Wharved’s Constant Influence

Hi all,

I’ve turned a new leaf in life that will undoubtedly contribute to my happiness and productivity. Creative writing is certainly my calling, but it’s been a long time since I’ve derived pleasure from my passion. After struggling with the idea that I don’t have to be miserable all the time, I’ve decided to reach out to professionals and the community to figure out methods for reducing my overall angst.

It is said that ritalin and adderall are composed of compounds that are critical in improving the frontal cortex’s function, which generally leads to better executive decision-making and time management. In a visit to the psychiatrist, I was asked if I’d ever been tested for ADHD. I’ve just begun a daily routine that doesn’t involve impulsive substance abuse, and my previous behavior could have been directly caused by this chemical imbalance. I seemed to have no power over my impulses to self-medicate, propelling me into a vicious cycle that I thought I could muscle through, if only I could remember what I’m supposed to do every day (and not relapse).

Turns out that memory is part of the executive functions ruled by the frontal cortex, which was effectively waning by the minute. Again, vicious cycle. I would tell myself that being an artist involved an inescapable element of existential dread, woe and fury. What actually ended up transpiring was a continual treading of water that would produce creative work when I could keep my head above the surface long enough to flex muscles other than the ones needed for basic survival.

I went a long time without treatment because I was smart enough to skate by on the minimum and still achieve at a high-enough level to avoid criticism for my laziness. Well, what I thought to be laziness, anyway. Looking back on the whole scenario, I may have simply been unable to control my compulsions–poetry and drawing were necessary outlets that I picked up in order to place usefulness into my obsessive nature. I was able to channel enough raw emotion and invention into my work to actually circumvent convention. My launches into the stream-of-consciousness realm were actually desperate attempts of a feeble will to produce something meaningful despite my obvious dysfunction as a human being.

It took hitting rock bottom for me to face all of these shortcomings in a realistic way. I’d already had a job coming out of college that used my degree, but I took no pleasure from my fortune in the insane job climate. What did I do instead? I punished myself and went to work in the barley mines (brewpub and restaurant) as a host, making barely more than minimum wage on a part-time basis, where I performed duties befitting a glorified greeter.

That environment had the perfect peer group of enablers who made it possible, nay, preferable, to say: “Oh fuck it, let’s just have a beer.” I also found it quite healthy to smoke pot and think nothing of being a grown man hiding in his parents’ house and taking responsibility for nothing in his life. It was as though I had no life. I didn’t know what it meant to be a member of society, and I preferred to simply not explore it, for risk of hyperextending myself and drowning in the world.

But sometimes things have a way of forcing you to make changes and reevaluate your strategy (or formulate one if you’ve been too petrified to put one together in the first place). My behavior, rather, lack of behavior, became overwhelming, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with myself. First things first, it was time to move away from that environment of mediocrity I’d grown to inhabit as an escape from reality and responsibility. Reaching out for therapy, I gathered the strength to put in my two-weeks’ notice and abstain from polluting my body, mind and soul with harmful substances (namely cannabis and alcohol).

Leading up to that point, I saw myself as a failure, harboring the perpetual fear of deviating from my path, simply because I hadn’t taken that first step out of it. I didn’t know if I had the power to do it.

Once the critical break from my destructive habits had been established, I decided (for myself, for once) to stop making excuses that allowed me to escape from the natural flow and discourse of life as the vast majority of the world operates. I always figured that being an outsider was a sign of superiority, and that being smarter than the general population meant that I needed to seclude myself from them. It wasn’t until coming to grips with my inability to communicate with my peer group or the world at large that I felt the desire for camaraderie and a forum for sharing my thoughts.

I must have been wary of my off-kilter methods and subjects of thought, as those were the traits that always defined me as a weird individual in school. At some point, I must have reached that subconscious crossroads where I didn’t want to put up with that labeling anymore. I didn’t want to deal with being the eccentric one, so I receded into myself. After years of this destructive behavior, it finally dawned on me that eccentricities are important to show the world, to give the unenlightened majority an idea of just what they’re missing in their mainstream lives.

At my weakest moments, I felt a palpable futility in demonstrating the possibilities of a mind well-used for creative and career-oriented endeavors, as though nobody would understand me and all the time and energy spent in inhabiting my own person in public just wouldn’t be worth the result.

Now that I’ve hopped over that fence, I can reflect candidly and honestly about this chapter of my life. It happened. I can’t deny that it happened. I can only acknowledge it and move on. Looking forward, I see nothing but positivity. I can regain my status as that wacky guy who says odd things and could care less about people’s perceptions, because I’ll know that it’s well within my rights to be a real person amongst other real people.

I can get a job and work within a peer group. I can get an apartment and do all those tedious domestic things that I used to fear for no reason. I can put myself into the romantic sphere. I can work on my own writing and actually finish what I start. I can go back to school and work on a manuscript.

I will continue posting to Wharved. In a way, Wharved has been the lone constant for me during this past 3.5 years, and I’d like to pat myself on the back for at least sustaining one good thing in my life. My goal has never been to achieve fame or notoriety, but to explore the inner and outer workings of my mind. I felt comfortable sharing my invention with the internet during this personal debacle, simply because the internet didn’t need to know that I was dying inside.

Now I feel comfortable bringing myself to a wider audience and giving my voice more to chew on (strange image, but it makes sense to me). My personal voice and creative voice have been dramatically separated for a long time, because I figured that my own life wasn’t worth recounting. Now I see these past several years as a metamorphosis into a mature person who doesn’t need to hide behind words while his self-esteem shrinks away to nothing.

Thank you, readers. You have no idea how powerful your ‘follow’ clicks were for me as I coped with this monster. You showed me that there are people out there who give a damn about my words and my voice, and I want to express my gratitude to you by burdening you with this exceptionally-long post. I kept myself in the dark for too long, and nobody knew about it. Now I’m comfortable enough to let everybody know, and you’re my most cherished audience (after family and real-life friends, of course).

Here’s to another 3.5 years of poetry for poetry’s sake. Won’t you join me?



Tender Mother Sleep

Tender mother sleep
lulls us speechless–

childhood mirrors bathe us
for hours in tangerine shadows,

whisked by fragrance
and pebbled with gray area.

We trip through a hole in the floor
nary an inch wide, but big enough

to engulf us once and forever
in haze and old-timey rhetoric.

Argyle suits beckon us further,
to the so-called country

and the wasps in charge of it
until they strangle all life

or die trying, mouths ablaze
and flies open, awaiting service.

For a Leg

It’s not right
to have
a sack of potatoes
for a leg.

Pick another vegetable,
something less starchy
with more fiber
and vitamin C.

Our audience
will identify
with a bundle
of curly kale

or a jicama pile,
preferably one
on top of the other
on top of the other.

Fan with Two Feet

If you’re ever gonna tell me that taking risks is wrong, then tell me before I jump from this plane. I’m fairly certain that the chance of my life ending is higher at this moment than it’s ever been, and you’re just standing there with a camera and grinning like a moron. Why did you even come up here with me if you only wanted to take pictures of me in this horrible jumpsuit? I could have just stood in front of a big fan with two feet on the ground, crouching and pretending to make a frightened face. I’m a pretty good actor, but you just never give me the chance.

Bathroom Mirror

How far have I come in my life?

Is that a question to be regarded with a forlorn countenance in the bathroom mirror after a fortieth birthday party, or am I going to reverse the incurable ill that sent me flying past a hospital’s third story window the minute before I was to be born in its maternity ward? This is a question often posed, yet never answered.

Smelled by None Other

I like that declaration of something being done
for the sole purpose of its completion and nothing else–

you know, the castle made of fragrant taco meat
defended by French toast molecular structures
blown up to be visible to the naked eye
and smelled by none other
than the Duke of Prunes.

Ants, No

Nothing quite like a dangling resolution
to soil one’s party–ants, no.

Ants have no picnics to ruin today,
or any other day. They just meander
onto your blanket in search of easy
sustenance. Do they know

they’re not meant to take from your
first-world bounty? Of course not.
Poor buggers, they are.

Benny the Second

Benny the Bungler
bought stock much too low,

and he’s up to his eyebrows in money.

It’ll only take time
for his fortune to fade,

and his hairline to go with it too.

Absolutely No Fabrication

Competition smoked
in a quarter of a mile
or something like that,

though I can’t say for sure
how many penguin daisies
it takes to screw in a lightbulb.

I fail to see the point
of penguin daisies
even wanting artificial light–

their habitat has absolutely
no fabrication of any kind,
so how do you think they’d feel
if you blocked the sun
and turned on a lamp?
I’d be pretty damn scared.

Thank You, Earl Tupper

Noxious fumes have got a grip on me–
there’s no mistaking a fatal odor
for a month-old egg salad. Oh,

apparently there is. Thank you,
Earl Tupper, for living your dream
and letting us forget about leftovers
for a while until they turn color
or at least grow fur.

There’s Red Ink

It’s a marvelous thing
to behold with one’s eyes
the improper correction of tests;

there’s red ink all around
and a frenzy of penstrokes
laying waste to this


Happy May Day Hangover!

Let me just say that I think NaPoWriMo was a success this year.

Now, before you go telling me that 12 poems can’t possibly constitute a good month
according to my previous work and typical productivity, I can assure you
that I wrote a hell of a lot more than that. And also, why would you be judging me so hard?!

For some reason, a large portion of my writing for the month
just didn’t feel up to the same standard I’ve grown accustomed to.

But I look at this learning experience to show me
that creativity has infinite shades of color
(I ignored shades of gray on purpose).

If you’re jamming along with a nice shade of pale blue,
it’s hard to give it up for a chartreuse. But
when you make the change, you remember why

variety is the best way to flush out wild imagery.

So that’s what happened. Some of the colors came out dark,
sometimes murky, sometimes counter-intuitive to what the eye
might think is appropriate for an attractive palette.

I’ll most likely come to terms with this phenomenon soon enough,
with an outburst of work (like how it always seems to happen).

Just wanted to check in. Thanks for humoring me.


Benny the First

Benny the Bootlicker
stepped aside once more
with humility, the only
thing he ever really had.

This time he lost a pie-eating contest
to that bozo two counties over.
After all the face-stuffing
and side-splitting, Benny gave up

another half-written dream.