Battle Scars

–by Derek Alan Wilkinson

You don’t hang out with your friends
because they’re fun.
Even if you do enjoy it,
that’s not why you’re there.
Nor they.

Maybe there are people
who you just have fun with.
But they’re not your friends:
they’re just acquaintances.
Just fucking strangers
on the street.

You can tell your real friends
from these strangers you meet
because you can recognize
their battle scars.
You can see the suffering
in their faces:
Sullen eyes and shrunken hearts.
You can feel the shrapnel
in their gut
like it was your own.

They don’t have to talk about
their pain,
their struggle,
or their life.
Nor do you,
because you already know it.
And so do they.
You can feel their misery,
and they can feel yours.

Like they’re always there
even when they’re not.

If you do talk about your pain,
you don’t say much
because you know,
deep down,
that you don’t have to.
They know, and they always will:
without any explanation at all.

And you know.
And that’s that:
that’s all there is to it.

Decades will pass,
and you will see their torment:
over and over, again.
Their agony will surface
in the most subtle of ways.
In a silent facial expression.
In an underhanded comment.
In a body gesture that seems
so out of place:
like a breeze floating over
an otherwise empty room.

For the times that you enjoy together,
you will have suffered apart.
And your friends will see it in you,
and you’ll see it in them, too.
But none of your friends has to say much
about the war–the struggle,
or about life,
about children,
or about death.

Because you seek it in them
and they see it in you.

So, smile you fucking assholes:
I just wrote a poem about you.
I just wish that you were here,
sometimes,
when you’re not.

Ten Quotes of Mine.

–by Derek Alan Wilkinson

I’ve compiled a list of things you can remember me by for whenever I’m dead. I should probably second guess my eulogy, but you only live once.

So, here are the quotes:

1) I don’t write for everybody—even if I expose my work to “everybody.” Usually, it’s just a very few people I write for. Sometimes, I just do it for myself. And I hope that you never see those works.

2) When someone talks about rights, I tend to think about wrongs.

3) Sometimes, my writing’s bad. Sometimes it’s good. And sometimes my audience or editor just sucks. After some deep enough thought, I’ll be the final judge–whether you like it or not.

4) What is “love?” It’s seeing all the ugliness in a person, and in the world, and still seeing enough good in that person to still want them around.

5) Don’t think about doing something. Don’t try to do something. Don’t dream. Don’t aspire. Just BE, for fuck’s sake.

6) Finding your “voice” as a writer is like learning a new language: I think that you just have to start by typing gibberish. It’ll come to you. And, when you’re done, people will criticize your dialect. Unless you agree with them, tell ’em to fuck off.

7) To assume that your life has purpose is to make an error that I can only label as “The Human Bias.” You might NOT have a purpose unless you make one for yourself. Also, I came up with that theory–”The Human Bias”–and expect to be credited for it if mentioned.

8) You can usually kill yourself if you want to. Just remember that you’re going to die anyway, eventually. In most cases, it’s better to just tough it out.

9) Most good ideas have several rough sketches. Most great ideas come from good ideas, and have REALLY rough sketches.

10) You don’t have to either “like” or “dislike” kids, but I think it pays to APPRECIATE being around children from time to time. If you can learn to do that, I think you’ll enjoy life more.

Inside.

–by Derek Alan Wilkinson

Her soft, lotioned legs held me—leading me into a womb that I never wanted to escape.  We laughed, while my semen dripped out. “I have to clean up!” she’d exclaim.

I’d had this hunger—this craving for wanting to be inside of someone soft and fleshy and wet.  Why?  Because I was and am human, and mimicking reproduction, over and over, was my way of quelling the need—which was deeper than anything I’d ever felt.

She, and dozens of others.  I didn’t want it like this.  I never just wanted to “bang some chick.” But they came, I came, and they went.

Help me…feel like I once was.

The whole thing was always—the repetition of these things—just  some dream I’d wanted to relive, without realizing it. “Born again” was a Christian indiscretion.  Those zealots didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about.  But there was this girl, and this other girl.  And I wanted to be a part of them—of their lives.  Of who and everything that they were.  I wanted, desperately and with unheeded caution, to be inside of them.  This wasn’t just to fuck them.  I wanted to listen to them talk about things—everything. To know them.

I wanted to listen to their heartbeats when we were done—to hear the drums of that old human effort, over and over.  I clawed at the double-helix of what it was to be a person.  But, in all this, I knew what it meant to succeed: to reproduce.  And, all in all, I just didn’t believe in it—to replicate such a wretched thing as life.

Yet, I craved it from someplace I couldn’t grasp.  It was something that was a deeper part of who I am that I wanted to believe.  I wanted to transcend this natural selection shit.  But, if it weren’t for the old algorithm, I wouldn’t be here to talk about it to begin with.  I wouldn’t be here to bitch.

So, the girl, she cleaned off my semen.  My worthless slime.  I’d had a vasectomy years back.  I didn’t believe in life.  I still don’t. “Ugly thing! Life!” I’d exclaim this, to myself. “I’m not having kids.  I don’t want to give this wretchedness—this need—to anyone!”

Yet, here I am—the unwilling participant in a game that disgusts me, and from which I cannot escape.

And I still, despite it all, want inside.

The Human Spirit

–by Derek Alan Wilkinson

They’d finally found it.

“The Human Spirit,” they called this entity: this carcass. Its double-helix body lay strewn across a stone slab of an examination table—which was blasphemy, if you ask me; using such a sturdy, piece of granite to examine something so…malleable. Well, I guess that’s only true if you believe in free will, or infinity paradoxes. If you don’t…I won’t waste your time in debate.

Narcissus, as always, was the first to speak up, “I think it represents all of us. Most importantly, I connect with this thing. It exemplifies the deepest parts of who I am.”

Nemesis countered (as always), “I wish I were there when it saw defeat. I’d been looking for a way to correct—to chasten—it. It always eluded me. So, I must say…I’m glad it’s finally dead.”

Hercules declared: “What was once our trusted ally was also our most feared enemy. We may have triumphed, but only by mishaps. We must resurrect this creature!”

Mars resounded, “Yes!” As did Echo.

An old mortal spoke up: which, by just about everyone’s standards, was normally considered heresy. But this guy had been around for awhile.

Lazarus said his piece: speaking through broken vocal channels, with his usually sullen and eyeless expression, “This one’s got me beat. Give it a minute, and it’ll be back. And you’ll have your hopeless war again.”

Faustus said that it was only dead because of a deal it had made with him, but he couldn’t provide the paperwork to prove it.

Mephistopheles, while having no claim, attempted to barter with both Faustus and Charon over the matter. When they’d finally reached the point of having their deal, Hercules stood up and insisted that his father would resolve the matter.

I wasn’t having any of this shit.

I ran up and grabbed the coin right out of its dead mouth, and screamed, “Let me show you what this thing is!”

And I ripped out its heart, and held it in my hands. The gods stood still. Normally, they would’ve had my hide, being a mere mortal. But I knew the thing more than they: mortality never escaped me. Only I it.

“This is the drumbeat that it follows!” I threw the useless organ down onto the marble floor. “And this…” I grabbed the thing by its head, and smashed its skull in with Thor’s hammer (smashed its skull against the hammer.  I couldn’t lift the thing), “Is where they dreamed, and what I’ve infected.” I pulled its brain out, and held it like a trophy over my head.

The gods thought up useless ways to punish me—I could see it in their eyes. They sought the means to prosecute, but couldn’t come to a conclusion: although, I saw both home and hope in Nemesis’s eyes.

So, I waited like a desert victim—for the vultures, the so-called gods—to have me.

And I’m still waiting on my death sentence—as I’ve ran, and have stolen the Pale Horse, and I’ve been riding as far as I can go to get away. I still have that coin—the one that I use to make difficult choices.

Wherever I go, I hear the rumor: “the Human Spirit lives on.”

Hiatus.

It’s time for intermission: as if I even had to say so, considering that I’ve hardly posted anything on here in three weeks.

When I wrote Ronald.  Fucking.  McDonald., I felt like I finally spilled some of my guts out to the world.  Don’t get me wrong: I put a good deal of thought into anything I post here.  Something different happened, though.  It was a non-fiction piece, and I don’t do that often.

I felt relieved to have put it out there.  But then, something just kind of snapped in me.  When you pour yourself out into even a small outlet, you feel these immense feelings of gratitude, relief, and genuine human connection.  You’re thankful that people read it.  You don’t feel like that part of yourself is trapped in a box, anymore.  And you feel like people get it.

Then, you realize that what you’ve written tells more about who you are than you care to look at in the mirror.

I’m not in the least ashamed.  I’m just…frustrated…at who I’ve become.  Some moments define you, and I don’t want to be limited to grotesque experiences molding me into whatever it is that I am.

I have to admit that the reflection looking back at me in that mirror is scarier than it once was.

And I’m sort of paralyzed with that fear right now: too shook up to write about anything.