Poem – “Masters of Distraction.”

“Masters of Distraction.”

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Here’s to a new year of skewed points of view
and people posting pictures of alcohol & food,
One of a kind minds designing script for your mood,
and new brand of social network
primed for solitude.
These contraptions are crude but
they get they job done,
in a society overrun with trending fads
and targeted ads for products to
satisfy all your desires but none of your needs,
sowing the seeds of greed & excess
into very fabric of the shirt on your back
and the dirt beneath your knees.
It’s a fate not of our choosing;
A prophecy of bruising that
jumps to conclusions fusing
minds and illusions.
It’s a war we are losing to faith in delusion
because the devices we’re using
don’t code for the value of humans.

We are hostages of consciousness
desperate for an audience,
for anyone to hear to our story about
how we suffer from the consequence of general lack
of confidence but don’t quite know why.
How we hate ourselves for being flawed
cause it pales by comparison
to the arrogance that treats our minds
like rats in an experiment.
And how we are never really missing cause we’re
never really there just
masters of distraction apprenticing despair.
There’s no time to be a victim
because no one really cares if there’s
a sale on happiness
when it’s sold out everywhere.
So just grit your teeth
and owners beware
Your misery is a masterpiece
in case you weren’t aware.

Because the gravity that’s tailor made
to fit inside your chest says it
doesn’t matter if you’re better
you have to be the best
and you’ll endeavor forever
just to relieve all the stress
of having a mind full of knowledge
about how to take a test.
So don’t tell me it’s progress,
don’t call it success,
when we parent our children
with screens and neglect.
Instill in them heartache
and teach them regret,
disinfect their emotions
and hide their defects.
It’s a wide range of symptoms you can collect
when you have all the tech
but you still can’t connect.

It’s coercion well rehearsed
immersed in hunger feeding thirst
but you know what’s worse?
The fact that somewhere along the line
we monetized the hurt
and the news became just another way
to sell a logo on a shirt.
Time is a commodity
but no one knows what it’s worth.
So we spend our days locked away
watching live feeds of the earth
and the monotonous & bottomless
display of spotlessness the internet provides.
It’s in the business of bending minds
and spreading lies to sway opinion.
So believe what you believe
but listen when I tell you
no one can achieve what they show on TV
but we hope & we dream
as the cycle repeats
and we spend our whole lives
on the shores of the sea
searching for the land beneath our feet.

-Devin Ott
February 20th/ 2018



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A Place of Dreams.

“A Place of Dreams.”

It’s 6am and I’m awake. I don’t remember hearing my alarm but somehow I managed to shut it off. Today is the same but different. Just like yesterday. Just like tomorrow. I go to work, I come home, I sleep and I repeat. Save for the little gifts of time I have in between, where I build maps no one can see. Monotony for those who don’t know; bliss for those who do. I am somewhere in between, here on my ship in the sea.

I dream a future unencumbered but wonder what it means. Most nights, I walk the deck end to end making small talk memories but tonight my feet carry me to the edge. I set my hands down on the railing and look over. The waves break without a sound. There is only darkness and the wind. A deep hum, almost inaudible, rises up to greet me from the dark. This must be the place; the place of dreams.

I stare into the dark and feel it staring back. My mind is flooded with memories I don’t quite recognize and thoughts I’ll soon forget, but right now it doesn’t seem to matter. There is a gravity here, drawing me ever closer as the water below calls my name. I can’t find the courage to answer. Not yet anyway. There is something about this place, something magical, but it plays tricks on the mind. So close you can feel it lift the hairs gently from your skin, but still just out of reach.

I would be a fool to miss this opportunity but I am not sure I have what it takes to see it through. The real war is in here, not out there, and it always has been. We just talk a big game. The whirlpool in my head drains in to the sea and again I hear my name, only this time a little louder. Drowning in curiosity, I still resist the urge to respond, but without knowing why.

The moments multiply as I scour my heart for courage, watching the waves pass like clouds amidst the dark. All paths have led to this but somehow I’m still afraid. Afraid to know but equally afraid not to. Endless outcomes spin tires inside my head and I wonder if it will all work out as I planned; as I wanted, or if I am really the best to judge that in the first place.

Suddenly my attention is pulled away and my mind lands with a lone bird atop the lookout. I wonder what she is doing here? So far from home and way out to sea. What long journey brought her here? What drove her from home? These questions and more appear and disappear like passing signs; to fast to read, and I watch as she drops from her perch to join me at the railing.

She watches as I turn my gaze toward the waves, stewing amidst the apprehension running rampant in my mind. The hum rising from below drives my train of thought to a moment of clarity and suddenly I realize… She came here for me. All this way….for me. It must be fate, that we should meet adrift at sea, here on the precipice of dreams.

She gifts me courage as I climb the railing and stand balanced upon the edge of a blade. There are different lives on either side but which one do I choose? I extend my hand and she flies to meet it, grasping tight around my finger. Time stops with us inside and for a moment the world stands still. I lift my hand to my heart and feel her head against my chest. She looks up at me to reassure as we take a breath and jump.


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Swimming in Circles.

“Swimming in circles.”

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I am a fish in warming water. Enjoying the perks of this free energy that surrounds my body, I don’t feel the need to ask questions. It would only serve to complicate things. Surely, if the waters were to warm further still, I would have the presence of mind to escape before I fell victim to the buoyancy of ignorant comfort. Maybe, I’m not so certain anymore.

It’s been too long since we’ve talked and it’s not because I didn’t want to, I just didn’t know what to say. I was so fixated on the music that eventually, I couldn’t hear the notes anymore. I mean that both figuratively and literally. I’ve poured so much of myself into this that it has practically consumed my every moment free. And here we are, these many months later, and I find myself in the strangest state of mind.

I feel like my life has been playing like a drive-in movie. Sitting behind my windows, I see all these beautiful images passing by, but can’t for the life of me, find the right frequency to hear anything; there is only static. A global hum of unguided televisions trying to find their way through the ringing in my ears. It’s as if the heart of the world has skipped a beat and now I’m out of place; Syncopated. Antiquated. Isolated.

The earth moves beneath me and outside my little bowl but here I am, just swimming in circles. Stopping occasionally to revisit these feelings of self-doubt and obsolescence, before continuing on despite them. I dream of the river and where it might take me but also wonder if what I’m doing is stupid. If anyone outside my bowl will care. I wonder why it matters to me. Were I resolved to watch the world pass and not wish to join it, would I wonder where it’s going?

Maybe I’m afraid. Afraid that I’m not who I think I am or that this identity is not as potent as I thought. Maybe it never was. Maybe these years underwater have dulled my senses; diluted my reality. What if these feelings are just symptoms masquerading as thoughts? One can never know for sure. Maybe I’m afraid that beneath these scales, lies a destiny unfit for a fish. Maybe this is temporary; an aftershock. Maybe everyone feels like this from time to time.

All of them, swimming in their little bowls, fully grown and hungry for a cause. Do their voices deserve to be heard over the symphony resonating through the glass from the outside. Does mine? Countless voices mining time for opportunity and a part of me feels like I am just singing into the static. Trying to break free from a causal loop of perpetual auditory feedback, have I forgotten why I started in the first place? If time is common currency, how do you convince someone to invest in you? How do you know if you’re worth investing in?

These questions keep me company as I loop around my bowl, hoping that one day the frequency of my broadcast will match the dial of the world. Maybe it never will, but I have to try. For some reason, I have to try, and maybe that’s the point. Maybe the destination that drives us is just a catalyst to start the journey; a spark to start the fire, and once the road’s beneath us, only then can we find our way. Only then can we find ourselves.

I don’t know what lies beyond the glass. For now, I am just a fish in a bowl, singing into the static. Swimming along with all my hopes and dreams and the belief that one day, my voice will grow so loud as to shatter the glass around me and drain me with the water. If I could make my way to the river from there, what might I find? Or who? Who am I, if not a fish?


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Poem – “Gentle Hectic.”

“Gentle Hectic.”

The stars live and breathe
in the cuff of my sleeve.
It’s not enough to believe,
you must feel the fatigue.
the beleaguered mind state levitates,
a sporadic heart rate elevates
and I pace back and forth
debating what direction to choose.
Any will do.
but if I stand still I lose.
Words begging to be heard.
A man begging to be cured.
They resonate within me,
perhaps more than I know.
Fate calls from the seams
and the walls in between,
but I can’t will an answer.
It’s just the caffeine,
laughing at all the cars passing, asking:
Who are you?

Behind closed doors,
I fear I’m more and I’m less
riding the coat tails of spent cigarettes.
Where success seems an endless hallway
out of reach
unless the mind, made a mess
by this un-named distress,
has some lesson to yet to teach.
It calls out from the vale,
disconnected and stale,
but master of misdirection none-the-less.
A perfect reflection of imperfection
and me, just me.
A cold, gentle hectic
reckless collective.
Craving acceptance
of a mind resurrected,
and I’m left wanting.
Haunting the very halls
erected to protect me.

With age comes perspective
and mine is defective;
but when I stop and reflect,
I find it perfect,
just in other ways.
It’s the puzzle, I’m the pieces
but all these bends and these creases,
don’t know what relief is,
don’t know what peace is.
Cause this mind never sleeps
and these dreams?
Never cease.
The fearful unknown; I’m surrounded alone.
This multi-tasking mentality masking
a restless cascade amassing,
grasping at straws and reality
and all the while asking:
Who are you?
Who are you?

By Devin Ott
July 19th/ 2017

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When I was younger, I found myself fascinated by the prospect of life after death. I was drawn to miraculous stories of people who had nearly died and come back to tell the tale. The thought that there might be something after this equally comforted and frightened me. My young mind struggled to consolidate these ideas, to figure out what to believe, and to this day I’m not sure I have found the answer.

I’ll admit, in my youth I was far less rational; far less scientific than I am now and I was definitely more impressionable. I think the desire to fit in when I was young drove me to “believe” in what everyone else around me did. But as I grew up, my curiosity grew too, and I began to question the beliefs I once thought were fact.

By the time I was in high school I had amassed a mental archive of “after-life”stories and I noticed a pattern had emerged.  The type of life a person led seemed to dictate how they would describe the afterlife. The religious would see “god,” the spiritual would see family and loved ones, and the scientific would see nothing. Obviously, there were some exceptions but the point I’m getting at here, is that the “afterlife” seemed to be entirely custom order.

Naturally, it begged the question: What if it is? What if in those final milliseconds before the brain goes offline, our perception of time slows to infinity and the events of our lives no longer exist as compartmentalized memories in our minds? What if, in that moment, there became no past, no present, no future, but instead like a brush combining paints to make a new color, a new world was born of all possibilities . Ready to be manipulated, molded, and shaped into the most beautiful mosaic of peace and tranquility. A paradise; a final parting gift before a long journey home.

It seems plausible that in such a chaotic state the minds interpretation of “reality” and the definition thereof is no longer important. That time itself becomes irrelevant; unnecessary. That we unknowingly, spend our lives creating our own made-to-order paradise, feels somehow right to me. Maybe that’s what all the ancient scripts have been trying to describe all along and we have just been too caught up to notice. Maybe the years we’ve spent refining dissonance corrupted the waters of a once crystal clear understanding?

Perhaps it is not for us to know. Perhaps the mechanics of consciousness will never be understood well enough to say for sure but it’s a nice thought none the less. Maybe it is the justice we deserve, good and bad, and maybe “hell” exists there too. Or maybe “there” is nothing at all. Seems all the more reason to enjoy life while it lasts. All the more reason to invest in those you love. All the more reason breathe in the moments you have and bring that paradise to life.

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Imagine for just a moment, that we are not alone. That this vast internet of stars, planets, rocks, dust, and light is just one of many. Each floating in the stillness of something altogether different; unknown. Something otherworldly and unnerving but home once to all. Recognizable, not by shape or touch, but instead by a feeling. Like you’ve been there before.

I often wonder what lies on the other side of the door; the other side of everything. If “here” exists then surely “there” must exist as well, and if that is true then what is in between? What is before? What is after? If it’s true that matter can not be created or destroyed then surely we must live on in some form or another.

There are those who believe that when this life is over, another begins. A paradise for the ambiguous “good” and fire for all the rest. Seems like a cop out to me. The archetype of crowd control on loan from the middle-ages. An invention created to shield the human mind from fear. Doubt. From the responsibility and weight of life and death; the weight of consciousness. After all, if you aren’t the one in control, you can’t be held accountable for a life left un-lived. Monotony matters not to those with second chances and even less when the grass is always greener on the other side.

Imagine, if you will, that this and the world of dreams are one in the same; two sides of the same coin. Imagine that they are two equally valid realities, forever bound to one another, and tied through the ether by the lens in your brain. Each one, entirely isolated from the other physically, but still affected by an echo contained there-in. We call it sleep, but this is just a word we use to describe something we are unable to comprehend. Unable to measure. Unable to predict. The switching of consciousness.

We need the universe to make sense; to be defined. Infinity is all together too much to process. Without borders, How can we find our way home? Does home exist? Without walls, How would we ever feel safe? Infinity is desolate. Infinity is worn. Infinity is frozen. And in a place like that, surely life can not exist. But maybe there is something else?
Maybe at the edge of the universe, where infinity meets eternity, the un-alive are looking down at us, just waiting for their turn to live. Maybe this place we call home is the paradise we seek and we are lucky to be here. Maybe by some mistake of evolution we are just the first form to be aware of it. Likely the only consciousness that has ever seen this place, perhaps the only that ever will. We know something is not quite right but we lack the ability to decipher why or to recognize that this physical plain was only ever meant to be a home for our bodies.

A transition between the here and there, the before and after, and all else in between. We’ve woken up too soon and find ourselves confused and frightened, desperately trying to make sense of something we were never meant to see. Desperately in search of meaning. Of purpose. Where life is just the quantum superposition of matter in macro and might only exist to serve as the fastest route to somewhere; Somewhere less crowded.  Perhaps consciousness is just a light to guide us on our way toward complete entropy and the end of all things.

Many people spend their whole lives in search of answers, of meaning, or the reason behind our existence. But the more I learn, the less I believe there is one, at least none that you can find. I think it is up to us to manifest meaning from within ourselves. To smile in the face of endless infinity, knowing we are no different from it. Nothing stands still, nothing is static, and nothing is within your control, except you. So make the most of it. In the blink of an eye, it’s over, and when it is we say things like:

“They’ve gone to a better place.”
“They’ve gone home.”
“They’ve passed on.”

and maybe we are right. But it’s not heaven or hell or even a place at all, it’s just eternity passing through. On a voyage to find a home in everlast. A home that exists within….us.

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Poem – “A Plague of Nations.”

“A Plague of Nations.”

Profit steers the profiteers,
as they call out for extraction.
No minerals here, just smoke and mirrors,
feeding sheep who crave distraction.

A band of beasts; a sinking ship.
Half fool, half marauder,
with rhetoric to make you sick,
and a right to guns but not clean water.

These profiteers, with prophet fears,
sell a surveillance state of mind.
Piously, they think privacy
is about what you have to hide.

They deny the warming world,
casting science as a foe,
all watch in awe as the icecaps thaw
sinking cities to depths below.

A fading future; a sword and suture,
casting shadows; overlooked.
Like a rolling tide, they travel far & wide
to practice prejudice by the book.

The serpent tongue that licks the air
plants seeds of hate and greed.
From the stage it builds a cage
and blocks the way for those in need.

This mentality; a plague I see,
summons monsters from the past,
and all will cower at their awesome power
to fly a nations flags half mast.

There are no prophets here, just prophet tears,
and a howl in the night.
A heavy loss; the divided cost
of choosing wrong from right.

I watch the sheep, and let out a sigh
as they close doors and dead bolt locks.
The irony that they can’t see?
It’s a wolf that leads the flock.

By Devin Ott
February 5th, 2017

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