short stories

~ Clinging on ~

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~ Clinging on ~

I stood on the ledge of the building. I looked down at the concrete below. It would be instant if I made sure to land headfirst. Ten stories was enough to take me away on a final one-way ticket out of this place. Overdosing on pills would have been easier, but I was feeling a dramatic exit would be the right way to end this thing once and for all. I wanted the blood and guts of me staining those streets that had slowly pushed me to the brink over the years; I wanted my inner pain running into the sewers where it belonged. I shuffled my feet closer until the toes were over the edge. I had been totally ready for a few months now, and yes – I still felt ready. I shuffled closer. And closer. I stood on the precipice and looked straight ahead. My life did not flash before my eyes. There was no great symphony playing in my head. No angel came down to talk me out of it. There was no sound at all but the usual distant wailing of a siren and the sound of some seagulls squawking.

No, it was just me and the thoughts in my head like it had always been as I stood there reflecting on the inevitability of the moment. I thought of all the things that had led me to that ledge. The loneliness and separation that had sent me insane all my life. The homesickness for a place I’d never known. The relentless lack of connection to absolutely anybody else. It was true that the only people I related to were those who had either died by their own hand or drank themselves to death. Van Gogh, Hemingway, Hunter Thompson, Alan Watts, Cobain, Kerouac…  It was clear to me that some people were born strangers in this world, and a combination of being misunderstood, alienated and highly incompatible with society is ultimately what made them blow their brains out with shotguns and drink themselves to death. Those warriors of the word had evidently written themselves into history, but I thought of what would happen in my case. A few flowers here and there. Some people on social media making me out to be an angel of some sort. Sure enough, a few weeks later the flowers would wilt and die, and people would move on – my name only occasionally mentioned in circles of close friends. “Terrible what happened.” “He seemed so happy.” “I don’t know what happened.” “We never saw it coming.” The thought of it only got worse as I imagined the funeral with the black clothes and the reading of dogmatic religious texts – the final spit-in-the-face insult reserved for you before being buried six feet underground.

It sounds absurd but the thing in that moment that caused me to turn away from that ledge was the fact I hadn’t left anything behind yet. Those heroes of mine who had died by their own hand – they had shared their truth and provided some fuel for others looking to continue on through the wilderness. There was a great victory in that and a part of me also refused to let my truth fade into nothingness. I too wanted whatever was going on inside of me to be felt by another soul out there looking for some sort of salvation. Feeling something inside me begin to twitch, I took myself home where I sat once again before a keyboard with my fingertips fighting for survival – fighting to hold onto the ledge with whatever words and fight I could summon from inside myself.

Like so many others out there, my fight was a solitary one hidden from the view of people who laid their eyes on me. No one truly knew the extent of my madness but me. For some reason this is how it worked: these internal battles are often the greatest battles of all, and they are not fought in plain sight in boxing rings or battlefields, but instead inside the hearts of people trying to carry on in a world they didn’t understand. They are the battles never read about in history books or commemorated in museums, but only known inside the minds of the people fighting them. These wars are waged in secret every day and I can’t help but stare into the eyes of strangers and wonder how many of them are also fighting their way through the darkness. Who are also lingering on the precipice of suicide and madness? Who are also trying to find a reason to continue on in a world to which they don’t belong?

No doubt there are so many more than people would like to think – people who may appear very normal and content with their lives. I know many would find it shocking to know that their friends and family members have once stared into the abyss wishing to hurl themselves in; that they didn’t want to continue in the same world they lived in and were a part of. But it was undeniable they were out there in the hundreds of thousands, and that the majority of the time they were almost impossible to spot. This was the secret of the suicidal. True desolation was invisible. A look of sadness in someone’s eye meant there was still some fight and hope left, but when the light truly fades from all around you, one does not feel despair or agony. You simply stop feeling. There is an emptiness which can’t be explained, and nonexistence is not something that even feels like a big deal. It feels welcoming. All the reason and fight leaves your veins as you stumble sinisterly towards that precipice of death and darkness. In the meanwhile, fake smiles are easily cast and the sentence ‘fine thanks, you?’ is uttered to unsuspecting loved ones. I knew this because I had felt it myself, and also because I had stared into the eyes of suicide cases a couple of times in my life. Both times it was just a few weeks before they finally went through with it. And yes, I did not see it coming. I did not see the desire for death in their eyes. Their pain was masked; their secrets hidden deep within themselves like so many out there who dwell silently in the depths of the greatest darknesses.

Those darknesses are not easy to escape and no doubt they will continue to claim the souls of so many out there. This is a sickness that is far more prevalent and insidious than we suspect. All throughout the world tonight as I write these words there will be people overdosing on pills, putting the blade against the wrist, drinking themselves to death or throwing themselves off buildings just to escape this world. Some may save themselves from the abyss and others may succumb. I don’t know if I have any advice to offer them; I think maybe I’ve just gotten lucky to have this stubborn streak inside of me that pulls me back from those ledges and nooses and pills. I guess deep down I know I’ll always be a bit of a misunderstood loner – an isolated maniac writing words that no one will ever read – but embracing that and writing all this shit down keeps me from losing it totally. This is my personal cure and if someone ever asks me why I was so compelled to write, I told them it was out of desperation. Desperation to survive. To leave something behind. To make sure my story is heard and understood by others who never understood what was really happening inside of me. It is an act of redemption and when these fingertips touch these keys, I am clinging onto a ledge with words that – if they stayed inside of me – would cement my fate with so many out there who were slowly consumed from within. They are words of desperation and the words of someone hanging on to it all. The words of someone lingering on an edge. The words of another man who refused to let himself be murdered by the world without a fight.

 

 

thoughts

~ Some Way ~

~ Some Way ~

“At times I wonder how much longer I can linger inside this brain of mine. This burning room, untouched and unseen by those that have laid their eyes on me. I am hidden from view, a prisoner of sorts. Many times I have been overcome by the darkness. I have been down in the sewers with the rats and the madness, crawling on my hands and knees, searching for flickers of light and hope in the shadows. I have been beaten down, almost destroyed, somehow summoning the strength to stand up once more against the deluge of the storm. Yet through all these things, the smile remained on my face. The ‘fine thanks, you?’ came out of my mouth. Those people: they don’t see this secret prison of mine – and yes, for some of them, I don’t see theirs too. This is the absurdity of the human condition. So many of us are walking mysteries of sickness and sadness. So many of us inhabit private prisons that no one else will ever see or know. Out there on those streets I stare into passing eyes and wonder how many are also trying to not be consumed by the darkness. Getting up some days to face the world often takes enormous courage. These are the secret battles we fight again and again. These are the storms we endure in silence and solitude. And now as I sit at this keyboard and the sadness grips me one more time, I guess I’ll keep fighting on the only I know how to. What else, after all, is there to do but to keep on moving. To keep on surviving. Somehow. 

Some way.

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poetry

~ Western Blues ~

~ Western Blues ~

Three nights alone on the booze – I think I’m gonna lose.

I’m a dead man drifting on a back street high.

With not much left to lose but lots more left to prove.

Four nights alone on the internet – my mom thinks I’m an idiot.

I’m a trapped man searching for the answers why.

And with a lack of tv crews you won’t see me on the news

And I’m down on my knees when I’ve been struck by western blues.

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thoughts

~ An Inner Flame ~

~ An Inner Flame ~

“So often it’s in an individual’s deepest, darkest moments where he or she summons the strength to shine the brightest. So if you someone with that fire blazing in their eye, know that it didn’t come easily.

More often than not it burns bright because it has felt the flames of hell.”

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poetry

~ Drenched in Defeat ~

~ Drenched in Defeat ~

The world was not what you told me mother
How could you bring me into this pain?
I want to live, and not just be another
broken soul trying to shelter from life’s rain.

Yeah my eyes drip with sadness
and I am soaked to the bone;
lost in the storm of my own madness
destined to drown on my own.

And how could it be you promised me
a life full of happiness and joy?
when the winds of this society
require me to consume and destroy.

How could it be that you told me
the world is sunshine and rainbows?
when the hollow heads attack me
and get their highs from my lows.

How could it be you encouraged me
to chase my dreams and my desires?
when the world is clouded with hatred
and corrupted by users and liars

Yeah you lied to me too mother
And that’s why I stand here now
Drenched in defeat
Shaking like a leaf
Shivering and beat
Losing hope and belief

I guess I will just keep convincing myself
that the good times still haven’t begun
and maybe one day this storm will pass
so my soul can dry out in the sun.

poetry

~ No Final Solution ~

~ No Final Solution ~

The doors have shut and
the people await their fate
in these cities
in these chambers
where we live and die
and fight to survive

amid it all I see
the fearful eyes
the hands clutching together
sometimes in prayer
sometimes in marriage
but always in futility

in this world nothing is certain
but the panic and pain
the decay and death
the crashing and the burning

yet with these brains inside of us
and these hearts that plead for peace
we struggle and seek
a way out – a secret door
that leads to something else

but it cannot be found
and so here I stand also
trapped with everybody
awaiting my fate
in these cities
in these chambers

with my hands
scraping the walls
scraping at this typewriter
trying to find the way out

before this slaughterhouse

does what it does best

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