Thursday, 24 August 2017

A Heartache's Serenade

If the world is joined by one giant sky,
Then what is this distance between you and I?

If lives are connected by feeling and memory,
Then why do the lines between feel so empty?

Though I would challenge that endless sky
To bridge the gaps and sew the lines
I would only be cherishing that simple lie
That everything would be proper, in time

If I pray for a star that would fall,
Would my wishes come true after all?

If I stretched out my hand to grasp,
Would the touch between us be able to last?

Reaching beyond my measured means
For any sort of contact with you, beyond
A fruitless and soulless task it may seem
But I've no greater longing than to carry on

If together, we stepped forward through that endless space,
What catastrophe would occur, if our hands interlaced?

If together, we met through all interference,
What would happen to the laws and the consequence?

You've been erased from me, every last sign
But nothing withholds me from thinking
I'll not wait for something great or benign
To assist me in my desperate quest of seeking

If I could only begin to understand,
Would our lives be entwined in the next, wide land?

If I could be greater, and mightier, and grand,
Would I live for tomorrow, and be able to stand?

The time when our hearts would meet
Beneath blazing gold and burning azure
That is the time that forever I seek
For none other has any greater allure

If the world is joined by one giant sky,
Could I cover the distance between you and I?

If lives are connected by feeling and memory,
Could I fill in these lines, and complete our assembly?

There are no worlds that can fill this space
There are no words that can slow my pace
There is no line that I cannot cross
There is no time that I have lost
There is no sky I cannot fly
There is no lie I will not try

Our lives are connected by feeling and memory,
Of hope, of love, of hate, of fear,
Emotions that fill these lines, not empty

The world is joined by one big sky
And I know now, that the stars that blaze above
They're meant for you and I.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Hymn of the Dragon's Calling

Terror stains the darkening sky
Horrors of worlds that cannot die
Winged monsters of coldest nightmare
From savage lands, where no men dare

Sweeping death, a rampant plague
For mortal men, there is no aid
Who steps forth, when the bravest hide?
Who can withstand the coming tide?

But where one stands, others rise
No matter the cost, no matter the price
To combat the wrath of ancient gods
And their servants of old, the raging hordes

From the ancient powers, knowledge anew
Of love, of tears, of a human view
Humanity suffers for its salvation
Till pain unites every nation

And where one monster becomes a friend
A great host will follow to no end
Where gods become alike to men
Where god-heroes rise from their den

And truly then, the war begins
A worthy battle, of which bards will sing
Bravery true, and friendship strong
To cleanse the world, and right the wrongs

For the First rides forth, on Dragon Wings
A message of hope and glory, he brings
In a darkening sky of horrors unfurled,

Some horrors will save this world.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The Large Black Truth

His friends wanted to go out the next day, and they were enthusiastically discussing where to meetup. Liam looked on in horror as his phone screen scrolled with line upon line of code, all making the messages that tore at him like paper mache knives. Each one was filled with social compulsion, each drawing him like a strings hooked to his skin. They were happy, they were angry, they were sad, they were glad. But in all that, they wanted to go out and have some 'fun'

He'd already planned out his next day, even if it wasn't anything truly important. There were things in his life he needed to sort out, pieces of him he had to sift through in order to figure out what his next step was. Didn't these people realise that there were places he needed to be? Things he needed to do that were more important than some social times replete with saccharine compliments and 'heart-wrenching' goodbyes? 

He typed a message to the group.

"Sounds like a great idea. I'm down."

*

They were discussing where to eat lunch that day. Liam didn't really care, or at least, he didn't really want to. He stood on the bus as it rattled and swayed, jerking him back and forth as he hung on to the railings with an iron grip. His friends were all gathered against the window, chattering and laughing with as much forced glee as they could muster; they couldn't seem to see it, but he could - he could see everything that wasn't, even if people told him that such things weren't there. Sarah didn't like Janice, but she hid it for the sake of the others, and that put a strain on both their relationships with Jason, who was playing both of them at the same time.

Waffletown, someone said, but was immediately met with another's disagreement, claiming that waffles weren't filling and that they were breakfast food. Pastamania, someone else would throw in, and the entire group would round on that person, jabbing and bullying top relinquish that person from that terrible idea they'd had in the first place. Liam watched them, feeling his wallet in his pants weigh down heavily against his thigh, still light and unfilled from the previous time they'd gone for lunch. Though he did somewhat enjoy their presence, it was difficult to remain friends with them when all of them weren't as thrifty as he was. Or at least, weren't in a position to have to be as thrifty as he was.

Suddenly, they all turned to him and suggested as one,

The Steakhouse
- the most expensive place possible.

He looked at all of them. His eyes widened in surprise at their unison, his heart pounded as they pierced it with their steady gazes, lips peeled and teeth bared as though snarling at him though he knew they must be smiling. He knew that he had just enough money for the day, and spending beyond that budget was going to set him back for dinner and the next day. He knew that he'd go hungry, if he refused them.

"Sure, it's alright."

*

They'd eaten their fill, gone through the necessary motions of eating, laughing, talking and paying, and now they sought to enjoy their time together further, though Liam could feel the tension increasing with every moment they spent together. It overlaid all their interactions, like a sickly-sweet honey over the ropes that were meant to bind them together; but Liam was the only one that was truly aware of it.

Liam was tired, and he didn't really want to be outside anymore. It was only late in the afternoon, but heavy spending on steaks and chops had burned through his willpower just like his wallet, and he was thinking about how much energy he'd have to conserve in order to get through the next day of school. But his fellow out-mates weren't thinking about any of that, only deciding where was a good place to further bond over. At least, they were thinking about where would be a place they could show of the closeness of their relationship to others.

He wasn't happy about anything, for right then, nothing sounded more comforting than the four walls of his home. Nothing could be more attractive then saying, right there, we could truly enjoy the time we have together if it was more limited. Let us depart for our various destinations, happy in the fact that at some point, we spent time together.

Wanna head to the arcade? someone said, and was met with a chorus of agreement. They all turned to him, eyes shining in a manner that sickened him to his bone; it was too bright to be genuine, to full of life to be real.

"Yeah, sounds like fun."

*

They stood in the arcade, surrounded by music and noise that pounded their eardrums relentlessly, going beyond the natural tolerance of any human, but meeting the natural tolerance of those that sought the void of thoughtlessness, or those that wanted to pretend to it. Here and there, Liam spied out degenerates and loners, sitting in their corners with their backs hunched and their eyes lidded, spending away all their money without any concern for the well-being of themselves, or perhaps of others under their care. The slots hungrily consumed the coins like dirty children, slurping up their food with an insatiable desire that resulted in those flashing lights across the screen - temporary and futile.

They walked over to a gun game, fake laughter still in their mouths as they attempted to maintain some semblance of relationship in the cover of that overpowering white noise. They riffled through their pockets, bringing out all the coins that the possibly could to demonstrate their willingness to spend time and money at this arcade station, but they didn't fool Liam. He could see the reluctance in their fingers, the turning of their knuckles, the tightness in their jaws. He knew that none of them were willing to spend, only willing to be there for the sake of the others.

He wanted to interrupt, he wanted to stuff the money back in their mouths and drag them out, listening to them screaming in protest, or perhaps in relief that they wouldn't have to continue this charade any longer. Perhaps then, he would finally be able to get this black feeling out of his chest. Perhaps then, they would finally stop pestering him with their bright eyes, laughing mouths and gaping wounds.

Coins were slotted in, but immediately they turned to him: Want to play first?

"Of course; I'm going to outscore all of you."

*

He walked into the living room, tired to the bone. His eyes swept the entire length of the area, spying out the dirty dishes, the filthy laundry, the scattered remnants of failed job applications and wanting resumes. It wasn't just his eyes that was assaulted; his nose could detect the scent of unwashed bodies, long overdue for a cleaning that would certainly revitalize her life. Stale food leftover in the dishes also wafted under his nose, and he knew that if he looked in those bowls and plates he left out, he would find that it had been barely touched - perhaps with one or two bites taken out of them.

The flashing lights of the television splayed over the couch in psychedelic patterns, illuminating the thin form of a woman slumped in its embrace, head thrown a little to the side and dirty hair scattered like wriggling worms against the earth of the backrest. Brown, glass bottles were heavily concentrated around her, empty now but once filled with a liquid that not only made Liam's head spin, but made him nauseous as well. He could see that one was still wrapped in the crook of her arm by her side, like a treasured token, or a box of money. She treated them one and the same.

He leant over the armrest, but the woman was silent. He gave her a peck on her cheek, trying not to notice the needle in her arm.

"I love you mom."

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Dissociation

  She opened the door into the classroom, her eyes open but her mind shut. The students stared at her as she walked in, the music pounding her eardrums relentlessly. She looked at all of them, their eyes half-closed as the droning of the lecturer continued over her dramatic entrance. She sighed, and sat herself down.
  Reaching down, she pulled an assortment of books, pens and papers from her bag, placing them upon the table carelessly. The unfocused eyes of her peers studied her every move, seeming to revel in her tardiness and enjoying a spectacle of mess and incompetence. She ignored them all. The music was ramping up, and she nodded her head to the beat, as though it was cheering her on as she set about the impossible task of confronting life.
  Finally, her studying peripherals were in place. She sat herself up, looking forward to face the lecturer whose attention was more on the blackboard than the students he was supposedly educating. Words that made up information were plastered across the board, but it made as much sense to her as the world to a child. The lecturer turned, his mouth moving and his hands gesturing, but she could hear nothing.
  The other students had shifted their attention once more, except for the one sitting next to her. The boy smiled at her and opened his mouth, his teeth seeming to clack and his tongue moving in the manner of speech. But the music had reached a crescendo, and it dubbed over his mannerisms with discordant melodies and riotous singing. She stared, observing his movements but comprehending little. Perhaps he was praising how she looked, or maybe he was scolding her for being late. Perhaps the music was too distracting for discernment, or maybe she just didn't care.
  She turned away from the boy, looking forward with a strange emotion boiling within. It was something between anger, sadness, loneliness and laziness. It was a dangerous concoction that swirled and bubbled, steaming over her heart with unforgiving ire.
  She looked out at the crowds around her, and let the music wash over her ears, slowly decreasing in intensity, but a comfort nevertheless. She stared at the lecturer, who was now looking at her with a mixture between curiosity and annoyance. She glanced at her notes, which seemed to stare back at her with judgement for their obvious disuse. She reached for her earpieces, and stopped.
  Maybe sometime she would face the conglomeration in her chest with absolute certainty. Perhaps one day she would face each member of the student body with sharp eyes and a sharper mind, removing them from their adverse states and bringing them into perfect enlightenment. In some distant time, she might confront the lecturer for his wrongful dissertations and hypocritical thinking, unveiling the truth of his terrible worldview. One day, she might confront the world for all the problems that it gave each being, for all the sorrows she experienced and all the fury that it incited; for the pains it gave her and everyone else.
  Maybe one day, but not today. Her hand fell from her ears as she placed them on the table, letting the earpiece remain. She let the next track play, slowly resting her head in her arms. The students stared at her, the lecturer glared at her, the world frowned at her, but she closed her eyes. Someday, but not today.

Wishes to Pass

Standing at this precipice
At the edge of darkest darkness
Before the peak where the world ends
Between the shadow of death
And the light of life
Can you still hear my tired song?

Content to play second fiddle
Always in view, but never seen
Slow to move, slow to speak
A terrifyingly weak existence
Below this meek persistence
I grew ever smaller through time

Even so, swallowing this bitter pill
This proving of the death march
This void encapsulated soul
Caught between desires and desire
Trapped in the box of personal design
I'd scream to leave but I'll stay inside

But then a lens provided eyes
A widened view for a lower price
Sweet relief from lonely life
The bigger world in a whole new light
But the shadow's there, just weaker
I knew I never should have wandered

A majesty too bright
Not illuminating, but blinding sight
A pain too real, a life too light
Stardrop honey, moonbeam jam
The throes too sweet for dying men
I'd let myself taste once again

But darkness shall always
outlast the light
No matter the strength
No matter the time
Beyond it, the cycle always lies
I'll sink again, but that's alright

So please forget this wretched child
Weak and whimpering,
pale and sickening
A failure, a fraud, a hopeless fool
It is undeserving of anything real
I'm nothing but a simple tool

For though you spoke of future
A brighter time and better place
Of hope for it to grow and nurture
Couldn't you see the loathsome truth?
All the hope that was left
What I'd stored for myself

I'd long given to you.

Farewell.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Important Conversations

  I’d spoken a hundred thousand times to the statue but since the moment I’d first met it, its responses were always stone cold. Not that they were lacking in content, but there’d always been an undercurrent of apathy and disinterest.
  “What would you like for lunch today?” I once asked, and the reply was stronger than silence could ever have been.
  “Cereal is not a lunch food, statue, but even if it was we can’t make any, seeing as how you forgot to buy the milk the other day.”
  Instead of apologising, the statue immediately discussed the current state of political affairs. However, it was filled with so many disingenuous assertions that I knew it didn’t believe in half the things it was saying. In fact, I knew nothing of politics and I could understand a little of what he was saying, which was already a big red flag.
  I interrupted it, “yes that’s all very interesting, but what about lunch?”
  It was a while later that I found myself eating cereal by the bedside, having taken the time to purchase milk for myself. Perhaps I should have done so from the beginning; the process would have been so much faster. I laid the bowl in front of the statue but it refused to touch it. “Don’t you know that cereal has lots of protein? How will you grow big and strong?” I questioned, but there was no answer. How could there be? I was completely reasonable; any response from it would have been the opposite, on account of my being right.
  Instead, the statue responded with a long monologue about the intricacies of the public transportation system. I countered with an equally unrelated quote from the journal of meteorology and climatology, stating that global warming would significantly change the landscape of housing. There was no rebuttal, for I had won simply on account of being more researched.
  “It feels as though I have won this argument,” I said smugly. The statue did not reply, and I knew it was sulking.

  In this manner we passed the day, bantering uselessly with baseless information neither of us knew or had ever sought out. It was a relationship founded on shaky ground, both poor in substance and in authenticity, but it was one I maintained for the sake of future times, when the statue might be more passionate and receptive about things that really mattered.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

An Item of Significance

  As Clark stared outside the window, the woman behind the desk continued to punch numbers into the keyboard with relentless efficiency. He could hear the unforgiving clicks of the peripheral, its cold, plastic frame resisting her fingers as she continued to key in his information.
  He sighed. He really would have preferred to be at home right now, but his mother had given him two choices: obtain his bank card, or lose his computer privileges- so really, she had given him no choice at all. With her nagging following him, he'd left the house before she could say the words that would actually bind him and his blasted conscience, grumbling his way to the nearest bank outlet. 
  What felt like years later he was still standing there, thinking about all the (relatively) important things he could have been doing instead. The videos he could be watching, the games he could be playing, the things he could be drawing… certainly activities infinitely more significant and meaningful than this dull process of endless waiting for something he didn't even care about!
  The woman didn't seem to notice the boredom that painted his face. Perhaps she was purposefully ignoring it, or she would have increased the pace she was working at. "Alright that's the account transfer complete," she said in a robotic, melodic voice. "Just type in a 6 digit number of your choice in the keypad over there, and I'll have your card ready in another few minutes." 
  He grunted in what he hoped was an appreciative manner, which was difficult considering all the seething that boiled under his skin. He didn't even think about the six numbers, slamming in a random code he'd probably remember later, maybe. He just wanted to be home right then, and anything that sped the process was more than welcome.
  The woman didn't even flinch at his aggressive speed that denoted his lack of consideration. She simply smiled, nodded, and continued her work. He went back to staring outside the window once more, truly beginning to comprehend the phrase, 'bored out of one's skull.' An eternity later, she materialised behind the desk (had she left? He hadn't even noticed) and handed him a shiny yellow card plastered with numbers and logos. 
  "Here's your debit card, sir, thank you for your patience. We hope you enjoy this free service by Your Friendly Local Bank! A friendly reminder; please do not misplace or damage the card, as a police report will have to be made. Furthermore, the creation of the next card will be charged on your account. Thank you, and have a nice day!" Stifling a sigh of relief, he swiped the card from her fingers and stalked out the glass doors with no delay. The feeling of freedom and productivity was almost palpable: he was finally free of this irritating, unwelcome responsibility! 
  He stuffed the card into his pocket thoughtlessly, whistling as he walked down the pavement back home. The cars on the road seemed a little brighter, the day felt slightly cheerier, and the people looked marginally friendlier. He wondered which game he should play when he reached home. There was an RPG he'd bought ages ago gathering dust on his shelf, but he'd recently been addicted to a platformer that continually challenged him… 
  Out of nowhere, a man in a sequined vest jumped at him, brandishing a straight, black and white stick in artistic swirls and twirls. "Ho there!" the man shouted. He accompanied his greeting with a deep bow, removing the ridiculous top hat from his head and placing it across his chest as he did so. Clark's first reaction was to recoil in shock, but the emotion soon faded into excitement when he realised who it was: a Magic Man!
  "Greetings, mortal," the man said as he straightened himself. His hat was replaced on his head with a garish amount of flourish. "I am Calumnia Machiniato, virtuoso of the four winds and prodigy of the transformative arts! Today is your lucky day; for today, I have chosen to favour you with my mastery of the metaphysical!"
  Clark laughed and clapped his hands together. Magic Men always gave such superfluous introductions, but there were far fewer as the years went on, and he'd always been fascinated by them and their magical abilities.
  The excitement seemed to please Calumnia, as he smiled and spread his arms. "You seem ecstatic mortal, and you should be! I have powers other practitioners only dream of, and I feel generous enough to show a few today! What would you like to see first? My repertoire is expansive..."
  Clark pointed at the ridiculous hat on the Calumnia's head. "Make a rabbit!" he said with an almost childlike disposition. Without hesitation, the Magic Man pulled his hat off his head and reached within. After a short struggle, he hauled a snow white rabbit out by the ears.
  Clark shouted in glee. The Magic Man smiled and replaced the rabbit on his head, covering it with the hat. "Child's play, mortal. What would you like to see next?"
  "Make some cloth!"
  Calumnia obliged. He reached into his sleeve and pulled out unnatural amounts of colourful cloth, tossing it carelessly to the side whilst smiling all the while. Clark was thrilled; he picked the cloth off the pavement and rubbed it into his palms, checking if it was real. "You don't see to be able to give me a challenge mortal. It appears that I must show you something beyond your imagination. Tell me, do you have a fifty dollar bill?"
  Nodding excitedly, Clark, whipped out a week's worth of his lunch money without hesitation. He pressed the scrunched up bill into the man's hand and stepped back, awaiting the grand spectacle. Calumnia smiled mysteriously, and raised the bill high into the air between his two fingers. "You have given me something incredible mortal, for within all things there is life, to varying degrees. With the gift I have been given, I can see this bill has an especial quality of significance, and so I will restore the life that it has. Behold!"
  Calumnia raised his other hand and slapped the bill into his palm, squashing it and making a loud clap that jerked Clark into jumping. Calumnia closed his eyes in intense concentration and waved his arms about his head in a ridiculous manner, mumbling strange words under his breath all the while. As he did so, Clark swore that the Magic Man's hands began to glow. The world around seemed to bristle with energy, and goosebumps ran up and down Clark's skin as Calumnia continued his chanting and waving.
  With a final shout and a swift movement, the Magic Man threw his hands behind his head, and threw them forward again, splitting them apart and releasing...
  A butterfly!
  The butterfly was not normal however, the pattern on its wings were exactly those of a fifty dollar bill! It flew around Calumnia's head for a while, before resting on Clark's shoulder. Awed and slightly scared, he stiffened, trying to get a closer look at the now-living money without moving his head.
  "That, is my ultimate power, mortal. Giving life, to the lifeless," Calumnia whispered dramatically. The butterfly left Clark's shoulders to rest on Calumnia's own. "I know you have been impressed by my unparalleled power, so I leave you with this."
  Calumnia tossed a shiny coin toward Clark, who snatched it out of the air and looked at it. Calumnia's own face was printed on it. "A keepsake, to remind you of the power that exists within me, and within this world. Tell your associates, and I can be there."
  Clark nodded and Calumnia marched past him, his sequined vest glimmering in the sunlight that left colourful imprints on Clark's eyes. Shaking his head to clear his mind, Clark once more set off for home without looking back once. If he had, he might have caught Calumnia stuffing a fifty dollar bill down his pocket.

  Back at home, Clark changed and dumped all his dirty laundry into the collective basket, rushing up the stairs to his room. He pulled out an unused photo frame from his drawers and pulled out the back. Carefully, he removed the insignia coin from his pocket and taped it on, replacing it within the photo frame and setting it on his table. He smiled happily; that had been the best Magic Man he had ever seen, and it was definitely the highlight of his day.
  He turned on his computer, logging into his social media accounts and bragging about the great experience that he'd had to all his friends, all the while shooting glances at the coin that reminded him of the significance of that day.
  It was of great surprise and displeasure to him when his mom stormed into his room an hour a later, a wet and now-useless debit card clutched in her fingers.