If Only I Knew How To Swim…

I Haven’t Even Began To Peak

This self-sacrificing bullshit is getting old
Your poisonous fangs can no longer take a hold
I wish for something better
Only come up with more excuses
The way things are going, there’s no real way of knowing
What is truth and what is a lie
Everything you are conditioned to believe
I despise
Tormented by my own mind
Can’t seem to focus even for a moment
My own worst enemy with me at all times
If I give up now which part is the lie
Three years and counting
Adding up to something I don’t realize
Giving away everything one word at a time
Tomorrow maybe, but today I don’t know
Not sure how it is I ever will
Left wondering, left out in the cold
I know there is an end but where to begin
Lost in tranquility, Lost in retaliation
Full of words with nothing to say
Revenge is everything and nothing
A steaming pile of shit I have to get through
Letting go seems to be the hardest part
When this self-sacrificing bullshit is getting old
When all the unused words build up in my head

Buried Under Three Feet of Shit

Can’t stop this even if I tried
Thousand Broken bones
Blood dripping from every wound
A fucking mess
Still going strong
Still going after all and everything
What stops the will to live when you are already dead?
Contradict myself with a mouth full of shit
Bending back my neck to understand any of this
Twisting and pulling until it connects
What makes up a soul
Makes us whole
Worthlessly sinking in a sea of shit and piss
If only I knew how to swim
Could I then know what it means to live
What if I already did but only refused?
Compound fracture, compound interjection
Still hanging on by a thread, a lifeline attached to nothing
With all the answers locked in my head
Head pulled back I’ve learned all that I have been told to know
Kicking under the surface still going under
Education is nothing more than an endurance test
Testing everything I know against everything I don’t
Strange how I once thought now I just forget
Going on is harder against the undertow
Going forward is harder pressed upon the wall
Going on seems to be the hardest part after all
Circumstances uncertain, left for dead, three feet under
A bed, a sea, an existence of shit


Well if that doesn’t sum up the year that was 2020… I’m not even going to waste my time in hoping next year will be any better… expectations are just a let down at this point… all hope isn’t gone… but would it make a difference anymore if it was?…

Also I know how to swim… well I haven’t drowned yet… so you can infer whatever you like from that… for some reason I feel that you need to know this… I’m not even proud of that fact… given that I won’t even get in a body of water… cesspools full of shit… you’d think I would feel at home… but I don’t…

Ready to get to this new year already… and leave last year in the past… that is saying a lot… considering as each day passes… that is one less day that I never had… feelings get lost in the emotions… ideas get buried under the thoughts… and I seem to disappear as each day goes on… How is any day different… if it is all one long day to begin with?… Yeah… I’m ready to face the new year and everything that comes with it…

Happy New Year From Everyone At Is That A Funeral?…

That Is A Cat On A Hoodie…

Not Just Any Cat… But A Demon Cat…

Which Means… It Will Keep You Extra Warm…

(Demon Cats Aren’t Real… Also We Have No Way To Prove This… That Cat Though Was Super Psycho… Haunted By Something From Another Dimension… That Photo Wasn’t Even Manipulated… Yeah… Let That Sink In… Demon Cat In My Book…)

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She Knows Way Too Much… Broken Thoughts…

Thought maybe this might end
One too many times
Moments in time as they slip by
A crawling feeling from down inside
Took long enough but not long enough
The words escape what I’d like to say
What was meant to be slips away
Gave it all I had and now this is all
Anyone could hope to be left with
A dying breath left on lips of regret
Always more to do looking back
Never enough time to reflect on thought
Did my part but was it enough?
Will anything ever be enough?
When we don’t know what it is
We are looking for in all of this

A heart… a hole… a destiny I can’t afford…

Tapping the well, draining the lake
I wonder what we’d find at the bottom
Lined with bodies, lined with lies
Metaphoric, a thought buried in the mind
A grave left at sea, a grave yard of thought
The list could be endless in theory
But I think we already know
I think we’ve always known
What lies ahead, below, and above
Not only sky, not only lies
Digging deeper through the tissue
Pulling apart the thoughts as though
We didn’t know how this all began
Truth buried deep within
Truth lining the lake bed of the mind
But I think we already knew
I think we’ve always known
What lies ahead, below, and above
Denial more than a thought unheard
Death has always been
Everything it was intended to be

“When you are in your twenties you see the world on fire and think I have to do something to put it out. The older you get the more you realize the world has always been on fire and it is time that I got mine. The warnings left behind by generations before don’t seem as empty as they once did. They no longer seem like wasted excuses of a failure that has failed. The words around you begin to make some sort of sense. Their actions become shared actions. Wisdom comes in waves. Existence of the fire becomes clearer over time as you see the size of the flames. You learn to understand that you don’t put a fire out by running directly into the center of it. Rather you contain it and take it out slowly from the outside. There is no value in sacrificing yourself for something that won’t end. Was never meant to end. But if you could make it smaller? Well then what have you done then? Have you done your part in all of this or only burned on in the flames as the world has planned for you at your birth? Not all questions have a definitive answer. Something you can’t really understand without the time to really think about. Something you can’t really understand until you get there. That is where I am in this world at the moment. A space between now and then. Some days the spark flares up in me and I want to jump into the belly of the beast, but for the most part I’ve learned to contain my adolescent.”

M.T. Billings, Misguided Ideas of a Misunderstood Threat

Broken Thoughts
Layne Ambrose

Pretty odd place to leave things… honestly I wouldn’t waste my time… or yours… if I didn’t think that it meant something deeper… You have probably never heard of M.T. Billings before… and that is okay… because they don’t have a website… we are working on it… from what I can acquire they are still too busy working on any sort of material… if it sounds like I am being vague… imagine how I feel?… there is still a lot to learn about the mysterious M.T. Billings… see what happens I guess… in the mean time… Is That A Funeral? and I have offered to help them in any way we can…

Speaking of… as we move forward with this great big ball of shit… Is That A Funeral? and I have been discussing taking on more authors… we are looking at different ways to do it… different ways to balance the work load… finally catching up around here… has been nice… but I think we are looking for a new challenge… Using what they have learned from me… we are thinking of starting off pretty slowly… maybe a new feature here or there… know more later… look out 2021… Is That A Funeral? is coming for you… (They asked me to say this… honestly if they weren’t my friends… we are barely friends… but when someone believes in you… can’t really just walk away…)

Enough business for today… let’s get down to some thoughts on nothing at all… the empty void in my head has been throwing around a lot of ideas… where to go next… I think I mentioned this already… the thoughts come back in from time to time… which I think is why what Billings said really struck me enough to feature it… where I am and where I was is a space I am currently stuck in… I have more than enough ideas… just unsure if I want to stay where I am or give something new a chance… doesn’t seem like a big deal… and in the scheme of life it probably isn’t on the surface… but changing things up now would mean a few years of my life invested in something different… but what is a few years on a scared heart?…

It is a scary and exciting feeling… growing and expanding is an important part of life… a necessary part of all of this… it is not as though I will be abandoning everything I have done… the differences for you will probably be so minimal that you won’t even know what the hell I am talking about… I’m ranting and this is where I am in my head… on a cliff… ready to jump… now I just have to do it… and stop thinking about it… easier to say when you’re not chewing on glass…

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If It Doesn’t Kill… Then It Doesn’t Hurt?…

After so many rejections it becomes so much easier to ignore the vultures that come circling around my rotting corpse. Letter after letter. Email after email telling me they wish me well. Words copied and pasted as hollow as my soul. All of this self-mutilation for one person to just be like, “This is alright.” That’s all it takes. At least that is what they say. Who the fuck are, is this they? They never shut up like the voices inside my head. Constantly driving me into the grave.

Overnight is all that it takes and all you need is one semi-interested interest. So, I keep stabbing head. Cutting a piece of myself off little by little until there is nothing left. Then all of sudden, out of nowhere, “We’d love to work with you.” What the hell does that even mean? I’m in the business of cuts, gushing wounds, and scars. I have no prior experience in this kind of reaction. The messages come flooding in. Email after email the tides begin to change. Then the calls start coming in. “How the fuck did you get this number?” All of a sudden you are all there is. All there will ever be.

They say success goes to our heads. Not true. It is fucking bitterness. “Oh, now I’m something?” I want to scream. I want to beat the phone against the desk. “Last week I wasn’t much of anything. Last year when I was practically begging, hanging on by a lifeline, and unfortunately I wasn’t a good fit for Flowers Monthly. Now all of a sudden I am something?” It only takes one, but a thousand submissions later everyone can fuck off.

It isn’t success it is bitterness to the whole process that pushes everything along. Do you think after this sea of rejection you will be receiving anything of actual value? I mean I’m so special all of a sudden? Well here is the material I wouldn’t even put in my book. Here is the stuff I dug out of the trash after I wiped my ass with it. Keep everything. Sold out you say or getting even? Depends on what side of the screen you live on. An asshole or apathetic is up to you to decide. I have moved on. I have accepted that the vultures will take whatever of me is left. I sold my soul and I’m even more proud to admit that I don’t care. Check out my newest piece in Flowers Monthly, and don’t forget to like and subscribe. Food isn’t free and electricity isn’t cheap.

Rejection is never fun… you get used to it… I think… I’m used to it at this point… the hardest part of not writing about… like… for everyone else… is that you will face a lot of rejection… at least that is what my mom says… haha… So what do you do then?… After the bottom falls out once again?… After everything in you feels as though it has died once again?…

Well you get back up and do it again… I mean what else did we have to do today?.. Failure only happens when you give up… so I move the rejections to the rejections folder in my Gmail… and fire off another round of submissions… This business isn’t for the faint of heart… it isn’t for those who are willing to cave at the slightest resistance… creativity is a never ending battle with yourself and everyone around you… it isn’t bloody… and it always hurts… but don’t let it kill the dream left inside… I’m not going to give up and neither should you… and when you get there… don’t forget about the ones that got you there…

Thank you for all your support… every little bit helps… every like… review… comment… purchase… shout out… and even every negative response… We don’t do anything alone…

Happy Holidays… From those of us at Is That A Funeral?..

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Dancing At Our Own Wake… Broken Thoughts…

So many words without any substance
What is it all for, nothing
What is it all about, nothing
So many thoughts that go no where
Has to be adding up to, nothing
Has to be going somewhere, nothing
Digging a grave made of words
Of things to be said
Digging a grave full of ideas
Of things that seem to matter
Broken spirit, shaky bones filled with
Nothing at all
So hard to separate
The words from the idea
The thoughts from the point
Of nothing at all

I never said that… Sure you did. It is just that sometimes the words are hard to understand while screaming them…

Faith in the hopeless
Still have to try
Still must push against the wall
Built in the mind
Forever can’t last
Has it always been this way
Locked away
Left to die
Left to suffer
Abandonment
Isolation
Suffocation
Speaking truth in tongues
Turn to lies over time
Rambling ideas of the mind

A made up identity of all that I despise

Don’t take what was never mine
Get in fucking line
Wait to die
Know the order
“Know the way things are, are how they were meant to be.”
God’s words, natural selection
Do you understand?
A bible written in blood, truth, the only way
Look to Moses as he crossed the desert
Look to the prophet that said
“Stay here, for my people it is time to die.”
Where do you get the will?
To throw a book in the face of us all
Never understood a word at all

Broken Thoughts

Layne Ambrose

I’m sure there are about twelve other things I could address right now… but fuck it… I’m not in the mood… I’ve got Pokemon to catch after all… let’s be honest… can we be honest… Do we really need so many damn Pokemon?… Don’t get me wrong… I will trap… and collect them all… with a smile on my face… but it is starting to get a little crowded around here… do I really need a Pokemon in a teapot?… or one that looks like an ice cream cone?… I mean who thought… Let’s bring back the ice cream cone?… almost a thousand of these damn things… bring back the cone… and while we are at it… the chandelier…

Since we are being honest… and on the subject… What does it say about me as a person… that I am willing to leave a wake of “dying” Pokemon… in a long trail behind me… all in the pursuit to make mine stronger?… what kind of torture simulator am I playing?… pocket monsters?… I’m not so sure about that… I think we may be shifting the blame… the monster has been… and always will be… me…

Couldn’t make it to therapy this week… I apologize… for the outburst… but my therapist thanks you…

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Huffing Glass 102… Titles And How They Can Mean So Many Things…

Seeing how there aren’t actually classes going on… or maybe there are… I have no idea what to expect when nothing is to be expected… 2020 anyone?… has all infected us all… even if you live under a rock like me… going to be honest because what else do I have to offer this world?… I do not remember the format for this type of post… Huffing Glass 101… you can use a search engine… I could too but where is the fun in that?… What I do remember… well what I wrote in my notes… is that today’s… lesson?… discussion?… would be about Titles… obviously not about grammar… Thank God or I’d have to issue refunds for this class… But enough small talk… let’s get into this…

Titles… I love them… possibly my favorite part of writing… wait don’t you write short stories… long ass poems… and most of your website is filled with Broken Thoughts?… Well yeah… but they all have to be titled none the less… for most writers… honestly I don’t know… for most of us… titles don’t come first… for me they do… I get hyped by the title… just as I hope you do… the title reels me in the same way it is meant to reel in everyone else around me… Of course like all things in writing… titles evolve over time… Many of my titles start very long… for instance… my first short story collection is called… Drinking Bleach to Stay Alive… but now I just call it Drinking Bleach… Oddly enough now that I think about it… A Lie… has always been A Lie… I never had more than that…

But what is so important about a title to me?… Why do I spend so much time on something that will only be read and referenced over and over again?… I actually don’t spend that much time on them… most of them are spur of the moment… and that moment leads me to writing a story or concept behind them… that sounds great… now lets go… This is the case most of the time… sometimes I have no idea what the title will be until the last second… usually that involves poems though… Long form stories… I usually come up with a title and then build a concept from there…

My most recent book… Teething On Concrete… was written like this… kind of… granted it is a poem collection so the poems were written in advance… for the most part… nothing is finished until it makes it into the book though… and during the editing process for Concrete… I did tailor the poems to fit this new concept… Originally the book was to be called Black Cloud Rising… before that though it was Fell On Dark Days… for obvious reason I chose to do neither title… but for over a year that was the concept of the book… based on those titles… The only reason any of it changed was because I became obsessed with the title Teething On Concrete

It is dark… check… it is weird… check… it conveys a thought in my head… sold… Teething On Concrete… is more than just three words… it is a concept… it conveys… that something is going on… How does someone find themselves teething on concrete?… Why would someone even do that?… Think that?… Have to read the book to find out… There is more to it then that of course… because that is how writing and life works… but that is the main point of what a title does for me… it guides me to a certain goal… My next two projects will do the same…

My next novel is titled Fuck… I Hate It Here or I Hate It Here… (I’m sure that sentence was confusing with the ellipse in the title… but everything has to start somewhere…) Yeah… eight years into a book… I’m still not sure what the title will finally be… You can guess which one I prefer… but it isn’t testing well around the office… It also wasn’t the first title I came up with either… No… originally it was going to be titled… Chewing On Glass… but it didn’t fit the concept of the book I wanted to create… well it did in the beginning but as things progressed during the first round of concepts… it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go… In case you are interested I’m on concept three for this fucking book… but that is a rant for another time…

Basically titles are fun… should be fun… they should make you want to read the story as much as they should make anyone else want to read your story… in my opinion… I personally can’t pass up a good title… seriously I will buy a book based on title alone… Tortured For Christ… I’m a sad desperate person like that… I love me some titles… They say don’t judge a book by its cover… and I don’t… but I can’t pass up some well thought out words burned across it…

So what are some of my favorite titles that I didn’t come up with but I wish I did?… Well thanks for asking…

As I Lay Dying by William FaulknerQuite possibly the best title for any book ever… also the only book by Faulkner that I have actually gotten through… and enjoyed… Also one of the first books I decided to read that wasn’t pushed on to me by school or an institution…

Though to be fair… I thought it would make an amazing band name… turns out I was right… So I had to read it to see if it was worth naming my band after because of course the press was going to ask me questions about it… yeah… young Ambrose was a dreamer… still is… this was all before I found out that a band already took the name and ran with it… I was pretty bummed when I found out…

I can’t say that I love this book though… the story isn’t for me… good or bad is up to you… what I did take way from this book though… was the concept… to this day this book is one of the first bricks laid in me that I want to be a writer… so again good or bad is up for debate… it is pretty crazy the way we get here… but it doesn’t matter as long as we get here I guess…

Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.Not what I thought it was going to be at all… so much more than a simple title… not for the faint of heart… but a masterpiece all the same… I enjoy the basic title against the complexity of the stories… This title has influenced me to think outside of the most obvious titles… or that a book’s title can mean more about what the book is about than the stories themselves… A title is much like the bassist in a band… it must play along with the rest of the band… but it needs to be its own thing as well…

Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head by White ZombieMixing it up here… not a book of course… but an influence title none the less… This title doesn’t jump off the page… there is a lot going on here… and that is what I like about it… Rob Zombie does this often… just about every album and I find myself doing the same thing…

In closing titles can mean a lot of things… they can influence the way you read a story… they can grab you from out of nowhere… they can drive you to write a whole book… titles are where it is at… and this has been more than enough glass to huff for today…

What are some of your favorite titles?… What does a title do for you?…

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Something Different… Already?… Q & A…

It is time for some of that good old fashion fun… I know… I know… I’m not sure what it means either… but I’m told that it will be… well fun… Let The Ungame BeginFire It Up… don’t actually bring flames any where near this game… because it is mostly paper… if it came with game tokens… or even rules… well we lost those a long time ago… seriously this game is old… not ancient old… but it isn’t getting any younger… The Ungame Begins... Lightning Edition

Question 1: If You Were Told You Only Have One Week To Live… How Would You Spend It?

Without pants… next…

Question 2: What Do You Think Your Friends Say About You When You’re Not Around?

Probably the same things they say to my face… that I’m an asshole… next…

Question 3: Say Something About Policemen

They can be found in many form… one of which is as a woman… this game is super old… borderline ancient… next…

Question 4: If You Could Become Invisible Where Would You Like To Go?

If I told you… what would be the thrill of being invisible?.. everywhere… next…

Question 5: Remember – No Talking Unless It’s Your Turn! Take Another Card.

Literally sitting here in silence… that’s a creepy thought… working hard to earn that “dark” tag…

Question 6: What Would You Do If You Found $1,000 In A Vacant Lot?

Burn it… never hold on to evidence… next…

Question 7: How Do You Feel When Someone Laughs At You?

That being a stand up comedian… could be more than just a fantasy… next…

Question 8: What Is The Most Sentimental Possession That You Have?

My wife… next…

Question 9: What Would You Like To Do To Become Famous?

I decided last month… to make candles… this is just a side gig until it takes off… name one famous candle maker… now I just have to make candles… next…

Question 10: What Is Your Favorite Song?

You can only name one?… like out of all of them in the world?… what kind of bull shit made up question is this?… if there was a customer service number to call right now… Pick one song?… that simple?… why don’t you pick just one song game?… oh that’s right… it’s not your turn so you can’t speak… pick one song… I’ve never been so triggered… offended… confused… emotions… brain is firing on emotions right now… not pick a band and their best song… as if that is a simple task… no… pick a song…

Introducing our new segment… Ambrose’s Favorite Song… just fucking with you… no one has the time… however… let me know what your favorite song is in the comments… and I will tell you if it is good or not… also feel free to answer any of the above questions…

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Bukowski by Modest Mouse… if you know me… you can guess why…