Night Lights

Night Lights

(Black & White Lamps/Calgary, Alberta)

©Dylan Streifel

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Paper Fortune Tellers

(Narrative essay for school)

I remember the day clearly, the day when my life would change forever. There were times that were simpler; times that I wish I could have back. I remember being in my bedroom for the first time and I wasn’t alone, but the love of my life was sitting next to me and we were as happy as could be.

Happiness is a strange emotion, it isn’t an easy thing to define; rather, it defines how we act in life and how we react to specific things that trigger a fleeting moment, or a nostalgic past time. For me, it is the nostalgia of being in love. Being with that someone you cherish like a bird in a cage hoping it will never fly away. That it could be yours forever, even though we all know birds eventually die; and my love eventually did. The longing grew into loneliness, and the loneliness grew into the faint desire of wanting to see that smile on her face one last time. But we’re succumbed by sadness, or, at least for me, I am easily saddened by the littlest of things.

Sadness to me is a foray that easily becomes an infestation of constant battling and strides for change. When depression strikes, it’s like a shot to the heart, without a bad Bon Jovi reference implied, but she gave love a band name. The love of my life turned on me – that was one thing I never thought could happen. I thought we would always be in love; always see the glistening smiles on each others faces. But the brewing storm clouds resonating above us followed us around like the little black cloud we see in all those cartoons. You feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, and it drags you to hell and back. You want to escape, but how?

Escaping from reality quickly became the only way to deal with anything. It was the constant need to feed off of my hatred, the need to see how deep I could go before I reached the center of the earth only to be consumed by flames. It was finding a sense of fear and looking it in the face. It desperately was finding a way to cope. But what surprised me, what I learnt about myself was, I only needed the sobering thoughts in my mind to find peace. It wasn’t the sadness, no! It wasn’t narcotics; it wasn’t even her. I know that sounds foolish, but, if you can’t find happiness within you, how will you ever be able to make someone else happy?

To find a sense of belonging within love is like being in a prison without a bed: eventually you’ll run yourself tired. The best way to find happiness in life is to be happiness in life. There isn’t a complex way to suggest these actions, it really is, simply put, be happy and every day in every way I am getting better and better. The love of my life (the lost love of my life) taught me that valuable lesson to never let one be consumed by hatred, by sadness, by narcotics, or any of the above. Always find your happiness from within and it will shine outward for everyone to see.

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I’ve been keeping friends in all the wrong places, again

Making amends only to become wasted within

Will you hang me high just to feel the weight collapsing?

Jumping through hoops then paraded and aided only to feel it buckle

Hold me close to hear me breathe in, out, heart, stops

The ears hear them steer and I know that they’re coming for me

To drape me in chains and amazed that they displayed my corpse, on a stage

A prize not worth fighting for fighting was what fueled the flame

And shivering aisles kept me colder than air turned to wind

Hold me close to hear me breathe in, out, heart, stops

The eyes called your lies out in front of the troops in the line

Pulled out and drawn then they aimed just to shoot me back down

So see me tonight on the mend on the fence in your yard

And see me tonight make a fool ‘cause I tried way too hard

Hold me close to hear me breathe in, out, heart, stops

I Wish Parts 1 to 5

 

I wish

I wish time would stall

That the leaves would not change

That we could have it all

That the world would move slowly

And the waves would crash calm

To beat the sun bright and early

And the night before dawn

I wish that nostalgia

Wouldn’t ease all the aches

Of feeling old and tired

Now the surface holds the stain

That if one day we’d stop hoping

For a day where we could be

Sitting on the grass back on the roots

Under the trees

That the seashell was a telephone

And ocean waves I’d call

To remember what it’s like to be

Buried beneath it all

If the winter logs kept burning

And old Saint Nick remained

I wouldn’t have to wish

That I could live it all again

And days that never ended

Even when the sun would rest

I remember being happier

Underneath my sheets in bed

And now all I can think of

Is a drink to pass the time

A cigarette to fuel my need to find a reason why

And waiting at a bus stop

Used to be a cherished thing

And now all I can think of is

Why aren’t you hurrying?

I wish I had a reason

To think up more than this

That we could all be young again

And never have to miss

A day where we weren’t selfish

But in selfless, fulfilled bliss

And though the clock is ticking

And the watchmakers must go

I won’t forget the time

When only he could tell me so

That everything had purpose

And an itching to discover

Without the fuel beside my bed

To help me now recover

I want to know that in some way

Someday, things won’t pass by

And tell me please, to bring me ease

I know I’ll never die

Reminiscence

Oh, the snow

You fall with ease

And curse the world

While we’re knee deep

Boots, so loose

Our rugged toes

Are trotting along

So frozen and cold

The warm aroma

Of stale beans

Dark, no room

For sugar or cream

The taste, it burnt

My bitter tongue

And inhaled smoke

To fill my lungs

Washed it out

With failed dreams

Aspirations

Battered seams

Dropped the charm

Untied the noose

I feel no warmth

From gloves and toques

Sipping still

In an empty room

A lovely couple

A bride and groom

His smile gleamed

Her heart would shudder

He was the toast to her melted butter

Through cherishing their days together

To be so calm in the harshest weather

Never once blamed old Jack Frost

Even when all hope was lost

Father and Son

I had noticed that the jail cell was left open that night. While taking a quick glance, I found there were no guards in sight, no inmates, and not a soul to be seen. Assuming this was a sign of good luck, I ran off without looking back. I knew the prison halls like the back of my hand; I ran for the exit and fled. My son was staying with Margaret, my ex wife, who I haven’t seen since late august of last year. I never had the chance to say goodbye to him; she, I couldn’t care less about but my son was my pride and joy. I never wanted him to be a screw up like his old man. Every year for Christmas, I gave him something to remember me by: a glass marble to signify that you never have to stop moving forward, a small toy soldier to keep him reminded that one should never stop fighting for what is important. But this year, I hadn’t given him a thing. I went to their house, and knocked on the old, worn down door. It was unlocked so I made an entrance and walked to his bedroom. I sat down in the old chair where I used to read bedtime stories to him. I placed my hand on his head, told him that daddy was home. I slipped an old photograph in his pocket of him and I from the carnival a couple years back. It was a proud moment in my life. That year, I won him a giant teddy bear that he slept with every night. It was all he ever wanted. I left the room, and closed the door behind me. I walked to the backyard and lit a cigarette, pulled out my trusty bottle of whiskey, took a swig and laid on the porch waiting for the cops to come, or for god to take me away, or for any sign that my life was over. I closed my eyes and waited.

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You never realize

How ugly things seem

Until you wipe the moment

From your eyes

To see your dreams

Shatter all around you

And break upon the seams

The moment that it impacts

You gather what it means

To see the things you lack

Are stacked upon your rugged feet

Weighed down by the feeling

Of feeling numb within

And pause for no concern

I figured I’d begin again

But learning from mistakes

I may have taken this apart

My empty, shallow, hollowed out, cold and barren heart

I ran it through the wash too many times to get it clean

But all the imperfections still resemble you and me

And never have I thought that in an instant I would be

Writing about all the things I thought were truly free