the view is always clearest before the fall. voided peace, come into focus. stammering, stumbling, mounting confusion. disbelief, desperate, disparate calls. panic unto panic. cold and shaking. glowing screen casts shadows flickering of steel blue. hopeful and afraid, shivering sweat. refusing to believe, reach out for authority. the call goes through. ringing spreads out, iron voids. clinical voice, clinical answers read from a pamphlet, the mind wanders. unable to grasp, moment slipping away. gritting teeth, clenched fists. even tones answered with the same. civility trumps denial, rage, and grief. how long have I been talking? responses flow free but halting. keep it together. last words. light another, breathe deep, pour another, repeat. light another, feel weak, pour another to feel peace. and fail.
Track Name: VII
familiar smells have faded. I think of favors left undone. familiar sounds have drifted away. conversations silenced. forward progress halted to a dead stop, each foot refusing to pass the other. mechanical motions strain under pressure, breaking down, deteriorating, running hot, erratic, lurching, painful. come up for air just long enough to see the next wave crashing down from above. pressure built up and released. the story unfolds again and again, each round shorter, each time colder. behind my eyes it’s worse every time, magnified suffering. this retching, wretched rage. sympathetic words mumble across the gap between empathy and experience. empty gestures and overflowing intentions seek to salve a burn as flames remain. we’re all strangers here on this side of the grave.
Track Name: VIII
a pyre consumes a vessel damaged. all that remains is ash and heat, to be spread upon the earth in sorrow’s ceremony. the lonely walk among the future beds of those left living. down the stairs and out into the light, the rain continues to fall on the pavement. shadows of absence prevail.
Track Name: IX
the assembly in shades of gray. vaulted ceilings, buttressed steel. memory’s phantoms, parts when assembled, accentuate the whole, the hole left behind. filing in one by one, weary grins against the setting sun. nervous laughter, purging emotions. so much time has passed, so much more yet to come. the mania spreads an airborne infection. searching for closure in this open ground. music drones on, images flash by, procession files through into the solitude of night. promises once made fall away like shedding skin piled upon the floor, abandoned and forgotten. disintegration catalyzed by disinterest. self-absorption returns to stasis. the petty, the trivial back to the fore. narcissus regains his stranglehold, ensuring the cycle recurs. everyone’s a liar at a funeral.
Track Name: X
lining up at the trough. ritual begins another week anew. consume, always on bended knee. familiar organ strains lead the call to normalcy, to dependence, to solace. guiding hands lead to the coffers, flowing robes point to salvation. ritual begins another life anew. anoint and teach the ways of the shepherded. solemn statues, granite forms of faith mark the holes where we’ve left our pasts. a ritual of ashes and dust to encompass the final stage. one door slams shut, a window cracks, fracturing the view, a blinding prism. a bitter pill placed on dry tongues, no saliva to swallow, no will to ingest. another fable to comfort the weary, another myth for those left behind. a perfect diamond placed out of reach, carrots dangled to follow the path. on knee and palm to earn rewards, on long-vowed words the faith is lain. storm winds blow, we search for safe harbor. hail begins to fall, run for shelter. hunger gnaws, yearn for banquet. the pain comes, reach for a hand.
Track Name: XI
gripping onto a narrow margin, clinging onto slivers of hope, pleading for comfort, for something, for anything to give a moment of respite. bottling your tonics of redemption, pushing your promises of eternities. the light at the end of the tunnel, the treasure, by design, ungraspable. the cruelest trick: to manufacture the shackles with such short links. why must I yearn for a someday? why must I wait for the end to begin to find a framework, a logic, to the corporeal form we find our selves in? the claim of our importance in a cosmic scale, beyond our molds as bags of water and electricity. the insult of the endless threat to tow the line. the conceit of faith in a vengeful eye to see each day the way that we fail, the way that we pray, the way that we act, the roles that we hold. I react to the weight. I contract from the heat. I reflect on the words. I recoil from the implications. I retract from the tomes. I turn from the guides. to celebrate an unknown, to plagiarize for a settled claim in the great expanse of the rescued dusk, to surrender. ruined halls and altars, halted bowing heads, lives wasted straining upwards. there is no beyond.