The Matrix

It’s all wrong
From this box I dwell in alone
to the manicured trees outside
this square in the wall filled with glass
it’s all wrong
from this metal vessel in my hand
filled with water I purchased
with a plastic rectangle,
to the existence of elevators
it’s all wrong

From the orchids blooming indoors
in winter
to this war paint on my face
to this garment restricting my torso
spun from ancient carcasses
it’s all wrong
from conversations over wires
with humans
in distant time zones
I will never meet
to this bread I eat
cultivated afar by strangers
processed in a pristine factory
by exhausted hands
it’s all wrong

From the endless stories
told in smarmy shouts on flat screens
everywhere
to the flat screens themselves
it’s all wrong
from the arrogant machines
that count the movement of the sun
to the impossible demands
that govern time
to the very existence of minutes
it’s all wrong.

This endless panic
and crippling loneliness
are the only things that are right.
They are the sane responses
when everything is wrong
though they claim
our very lives.

Sapiens took a wrong turn
eons ago
but I am trapped here
in a fragile time capsule
silently screaming
into the inky void.
I’ve woken in a pod of liquid
disconnected from the lie
surrounded by sleeping forms
as far as my eye can reach.
I cannot regurgitate
the red pill.

This is not progress
It’s all wrong
This time
there is no happy ending.
Yet I would gladly give my life
to save this shimmering planet
from me.

© S. Rinderle, February 2020

Pinocchio

I hate a liar
because he insults my intelligence
His lie says
I am smarter than you
You’re too stupid
to question a story with major plot holes
too stupid
to seek out easily available facts
and vet a story that makes no sense.
He says
you’re too stupid
to believe your own eyes.

I hate a liar
because he’s controlling
His lie says
my fantasy is more important
than your reality.
He says
I don’t trust you with truth
because that makes us equal
so I will limit your access to all the data.
He says
I will make your choices for you
I will create a reality for us
that is most convenient
for me.

I hate a liar
because he’s disrespectful
His lie says
my needs are more important than yours
my power more precious
than your sovereignty.
He says
I will write and direct our story
your version is irrelevant.

I hate a liar
because he’s a coward

His lie says
I am ruled by fear
I’m afraid of what you’d do
if you knew the truth
I’m afraid of you
I am more marionette than man
I am a lonely, self-hating
king of a castle built on stilts
in quicksand.

A liar says
he’s not a liar
He says
he was scared
says you made him lie
He says
it was just this one time.
He lies.

The liar always has reasons
but none of them
matter more than his abuse
of your confidence.
“Liar” is a label
that doesn’t require 100% compliance
Rapists don’t rape
every person they meet
Murderers don’t murder
every day
most only kill
just that one time.

Fragile wooden boy
that was one time too many
and now I see you.
I may linger
but I’m no longer deceived
I’m awake
and now I know
I’m real.

© S. Rinderle, February 2020

Echo

You remind me of someone
I’ve never met
like a memory
I can’t fully recall
that makes me question
whether it was lived
at all.

He is elusive like mist
that fogs my vision
but avoids my grasp
dissolving with every advancing step.
He is evasive like an echo
that beckons
but fades
as soon as I reach the place
where I heard his voice
calling me.

My phantom groom,
you are compelling and necessary
like gravity
so I wander in search of your soul
pulling the masks off promising strangers
looking for your eyes
shouting:
Yes! This is Him!
I recognize this feeling!
I think:
Finally!
At last
I can put down my walking stick
remove my own mask
and rest
entwined with my beloved
at our wedding hearth.

Yet after a few drinks and dreams
I realize
he is not you
and I cannot make him be.

But that one fleeting taste
so exquisite
the waiting so eternal
I simply cannot return
to death
and hollowness
so I cling
to hopelessness
pretending I can live
without you
pretending I can live
on these sorry scraps.

I seek their embrace
out of loneliness
but I know it’s just an oasis
in the desert of your absence.

My Love,
I have been away from home
far too long.
Please recall me
from exile
for I cannot find you here
and my arms weary
of trying to hold space
around your constant
and inexplicable
void.

© S. Rinderle, Feb 2019 – Jan 2020