modern industry

I saw a man
in the park today
waking up
early

(there were still bums
on tables
under tables
by benches
sleeping)

taking advantage
of California’s
proclivity
for recycling

and I had just finished
drinking my Diet Coke

when I saw him walk under a different tree
and he wasnt paying attention
I placed the empty can
on top of the bin

I suppose
I could have given it to him

I dont know why I didnt
it wasnt a danger thing
I wasnt worried

It would have been awkward
if he asked for money
I had change in my pocket
for laundry
and hate lying

I was more worried hed see me
as the typical
up-your-ass-self-righteous-
holier-than-thou-SoCal-yuppie
who did an act of “charity”
due to their “enlightened”
state of being

either way
he saw it
probably
saw me
thought what he wanted
and grabbed it

I saved us both an awkward conversation
and him a rummage through the bin

he didn’t need to talk to me
the man was busy

j.maxwell

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Student Athlete

Staring at the map of last Saturday
trying to take it all in at once

I can remember almost every detail
so clearly
so odd
for someone
with my memory capacity

All the pictures by signs
all the good food
and good times with you

It helps me
with remembering
why I’m becoming
a student athlete meme

to get back to you

never stop hustling
🙏💯🔥😂💪
John 3:16

Just as crunchy, but much less flavor

Have you ever taken a bag of potato chips on a plane?

My current theory is that the lack of outside pressure causes the inside gas to expand.

I haven’t looked it up, but it seems sound.

The pressure builds up inside the bag.

Probably, the same reason your ears pop.

Pressure.

Sometimes I wonder

if it’s why I get so anxious on planes.

All the thoughts getting pushed to the surface.

Excitement, when heading where I want to go.

Sadness, when leaving where I want to be.

Maybe it’s the isolation.

A bunch of people sitting together

staring at the back of seats

all unaware of each other’s

existential crisises.

Until we put our tray tables up,

unrelax our seats

and brace for landing.

I try to remember but it all just blends together.
It’s kinda hard to tell exactly where
the minute hand crosses from afar.

But was I happy?
(Yea, sure. I remember it. Splendidly)

No. Really.
(I don’t know. If I could answer. Truthfully)

But was it worth it?
(I think I’m. Too scared. Of wasting time.
Oh, god. Am I wasting it? Right now?)

Better plan,
to make the most of it.

Better plan,
to plan better in the future

Better plan,
hold off longer,
defer your own reward.

Better plan,
to live better later.

What do you remember?
(Not much. Honestly.)

But were you happy?
(I said “I don’t know,” truthfully.)

If you don’t remember
does it matter?
(I’m seriously unsure.)

What’s in the future?
(Hopefully, happiness.
Currently, hope.)

What’s the point?
(What you mean?)

There’s a future’s future.
-j.maxwell

I never considered myself much of a painter
but I won an art contest once.
Catholic Daughters. 3rd grade.
Theme was “God’s power.”
I drew a watercolor landscape
of mountains. Mountains that I,
growing up in Louisiana,
had never really seen,
but I wanted to.
Still, I sucked at drawing.
Never learned to hold a pencil right.
I quit art by 5th grade.

When I was 15,
I went to Colorado.
I mountain biked.
The mountain was just an obstacle,
an annoyance.
Everyone else enjoyed it,
but the trail was 5 miles too long
and not what I signed up for.
The obligations of elevated ground
didn’t seem worth the effort.

A few summers ago,
I went to the Ozarks to camp.
My friend slipped and fell 70 feet.
I still remember his teeth
rearranged in his mouth
each one pointing
in a different direction
reaffirming my previous notions
about mountains and elevation.
They take and cause pain.

I moved to Santa Barbara
just a few months ago.
The mountains are beautiful,
and I asked a local
how long does it take to
get over that view.
He said in like a month
they’ll just blend in
with the scenery.
I didn’t quite believe,
but they did.
They’re just what is.
I don’t need to be angry.
They don’t affect me.

-j.maxwell

I’m tired all day
I can’t sleep at night
But I’m old enough
To know no one
wants to see you cry

This is a waste of our time
This is a waste of my breath

But I’m not saying I want to die
just having circa 60 years left
scares me half to death

Is that you too
Do you stare into
the darkness of yourself
in the darkness of your room
Just hoping to
wake up
like mentally
like Buddah
like anyone really

Stare at
unbitten fingernails
remind myself I can change
Stare at
the mirror
worry it will never be enough

I want to smash things
I want to scream
Then be unhappy
I can’t put them back together

It’s not hard to be sad

And call shit for what it is

It’s not hard to spew the drivel

Like some loner angsty kid

It ain’t too hard to argue

It’s harder to find happiness

But I don’t have a solution for you

They don’t come to me

Try reading coping strategies

You just don’t want to feel alone

No one wants to feel alone.

You’re not alone.

I can’t complain,
I mean,
I don’t know how.

I can’t quite put the words together,

but I’m doing that thing again

where I pluck hairs from my beard
and
the back of my scalp.

I have 4 and a half
freshly bitten nails.

Stare real hard and pace the floor.

Try to remind yourself
what youre doing this for.