Our shadows tangle
into an obscene dance
thousand caresses take flight
in half a second’s glance
I’d mistaken midnight nudity
as penchant for the perverse
but your soul sucked out
the poison in my verse
and my silhouette
bathes in the moonlight
it stands tall and pure,
yet eclipsed by the night
Is this how you see me –
just a unicorn shadow,
a darkened face in
a distant window?
But I’d rather be a silhouette
than a mere reflection
I’d rather be words
than a lilting temptation
In the crudest sense of the word, I’m a bucket.
Born as an empty shell, I’ve been collecting pearls all my life. Pearls of wisdom. Dripping ink and blood-stained words. Screaming orgasms and the charred remains of dark, gruesome, incestuous fantasies. Moss-covered memories dipped in snow, sore joints and ashes strewn on mountain slopes. But the bucket is not nearly close to full. I could fit the universe in there. I could hold a galaxy suspended in the cold dregs of coffee swirling at the bottom of the bucket.
There was a second that blew past the slow pace of a fast life – a second in which wants vanished, love faded, wounds healed and space folded unto itself as a smooth, unending expanse of all existence. In that second, the bucket tipped over and emptied itself, to be reborn as an empty shell again. I’m in my infancy, there is no meaning to purpose, existence; even meaning has no meaning. I’m empty and open wide, blown with the wind, moved by a silent whisper and infused with a melody that threatens to fill me to the brim and overflow my entire being.
One moment you’re overly conscious of your existence, painfully aware of each rasping breath you take after smoking too many cigarettes, the silent assimilation of energy inside your core, the relentless exploration of every inch of your mind like the impatient, hungry tongue of a lover snaking into your mouth. The next moment you’re fleeing down the highway with your headlight buddies – joyful, fleeting, racing, dancing, snowballing, zooming into the welcoming darkness, the end of the tunnel, the eternally evasive shadow, the very purpose of your existence.
And here I am, lost within the madness of it all. I’ve begun writing poetry and composing songs in my sleep that are beyond beautiful, and which I cannot recollect when my transcendent presence ends and the corporeal one begins. And still I persist, bound ever so strongly and grappling with the half of me that belongs in the otherworld, haunted by the daunting lights blinking to glory at dusk and the spirits beckoning me with promises of peace.
I don’t have the strength to speak just yet, but my mind is longing for expression. So I leave you with this passage from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. I am hidden somewhere in these lines. Maybe when I’m stronger, I’ll speak some more from somewhere within.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
I’ve been a recluse. I’ve gone into hiding to avoid dealing with all the messes I’ve created and separated and untangled and hung out there to dry in the sun. It’s not healing, it’s not meditation, it’s not even a break from writing I’m simply lying alive waiting for the darkness that was once my friend. Depression seems to hit and miss me by one person. I’m jealous of the hopelessness I see in other people’s eyes. I want my edge back. We were good together – a good combo, like burger and fries, like cigarettes and coffee, like masturbation and death fantasies. No, maybe not that last one. It’s so easy to want to die, it’s so easy to wipe out like a lonely little flame fluttering in the wind. I wanted to be a limerick, a dirty joke, an old ditty that plays on the radio, the tip of an iceberg. Now I know, I’m a ballad of woe, a cross between Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and water – just water on which other things can float and rise to the surface. I almost didn’t put these thoughts into words because when I do, I become the writer, I give weight to my own existence. But finally I am leaning towards the hopeful, gravitating towards the light and contemplating the burden of those with a weightless existence. It seems like a good beginning on the path towards the end.
I no longer recognize the person in my own photos. Am I to believe that a certain assortment of pixels on a screen is an exhibit of my face? I can’t spot the blackened lips, freckled nose and the derisive contempt in the left eye – are you sure that’s me? No, stop pointing a camera in my face, I can’t trust those things any more. Or mirrors, for that matter.
Describe me, will you? I want to know how I reflect in your mind’s eye. Am I only partially visible in your spectrum of light? Do you notice if I turn slightly blue, like a gloomy afternoon in the middle of winter? Do you see me dissolve into a conversation and disappear from within the crowd? Do I turn red when you make me blush? Do you ever open your eyes while kissing me and get the feeling that I’m not there? Are my tears transparent? Am I laughing when the corners of my lips turn up and my eyes wrinkle in mirth?
Dilate your pupils and look at me. Look, and then tell me something that is not merely a reflection on the wall or a puckered face on a screen.
Here’s the funny thing about rants. No one wants to hear them, much less read them on blogs. Rants rarely make sense. They exist purely for our own satisfaction. We rant because we would much rather direct our wrath and scorn at some poor unsuspecting bloke than the ones who caused it. The good thing is, the title of this post makes it clear that this is a rant, so feel free to ignore it. I won’t be mad, I promise.
I have a dash in my bank balance, followed by a three-digit number. That dash represents negative balance. I’ll do the drum roll myself, thanks. The last three months of unemployment have thickened my skin, shriveled my balls (figuratively speaking) and sharpened my pride. But I’m not running for the hills, not yet.
I wrote a short fiction piece and sent it to a few magazines for publication. I am looking forward to being rejected, not because I am a pessimist, but because I know it is not great writing, and I know I can do better.
There are days when self-doubt creeps in and I forget what I am doing this for, I wonder if there is even a purpose. I am tempted to succumb and take up a measly job doing something I hate just so I can enjoy a fat pay check that allows me to eat fancy food, drink alcohol every weekend and travel as an excuse to find myself. However, on most days, this experience exhilarates me because every moment has only made me stronger. I thought I had wasted the whole year sinking into some private hellhole of depression, but I have learnt to love fierce and dream bigger.
The point of this particular rant, ladies and gentleman, is this – I don’t think I’ve hit rock bottom yet. I am not done sinking, but I think I’ll survive. And here’s a comforting thought to leave you with – after rock bottom, the only way out is up.