Little Brother

I’ve always been a sucker for love, maybe I didn’t get enough of it as a kid. When I was about a year old, my little brother was born but he was born all wrong. He was in hospital for months and months attached to machines and covered in tubes, just like one of the sick little babies they show on the telly when they’re trying to raise money for the children’s hospital.

 So anyway, my dad stayed at home and looked after us three kids; my older brother, my sister and me, while my mum spent all her time at the hospital standing over his little glass box looking down at him underneath all of those wires and stuff. It was during this period that I supposedly became withdrawn.

‘You went sort of, odd’ my mum told me once ‘and you sort of stayed that way.’ She said this last bit with a laugh and a wink, but the punchline was one of those jokes that isn’t really a joke at all. These are the best kind of jokes, the most effective comedy is always based in truth, I say. It’s the kind that gets you deep, touches some part of your soul. It’s the kind that hurts at first but then makes you feel better than you did to begin with. A bit like vomiting. Yeah, the best jokes sort of make your soul vomit.

So my mum thinks I never really recovered from that period of maternal separation and I reckon it’s as good an excuse as any to pass off my neediness. I mean, it’s a lot better than it being some kind of inherent personality flaw, like narcissism or psychopathy or…general, umm, crappiness. I think ‘generalised crappiness disorder’ would be too much for my poor vomiting soul to bare, it’s much easier if I just rue the day that my little brother was ever born.

Knots Upon Knots

There’s a need to back away from you, it’s not healthy, all this. My mind finds itself entangled like a pair of headphones at the bottom of a bag. Knots upon knots, I’m wrapped in on myself, because I just can’t get my head around you, around what you’re doing, around what you feel.

There’s no such thing as sleep anymore, not really anyway. And in those fleeting moments where I do drift off, you haunt me. You’re right there in my dreams, causing me some kind of trouble. The moment I wake up I feel sick, your face rises along with the light of the new day. I check my phone and see no text from you. I want to cry and go back to sleep, but instead I only cry.

So here’s to disappearing, to fading away from view, to slipping through your fingers, to being dusted off. Because you can’t expect a person to wait forever, waiting to hear the words they fear will never come. I know it’s not your fault I ended up in this place, I just got tangled up I guess.

It’s The Landing That Hurts

A figure walks through the door and my heart fills with blood. But it’s not you. My blood filled heart drops, my stomach does a strange but now familiar dance. My eyes feel a little wet or something. Nobody is looking at me, but I still don’t want to paint these feelings on my face. I take a deep breath and mentally wave away these sensations.

It was foolish of me to expect anything, I knew that from the start. Why did I let myself entertain romantic notions? I suddenly visualise Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. No matter how many times he gets hit, for some reason he keeps getting up. And everyone is screaming at him to stay down. But he won’t stay down, so the punches keep coming. I think I might be this way.

Resilience has its price, let me tell you. There is a fine line between persistence and delusion, still I put on my ballet shoes, I centre my gravity and walk this tightrope every day. But there are only so many times you can walk the tightrope before you fall, call it…tempting fate. It’s not the falling that’s frightening though, it’s the landing. It’s the landing that hurts.

Geddes Axe

Office blocks,
That glow at night.
The lights are on,
Wish I was inside.
It’s a novelty, to me,
The nine to five.

White corridors,
All look the same.
That tess-ess-ess-ellates.
Sea of faces,
Wave after wave.

Wave after wave,
Wave after wave.

Half inch, wink wink,
The office rulers.
Stand around,
The water coolers.
Don’t you think,
They’re trying to fool us?

Tax, tax, tax!
Put my neck,
To Geddes Axe.
First against the wall,
Will be my back.

Will be my back,
Will be my back.

Patterns in Nature

There are patterns in nature,
And there is beauty in symmetry.
Time is relative, time stands still…at the speed of light.
If everything I’m made of, atoms and particles alike,
Escapes from my body as I’m dying,
Faster than the speed of light,
Can I time travel to before death?
It is theorised that the greatest works of literature contain,
‘the most linguistic fractal patterns.’
What does that mean?
I don’t know but I like the sound of it.

Why do I want to cry when I hear a minor chord?
I’d like to somehow embody the zeitgeist of my time,
I’m not sure if there’s an algorithm for that.
Often I appear to be doing nothing,
But actually I’m thinking.
I’m not thinking about what I’m going to have for my tea,
It’s more like a computer playing a chess game.
Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to work out the endgame,
One hundred,
And fifty,
Moves ahead.

If A is B and B is C and C is D and so on.
For what purpose though?
I’m not even sure.
I only have this gut feeling.
Something inherent,
And implicit,
That sooner or later something of some value…
…Will occur.
But did I ever tell you that,
There are patterns in nature,
And there is beauty in symmetry?

That Damn Sandwich

‘I’m failing my course’ he says. ‘I’ve only been to six lectures this year.’
‘Why aren’t you going?’ I ask.
‘I have to commute for two hours’ he says ‘and there’s not enough time in the day. I have so much work to do, so I just stay home.’
‘I see’ I say, uninterested.
‘I wish I didn’t have to sleep’ he says.
‘I wish I didn’t have to wake’ I say. I say it and it sounds sad. He laughs for a moment and then the laugh turns to concern.
‘I fantasise about being a famous author a lot now’ I say ‘It’s the only thing that motivates me. I have the picture in my head and the picture keeps me going. What keeps you going?’ I ask.
‘Knowing that there’s so much to do before I die’ he responds.
‘Death motivates you?’ I ask.
‘Death and knowledge’ he replies. ‘And I want to become less self-centred’ he adds.
‘It’s a hard balance’ I reply, ‘trying to accomplish all of the things you want to achieve without being self-centred.’ I sit there quietly, watching out of the window at the man in the shop window across the road.
‘What’s wrong? he asks me. The expression on his face says concern again. I don’t know why he’s so concerned for me. I’m not concerned for him.
‘Max and I had a fight’ I answer, reluctantly.
‘What about?’ he pries.
‘I don’t even know anymore’ I answer ‘I think it was about a sandwich, but I can’t be sure.’
The man sitting opposite me with the concerned expression on his face is an old friend. It’s strange to me that he’s a man now. He was a boy when we met and I suppose I was a girl. I still feel like a girl some of the time. I remember when we used to fight about sandwiches too. It didn’t work out with him just like it probably wont work out with Max.
‘Anyway, I don’t want to talk about the stupid fight’ I shrug ‘I’ve wasted enough time thinking about it already.’
He says nothing. He looks hurt. I guess I’ve hurt him but I don’t know how.
‘It’s a hard balance’ he says ‘getting relationships right.’
‘Zero success rate so far’ I joke.
We laugh for a while but the laughter trails off and then the silence that ensues hangs in the air with an awkward intensity.
‘This cup of tea is dreadful’ I say, making small talk. ‘I don’t understand how people can make a cup of tea so wrong. You put the tea bag in the cup, pour the hot water, give it a stir and then add a dash of milk. I don’t understand why they put so much milk in it…’ I can hear myself ranting.
‘….I mean, it’s not that hard to get the balance right, really it’s not’ I start to feel red in the face. ‘A fucking monkey could do it, you know? It’s not rocket science. It’s tea, it’s just tea. We’ve been drinking it for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years.’
I’m out of breath and the man sitting across from me looks frightened. He’s been staring at my hands, I’ve been banging them on the table without realising. And then I start to feel my eyes welling up and a strange animal sound comes driving up and out of my throat and suddenly I’m crying. Not, not crying, I’m howling.
I’m sitting there howling and the man through the window is watching me from his shop. I catch myself in the reflection of the glass and I look terrible, tears are streaming down my red sweaty face.
‘That damn sandwich!’ I yell into the face of my old friend who’s reaching out to hold my hand.
‘That damn sandwich’ he repeats softly back to me as the hot tears fall into my milky tea.

The Mating Rituals of Silverfish

The mating rituals of the silverfish sounds like some of my own personal experiences with men.

“Before silverfish reproduce they carry out a ritual involving three phases, which may last over half an hour. In the first phase, the male and female stand face to face, their trembling antennae touching, then repeatedly back off and return to this position. In the second phase the male runs away and the female chases him. In the third phase the male and female stand side by side and head-to-tail, with the male vibrating his tail against the female.”

If I had a penny for every vibrating tail I’ve….