Joseph Mann 2014 + 2016
The Inner Ramblings of a Man
I woke up early this morning: 5 AM, I really don’t need to be up this early but I find this time of the day to be the best to be out. I throw on black track pants and a plain white shirt grab a glass of OJ and head outside. I am immediately hit with the freshness of the air and feel refreshed and ready to go, regardless of how tired I was when I woke. It is not quite a full moon and I can hear bugs chirping; I head up the driveway and onto the road. I feel better than I had the last few weeks, I had not been up this early for a while I had been too tired, apparently. That’s what I’ve been telling myself, too busy, too tired in reality it’s just laziness but my negativity kept me trapped up at home doing nothing. I begin to think of why I had not been doing this more often and the pros and cons of being up so early; it seems fairly balanced until I realise something. Being up 2 hours earlier gives you 2 more hours to do something you want to do, being up and out of the house increases the chance that you may meet someone new, someone that could change your life. I spaced out and I didn’t see the young man walking the other way he must be about 14, I wonder why he is out so early. We both exchange a friendly “good morning” and continue walking down the road. I come to a point where there is a set of stairs that go down near the river I head down and listen to the flow of the river for a while. I turn right and head down the wide dirt path I’m on and begin to wonder about the brief exchange I had with the young man and I am curious about where he is now. I realise the impossibility of knowing where he is now as I cannot see him, hear him, smell him or sense him in any way. In fact the only reason I know he exists is because my brain tells me that if I saw him 5 minutes ago, he exists. I think of this on a larger scale as I head down a smaller dirt path, according to my 5 senses no one else but me exists in the world right now, I know this is false but my only answer to why is; because I know there is other people in the world. This is obviously not a good answer but I struggle to think of another, where does this knowledge that other people in the world exist, from the mouths of all the people that taught me everything I know; the same mouths that told me every lie I’ve ever heard. Or does this knowledge come from my brain, does it assume that if I’ve seen a portion of the world population then the rest must exist and continue to exist when I can’t see anyone. This brain that has believed and reinforced every lie I’ve ever known. I think about the young man again, by his senses I existed only for the brief time in which we could hear and see each other and due to that exchange he knows that I am real and I exist despite I am now only electric impulses in his head. But these electric impulses are really, all of life; they are everyone and everything we have ever known that little voice in your head constantly bickering with itself is you in a much realer sense than your physical body. I suppose that is why we find other people so interesting; we can see them, smell them, feel them, hear them and even taste them but it is impossible to know who they really are and what they are really thinking. They can tell us portions of what they’re thinking but they cannot tell us everything it is impossible, yet we strive to know. The path I follow gets smaller and less used as I go and I see large ponds and fields on either side. It is the beauty of where I live, I’ve been walking for just over half an hour and I’ve gone from ever so concrete to somewhere I feel no one has ever been before. My thoughts once again travel to the young man and why I keep thinking about him. I guess it’s because I don’t know the series of almost impossible events that led up to us being at the same place at the same time. It is so unlikely yet occurrences like it happen every day without any recognition. It is because merely passing someone on the street seems so insignificant but in reality it is far from it. The fact is that you and the person were somehow influenced to get out and go, it is these influences that define our actions. Some of these influences we notice like our friends and family and people close to us give us advice and we take this advice but other influences we do not register it as an influence but merely as a happening such as the appearances of strangers. The sun is fully up now which is usually when I would start heading back but I decide to head onwards as I am in no rush to get home. My surroundings have changed quite dramatically now, I follow a path that probably hasn’t been used for years through peaceful woodlands, I realise the I’ve never been this far out, I see behind me a few things I recognise so I am in no danger of being lost. My mind roams of again and I realise; the set of circumstances and influences that lead to two strangers meeting makes a stranger the most interesting type of person. Not knowing who they are and why they’re here makes us think, think of all the possible answers to those questions and the answers are infinite. The idea of infinite possibilities is possibly the most powerful idea there is. It everyday drives people to try new things and meet new people and it fuelled the ship that put a man on the moon. I look around and realise there is no longer any path and it’s getting harder to weave through the trees which are getting denser and denser as I push forward. I decide it’s a good time to head back but I can’t see the path I was on, although I guess that doesn’t really matter, which path is taken is irrelevant when they’re all connected, so I keep roaming forward, sure I’ll find my way back soon.
A Train Ride
I stand still whilst moving,
silently lost, staring vacantly
at the windows, the magic that lay behind them. Mystified
by the many I share this ride with, and those that lay outside.
Those out there are changing, they are each
a bolt of lightning, brightly and beautifully striking at my thoughts and gone,
leaving only a low rumble of thunder, and that too does fade.
But those in here with me,
these are my brothers and sisters, united
with one cause, one I am forbidden to know. We move together
and we will leave this place together.
My eyes dart from face to face,
each one, however smiling, is running,
not running away, but running
But here in this place of love
who can help but smile,
for there is no need to run,
as we're moving standing still.
My eyes catch the stone.
It has been a long time
since I've seen its grey face, and in it,
seen my brown eyes.
Towards the old path I go, well used
but growing grand, and joyfully green.
From the grand trees, my gaze never moved,
until that old stone demanded an eye.
“Be wary, young boy” the old stone bellowed
“look upon my face, and tell me what you see”
“Nothing but grey, on this rainy autumn day,
but on a day of light, your face glows white, reflecting onto me”
The path circles around, and as I follow it
the stone, cold, unmoving, does stare.
Off the path I go, and gladly I do admit,
That this young boy, that old stone cannot scare.
Sound of words, touching
burning onto my skin.
A feel of brick, I hold onto the strong trunk.
Blind stupid honesty - my
mouth moving and speaking without my will
Speaking honest truth.
Lights dance with more energy than I,
solid foundation – wooden floors, hold my feet,
energy moving up to my head -
head lacks thought – blind – deaf – dumb -
but real. I exist as I always have, confusion
and curiosity, seeking reality -
that which is is real, is true, legitimate and honest.
Am I alone? For it seems I share this loneliness with others -
others so familiar, friends of days so finite; I cling
to something so fleeting, a joy
that seems so vulnerable, like the leaves
that flow down stream, as the rocks I sit
on stay unmoving against the
I am stuck, I lower my hands into the water,
flowing over me, but violently splashing around me -
“Stop!” I scream, I pray, I beg, I cry, powerless, unmoving
The softened moon cannot pierce
the darkness. The unseen water
flows, cleans my hands,
and is gone. I freeze at that sweet
voice. A third of my mirror in light,
paints that familiar scene.
Words, the creator
of us, of all, erratically jump
from soul, to mind, to body;
here they float, diminished,
glory and grandeur, gone.
All that remains is the crumbling, decaying
statues of divine rulers, greatness lost -
left behind, as what is left flows
gently from mind to mouth
to ear. To hear is to kill
the noble speaker, the brute
understands, his well meaning response,
calm and reasoned, drives the dagger
deeper; the good king, bleeding, dying,
sinks, smiling, thanks his assassin
for his kind words.
My freezing hands bring me back,
cleaned and dried.
I return to my place in darkness.