Blue is the colour of my dreams, the inside and the outside worlds tilting but never quite fully falling over. The flutter of the leaves in the wind and the beauty of the sky’s colours urged me to look up, to embrace the vast emptiness of existence. No comfort was found, history meaning nothing to the future, but no comfort was needed. It wasn’t that life is on a constant knife-edge of imbalance, when is it not?, but the fact that I could embrace the now, the cold comfort of the wind and the cawing of the birds as my own. Distinctly my own, this moment and nothing more. That nothing, or rather no moment, truly mattered or matters in the great cosmic life course of universal matter. We were born and we will die, from whence we began we will return.
I have been away for a while but nothing much really changes within the hearts of humans. We are all flesh, we all feel, love and grieve, and we are all united by life and divided by it:
“What you find in him are cul-de-sacs within the sweep of history – how people betray each other for the sake of nations, how people fall in love… How old did you say you were?”
“I was much older when I fell in love.”
Hana pauses. “Who was she?”
But his eyes are away from her now.
Quoted from the novel The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje.
I love you and I need you, I wish that I could see you. I’m travelling down this corridor alone, strapped to this trolley with doctors by my side pushing through door after door. I can see the light shining but I’m not sure if it’s for me or if it’s for everyone around me. I cry out, not pain not in horror, I cry out in confusion. I need you and I want you, to be by my side again. Memories flood my frazzled mind, a skeletal hand clasps my own and tells me it will be alright, it will be okay. I can help but feel that this is a denial, that my body is failing even as I flail in the half-light of an under-funded hospital, staffed by sleep walking staff with the warmest of hearts.
I need you and I want you, I can hear voices in the corridor, not my own or those around me but others, crying out in equal pain or in anger at the wait. Where are my sons, where are my daughters? I wanted to say to grow up in peace, to love your family, friends and neighbours as one, to move on or to leave if you need to. We understand, we want you to be happy, we need you to be with us. I love and I need you, and I wish that I could see you.
The final corridor, my body is checked in. Checked once that I am who I say I am, that the arrows painted on my limbs are correct and that my brain is related to my body and my body is related to my name. I say I am who I am and they take it on board, and I’m made to wait at Heaven’s Gate. Two blonde angels guide me, make me comfortable on the slip green sheets which matches their sleek outfits. Only bras and knickers must be under their gowns I think, wondering who they share their bed and younger, supplier bodies with at night. My own is broken, battered and torn. A mess of surgical scars, shortened limbs but above average, well we won’t go into that but it is according to a litany of my previous lovers.
I want you and I need you, I wish that I could see you. I laugh, laugh at the futility of it all. The drugs, I yearn for the warmth of the morphine, of the wicked sleeping potion to crawl up into my veins and up into my arm and to flood the chest cavity and consciousness itself. I yearn to sleep with no dreams, where the minute that passes is not a minute but a moment between awake and awake. My eyes linger on one of the angels, filling in the paperwork in the corner of the room, haloed by broken bodies on stripped back beds.
I need you and I want you, I wish that I could see you. I’m moving, I’m moving, but I’m not moving, there are no words for this. Through the first set of doors I am pushed, name confirmed once more. Am I aware of what is going to happen to me and why it is happening? Yes, yes I scream still dreaming of the green robed angels in the theatre waiting room. Just do it, yes the heart always beats fast. I need you and I want you, but I just can’t seem to see you. I stare at the anaethetist’s eyes as the plunger is gently but firmly pressed down, a milky white liquid seeps into my own bloodstream diluting reality.
I needed you and I wanted you, but I just can’t seem to have seen you. I wake as if I have been asleep for years. I crave water, yearn to drink a thousand litres of the freshest water available. I want to drown in crystalline lakes and to never wake. A tube has been down my throat, a mainline into the neck is still present. I wish that I could have seen you, I’m sorry to have left you. I close my eyes again.
The office I worked in dealt with applications from students and our daily targets were monitored and recorded for prosperity, and to check against what was and what wasn’t correctly documented in our individual tally sheets. Of course these sheets were digital spreadsheets that were specially formatted for each different piece of work that was allocated to the worker. The spreadsheets highlighted how much allotted time was given dependent on the category that the piece of work fell into, whether we’d have five minutes to complete it or ten minutes. Simple pieces of work could be given only a few minutes whilst more complicated pieces, such as responding to emails with extensive trails or queries, were given a timing of a quarter of an hour or more. We felt that luck was on our side when one such piece of work fell out of the electronic basket and into our caseload, we had time to breath, to relax, to look into the faces of the person sat beside ourselves and to realize that we each went through the same, day in and day out.
Many kept to this electronic tally, toting it up at the end of the night by memory or by scrolling through the master sheet. I, unlike many of my work colleagues, kept a ink tally in Roman numerals of each type of piece of work that I had completed that day. Towards the end of the evening, when we each heaved a sigh of relief and gladness that the working day was over, I looked down with fondness upon my scrap of paper to find an ever changing squiggle of lines, crossed and solitary, segmented by type and time.
It was the last action of the working shift that so pleased me, that I could scrupple up the piece of paper with my jottings on, tear it in two if needs be and thrice more into smaller pieces so that no readable piece remained, and declare that I was the master of myself once again. No greater feeling of satisfaction came with the job then that final action of labour destruction, or rather rapprochement that my work towards the whole could be so simply and so justifiably torn up. That my value as a worker was counted as so little that I needed to be constantly monitored for each and every movement within the workplace, each piece of work accounted for and judged against the character of my soul. The residual of feeling of loyalty, that thinning pool of employee liquid that had somehow lingered through the various turbulent governmental changes and process improvements, now felt at a very low ebb indeed. It could evaporate at any moment.
My action was, in its way, a minor everyday rebellion at the absurdity of employment itself. That each man and woman shall spend a third of their life strapped to the face of labour so that the other third can be slept through and the final third can be lived in a state of fretful suspense. It is perhaps not fair to categorize in this way what so many want, what so many need, but for me it is not enough nor is it a rightful use of the labour market. To rebel, in whatever fashion is feasible or at least in which way is not detrimental to your standards, is to acknowledge that you recognize that this is so. Such is life.
No-one ever expects that they will walk around a corner and find the person that will become their significant other lingering there on the street before them. How we meet our partners, our lovers and confidantes, becomes a personal legend shared between only ourselves in truth, embellished by time and by the ebb and flow of emotion. Love can be a hard emotion to describe, to quantify or to qualify, to articulate to each other and to one another. That drunken and passionate kiss goodbye, the result of a haphazard opportunity presented in all of its glory, sits side by side with the memory of a slow burning romance experienced in our youths when we fumbled anew under covers soaked in teenage sweat. Experiments of connection and of lust, of two pieces of lego mixing and matching to form one. As time recedes the flashes of faces become a Rolodex of past conquests and imagined hurt, often sitting uncomfortably close to one another.
Lust, as a rapid fire launchpad to the past, operates on much the same lines as those random encounters experienced during the vicissitudes of youth. In moments of relaxation you are comfortably entertaining yourself, your thoughts ensconced on a particular moment and how it would play out in your mind, perhaps how you would make the move and seal the return of the love and physical intimacy as given in your affections.
Yet still, how the mind can shock and shake the very foundations of your core!
No longer are you in the throes of doubled or singled passion, your senses are startled and your hands are instead given to fumbling lamely against the body of skin and flesh before you. No more thought is given to reaching the apex of sexual arousal.
You are instead seeing the failures of your past mount even as you have failed to. The chances lost of forming romantic entangles in the freshly cut grass, of bridging the gap between brief fumbles on the sofa and maintaining long-term relationships. The thought is half formed, it ghosts across the mind but briefly as you lie there on your bed, shivering in the warm night air.
To walk around the corner of the street you inhabit, to cross the road at just the right time, to be there to answer that question and to form that connection as the eyes meet, the pupils dilate, and the lips curl into a smile. The heart that jumps a beat and resets into a rhythm of two. To miss those opportunities. To wait upon a table where the food of life will never be placed. It can be a hard thing to think about in the moment of your greatest conquest, of a solo ascent.
I remember as if it were yesterday, the thick legs creeping slowly around the side of the cobwebbed decorated bag with all the inevitability of death itself. I howled, even as I jerked the bag onto the surface of the bed and I could see for the first time that this large spider was aged, weary of life.
It had none of the vitality of its younger form; it didn’t embody the free spirit of jazz scuttling here and there, enticed by the possibility of finding a mate. It was stately, as if to query who would dare to wake it from its slumber in the bag I had so little used and within which it had made its final home.
I crushed it quickly and fully, the circular body being beaten flat with the legs retracting close to its lifeless form. I covered the body with a cup, afraid to see the results of my own actions.
In my dreams it haunts me still.
Give me a sign so I can start the healing,
We shared the wine around the yearly meeting.
As I don’t want to be lonely this holiday,
I’m taking off my shoes and giving my body to the homeless.
I’d give you my remaining years to be alone with you, for a minute of your time,
To give you one last kiss goodbye and a warm embrace under the leaf dappled light.
I am having trouble conveying the feelings that I am having, the fact that I want to write, to keep writing, but cannot quite formulate exactly what I want to say. At the moment I am finding a deep release through music, either through live gigs or listening to albums as I drive across the northern landscape of the country I inhabit. Often, on a morning when I wake, I play the album in the CD player and wash myself in the tones of whoever is playing. It is a sweet relief. There is an immediate sense of feeling, of a placement on a particular chord or orchestral swell, that rush of recognition that can only come with time when reading the words of others. Yet I feel there is a deep kindred between these two methods of communication, two of the most important for me. Yes, of course we talk, we can express our desires, worries, love and anger through talking, we gesture too, we can laugh or howl with derision, but there is something in the beauty of the written word, in the musical note, that is lacking from the babble that vocalizes forth from the mouths of both myself and of others. What does this say about me? I am not quite sure I want to know, that maybe I value the thoughts and beliefs of others, but worry about giving a voice to my own? Perhaps.
This isn’t the piece or the time to give voice to such ill thought out ideas or half formed theories. I want to keep writing, I want you to keep reading, I want us both to keep being creative, to tap into that font of magic that cannot be commercialized, crunched down to size for productivity measures or customer service satisfaction. I feel in limbo, between the world of what is expected of us all as individuals, in a market where we have to pull our weight to feed our commercial gain, compared to a more utopian paradise where the value of a person is not placed on their output, or their labor. It is ridiculous to think of such thoughts, ridiculous to think that I am free to think such thoughts, to moan about a life well lived. But I do, we all do, no matter our position, social standing or inherent bias built into us. We are all individuals and we are all a collective. Together we love, destroy and displace.
I am having trouble writing. I am staring at the computer screen each and every day. It is, I realize with a disgusted shudder, a proxy for human interaction, for skin on skin. Yet still I come back for more, in the vain and vapid belief that this is a life well lived, that this is life itself. Humans need the company of the animals and plants, of the soil itself, to know that we do not share this planet alone amongst our kind. We are but one of many and I feel that this is forgotten more and more. Ignorance is bliss until the world collapses around ourselves, and we are left choking on the markers of productivity.
Death has become a familiar friend as of late, in this last year of my life. This may be the last year of my life, I hope it is not but we never quite know what is around the corner. Surely we should grab it, if we believe it is so? Yet still, I lie in bed an extra hour, to soak in the sonic variations and textural tones of the current album spinning in my CD player. Content to know that, for the time being, this is where I belong. My limbs relax, my eyes flutter and close, finally my breathing shallows. It is a mere shadow of true sexual ecstasy, but it is close.
Q.1. A strong light has been misplaced so that it shines directly onto your computer screen. What problems can this cause you?
Please select one of the answers below
a. The light isn’t warm enough to crack the dragon’s egg that has been
carefully placed on the desk. The light needs to be turned around, with the
main focus of the beam on the top half of the egg, to ensure that the dragon
gets enough vitamin D. This is so that the baby can crack through the toughened egg shell once it has grown enough.
b. The light has taken the form of a forgotten nightmare and thus
stirs in your soul a form of deep dread. You break down crying in
the office, demanding that your line manager produces a bucket of drugs to
calm you down. You lose your job and, eventually, your hair due to the
c. The light is so bright that it blinds not just your eyes but also the
eyes of the people either side of you. You thought that this may occur at
some point in your much vaunted office career so you took careful
preparation and learned braille on your free nights. You laugh in disdain
as your so-called office friends scream for help and you carry on with your
work as any good office worker would.
d. You bloody move the light!
I can only offer myself up as a sacrificial lamb but please do not hold that knife too close, let me say my piece and then we shall see who loved her, who left her, and who needed her.
Put away that cold, cold gun, and put your jacket upon the hook. Please take your time and do not judge me before you have heard my words, my pleas, and my love for her that did burn a thousand older lovers.
We met at the crossroads half eleven at night, the film had finished and I was wandering lonely and lost. We came across each other on opposite paths, our eyes met across the street.
Nothing needed to be said, nothing needed to be motioned, what we had we had it for that night in my old hotel room, which crowded and small, our bodies stretched across that single bed.
Before I could say no, before I could say go, before I knew what was falling I was in over my head. Don’t hold that knife too close, my head is heavy and I am tired, I’m not sure that tonight I could put up much of a fight.
If I see you again at the old Chelsea hotel, I’ll do well to hold away, to take my body and to cross the sea, to never bother you again.
But in my breast, against my heart, I shall carry the memories of her forever.
Hold your hand, hold it tight, we only spent the night together that once. When I look in the mirror so my body does shiver at the thoughts of what could be. You have it all and I have just my old acoustic guitar. Cold and worn, broken besides.
My friend you have won without ever raising a weapon against me. It is true that your wife and I made love, that we reveled in the lust of two bodies conjoined. It is true we moaned our way through the small hours, but that was just the night, oh it was just the night.
What I did, and what I said, I cannot make it right and I will not put up a fight. You have my word, you have my promise – I shall never see her again. The flick of her hair, the arched eyebrow, those are the memories within me. I shall go, oh I will go, but where my weary feet do take me I have no idea. I just carry on down this dusty road for one.