when no one’s around

what do you do when no one’s around? this is not the usual scolding to always act like grandma’s watching. the motivation behind this exploration sleeps more with the mystery behind a fallen tree. whether or not it made a sound is a surface-level focus with a meteoric pit hidden beneath. the true, mind-bogglingly difficulty is assessing its existence. for if it didn’t make a sound, what did it do? was it doing anything? was it even alive or was it waiting for someone to rekindle its flame?

when i’m alone, i’m driven to create. i often fail and end up reading or, worse than that, passively viewing six-minute video clips while engorging an abused stomach with carbohydrates. but the war is alive and well. it’s not my intention to be an instrument of other’s actions. at least not full-time.

confronting relaxation and actively choosing to draw from the soul instead — that’s what i’m after. it’s partially about productivity and the dance performed with its tendrils to win a sense of accomplishment. but more crucially, my shun of downtime is rooted in the pursuit of my goal to unite people together. which sounds counterintuitive since there’s actually zero other human beings in the vicinity. however, that’s why it’s the target and not the dart.

each morsel of effort to produce music grows from a passionate well of healing waters. not only does the process soothe the storm within, it also penetrates the surrounding hurricanes. i cannot stress how vital it is that people at least are given the opportunity to connect to the messages wrapped beneath rhymes and synths. each action has an equal and opposite reaction — as it pours out through my muse, i too intend for it to trespass yours. without that conversation, music is no longer human. without that relationship, the back and forth transmission, it’s nothing more than a static receiver, or an unheard speaker.

one troubling thought is if my counterparts know they have an instrument like this. we all contain a brilliancy of wisdom and potential, but do we exercise its muscles? i fear for the creatures ridden by bed sores and the organisms running without oils of personal expression. the euphoria of creation rushes through veins like narcan, saving me from overdoses of depression and outrage. how do other fallen soldiers handle their amputations? what do you do with your unrest?

exercise used to be my outlet. but the thirst strengthened. then it was smashing down on drums. but the relational cravings longed for release from masked time signatures. so here i am, combining the entirety of my neural depths in an attempt to soothe this churning burn while simultaneously offering a release to close relatives of my angst.

there is blood family, and there is a family of experience. i’m tight with my platelet sisters but yearn for the day when i touch more of those who scrape the bottom of the ocean, doomed as an urchin yet surviving homo sapien.

we dark delilahs are a misunderstood collective of extravagant beauty.

don’t forget it.

embrace it.

reveal it.

– D K T


when your favorite artists drop the game-winning catch

it’s safe to say, if you’re over twenty, we’ve all had to move on from a favorite artist. it’s an unfortunate turn of events to see a bedrock turned into a punctured waterbed. for me, it’s happened multiple times. from harry styles to highly suspect, these are people i counted on for dependable auditory outputs. then one day, they pivot their style to an unsuspected genre and i’m left wondering if their original releases really meant anything at all.

especially with an album, the coherency of each track melds into the overall vision and message of an LP. we all recognize the dedication it takes to pursue a project and see it through to completion. then to mount it on billboards and tour in testament of the opus, that publication integrates with the artist to become a representation of identity. a passionate listener borrows from that conglomeration for release and expression. so when a new piece of work emerges and it’s no longer seen as a desired rental to drive one’s spirit, there’s genuine disappointment. not at the artist, but at myself for unrealistic expectations.

i’ve revolutionized my style multiple times. for a moment there i wanted to be hip-hop. then a folk artist. then it was indie. then rock. now i’m back at my original home, hip-hop. but it’s mixed with electronic. so for all the exploration i’ve routed, how can i hold fast to one outpouring of musical emotion when its creators revolve just like me?

these dynamics within personality and creation are in fact an important sign of an industry flexible enough to accommodate various reboots. it’s a factor to count on as i continue to grow and evolve in my own process. who doesn’t want to know they’ll be accepted despite unexpected blooms of alteration?

maybe i don’t appreciate surprises. these artists i mentioned lie dormant until, out of nowhere, they release material that’s strayed from the treble and bass cores they expanded on. subconsciously, i’m always awaiting fresh produce from famed, preferred markets. to be buying apples and one day enter to find only squash is quite a punch in the face. couldn’t you at least dispatch a newsletter a couple months beforehand? i mean, they have to know they’re headed in that direction way before the tracks are packaged and blasted into digital eternity.

finding meaningful production, those strings of seconds that mesh with our own fibers, is a tedious task. so when i’m blessed with tunes that resonate my pitchforks, the bond cuts deep. forget a tattoo, these relationships are implants. medical devices essential to the proper function of my sanity. but like any organic matter, they decay over time, becoming used and worn. this is why new music on a familiar trajectory is incredibly revigorating. it floods nostalgia and blends endorphins to remind us of the rush of love at first sight that we had back when it all began.

when your favorite artists drop the game-winning catch and back you into a dark corner, i guess, unfortunately, you’ll have to employ the coping strategies imparted during previously pesky periods of mental instability.

it’s only temporary. there’ll be better days ahead. and there’s someone out there for you who won’t break your heart.

at least not for a little while.

– D K T

a dimension of mayhem

fearing for your life isn’t that common in a college environment or an average workplace. worries about performance results and multiple choice bubbles are a more likely scenario. that is, if you aren’t linked to misguided anxiety.

with anxiety, it’s difficult to level the mind into an accepting state. dread floods receptors to scream bloody murder over a five-minute task or the same shift that’s been worked hundreds of times in the past. in one mystified instant, ingrained habits are no longer helpful. each individual movement begs the question, “can i get through this?”

i woke up this morning tired. showered and got ready like a young adult zombie. scraped ice off the windshield and drove in late to work. settled into the dependable pattern of voicemails and emails. but as i reclined in one of several generic office chairs, my environment cranked to unbearable, shoving me into a tumble of fear, doubt, grogginess, irritability, and clipped quotes. the slim stack of paperwork loomed over my motivation, scolding any attempt at rational reasoning. text messages hid unread under the instant commitment of a reply. dialing to telephonic receivers poured concrete on top of my knuckles and grounded clarity to a filthy, twisted path of decision-making. even in motion, the weight of the world hampered its revolutions and chose me as bearer of the consequences. to talk, to stand, to breathe — these muscle movements substituted involuntary for manual labor at the hand of some wicked plant manager sabotaging their own company just to see the fire burn.

and in the midst of blackmail, so too did writing become a victim. i can barely gather the meaning to care about this post. it’s therapeutic, but i’m not scouting for a medic. i’m longing for an escape. i’m begging for a mattress, not for the comfort, but for the descendance into unconsciousness. only there can i dance without ankle weights, speak without a cement tongue, and simply exist in a dream untethered to the chains of mental illness.

this fretful locomotive of mine stutters on a depleted ration of coal. it reminds me of how far i still have to go. cognitive education is a high-torque tool that’s wrenched me out of a busted loop in multiple instances over the past few years. but what do you do when the screw is stripped and the basic technique to inhale deep and exhale aloud fails? how am i supposed to stop the gravity of panic from pressing down on my chest when i’m too exhausted to squeeze through?

there’s no applause for being my own hero. the villainous grapples of instability don’t die at my hands, they escape. i stumble toward my cave, collapse in the atrium, then awake before dawn, returning to a dimension of mayhem in the midst of yesterday’s aches. do these concussive injuries strengthen my resolve, or do they chip away at the cartilage between my soul and its ghouls? 

it’s quite a shock to relearn the fragility of human spirit. no matter the physicality of running, lifting, and stretching, i am nothing without peace of mind. and to reach that armistice, it’ll require more than stark character combinations. i just don’t know what.

–  D K T

one with the sun

i’m scared of the dark. it’s less about the paranormal spirits and psychopath stabbers, though i must say those pesky frights do contaminate my train of thought in an unfinished basement. what really terrifies me is the end of another day, when we must come to terms with our actions and face the character waiting beneath our eyelids. the horror is not my imagination, but the reality of my situation.

at the dawn of a new day, optimism rises. calendars, text messages, and various notifications somersault me into the responsibilities of whatever date happens to take the stage. along with this is a twinge of hope to advance my music career bit by bit. i open my eyes anticipating the airy minutes where i’ll choose to envelop my thoughts with lyrics and melodies.

but i push that choice further and further back. i work 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. five out of seven days. after my shift, i’m consumed by an obsession to exercise. maybe it’s a healthy habit. or possibly a vain compulsion to reach a physical standard drilled into my subconscious by the health industry. conspiracies and guilt aside, most of my week places the beginning of my free time at 6:00 p.m., when natural rays of energy have, by then, faded to a dull darkness.

call it laziness, diagnose it as seasonal depression, blame the job. but the label won’t break the bond. i’m one with the sun, expounding destiny as it arcs and blind as a bat when it swings low. where does my purpose go? is it just on the other side of my mind like the sun to the earth? and if so, can i travel quick enough to rescue it?

despite my efforts to do so, the probability of retrieval becomes a breadcrumb in a wheat field. consistency is key and the negative of my potential enacts that wisdom to the tee. i eat unhealthy. television forgoes reading. pleasure dominates dedication, and there i lay, a living, breathing antithesis of my identity. the betrayal gnaws at my conscious, fully aware of the despicable treachery but nevertheless stuck as a quadriplegic slump.

i naturally over-dramatize within my writing. however, if you are here to understand, swallow these descriptions and taste the bitterness. to repeatedly engage in behaviors that induce self-hate must be the worst form of self-harm. for the pain is not temporary and there is no healing scar nor ointment to treat its disappearance. there’s no shortage of soul to slice open and ring out like a dishrag. it’s more than disappointment. it’s a fixation of revulsion — a cycle of disposed morale.

in reflection of my nocturnal perspectives, the surface is still quite mint. there are, in addition to counterproductive behaviors, mood swings of rage and avoidance. numbness and injustice mingling. nostalgia and regret sharing a room. impossibility and discouragement dancing.

to be the destroyer of one world, my own, compares closely with the role of a vigilante. average by day, daringly bold by night. occasionally lethal, and forever vengeful toward the past.

– D K T

an impulse to punch

how do fits of anger mold into non-violent beliefs?

it’s elementary to pride oneself on forward-thinking values concerning conflict. i completed a peace studies course a couple years back and it changed the way i think about disagreements, whether that be over a song or geographical dominance. the stressed message was to count on diplomacy to work through conflict. if we prolong the discussion until common ground is found, peace can be maintained and lives can flourish instead of flounder like fish in a barrel stuffed with explosives.

the topic not covered in that class, perhaps mistakenly, was inner-conflict. can we be patient in our resolutions with others if we can’t handle our own? i for one shred my empathetic understanding down to the nub during personal crises. forget about commitments, i’m just struggling to contain the storm. the clouds are a fog, the rain an outpour of negative thoughts, the thunder an aggressively resonant idea, and the lightning a physical crack. depending on the severity, real damage can be done under this high-pressured atmosphere.

despite these conditions, is the first gust of this tropical storm anything other than a selfish sense of injustice? to be dissatisfied with personal matters is to be unaccepting of the linear passage of time. my discontent is with the past and the present, not the future. however, isn’t the future the one segment worth focusing on? history is a tool of learning and its current unfolding moments are a product of our last decisions, but the unknown road ahead is a spring of possibility. it’s tragic to think i’m snagged by the arms of a clock not because they reach out to grab me, but because i run into them.

the pity-party angle is a tough parenting style to host as guardian. listening to and acknowledging complaints against my prior judgement would definitely garner loftier praise from my professor if it were properly enacted. but i’m afraid each surge of violent discourse weakens my resolve to be the change the world needs. screams and jabs step on shift to replace deep breaths and cracked knuckles. clenched jaws and tense muscles swap out dog walks and writing exercises. the degradation of rationality is strikingly apparent.

as tolerance lowers, roadblocks erupt like a national emergency. music feels like too inadequate of a medium for channeling bitter tastes. workout routines no longer counterstrike the emotional waves; instead they amplify them. even the boxing bag minimizes to a quick breath of fresh air before being dunked back down into a drowning red sea. this is more than young-adult testosterone. it’s enragement against the cycle of cemented habits paved by altruistic upbringing. to excavate this further, it’s disgust with my performance when compared to general standards. why didn’t i score higher grades? why didn’t i write yesterday? why do i fail my most important priorities?

maybe it’s my expectations sucking the life out of me using a naive understanding of circumstance. when i’m threatened with an impulse to punch, who deserves the punishment? is it my actions or is it my aspirations?

– D K T

a quiet home

silence is as eerie as it can be when it sucks the sound out of your own home. whispers of foundation slip through the hardwood cracks, conducting a cacophony of settling creaks and wind-blown groans. there’s more to this vacuum of decibels than one might reason; if a tree falls and no one’s around to hear it, did it make a sound? if a person exists in a muffled-to-isolation atmosphere, are they living?

i’ve recognized this phenomenon since i began sleeping in the permanent residence stamped on my license. when noises drop to a level lower than the sensitivity of an ear drum, a curious effect unleashes itself on its conscious inhabitants. i’m tugged away from the churning spirit inside of me. around others, i long for the free time to create music and write. but when i’m serving solitary confinement in a familiar setting, this motivation dissipates like sweat in colorado. the clock’s limbs barely initiate their stretch before i’m reduced to a fleshy vegetable scouring youtube for the fast food of entertainment. the drive to produce reduces to a slew of distractions meant to fill the void of minutes between morning and night. the issue is collections of 60 seconds taken as black holes lacking matter, when time is actually as precious as a monarch butterfly. if you’re not prepared to carefully observe it, the beauty subverts to the blur of our periphery.

to fill in context, this was meant to be for yesterday, but i didn’t dedicate the time to finish it. just before i resumed this afternoon, i was in the state described above, parked like a car in neutral on flat ground. i could sense the resistance to act productively as it warred with the childish greed of thrill. instead of finishing this piece, i skipped in search of a different activity to passively engage my interests.

however, when i’m lost in this mode of outlook, there is never a more satisfying feeling than to go against the opposition. to currently be writing again lifts my spirits and annihilates boredom. here i am, back on track succeeding in the daily procession toward beneficial habits.

my attitude toward a mute home base may vary from yours. for many who raise a family, the silence could be a welcome relief, granting their attentive ears a necessary resting period. however, scheduling time off has never felt just to the judges of my character. my narrators and their inclinations encourage me to choose a road of dedication over one of complacency. if my born intention was to be entertained, you wouldn’t be skimming this present-day diary of my dialectical brain.

but your decision to absorb these words doesn’t pit us against each other. here we are in one boat, traveling toward a shared paradise of retroactive thought and passionate expression. whether i’m writing or you’re reading, we tune in to this muse for communal experience and to learn how to apply wisdom to routine.

i’m grateful to be wrapping up this post, if not for anything else but the fear of an incomplete project subjected to a sabotage of the slouch. a quiet home is less physical than mental, more so naming the general aura of paused inertia. if this sneaks up on you, note it and then viciously switch to the fighting instinct hibernating in us all. the most haunting danger arises from our own standstill malfunctions.

– D K T