Next Life Soundtrack

Having pumped panic buttons and pedal metal down
the throats of freeways and crashed like heavy
glass ash trays into our own homes broadside

with department store force and a gas can,
distended stomachs and God’s holes, having shown
off our momentum for yawning as a clever way
to denigrate deeds of kindness,
having created enough minimum wage faith to
distract orphans from the exit rows then thrown
holding pattern parties in their honor
only to present each other with our own names
on gold plaques bolted to a fountain of toll booths
used to dressed up up in our go go go and gone uninterrupted
by the signs that serve to encourage calming down,
it is good to know I have at least been loosening
my grip on the expectation that our thumbs will
necessarily oppose each other in the next life.

There is a next life
and it is my understanding we will not necessarily
be binge drinking bros wearing Greek lamp shades,
paying for friendships based on how pornographic
our breath smells.
I will not necessarily find myself rationalizing
with computer gamers and automated customer service systems
about how much life is lost on alternative realities
or how much violence the peaceful consumer causes.
The results of our language cannot be programmed.
There is no proper way to hide the rampage with whom
we have been banking.
There are no words thick enough to conceal
the transparencies in these stories we have crafted
out of loopholes and nothin’ but net.

The next life is being offered to us daily
via live streaming video of entitled white rabbits
and tragedy addicts dragging their fingernail file cabinets
across records of the damage my nerves have done,
inglorious preachers of a sensational game.
Sensations and games are at the root of why we are walking
so inefficiently, warped 45’s with credit card swagger
charging up a sad sad path,
like Ray Charles singing Seven Spanish Angels to the bottom
of the barrel in broad daylight. Stop congregating
in the valley just because an echo sounds good when it
agrees with itself.
We have all the information we need to see clearly.
A trajectory of misery – at this point – seems intentional.
We are no longer toddlers on the landscape of consciousness.
It is no longer cute to crap ourselves.

Get the sticky off your buns and roll with me.
Brush the hair from your eyes and comb over.
Stop paying the dentist for a night guard if your jaw
is still pulverizing the truth.
The truth is: You feel fine, right now.
We are a point of complete, not a soundtrack to the next life.
The future gets no say in who we are.
Settle your debt and logout.

Buy yourself back from the sale rack and get on with it.
You fit well with this moment, which – unlike a handshake –
will never lose its touch.
Thank you for laughing at the joke several lines ago
about sticky buns.
That was sweet. This is nuts.


Having listened to the parentheses of passive aggression
and made far too much bracket in response,
incriminating ourselves as sucker punches and suckerfish,
soaker hoses and preying on the dead weight
of fashion-forward food for overpopulation,
having inflicted the most amount of pleasure with
the least harm done then called it progress,
I am still, without fail, eligible to remind us that
there is a reason the future gets so agitated by our advances.
We are not built to barge ahead of ourselves in false fast-forward
on a flat fifth wheel made out of spokespeople for progress
who fly off the handle whenever anyone taps the breaks.
Throw it in park.

Gauge the pressure. Renunciation is not a frigid concept.
It is okay to abandon the tackle practice
of having and crashing and having and crashing
through this circuit board of carrier pigeons carrying
torch carriers over an orchestra of strung-out
sixteenth notes composed by a matchstick
that struck out and broke off but did not burn up.
Release your forehead.
You are not a scrunchy tie for an outdated ponytail,
trying to hold it together while deciding whether
or not there is value in what I’m saying.
There is value in what I’m saying.
If people keep finding your body in these uncomfortable
positions they might mistake you for honest before
it’s actually true.
How honest is it that we drink until we are dehydrated?

If my throat turns into carbonated leather
and you hang me like a lucky foot from the rearview
mirror while line-driving down the freeway,
toll booth after toll booth,
in a heavy glass ash tray,
wondering how freeways got so expensive, remember this:
The White Rabbit is said to be a symbol of human beings
who are pompous and belittling toward anything they deem
less valuable than themselves, yet they grovel
to accommodate anyone from whom they stand to gain.
To what end are you gaining?
I’m not speaking to our governments,
I’m speaking to the way we govern ourselves.
Make your stopwatch live up to its name.
We are not late for an important date,
we have simply shown up too early for the next life
and forgot to knock,
forgot that the future doesn’t want us to arrive;
it knows that if we do, it dies.
As if people on stilts really need you to offer them more gravity.

Buddy Wakefield is a 3-time world champion spoken word artist, by accident. He enjoys practicing Vipassana, chopping wood and eating peanut butter. Big fan of rest, and hygiene.

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