She didn’t like what she saw when she looked at her own image, but she hadn’t always felt that way. Once upon a time she was free. Everyone was. Free … Continue reading Notions of Self
I really like hats
Just not when they’re worn by twats
I used to love beer
Til “craft” made it daft, now I usually just steer clear
I really liked bicycles…when I was eight
Now they tend to grate
Especially on footpaths
That turn into death traps
When cyclist don’t slow down, instead they just mow you down
And if you do manage to turn around
It’s always too late to stop your toes from getting pounded into the ground
I still like beards though
Because they make a man look like a teddy bear
With his little fuzzy hair
Walking and talking like he hasn’t got a care
It’s not fair
I wish I could grow a beard
But I suppose that would look weird
But I really do like hats
(I just f*cking hate twats)
It’s a funny feeling, indeed
To miss that which you never had
To wave it goodbye and wish it well for the future
It is funnier, even, to have created the fallacy of an unwanted truth
To have twisted and coiled my way up in a story
One that none had ever wanted to hear, not least myself
Though, I made it mine, in spite of desire
I delved into a sacred place as though I had a right to be there
I abused myself as though I had no right to care
I held tight and fast to the notion of it
It being a love, of sorts
It being the one thing truly lost to me
Yet craved, selfishly
Abusing it until the coil twisted back on itself and all that was left was me
All that ever was there was me, truthfully
For that moment I wondered
I pondered on it
It being that love, of sorts
I poked my head out to play and danced with it a while
Toyed with it
Delighted in it
But never in it, you see
In itself, it is lost to me
I cannot connect with that which is not there
But I can create
I rejoice in the weaving of the story of it
Believing it to be true
Believing it to be me
A heart that beats a regular rhythm
Where others may come and step to the drum
They see the me of my design
We dance and we sing
We feel a lifelong knowing despite there being nothing to know
The untruth engulfs for a while, at least
Til the slap of the coil reminds of me
How funny, indeed
Lexi sat on his board looking out across the desolate industrial landscape as he let out a deep and heavy sigh. The kind of sigh that you would expect to … Continue reading The Tale of the Black Queen
It came around again, New Year’s Eve. Surprising, that. The way Julie Milner went on, you’d think it was the shock of the year. Inevitability wasn’t a concept she liked very much, so she’d cherry pick her moments of belief and compliance. But here it was, New Year’s Eve and all the great expectations that come with it. Every year she’d say, “Fuck it, it’s just a day. Putting numbers of significance on it doesn’t make it significant. Why do we have to have such a carry on? I’m not doing it. Fuck this shit.” She would say the words…but then, every year, at around 11:50pm, no matter where she was or who she was with, a cacophony of emotion would involuntarily sweep across her mind and body, as she spent the only ten minutes of any given year, frozen to the spot, trying to figure…shit…out. All of it!
“What the fuck was I thinking? Why am I here, of all places? What the hell have I done? Aren’t things supposed to change? Everything has to change, right? It’s logical. Things can’t just stay still and unmoved. Yet here I am, still the same, still wanting to be different. I’m supposed to be here, amongst all this carry on, looking into the eyes of the person I love knowing that everything will be ok as long as we have each other. Pah! How do you look into the eyes of the person you love when they’re fixed upon someone else? Jump in the middle? Or what if those eyes are elsewhere? FaceTime? What if those eyes don’t even exist? I’m not putting this shit on myself. Nobody’s eyes can tell me shit about whether or not shit’s gonna be ok! What? Are they magic eyes? Magical fortune telling eyes? Fuck them eyes! Fuck them. I don’t want to be here like this next year. I will kill myself before that happens. I won’t, but I’ll be really fucking miffed about it if I’m doing this shit again next year. I don’t want to do this. It’s desperate. Shit fuck, I need to change everything, but I’m not sure where to start! I can’t do everything by myself. I’m a coward. Oh, man, is that why the “P” bomb is my least favourite word in the whole world? Because I am one! NO! Not no more, I’m not. I’m fat. I’m fucking fat still and I couldn’t even change that in one whole year! Didn’t need to do it in 12 weeks, I had one whole year… I had time. When is time going to stop judging me? Hovering over me like the shadow of a beast reminding me of my failed life every goddamn second. If time is infinite, why do we stress this shit? It’s just a day! What does it matter? Matter? It’s all relative. Infinity of time and space, submit my soul to the ether. Release me from your unforgiving grasp of dispaaaaair…. three, two…what? HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!”
Every year. An inevitability she’s yet to side-step. “We lost you for a bit there, Jules, are you ok?” She wasn’t ok, but then she’s never been “ok”. Julie Milner is one of those people that we, on the outside, would look at as a lone adventurer. Always up for things, never says no. “Fancy a pint after work, Jules?” “Sure, but just a quick one. Got to go tightrope walking between two skyscrapers for this thing I said I’d help out with.” “My Nan’s having a party on Sunday, Jules, wanna come?” “Sure thing! I’ll pop by after my tap dance routine at the retirement centre.” Everybody gets a smile out of the mad life of Julie Milner. Even Julie Milner. That’s why she does it. She loves it. Her life changes dramatically, year-by-year, and everyone sees it, but Julie. An unrelenting desire to “do more” leaves her feeling like she’s never done enough. She never seems to tire, but she is exhausted. There is a void in the soul of Julie Milner that she cannot fill. She is curious and inquisitive, so cannot settle, despite longing for something to soothe her heart. Things do, sometimes. People do. Julie Milner’s life is full and rich, when likened to the “average” life, but to make such a likeness is surely mediocrity by definition, and Julie Milner is complex, to say the least.
The annual ten minute search for meaning takes Julie by surprise every time. It wallops her in the chest like a cannonball, leaving her momentarily breathless. It is a profound moment that shakes her to the very core. She feels all the hurt she brushed aside in the year gone by. The pain courses through her veins like a powerful narcotic. The intensity of feeling is like nothing explained. Happiness floods into the tear ducts of each eye. Anxiety cramps her muscles. Vulnerability weakens her limbs. Her mind is awash with answers to problems unsolved and issues unresolved. Realisation of opportunities missed and situations handled inappropriately churn the pit of her stomach and make her want to scream out. That look. That face. The disappointment. The longing. It takes everything she has just to hold herself together in those ten minutes before midnight on new year’s eve. But, in an instant, it is over. The sensation is lost to her quicker than it came. As with the click of a hypnotist’s finger, she is free.
“Jules, are you ok?” “What? Oh, yeah! This year is going to be freaking awesome! Just you wait and see!”
And so she returns – the lone adventurer – thinking only of her next big quest. Not dwelling on the things that grip our minds and rip at our hearts, she lives, she does. Go brave, Julie Milner, for the year is yours to conquer.
Happy New Year.
THE BELOW ACCOUNT IS MADE UP OF BOTH FICTIONAL AND FACTUAL EVENTS It was another one of those nights. The kind I complain about beforehand for weeks without, at any … Continue reading Suddenly Sasquatch
“Just be calm.” She whispered the words to herself on a loop as she walked along the platform towards the man she’d known and loved her whole adult life, yet … Continue reading Platform Three
Every night, she lay with eyes wide open in the pitch black of her windowless room. Though blinded by darkness, she embarked upon a tireless search through the motionless night. While most of her peers where at rest in their beds, snuggling with loved ones, snoring deep into dreams, her mind was ablaze, for she did not sleep. Oh, no, sleep was long since forgotten. Sleep was a fable uttered by the mouths of the feeble and tame. She had no time for such waste. The night was a busy place, the darkness an infinite chasm of the never-been-told.
“Who am I?” she whispered these words over and over, “Who am I?” like the slow chug of a steam train increasing in velocity. “Who am I?” Motoring through complex information structures, “Who am I?” she rhythmically repeated her query like a verbal algorithm collecting data. “Who am I?” No tone, no feeling or infliction, “Who am I?” only method and purpose. “Who am I?” Moving deeper and deeper, unrelenting in her intent, “Who am I?” she was a machine following one simple programme. “Who am I?” She sailed effortlessly through the dark insightful sea, unable to see. “Who am I?” No answer came. “Who am I?” Repeating the words as though on a loop. “Who am I?” Once upon a time, someone pressed play, “Who am I?” her lips parted and her question played out thereafter. “Who am I?” Somewhere deep in her mind a comfort was attained by this quest. “Who am I?” She felt noble and gallant. “Who am I?” Almost at rest, “Who am I?” that is until, of course, “Who am I?” came her response.
“Who are you?” Unflinching, “Who am I?”
And then again, “Who are you?”
A sickening pause.
“Who… Who… Who am I?”
“Who are you?”
Silence. System unresponsive.
“Who are you?”
Unable to compute. Repeating process.
“Who are you?”
Sequence structure disrupted. Algorithm aborted.
“Who are you?”
Invalid command. Module not recognised.
“Who are you?”
Data overload. Shutting down in 10, 9, 8…
“Please.” Softer than a dewdrop falling from a leaf, the word lurched from the pit of her heart and fell from her lips. “Please.” A wrenching agony as she began to feel again. “Who are you?” Alerting her to her senses like a new born opening its eyes for the very first time. “Who are you?” Her response the reflection of her question. “Who are you?” A reflection she buried a long time ago. “Who are you?” Suddenly accountable, suddenly in clear view of all who looked. “Who are you?” Light bursting through the cracks of the dam she so delicately wove over a thousand nights. “Who are you?”
Light defeated the dark against its will. She had no choice but to see what was mirrored in front of her. Eyelids, as if fixed to the lower brow, unable to draw down. She looked. She remembered. She knew.
I’d like to apologise to you. I have treated you worse than I ever would dare to treat another human being or living thing. I have hated you most of your life and I know now that that wasn’t fair. You didn’t deserve it. I’m sorry.
I have never been able to see beauty in you, even though you try so hard to show it to others. Others who are ultimately as blind to you as I am. For which I am to blame. I’m sorry.
I’ve caused you many hours of torment and solitude. My own inability to love you is infectious. I left you ugly and alone your whole life and I’m sorry.
Desperately reaching, seeking, grasping, trying and failing under my restraint. I’ll never do that to you again.
I see you now. You make me proud. You never gave up in spite of all the scars inflicted upon you. You found joy where I could not hide it and you laughed, you loved. No matter the consequence, you loved. You were brave.
I know you now and I love you. I know your heart and how it beats for others. I feel it break and yet beat still for others. When all scars heal, it beats for itself. It beats, it beats.
The road ahead is long, but it is no longer dark. My love for you will light whatever path you choose to walk. When darkness looms, I’ll light the way. For as long as the beat is strong, I’ll light the way.
I can’t promise success or desires fulfilled. I won’t lead you to believe in happy ever after, but happy here and now is mine to keep.
“Here I am,” she thought to herself, “stuck in this eternal ponderous loop. Hating. Loving. Fearing. Mostly hating.” It wasn’t the first time that she’d found herself in the deep rut of life’s arm pit, but something felt drearily different this time around. There was a stench of permanency that unsettled her to the core. It was as though she could do nothing other than sit for hours thinking, rethinking and overthinking all of the things that puzzled her about life. “Why is it that love and opportunity seems to befall the selfish and undeserving with such frequency?” “Can one person’s luck only exist with another’s misfortune?” “Is there a cosmic balance that has to be maintained?” “For all the luxury and indulgence, must there be pain and suffering?” “If it were really that simple, would anyone be prepared to sacrifice in order to create a new and proportionate balance?” “Is there such a thing as fairness, or is the word and its sentiment nothing more than childish folly?”
She’d think like this for days on end, battling over her place in all of it, breaking only to go through the motions of a normal life. She’d follow routine in body only, as her mind reeled with torment, but every now and then a tiny little light would present itself to her. A glimmer of something unknown would flutter its way into the dark and carry her along its path into the world of the living. Something she said, someone’s reaction. A smile. A laugh. She found a comforting peace in the smiles that she put upon the faces of others. She basked in it. So she’d joke, she’d entertain, she’d do everything she could to chase that smile, that warmth, that love. But it was never love and she knew as much. Despite the lies she told herself, she knew as much. She thought it would be easier to tell a lie and live a life. After all, she was only lying to herself. Who would that hurt?
“If peace were as simple as a smile, such contentment I could spread in this life and my heart” she often thought. Simplicity being the bed friend of stupidity, she had pondered too hard and too often to entertain such thoughts, but, oh, she wished it so. Knowing how she used sweet smiles to mask deep sorrow, she wished it. Her smile was her mask for all things dark, yet a smile was the healer of her depleted soul.
At odds with herself, she lived this way for many years. She forged a surface life that others had even come to envy. A life full of people and relationships. Would anyone ever notice that she surrounded herself with so many people because she didn’t know how to get close to even one? She suspected that no one cared to notice and she was fine with that. She knew the reality of the lie she lived and didn’t find it necessary for anyone else to know. The lie was hers alone. The one true relationship.
There were often glimmers, over the years, where she thought that things might change. She was open to change, you see. Never wanting to be the wallower, she kept a place deep in her heart for the brave adventurer daring enough to find it. While she fiercely enjoyed her time with her courters, ultimately, no one ever got close. Why smash the joyous façade to leave only darkness and fear? She didn’t blame any of them, but she always hoped.
The more years that passed by, the more she came to resent that hope. It chewed her up from the inside out and spat her to the ground, repeating the process over and over again until all that was left was the mush of her existence. She no longer had the strength to maintain her façade or dance with her lie. She did nothing but court her resentment, her one true conqueror. A life now bitter to every sense. She was gone, eventually, and that was that.
When spoken about, in memory, people were always kind. They spoke of fondness and laughter and joy. “She always had a sweet smile on her face.” “Such a sweet smile.”