Variations on a Thought

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.

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Leering Billboards

‘…the car’s on fire and there’s no driver at the wheel and the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides and a dark wind blows. The government is corrupt and we’re on so many drugs with the radio on and the curtains drawn. We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine and the machine is bleeding to death. The sun has fallen down and the billboards are all leering and the flags are all dead at the top of their poles…’

(from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9thvHDskYvA).

I saw a triangle between fantasy, religion and law.  I saw a watchful man with his hand on his hip and the law on his side, separated from the crowd by the machines speeding past.  I saw politics, stories and figureheads of world religions mixed into one neon mixture, spat back out onto the maddening crowd below.  I saw the Holy and the damned.  The failures of a thousand people wrapped around the hopes of a few who never knew how much they had invested in this dream, this flashing light paranoia of a thousand suggestions and a hundred hooks wriggling with the baited breath of hope.  The engine of a city, hot air shouted up into the sky to meet the cold winds blowing in from the Atlantic.

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Digital photograph by the author, if reproduced please credit as appropriate.

5 Minutes Late

An empty can of coke, or a wrapper left by the bench side, maybe a poem half scratched into the drying concrete.  These were all the tell-tale signs of being five minutes too late.

They were empty gestures aimed at trying to maintain contact when mouth to mouth, face to face, body to body, contact could not be kept.  It was in the inorganic artefactual remains that an attempt at communication was continually made.  It happened slowly at first, becoming more gradual and intense, and then, overwhelmingly, it ultimately became depressing as Henry couldn’t maintain verbal or physical contact with those around him.

He became an invisible body, lost in the ebb and flow of a time he no longer felt that he belonged in.

He tried, at first, to scream his welcomes, his hopes, fears and joys to anyone that would listen.  He stopped by the corner-shop he visited as a child, tried to speak to the vendor of sugar coated dreams with no luck, stopped by his schools, each in turn, searching for teachers old and new.  Yet it was a hopeless and a thankless task.  Everywhere Henry visited he was five minutes too late.

He could sense the swirling of the bodies that danced around him, yet they were just an outline, never sketched in properly.  They were intangible, un-contactable.  Each minute, each hour, and each day etched into Henry’s heart a feeling of numb pain, the kind that, if you do not warn it off, becomes entrenched in the very fabric of the body.  He knew this, of course, having seen his mother and father go through the same process, but he knew that they had truly loved him, that their gift had saved their son even if it had not saved them.

The days continued into months and the months tumbled into years.  Contact, truthful heart to heart communication, remained a dim and distant prospect to Henry yet a diamond hard dream held still in his mind, that there was someone out there with who he could contact, who he could talk to, who he could be with.

Born tl;dr Die

We all die, and we all die alone.

 

    I had no meaning in my life,

                                                      meaning instead was imposed

by the very existence of my life.

 

Not upon the world but in my family,

by the invisible chains of familiar blood

which gave a future to my nearest.

 

So

I carefully stepped

(one at a time) Down the stairs of life

 (with one breath at one step) Knowing that at the end

 

Lay only the untenable truth of my own death.

 

I swallowed hard

And I held the hand of my mother and my father

And took that first step

 

I became a person with(out) meaning.

 

(She held a trembling hand

She spoke with an effort

but what She said…)

The Valley Floor

“Don’t look down, look at me, look at my eyes.”

“Okay.”

The rain was falling in a light mist that could not be felt properly. He was aware though that his forehead was somehow wet and he could feel the liquid slowly trickling down the worry creases that taken years to form.  He also was sure that the rain was merging with the saline rich stream that was currently running down his right cheek in a painful physical tell of fear.

“What the fuck are you doing back here?  Why have you come back and what the fuck is in your bag?”

“I just thought I’d come back for a few days, you know?  I haven’t been back since I finished the job and I wanted to see if anything had changed, to see who was still around and to..well you know, to see if it was still the same!”

“Don’t bullshit me.”

“I’m not, I’m not!”

“Alright, so tell me, what did you find?”

“I…I think it’s the same… largely, like how I used to remember it, the fear of being somewhere new unknown and being instantly forgettable but then I catch myself, remember the memories attached to each corner street, the laughs that I’ve shared and the good times I’ve had, to know that I am back visiting but not to live, to know that everyone I’ve seen here isn’t just visiting for a day or two that they actually live here, have put down roots here, have work mates that they go for drinks with, old friends around every corner that take the time to meet up and do things with.  It made me…I guess it made me think that I’m apart, I don’t, didn’t…. but used to, belong here probably, but that I became fundamentally detached from the people that remain here, that I moved away, into the shadows? whilst they cemented their lives to the concrete and to the green growths of life here.

You know I’m still recognised by staff here?  They ask me where I’ve been but they don’t ask me how I am.”

“Why would they even care?  You came here, you did the job and you left.  As. Simple. As. That.”

“What the hell do you know?  You don’t know what I went through!”

“Shut up, just shut the fuck up.  You came back to the city that you were never meant to see again, why?”

“I’ve already told you!”

“You haven’t even told me the half of it. Ah I don’t care, put the bag down.”

He gently laid the bag on the floor and kicked it half way to his aggressor.

“You know this is the end don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“You shouldn’t have come back.”

“I know… I know.”

After he disposed of the body the man opened the bag.  ‘Well I’ll be damned’ he thought, ‘I’ll be damned’.

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Taken with a Pentax S1a camera.