Polly:

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My Mother had three boys between two different men, all of whom have nothing to do with her or their offspring. Elaborate tales of why spun across dining tables, as if the why’s matter and they bring comfort. Because really there’s no reason why things happen, they just do, but it’s a reality we hide from children. Like they should be privileged to live in this frame where rhymes make a rhythm. All this fancying, this bone breaking theater  leaves us with, is not some optimistic vision of the world, our future, our place in the universe spiritually or materialistically, but an aching hole and hunger, a wound dying to go back to that time, that lie that seemed so real.

I’ve been alone most of my life, unable to connect to the many colors of my family. The first a neurotic mess crippled by a perceived wrong, addled with aggression and a an abrasive sense of justness. The second an unperturbed liar, a narcissistic capable of hurting so easily; and the worst, the last one thrown out, a flavorless fuck incapable and lame. Vile and hurtful. Not even aware enough to describe themselves as anything more than a pitiful excuse for a person.

I grew up confused and I sometimes day-dream about my death. Who would mourn for me, pour water on my grave, breath heat into the soil? It’s a small list and gets smaller still. I try to imagine when my bones will be bleached and if anyone will write for me. Will anyone love me then.

That day, the heat was terrible, but I perched under that tree, scared of what I might find. A terrible fear that I didn’t know what to do with. I was bad to that dog. I hardly ever took her out, forgot about her, didn’t stroke her enough share with her… Now she was sentenced to death, and all I was faced with was the miserable things I had failed at. Not a good memory in sight, and I wonder if she knew that…

I didn’t want to look at death, at suicide, because I imagined that I, through action or inaction had helped those seeds grow and those wounds fester…

Or maybe it was the powerless feeling that unsettled me so much, a lack of confidence to change the world. A time where those lies I had as a child would be so handy. Where I could spin yarns like my mother and brothers did, lies about how things are, and why they happen. Feed that wound, not only in someone, but in myself. Was it easy to do? I don’t even remember it, maybe no one does, maybe it’s natural, inert in us to sooth like that, with fiction, but it never does sooth, it only furthers that extension.IMG_0798

The strain she has. I can’t reach around it, not with words, only with my arms. I want to feel the re-verb of her chest open and close. I want her to feel me dying with her… I just… Want her not to hurt anymore.

An overdose of anesthetic, it seemed so easy. A cardiac arrest and complete failure of the respiratory system seizes the body. . Her paw, listlessly hangs off the table. it’s movement, not governed by the force of her body, her might and muscle, but by the force of gravity. The line break between life and death. The snap of the fingers, that warns you she’s dead; and it awakens a primal, cave like fear. A want to leave it, images of carcass I’ve seen on the shore. rotten and eaten sheep. Bloated ribcages exploded and open. the gases once inside having grown and burst, popping the body like a balloon.

I picture my hands, as I lifted myself off her plunging into her rotted rib-cage, getting stuck on the bones and congealing blood…

yet the worst part, was that I left her there, on that gaudy stainless steel frame with a rubberized black top that’s convenient to clean.  It’s such a fucking indignity, it offends me to see that, her paw so, dead. Her eyes sit open but they are still, she’s dead. I tried, before I left, to…

Put her paw back, to leave her in a more, peaceful position, as if it matter, but every time, it flopped back, and with each attempt, I grew just a more numb until it didn’t even matter any more.

She was dead. When A second ago she was driven by this urge to exist. The cells inside her dividing and copying themselves, growing and living and mutating. The urge to live, the divinity of self-interest. Matters to us all, matters to me, but when this dog, this unloved dog died on that table, me clutching her shaking form was I respecting that?

Yet I still ask the woman I love, who wants to die, to live. I lie and say I showed that dog a mercy, when It wanted to live and to live with, a cruel joke.

I held that body.

That dog of matted hair, stinking the way she always stank, hair coming away with me, playing in my fingers on the drive home. The wound in my stomach growing till the point of vomit.

When I held that dog on that table, that awful terrible table, I imagined you in your coffin. Me, being unable to love you. A stranger to your family, a stranger to your husband, a gritted eulogy, where I would introduce myself as a colleague, unable to say the things I could never say again. The threads of me that bleed into you severed, broken nerves that would never heal or leave. A brain too dumb to recognize their deadness, always sending signals to those frayed corners going nowhere. To big, to colorful and hungry to let anything else grow. And to you, that you would leave without me, perhaps I am not intended to see. To know of… Yet my whole being just wants it, to hold you all the time, and when I picture your body that urge is so painful, so sharp.

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I held a dead body that day, I didn’t want to hold yours, not because I wouldn’t, because I would, I’d’ never let go, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world without you.

I wish I had, some profound point to leave, some moment of clarity when it clicks and makes sense, but that would be another lie for another child. Because there isn’t one.

It’s you and me, our lives, our memories, our moments. Each second passing irretrievable. I say that I love you, because I know that each second that does pass with you, I don’t want to retrieve, I want to preserve.

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Cracked:

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Life sucks. Yeah, take that universe I’m defying you. Fuck you and your imagined omnipotence.

I don’t like writing about what I do because I’m afraid I’ll turn this blog or even just this post into some sort of new media CV, where people invest ideas in me that are so detached from reality they might imagine me as some artistic Tibetan farmer who trains warrior owls with a masters in social sciences.

Also there’s that fear that if you advertise your skills you open yourself up to the judgement of the masses, where standards have no meaning, and you’ll never be quite as ”good” as the next guy. All that said I have some skills, they serve the video industry.  I’m a fast and fairly talented editor, I’m a writer and can’t stop pointing my camera at things. Do I make sketches as 99.99% of the internet does? Not often, although I have dabbled. I mostly make music video… Things…

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I enjoy it a hell of a lot. I like to soak into a song imagine the image, create the image, and boom, cut it. This order swaps and gets switched around sometimes. It’s not always song to image but image to song. Why do I do this? I don’t know, maybe it’s to create my own slice of self-preservation. I don’t particularly want kids, so maybe this is something I could be remembered for. Although that sentiment doesn’t normally reach me when I’m in the middle of it. I’m to busy just being there, being creative. Doing something and making something that I can own. That no one else, not another soul of the 7 billion odd people on earth can stake a claim to.

It’s mine…

So where do I find myself with this rather unpractical, everyday bread on the table skill set? At a crossroads. University is in-front of me. I got into a place situated inside Manchester’s media city. It’s pretty prestigious and I was recognized on the merit of my work alone, which to be honest felt amazing.

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Although It’s the biggest commitment I’ve ever made. Three years. Three years toiling at something huge. is it what I want? As I maybe stagnate in a classroom will the world move on? God I hope not. There’s a woman I love and it is hard to imagine not being able to see her. I’ll have to move. It will be lonely and everyday I will miss her more than the last.

Without her I feel incomplete. The touch, the body filled with hot blood, waving curves of sinew, and skin. I can feel all that blood. Is it even your blood? How can you be sure? We share it. Then there’s the dizzy rotating feeling of hands. Hands on mine, hands across surfaces. Hands holding the little unspoken promises that mean more than any material ever could. Words in frozen time that only breaks when the touch is gone, but we long remember the stench burned into our nostrils, our bodies…

Now I wonder, where your hands are?

When will they next touch me and unravel that mystery inside. The one that haunts me every moment I’m out of your view.

I want to believe that this course will fling me into a well-paying career doing what I simply love and from there I’ll save and buy a small holding. Escape the bile of society and the obsession with the material. Become one with the land and feel connected to something more than me, responsible.  After that… All I want to do is invite her there, all I can offer her is myself. Yet I’m afraid. Afraid that at one point in that plan, at one step I’ll lose track. I’ll find myself working on something I loath, or find myself outclassed by others with more refined skills. More importantly I’m afraid that in three years, maybe longer, the woman I love will be somewhere else. That I’ll appear boring or distant.

Though I’m comforted when she expresses the same fears as me, the banal worry that we might become… ”Boring”. Because that’s when I know, that she never could be to me. I can’t worry about forever.

I know we all feel cracks, we all slowly crumbling away from our perfect forms, but there’s so much time between those moments; and when we finally do fall apart, that’s when we can really see each other. Because we look out of our cracks, through ourselves and past theirs, right to the core. It wasn’t until she saw me crack that I knew, that I wouldn’t have to worry about forever. Before that we were just enjoying the idea of each other, watching the surf at the surface, but once we cracked, the light got in, and we could see it all, each other from the inside out.

We’ll never be the same.

-PB

 

 

New York: All Good Stories Start At the End Right? (1/3)

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Somewhere in the depths of Terminal 8 inside JFK international airport is a wall. That wall has a painted mural depicting a multicultural market in Central Park personifying the foundation of America’s diverse history. However observing it imbues a sort of cynicism of any sincerity as the mural is subtly plaster by Coca-cola billboards, bottles and cups. Leading me to assume it’s nothing but a badly drawn advert for the worlds leading monopoly in soft drinks.

The reason I’m talking about this is because unfortunately I lived under it for two days during New Yorks ‘‘Super Storm”. As a native Englishmen I’m quite familiar with the ”we’re all going to die in three inches of snow” phenomenon however I never had the pleasure to be on the other end of it. Upon arriving, penniless, tired and a little sexually frustrated I immediately became aware of our inability to fly. The building was empty, the mood tense and apathetic. The only people left were the staff handing out travel itineraries for flights later in the week. With a 24 hour travel ban we had no escape.

So that’s where I ended up. Cornered in the basement of a makeshift refugee camp. Surrounded by a family who only spoke spanish but decided anyway to build a fortress out of camp beds. This monstrous construction went on throughout the night and before dawn the family had constructed an impenetrable fort that seemed to suck all light away from the sun and leave my humble corner cold and void of all light.

I began to compile a diary of my thoughts, believing that indeed these would be my last hours on this green earth, here is my first entry:

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Hour: 1 (47 hours remain)

With no food or water, my body has quickly lost strength and disease runs unchecked throughout the camp. I have not eaten solid food in over an hour. I have yet to have a drink. In fact, swallowing causes such intense agony that I can’t even swallow my own spit without curling up into a ball and crying. To compensate I’ve got a cup that I spit into every minute or so. When the cup is full, I simply pour it on the floor and hope the building river of saliva will wash me away and back home to my comfy british isles.

Hour: 6/6.5 (42 hours remain)

My companion braved the sea of the unwashed to reach the bathroom. I have not seen her since. I tried to convince her instead to rest, but in my weakened state my protests were less than eloquent. She has not returned… 

Hour: 11 (38 hours remain) 

I’ve recovered substantially thanks to the help of some badly made convenience store sandwiches and the return of my companion. Thankfully she is unscathed apart from a rather awkward social encounter with a clerk who conversed far more than necessary.

Things were looking promising until my mental state deteriorated. I begin murmuring uncontrollable about Earl Gray and pork pies. I decided I would attempt to clean myself to calm my state. I began my trek with nothing but a wet wipe. Hopes were high. 

The journey itself is not difficult, except for the sidestepping of sleeping families and lonely travelers. Once inside the restrooms I retreat to the disabled stall, wanting both privacy and space. I stretch, let my T-shirt ride up and reveal my pale stomach. The light here is different. Whiter, purer. It reminds me of looking out of my bedroom window, the sky diffused and grey, the light framed in a square bracket on my wall…

As I continue to stretch I notice something, the perfectly grey floor was marked by a little wet red spot. Then I realise there are more red spots. A few dozen of them of varying sizes. If I wasn’t in the mens I would have assumed it was sanitary related but no. It was blood and it had no reason being here…  I leave hoping to find some TSA officer and inform them of this peculiarity, but find none. My conclusion is that a rogue villain is picking off refugees one by one, smothering them to death before cutting them up in the disabled toilets, flushing the evidence down the loo. 

It distresses me greatly. 

Hour: 18 (30 hours remain)

It’s late, it’s dark. I want to sleep. My companion in their bed has pushed their cot against mine. She whispers to me. ”Be careful”, I was told, ”There are a lot of homeless people around…” I murmur some sort of empty assurance but they promptly close their eyes and fall unconscious leaving me with the task of protecting our wellbeing and luggage. 

I do not rest.

Filled with a McCarthy sense of paranoia I fiercely glare at the camp’s other inmates to decide whether they were homeless and if they were, would they stab me and steal my stuff? This goes on all night. The only other conscious soul in the camp is an elderly man with a limp. He keeps pacing back and forth from this one spot but he can’t walk right so instead he leans on a trolley for balance. I don’t see him again after this. I guess I’ll never know what he was doing…

vsAGttwvjdnHour: 29 (19 hours remain) 

It’s morning… I leave for food and a general stretch returning once more to the top floor. I mournfully glare at the departures board only to see canceled flight after flight. Yet something’s off, my brain doesn’t tick at first but there’s a flight not branded with that depressing red text. ”Holy shit”, I whisper to myself… There’s a flight to my fucking home… Why aren’t I on it? I wonder. I run to the check-in desk. There’s a man, not in uniform but some red shirt. He claims that there’s no staff to talk to me, that all of management is swept up in a flurry of hectic meetings and couldn’t possible asses my situation. I ask him a hundred questions and demand something more, I was so hungry to leave I didn’t mean to be rude so I used by Radio-Four voice. His posture changes but he is still useless. 

In this whole airport, a space covering almost 5,000 acres there isn’t one staff member I can talk too… 

I return to my companion with the news. There’s a flight, but damn… We ain’t on it. 

Hour: 30 (18 hours remain)

We began feverishly searching through our travel documents. Reading fine prints of insurance coverage and googling FAQ’s with inept broadband. Finally we found a number, it was an english line so we made some arrangements and had our domestic families make a case for us. It was tense waiting, longing for good news. It took awhile for someone to get back to us but finally smiles! We were promised a seat ”no problems”. Yet…. There was a catch.

The person who made the call could not actually confirm the seats for us as they didn’t have permission to change our itinerary. We roll our eyes. Our only option is to find the American number, hope to talk to someone and either get the seats ourselves or okay our English compadre.

My companion leaves to make the call…

I stay with the camp beds and our stuff just incase.

Hour: 33 (15 hours remain) 

I have still not heard from my companion. She has not returned and I can’t leave our luggage unattended to search for her. I hope things are well but I am increasingly feeling inept and impotent to help in our share catastrophe. I find myself staring at the mural for extended periods of time. It brings me back to our moments in the MOMA. NY’s Museum of Modern Art. I find the term modern and it’s connotation quite confusing. It’s a term that covers a very broad range of subjects but really it describes and incredibly brief period of time. Now we find ourselves folding the future into the past with our post-modern autopsy of the now past present.  

The volume of exhibits were overwhelming but there was one Artist I clung to for stability. Mary Weatherford. Her minimalist use of colour and speckled forms invokes the image of a cave painting. Primal and powerful. The light has a way of drawing you into this other world of childlike comprehension. Matched only by sensations of plunging into oils of vastly different colours… Only to have them peel away with your skin to reveal something other, something raw. 

She single-handedly justified my visit. 

Hour: 38 (10 hours remain)

We’re at a different terminal now. We’ll soon leave this country and be flying across the oceans. My companion achieved their goal, not without flare. My quiet british reserve might not of carried us this far. Thankfully she was willing to get a little vocal about her distress. 

After burning through several useless agents she managed to find one willing to grovel for forgiveness and offer us up some premium seats. 

We had been ”booked up” to business class. Free leg room here I come. We’re waiting now for the final call. We spend the rest of our time talking about each other in an empty food court. It’s nice and I almost regret leaving now. Not being able to have full and convenient access to a mind I love is frustrating at best. 

Final Entry: 

I can hear the low announcement of the final flight.
Like always, I just keep on staring blankly ahead. 
My eyelids a little heavy, I close them for just a moment. I’m holding someones hand but it slips away as they escape in front of me. 

I’ll never forget the night that the fierce typhoon passed, I was looking down on the city from the top of the skies horizon. The wind still a little erratic, tearing at the edges of its departure. The lights of the houses nearby shimmered as though searing the air. I’ve never witnessed a scene like it, though I was used to seeing it. 

I spoke to myself softly and said ”goodbye”.

-PB 

More coming soon

Rants and Ruminations: Interstella, Star Cellar

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I was the heir to the Branson fortune of Non-Honey, honey based products such as, ”Honey, I can’t believe it’s not honey”, ”Honey are you sure this isn’t honey?” and ‘‘Honey, I’m definitely  sure this is honey, you lying fucking bitch”.

The year of my birth was said to be the pinnacle of human civilization. Wars were ended, friends were made and everywhere smelled faintly of stale, sweet popcorn. My conception was, unusual to say the least as I was actually grown inside a cannonball, which was a popular custom at the time.

Two individuals, each of different genders, would ejaculate lovingly inside the ball before nodding, giving a faint shriek, then sealing it up for the next eleven years.

Inside the cannonball I became a patron of the arts, spending weekends at the local theater and encouraging the despondent youths to turn away from gang culture and find purpose on the stage. However this whimsy ended when my cannonball was fired and launched thousands of miles into the air at breakneck speeds. Yet as I flew over the English countryside I felt no anger, no remorse for what was lost, as I had convinced myself that this world needed me. Moments later my cannonball fell open after striking Stonehenge.

My morning routines began with unabashed acts of self-love. My release, forceful and timely, would propel my duvet onto the ceiling with a great gusting force. Where it would remain glued to the roof above my bed for several hours. I’d then open the window to catch my morning intake of oxygen. One or two deep breaths is normally enough to suffice my and entire day of activities. My medically unique respiratory systems has been a mystery of the universe for many years.. Scientists and doctors had kept me in underground labs for decades until they became convinced that, I was in fact, the messiah, and so they began worshiping me in a cultish fashion.

However I soon bored of the routine rituals and daily virgin sacrifices, so I left to start my own nightclub in the East end of London. The next few years were a daze of ketamine driven parties and indulgent soirees. Nobel peace prize winner, Jimmy Carter and his entourage of Jazz Goons frequented my establishment. This is where I became familiar with the Jazz-Funk scene, otherwise known as Junk. To say the least these groovy new tunes blew my mind. So much so I immediately suffered from an aneurysm which paralyzed my right arm permanently. Yet I still toured with Jimmy and the Goons for several years, acting as a backup vocalist and occasional trapeze dancer.

In 2004 I died, yeah did I not mention that? What a twist hey!? It’s like finding that this has all been written by the woman who got killed in desperate housewives that one time.

I died ticking off the last item on my to-do list. Here is the last page of that list.

  • Stop relying on whimsy and profanity for comedy
  • Stop relying on the list format for comedy
  • Stop relying on apologetic self-awareness for comedy
  • Simply stop…  

As I ticked the last box and felt my heart began to shrink a familiar Crow landed on my fingertip and said, ”PB, you have been a loyal friend to the Crow folk and I have one final quest for you… A war has broken out between the Shrews and the Lemurs, as an arranged marriage has led to blood feuds.’

Tutting softly I pinched shut the tiny beak of my dear friend and said, ”I’m sorry, but a battle between Shrews and Lemurs is simply too wacky. What? Are they killing each other with kale or something? Get fucked you little Crow cunt.”

With that I puked on his head and died.

Although I died alone in a deserted pub toilet, the ripples of sadness echoing out across the universe. Mother’s held their children, not knowing why, old men quietly huffed with tears in their eyes, and the Crow-Folk watched helplessly as the Shrews and Lemures, massacred each other with kale.

I guess I can’t say anymore, so here’s a picture of some sick.

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Don’t watch Interstellar.

-PB

Let’s Rant ‘Bout: ”I’m sorry, but your opinion is in the minority”:

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Authors Note: Bare with me as I regress into illogical preamble and madding, irrelevant thought.

It was a woozy weekday evening and the light was a hazy autumnal brown. I hadn’t eaten all day and the pit in my stomach began to plunge my work ethic as low as the v-cut on Kelly LeBrock’s dress.

I had been aggregating a collection of Heinz salad cream sachets for months, delicately storing them above a loose fitting roof tile. It was a mischievous form of entertainment that kept me from sustained periods of unbearable boredom. I’d imagine, years after my absence this collection, ripened and rotting with the smells of broken enzymes and bubbling fats.

It was a grotesque, evil image that removed me from the mind numbing mundanely of filing. Cardboard boxes towering higher than my own head each held documents that were so important and held so information that one person could absorbed it all. So they just had to be shoved carelessly onto cramped shelves and left forever in a dark room.

I watched a spider dance around a web of shining thread imagining my own life as a Black Widow. I’d sit lazily on the fringes of my Spider friend’s webs, eating their bait and complaining about my bad back. I’d insight hateful comments on twitter over the Spider government and talk about my xenophobic hate against the False Widow Spider and the rising number of Oak Processionary Moth immigrant workers taking good honest English homes and jobs.

I’d click on link bait articles that furthered my preferential beliefs that I am in fact the image and likeness of God and the world does in fact revolve around me. I’d make a Tumblr blog and write about how soft we are on women, calling for harassment on all public displays of progressive thinking while harking on about privilege. I’d write as a white male, militant atheist stuck in the friend-zone and reblog gifs of jiggly boobs and cartoon cats.

I’d copy wistful quotes onto Instagram pictures of sunsets and bastardize Francisco Bulnes with an elite sense of political centrist snobbery. Because anyone with any real political ideals is easy parody but in my almighty grace I’d end up punching down and already demoralized groups.

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Makes my eyes seep with the pus of glorious angst ridden tears. Better put some Blink 182 in my tape deck.

All dissenting opinions on my own beliefs can and will be ignored because I’ve found myself in a space that encourages preference. The systems that our social media uses focus on our preferences and disenfranchise us from engaging with things outside those circles. Facebook makes you ‘’like’’ things, there’s no wiggle room there. It’s a binary system that enforces binary beliefs. Either its good or not.

It’s become the grammar of the internet, this dichotomy of binary appreciation. Youtube, WordPress, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit and almost every freaking blog under the thinning atmosphere of our suffocating planet including this one! There’s been this push for us to strip our preferences down and brazenly wear them like scout badges. Big business has always wanted to aggregate the perfect, marketable profile of you for the sake of specifically targeted ads, and guess what? You’ve been doing that job for them. You’ve aggregated the perfect footprint. The perfect, saleable picture, the white man in his thirties that drives a ford car and watches the Simpsons and likes pictures of dogs and now he’s being sold a Simpsons dog lead and seat covers for his car. 

This, rant, this preamble, this concern for the grammar of the internet is all borne from one disturbing comment I read.

”I’m sorry, but your opinion is in the minority’

I sat dazed for a moment trying to decipher the meaning behind these words. There must be something. People valued it. It was highly rated and many replied, agreeing with this dismissive statement. At the time I was trying to write about cynicism, specifically my own. I was reading through my own text and comparing it to the horrifically scary online disinhibition effect. A reaction where, because of the internet’s lack of social restrictions and inhibitions that are otherwise present in normal social interaction individuals are able to peruse in and out cynical, hateful behavior without the fear of any kind of meaningful reprisal.

That’s why we get this spiteful brew of cynicism from our web going hours. Like the consequences written by Jean Baudrillard when he discussed hyperreality in Mass culture as a set ”of ritualised signs of information, with no actual content.’’ Just because someone can discuss an issue doesn’t inherently mean they are capable of doing so and more often than not they fail to even frame their argument, causing a growing web of straw-man conclusions to develop along the recesses of more informed debate. This sort of baggage is ultimately more harmful than good and personifies that ‘’disappearance of intensity’’ in dialogue described by Baudrillard.

What’s most disturbing about this statement, ”I’m sorry, but your opinion is in the minority’‘, is that it frames the opinions of those who are not represented by the majority as invalid. It invalidates all discussion that’s separate from the general consensus. Now of course this statement isn’t adhered to in any fashion by the journalistic press, at least those with somewhat reputable standards. Yet it’s still growing and expanding as a more common belief and the scary thing is that people haven’t even noticed.

We now live in tiny preferential realities where we can design our own truths and easily surround ourselves with things that prove those truths. Yet it’s just an aggregated fantasy, like my collection of hidden salad cream in the rafters, a day dream to seep the mundanity of real life away. To distract us from the real issues. The piling boxes and paper work that surrounds us and gobbles up every complex thought we want to explore. It’s a lot easier just to live that fantasy, to hit the like button. To exist in a world without challenge.

-PB