She Loved Me Enough To Let Me Destroy Her

It's a simple matter to terminate her life, but I terminate mine first to ensure no one will lay the blame at my door. I hang myself in the hall, but the corpse doesn't please me, lolling there with its neck awry and the tongue hanging out, thick and extruded, like a piece of German sausage. I take hundreds of pills and wait for the rush of extinction to engulf me. The man comes to repair the dishwasher. Soon he has all the little bits and pieces laid out on the tiles. I feel terrible. Obviously the dishwasher will never work again. I go upstairs, take out my old revolver and blow my brains out. They slither down the mirror like a failed bolognese and I gaze at myself. Surely I look dead enough now? I go downstairs again and stand ostentatiously in the kitchen but the repairman doesn't look up. That's all the confirmation I need. I am obviously truly dead, now I can go and commit murder with impunity.

I call her up and tell her I'm leaving her. She wants to know who I'm leaving her for. Someone I've never met, I say. Someone anonymous with whom I have a blind contract of union til death. Long silence on the telephone line. Can we meet just once more? For old times sake? We arrange a rendezvous on a slash of green in the middle of the city, a tiny oasis of nature between buses and taxis.

When I arrive she's already waiting. My long-dead heart is beating like a time bomb. Her beauty assails me from the other side of the street - her tall, willowy figure, the long dark hair, the loose silky clothes she wears, the impertinent cheerfulness with which she tries to humour me. How can I explain to her my moral being has told me I must stop clinging to life and prepare myself for ressurection. I'm carrying an arsenal in my bag - domestic hammer. Cheese-wire, nail gun, plastic bag, waiter's corkscrew.

Underneath the statue of our custodian in the middle of the green triangle is a park bench. We sit on it and she embraces me. Her cheek is wet with tears. She asks why. One has sought out the condition of death precisely not to have to answer this question. I stab her. Then I place the plastic bag over her head. I sink back under the shadow of the statue, load the nail gun, and close my eyes. When I open them a part of me is now sitting next to her, timing the snorts and gasps of her final moments with an antique pocket watch.

"You seem to have achieved the desired effect. It's talking a while though."

"Don't talk to me, I'm dead." I reply to myself. To emphasise my point I cut my own throat. Then using the nail gun I pin myself to the bench, right through the heart.

"When did you first notice he had begun to change...?" I ask her corpse.


En Passant

The elderly Italian gentleman dismissively moved the black rook to c5 on the board leaving his young opponent no choice. The young man walked from the edge of the board to his white king and knocked it over in signal of defeat, offering his hand to shake, but the elderly Italian gentleman had already turned and walked away to the edge of the life-sized chess board to await a new challenger. He stood on the edge of the board by a stone bench and waited. Two men sat on it - one middle-aged, portly, bearded, and forever smoking a cigar. The other young, introverted but attentive, and skinny. Not a man at all in César’s eyes - a child raised by computer games and American TV and emasculated as a result. They were regular spectators and occasional players but only when César had played enough for a day. Neither had ever challenged him.

He scanned the crowd cockily, arms folded, eyes hidden behind visor sunglasses. Tourists sat and stood around the board, waiting for someone to step up. A canopy of trees sheltered the playing area from the intense Sydney heat as Japanese took photos of the aftermath of the last game. The term game had always irked this cantankerous Italian immigrant. It was so much more than that. It was art, a science. A unique synthesis of every opposite in the universe - ancient and yet always new, mechanical in structure yet animated only by the imagination, limited to a geometrical space and yet unlimited in its permutations, always developing yet forever sterile, a logic with no result, a mathematics without calculations. Surely a game wouldn’t have proved to be more lasting than any book, religion, empire or dynasty? Surely something that belongs in every era and among every people transcends the term game. Where is its beginning and where is its end? Any child can learn its laws, any amateur can try himself on its squares and yet on these squares is bred a certain species of master, much different from any other who picks it up. The master was preordained for chess, a specific genius in whom vision, patience and technique interact in as delicately determined a combination as within musicians or mathematicians, only at other levels and with different interconnections. César wasn't a master. No, he was a pawn and he knew this. He had defeated tourists, immigrants and nationals in all his time playing and he knew the key to success wasn’t whether his challengers played chess regularly or not, it was the fact they could no longer look down on the board like god’s or generals. They were forced to manoeuvre on the battlefield, like the pawns who disappeared so fast in battle’s both real and imagined. He was a mediocre player on tabletop and even worse on computer, but down here he was in his element. César had been on the battlefield. He had been a pawn and knew how to fight in the trenches and he knew how to manipulate an opponent to play to his strategy.

An elderly gentleman of a similar age and wearing a straw hat eventually appeared out of the crowd. He doffed his hat and nodded in a gesture of greeting, an amiable smile on his face, and immediately began setting up the white pieces on the board. César nodded his head, a thin smirk on his face, and began to do likewise with the black pieces in a manner of deus ex machina, moving them behind imaginary lines and to a designated square that matched either their colour or what they aspired to capture. With the pieces returned to their rightful position, the battlefield could be assessed and strategized anew. All possibilities lay within this grid of eight by eight, each of the 64 squares holding a singularly important role of capture, escape or vital manoeuvre. And these two men held the key, if not to their own destiny then to 32 others.

“You any good?” César asked the old man, the twinge of an Italian accent still present in his voice even after all his years in Australia. The other man shrugged his shoulders with a smile and moved pawn to e4. This was the opening. In many respects it was also the end.

The two elderly men observed. A selection of life-size pieces now lined the sides of the chess board, their presence bringing a ghostly atmosphere to proceedings. They stood mute and observant, waiting patiently for reincarnation or to be restated to fulfil a new destiny. Most frustratingly of all they were unable to offer council to their designated god despite their years of experience in countless campaigns – taking part in innumerable variations of the battle and yet not even scraping the surface of potential moves to come.

The old man’s stillness irked César. There was no pacing back and forth, no faux posturing, no interaction with the crowd like so many others he had played against over the years. People came and went. The noise increased and decreased as the lunch hour passed by. The game continued on with moves and countermoves and desperate moves and long, draining thought in-between. He could not get a read on this stranger. He had looked men in the eyes, his bayonet buried in them to the barrel, and knew what occurred within - if not at that precise moment then in the moment leading up to it. He knew manoeuvres and he knew the line and the importance of holding it and he knew the desperation wherein people had forgotten these instructions, either in panic or pressure. But this man, this little old man in his straw hat, chinos, and short sleeved shirt, he could not get a read on, nor could he telegraph his moves or thought process. As such, there was no thinking ahead. No planning or manipulating. Instead he was relying on age old military tactics of adapting and overcoming, and as the gentleman finally moved his knight to take César’s rook, he realised it wasn’t working and he couldn’t figure out why. What was in front of him was not just a problem on the board but a conundrum in charge of the pieces. The game had been through a variety of plays from opening to middle - sensitive feeling out, a variety of gambits, attempts at various strategies - all leading to a form of stalemate due to this man’s unpredictability. Unpredictability that could no longer be met with adaptation because that didn’t lead to overcoming, it only led to further problems. At this, César understood that unpredictability could only be matched in kind. The strategies he had learned and cultivated over the years were thrown out, the problems and potential plays became a non-issue. He had to react in ways not to be expected and pray he could reclaim his standing, that the end game wasn’t too far gone. In answer to his rook being taken, César immediately moved a pawn ahead because he knew it wasn’t expected. He looked the old man in the eye, waiting for some form of reaction, a change in body language, but received none. The old man held his stare on nothing save César’s black king, unaffected by the move or the state of the board thereof. Some murmurs came from the crowd but he couldn’t tell if it was just general chitchat or in response to his choice. He looked back to the two on the bench, the portly man and the skinny boy, in hope for a reaction but received none there either save the portly man leaning forward in perplexity, propping an elbow on his knee as smoke billowed from his cigar. That the previous move, as inconsequential and lacking in thought as it had been, seemed to only tip the game further into the man’s hands annoyed César. It appeared that zero thought went into the elderly man’s reply but the glib nature of the move signified danger as he moved his bishop to take César's queen. How had he not seen the opening? In a form of self-destruction he had been sucked into playing recklessly and this precise recklessness had been foreseen and it had resulted in the capture of his lynchpin. César mumbled something in Italian under his breath and took stock of the board. He paced. He rubbed his chin. He cleaned his sunglasses. He reached for pieces then put them down. He stalled. He stalled for he had no idea how to respond, no idea what tactic was being played. He felt that he was being tricked into making moves foreseen long ago, even ones that were nothing other than chaotic. He observed the board. It was sparse now but he could see he was backed into a corner. He had a knight, his king and a pawn at his disposal but no obvious avenues to counter attack. As time ticked away and the high-noon heat dissipated, it became obvious that the only way he would be able to retain any semblance of control or power over his destiny was to resign. It seemed contradictory, petty even, but it was the only victory he was being allowed, if it could be classed as a victory at all. The idea irked him, he was a proud man after all. César paced, desperately looking for a new gambit, an escape, an idea, but it always came back to resignation, to giving up, something he’d never done before. He looked to the elderly man, standing tall and tense and rigid, staring once again at César’s black king but never at César himself, the smile long gone from his face. His focus on the piece chilled the Italian immigrant but he could not say why, and it was this final observation of hatred or desire in those eyes that made the choice for him. There was no breaking this man’s resolve, no amount of tactical play and stalling could produce a different result to the inevitable.

César felled his king. Not offhandedly and stormily, as maybe would have been expected by the people who had watched him on other days, but in a delicate and deferential manner, lying the king on its side. This suicide snapped his opponent from his reverie and the genial smile returned to his face. He approached f2 where César momentarily stood and stuck his arm out in acceptance of the surrender. It was only in being close to the man that César’s aged eyes noticed the heavily scarred throat, and as they shook hands he saw with some portent of horror the number tattooed on his forearm. They were men of a certain generation and victims of worldly circumstance in their own unique way and the reason the game had played out in its dogged and draining way became obvious to the Italian. There was no strategy for there had never been a battlefield for this man. He was no god and he was no pawn. He was a survivor.

The Butcher


The Mercy Seat

Who I am or what I did to get here is not important. What is important is that I am sorry for what I did and that I'm not scared - I came to terms with, and gave up to, my fate a long time ago.

Sitting in the waiting room you get a lot of time to think, a lot of time to brood. You see things clearer than ever. What's important. What's real. There are few things that are mine, I see this clearly these days. This time is mine, these thoughts are mine. Memories are mine. It's nice to know that there are some things that no one will ever be able to take from me.

Waiting is my favourite past time without me actually liking it, I've done it to death. Death. I've been on Death Row for fifteen years now and tomorrow my moment of fame finally arrives. For too long I complained that time moved too slow and now it is moving too fast. Time is fickle. It was only in dropping all of my appeals that I felt I could exert any sort of control over my destiny and put an end to the bleak isolation and uncertainty of time left that was slowly sending me into the thralls of insanity. And now here we are. I have had continuous butterflies in my stomach and lumps in my throat ever since I was told my execution date. In a situation like mine it helps to only think in metaphors. This feeling is much worse than anything you could never hope to feel. Your first date? Getting to meet an idol? Your final exam? I can tell you self-assuredly that all of those pale in comparison. I guess this is the final exam for me, only I'm certain to pass.

Over the course of the past few months, ever since I found out it was my time to sit in the mercy seat, I've debated with myself whether it's better to know when you're going to die or for it to just happen. Like, rather than keep us here for years on end, the guards just came and took you one day. Would you rather know the specific date you were gonna go or just get run over at some random date in a hit-and-run? If it was going to happen what would you regret not doing? I regret not learning to play the saxophone. Fuck leading a better life, what does that even mean anyway? 9-5 behind a desk and barbecues at the weekend? Like I said, I came to terms with who I am and what I did a long long time ago.

I also came to the realisation that it is not the electric chair that zaps the life out of you, it is the preceding years of waiting. They slowly wear you down to the point of acceptance and a kind of... hollowness, like your soul has already forsaken you and all that's left is your conscience in an empty vessel, left behind to antagonise and punish you further - the electric chair a mere symbol of finality, solely there to finish the job. And now that is all I can really hope for, something to finish the job. Something to end this experience called life.

Unknown Sentiment

I can feel the blood leaving my body. There is a pool rapidly forming around my midsection as I lie here on the road. I hear traffic sounds and can see people peering down at me. People are talking about me but no one is talking to me. I am cold and alone. A moment ago I was walking. I heard the screech of brakes and then was being pushed to the ground. Am I dying? Yes, I am dying. I can feel life leaving me. It’s strange that amidst all the noise and confusion around me I am clear headed and my thoughts are calm and rational. All I can think of is you. All the things that I never told you, how much you meant to me. I don’t know why it is now that these things come rushing to me so clearly. It is sad that you will never know these thoughts of mine. The things that I am feeling while I inhale the smell of car exhaust and blood. It just occurred to me that it is my blood I am smelling. You will surely find out of my death but not of these thoughts. I must tell you that I was always afraid of the fury with which I loved you - and I was always trying to answer the question of how could I love you so much when I didn't love myself? It overwhelmed me. I thought it beyond comprehension, therefore my silence. I felt overshadowed by the power of it, so much so that I was afraid of it and afraid of you. So strong and pure was this passion that it came out as pure venom. I know that you will always think I hated you. If only you knew how wrong you were. I remember the last time I saw you a few months ago. You were so kind and I was so hard and sullen. It was all I could do to contain myself - A rose trapped inside a fist. If I had not walked away quickly after my short reply I would have been at your feet begging to be by your side forever. It is the only place I have ever wanted to be. To me you are more than a woman. You are a creature of unadulterated beauty, a creation of a higher order. I will die knowing that no one will ever love you as I have loved you all these years. I will now attempt to say your name with my last breath--

Q+A with John Hartley Williams – poet and writer

I intended to use this page as nothing but an art-prose outlet and keep it as anonymous as possible, but I just found out through Facebook that John Hartley Williams has died.

His book, A Mystery In Spiderville, completely changed my life and his poems really made me look differently at what you can achieve through that art form. The pseudonym of Spider Rembrandt is a not-so-subtle nod to this influence. I interviewed him for MMU's student magazine while studying there and he was really accomodating, so I figured I would dredge it up from my hard drive and post it in memoriam. RIP

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As with most people in pursuit of knowledge and entertainment a lot of my spare time is spent skulking around libraries and bookshops in hopes of striking gold in the quagmire of mediocre. A few years ago, before another mind-numbing shift in work, I stumbled across a book titled A Mystery In Spiderville by John Hartley Williams... and at that moment my life as both a writer and a reader was changed completely. 'Never judge a book by its cover' is a piece of advice worthless to people already five minutes late for a shift and having looked at the cover and the description on the back ("the decor is by Dali, the plot is a mixture of Breton and Burroughs") felt like I HAD to read this book... and I've read it at least six times since - every time I do I find something new and different and inspiring. This book has influenced me more than anything I've ever read before or since and for that I've become permanently indebted to John Hartley Williams – I mean even the blurb on the back of a collection of his poetry, Cornerless People, is the best concept of what story actually is that I have ever come across! Take that for what you will. So it’s a great pleasure to conduct this Q&A with someone who has had such a profound affect on my creative life. Anyway, enough of the fan-boy gushing, read on please.

~

How did you begin writing and in what form did it first take shape?
I began writing poetry at about the age of eleven. They were science fiction poems, because that was what I liked reading. I also wrote stories and I remember a schoolmaster telling me I had an "unfortunate tendency towards surrealism". I don't think at the time I had any idea what surrealism was.

There's a great quote from a band I look up to, The Minutemen, and that is "Punk is whatever we made it to be". I've always felt this quote is applicable to poetry, particularly when viewed in regard to concepts such as concrete poetry. Have you ever found the form constricting at all?
Two things really: I think form is liberating, however you define it. The nub is, and that's the point of your quote I think, you devise your own form. You devise a set of home made rules that may encompass more traditional formal restrictions - sonnets, sestinas, stanza shapes, iambic pentameters etc - but also run counter to them because I think as a writer you always have to challenge yourself. The sequence called 'Pistol Sonnets' which appeared in a Bloodaxe book called 'Canada', and which began as my attempt to take the 'snapshot' character of the sonnet and blur it a bit (cf: JMW Turner: "I think you'll find that indistinctness is my forte") evolved its own form of three sets of 33 poems as it went along. This was both liberating and productive.
Second point: Bob Creeley's remark that "form is never more than an extension of content" may also be true some of the time, but you can't be a poet and not want to take rhyme on board, say, or complex matrices like the villanelle. Robert Frost said free verse was like playing tennis with the net down, but you can play tennis with the net down if you have racket, ball and court. You can imagine the net. And you can invent your own variants on the game as you go along.

I've always been a prose writer but have dabbled in other mediums of expression when it has seemed like a better fit to the concept or telling of the story. Have you ever been in this position? Would you ever want to attempt writing a novel or screenplay for example?
I have a novel looking for a publisher, and another collaborative novel doing the same. I've written and published short stories. And the kind of poems I like are the ones that have a story to tell. I'd love to have the chance to write for the theatre, and I've dabbled in playwriting, but it's much harder to get a play put on than it is to publish a book.

'A Mystery In Spiderville' is a book I return to again and again for both entertainment and inspiration. Do you have a particular well that you go to for inspiration – be that a book, record, film, person or whatever?
I think French writing has been a great influence. Baudelaire's 'Little Poems in Prose' started me on 'Spiderville'. But then I could also add French movies to that list - think of all those wonderful French crime films starring Lino Ventura, Jean Gabin et al. I saw Luc Godard's 'Breathless' when it first came out and it made a terrific impression. The poet Ken Smith, who was also a friend, is someone whose writings I return to. It seems to me there was more dour truth telling going on in his poetry than all the other contemporary poets rolled together. Mallarmé dismissed the idea that you can make neat separations between verse and prose. Wherever good writing happens, he said, there is versification. Of novelists, I greatly cherish Malcolm Lowry, who was also a poet, but whose most perfectly poetic productions, I think, were in prose. You could say the same, perhaps, of Kafka - though I'm not aware that he actually ever wrote line-broken poems. There are hundreds of writers and musicians I've loved over the years. The list could go on forever. Here's a brief one: Benjamin Péret, Louis Armstrong, Ed Dorn (You gotta read 'Gunslinger'), Dylan Thomas, Miles Davis, Arthur Rimbaud, Robert Graves, Osip Mandelstam, Boris Pasternak, André Breton, Ezra Pound, Joachim Ringelnatz, Ernst Jandl, Shelley, Lester Young, Wordsworth... You see what I mean?

Having lived and taught in France, Yugoslavia, Cameroon and currently Germany, how have the experiences gained from being in these different countries and around these different cultures filtered into your writing?
That's hard to pin down. In writing classes I always suggest that at least one important item of a writer's armoury should be a foreign language. Being locked into your native tongue can be limiting. I don't think I'm one of these people who is a natural foreign language learner, but I'm very fluent in my mistakes. I don't ever try to write in a foreign language - except for jokey little things - but I do enjoy the feeling of dancing round in a pair of trousers that were cut for someone else. The other aspect of this is that experience of the different ways people have of doing things in other countries makes your English certainties look a bit wobbly.

Are you ever surprised at the amount of material you've generated?
I always think I haven't written enough. Too many projects that never got carried through.

How do you feel when you look at your earlier material now?
I'm quite cheerful about it. Salt brought out a retrospective collection recently called 'The Ship'. These are poems - mostly written in the seventies - that never got published at the time because I was always on the move, but also includes poems from my first collection 'Hidden Identities', which was published by Chatto. One or two things there I'd definitely classify as 'juvenilia', but I kept them because they seemed to me to say something about what it was like then. I wouldn't disown it - even when I can clearly see I'd be embarrassed to write like that now.

I hate to use the phrase 'guilty pleasure' but are there any books or authors that people might be surprised to hear you enjoy?
I sometimes feel guilty that I find contemporary novels as boring as I do, which is a reverse answer to your question. 'Realism' - I suppose that's what most novelists practice these days (even of the 'alternative' variety) - seems to me to be a mistake. I guess your question is really asking if I like 'Harry Potter' - which I've never been tempted to read. And hobbits are loathsome. Actually 'guilt' is the wrong word. I wouldn't feel guilty about reading pornography, for example, and yes I have read 'The Story of O' and the first half of it is brilliant. Really high class eroticism doesn't seem to exist these days - alas. I'm a huge fan of Raymond Chandler, the Phillip Marlowe stories, but you couldn't feel guilty about admiring writing of such quality. I do love silly rhymes, if they're sufficiently daft. Verse & Worse, that sort of thing.

If someone reading this was to go to your website right now and browse your publications, which would you suggest they buy?
They'd be limited by what's available. 'Blues' (Jonathan Cape) is still available, as is 'The Ship' (Salt). 'A Mystery In Spiderville' (Cape Vintage) should still be available. And if you're a wannabe poet you could try 'Teach Yourself Writing Poetry' (Hodder) which has just come out in a third edition. This year (April) there'll be a new book from Cape titled 'Café des Artistes'.

http://www.johnhartleywilliams.de/

A Hand

I bathe once a week. Not that I have poor hygiene, I mean I shower every day but that's nothing other than needing an effective wake-me-up. Hot water to ease me into the day followed by a 30 second blast of cold to really jolt me to life at the end. But no, I bathe once a week in order to just relax and revive. I lay in a bath of hot water, sweating, cold flannel draped over my face while I muse and think and de-stress. This happens for at least an hour, a rebirth of sorts if you will.

But I also hold my breath and push myself under the water. There's a clarity of thought in depriving yourself of oxygen. Ideas occur, resolve is set, thoughts spring to life to be nurtured... hell how do you think I got the idea to write this? But I long for a hand to hold me under longer. I'm not suicidal, I just need a near-life experience to validate it all. Is that fatalist? Who am I to say. Just give me a hand.

The Tragedy Of Life


Every man is broken into twenty-four-hour fractions, and then again within those twenty-four hours. It's a daily pantomime, one man yielding control to the next - a backstage crowded with old hacks clamouring for their turn in the spotlight. Every week, every day, the angry man hands the baton over to the sulking man, and in turn to the sex addict, the introvert, the conversationalist. Every man is a mob, a chain gang of idiots. 
 
This is the tragedy of life. Because for a few minutes of every day, every man becomes a genius and moments of clarity, insight, whatever you want to call them, are achieved. The clouds part, the planets get in a neat little line, and everything becomes obvious - 'I should quit smoking', maybe, or 'here's how I could make a fast million', or 'such-and-such is the key to eternal happiness'. That's the miserable truth - for a few moments, the secrets of the universe are opened to us. But then the genius, the savant, has to hand over the controls to the next guy down the line, most likely the guy who just wants to sit and eat chips, and insight and brilliance and salvation are all entrusted to a moron or a hedonist or a narcoleptic.

The only way out of this mess, of course, is to take steps to ensure that you control the idiots that you become. To take your chain gang, hand in hand, and lead them. The best way to do this is with a list. It's like a letter you write to yourself - a master plan, drafted by the guy who can see the light, made with steps simple enough for the rest of the idiots to understand. Follow steps one through one hundred. Repeat as necessary. You may end up achieving something of note.

Two Old Winos

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Two old winos sit in a bus stop. They’re immortal. They drink to pass the time, for time is all they have... well, time and each other. Only time does not pass - it shuffles a millimetre at a time, intently staring at our two companions and never leaving their field of view.

They sit in this bus stop and they watch the world go by at an intolerably slow rate. Sometimes they give a light to students waiting for the morning bus to university. Sometimes they strike up conversation with complete strangers, as only old people and wino’s can, in hopes of an interesting story to liven their day. But mostly they keep themselves to themselves, always sat in the bus stop; a permanently half-drunk bottle of cheap plonk sat at their feet like a loyal pet and the butt of a cigarette held between their nicotine-stained fingers. 

They originally drank to forget but it made them remember even more. Of course they don’t remember that now. Because these days they drink to pass the time, for time is all they have... well, time and each other. Only time does not pass - it shuffles a millimetre at a time, intently staring at our two companions and never leaving their field of view. 

They sit in this bus stop and they watch the world go by at an intolerably slow rate. Sometimes they give a light to students waiting for the morning bus to university. Sometimes they strike up conversation with complete strangers, as only old people and wino’s can, in hopes of an interesting story to liven their day. But mostly they keep themselves to themselves, always sat in the bus stop; a permanently half-drunk bottle of cheap plonk sat at their feet like a loyal pet and the butt of a cigarette held between their nicotine-stained fingers. 

They originally drank to forget but it made them remember even more. Of course they don’t remember that now. Because these days they drink to pass the time, for time is all they have... well, time and each other. Only time does not pass - it shuffles a millimetre at a time, intently staring at our two companions and never leaving their field of view. 

They sit in this bus stop and they watch the world go by at an intolerably slow rate. Sometimes they give a light to students waiting for the morning bus to university. Sometimes they strike up conversation with complete strangers, as only old people and wino’s can, in hopes of an interesting story to liven their day. But mostly they keep themselves to themselves, always sat in the bus stop; a permanently half-drunk bottle of cheap plonk sat at their feet like a loyal pet and the butt of a cigarette held between their nicotine-stained fingers. 

They originally drank to forget but it made them remember even more. Of course they don’t remember that now. Because these days they drink to pass the time, for time is all they have... well, time and each other--

Endnote

"You feel as if you have missed out on a great deal that life had to offer and you go about trying to make up for past failures. Naturally at times you get depressed and you try to compensate for your 'missed opportunities' by living your life to the full. This is what, perhaps, may be described as 'living with exaggerated intensity'. In this way you feel you can break the chains of the past and start again - and it could be that you are right. You are feeling very disillusioned at this time and you feel that you are being left out of things. You know - or you think you know - what you want, but you seem unable to exert the effort to achieve your objectives. As a consequence, you are feeling left out and neglected. You would like to be afforded greater security and fewer problems. You are a very choosy person - demanding and exacting in your emotional demands and very particular in your choice of partner. You are self sufficient and as a result of this overbearing nature you find it difficult to establish any depth of deep physical or mental involvement with members of the opposite sex."

Searching For A Former Clarity

He always looked as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. And maybe it was? Squinting, frowning, and sighing his way through life, his mind was a zoetrope of past triumphs and mistakes - all memories of days gone by and nothing he could change. His mind, his verve, his creativity, all atrophied because of this, because he could do nothing but remember, nothing but torment himself. He wasn't masochistic, and he had few regrets, it was just something he did on instinct - remember and contextualise. All those failed relationships, wasted opportunities, all things that had begun with such promise and ended in such disappointment constantly turned in his minds-eye through no fault of his own. He just sat there, as still and as silent as a statue, basking in it.


And the sad thing was he never learned from these experiences, they were just there - constantly turning, round and round.

Change(d)

I had to stop thinking about time for it to start moving
Now I wonder where it’s all gone
Things aren’t what they used to be
Friends are strangers I no longer know
Friends are strangers I no longer recognise
I am a stranger friends no longer know
I am a stranger friends no longer recognize
Where did all the good times go?

We Are Devo

Society is a walking, talking advertisement. Of what to wear who to look like and what to do. But not how to act. As with most aspects of life our priorities are backwards, our vision of what's right and what matters is distorted by mass media, desensitization to all aspects of life and our own sense of self-worth, our own sense of self-preservation. We ignore the terrible things that happen because of what might happen to us as a consequence of standing up for what is right. Ignorance is bliss. We spend beyond our means because we've had everything handed to us since we were born and have never wonted for anything. Greed is all we know. We no longer remember how to interact face to face because communicating is done faster through email and txt messaging. Facebook is the only party we ever need to go to anymore, the 500 friends we barely know or talk to providing a blanket of companionship in a world increasingly dependent on the electronic.

This is evolution in motion. This is the human race evolving - by setting ourselves up to devolve when the materialistic items we increasingly rely on will inevitably fail and the clock turns back to zero.

Outsider Perspective

I'm standing in the dark corner of everywhere you've ever been. You notice me enough to know I don't fit in but after that it's just a blur. While you cherish that ignorance, I have gained all that you lose with your lack of awareness. From this corner, everywhere I look is all the same. In every room, you are all the same. The light inside you, however unique, is dimmed by the collective mind you embrace. I'd get to know you but I've seen you a thousand times before - you're coming off the MTV assembly line, your mind sculpted by an insideous media machine. The world is filled with a product that has both met and exceeded demand - that product is you and your worth vanished when the market was flooded with facsimiles of you. Individuality is not something you can buy. It's not a haircut or an outfit. It's not something you can call yourself when you're the poster boy or girl for the status quo. I've seen you marketed to the sheep, I've seen you walk the streets in a thousand variations of yourself, crammed inside a mold of so-called alienation.

You'll never see me because you can't even see yourself for what you really are. You claim you want out when all across the spectrum of conformity you jump to fit in. In denying yourself the power of choice you have sunk deeper than ever before. I can help you if you require. After all, knowledge is power and I hold a key to open all the doors. But you don't have to wait for it if you don't want to. If you want to gain awareness, if you want to see where ignorance leads, just stop and look around. Can you see that it's taking you nowhere? Now can you see that you're going to die as you live - unhappy but blissful?

I Am The Tightly-Woven Fabric Of Life

I want for something but I don't know what and I feel so isolated but at the same time I think I could run right through the wall if I really wanted to. No matter what I do I think I'm wasting time when I should be getting on to the real thing but I haven't a clue what the hell that is. I tell myself something is coming but it never does and I knew it wouldn't in the first place. But to think that something's coming makes me feel like living a little more. I sit here and I can hear all this noise and shit outside and I wonder if any of it's for me, if any of these noises are supposed to be telling me something. I listen intently. I don't want to miss the right one. The night is the only constant... but that doesn't help right now.

Modern Life Would Be A War If We Could Be Bothered Moving

Apathy is my enemy, life a distraction. These are the two conceptions, two way of living, I have the biggest problem with. To cure the distraction of life is easy - be Spartan. Cut yourself off from the internet, ditch the computer, throw away the TV. Get out more, meet interesting people you can stomach for more than an hour. Pay attention. Pay attention to the microcosm and the macrocosm of life, thereby not being distracted by it but immersing yourself in it and reacting to it. This is the only way to get to the truth and the only way to make sense of it all. The clarity that comes from this will be the purest form of truth you can hope to attain.

There is no cure to apathy, no quick solution. Maybe that's what makes us so apathetic - we are used to having everything here and now and don't know how to fight for good or react to bad. Apathy is the aspect of my generation I deplore the most and the frightening thing is how rife it seems. I can blame any number of things - how anything and everything is available at the touch of a button, mass media influence, the cultivation of image... the list goes on. I can blame but I can't cure. To cure is to regress and is regression ever a good idea? Is apathy born of an inability to make a difference and the futility of trying? If so, who perpetuated that myth and let it reach down into our consciousness like a bad root? And how do we go about rectifying without regression?

I sit typing this on my computer, my mobile phone buzzing and the noise of a TV in the background. I see that I have had to sit still and be inactive to write these thoughts down. In all I can say I am distracted by life but far from apathetic, and that is half way to the truth.

Be Concrete

Places change, people don't. What does that say about concrete and flesh? Give up? Flesh traps you, you can escape from concrete. Be concrete. People will find you hard to deal with, hard to shape, hard to manipulate, but you will always be you and that is how you will be able to live with yourself.

Reaffirmation

"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift and all the others are a test of your endurance: Of how much you really want to do it. And you'll do it - despite rejection and the worst odds - and it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is."

Coma Season

There was a time when I... when I thought something more than all this was in my grasp. There was a time when I could feel the ground underneath my feet and I walked forward into time instead of standing still, stranded in semi-darkness with skewed memories of the past to keep me. I don't remember when I pulled back. I don't remember when I called it a day. I don't remember when I slipped underneath the surface of life and ended up here. I don't remember. I don't know.