stuff i write

Tag: Other thing

On once living with a New Age hippy

Good Lord, she’s got the charts out,
Things must be worse than I thought!
My life has just been connected to…
All sorts.

Oh no, not the tea leaves,
What if I don’t want to see what’s coming for me?

Yes, there might be lines
Dissecting the heavens,
That when joined up
Will answer all of my questions,
About when,
About what,
But mostly what can I do to make it stop?

Fuck, now she’s got the cards out!
And no, not the clubs, the cups;
Let’s see what the number six says
About my future influence.

Oh no, not the tea leaves!
What if I don’t want to see what’s in it for me?

There may be truths to divine
That aren’t so divine,
Thinks to be thunk
That are closer to crimes;
I’m hoping against hope,
Or at least entertaining the possibility,
That the arcana might be working against me.

The Far Side - Charlie Parker's Private Hell


What anxieties have haunted my today? My living as if wanting to die. I don’t really want to think about it but, for the sake of my sanity, I really ought to try. When I was a child my baby brother died: I guess that, after she cried, my mother told me that he’d gone to sleep and would never wake up because, after that, I was scared to go to sleep in case I didn’t wake up. Duh. I had a lot of nightmares and then I stopped remembering my dreams. Now, I can feel the blood pounding in my ears just at the mention of some of these fears. Anyway, death always seemed so just around the corner that it wasn’t worth putting any roots down, but now I just don’t know. Life just grows, one gets attached to it as if by magic or witchcraft. One minute I was just a record collection, a guitar, and some snapshots in my mum and dad’s house, the next it’s got as convoluted as Proust.

(Accent isn’t accident).

And my friends are leaving in droves, of course. I keep moving the goal posts, and changing my tune, so’s they haven’t got a clue. They find it hard to find the rhyme and suspect I’m getting past my prime. But I’m probably projecting; it’s that self-pity you’ll be detecting, with that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach that, believe me, I share. Gut plummeting through the air.

Most days I think I’m plodding along quite nicely but just occasionally I get tugged (impolitely) by something persistent; an insistent babble that, on the surface, I take lightly but must, in reality, scare me mightily, otherwise I wouldn’t have all these black thoughts, would I. It’s my unconscious upsetting my conscience with some kind of nihilist nonsense. Commonsense says I’m on the crest of a wave; my Positive Thinking Guru says I should focus on surfing it bravely, crave, consume, eat away the gloom; See it, want it, take it. Be it, say it, fake it.

Shake it, baby, shake it.

But I’m having a bit of not being like that, basically, and trying to come to terms with it gracefully. My ex says ‘disgracefully’ but, in negotiations, I’d settle terms on ‘shabbily’. I need to sort myself out without a doubt, but it’s not a decision one can make without endless prevarication and talk. I’ll need a chart and a marker pen (of course!), to make anything happen. There’ll have to be an action plan and a clipboard. There’ll need to be rules and laws. Ideally there’ll be a motivational reward, to stop me from getting bored, and reinforcements to fill in when I can’t cope any more, (keeping it professional means I have to delegate; I have to let others share some of my mistakes).

All the self-help books remind me that I can’t do everything, for everyone, and still have ‘time for me’. If their smiling faces on the dustcovers are anything to go by then I think I can truly believe. Perhaps there’s still some 12-Step plan that can save me, or some kind of angel that’ll shame me into ‘fessing up’ to this mess up. I’ll stand with one hand on the bible, and one hand on my bollocks, and announce to the group – ‘I’m Michael, and I am a Deathaholic’.

Psych sketch #12

Gotta new riff but it’s going nowhere;
Chased a new habit that’s way below me.
You can talk about the brimstone
And my risking my salvation
But I don’t care –
I’m not here to share.
I got a grip, I’ve gotta new fuel;
I gotta go now,
Things to do.

Psych sketch #11

She’s got blood on her breath and the rain brings her spiders in.  All her swallows have broken hearts from sin.

Psych sketch #10

Examples of small desolations that end up as inconsequential phrasings, or exhalations; exhorting my glory if I disdain the doubt and existential dread I feel gnawing.

That can’t be the end

I can’t even think of anything Happy, that rhymes with ‘Happy Endings’…

Just a potential trauma or tragedy left pending…
Something incomplete that needs mending…
Or broken that needs welding?

To tell the truth, I run it through my trillion possible synaptic pathways but it doesn’t compute. A Happy Ending, what’s that then? A paradox of bollocks that makes me vomit in dollops. It’s solipsism of the highest order; it’s tempting, but really, I oughtn’ta. Happy thoughts, happy places. Smiley folk with smiling facesl heart-warming kittens in soft woolen mittens and shining silver linings undermining my ‘Blimey, that’s unlikely!’ Tease me with doubtless kissing, subterfuge-free hugs, fearless fucks full of faultless frisson. Someone might have died but it’s alright, someone else is pregnant; on the grave the grass is lush and resplendent. We’ll share a kiss in the rain, or hold hands at sunset, with a choir of angels accompanied by trumpets.

Just waking up to a day that’s full of promise; that’s the hope to which we all pay homage.

What I need to learn is to think short term, to avoid the consequences and returns, forget about fairness and taking turns. Worrying about the exit strategy will be the death of me.

Happy Endings are temporary. They make sequels necessary.


Daggers of anxiety tonight – I seem to have grown a new jowl overnight; my slacking is turning to sagging, I think it’s my smile lines atrophying. I should practice to the mirror in the morning – like a chimp gnawing, all teeth, sparkling eyes, chortling, eyebrows surprised – when intoning all my “I’m Fine!” lies.


I comtemplated submitting a few of my poems to a local competition –

(four poems for £10. But which should I enter? Which would win? I read last year’s winner… well constructed, beautifully written, saccharine)

Through my anxious strictures I pictured…

Hustle the cash and the glory, then skedaddle, giggling with irony, spouting limericks, in a futile attempt to shatter the preposterous bluster of it all; ‘Yes, sir, I do bite my thumb at you, Sir’.

The kick-arse Bukowski side of me became belligerent, pointing out the bunk in all that, reminding me of my real poems, the ones that save me and keep me sane; blank anxious verse for a numb mind. Existential doggerel. That’s who I am. That’s my voice.

I knew the end was nigh when I found myself singing to my therapist, as if demanding to be heard in that voice. Bitter and nasty and desperate.

So, rather than the forced, limping iambic beat of a sonnet or a mangled haiku, I decided to make the schizoid choice; poetry comes from awe, sublimation and playing with madness. That’s my vision. The idea of a competition is absurd, paradoxical to the spirit in which poetry should be written.

So I didn’t.

Psych sketch #9

She’s got tight lips, that won’t tell me shit, because she’s honest. Her eyebrows hide, staying sly, not making any promises; inscrutable sometimes, frustrating my wiles. She’s averse to curses but versed in mercies, and praises; my spleen and ire tire her when I’m at my craziest. She wants to hold me, but I’m scary.

I watered her, to court her, after a dry season. I have to unpeel her to feel her, but sometimes, only sometimes, it feels like treason; folding in on herself like origami, spiky corners bar me. I may flash my barbs, harden my heart, briefly, but her being fraught, or distraught, melts me. I think ‘If I’m strong she’ll cling to me. If I hold her, she’ll sing to me’.


Riding the clutch grinds down my teeth, and chemicals are juddering through my heart. There’s a ritual to be done, scrape the veins of the grief (like from the colon, the beef part), kiss goodbye to the dirt and the hurt.

I could just murder something in a skirt.

No! Purge that, save it for the gutter press and the confessional psychobabble of art. I am aching, shaking, and there’s nothing even worth taking.