Sometimes I get distracted… Like when I'm talking about one thing I'll jump to the next chapter, Skipping pages like stones. I like gemstones, The way they glisten and gleam When the light hits them just right, I'm not sure if I’ve been hit by light that way before. I guess that's not for me to decide, Beauty is supposed to belong to the eye of the beholder, A subjective paradox Since we're all supposedly beautiful in our own way. Does that mean we're all blind? I'm grateful blindness was not bestowed on my eyes That I have the ability to see the many wonders of the world: A butterfly landing on a lily, A waterfall cascading over a rockface, The sun setting over the ocean, A crackling fire on the beach, The full moon on a cloudless night, The impact circles of raindrops in a puddle, All the colors of a perfect rainbow. Thinking about it, I've taken so much for granted, Taken so many moments at face value. I wonder why the phrase is face value – I know we spend a lot of time looking at faces, But does that make them more valuable? You don't hear people selling faces on the black market. And why is it the black market? It sounds racially charged. Like, why not the red market or the blue market, Or for fucks sake, just call it the illegal market. Get rid of the color labels altogether Even fucking T-shirts are made labelless. Did you know T-shirts were originally made for single guys Who didn't know how to iron shirts? I wonder what my wardrobe would look like if it weren't for T-shirts Would I be wearing nothing but button-ups? I hate button-ups. This one time when I was a kid I hit all the buttons on the elevator. There were 16 floors, We had to go to the 12th. My mom wasn't happy. It's hard to be happy; Happiness is dependent on serotonin levels in the brain, Those levels are a fickle beast, Rising and falling with the slightest misfire of neurons. Medication can help, I would know, I take a handful of pills every day to help with my insanity, But sometimes I think sanity is overrated. I just wish the pills didn't come with the side effects Oh, the things we do to be happy. People tell me it's normal to be happy, But I want to know how that’s normal In a world of chaos and despair. It seems normalcy should be a state of melancholy. I used to wonder what normal meant, It's such a vague term Defined by standards that no one meets, And sets expectations that no one lives up to, Another subjective concept. So much in life is subjective, Like our perspectives are all disconnected, Despite being part of the collective. Group is a synonym of collective, But if you look them up, they have different meanings, I guess it comes down to context. What was I talking about? Damn… I guess I got ahead of myself again I wish I could hold my place Instead of rambling on tangent after tangent Segueing from one unfinished thought into another I never liked the Segway Just some fancy device for rich people and mall cops So they don't have to walk. I like walking, Preferably in nature. Something about getting away from everything is calming, Getting away from the hustle and bustle, Away from the daily-life lies where we're all pretending, Pretending that we're something other than who we really are. When I was a kid, I used to pretend I was in a far away place Full of adventure and intrigue, And I was always the hero, but never myself. I'm not sure if I have the qualifications to be a hero I guess I felt the same as a child. Children are cruel, Unfiltered and ignorant to what words can do. It wasn't easy being the chubby kid, Especially when I was considered weird too. It's weird how we ostracize those who are different When those are the people That have the best chance to change the world. Progress doesn't happen without change, You think we'd know that by now, Seeing as how we have to change with the times. I remember reading this article in the times It was about something important Oh, what was it It's on the tip of my tongue… Shit! Sometimes I have trouble remembering things. It's like the thoughts get scrambled on route to coming out. I prefer my eggs scrambled, A little milk and a dash of salt and pepper, Whisked together and cooked with butter, I wonder when the first scrambled egg was cooked. That person gets a gold star. Wasn't I talking about something? It was a concrete thought, Something firm like stone, Oh yeah, I think rocks are cool. Sorry, my mind tends to wander, It’s a wonder if I ever finish a thought. Have you heard the phrase: “A penny for your thoughts,” It’s always bothered me, I’ve always valued my thoughts as more than a penny. Did you know pennies were once made of steel? It was during World War II due to the shortage of copper When I was in my teens, I used to steal things, I called it the five-finger deal, Now that I’m older I feel a little guilty about that. Getting older sucks, Have to watch what you eat, Your body starts failing you, Sleep is more difficult, I already have enough trouble sleeping as it is. Insomnia is a bitch. It comes from the Latin language, Latin was spoken by the romans, Man, the romans really knew how to live. In my 20s I lived like a rockstar, 12-inch rails of coke with whisky chasers. These days I take 12 vitamins chased with water. The water molecule has 2 hydrogen atoms, And 1 oxygen atom. It’s crazy that everything is made of atoms, And all atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons, And all of those are made of quarks. Wait… I don’t know where I was going with that. Sometimes I start talking Without knowing what point I’m trying to make, My mind wandering along. I used to wander forests as a child Appreciating the lush nature, Moss and ivy and grass and trees. I love trees, The way they mirror themselves, The way they branch out Above and below, Far-reaching. I wonder when I’ll reach my full potential, Hopefully that hasn’t happened already, I still feel like I have more growing to do. I wonder if anyone has ever reached their full potential, What the fuck does that even look like or feel like? I guess I find it unlikely Kind of like the idea of perfection. Perfection to me isn’t the same as perfection to you Which is perfectly normal Because we’re all imperfectly abnormal. Perfect is such a loaded term anyways A generalized abstraction of a watered-down preconception. I’ve always been a big fan of abstract art, Escher was always one of my favorites, The way he could bend reality, With mathematical precision. Math and I have always had a strained relationship, We always understood that we didn’t like each other, It’s a language I never grew fond of. I’m quite fond of the English language There’s a certain beauty in its overly complex lexicon, I’m told it’s difficult to learn for non-native speakers. Something to do with all the homophones and homonyms. I spend a lot of time on my phone these days Caught in a digital daze, Trying to connect to something virtually, While I disconnect spiritually, The separation growing ever wider with each passing moment, Eyes glued to the pocket-sized screen, Though it held all the secrets to my life’s greatest mysteries, As the world keeps turning, And the minutes keep passing, And I can’t stop scrolling. How did we start this conversation? Sorry… I have a problem with attention, My focus can be a bit fleeting. Impostor Syndrome I ‘m not sure if I’m as good as I should be, M aybe I’m terrible, P erhaps everyone else is better, O r maybe I’m just reaching at a fruitless dream, S imply deluding myself with thoughts of grandeur T hat lead me to false beliefs, O r is this all just noise R eticulating in my head. S o many things left undone due to personal disdain, Y et so many things were still made, N ever to see the light of day, D rowned out by the sea of melancholy, R enasant to consider myself as anything more than average, O r is this just more noise, M ore disbelief of my lackluster talents, E nigmatic and frustrating, difficult to rise above the doubt. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder P ieces of the past O bfuscate reality, S lipping from then to now, T aking the moment hostage. T urning the tide, R eticulating the psyche, A separation from oneself, U ndulating, a visceral disconnection M omentarily suspended in a memory, A ll the feelings, thoughts, sensory perceptions T aking over without warning, I nstantaneous and spontaneous, C rippling the mood. S ometimes it’s a simple matter, T o hear, see, or smell something familiar, R eminding the subconscious, E ntering the deepest pits of the mind, S uddenly gripped by experiences, S ome would sooner forget. D etached and distant, I t’s hard to come back the same, S till caught in the storm of emotion, O verwhelmed by the memory relived, R epeating the details in a loop, D isoriented from the discordant experience, E ver in awe that the mind can replicate a moment, R endered helpless every time it happens. Bio: J. Maxwell was born in Bellevue, WA in the summer of 1990. Just before his 7th birthday, his family moved to Las Vegas, NV. It was quite the change for him, going from a place that was so green and damp to a dry desert valley. Growing up in Vegas was a diferent experience than most other places in the world, being that it is a city that thrives on extravagance, debauchery, and the vacation lifestyle. When he was in middle school he started writing which became an outlet for him, one that saved his life from his undiagnosed mental health issues. At 18, he left Las Vegas and went north to Reno, NV, where he attended the University of Nevada, Reno. He completed a dual major degree focusing in Creative Writing and in Philosophy, graduating in 2014. He now lives in Fort Worth, TX where he had his first book published SOBER THOUGHTS FROM THE CRAZY HOUSE which is a collection of poetry dedicated to mental illness, addiction, and sobriety. J. Maxwell not only writes, but also enjoys nature photography and making digital art. 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What an incredible way to capture divergence and how distracting the mind can be but also how powerful it is. Thank you for sharing! So important.