Monday, January 29, 2007

the smartish few

“Throw yourself into whatever it turns out you’re good at.” That’s what your old man used to tell you with a half-read newspaper open in his lap, and one hand on the television remote, click, click, clicking. An ever present, teetering stack of dog-eared political books rested on the table beside him keeping company with a tottering pile of thick-covered poetry compilations. “You find one thing,” he said, “one thing you’re good at, and you stick with it. Go wherever your passions take you.”

So you did. No-one can argue that. You found you were really good at trying, so you dedicated yourself to that for awhile, trying to make it on your own in the worn out flats of deserted cities around the country, working in the soul-sucking company of better men that you. You tried and you tried. You tried so hard that you very nearly lost your mind. Suffered a collapse of sorts. Committed yourself. Got better.

You then discovered a knack for school, and decided to stay there for a time, haunting the halls of that dusty, echoing sepulchre, listening and learning, memorising and reciting. Stayed there perhaps a little too long with your old man’s words ringing in your ears. “A man’s got to stick with something,” he said. And you tried. God, how you tried. Kept residence in the crypt for so long that you began taking on the lifeless appearance of your fellows. Speaking the words of men long dead. Thinking the thoughts of those same. Writing their words. Got a couple nice pieces of paper for your trouble, and found yourself suddenly outside in the land of the living, blinking in a too bright sun. Drenched in its life giving light.

So now you’ve gone and immersed yourself in your work, accepting new positions, taking more money, doing less work, and really shooting up to the top or somewhere. Double cuffed shirts, platinum cuff links, and seven-fold ties – yes, you sure have become a reasonable facsimile of a successful man. Heads turns when you walk down the street and everyone now knows that you are, indeed, a man on his way up.

And your old man’s so proud. “You’ve really made something of yourself, my boy,” he says, clicking that television remote with one hand, absently leafing through a literary journal with the other. “You’ve really become someone. Just have to stick with it, right?”

And his tired eyes close just for a moment, and for that moment he is asleep and you’re alone with only an idea of a man before you. Then his eyes flicker open and his lips move once more. “Yes, my boy, that’s all a man’s got to do,” he mutters, “find something he’s good at and stick with it. You’ll find happiness and purpose there on that path to becoming one of the smartish few.”

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Where are you now that I’m in the dark? Another languid notion sets fire to my arm, albeit a weak fire, and I raise that withering limb through the gloom, up to my face, where fingers proceed to kneed at the bread dough flesh of my clammy cheeks. You’re still not here, and the absence would be nearly too much for me too bear – if I were actually capable of caring in this state.

One more, I think, and a new energy flares up from within, sending my other hand groping in the drawer of the bedside table. I withdraw a bottle of pills, wrench open the top, and shake a number loose, feeling them cascade down about the exposed flesh of my chest.

Just one more, I think, frantically snatching up at least five of the little suckers before throwing them into my mouth. Swallow. All good. You’re still not here, and I’m still in the dark. But at least I’m not alone, swimming in a sea of multicoloured pills, tablets, and capsules.

I think I sleep. At some point. I sleep through troubling dreams of eternal absence, and an ethereal existence devoid of companionship and true, no, unfeigned attachment. Even in dreams I am without you.

A shaky kneed wandering through waste high grass along a cold mountain pass, continually weakened by a distinct lack of

what is it?

flare. That fire from within. You’ll wander because you lack direction, and you lack direction because you can not give up this desire for wandering. Feedback loop. Crackling static broadcast out to the stars. Schizoid delusions. Distinct lack of

what the fuck is it now?

a distinct lack of

out with it, man!

self. A distinct lack of purpose plaguing your continued pseudo reality. No bloody idea of who you are, only who you’d like to be. Always the dreamer, you trudge along through the wastes searching for something, anything, that will set your mind at ease.

A shaky need wandering through the waste high thoughts of an overwrought unconscious, growing ever distant, lost in a

no, not again. Can’t you stay on track for even one thought?

lost in a

in a

come the fuck on already!

feedback loop.

I’m awake, and my hand is madly clutching the telephone handset to my ear, and the droning buzz of nothingness on the line gets increasingly louder. I’ve no number to call, so I let the handset fall to the floor where shadows swallow up even the sound.

I’ve no number to call, no-one to talk to, so I swallow a few more pills and wait for the day. Wait for the day, when the sun comes out and life returns to this lonely side of the planet. Wait for the day, when dysfunction moves out and regret moves in. Wait for the day, when I return to my place in this existence, wedging myself into normal just right so that no-one is the wiser.

Where are you now that I’m in the dark? One thought replaces another, perfectly, seamlessly, so that there’s not even an overlap. Only a waking cascade of ideas, burn-through from the unconscious onto the subconscious and outward. Queued. Waiting to be spoken by these sickly lips to your absent ears.