FLOODBACK\You, again


The lookout deck is just a hand dealt with distance.
The inevitable win or lose can only come when all the cards have been played.

This deck is not deliverance…
It is where you dine on credit at airport prices.
Its safety is by distance, not by deity.
Because lessons are only learned when we live them.

We know this.
But we tardy this traction with (denial-driven) hope that we won’t need to at all.
Willing… that maybe… somehow… our delaying might deal a different turn of truths that suit our what-ifs more.

My delaying has – just this week – walked into the FLOODBACK.

Yes I (am) have started thinking about you again.
Yes I (wish) feel the days of that fireball dynamo as if they were today’s yesterday.
Yes I (ceiling-stare) wonder the alternate outcomes –– and then buckle at the butterflies born to burst in my belly.

FLOODBACK feeds the powerlessness-pangs that I’d pain privately in the departure lounge of purgatory.

The board’s update is one-word smug: “Delayed”

I can’t certificate survival as successful with this carnival of skeletons I cohabit with.

Procrastinate honouring your heart’s hopes to heal, and hell will surround with scorn that reads “Delayed”.

In theory, we know that every step forward is a step in the right direction.

In practise, we don’t take those steps for a long, long time.

We prefer to triage the punishment… to trump it for what-ifs, while we secretly tap the door we’d professed to close and hope it opens to let us back in.

Courting cannibalistic-carnival…
…that’s not overall strength come from a place of sadness:
That’s sadness lacking strength because it is all over the place.
But don’t turn toward the tempt to frown upon it. That blinding bide is beautiful on its own – as and when it must… and as and when it must… and as and when it must…


Foreign as a feeling when it does.
Fluke, even.
But with flint in fist, and tinder tiding its time…

…this fluke will conscript a courage lit like a fire from underneath.

© Dylan Balkind

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Everyone gets older. Not everyone grows up. As I am known for my meticulous maturity, I have to look far and wide to see this in practise. And then I remind myself I’m not and that I haven’t… and for it, I have this story to tell.

There is a sublime simplicity that comes with the springtide of salad days. Anyone with children of their own will know what I mean. It’s a fearlessness that few can feast on – I’ve heard about mine from my parents. They’ve told me of the heart-stopping times they watched me at, all of four, hurtle down a 45° driveway in a pedal car with no brakes (but for a very certain wall at the bottom). Crazy-courage saw me through each ride and my expert steers and swerves saw me laughing my live-it-up exhilaration every time I came to a standstill. Safely. Soundly. As scheduled.

Somewhere between the spirit of then, the gangliness of adolescence, getting the shit kicked out of your heart the first time it had to live-out a “no thanks” and the double standards of the many faces in the working world, we forget how to access our courage; the raw, non second-guessing kind that speaks before it thinks and looks itself in the mirror with pride after it has, rather than for them dozen rehearsals before.

This is not a gloat. I don’t live this way all the time. But I have. I did. Recently. It was 8rave… It was crazy courage… and it was fuckin’ awesome!

I substitute the B in ‘8rave’ because of what I find interesting in numerology for 8. Its most important attribute is balance. It’s a Karmic equaliser and creates as easily as it destroys. It is the number of ambition, leadership and does not shy away from confrontation. When you think about what it takes to be honest on the outside about what you’ve been keeping hidden on the inside, you visit the very archipelego of ambition. And then of course, if you lie this digit on its side (as I sometimes need to do myself), you get infinity – the very essence of courage and who we are before and after anything that anyone else knows about us.

It is infinite.

We are infinite.

It doesn’t have a tally.

It doesn’t know limits.

It just needs to be let out to play.


After ±365 nights of sleeping – and not sleeping – on it, explosion-point pushed me to get real with my feels and force confidence beneath a crush so to convert the convoluted into clarity – even if just for me. If not to create, it would surely destroy. So I wrote it all down (because that’s what I know) and shared it with crush – a la open book.

It was 8rave.

And I did it.

And it was fuckin’ awesome – because it is greater than great to feel.

(What’s the alternative, really?)

You’re lovely.

And then some.

To me.

Dream a bit more… and then have the courage to connect the dots between what you feel there and what you say here. Because it’s fierce to feel your feels. Try it. Just do it. Heart-sleeve who you are without the wrapping or the ribbon. It takes something you draw from somewhere you don’t visit often, but you’ll be so glad you did. And I’ll tell you this for free: courage like that is catching. Set the trend for 8rave – someone has to start it. And you will see that when you do, the spirit of your 8rave shows itself in sprinklings on the people around you who are looking to unlock a magic of their own.

If we took… just one day out of life… it would be so nice…

Be 8rave.

It’s real.

As are you.

And courage like that is catching.

So why this ^^^? Because being 8rave is something to ce-le-brate.

I will not waltz off into the sunset with him (and I knew that from the start).

But I felt it, so I felt I had to say it.

That immortal moment was the very spirit of what I felt when I saw this, if 8 metres away. August 18th, 2004. Earl’s Court, London.

Go on.

Embrace your 8rave. 

Reinvent Yourself.

© Dylan Balkind


Between the dust and glitter aloft and unsettled, I have seen and will live from a menu of stories.

You asked about the plot I am page-turning now

so I told you of the forest I’m in, dark with no skylight.

That and its ground uneven make mates with my mistakes.

Because I fell


for an idea that is nonsensical at best, but still one I have to see everyday.

Sounds simply-solved.

It’s not.

You’ve lived your own can’t-haves and could-nots – the very reason I’d hoped for receptive recognition from the heart inside of you.

And yet…

…all you had in response was to ask why I sleep in swings out of synchronicity with yours.

Yesterday is done.

Normal is gone.

The only foregone

is that your easy conn

adds no value to this taxon.

I fell


for a nonsensical idea at best, but one I have to catch-breath for almost every single day.

This is the forest I’m in

dark with no skylight.

But because I fell.


I will make mates with my mistakes

and that might involve sleeping in a swings out of synchronicity with yours.


© Dylan Balkind


Mosaic Dancer

Three times.

I heard you.

But I made you say it three times.

To regale is to amuse, to entertain or to delight. It’s also to feast upon which is funny… and none of this is (anymore).

I made you say it three times.

Not because I was stupid. But because I was right.

I remembered him the moment I met him…

On the twenty-fifth day of the fourth month of the year before, I dropped anchor into a mosaic of madness, and again and again with each 1440-minute cycle that has bewildered and bemused the 351 days since.

Each unbending…

…mostly unhelpful…

…but moreover mortal…

…while mooring the mosaic of madness.

Reckless recreation is wreck-less – until the peanut gallery partakes from the periphery and proves that ugly is most when kept in a box labeled ‘kindness’. The murk makes it hard to decide which of those faces is first-off and which you’ll forfeit for the finish. It’s always veto until it’s venom and so anti until it’s akin… The messages at my 12 compared with those at my 6 make me feel like God has put my head in a water balloon and is swinging it around for fun.

But still…

I am not stupid.

I am right.

I remembered him the moment I met him…

“I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you all.”
– Coco Chanel

Sincerity can be embarrassing and confidence can be tender, but only because silly is to the sacred what instinct is to infinity.

Each unbending…

…as they moor the mosaic of madness.

© Dylan Balkind


Ben Rector | When I’m With You

Sometimes I’m all written-out, but that’s okay when you find someone else who puts it just perfectly…
I go a little crazy sometimes
Can you believe it?
Yeah, I swear I’m fine, that I’m alright
When I’m barely breathing
Thought I could find my way back home,
but I get lost alone

But when I’m with you I’m no longer wandering
And when I’m with you, I swear I can breathe
When I’m with you, I know who I am and who I want to be



Have you ever heard it said that you teach people how to treat you? I first read it in an article about four years ago. I like to say that I live by this as often as always, but reality is in the funny reminder that I only do when I wish I had. See, I suffer from premature infatuation. This and teaching people how to treat you come from very different sides of the tracks.

Premature infatuation takes shape in more areas than just the obvious. Yes, with boys of course. But matters of the heart go beyond boys and before I learned about all that, it was with the girls I was friends with, the music I loved, the movies I adored, the actors that brought those characters in those stories to life – and so on. James Cameron released Titanic when I was 18 and it reeled me in like a drug. I was addicted to the passion behind the detail and the love that was woven between it all. I paid to pay attention to 180 minutes of tragic beauty, 15 times over. I kept each movie ticket stub and glued it into a journal I was meticulously invested in – along with the names of who joined me each time. The names whittled as the number of stubs grew and eventually I was going to see it alone, but I was okay with that. This was a lone infatuation. I wasn’t ever insecure or stalled by it, I never over-analysed or revisited it and I never gave any of it a second thought. It was my love and that sat perfectly with me.

Matters and passions of the heart have colours for me. This eager intensity that drove young-me was organically orange. It roused and riveted me; it never needed publicity and it never needed hiding. But that sure-bet beauty has gone cotton-mouth and I can no longer not wonder where it went. That innocence. That nostalgia. That confidence to be nostalgic.

Something I did or didn’t do sent those musings and that colour to a concentration camp where they barely survived its scorched-earth-policy, yet bloomed cynical hesitations that disconnected me from that part of my source that enables me to teach people how to treat me. Its cackle echoes the sound my cowering made when the bullies bullied. It ricochets off the walls like my crumbling did when they said me, my ideas and my passions were stupid, and it bleeds through cracks like their vehement verbosity did when it chanted in unison – “Hey fag! You walk like a girl.” But… that was all so long ago?! And, at the time, that organic orange never flickered. But now that the noise has gone… so too has the colour. I can’t see where or what it is anymore and I am not okay with that.

This wandering wondering led me here to this edge I’m at where I am able to see the coming season changing again, because of (some) others who are not unlike me. In a magic minute, one of them heart-sleeved something special my way that prodded my presumptuous assumptions of my lonely alone. It was morning-dew fresh as it wrote headlines for how much more breathtaking-bloom is still to come. My oddball is special, but not that special that it deserves no oddball friend. Reading words that looked and sounded like I’d put them together myself was purgative and mind-boggling, legitimising and laudable, and it reeled me in like a drug because it was brave. It was big. And it was buoyant.

We paw at the Gilberts, the Dyers and the Hays like they offer an oxygen we haven’t been given before… but we know it. We know it well. Because your self-help is you, yourself, and you breathe that in when you hear the things you’ve said lovingly before, said lovingly back to you by someone whose tapestry is coloured a little like your own.

Her heart-sleeve gesture was a socks-off moment like no other, because – as much as I will always be addicted to that passion behind the magic that loves living – it is rare. It sits quietly, too often, hiding behind colourless insecurities that echo sounds of the ugly I thought I’d beaten. But that can only win when I am not brave. When I am not big. And when I refuse to be buoyant. So thank you for buoying me into this pleasant
d/n-umbfounded, Cath. My premature infatuation led me here and your heart-sleeving proves that we really can teach people how to treat us.

These two virtues are not ships in the night, at all, after all.

Cynthia Ozick says that we often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.

That thing is us.


This is inspiration awake.

It looks like an impellent indigo…

…and I like it.

photo © Dylan Balkind


The problem is not that the call goes unanswered.

The problem is that the answer sounds nothing like what these horse feathers have had me wanting to hear.

Cupid ran out of arrows and shot only one person instead of two, and now this אהבה נכזבת is my resident alien, twisted by that lost arrow here in the bullseye of its target. This discomfiture deluging through me belies the lineal comfort that we’ve shared, and in the TV show of my mind, commercial breaks save me from your unfixed ald… So I don’t know what you smell like and I don’t know how I got here.

My imagined interpretation sees my soul dance happy in the good space of this lie until I acknowledge the truth and suddenly I have to count patterns along the horizon’s city of glass. But the suspicion that this reason is proper is the only captive infatuation I have to hold, because it is just ēkataraphā pyāra after all… and who dares deny that this is true, but you? (And you, and you… and you?)

The unpretentious honesty that you allege to be uncomplicated is a quality my decades haven’t yet allowed me to master. ‘It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile, be yourself no matter what they say.’ But this be yourself is expensive, because even through the brevity and defiant nerve, amor não correspondido will always be the blueprint for how we gladly feast on those who would subdue us.

So Cupid ran out of arrows, shot only one person instead of two and here in the bullseye is where this unerwiderte Liebe finds its pulse. Should I hunt for a stronger gene within me over willing you to find different ones in you, and end the imagined interpretation that sees my soul dance happy in the good space of this lie? Yes… because I don’t know what you smell like and I don’t know how I got here.

The problem with unrequited love – no matter what language you live it in – is not that the call goes unanswered. The problem is that the answer sounds nothing like what you’ve been wanting to hear.

ship airport

© Dylan Balkind

The lookout

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 11.47.23 PM

Closeted sensitivities are brought to bear by the honesty of our hearts. A rarity in the fast lane of life, which itself is a compassionate time-lock on most passions that need incubation before some sense can come from none of it.

a feeling that something is the case

When the lookout had nothing to report from the horizon, his impatience would coerce an imagined reality into being. The price paid was the arrival of watermark versions of the very incredible indelibles he’d hoped so hard for. Then one day, he sat, silent, listening before the untagged teacher and learned lessons about the very deity in distance. Not animal-physical nor that defined by the geography of maps, but the simplicity of space granted to refrain from the rein. It is here in this leeway that the foiling becomes the fruit.

(s b-j k t v)
Particular to a given person; personal

But now the lookout had to wonder: What if our fruits from these foils are just a million-million animations upon beached pebbles that glisten like art along the galaxy’s shoreline for a God we are still hoping to meet? Each an imperfect endurance with its own pockets of untrained measures for both the anguish and the love that inspire our cerebrations to bequeath and bleed over the tundras of our lands? And whether brought to life in the written, the painted, the danced or the song, it was only in the simplicity of this space where the foiling could become the fruit.

a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view

This rousing rolled in with the mist that shroud the smitten, and as the sun rose behind the untagged teacher’s face, there had never been anything nicer to look at. It was not this time that needed prolonging but the inestimable concept of time itself … because there is only ever never enough of this.

the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite

Now, from unchanged horizons still, the lookout finally had something to report: That by our own vulnerabilities – and because of those we learn to see within each other – we will understand how in this together we really all are. And between one laud and another lament lives the closest thing to proof that, on any one bullion sits a million-million sides to a soul that remains unbudged and unbudging, save for when its own heart’s strings will yen for the tug.

n-pl nd
Not intended, having no particular purpose or structure, not thought out or prepared in advance

In the silent simplicity of space, the lookout looked out and watched as the mist set light to the horizon, writing stories of closeted sensitivities that are brought to bear by the honesty of our hearts. As the sky flamed from orange to blue behind the untagged teacher’s face, there had never been anything nicer to look at, not even across the million-million incarnations that glisten like art along the galaxy’s shoreline for a God we are still hoping to meet.

This was passion’s incubation before some sense would come from none of it, and, with nothing to report, the lookout remained unbudged and unbudging … save for when his heart strings might yen for the tug.


© Dylan Balkind

Lies your hopes will tell you

Infatuated by the treacle of what felt like New York in the snow, you are still a weirdness that I like but a distance I can’t grant. The difference between stagnation and my defiance for madness is travel, apparently. Happiness happens when the harp for it invites an interlude…

…or are these just lies that your hopes will tell you?

33°55′45″S 18°24′15″E

© Dylan Balkind

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