Category Archives: My Writing

handed a ticket through blood

the circus is in town and I’m handed a ticket through blood.

a strong man melts to nothing at the sight of his sorrow not standing there.

the siamese twins don’t share much in common besides loose cloth.

the bearded lady holds on by a thread and smiles through to the strangers.

there are wrestling midgets who don’t fit anywhere from what they’re told, but they enjoy the company and they let the sweat roll.

the clowns all run around the field playing tricks on each other and you.

and a woman in a box who is soon to be sawed in half by a magician who’s lost his touch wonders how she got here.

i hear they have elephants under the tent held together by ego and loose chains, few people in the room for now.

and a lion locked in a cage he can’t see with a hurt paw from last weeks show.

the acrobatic brothers don’t know each other, and never have and haven’t tried and never will.

the cyclops is afraid to lose himself though he dreams as clear as you or i.

and no one likes the room of mirrors, so they reflect nothing in return.

the tunnel of love is a quick ride with a cyclical queue and charges the most per ticket compared to the others despite its tendency to break down and rumored to have killed a man before.

there’s a fortuneteller wearing bifocals in between the carousel going backwards and a snake charmer who can’t find his flute.

and that snake charmer just the night before couldn’t sleep because he misses a girl who’s never there.

and that snake is in the mood for familiar sounds and spits poison when he’s agitated.

a man who can guess your weight forgets his own with each lame guess.

the $2 kissing booth describes our existence well.

and there’s a three legged dog who trails behind the whole gypsy carny from town to town because he’s still able to and doesn’t have much else to do anyway.

the circus is in town and it may only pass thru once and things pass quicker these days.

and it’s just in your backyard.

and you’re passed along a ticket while standing in line with the others.

Thanks For The Poetic Warning

By Justin Cude

What strange times we’re living in. 

The times they have-a done changed, old friend. 

Thanks for the poetic warning. 

A scene far stranger than the governments anti-psychedelic propaganda campaigns of the sunshine years. 

Only the lookers could see this coming. 

You can’t unsee this madness unfolding.

You don’t come back from this trip.

 Neither might the world. 

What an abstraction on the horizon. 

I’ve seen light from the cracks once or twice. 

Leonard told us to notice.

Gold even poured once before. 

The mind’s alchemy says twice, and might again. 

But concrete dries quicker than it mixes, and they mix it quickly, don’t they?

And, I might be gone a long ole’ time. 

That’s the way its been feeling. 

Ghosts from the past made human again. 

Sleeping with those still more recent. 

Darkness dies to light then has its revenge again before its over. 

A worthy opponent who shocks the crowd with each landed blow. 

An underdog for unknown reasons with blood in his eyes from years of irreversible attrition. 

The only fight worth a damn to hands untouched. 

The birds still fly south though we’ve confused them. 

It’s harder now to know the way. 

I’ve slept under clear skies with no stars. 

But have held the sun in winter til dawn. 

The world needs her then so I must stand to go despite the cold. 

Wild poppies provide rich and vital blood for the fields they devour. 

And color when you chose to look at life for the way she moves.

Once Again

By Justin Cude
I’ve been out 
there
in the
burning
wind
the ground
roaring
under
and
I’ve seen
it
and felt
it’s
power
it’s
rage
til it’s
end
and I don’t like
new
to
begin
when I can’t
see
can’t see
back
over
where I’ve
over where
I’ve
been
who does?
who can?
who
than?

But I’ll turn
either
way
so it goes
now
to the wind
burning
as it does
so it goes
Once again.

Don’t you know,
now,
by
now
you’re
my
friend, and
always you
always you have
been
and
I’ll be there
without,
without
all this,
we’ll see,
seen,
seeing,
pretend
and I’ll know
you
from back
when?
but we won’t feel
like that,
no
not like that, no
not
like that
then
again.

So I’ll turn now
to the
wind
burning with
and
within,
against
until
faced
with
as it will
we’ve seen
Once again.

I won’t stop
turning
and the wind
it
wont stop
we learned
burning
and I
won’t stop
trying
no,
I can’t stop
it’s
trying
So I’ll keep
turning
And I’ll keep
trying
and
I’ll

Turn now
again
till the
and its
end
to the
still burning
and trying
wind
once again
friend.

The Books We Read

By Justin Cude

I’ve read tons of books lately. Hold on. Bear with me. I don’t say that with any type of pretentious. Its just a way to start this piece. But, seriously, lately I have read tons of books. From Self-help horrors to border-line erotica novels. From the lone pessimists attempt of optimistic existentialism to the bonding painted along a band-of-hippies psychedelic rove. Books which reign the top 100 to ones spawn from the endless graves of underground novella. I’ve read deeper into the works of authors I truly love, and have flirted with the lines of authors I’ve only just met with a glance. I sat down yesterday and read a whole damn book. I’ve only done that once in my life, years ago, and it felt wonderful to experience this again. But, this piece isn’t about the number of books I’ve read through in the last few weeks, but rather about what I have noticed, as I have before, by doing so.

The books we read influence us. Greatly or subtly, it doesn’t matter. They teach us. They touch us. They lead us and they push us. Some can hold you back. Many will move you, either which way. The ones we love, we do so for many reasons. There’s not just one reason we read and continue to. We read for many. And, we keep reading because those reasons are always further affirmed the more words we finish, the more pages we turn, the more books we try. We know why we read, individually, and our knowing of that is enough to continue forth. Every book I have ever read has provided me with at least one line of life; life learned, understood, challenged, gained, lost, made aware of, or changed. Even if only a line. I read for that one line. That one line that provides the life I needed to experience as to allow my own life the right, or the acceptance of, to just be, and for me to just be along with it. For life to be what it is, at any given moment, during any given experience of its provide. And, for me to be who I must and who I choose to be in response to and in demand of that greater providing.

I read for that one line. And, I read for this one life. Because, the books we read provide the life of others, while we’re out learning and living towards the writing and the sharing of our own. There’s wisdom there. There’s trial and error. There’s love and the exploration of its layered and endless complexities, along with it’s simplicity. There’s death and our questions. There’s wild stories from all walks of life, and there’s devout peering into the uncertainties we face. And, there’s us, reflected in the words so humanly placed. The books we read are shared closely with the lives we live. The lives we live are steeped in the richness of books we read.

So, I encourage you to read on.

What More?

By Justin Cude

What more is there to say?

What words are left to write?

You’re born from the sun,

you live with the day,

and you die into the night.

I know there are tricks in between,

but all we can do is live,

try to figure them out,

and love while we try.

The Way Things Happen

By Justin Cude

“It’s not suppose to go a certain way, it’s just suppose to go.” — Unknown

We all carry with us expectations, for every facet of this life, it’s path and the way we envision things to go.  This is dangerous, and we know this, though the temptation of it truly does invite one in with a certain seductive appeal, one that ignites our desire, puts flame to the fuse of our strive. There is nothing wrong with these feelings of passion, pursuit, of tenacity; they are the spice of life, the feelings we all long for, work for, dream of, crave. What is wrong here however, within our blinded view of their true existence, is our naively hopeful presumption of encounter with the byproduct we believe their pursuit-of, or withholding-for, promises to provide. We hold our expectations, feel down to the bone their premature existence, surer than death of their inevitable arrival, left ignorantly vulnerable by a belief system we have curated in our own mind, made real by a psyche ran wild, by faith chanced on a baseless mirage, delusion. Expectation blindfolds our deeper need of actualization; the makings of reality, not an ideal, more convenient alternative. From actualization, further actualization is made available through our efforts; I hope you find where to direct yours. From expectation, further illusion ensues, understanding impedes, knowledge narrows due to ones dwindling view. Expectation impetuously promises everything and delivers nothing. Actualization provides the world, in acknowledgment of the way things happen no matter our feelings towards this. The way we want things to go strangles us with lies. The way things happen provides freedom in their unbiased telling, their steadfast here-ness, and in our…

“Objective judgement, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance — now, at this very moment — of all external events.”

— Marcus Aurelius

The Internal Narrative

By Justin Cude

Many times in our lives we are the only one’s keeping our story or our narrative alive, through the internal dialogue we choose to let run in continuum, many times allowing it the autonomy to remain on repeat; stop this, unless of course you remain entertained by the story you partake. Become more aware if you don’t.

This can be hard. This is hard. But, it doesn’t always have to be.

Lately in many ways I haven’t been entertained, but I will admit, in a few I have, but that’s not what this is about. Walking down the street today after grabbing an unusually timed coffee to sip on, I caught myself, well, thinking.

Catching yourself thinking can be an enlightening moment, and today it was for me. I realized today, as I have realized before, but have failed yet, until now, to write on it, that by catching yourself thinking you are grabbing a moment of complete awareness of you and of your long running, usually tumbling, narrative you have playing within. And it hit me. In the moment, surrounded by so many unfamiliar faces, embedded within a place becoming more familiar by the day, I alone am the only one aware of my own internal narrative, and I don’t necessarily know how or what to think or to feel about that, which is probably the reason why I’ve chosen to write on it. I want to see where this thought takes me.

Lately I’ve been in my head a lot, and not in the most productive or endearing of ways. Though I have understood where my mind has been of late, I admittedly have not been able to make much sense of it, finding myself overwhelmed by an unorganized clutter. Even as I write this I feel there to be no point or direction, no ending to this thought, no clarity to its muffled presence. I don’t know where this will end, but I will continue to try to write anyhow.

With this I have felt lonely lately. Alone. Not in the physical sense, because I am surrounded by people everyday; ones who love me, strangers who quickly becomes friends, apart of a group even, working towards something that the collective gathering has deemed as worthy. To me it hasn’t been lately and I don’t know why. I just feel here, somewhere on the planet, with no grounded sense of place, no anchored sense of self. Yeah, that’s what it feels like. I’m here, I know that and I see it, but lately I have not felt it and I have not understood why. The only part of me lately that feels any type of anything is my mind, my thoughts, my internal narrative which I feel I have little control of. It hasn’t been running wild, though at times it has slipped away. No, it’s very much so been here, steady even, though too heavy to pick up, too frivolous to grasp, it’s been here and I am caught in audience of its oration.

I started writing this piece almost a year ago to-date. Having just recently revisited it, I am approaching it with a different perspective from which the life that has been had since its commence has cast its influence and provided more of itself.

The internal narrative is powerful. It’s with whom most of our conversing is had. Where ideas are honed and thought through, and where the thinking of what our lives are, at any moment, occurs. That’s the big one. The thinking of what our lives are, at any moment, occurs in the internal narrative we carry with us, and that influences our lives a great deal.

Throughout our waking moments, of any given day, the internal narrative is playing. And, usually we allow this to occur without our influence. We just let it play and we find ourselves lost within its rolling. If its words are sad, we are sad. If its words are joyful, we find our selves joyful the same. If they are lost, we can’t find ours either. And if they are directed, we focus on their point. Whether this is good or bad, I truly do not know. But, if the question is asked whether or not we have influence on this, the answer most definitely is yes, if only we practice such awareness, of ourselves, of the narrative, and of the relationship between the two.

Awareness is not concentration. We do not have to focus solely on either participant of the relationship (the narrative or ourselves). Rather, we simply must be aware of the relationship between the two, the conversation they are attempting to have, and the influence both have over the other. Neither is in complete control of the other, and I don’t believe we should allow it strive for this to be so. That may seem frightening, given that we like to think we are in control of our mind, or equally as frightening to think that our mind may be in complete control of us, but the relationship is one more of involvement rather than of control. Like any strong and meaningful relationship, this is one too built upon communication.

View the narrative as open space for dialogue. Interact with the words of the narrative and communicate back with your own. If they align at moments, allow them their connection. If they don’t, given no mind to it. Give space and they will find each other again. Both will always be there. They are able to coexist in harmony or in disagreement, and they will. Nether is the end of the other. It’s a relationship to be maintained. A dance, sometimes a fight, to be had. And, simply, it’s the most meaningful conversation you could have. The catalyst for every other relationship within your world. Acknowledgment of this dialogue, awareness of its exchange, becoming apart of it rather than an a sufferer to either, ends the horrific monologue it can unrequitedly and unrelentingly become.

“You are always a slave to what you’re not aware of. When you’re aware of it, you’re free from it. It’s there, but you’re not affected by it. You’re not controlled by it; you’re not enslaved by it. That’s the difference.” — Anthony De Mello, Awareness