on, dolloping constant bloody stain that’ll continue to blacken even a weary mind retired for the night. The war will rage, in starts and stops, maybe even for the remainder of your life.

Say no anyway.

The war will rage on, in starts and stops, maybe yes, even for the remainder of your life. I know it has so in mine at least. And the armor continues to become heavier every time I pick it up, but still I do.

And it’s not because I’m any sort of hero, but rather, a coward. A coward too frightened to enter into that dark forgetting hole of my own construct, but only once. A coward too afraid to admit defeat. Even after defeat upon defeat upon defeat.

A coward who’s survived.

And in the case of this war at least, being so is just enough to be a victor. Today, tomorrow, and every day after. Possibly even til the day when the demons are vanquished and the Voice silenced once and for all. Forever and ever amen.

It can happen after all, you know

I don’t know why I’m sharing this, except that maybe I have heard recently of far too many who were not cowards, far too many lost to us too soon and far too forever as a result.

And maybe I think, someone who needs these words – someone who is getting ready themselves to make the mistake this time of saying yes once and forever – someone like that might find this scribbled thought and see, and in seeing, See.

I hope so. I hope I can do at least that in my what I would call a life. I know it’s helped me to realize that others have succeeded where I sometimes fear I will fail; to know that I’m not the only one fighting, that I’m not alone. To know that I am loved by other cowards who also continue to survive.

You too, are not alone.

You too, are loved.

If by no one else, then at least by me.

Come, please, gather your beaten armor, and beside me fight another day, OK?

Love,

t

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A Thanksgiving Message of Sorts

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”

~ Edwin Louis Cole

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I take an overly ambitious bite of my piping hot fish sandwich before it hits me.

Swirling the overheated flesh hurriedly around my mouth, in a vain – and ultimately unsuccessful – effort to cool it off; I look around to make sure no one is witnessing my faux pas, when all of a sudden it strikes. The observation that within the central section of this particular Burger King, couples are seated on the hard plastic seats, with all of them smiling and carrying on, regardless of their backside’s discomfort or protest. Couples of all shapes, sizes and ages, mulching through their fast food while leisurely enjoying each other’s company. Scanning the perimeter, I then take notice that these couples are seemingly surrounded by people of a most decidedly “singular” nature.

People that are alone.

It strikes me odd that those who “have each other” are encircled – in a sort of “round-up the wagons, boys!” style I suppose – by those who do not. The couples touched by love are surrounded by the untouchables. Or the untouched, if you will. And of the untouched, I find myself to be one.

One with a slightly burnt roof, resulting from the aggressively nuked fish, of course.

I look again at these centralized people, and unlike other couples that I’ve seen before at other locales who simply stare through each other, sharing only the bill; each and every one of these love-duets seems to share a life. A hope, a joy, a smile, a whatever-you-wish-to-call-it, that you notice about them. The point is, they are sharing Who They Are with someone Who Cares To Know. We on the perimeter however, are simply sharing our silence as we stare blankly into our phone screens, hoping that the food will go down easily, and the time will pass swiftly.

I find myself a touch jealous of these couples, although they be seemingly trapped unawares by the untouched, during their hand-held fast food lovefest excursion. I mean, it’s my thing, right? To long for that which I thought I had (but maybe didn’t) and still, on occasion desire to have again (though I don’t really know if it even actually exists at this point, outside of dime store romance novels) in some form or fashion, and with the elusive “someone special,” in order to – I think? – set my heart at ease.

The idea… the thought, brings me to tears (again, it IS my thing after all), and I shove every last fucking bite of that damned fish sandwich, one crafted with far too little tartar and way too much iceberg lettuce mind you, into my cake-hole as I try to fill my belly and still get back to work on time.

I do, by the way, and afterwards my day simply goes on. And I go on. And the jealousy that I feel decreases none (well, OK, a little), and the aloneness that I feel stays at a similar-to exact level as well.

A sad story, right? Pathetic. But one that is not exactly true.

You see, my feeling of aloneness only hung about until I became distracted by the prospect of the movie I was going to see that evening with my friend (“The Day Of The Doctor” in 3D, if you must really know, and YES, it was totally worth the price of admission AND having to sit in the front row so that we could all be seated together), and I was distracted further still when other friends touched base simply to see how I was and/or to fill me in on how their days were going. Laughing along the way as one auto-correct took “for school” and mis-diligently translated it to “fur school” (a phrase which abounds with a plethora of definitions, as it turns out.)

But that’s not the point though. The point is that I realized in the course of my afternoon that I am about as “alone” as Jesus was, the time that He happened upon 5,000 spare loaves of bread.

And for that, I am thankful. I am enveloped (because “shrouded” sounded a little too cocky) with a net of love that would not even be possible to enjoy to its fullest, if I was still “coupled.” I am still untouched, that’s true. But in all honesty, I think that that’s OK for now, as I’m still what I would consider relationshipinal “damaged goods” anyway. And while I loathe the prospect of being like the one older gentlemen I saw on the perimeter – so angrily alone that even Death wouldn’t be seen with him – until such time as the “right one” comes along, should they ever, I think I’ll be just fine.

Better than fine, in fact. Thankful.

I’ll be thankful for the friendships I have and can now enjoy, and thankful for the friendships to come – including those of my soon-to be adult children, and those that might have never been possible without my new-found freedom. In short, I’ll be thankful for what I have been blessed with, instead of jealous of those who might have something different.

And the next time I partake in a piping hot fish sandwich, I’ll be especially thankful if I can just remember to let the damned thing cool down a bit first…

•••

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Bad Old World

Where some see doors, others hear voices. And just as doors can be either opened or closed, voices too, can be listened too or ignored. And in either scenario, every once in a great while, a person can have that glimpse backward, one just long enough as to realize that they will never return to the bad old world…

That was where this week’s Friday Fictioneer prompt took me, and here is the hundred plus words that resulted from that train of thought. I hope you enjoy…

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Copyright – Rich Voza

Justin… I can’t stand it anymore, the jumble-fuzzy goin’ on up in me ‘ead. It’s too noisy, a right muffled-roar cacophony, it is.

C’mon, you’ve gotta get yerself outta there, is what.

Outta where?

Outta your ‘ead, is what. You’ve a bad case of listening too much to yer own voices, mate, n’ not nearly enough to others.

What others?

Yer friends. Yer tribe. Yer voices of reason. Y’know, all them blokes what tells you how nice n’ good n’ beautiful on the inside you is.

Oh… But they’re just being nice.

Right they are! And why’dya think they’d be doing that, then?

Hmmm. Supposin’ it’s maybe they be taking a shine to me?

The real You, they do!

Justin… Are they right in doin’ so?

I suppose you’ll never know, not until you do likewise.

•••

(yes, you’ll have to listen to the song to see how the story ends.)

Briefly…

The words I want to write, I shouldn’t. So the words I want to write, I won’t. But the words I want to write, are the only words available just now in my little head, and they steadfastly refuse to allow any new visitors to come in until they’ve had their say.

And that, my friends, leaves me in a bit of a pickle.

Now mind you, I normally quite like pickles, especially if their refrigerated and crispy-dill (mmmmm, pickles…), but in this instance, I am none to fond. Honestly, I feel as if writers block is an easier ailment, as it is with that, then at least you know that there is nothing to say. A mental ghost town so to speak, where normally words and ideas are busily bustling about their day.

So whatever this thing is called (literate-logjam? post-pickled?), I was very glad when Leeroy came along with a 100 Word Song that I could have some fun with. While not a particularly huge fan of The Cure, this choice provides plenty of play space, and we even get to break with the 100 Word Rule (for this week only…!) and use a “wrong number” word count instead.

All good signs, so I’m going off on a bit of a diversionary and unbeaten path for a spell here, hoping that in doing so, I – as RuPaul has so famously said – “don’t fuck it up.”

Here is this week’s 100 Word Song.

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“Is there room in your life for one more trip to the moon?”

What?

I said…

No, I heard you. What did you mean by that?

Oh, nothing.

I was just wondering if that was what he sang just now, and if so, what it meant…

Got me.

Got me too.

Hey, do most of our conversations go like this?

They totally do.

They do.

I like that, though.

I do too.

So, what do you think it means?

That we talk like this?

No Silly! The lyric!

Umm, I’m thinking that it means he wants to go to the moon again with you.

Would you?

Would I go?

Yeah.

Maybe not with him, but sure. There’s always room for another trip.

That was pretty cool, what you did just there.

Bringing the conversation full circle.

Yeah, I know. I do “pretty cool” all the time.

•••

The (Singing) Gay Divorcee

OK. As Jen decided that this week would be a “free for all” Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, I came up with an idea.

And then I had another idea. One that trumped the first.

And then a strange thing happened. And that strange thing was this. I went to oHIo (no, that in it of itself, is not the strange thing) in order to finally meet My Best Friend Ever Whom I’ve Never Met Before, and see with her the drag queen diva’s from RuPaul’s Drag Race perform live. I had a wonderful time with both her and another dear friend of hers as well, and it did my heart an immense amount of good to see that there are people out there, who truly are honest with you in mind and spirit, to the point where you almost know what even their inflection will sound like, before you ever even meet face-to face. People who – though they might live multiple states away  – are Good friends, vital to your survival, or at the very least your sanity. Ones that love you, simply because (and in some instances despite) of who you are; rather than who they one day hope you will be.

OK, so I suppose in retrospect, none of that was very weird at all, now was it? I mean, other than the fact that I lamented for hours over just the right outfit to wear to the drag event, and upon arrival, decided promptly that I had chosen incorrectly.

Regardless, the experience did make me scrap my second idea in a way similar to the first. Just a little more urgently, as I decided that the final draw for this week’s “free-for-all” would be inspired by my overflowing bucket of Joy resulting from last weekend’s adventure (one which we eventually decided to refer to as our “Big Gay Weekend,” or #BGW for short), in that the (5) songs will all be of a caliber such that, should you ever obtain a key and break needlessly into my sub-par apartment, you might very well catch me dancing about all girly like, while lip syncing the lyrics. And yes, if you found yourself peering into my private world in this fashion, just before I had you arrested for breaking & entering, you WOULD be thinking to yourself that I was Damned Good. So just relax, shut up and enjoy the show.

Beth, this is for you.

AND, because Ru’s tune didn’t actually count as a bonus (boys can’t technically “drag” to boys), here’s yours for this week. Possibly the most underrated song (drag or otherwise) of all time, and one that’s a sheer blast to “perform” to…

•••

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David’s White Coat.

You might think that it should be The Clash, but it won’t.

Or possibly Judas Priest is the one band you think I’ll address today, but they’re not the winners either.

Surely you all know me well enough to know that it couldn’t possibly be Bobby Darin, as I do so loathe going with the over-the-top obvious in these matters.

And to those who know the inner me very well as well, perhaps you think The Bolshoi will be the band who rates my five, but even these lovely lads will be passed up for today.

And they will be likewise treated, as even more important than they, New Model Army has for many a year led my heart’s fray.

First formed in 1980, and still recording and touring till this day, these boys out of Yorkshire, England first captured me in 1988, with my unplanned purchase of their self-named EP tape (one of the many such bands that I came to love, after purchasing their album based SOLELY upon the artwork) – an EP tape that awoke my melodic and social senses with an immediate kick to the mental stones, partially due to their message of bleached lab coats gone mad…

David, my dearest friend and mentor during my stay in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at a little USMC air station called New River, chose this very song to last-dance to when he was leaving, discharge papers in-hand. And while that experience burned into my memory cells, it would prove to be a different N.M.A. song altogether that highlighted the “Tribe” that I had found for the first time ever, during those stormy days of my youngish life…

Appearing on their “Thunder & Consolation” album – a disc that would forever change the way I looked at people, “Vagabonds” was only bested by the following little ditty. A song of no consequence, unless of course, you listened to the lyrics…

Like many bands in my life, these boys and I parted ways at some point, though neither one of us will ever truly know why. And it wasn’t until we reconnected that these avowed witches were able to (once again) help to explain to me my avowed Christian beliefs, all while talking to me about “me…”

Once we reconnected, I went on a mad flourish (yes, complete with wrists a’ flailing, if you please) to catch up on all their efforts that I had missed out on while being absent. And as a result, your bonus track for today comes before track #5…

But alas, track #5 must ALWAYS come, and in the case of New Model Army, and in relation to a 44-year-old post-punk punk, the following provides strange consolation to an oldish man getting ready himself to be reborn…

Since 1988, they’ve spoken to me, consoled me and urged me on. I’m quite certain they never knew that they did so, but I’d like to thank them for the favor none the less. New Model Army – you should check them out.

•••

Jen, God bless ya for starting Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, and God bless ya even more for providing us with the “favorite band” prompt for this week.

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Interrupting All Programs.

So on Tuesday, this happened:

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I Won The Internet, 8/20/13

Just thought you all should know, you know, just how cool it is to be reading me…

Thank you Tracy =)