Posts Tagged human interaction
I may as well be on a desert island.
Life in a dome of sea blended seamlessly to sky,
with empty beaches and sighing trees and whispering waves
and solitary boulders that stand silent on cliff tops
watching out for me.
There’s a magic supermarket here that’s run by AI.
It feeds me and provides a regular supply
of washing up liquid and beer and tobacco
and sausages and pizza and shit like that.
Sometimes there I see shapes like people.
Shimmering mirages that move slowly amongst the stacked shelves.
The hard and real stacked shelves.
Sometimes they stop and merge with the tins and the toys.
The voices of their children whisper want like the waves.
But no one sees me moving amongst them.
Sometimes they stand in my way.
I see through them,
vapid creatures that they are.
But they belong to a universe that isn’t mine
and so I have to walk around them.
Outside in the baking hot sun that sings cicada songs
in light that dazzles off glass and the distant sea,
I pause for thought and listen to the sounds around me
that travel through me and shimmer like the light,
and that feel like silence and which never carry my name.
I may as well be on a desert island.
Surrounded by sea seamlessly connected to sky.
With a magic supermarket run by AI
That feeds me and provides a regular supply
Of washing up liquid and beer and tobacco
And sausages and pizza and shit like that.
Sometimes I see shapes like people
Walking amongst the stacked shelves.
They move slowly and sometimes they stop.
But they don’t see me.
And outside in the baking hot sun
That dazzles off glass and distant splashing waves,
I pause for thought and listen to the sounds around me
That seem like silence and never carry my name.
When your parents die
the movie ends.
Now you’re not playing a part.
You can sit back in your chair,
the one with your name on it,
and watch the action played back.
See the part you played.
Sit uncomfortable beside others,
self-conscious as your playing is reviewed.
And the silence closes in about you
as you see your failings
and the quiet of those around falls away
into the distance,
and your life and the stuff that is you
comes into focus.
A real tearjerker is this.
Who wrote this script?
How could, who would, did I?
They were just people.
Life’s timeline compresses.
Your streaming curve cuts across theirs
And streams away to curve back.
You with your guns firing.
Your stupid guns.
We should have talked more.
Because now I don’t see you
By way of a mirror.
Now I can look straight at you.
And I have to hang my head
So what am I really?
Now I’m in the mirror.
You stayed for a while.
I felt you and I heard your thoughts.
Now it’s quieter.
But one day I may
Have to have that talk.
About how we all made mistakes.
Mine feel so much greater
And I wonder where I’ll sit
Between you and my sons.
Warm air rang chilled,
hammer on an anvil.
Church steeple still
in pleasant landscape
stopped to look
at small life given.
Sleepy world glancing
his way for once
and simmering summer
sultry birdsong sang
So little england carried on
and one who came to pass
and had lived their way
no longer had a choice.
Mild wind in blue sky with sun glinting
off snowy Cretan mountain peaks
and bird song amongst orange groves
ripe with fruit waiting to be picked,
reverberated to a double shotgun blast
as someone blew his brains out
and spread them over the plaster
landscape that was his for too long.
As I wrote mellowed by birdsong,
righteously writing about what was wrong
with no cognisance of what went on
just below my balcony.
A moment came and passed.
And I learned about it from the news.
Written a long way away.
And now when I gaze down,
the birds still sing amongst the oranges.
And the dogs still bark.
She was a cold, mirror smooth lake
in the cloud tossing tempest that raged around her,
and I stood wet and weather beaten on her rocky shore.
How could she be so disconnected?
When you truly listen to people
and you hear what they are,
you will find
that everyone is lonely.
80% of the world’s population live in what any middle class westerner would regard as abject poverty. Many live in destitution.
So many people know intuitively that they don’t belong where they are, even those who were born where they are.
So many are looking for that home, that small place where they belong in contentment, with family and friends and pets, and a small garden of their own. And all of these people are the daughters and sons of mothers and fathers, and they’re brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles. Just like everyone else. Like you and me.
What is it then about the way we run things that allows so many people to be so unhappy? Everything required for everyone is there and available. If we’re so clever, why are we not able to moderate our behaviour to account for all of our real needs, rather than for the imagined needs of just a few? What would it take?
Humanity has to find a way of massively reducing its per capita use of resources – be that energy, minerals or land – or we actually do face a potential reality of the collapse of modern civilisation. This isn’t hysteria, or the imaginings of a treehugger. It’s simple reality. We have to find a way of living with less impact. And career politicians are not going to achieve this. They can’t, however well intentioned, because our voting systems would not allow them to do what is required. So its down to each of us, across a world of 7.3 billion people, most of whom live in abject poverty. It’s quite a challenge. But the first step has to be for everyone to start to open their eyes and read, and let go of pre conceptions, and political assumptions. The way we live now isn’t the only way. It wouldn’t actually take much to make the adjustments required. More local – work, travel, food etc. – would probably do it.
With proper attention and investment into developing country cities to provide clean energy and vertical farms.
It can be done, but we really need to move now, and even then, it may be too late if certain greenhouse gas release mechanisms have kicked off as a result of existing warming. We can’t tell yet. But we have to assume that there’s still a chance, whilst there might be one.
So many of our great cities are surrounded or permeated by squalid poverty – tin shacks and people shitting in the street where children play. Humans are more than this. What we regard as the lowest forms of mammalian life don’t live like that. Rats.
How have we allowed this to happen thus far? A revolution is required, in people’s aspirations and expectations. And in how we interact. And how our societies, given that hierarchies will emerge, are structured (and they’re not God given things; we make them) to ensure that all of us are at least warm and fed. The rest is frippery and excess luxury. Fine if it isnt made available at the cost of the squalor of others.
There were four,
but then it fractured
And I curled and died
with shame and pain.
But they’ve risen from
and fly proud.
What part did I play though
as was my understood purpose?
That purpose that faded away
so I could only watch
And cast faintly heard praise.
they’ll live better lives.
Ahead lay the divide that ran from top to bottom of their lives,
Defining the move between their doom and their fortune.
So millions of people lived their paths,
Not knowing that far above,
White winged Josef and the raven winged woman
Flew towards the light.
If only the minions also had that sight.
Is it not odd in a world of
That a female Praying Mantis
Still eats its mate.
That it’s possible to die
By digital excess,
Or also lack thereof.
On a dating website tonight,
I paused and considered what I saw.
Images of people frozen at
Very particular moments in their lives.
And then writing an advert to promote it.
Someone messaged me tonight.
I was shy to link to her too soon.
When I did, she’d destroyed her account.
Admiralty129000 I will never know you.
And this space I’m in
That comprises me and a screen.
This is how we interface now.
And yet she was there. She was.
She messaged me.
And then she didn’t exist anymore.
I know I’m not supposed to admit this.
It’s neither dignified nor manly.
Because men only think about one thing.
And they’re not allowed to cry.
Pillars of society,
We joyfully join the scrum.
Pretending indifference to the quiet voice.
We have to scorn the quiet voice.
That’s what it is to be a man.
Quiet voice that in quiet moments
Allows us to wonder at the unfurling clouds
And the emerging beauty of spring.
That oh so gentle curve from neck to shoulder
That might simply be beautiful rather than just sexual.
Even that small voice of a child.
Any intuitive interaction
That might be seen to be too gentle
To be masculine.
Women’s preconceptions preclude these sensitivities.
I know. I’ve seen how the bastards always win.
Taunted by thigh and tit and scorned for responding
Unless we’re fancied or are able to be ruthless enough
To ignore another’s value. Like bastards.
However good you are in bed,
Or how large your heart may actually be,
The bastards always win.
And seem welcomed for this.
Even as they pretend to wail,
I scorn those crying women.
I’m dying. My feet tell me so.
As I pace back and forth
Between hope and despair.
There’s no stairwell to heaven here.
There’s no way to wisdom
Or any such feast.
Just meagre scraps that fall
From processes I don’t understand.
And as for love,
There’s no such thing.
Instead there’s a place in an hierarchy
That deserves regard or doesn’t.
Take your heart and crush it underfoot.
I might have loved you
If you hadn’t looked at me like that.
When I confessed my nature
Didn’t fit the modern way.
Past the train station.
Its old stones and arching glass having seen
Tanks and wars and revolutions.
I stood amongst shoppers with garish bags
From all the top brands.
Then past me walked a woman in blue plastic
With tears running down her face
As she saw the cold night ahead living on the street.
And I wanted to give her something to help
But I didn’t.
I stopped and turned and watched her walk away
Through the hurried, selfish crowd.
Now it’s I who weep.
For my weakness.
Silvered moon over the gleaming Danube.
Twinkling Budapest lights.
Where are you? Someone.
It would be good to nuzzle your lovely neck
Whilst seeing this.
If you stopped to ask him why,
As he sat filthy bent there on the street,
A few small coins in a paper cup,
Would he lift up his sag skinned face,
Filthy creased leather and wire wool beard,
Eyes red rimmed and shocking piercing,
And answer you?
Would he tell you his story?
Would he warn you why?
Would he tell of children and lost love?
Of missed chance and chances taken?
Would his eyes water with regret
Or turn deep with hidden meaning?
Or would he ask you the same question?
Through air cold as ice they ran,
over pretty leaves of gold and brown,
crushed more dead by each soft footfall.
He caught her, laughing, and swung her round.
She saw his eyes and lent back
against thin hard vertical bark.
He cupped her face tenderly either side
and ran his hands gently up to course
her hair through his fingers.
Taking hold he pulled her head back
to show her beautiful neck
with delicate strain like his arcing cock.
And she looked up and saw the arcing trees
bending away towards the stars.
He bent low and kissed her throat,
and moved up to whisper in her ear
how sublimely beautiful she was. And she was.
As she was kissed, she watched
and saw amongst the wind drifted trees,
the silhouette of a flying bird.
She saw its eyes as black,
watching her as she writhed
in silky analogue motion
that jumped with each digital phase
of the bird’s flight frozen
as in a freeze frame film.
And so she saw his passion granted,
as part of a universal flow.
She saw and gave and came
as the birds saw and knew.
She arced her graceful back
and squirmed across the face
of the man who knew her in his lust.
Flying up there with those knowing birds,
over the moonlit silvered trees
and through the star splintered dark,
she looked down in her ecstasy
and saw two people entwined
in their confusion and their
lust tempered by love.
Amongst the Autumn tawny leaved trees
With the oily, boiling Danube coursing by each side,
I came across the ruins of a Franciscan church.
Placing my hand on a stone embedded in one ancient wall,
My mind’s eye saw what the monk who built it saw.
Autumn tawny leaves with the Danube boiling by.
Things of real value don’t change.
The rest is ephemeral distraction.
The truth is that as you get older, the old illusions fall away. The trivia you once aspired to, become worthless, or at least worthless in your heart of hearts. Ignore the false heart that’s fed by those outside. You become someone who’s worth more than them.
You don’t have to be old for this insight to occur. You could be just 16. Or you could be 84. It doesn’t matter. What this process is, is the emergence of an understanding. It might be triggered by something you read, or thought, or was told, that grew into something bigger that belongs to you now because only you really see it, even though you can’t describe it.
It might be an understanding that is the purpose of your life.
Odd that God, or whatever force that drives what is, should ask so little of us. Given what it’s given.
If you’re lucky, and you succeed in gaining such an understanding, I hope that when you’ve moved to a different state, you’ll be kind enough to look over your shoulder and give me a hint. Hopefully with a smile.
Dad was further up the bus queue
He caught one just now.
I’m still waiting.
Some wait in front of me
And some wait behind.
Number 37 or some such.
Don’t know where it goes
Or why it’s called that.
But we’re all waiting for it.
In a queue.
I didn’t see that he’d caught his bus
Until just now when the phone rang.
But then it is a long queue
And he was right up at the front of it.
I remember when he stood
Kicking the dirt right back here
Where I now stand.
Looking about him
And wondering what and why.
Then I saw past you
And saw her looking at me
And I betrayed you.
So flimsy are the
Fantasies we cling tight to,
Risking our being.
In the mirror there’s an echo
Of light and of insight.
Something I might become
If I don’t try harder.
Always try harder.
With half an eye
To that place over there
Where you lie in a hammock,
Being fed grapes
By that girl you fell in love with
And never knew.
A man still learning,
And the wiser he becomes
The harder it is to live.
As surgeon’s fingers
Slice the surplus fat away.
Words as blades should cut.
Bright water running through
A small valley formed downhill
Is channelled by what it made.
And so it seems I’ve made my life
Such that it channels me.
Should I have the temerity
To challenge this cursed valley,
I’m rebuked by obstinate circumstance.
Is it circumstance?
Or is there a guide watching my life
And just making sure
I don’t do anything that I might actually want.
Decline is predestined it seems.
No doubt the water that went before
Knew what it was doing.
At the time.
On to my inevitable decline.
Is temerity or timidity best?
Challenge, or accept?
I wouldn’t die any other way.
And die I will.
Probably sooner for this.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that global problems and issues are the result of human nature. A couple of years back, when the Somali pirates were frightening factory fishing trawlers away from the East African coast, indigenous local Kenyan fishermen suddenly found that they could catch enough fish to feed themselves, and have enough to sell again. Because the bloody foreign trawlers weren’t in there taking all the fish. Indigenous people worldwide don’t overfish. It’s the fishing practices of the so called developed world that do the damage. So called developed simply because they have a sophisticated consumerist, market economy. And this is where the root of the problem lies. Our economic model derives from an experiment that emerged after the second world war. It was called the ‘American Dream’. As many cars and gadgets as possible in every household, and a household being based on the nuclear family model. Out of that has sprung an economic system that is obliged to grow, because its debt based money creation system needs growth in order to pay the interest on its money (making the banks rich). So everyone is encouraged to consume. Our societal narrative is to consume means success. No form of natural capital is seen as capital until its converted into cash. And then we think we have economic growth, when in fact we simply have a process that converts one form of capital into another, to the detriment of the first form which is finite but isn’t regarded as such.
We abuse our resources because our economics don’t see those resources as capital. And our social values are such that we assess each other on how much the other owns (or consumes). But this is a societal narrative, not some genetic driver born of ‘human nature’. We chose to run things this way. And we have a political system that puts power in the hands of people who are ignorant of the facts, namely democracy, which itself is then undermined by industrial vested interests whose only concern is to play the game they understand, which is to make loads of money, and stuff everything else.
It’s a human invention, this system. Not a force of nature. We don’t have to manage things this way. But in the UK we can choose between the Conservatives (name speaks for itself) and Labour (who are so close to the other lot as makes no difference), and in the US you have the Democrats who can’t fart without permission from corporate demagogues, or the Republicans who are, in a nutshell, the same corporate vested interests, sometimes hiding behind stupid religious children who don’t understand the world. So democracy, as we’ve chosen to implement it, is failing. Our systems are failing. They’re tired and outdated and have become corrupted. The experiment needs to be evaluated now. This is the challenge now… to reinvent our narratives and to start again with a new approach, taking the best of the old and casting off the poisonous bits, reinventing our societies and bringing them back inline with values that are more true and which make more sense.
Cheek to cheek goodbye tonight.
Been a long time since I felt that softness.
Cynicism crumbled away like crusted stone around a jewel
And desire became honourable at last.
I’d forgotten that
The warmth of real and gentle affection
Could be so transformative.
See your watching face.
Eyes musical dance sideways,
A mirror that lies.
Wanting a woman.
Lust and needing to make that arched back sigh,
And to know soft intimacy
And smooth thigh though
Is so different from the want to hold close
And wrap around protective and caring.
Soft hair and sweet nose
And big eyes that demolish me.
So as a man do I follow my lusty desire
Or something else that cares?
And more to the point,
Does she want to be wanted or cherished?
Both are best but why would I invest
So much in someone who can turn the whim
Of any man and who just takes
And expects to control why I am?
Was it the golden Sahara sands
That flowed around me?
Or was it the sighing soft wind?
Her voice flows fluid
And languid and liquid,
Caressing around the curves.
Was that really the simple sound
Of a woman singing?
There’s a layer of life that’s sandwiched
Between what you have to do,
Called human interaction,
And what you actually do.
A meeting of minds and hopefully
That through combined insight
Share the unity.
But it rarely happens
As we scramble to build
Private worlds of things
In pursuit of the good life.
Voluntarily choosing but not by choice.
That play the double agent
To our true selves.
One day there’ll be a world
Where people understand the commonality
Of their experience
And recognise the interdependence
Of their lives
With all others and
The contiguous nature of nature
That ensures a similar fate
For all despite
Any mad conception
Of difference from each other.
I saw you watching.
Shy smile looks the other way.
Now we’ll never know.
A man showed his heart
Women laughed their derision
So he became man.
How could I live with a woman?
They take over every room and habit
And everything I do
Is subject to
A kind of long cynical criticism and moaning no matter what I did, without any discussion.
And then there’s how I snore
And they don’t. No really.
Or fart. I’m forever forgiving
And forgetting and being chilled out about
And not seeing how her excessive makeup wouldn’t look good on a trout.
And don’t get me started
On the constant insistence on being part of
Every aspect of my life
Even though she professes
To hate and despise all of it and not like my friends or my drinking habits.
And then there’s sex.
All the faffing about getting her going.
Stupid things like candles and
The right sort of over priced restaurant.
And being treated like a lady even though she’s a feminist and everything I do is always wrong.
I’d rather the company of blokes.
Tell it straight. Joke or no joke.
Be honest and accept each for what they are.
People fart. That’s the way they are.
No constant reassessment of who we are by the moment according to where we are.
Women meet you and like you and then
If you’re lucky they love you and that’s the end,
Because they’ll then devote themselves
To changing you into the someone else
That they really wanted but couldn’t find but you had the cash and seemed malleable enough.
To watch a pretty woman work her wiles
Is like watching the sun rise over a beautiful landscape.
As shadows rise and fall and colours wax and wane
And wide eyed glances undermine any pretense of mine at defence.
I confess I’m a complete sucker for a pretty face.
There’s nothing I can do.
Women rule the world
And us men are mere putty
At the sight of creamy thigh
Or breast, and all the rest.
So who’s the fool?
I was seven years old. She hit me again, and again and again, all the while screaming, screaming. Spittle flew everywhere and furniture crashed about me. I lay down and covered my head as she beat me again and again with the present that daddy had given me that afternoon. My present. It was smashed now, the head hanging out of a hole in the neck, one arm missing, the dress torn. I noticed this even as she hit me with it again and again and again. I was so small and she was so big. And I didn’t understand what she was saying. She just screamed and screamed and screamed and spat words that were wet on my skin. I didn’t say anything. I knew better. I bit my lip and tasted blood. And screwed up my eyes and waited for it to stop and watched the words and the screams become distant like the noises from the school playground did when I lay in bed at daddy’s house when I couldn’t go to school because I was sick. Bang bang bang on my arms and my head and my legs. And she kicked me and hit me with her fist. Then she grabbed me by my hair and dragged me across the room and up the stairs, shouting and swearing. I fell and she still dragged me backwards up the stairs. The wall, the patterns on the wallpaper, the banisters, the carpet with the shapes in it like fishes all whirled around me. Then she threw me into my room, and hurled my broken toy, the one that daddy had given me, at the wall and locked the door from the outside. I hurt so much on my arm and my head and I could taste blood. I curled up there on the floor and lay there quiet and still with my eyes closed tight and thought of Mrs Poole at school who’d said what a nice little girl I was and how she would love to have a little girl like me, and she smelled nice and was soft and warm and she put flowers in a vase on her desk every day. My present, the one daddy gave me, was all broken now.
“Who the hell do you think you are?”
I’m not sure whether I was more taken aback by the question, or by the character who presented himself before me. Dressed in suede boots, black tights, a sequined T-shirt and some sort of translucent cloak, he’d interrupted my meandering path from late closing nightclub to home by suddenly jumping out of a dark alleyway.
I stopped. I didn’t have much choice. Swaying slightly, I looked at this person before me, stood there in falling drizzle, with laughter and the shouting voices of other revellers falling away behind me into some distance that hadn’t been there a moment before.
“Well who the hell do you think you are?” Spoken with more bravado than I felt. I was swaying back and forth. Not a good state to be in when challenging anyone, let alone some ranting pervert in a super hero costume.
He didn’t answer, and I started to feel really uneasy. One of the orange street lights was flickering, and the alleyway from whence this apparition had silently emerged kept alternating between sheer black, and ancient brickwork that ran with old water and rusty drainpipes.
Suddenly there were three parts to the world. There was my drunken perspective. There was the world of other people, laughing and shouting and calling to each other and going home together. And then there was this thing in front of me that clearly belonged to a different universe. He, or whatever it was, stood stock still and stared at me with an unmoving stillness. Irrefutable, irresistible. Not available for comment.
And his question hung there in the space between us, easily defeating my hastily muttered response. Because even I knew that his question was bigger than mine.
I was going to say that time stood still. But that sounds like such a cliche. That is what it was like though. I became aware. There, alone, I saw the orange of the heavy bellied cloud passing curious over the city. I saw the glossy windows of shops and offices that lined the road that made my direction, frozen and waiting for an answer to the question. I heard those people behind me, in a disconnected and staccato way that made no sense – they became mere sounds without language, distant and meaningless. And this apparition stood there before me, completely still and staring and waiting for an answer.
The only thing that had clarity, and was comprehensible, was the question.
And then the people behind me caught up and passed me, arm in arm and laughing and joshing and singing and ignoring me standing in their midst as they poured past me, like water flowing past a rock in midstream. There was me, and him, and them. And then they passed on, seemingly without noticing me standing there.
And the last person to walk past was Julie. Arm linked with some bloke. Teetering slightly, and leaning her head towards his shoulder. Neither said anything. They just followed the crowd. He walking stiffly, she languid and seeking comfort. They walked in silence. A crystal termination to the the crowd that preceded them. A silent and reflective backstop. A full stop.
I watched all of this as though I wasn’t really there. As though I was invisible. Stood there swaying faintly, hair drizzle damped and a drop of water forming on the end of my nose. Julie receded and finally disappeared round the corner, still hanging on to her upright man in needing quiet, saying nothing and being led.
I’d been well intentioned. Friday night. Single man. Pub with friends. Club afterwards. But the friends had melded away somehow, and I’d ended up sitting watching everything alone. Detached. Unhappy but unable to admit why I felt so bleak amongst people so apparently happy.
I’d turned towards the bar and accidentally bumped Julie, who was waiting to be served. And for a very brief instant as our eyes each registered the other’s in passing, some recognition of loneliness occurred. Just for an instant. And in that instant my otherwise serene sea surged and blistered and boiled with suppressed emotion and, just for an instant, my eyes watered. Just for an instant. And then the de facto social behaviour kicked back in, and I looked at her more coldly. As one stranger does to another. I’d seen that instant in her too, but the protocol insisted that it be ignored.
She was beautiful. Just utterly, stunningly beautiful. In all sorts of different ways, glimpsed in a flash over a single second and then cast to one side. And I watched the barman instead. Then, in some slow time way, I turned to meet her eyes again and she did too, and there was a small smile. But the heave and chaos of everything around us pushed in and our communication was drowned out, and we looked away again.
Flashing neon light flickered and soaked the air about me and everyone and everything was moving. The barman was so fast, and everyone called out to everyone else, and laughed and joked, and sound lay like a blanket of writhing worms over the entire pulsating place. Except for Julie and me. We stood free from it for a moment, aware of each other and nothing else. Quiet and detached awareness in a single moment. A flash of understanding. Incongruent state. Smooth water in a roiling sea.
Then the sound ocean came flooding back like a tsunami, washing anything genuine away, and leaving only the broken stumps of something that could have been said.
She bought her drink, and I bought mine.
“I know you don’t I?” God could I not come up with something more original?
And she turned and smiled such a smile that outshone the universe, reducing everything to grey light and everyone around me receded and became silent as I waited for her reply. In that moment I knew how utterly unhappy I was. How my life comprised mere existence. A sun with no horizon to rise above. In just a few seconds life quickened and compressed and simplified and reduced and I knew far more than I’d ever known before. I realised so much more than I needed to know. The glistening white mountain peak that was my supposed life turned into a tumbling avalanche sweeping all illusion before it and landing collapsed in a heap at the bottom of a slope I thought I’d conquered.
This all happened in an instant. Nothing more. Just a chance meeting of eyes. A glance and smile.
“I don’t think so.” she said. “My name’s Julie.” And then she turned to pay the barman. I watched him. I’m a man. I know men. I saw his eyes. Perhaps he also saw himself in that moment. Perhaps he was also forced to face himself.
All of this came flooding back to me as I stood there, damp and drizzled on and ignored and standing there still in the middle of the street. Once Julie and her partner has disappeared round the corner, there was me and the soft drizzling rain, and the silently flashing neon lights, and nothing else. The weird super hero had gone.
I woke and the real world rushed back again, quieter this time.
I carried on walking, deep in thought but seeing myself walking, from above. I rounded the corner. There stood Julie, all alone in the wide road, vapid commercial lights around her pulsating blurred through the falling rain. She was still and bowed and sad and longing. Everyone else had long since moved on, and she stood there in silence. She’d seen me and she’d waited for me.
I didn’t stop. I carried on walking towards her and as I approached, her eyes lifted and met mine and I reached out and gently took her in my arms and wrapped myself around her and we both stood there still, in the flickering lights of vainglorious butterfly shop windows and held each other very quietly. Nothing needed to be said, and for the first time in my life, I knew what it meant to be happy.
I’d rather be restless.
Unable to congeal.
More able to feel
Whether sad or glad.
I’d rather sing my own song loud
And fuck everyone else.
And may the resulting
Discordant ring through
Then I’ll feel the strife
And constant reflection
On the value of my life
Will have yielded some result.
No more a fool made of me.
You will listen.
Because we all listen to the voice
Of the dead.
No more failure my achievement.
We’ll all feel together
The vibrating gap
Between the life we live
And the life we want.
As crystals of snow
Melt and join
To form warm water
And make an ocean.
Actually it’s true.
It is possible to reach
That suicide may as well
Be the way as not.
I didn’t used to believe it.
But now I’m there,
I see that all those things
That seem so important
But simply are not.
Suddenly there appears
A way of seeing
People and the world around
That seems distinct.
A view of the world that’s
Dispassionate and apart.
And then in seeing such,
One has to compare one’s life
With those others around
That seem so sound.
How could my life have become
As such a small token
But it’s true. We’re none of us
True in any real sense.
We’re mere passing things
In a general sweep of effect.
Tiny by comparison
To the wider view.
I always knew I was different.
And living in the world we’ve made
Means accepting certain norms
And behaving accordingly.
Whatever culture dominates.
I can’t do that.
Now I’ve left the movie
And I walk alone through the couples
Billing and cooing and wending their
Way back to their cars and on
To their warm homes together.
I walk past some sorry excuse
That sits there with his cider
Hidden poorly in a bag.
And some slag with legs bare
And tits flaunted to drive me mad
Staggers past with some chav leering
At me to taunt me even more.
I followed them and watched them
And in my mind I felt them
And I ate them
And I swallowed them.
And as the neon windows flickered
Crazily over snow bound pavements,
I saw the sun rise in my mind
And I drew my gun and
I blew their fucking brains out.
Then in a certain patch of snow
The neon stopped flickering
And stayed blood red.
Where is there a place that suits my intensity?
Some gathering place of similar souls
Who consider the universe as part of themselves
And wonder the why of hanging apples
Left waiting to drop after long summers warmth.
Similar souls weep
And laugh as one
And gain strength and
Solace from the other.
Strong one perceived
As they receive
Some unspoken wisdom
From each other
Like rain from clouds.
Ephemeral maybe but there
On the other side of the street
Across the shining tarmac
Past butterfly windows
I saw you walking in the crowd.
But then like a cloud you
Changed and vanished.
Perhaps were never there.
So I turned my head and stayed walking
Against the crowd.
And faced the stoney faced people
Moving anonymous like fish.
And those unblinking lights
Shined on wet pavements
And the roiling clouds
Rolled fat belly down across shining roofs.
And people walked past unseeing.
I watched detached.
It’s something to be alone.
Good and bad on the outside.
Ostentatious windows like
Vain butterflies showed themselves
But their motives were suspect.
Making me lust for its own sake
After illusions and tricksy tools
Designed to fool me into making
Something of me that I’m not.
I would have liked you to notice
That I stood apart from the crowd.
Am the real thing.
Perhaps I didn’t and am not.
Perhaps you saw me as I see them.
I would prefer then to float away.
To rise and drift between roiling thunder
And mindless masses.
Seeing both and you
And being part of the wind.
White Georgian houses in rows
Like blocks of ice cream
Against a blue grey sky.
Orange windows showing people
Warm and busy as the world
Goes on outside.
Playing a part of some sort
And richly rewarded
Dark arching trees and cold wind
Blowing hard with dead leaves
Scurrying across my path.
I walk outside of their world
And am privileged to watch
From a distance.
I don’t know why I’m out here
Or why they’re in there.
I know I have time to think.
I can be a master of perspective.
An observer who can watch uninvolved.
Does that give me power or insight?
Or by being outside am I just a leaf
Being blown past the machine?
A whim on the wind.
We’ve so much to give.
But give to what?
Think I’ll blow it all as a bystander.
A watcher of the flames.
The incessant clatter
Of the need to seed
Lives with every moment
And I see the world around me
Fat and frantic with process.
If some tarty doll in split skirt
With promise of juice and smooth skin
Can raise desire and feelings
That strikes the pose of the lonely,
What is it when I wake before dawn
And want my arms to wrap
Like the branches of a tree
Around some sweet safe thing to keep it mine?
How do we play with ourselves?
Confusing sex with love and loneliness.
Where is the space and what is it
Between the two?
We’re driven by nature
To procreate and that cruel woman
Does state the rules
Shall be ambiguous.
Well there’s a surprise!
So where do we stand
Us poor men whose finer reason
Is pawned by pictures?
How do we chose
Between the she devil that flicks
All the switches
And the other leg?
We’re pawns in a game
Where the rules are all written
By those who would then
Make us weak
Whilst demanding we rise
When it suits them such
That they languid lie
And whine their way
But oh so nicely.
They’ll do precisely
To make sure we stay
The way they want
By spreading those thighs
She was just a passing storm
That’s remembered but nothing more.
Some scudding cloud that dropped its rain
And blew it’s wind
And ruffled my life
And is gone now.
Smooth shiny waters now sparkle
At my bow and I know
That all things come and go.
And I’m calm,
And in being so,
Make my sea so.
I feel suddenly sad
And I’m not sure why.
Perhaps it’s because I find it hard
To believe it’s possible
To ally ones nature with consistency
How can it be possible to promise oneself
To another person in perpetuity
When the spinning world that is unique
To each of us keeps wobbling and gyrating so?
Assuming that we draw some sense
Of our own identity
From the way we see the world about us,
And how we relate to the changing void,
How are we able to define our changing selves
Such that we know we are of one value?
Especially to another. Even to ourselves.
I think perhaps it’s in our nature,
Rather than confining ourselves to any given mold,
To flit like butterflies from one flower to another,
Afraid to stay ‘lest we starve
As we suck at any given small flower
That wants so much to give forever in that moment.
But we’re always curious as to what lies next
As we live alive and sensual and seeking,
Human beings in this current phase
That allows us to saturate ourselves
In silky liquid feeling
Like no other time that we’ll know.
This life is a reward and a lesson also.
Down country lanes shining with rain
To the pub, where all was bubbly laughter,
I bought my first pint of excellent ale
And turned to join the fray.
And then went quiet and watching
As my friends acted out their evening together.
I felt distant and observing
And not a participant.
Watching mouths opening and closing,
Private jokes at the expense of others,
And laughter that sat ill with
Self conscious eyes.
The elderly couple at their table
In the corner. Children of the sixties.
She glancing askance at our bad language.
Not such a rebel now.
The silent, strong man at the end of the bar.
Farm worker, alienated by middle class guffaws
And choosing to stay in his world.
A force field hanging between us.
Jocular barman, making his jokes
Straddling divides and hearing all
And saying nothing
That might offend.
A group of people together
In a small building surrounded by fields
In the dark and the rain
And not seeing each other.
Not even seeing themselves.