I can tell you this without any doubt in my mind,
the beast speaks in whispers
which are louder than any scream; yet
as hard as we try to cover the sounds –
we still hear them.
We hear everything
My beast is different from your beast;
then again, they’re all the same.
They’re all looking to shake us
to take us away from our best possible self,
like a cruel joke with a punchline that keeps going
or keeps us guessing
My beast is quiet sometimes;
he does this because my beast understands
it’s the quiet stirs that trick me the most.
This is when the mind is unsettled and it seems like something is coming –
or wait . . . . do you know what this is?
This is like when I was a kid
and I knew there was a note sent home from school.
I had to wait for the mail
which was like waiting to go before the judge
and be sentenced to either hard labor or cruel or unusual punishment,
which perhaps are one in the same.
Either that or it was the chair, man
strapped in and let the punishment begin.
But that feeling –
that term of knowing something is on its way
and the unknowing fear of what’s going to come next
it’s a killer.
I tell you, most times
the anticipation is just as bad
because the fear is worse when you don’t know what’s about to happen.
But dig it,
my beast knows about these things –
he knows how to manipulate the system,
my system, so-to-speak
This is the mind and its chemical breakdowns
which turn the machines in our head
and runs us into different systems of overload –
or, this is otherwise known as panic, anxiety or insecurity.
I’m telling you, this is the beast,
alive and well and living right upstairs
and bumming around in the mental attics
which is where we store the details of our life
and, of course, our most intimate details.
My beast used to wear a sharkskin jacket
with pockets in the inside and little tricks up its sleeve.
Mine was like the street thief
or like the constant con man,
always with a riddle and a smile,
and always looking to pull a fast one.
There were times when I swore that my beast was me;
that this was all I could do and, at best,
this was all I could be.
There were times when my mind splintered
like the crackles in the shafts of lightning
and along the way,
I somehow fell into the undertow of my own ideas.
My beast knows me better than I know myself
which is why I try not to play chess with him.
But yet, I do.
I even set the table for him,
make sure he has something to drink,
something to eat
and something that might throw him off his tracks
so maybe then –
I can pull off a win.
And I’ll tell you this much, he’s a master at the game.
My beast tricks my thoughts all the time
He tricks me into believing the unbelievable lies
which tell me “hey kid, it’s time to run.”
He’s like the loan shark who comes to the factories on Friday
just after the paychecks go out.
Know what I mean?
my beast is bigger than your beast.
He’s smarter too.
He can be deadly and violent and quick to show knives; yet,
my beast isn’t even real. He’s a phantom, you see?
He’s a vapor and a misuse of information
and fears from my history.
My beast is a compilation of arguments and incidents
which left behind a world of unresolved tensions.
To me, the beast knows how to keep me guessing
My beast is the sum of temptation and instant gratification
my beast knows how to pull off this trick
and come off with an innocent face as if to say,
“What? I didn’t do anything.”
Sure you didn’t.
My beast knows where to go
He knows how to offer a hint of suggestion.
He knows how to get me into the dark corridors like,
“psst, come here. I got something for ya.”
My beast has a way of misleading me towards doubt
and then he smiles,
or better yet,
then he causes confusion or
like the Great Master Sun Tzu explains in his Art of War –
my beast takes a page from this and strikes with chaos.
Strike with chaos, which means cause a confusion –
lead your enemy intro troubled territory
get them lost and make them uncomfortable –
let them be misled into the unknown and then come in
when they least expect it
and take what you want.
That’s what it means to strike with chaos and, yes,
this is the beast
this is what he does
all the time-
He strikes with chaos.
He causes confusion and builds the distraction
which is enough to throw me off guard
or keep me from the path of my best self.
That’s what the beast does.
When I’m stuck,
he comes in with an answer.
Then he comes in with his agenda and his sharp smile
which used to have gold teeth
but that’s when I was younger.
This is back when his bag of treats had bags within themselves.
These were his treats and his little trinkets of self-destruction
which annihilated me – almost literally
but than I got sober . . .
Sometimes I sit back and think to myself,
“I see what you did here.
Well played,” I tell him
My beast just laughs and says, “same time again tomorrow?”
Sure, I say
“Double or nothing?”
Why not, I tell him.
I ask, is my line of credit still good?
“Sure” he says.
“There’s a million ways to settle the score.”
The beast is always looking to make a deal.
It’s not the deals we make; it’s the fine print that we miss
Next thing you know, you’re strung along in a high interest rate that keeps on mounting.
You can’t win, he says.
You do know that, right?
One more time, just to see if I win
or if I can play it straight.
Sometimes, it’s like . . .
Can we just skip to the part where we’ve learned our lesson and say, “not today, beast.”
Gotta go now, folks.
The beast promised me a free breakfast.
Says it won’t cost me a thing –