Despair Prevails

Strike the day
From the list by the bed
Despair prevails
Insistent as a switchblade
Writing thin red scrawl
Musings, simply musings
Nothing so coherent
As a stream of consciousness
The pages all torn out
Wrapped in wire and ribbons, dark under my skin

It seems you have opted
For vanity fairgrounds
And golden cups
I am behind the blackout curtain
I think it may be daylight outside
All that grows on this side
Are the uncurling tealeaves
And discarded films
Spiraling mazes left unsolved

There is little time left now
We pull apart the muscles
And grind down the bones
Try to find that divine spark
Like making fire
By rubbing skin on skin
Turn aside for envy
Press out the light against the wall
Every just-glimpsed tress
The only desire left
For a rhyming couplet
Despair prevails

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Median Lethal Dose

body

Last night I was having flashbacks again: I see the spokes on bicycle wheels being tightened, each creak of moving metal echoed by a movement in my muscles; hunching, twisting over each other. I see pictures in textbooks of strange diseases, then look in the mirror to see the same picture, my name captioned, anonymously abbreviated. All of my space compacted into the size of a fist. And colours. Green and blue lines coruscating across my eyes like melting plants, the colours running out and making abstract spiral stained glass patterns. A continuous curve traced by a point moving around a fixed point in the same plane while steadily diminishing its distance. Red yellow black white static interference patterns, stopping any other mental activity, truncating the waves. A hand that reached from that space in vision that’s a little in front of you, through my eyelids and into my head.

All this is caused by what that cute French boy in Japanese class called ‘reality overdose’. All things that happen are real, but some are more real than others, although I think he stole that from Orwell. When too many hyper-real things happen at once, reality builds up in the body like a toxin. Given enough time, latency builds up between the thought process and reality. It solidifies.

A girl on the bus asks me if I’m feeling ok. I’m not quite sure where we are, but I’m sure that my eyes are red, because I spent a while staring at them in the chrome reflective bus stop ad. I’m not quite sure where we are. I don’t know why. Reality condensing in the eyes? The input through which most sensory information is channelled, it’s only natural that the problem should start there. I can feel the redness like a slow burn. I realize that several seconds have gone by, and I haven’t answered her. Or was that another time? I have lost the opportunity to respond within a time frame that signifies a normal level of social response to stimuli. I pretend not to have heard, and she asks me again, trying to tilt her head on one side and look up into my eyes, which are focused on a stretched-out piece of gum clinging to the floor. I nod, and get off at the next stop. I remember that I haven’t eaten in four days. Or since Wednesday, whenever that was. The light-headedness makes me stumble as I get off the bus, and I almost knock over an old Asian lady carrying a bag full of empty wine bottles. It has been five days since I’ve eaten.

In pharmacology books, you’ll sometimes see a value for the ‘median lethal dose’, sometimes coded as LD50 to be less morbid. The dose of a medicine, a drug, at which 50% of test subjects will die. The numerical value of Russian Roulette for every substance. From this I learned that less than a millionth of a gram of botox can kill a person half the time, which just proves that there’s no justice in Hollywood. On the other hand, it will take about fourteen grams of caffeine to kill an average adult. That’s 250 espressos. Reality is another substance like these. Less tangible than cocaine, more tangible than feelings. The median, in fact, between emotion and chemistry.

For some, survival is a little like a gift from a former lover. Something to cling to, or discard. It is, logically speaking, a bad idea to kill yourself because of a boy. This is because you only get one go at killing yourself (if you do it properly), whereas you get many attempts to find the right boy. How can you be sure your very own boy is worthy of the ultimate commitment?

I was boiling with the strange thoughts that you get when the internal and externally loaded substances run through your body at time of emotional stress. Condensation accretion accumulation of reality inside my veins was causing toxins to rush to my brain and flick switches at random. How does the body let itself get so out of control? It seems like this particular system is malfunctioning. I see the same girl who was on the bus sitting on a patio at the side of the street. How did she do that? It can’t be the same girl. They all look the same, identical cast-off 80s dresses and slippers, ready to discard those dresses and start wearing flares, tutus, anything else as soon as the marginally more mainstream people start wearing what the hipsters have previously claimed. If you watch very closely you can see it happen.

I’m not sure if it’s easier or harder for you, up on stage. There is a feedback loop that is positive instead of negative. Something like that. For some people there is a vestige of control that allows them to get on a stage, switch something off inside the mind, and channel everything into this controlled explosion, hot line of entropy that distorts the world around it, clears a space in which they can survive. Be alone in a press of bodies like surf, like a bird above the waves. They can’t swim, and the waves want to reach up and drag them under, soak, salt and dry them. Maybe they just stand there and think about the other birds burning in hot entropy.

Calluses and experience

I was in my room
Learning the words
To the songs on the ceiling
Looped lyrics round the lampshades
Outside the window birds changed from
Swooping to dying in chromatic scale
Battered on the glass helpless as hail
You were already lost in the
Halo of a car crash

When you were clashing shoulder
Blades with nightmare knives
I was in my room
Connecting the dots
On the staves
Into filigree mosaics
Tessellating tiles like sharpened teeth
Outside the window seasons blurred
Rising and falling arpeggios
Leaves like skeletons absorbed and oblivious

I was in my room
Coaxing melted wax
Into rivulets
Burning through notepaper
With indigo ink like incense
Outside the window people were
Lacing up the country in wire
Corset constrained and powerless
You were falling into the hole
Left when your parents lost
Control of their skin cells

When you were burning and shaving
Equating removal of pain with
Unbuilding the body
I was in my room
Reading postcards
Addressed in foreign letters
Closed in dotted boxes
Words without the weight of bruises
Outside the window everyone was
Autosomatic curved in like nodes
Without potential empty of amplitude

I was in my room
While everything funnelled into entropy
Outside the window
All I can write about
Is the glass that divides us

via Calluses and experience.

Drunk in my underwear

Of all the people I’d like to be drunk in my underwear, I’m way down the list, but unfortunately I’m the only one here this evening. My attempt to meet new people seems to have failed, at least for tonight. I sat in a bar watching ‘hockey’, or as we call it in the UK, ‘ice hockey’. It seems to consist of ugly men with their front teeth missing in lots of padding chasing a piece of rubber. It’s like a group of hillbillies fighting over the last condom so that they can do it with a sheep. Except it’s on television.

Anyway, it seems that just observing this facile excuse for a sport doesn’t automatically attract friends. Perhaps they can tell that I have no interest at all. I had a couple of drinks, but I think that the most difficult part for me was picking who I should talk to. There is a bar full of people, who is my ‘target’, for want of a better word? Should I pick the people I’m attracted to, the people who look interesting, or just a random bunch of people? Spoilt for choice, or possibly spoilt for lack of choice, in the end I didn’t pick anyone.I came home a few dollars poorer and without any more friends. So… any advice on how to meet people?