“He who looks outside dreams, he who looks inside, awakens.”
–Carl Gustav Jung

I wish this beginning would be the bulk of my story…
Landfills where fuchsia stars burst like
Beethoven’s sonatas in the night,
Nesting birds basking in the moonlight,
Where the darkness and the light are both alike,
A marvelous silver against the dark horizon…
To know me look not through my eyes but where I gaze…
Disappearing in a cloud of mist alone and adrift in the big country;
Lulled by the sound of the sea;
The swish swash of life’s longing to be;
Lying on my back on the soft summer sand;
I’d smile to the spurious dome above the land;
Grasping how glorious life is…
White waves crashing at my feet;
Seagulls squawking in retreat,
There, life would feel complete;
There I would write the following reprimand,
Not by intention but as if by happenstance…

Once brutalized you learn to run to what feels “safe”;
You learn that to be happy is to create an enemy;
You learn that running from a challenge is safer than risking a change;
Feeling stuck in time you realize that
Sometimes you have to move to unstick;
You keep it moving like a boss
Knowing moving water gathers no moss;
You learn to take time to investigate your wounds…
Abrade the cut of the blade but don’t be flabbergasted
If you feel bereft when your pain is vacated…
Because as human beings on earth,
We tend to cling to what feels safe.
Hence I decided to use my pen as a method of innovation,
As a form of meditative exploration of my internal tribulation…
In the immortal words of Frederick Douglas:
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Cause don’t you know?!
Life can be an array of endless tragedies
Obscured only by the occasional miracle;
But nothing comes without a warning;
Storms are often preceded by thunder and lightning…

And now…my story on interiority effective immediately…

Interiority implies self-acceptance;
Which is somewhere in the distance, contemplating misfeasance;
Hence in this instance I must take a stance against internal indifference.
I elaborate when I pontificate…
Interiority is: expressing inner strength through thoughts feelings and
To add context through humor and
So here I am,
Armored with prose and poetry in an attempt
To reveal my contempt for my affliction,
During this daring experiment to make sense of my situation.
Poetry: “Le mot juste” French for “the just word”
To speak of our inner world…

Before Socrates’s killing
For his philosophical ruminations and extrapolations,
He professed that:
‘The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Sometimes it is necessary to venture and investigate
Your malleable human state,
Understand your triumphs and transgressions,
Deliberately descend into somewhere darker,
So you can eventually ascend to something better.

Self-examination can be connected to a delusion of reference,
That is if you think God is speaking to you through your television…
But like Socrates professed and his philosophy expressed,
It must begin with an admission of ignorance,
If we are to extrapolate meaning from our circumstance.
Whatever wisdom we possess
Comes from knowing that we know nothing,
It is from this point of knowing nothing,
That we can even begin to conceive of knowing something;

Life can be a whirl wind of WOW!
When you choose to live in the NOW!
Stop being a sycophant to that which stifles your advancement!

Prose and poetry speaks to the human condition;
An astute observer observes a sort of
Transactional quid pro quo this for that interaction;
Which then avails the opportunity for a transactional analysis;
A stimulant and respondent situation,
Mediating the roles we play…
Why leave it to the
psychotherapists To justify how
and why we exist?
Our formalized schemas of action and re-action
From previous programming;
Interned by la di dah psycho-babble,
Just plain…PSYCHO!!!
You can clean up your own mess when you practice mindfulness.
I am conducting an action of self-renovation,
An exploratory mediation within my visceral nation;
Time is chasing me down, so it’s time to stop clowning around…

Mindfulness means being able to bring open-hearted awareness
To what you are doing while you are doing it,
Being able to tune into what is going on
In your mind, body and in the outer world moment by moment.
Haven’t you heard?
It has become a massive metastatic movement…
So be mindful of your mortality and
Mind the moments of your humanity.

When you find yourself in an instance of cognitive dissonance,
Between your actual and ideal self that
Renders you irrational and dysfunctional,
Take a deep breath and clear your cranial activity,
Perhaps you’ll find a remedial remedy That is actually logical.

It’s psychotic to sit here,
Lulled by water jutting from this American ground;
Trying to write the perfect poem;
That elusive beautiful beast…
It’s all clear in my header,
But renders itself clumsy on paper.

Ugh! Numerous times I’ve considered abdication
Of this literary misrepresentation.
Why run when you can walk?
Why write when you can talk?
Perhaps my ego state wishes to celebrate its own fallacy.

“Don’t break your neck trying to suck your own
cock!” I tell it in good deference. But in good ole ego
exaggeration, It takes it as an infraction.
“Tough!” I tell it.
“The best gift I can give you is THE TRUTH!”

Being an artist is becoming more and more tiresome…
But I must create!
Create my own fallacy!
Create my own cerebral society!
Less I become a menace TO society!

Artists: a bunch of brilliant psychotic eccentrics dying to get published
By even more psychotic publishers deciding
Who to exonerate and who to incarcerate.
“Oh yeah, sign me up!”

But here I am,
Regressing back to bygone years
In high school literary rebel circles,
Writing to matter, scowling on paper,
Mystifying narratives of pain and lack of power;
Feeling vilified like a stain,
Waiting to be cleansed by the rain;
Dwelling in the parched deserts of the dejected and deceived
By the touted and all too elusive American Dream;
The American constitutional promise of valor
And EMPOWERMENT for all people;
Not just those with idealized notions of melanin deficient skin color.
Admiring badass iconoclastic nonconformists like
Elton John and Freddy Mercury;
Hoping for an uprising from their divine divinity
Into an ARTSY statesman;
An emblem for the common man
With uncommon abilities;
Yearning to break the perpetual protocol of the
Oppressed and the pathetic;
Morphing into the capable and the athletic.
As if THAT will solve EVERYTHING!

Feeling like a distinction within the subculture of dysfunction;
I yearn to break from the acculturated self,
To embrace a deliberate self;
Or programmed self to intervening adult self;

Feeling that labeled as anything “less than” Is
equivalent to putting out self-affronting pity signals
So you can feel sorry for me.

I am a literate loner dying…
To write the perfect poem;
That elusive beautiful beast…
Perpetually perpetrating a prima facie ruse,
Ineffable literary attempts,
Attempting to serve something subversive and
Simultaneously submerged in lofty liquidity,
But keep stumbling along the road of words…
I feel replete with incomplete;
Depleted of attention;
Surrendering my ascension;
Eschewing subconscious development, In
a desperate attempt at attaining PRAISE
From smug color-crazed capitalist narcissists!
Consumed by conspicuous consumption;
And in case you didn’t already know,
In “matters” of anything racial…
We are all descendants of the
In case you didn’t know…
So STOP playing the race game!
Instead explore your own ideology of INTERIORITY…
THAT will be the only way to be set FREE!!!
And if “why are you playing the race card?” is your inquiry…
“Well that’s the card you handed me!”
Because if we continue to do what we’ve always done,
We will continue to get what we’ve always gotten.
Remember, what you attack WILL fight back!
If race is a problem for you, don’t attack it,
Face it, confess it, understand it,
That is the process to address this race mess…

Here are examples of blasé “conversations” between the races,
Manifesting what a person of color typically experiences…

Black man: “We experience racism every day…”
White man: “Well I grew up in a white, black and brown world
And I have black friends who take interest in
What I have to say…”
Black man: We experience racism every day…
White man: “Well I marched in the 60s during the civil rights
movement with Martin Luther King and I blended
with blacks who spoke in an educated way…”

Although white people are not the only people who
Perpetrate hateful stereotypes at the end of the day;
When it comes to sexuality…
Particularly in the black community;
If you’re not a thug than you must be gay…
This is our human defray,
Our duality always keeps us in sway…
And just when you thought you were safe in your own home…
SUPREME POWERS tell you to go back to where you came from!!!
Forgetting that they too are descendants of people from another room…
From whom exactly? Those who look like Barack?

In hatred’s past and in its posterity;
Phony science of eugenics and polygenesis
Supporting white supremacy;
A justification for hatred and inequality;
Unequivocally proven to be a fallacy;
Yet in extant and in its posterity;
Have persisted in the twenty-first century…
Daguerreotypes of stereotypes put a dagger in all our hearts.
Despite our vehement use of force,
We all come from the same source,
In accordance with the laws of fate,
You become what you hate!
We are all part of the same “brotherhood”
So stop feeding on hatred like it was food!
Black and white, in spite of what you see on FOX,
Are just colors in a child’s Crayola box…

Why do life fronting stoic heroics?
Why do life displaying plastic demotics?
Why do life dumpy and disconnected?
Why do life inert and disconcerted?
Why NOT live life alert and elevated?

Allow not the affliction of demagogue degradations;
Determine your right to sanctification and salvation;
Live life in light and in love, an atypical solution.
Be cognizant that HATE incarcerates LOVE liberates!
Change is not linear, it flows up and down like a stormy river…

The civil rights movement from the 20th century
Revitalized in the 21st century;
The oppressed and marginalized stand defiant in daring this country
To manifest its constitutional degree of EQUALITY!
Racism is at an accelerated rate of recidivism…
Which can only be chastened by acerbic activism
By malapert rogue poets and bohemian lots;
Whom does not disperse without a Parthian shot!

Script full of grit and pragmatic essence;
Poetry without patronizing pretense;
An artisan’s temporary defense;
A benevolent remedy for malevolence,
While contemptuous consumerists
Construct coups for Cadillacs;
And congressional con men conduct convivial feasts
For fat materialistic maniacs…

It is said that Herman Melville insinuated at
The self-hatred instilled in all of us when he wrote Moby Dick,
Right or wrong, our projections of prejudice
Onto innocent persons proves that “we are sick!

Good food good mood…
Nothing annihilates hunger more than food;
Nothing discombobulates evil more than good;
Find the good in your selfhood;
Understand before you can be understood…
Thinking good thoughts leads to
Doing good deeds for our brotherhood.
Our transient existence as Homo sapiens,
Which translate to “wise man”; which makes me wonder…
How “wise” are we to conceive that we are superior to one another?
What really “matters” is that our collective humanities
Are the only ties that bind;
Before you ponder your next attack just remember that
An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind!
“THEY” are you and you are “they”
STOP the blame game and find a better way!
Clear your name from this shame,
Understand that we are 99.9 percent the same…
So STOP playing the race game!

Your manifested American ideology of liberty
Will be indubitably contested by your hyperbolic hypocrisy!
Be a mouth piece for our democracy,
Designed to preserve our collective human dignity.
Stereotypes belong in a recording studio,
They ought not to be imposed on people…
The iconoclastic scientist Galileo Galilei
Hailed as the father of observational astronomy
He proved that the moon was
A place you could go and stand on…
Yet he was charged by the inquisition
When he challenged long held beliefs;
Much like modern day pioneers for racial equality
Who are stricken with grief when they are challenged
As they hail the clatter of
Black Lives Matter!”
A retroactive attempt to reconcile slavery and stimulate conversation;
A counterproductive intent to dislocate confrontation…
I am a teller of truth while navigating this human journey,
A dictating dichotomy between
Metaphysical pursuits and Existential reality.
Or “Just doing the best I can” along life’s lurid trajectory
While spewing pretentious perennial philosophy
Dedicated to the finite “truth” of our infinite diversity…
Hoping for a transcendent united epiphany of unity.
Let there be internal radiance in the face of external malfeasance
Transformative spirituality in the face of divisive oratory;
“Ils faut cultiver notre jardin”
French for “One must cultivate one’s own garden”,
Attend to your garden, be the change that you want to see,
Especially for the sake of the children…
Who will one day pluck a fruit from our implanted tree;
For “In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”:
Genesis verse sixteen chapter three.

Learn from the lessons of the past but let go of their context,
For they will only bring you distress;
Live in the moment let THAT be your truest test!
Remember as your fear of whatever decreases,
The higher in your power increases…
Forgive completely, live freely;
Contemplate unpopular concepts,
Please know fear is created when
You conspire to control so
You MUST aspire to “Let Go!”
Those you fear fears you,
Those who fears you fear themselves…
Build an entourage of courage,
Live your life like a sage.
In the dark and hallow hour,
Look to the tower of your higher power.
Remember to stay in the light,
Especially when you find yourself up all night.

Have you any notion of the bastion needed of a
Brain to go against the grain?
Enjoy the torment of being different!
And when you need to heal the pain…
Take three deep breaths,
Observe what is going on…
Proceed with awareness and compassion:
Deepak Chopra’s prescription for perception,
Fuse it with your daily meditation.

Sit under a willow tree,
Perhaps in the lotus position,
Explore your identity,
See if you can find tranquility;
Mind your actions, take action but don’t yield to re-actions;
Tension is a false notion of who you think you should be;
Relaxation is who you are truthfully.
Mindfully manage your freedom of choice,
Be the last person to evoke raising your voice.
When you interact with each other as
Sisters and brothers or as soeur et frère…
Remember to be mindful of exercising some savoir faire.
“Life is a whirlpool of WOW
But only when you own the NOW!”
Spend your time exploring who you are,
Before it’s your time to say see you later or “A plus tard…”
Don’t wait ‘til you are in a procession on your way from hospice,
Remember no one ever said on their death bed
“I wish I had spent more time at the office…”
All work and no play…even God took a break on Sunday!

Stay focused and fight for your rights;
For in the poetic rhetoric of Robert Herrick:
“Go on fore right,
[But remember] it is the end that crowns you,
Not the fight.”

I wish this ending was be the bulk of my story…
Landfills where fuchsia stars burst like
Beethoven’s sonatas in the night,
Nesting birds basking in the moonlight,
Where the darkness and the light are both alike,
A marvelous silver against the dark horizon…
To know me look not through my eyes but where I gaze…
Disappearing in a cloud of mist alone and adrift in the big country;
Lulled by the sound of the sea;
The swish swash of life’s longing to be;
Lying on my back on the soft summer sand;
I’d smile to the spurious dome above the land;
Grasping how glorious life is…
White waves crashing at my feet;
Seagulls squawking in retreat,
There, I would feel complete…


Jacques Fleury’s book Sparks in the Dark: A Lighter Shade of Blue, A Poetic Memoir about life in Haiti & America was featured in the Boston Globe. It’s Always Sunrise Somewhere and Other Stories is a collection of short fictional stories spanning the pervasive human condition. Their topics range from politics to romantics, from sex to spirituality, from religion to dissension. His latest book, Chain Letter to America: The One Thing You Can Do to End Racism, is available at the Harvard Book Store and world wide online. His CD A Lighter Shade of Blue as a lyrics writer with neo-folk group Sweet Wednesday is available on ITunes and Spotify. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Mary Lou Springstead is a visual artist originally from Florida, who currently resides in Middlesbrough, UK. She is a nasty woman who is inspired by mythology, psychology, social and environmental justice, Surrealism and Outsider Art.