Paranoia

5 minutes after arriving at work this morning, it was already ‘one of those days’

I’m trying to lose weight at the moment and finding it difficult. Last night, after a relatively good day, I raided our cupboards and found some smarties, marshmallows and a pot of low-calorie jelly. They are no longer in our cupboards.

This morning I woke up hazy, but refused to let myself return to bed after seeing my fiancée off to work. I noticed a strange feeling I associated with my first batch of Huel yesterday (an attempt to both cut my food costs and get some more nutrients into my body alongside trying to lose weight). I didn’t feel like Hueling my breakfast today, so it’s for lunch.

I left for work a few minutes later than normal, but not late. My route takes me past my local tube station then up a normally-busy road, but today it was quiet. The few people there were seemed to be looking at me oddly. ‘This is all in my mind’, I told myself. As I kept walking, I noticed more people glancing. But I was also glancing at them, so clearly it meant nothing. A woman who had been walking behind me jogged to get a few metres in front and then kept walking, every so often glancing behind her. She would have no reason to look back at me, surely? A few minutes later, she jogs on a bit and crosses the road, going down a side-street I’m not taking. She must just be running late.

As I enter my office building, the weird looks seem to continue, but it must be in my head. As I get to my desk, my coworkers are eerily quiet. But it’s a Friday, everybody’s tired! We work writing questions for a quiz show, a certain degree of quiet concentration is necessary. They don’t all hate me. I don’t have something strange on my face. Of course, it’s all in my head.

It’s going to be one of those days, and it’s not going to be a fun experience, especially avoiding my normal comforting carbohydrates.

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Welcome

Welcome to the New World Order,
Where right is right and left is wrong,
Until right goes so far right it’s wrong
And left is left to be right,
As, of course, it was all along.

Welcome to the marvellous present,
Where Trump trumps truth through treason to reason,
But May won’t trump Trump,
As Trump may trump May,
To our disbelieving dismay.

Welcome to the modern world,
Where racists ride with rallying cry,
And Merkel’s murky union’s euthanised
As Brexit wrecks it,
Just as we all expected.

Welcome to World War Three,
Where Kim is King of United Eurasia,
With Putin saluting
As he sticks his boot in,
Defeating our tyrannical democracy.

Welcome to the New World Order,
Where right has might and left is bereft,
Left so long there’s no one left
To right the wrongs and right the right
And all that’s left has left for good.

The Fountainhead

Written to my mother as a testament to my upbringing.

 

“All you ever wanted:”
A son,
A loyal disciple,
Your little bubbeleh.

You ask me why I hurt,
But you only hear your lies.
All who wander are ghosts to you,
All who wonder are lost.

Your face perverts my past,
Your words blight my future.
My only solace comes
In difference and indifference.

I hope one day you’ll let me rest
With nothing but despair
And the bitter memory of all I once thought true.

 

This poem was requested by my therapist (T), who asked for any poem about my mother. It is the first serious poem I have written in possibly 7 years (excluding a comical one I wrote for my fiancée), and it reawakened my love of writing poetry.

Metamorphosis

I believe this is the result of a school assignment when I was about 13 years old. Having gone through a lot of my school work recently in choosing material to post, I’ve cringed at my language and style quite regularly, but I hesitate to edit anything now – I’d rather leave it as my 13-year-old self had it. I’ve rejected most of my past writing for this blog, but I think this still has something.

 

He lay restless, but all the time sleeping. The agony was constant, and even while he was dreaming of a better place he was aware of it. He never chose to sleep, but was always fainting from exhaustion, often soon after waking. Sometimes he thought he could hear footsteps, or people talking in an incomprehensible tongue, but every time he awoke he was alone still. For ten days he had been like this, his condition growing steadily worse until he couldn’t even pull himself to the water’s edge to get a drink. The tide had been unusually low for three days now and he hadn’t tasted anything but sand in that entire time. Occasionally a bird would fly overhead, proving to him that there was still life surrounding his own desolate piece of land, but apart from that he was completely alone. Marooned, some might say; left by his peers to face a slow death from hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and god knows how many other things that were going on inside his body. He couldn’t even remember how he had gotten there any more – he sometimes dreamt of the image of a woman, calling to him as if from far away. He recognised the woman as someone from back home, whatever that meant now, but he couldn’t quite place her. For almost a fortnight he had had no human contact and, although the wild animals had become accustomed to his presence, they could sense when he was waking and would flee as fast as possible. On one rare occasion he had woken to find a boar staring at him, and he had looked deep into the boar’s eyes and penetrated its soul, and found nothing of value. He had not even been satisfied by the contact with another living creature for his exhaustion had taken away any ability to be positive.

He awoke to find the sky pink on the horizon, at the water’s edge. It was a sunset on what normally would have been a perfect summer’s evening. He could see the top of the sun as it serenely sank closer to the surface of the dark blue water. He felt the pain throbbing throughout his entire body, and would have groaned if he could. Throughout his life he had always been fascinated by pain. He didn’t know why, nor did he care why, but he had always felt some strange excitement whenever he felt the tiniest prick of pain; now, though, he hated the pain more than the people who had done this to him – the people who had left him on this forsaken island to rot until he was dust, nothing more than an extension of the sand on which he lay, motionless. During the first few days he had tried to hunt the wild animals on the island, but could never get close enough to kill one. He’d gained some hope upon wounding an infant boar, but he couldn’t find the creature to try to postpone the agony, and so he lay down on the beach to watch the sunset, and he hadn’t gotten up since. The sweltering heat during the daytime emphasised his fatigue, and left him even less hydrated, if that was even possible at this point, but this time, witnessing this beautiful sunset, the lonely man felt different. He could sense a slight tone of joy racing through his body, and he revelled in it as much as he could. He closed his eyes to rest some more and saw the brightest light he could ever remember seeing. He heard a voice talking to him, but he couldn’t quite make out the words. He moved towards the light to try and get a better chance of understanding. “Welcome.” The voice said calmly to him, and he realised that he couldn’t feel the pain any more. The man walked further forwards to the light until it encompassed him wholly and he passed peacefully into the unknown.  The tide lapped at the man’s face and the smallest glimpse of a smile faded from it as the top of the setting sun disappeared beyond the horizon. The man was now dust, nothing more than an extension of the sand on which he lay, motionless. He was at peace.

Shards of a Life Barely Lived

I don’t know where this came from. I was in a strange mood, sitting in my dad’s house, also home to my step-mother and step-siblings, none of whom I got on with particularly well, and this just came out of me.

 

I was born to die. All my life I’ve known that I was put on this Earth to leave it sometime, someplace, somehow. Someone. I am not anyone yet. For now I remain no one and no one I shall be for some time to come.

I walked into town this morning. The first time I’ve been out since…

A woman literally stared through me. It can’t be hard. Most people either stare at or stare through. No one looks anymore. Not since…

She can’t possibly believe that. And yet everyone does.

I guess I am someone, just no one to like, no one to care for. Someone to die.

***

‘Wow, look at the time.’

The lines on my alarm clock read twelve thirty. Only four minutes until my favourite time of day.

Ever since I started thinking about that time, only occurring twice every twenty-four hours, it seems to crop up even more. For the first week I saw it every day – I just happened to look at the clock every so often, as one does, and there it was, thirty-four minutes past twelve.

Clearly I have some sort of supernatural powers. Or at least that’s what my mother would have believed. I believe in mere coincidence but maybe this is her sending me a message from the beyond. Maybe it’s penance.

Even I don’t know what I’ve done yet. What sin I’ve committed. What tragedy befell me. I am almost certain it will have involved death of some spectral sort.

‘How many minutes past the hour is it now?’

People may say my story is timeless. But, you may say, I have already talked about time. Was Little Red Riding Hood written before Beowulf?

‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’

I could start this all off with a cliché: it all began when I got out of bed that morning. The truth is I never got out of bed. The truth is it never began. The truth is…oh what do I know?

Should I wind up my record player? Should I go into town and view the latest Betamax releases? Should I watch the final Harry Potter film on Blu-Ray? None of it matters.

Harry Potter. The boy who lived. A bit of an ironic name for a fictitious boy. Maybe he lived a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Twelve thirty-five. Better luck next time.

***

I wonder how it’ll eventually happen. Will it be quick? Painless? Who am I kidding? Certainly not you. Or her. Yes, her, sitting over there in her smug little corner, pacing around the room in her mind, not taking her eyes off my translucence.

She makes me jealous. I can’t see through her, yet everyone can see what I’m made of from first glance. Every bit of me seething with…well…

There’s a fine line between love and hatred. Even though I may never find out what I’ve done, I’ll always know what it was. There’s that fine line again. What was it and what it was. Who gives a damn?

Ah that’s just what I need – an ice cream truck. More like a van but everyone around here calls them trucks. Fine line, eh?

I need a drink.

***

‘Some brandy, sir?’

That sounds perfect. ‘Yes, if you would be so kind.’

‘So you were saying, about your wife?’

‘Oh I’d hardly call her my wife.’

‘But you’re married.’

‘She’s away on business. That’s what she calls it anyway.’

She’s fucking the boy who cleans the pool. She needs a good cleaning herself. Spring is coming.

‘I must say, she’s looking a lot happier recently. A lot more [pause] pert. If you don’t mind me saying so [afterthought].’

Wonderful things, afterthoughts. They let you seem like you care. My so called wife – ‘needless to say I love you.’

‘Yes, well, her business has definitely been picking up recently. I bet she’ll come back from her trip fully refreshed. Cleansed, some might say.’

She knows. This bitch knows. My “wife” must have told her. The Marriot Hotel, Parkside, room 403.

***

‘Don’t go in there. Don’t do it. Just walk away.’

Secret Window has never been more poignant.

Walk. Away. Now.

Victor? Who’s Victor?

Maybe that’s his name. No, he doesn’t deserve a name. I was never issued one so why should he? He can’t be that rich, he cleans our pool for Christ’s sake.

Or maybe that’s a ruse. A ruse to get himself closer to my gloria. She doesn’t have a name either so I don’t see what a Victor would want with her. Or a Vincent.

No one beginning with a V.

Nothing could happen if I go into that room. 403. Numbers. Just numbers. Probably the number of times they’ve FUCKED. In my fucking house, I bet. Between my sheets.

I can hear her. Her moans, groans. I feel unworthy of hearing the noises she makes in ecstasy. I could never earn these noises.

Forgiveness is out of the question. Do or die? No. Do or live with it. That’s more like it.

The door burst open more loudly than I expected it to. There she is. I’ve imagined this scene a thousand times in my head but not once was it like this. Not once was his ass so round. Not once did I feel this inferior. This no one.

What happens now?

***

A death certificate is a mysterious thing. It contains ones name, one’s age, one’s existence, and yet it solidifies their being no one. But I will die someone. I doubt my death certificate will show exactly how, but I will be someone. My gravestone won’t even touch the ground.

She swept out of there like the magic carpet. I bet Jasmine thought about cheating on Aladdin, dirty slut.

Romeo, oh Romeo. Wherefore?

It was just me and him. Not Victor, not Vincent, him. Just him. And me [pause] of course [afterthought].

It was as if time stood still. No afterthoughts. No after, no before, no during. Just one time. The whole Earth stopped its rocketing, jettisoning through time. Just for one time. Just for me. And him [pause] of course [no afterthought].

I walked, in no direction but out. I saw her tight, bare ass running down the corridor and imagined it being a motel parking lot. Stupid London. I love that ass. Unlike the woman carrying it.

I did love her. A long time ago. When she called herself my wife. That bitch in the brandy house knew. That bitch.

I was no one. And through being no one I found myself someone.

Yet this morning a woman looked straight through me. No one stares any more. It’s so impersonal. Everyone has to make sure that this no one feels like a no one someone, singled out as a no one. And so I must die a no one. A someone. Sometime, somehow, someplace I was born to die.

But, then again, isn’t everyone? [afterthought]

You’re Hot and I Want You Naked

I have no idea where this came from, I was just trying to be funny. And I was a teenage boy.

 

I love your birthday suit.
Not quite a suit though is it?
More like your birthday lack-of-suit.
That’s even better.
Do you still have it?
You should wear it on your next birthday.

You’d look great in the Emperor’s new clothes.
They might be a bit big for you though.
I mean the guy was really fat.
Just look at him.
Maybe the tailors did make him real clothes,
He just ate them.

Don’t get me wrong,
You look good in clothes too:
Summer dresses
Blowing in the wind –
My very own Marilyn Monroe.
Just don’t sleep with the President.
Or Frank Sinatra.
I mean… he’s dead.

Could I borrow your birthday-lack-of-suit-downsized-Empress’-new-clothes?
Just for a bit?
I promise I won’t rip them.

No?

Fine.
Where’s that porn?

Jumpsuit

There must have been something to inspire this story, but I can’t remember a thing. It was included in one of my school’s arts collections, but I don’t remember the collection being on a particular theme, or this being written specifically for that reason. Whatever it was, this is the result.

 

I saw a man in an orange jumpsuit today,
Walking slowly but as if he were running
Against the hoards of people
Flowing in the other direction,

The orange jumpsuit sticking out
Against the work suits, every one a different shade of grey,
Like an adult film store:
Everyone looks but pretends not to notice.

He crossed the busy road
And went into the park,
Slowing his steps even more as he walked through the gate,
As if encountering nature for the first time.

He stood below a tree
And stared up at a bird’s nest in the branches:
A nest no one had ever stopped to look at before,
Probably,
And he heard the bird singing,
Storytelling,
Or singing a lullaby to lull its chicks to sleep.

If I had better sight I might have seen him shed a tear,
And I imagined him, his cheeks moistened from crying
Over this simple beauty,
Embracing the tree for giving the birds a home,
As if encountering nature for the first time.

Instead he just sat down and closed his eyes,
Listening to the storytelling,
The lullaby,
Until the men came and took him away
In chains he didn’t need,
And as he was dragged past me
Mum said he was a bad man
And he would be put where he belongs,
But I just saw the tears on his chin dripping one by one
Onto his orange jumpsuit.