poetry

~ Finally ~

~ Finally ~

Here she is, finally
Standing before me
Something I only ever dreamt of
In some deluded way
During times of darkness
And desperation.

A quiet humbleness comes over me
Like standing before a natural force
With a depth and beauty
I just can’t understand

I always felt about the age of thirty
I’d stop my rampage
And meet the woman
Who would finally straighten me out

Dylan called it ‘shelter from the storm’
And it certainly feels that way
As the warmth of her 
Causes puddles of pain
To form at my feet

In the morning I lie with her in bed
Her dog lays beside it
His head rested on the carpet 
Eyes staring up at me
With a knowing look of recognition.

I say goodbye, kiss her
Walk out into the day
And suddenly things are different
The little things don’t matter
Trivial troubles are nothing

I smile and say hello to the people I pass
I hold the shop door open for the person behind me
Everything is okay;
Life is not so bad after all.

I know that this feeling probably won’t last
But for now, it’s enough
To know that a single soul can shine so brightly
Like sunlight coming through the forest canopy
Breathing life into my world
Blooming my flowers
Turning me into a dreamer

And if this is just another delusion
Then let me stay deluded
For my world has never looked so good
Now that I know
She’s in it.

poetry

~ Shackled ~

~ Shackled ~

Like a seabird in oily water
Or a turtle stuck in plastic
I want to rise up from this mess
And break free from this muck
That the world has poured onto me

I know these wings can flap
I know my soul can sing
And that my spirit can soar
Into skies of light and life

But here I am:
Caught like the rest
Cemented down and
Starved of something essential

I have become like so many on these streets
Trapped in an unfulfilling life
Weighed down by something silent
No longer hunting what is mine
Or doing what comes natural

Now I sit in traffic jams
And stare at electronic screens
Now I collect my prey in plastic
Packaged for me on supermarket shelves

Now getting out of bed in the morning
Seems like a pointless task.
And my greatest endeavour
Is buying discounted food.

God, give me some wilderness once more
Give me the sunlight rising over the mountains
Give me the sound of rain on the forest canopy
Give me the eagle circling high above the canyon

Just give me something pure
And untamed
To awaken my soul
Loosen my shackles
And bring me back home
To myself.

poetry

~ This Burning Mess ~

~ This Burning Mess ~

I wanna write from a place where no one else has been before
I want to pour forth new truths that could have only come from me
I don’t have time for words that don’t mean anything
I’m not here to put down more scripted sentences

I’m here to speak my truth
To scream and shout
And share something in my soul
That little bit of unique fire burning
Only the way it can within me

It is fueled by all my pains and mistakes
By all my victories and defeats
And I want it to blaze bright
Showing the light
Of all my life has been

This burning brilliant mess.

poetry

~ Resigned to the Fact ~

~ Resigned to the Fact ~

Well, I guess this is it:
Thirty-one-years-old
All grown now
Fully-developed
The soul-searching done
I know who I am.
The result is in

And what is it that I am?

It’s not a lot.
It’s not a lot at all.

No useful skills
No place of belonging
No way of living sustainably
No chance of mental stability

It’s nothing but chaos
Frequent episodes of insanity
And spells of disillusionment
That leave me holding onto the rails
As life’s hurricane rips me apart

It’s not some momentary feeling
I’ve lived enough years now to know
That I’m always gonna be this way
Shifting from one crisis to the next
From one battle to the next
From one bender to the next

Yes, periods of peace shall occasionally arrive
There will be moments of contentment
Even times when I feel happy to be alive

But they won’t last long.
They won’t last long at all.

Because I know who I am now.
I’ve lived the years and walked the walk
And this is what I’ll have to deal with:
Some sort of malfunctioning mistake
Stumbling and staggering along
Fighting to survive.

I guess the first thing I should do is accept it
But I can’t help but feel
Disappointed, dejected
And even angry inside

This isn’t how it should be.

I wanted to live life
Not deal with it
Or cope with it
Or find ‘a way to get by’

I wanted to live life.

I wanted to live.



poetry

~ And What Are You Scared Of ~

~ And What Are You Scared Of? ~

Scared that my life will become pointless
That my soul will be diluted down
My mind filled with garbage
And my words lacking in truth

Scared that nothingness will become my reality
That the mirror reflection will be empty
My eyes devoid of light
My heart shrouded in greyness

Scared that the bastards will win
And make me one of their own
And the wilderness in me
Will be paved over
Ground down
Drained of its colour

Each year I can feel that concrete creeping
The bulldozers doing their damage
My curiosity fading
My leaves being stripped away

There is a helplessness about me these days
The vigour of youth has escaped me
My inner voice remains silent
Even my madness begins to fade

And I’m scared…

Scared that these words will run out
And everything good in me will die
As my body becomes an empty vessel

Scared that I’ll grow old
And no longer see the beauty
Sense the magic
Nor feel the wonder

Scared not of pain or torture
Nor of death or darkness
But scared of existing
And breathing the air
And beating my heart
And waking up each day

While no longer being alive.

short stories

~ Cold Thoughts ~

~ Cold Thoughts ~

I watched my breath in front of my face as I lay frozen in pain. Shivering uncontrollably, I reflected back to the time seven years previously when I had got lost on the mountain in New Zealand – my sorry ass eventually salvaged by a rescue team before hypothermia had set in. This time I was not lost on a mountain on the other side of the world from home; this time I was home – in the comfort of my own bedroom, to be exact. It had so far been the coldest weather in years and some parts of the country were even experiencing their lowest-ever recorded temperatures. Outside it was minus five degrees, which isn’t too bad if you have central heating, but unfortunately mine had decided to break in conjunction with this cold snap. My bedroom hadn’t received any warmth in two days now – the same amount of time I had been confined to my bed. Four blankets covered me, along with my thermal clothing and jumper – but it still wasn’t enough to keep my body warm. Not only was I fighting off the cold, but also a bad bout of the flu.

Yes, I had also managed to come down with one of the worst sicknesses of my life during this tragic heating malfunction. It was a pitiful situation – the sort of situation where you had to question whether the universe was out to get you. I was drained and defeated in almost every way; my head pounded with a headache, my throat felt like it had razor blades in it, and my whole body ached with a fever. I didn’t even have the energy to get out of bed, let alone go to the toilet, so I used a plastic bottle beside my bed to piss in whenever the time came. It seemed like it would be a good time to sleep and try to fast-forward to a time when I was feeling better and the heating had been fixed, but unfortunately my insomnia had come on strong too. I had barely slept in two days now. With not even enough energy to reach for my laptop and put a film on, I simply stared trance-like into space like a wounded soldier, letting whatever thoughts drift through my delirious and dying mind. 

None of them were cheery thoughts, naturally. I considered that I actually was a dying soldier and this is how my eventual demise played out. It would have been a somewhat underwhelming exit from this earth if that was the case, but at that point, I’m not even sure I would have even fought it off too much. Whenever one is consumed by such intense illness and pain, it’s almost a nice feeling to surrender yourself to the darkness. It was that darkness where you could rest in peace, free from existence and all its traumatic struggles – pain, sickness, depression, loneliness, taxes and tiredness. At that point, I reminded myself that I had come down with the flu before, and, as bad as it got, you were usually up and kicking a few days later. No, I was admittedly being slightly somewhat melodramatic about things. I was going to make it out of this one, but what was I making it out into? What was my life looking like on the other side of this sickness? 

In a way, this did feel like the universe was punishing me and putting me in a place where I had nothing else to do but reflect on the plight of my life. I knew almost certainly when I had got this flu – the previous Saturday night when I had gone out on my own and drank myself into oblivion. That was the night I had managed to buy over twenty drinks and go to four different nightclubs until 7am in the morning. This was the latest reckless bender in a series of benders where I had been destroying my health and finances. I had tried to curb my drinking a couple of months before, but that had backfired and now I was drinking even heavier than before. I knew I was heading down a dark path and perhaps this was life’s way of forcing me to stop and reflect on my ruinous behaviour. I had nothing else to do after all, and that’s exactly what I was doing – reflecting on why I was a self-destructive idiot who got myself into terrible states such as the one I was in. 

I knew exactly where some of this self-destructive behaviour was stemming from; an underlying feeling that had been growing inside of me for a while. I looked out at the current state of the world and saw little hope in anything. Society was becoming more ridiculous by the day and it was harder to find the strength to take part in the circus at all – especially when sober. There was a cost of living crisis, a climate crisis, a nuclear war crisis, a mental health crisis, a physical health crisis, and my own personal ageing crisis. I also now knew I lived in a world where people would quite happily throw away their freedoms in response to whatever hysteria the media created. Things went from one low to the next, and it was now looking like working a full-time job soon wouldn’t be enough to even feed yourself or heat your house (if the heating was even working that is). Myself and a friend had recently coined our catchphrase ‘The Collapse is Coming’ and this was now embedded into our doomed worldview. Because everything was clearly going to total shit, it seemed that nothing was worth it so you might as well just get drunk and live like there was no tomorrow. This was the new-age nihilism, I recognised – a feeling which had been sending me those reckless benders and ultimately helping me end up in this pitiful situation. 

I continued watching my breath and aching in pain as such reflections drifted through my sleep-deprived mind. I realised that if this was the universe challenging me to put myself under the microscope, I had to recognise that I couldn’t just blame it all on these external factors. In particular, I recognised that there was just an internal wild-side inside of me that had always been there. It was like a stallion in my soul – a beast that would cause me to consistently charge off into the wilderness and have no concern for anything other than the pure thrill of being alive. Its aim was to live daringly and thrash about in a way that it could never be caught and tamed. That stallion had been a part of me all my life; it had taken me to some great places and helped me to experience some wonderful things. I was happy to say that I was someone who had definitely made the most of his youth. And if this flu and cold weather were to see me off, then I could check out from the game content with my score. I had experienced life – gotten to know it to its blood and bones.

However, while I was content with what I had done with my younger years, a part of me knew I couldn’t keep living like this – at least if I wanted to have a normal lifespan, that was. I had known this for a while, but perhaps this situation was the moment where I needed to take the time to really accept that something in my personality had to change. It was time to finally start taming the stallion inside of me, or to keep letting it run wild until I died an early death. This wasn’t even me being dramatic, I deemed – something inside of me knew deeply that if I didn’t get a grip of this runaway horse, then I would end up dead and buried at a young age like so many of the writers and artists I idolised (not to forget my uncle who also died of alcoholism in his forties). When I really thought about it, in some ways I felt lucky to even be alive now. The alcohol, the drugs, the adventures, the reckless behaviour and excessive revelry – a bit more misfortune and I could have already died before my time. How much longer could I keep getting away with such a way of living? The general consequences of living so wildly were getting worse, after all. It was just a few months before when I had woken up in a town in Mexico with cuts and grazes covering my face. I had no idea what had happened and, with this mishap taking place in a particularly dangerous area, I thought myself lucky to just have a bloody face. Yes, there was no denying my reckless behaviour was getting worse and worse and it wouldn’t be long until I went too far. The edge would be found and crossed. And never recrossed. 

Oh, but what is a man like me to do when he tames the stallion within him? Especially when that stallion had brought him so many unforgettable thrills and sensations? Especially when that way of being was all he knew? I had to accept it was either to watch my life end in premature wreck and ruin, or to evolve into something else. But what was that something else, exactly? A steady career?A suburban lifestyle with a wife and kids? A life of monk-like contentment? It was hard to imagine living the rest of my life in a subdued state from what I had known, but this was what had to be done in order to have a ‘rest of my life.’ It was a confronting realisation, one that was maybe worth chatting to a therapist about. Well, for now it was just me and the cold and this flu ripping my insides apart.

I reached over in pain and took a sip of Lemsip that one of my housemates had brought me. I felt that warm liquid run down my throat as I gazed around my lair. My eyes met a picture of my family and it was then that I suddenly started thinking about my dad and my brother. Although on the surface they seemed the complete opposite to me, when I thought about it, I recognised that they, too, also once had this craziness inside of them. My brother was six years older and I recalled all the trouble he’d get into when I was a teenager. I thought of his absinthe-fuelled nights-out which could result in the police turning up at our door the next day, or even him returning with a bloody head like that one time on the morning of Christmas Day. And even my dad (a now relatively dull and ordinary man by most measures), had his stories of debauchery and anarchy from his youth as a punk. I knew what the key difference was between me and them though: a woman. A wife, even. They had eventually quietened and settled down into a sensible and sane life. Set straight by marriage, they had packed away such hedonistic tendencies and set off on a life of peace and stability. My dad had done it by the age of twenty, and my brother by the age of twenty-seven. Yet here I was now past the age of thirty, and I had barely even been in a proper relationship. All I had done was travel the world and slept with as many women as I could, all the while being uninterested in forming any real lasting bond. I dipped into dating but again it was never with a serious intent of getting a long-term partner – rather just another impulsive thing to keep myself entertained – an unhealthy vice in which I didn’t even intend to get anything out of other than momentary thrills and pleasures. 

All these thoughts whirled around my mind as a sudden fever came on. Suddenly the shivers stopped and I started sweating profusely instead. My heart palpitated, almost as if I had some bug or creature inside of me pounding at my chest to get out. At that moment, I felt like some sort of terrible bug myself, and the thoughts of why I had never been in a relationship began to make sense. A terrible feeling of self-loathing came over me. I felt that I really had something hideous inside of me and that I put this shield up against love and relationships because deep down I knew that I was someone that no woman deserved to get entangled with. I wasn’t worthy of love or affection or someone sharing their life with me. I was a ghastly insect, an unwholesome creature like Frankenstein’s monster that belonged banished from civilisation, wandering alone in the barren wilderness. Perhaps this is why I so frequently pushed others away? Perhaps this is why I poured so much poison inside myself? Perhaps this is why the world was apparently trying to kill me?

The thoughts continued to get heavier and heavier as the sweat poured from me. My headache was now at the point where I felt like I had an axe embedded in my brain. I yearned deeply for sleep to take me away from myself, but that wasn’t going to happen. My mind kept racing and I wanted to be anywhere but there, but it was no use – I was stranded with myself in one of the coldest times of my life. It was a winter of discontent and even the thought of my one regular escape, alcohol, made me feel sick. There was nothing to do but dwell in my own solitary suffering. To make it even worse, outside the sun was shining. Rays of light entered through the curtains. I heard birds chirping. I could even hear the hearty laughs of my housemate in the garden while on the phone. 

Although at first such sounds and sights compounded my misery, they eventually reminded me that there was something bright in this world. It wasn’t all the doom and gloom I had been living in within my own mind. There was light and there was victory. There were moments of great triumph and joy. There were birds jumping out of nests and tasting flight for the first time. There were baby turtles crawling courageously towards the ocean. There were little children standing up to bullies. There were shy loners creating beautiful music to be played in concert halls. There were poor kids growing up to be doctors and saving people’s lives. There were flowers growing through gaps in concrete streets. Yes, if you kept your eyes open, there were moments of pure universal triumph bursting and blooming and blossoming all around you. I knew this; I had seen these things with my own eyes. And yet I had forgotten them. Time and time again, I let the darkness of the world drive out the light, even when I had seen the glory in life and felt true bliss. I thought of those moments of standing on those sunset shorelines, staring out at the sea, watching the seagulls dancing in the sky as the daylight faded out and the light of distant stars was slowly revealed. I saw that sight again there in my room one more time as the pain faded for just a second.

Immediately, I wondered whether I was on my deathbed. This is how I imagined it to be on your deathbed, after all. You’d see all these visions of all the wonder your eyes had set sight upon throughout their long journey. I smiled to myself as I saw the other visions: bright faces in moments of joy; tender kisses on lips; the laughs of people free from their struggles. Yes, I knew things were bad – there was no denying that – and there was also some light on the other side of this sickness and my general struggles. I couldn’t feel it now but I knew it was there, and the only thing left to do was to own my suffering. This was my suffering that was currently taking place, and yet with it, I was finding something useful with it. It was a time to lie down, stare into space, and reflect. This was the purpose of my life at the moment. And I knew it was going to pass and that in a few days, I’d be back out on those streets with my mind in a different space. I’d be back at work, or running along the river, or shopping at the supermarket, or talking with friends in the pub. It would be time to re-enter the circus again and do my best to get through to the next day. In sickness and in health, fighting to go on and survive. The neverending battle. The only thing that we were all united on – trying to keep it together and finding the air to breathe and searching for the sunlight as the storm of life shakes us to the core.

poetry

~ Morning Light ~

Morning Light

Still falling in love with it all
These days it’s getting worse
The twinkling lights in her eyes
The birds flying in the dawn sky
And the reflection on the water

Maybe it’s me getting older
But I can feel myself evening out
Experiencing some sort of contentment
As I stare into those pupils
Into the universe of her soul
Letting myself feel some joy
As the despair drifts away.

I never believed in angels
But sometimes it’s hard not to
At least see where the idea came from
Like in those good moments
Watching her smile as she awakens
The light coming through the window
Another day stirring like
A quiet happiness in my heart.

I have dwelled in the darkness
Been haunted by strange voices
Hunted by demonic creatures
Loomed over by the vultures

And that is how I know the light
When I see it

That is how I know
She’s the one
To throw open the curtains
And finally show me 
What this life 
Is about.

poetry

~ Something Has to Change ~

~ Something Has to Change ~

Out on the streets, I see them
The drunk students partying
The skaters flipping their boards
The young people doing their thing

It only seems like a couple of years ago
That I was one of them
Wide-eyed and reckless
Careless and confused
Excited to be alive

Well now the years have gone by
And I approach the age of thirty-one
By no means an old age
But for some reason, I feel old
Older than one should feel at this age
Looking at them jovial kids
I just can’t help but wonder
What has happened to me

Nowadays I don’t dream of something ridiculous
Nowadays I’m not bursting with vigour
Nowadays I don’t get hurt like I used to
I don’t feel the thrill like I used to
I don’t chase desires like I used to

A mist has descended; the hunger fades
The fire that I thought would roar forever wanes

I guess this is what they call growing up
I always knew it would have its downfalls
But this total apathy with existence
Is something I didn’t quite anticipate.

I know the story:
Getting older
Losing the spark,
Your energy dwindling
As the quiet desperation of
Middle-age sets in.

Is this what awaits us all?
Is this why they say youth is wasted on the young?
Is this why we have children?
To give ourselves another chance?

Naturally, I consider the alternative: not growing old.

Most say growing old is better than dying young
But who can be sure?
At the very least,
Checking out early feels like a cop-out
Although I understand how such weariness
Can turn a person toward it.

I can’t keep fading out like this anyway
I’ve decided that something needs to change
I won’t try to force myself to be young again
But something needs shaking up

I’m not hoping for angels or epiphanies
Or to feel excitement like I once did
Or to dance on dancefloors like I once did
Or to flip skateboards like I once did

But something has to change

Something,

Has to change.

poetry

~ The Collapse is Coming

collapse 2

~ The Collapse is Coming ~

It’s all coming to an end anyway

Civilisation and late-stage capitalism

These methods of living will soon be the past

I’m not sure on the exact details 

but it’s clear to me that the collapse is coming.

.

Things people believed in will be shown

For the mere illusions that they are.

Their mansions of security will crumble into dust

Their pensions will be redundant 

Their jobs will be no longer exist

And the whole house of cards will come falling down

In one great disintegration.

.

Due to this looming fact I’ve decided 

To no longer participate in this circus

I’m going to work a part-time job

Low-status and zero stress

I’ll live like a hermit and buy only what I need

I’ll conserve my mental and physical health

While building myself up like a skyscraper

As everything else falls apart around me

.

If I still need money then I’ll find alternative ways to get it

Without subjecting myself to their circus

.

I’ll do whatever it takes to stay disconnected

Those morning traffic jams will not feature me

Those tedious meetings will not feature me

Those therapy sessions will not feature me

Those petty arguments will not feature me 

.

I’ll be too busy experiencing a simple bliss 

While just sitting and staring into space

Practising meditation and sleeping well

Writing poetry and not caring if anyone reads it

I won’t need a television when I’ll be entertained enough

By the obvious beauty of the world that nearly everyone misses

.

My only goal is to be myself;

To be nothing but my total self

Living with inner wealth

In a developed state of being.

.

Because the time has come

And the collapse is coming

So I’m creating my own civilisation

A utopian town with a population of one

I’ve given up on anyone else populating it with me

This is what all the philosophers found anyway

All the sages like Thoereau and Nietzche

Like Buddha and Bukowski

.

It’s better to be alone

To cultivate your own happiness

To not depend on another’s acceptance 

Or on shiny cars or green lawns

.

It’s better to turn your eyes inward

To take the journey to the self

And become a free man

Unshackled by a society

Whose failure is evident

On every street

In every tired face

In every sullen eye

In every angry voice

In every honking car

.

Let them shout and strain

Let them beep and bark

And continue in their doomed circus

Totally unaware that the collapse is coming

.

And my civilisation is being built.

poetry

~ Gone With the Wind ~

Gone With the Wind

Tonight staring up at the moon

I know one day this life will leave me

And all that will be left of me

Is some bones and teeth

And maybe these words

Written down somewhere too.

It’s enough to leave me speechless

and make my eyes look around

in confusion and wonder.

I see the clouds in the sky

The stars shining above

I feel the blood flowing through me

The vibration of my heartbeat

This aching bit of temporary life.

Maybe it’s true what some people say

And I will continue on in some way

My bodily energy changing form

Becoming one with the stars

And the drifting clouds

Sailing on with the wind.

And maybe these words will live on after I’m gone too

The fleeting thoughts of a mind that is no longer there

But perhaps is still in some way

Touching people like the winds

Of a future world