How to have sex with a ghost

Black crocuses
for a white flag,
tonight we bring the dead
back to life,
the banshees and
saints, absorbed by
their violence,
cultivated by centuries
of silence, I am not
done with you yet,
forgive me,
please.
god-speed son,
you said, before you
left,

I’ve gone this long
under lock and key,
with no intent on exile,
I use it physically for my
pleasure
more and more.
Don’t lead the horse to the water,
if you are not ready
to drown it,
it should have been us,
that night,
fury,
oh fury,
how I want you,

In that confined mess of a
misinformed orgy of bodies
and scripts and curtains
closing, lights blazing,
singing about pockets
overflowing with
wildflowers to
ward off the plague,
there’s a hairline fracture
in every syllable,
in every melody, in every
brief right hook of
regicidal forgiveness,
as we beg those ghosts
for closure.

Spilling out tooth and
nail on hardwood foundations,
rosewood necks and
steel ropes, we obsess
over lines in the sutures,
and it makes me feel
alive.
that rupture split
and I’m gagging, and gasping
for air in the lucid field
of mustard gas and
patchouli fumes,
and I’m praying to wrath,
and to sloth,
and to gluttony,
and to lust,
and to every single deity I know
who will forgive the transgressions
which make me human,

and as I flinch at the hair trigger,
and as the grit of sombre reprisal grips me,
and as the ghost of my mother unloads
shot after shot into a displaced room,
and as I pray to crawl inside the womb,
and as I wonder what hell tastes like,
and as I smell the scent of lilac perfume,
and as I detach myself from every living
shifting sense of denial and rapture that
I forsake for the sake of a promise,
and as I shield myself from the blistering sun,
and as I curse the sky for the violent summers,
and as I wonder how to have sex with a ghost,
and as I pick my bones out from the crevices,
the doorway, the trench, the easel and the picture frame,
I question why you left me here,
to fend for myself.

Stuffed Pig

Little bit of timed flash fiction, to practice narrative writing, also as I’ve hit a wall with poetry. Possibly a sensitive topic for some, but I was just in one of those moods.

 

There are three men in the room. Two are in a professional debate about saving a man’s life, whilst the third is fumbling around with medical equipment. He drops a container which spills a selection of steel instruments, and a few other odds and ends that always seem to be in abundance in hospitals. Masks, surgical wool, two bottles of hand sanitiser – but not the kind you get at the pharmacist. Hospital personnel get a special kind to kill off that last 0.01%.

The third man is bent over the sterilised debris trying to make it all fit back into the container. There is a designated compartment for everything, but he just can’t work out which is which. The other two men have stopped their discussion and have turned to face the man hunched over the medical fallout.

‘John. The fuck are you doing? That’s sterilised, you have to throw it out’

It’s like trying to watch a kid fit a square through the circle hole. He’s turning each item back and forth trying to fit it where it shouldn’t go.

‘John’

His head jolts around as he hears his name. His hands relax, and the Pandora’s box of medical nonsense throws its belongings back on the floor. He looks back at it and mutters frantically under his breath.

‘John, for fucks sake, throw it in the bin. Set transport up. I need to get this guy into surgery soon’

The first ‘yes’, doesn’t quite come out of his mouth, but the second one does. He darts out the room, almost knocking a nurse over on his way past.

He left the container and all its innards on the floor. One of the two left looks over, let’s out a long breath and looks in a direction briefly, as if he were watching John fuck up something else through the hospital corridors.

‘How’s he doing, bleeding down?’

His gaze is interrupted by this question, and he’s brought back to the room. His right hand is holding a once pristine towel stained dark red. The kind of red which tells you he’s been holding it there for quite a while.

‘Yeah, but we need to get him into surgery to close it up properly. It’s good it’s just the one wrist’

The man looks almost solemnly at the towel.

‘Christ, I hate this’

The other fiddles around with his pager for a second.

‘You got another call?’

He places the pager back in his pocket and clears his throat.

‘No I just didn’t want to look’

‘It’s better now. He was bleeding like a stuffed pig earlier’

There’s a moment of silence, and it bothers me.

‘I’m sorry what?’

The two men look at me. They almost look confused, like my voice is inappropriate in a place like this. I mean, they have a point, but I had to say something. One of the men fumbles an answer around in his mouth briefly before he speaks.

‘Uh, we mean the bleeding was quite heavy’

One man looks at the other, and the other looks back with a furrowed brow briefly before looking back at me.

‘But…stuffed pig?’ I say.

They’re just looking at me now. Looking at me like I shouldn’t have said anything. Looking at me like I shouldn’t have interrupted them. Looking at me like I’m an idiot. I intend to prove them correct on one account here.

‘It’s a – ‘
The man seems to trail of. Like I wasn’t a human. Like he’s forgotten that I’ve been here the entire time. The other man finishes up for him.

‘It’s a saying. It just means –‘

‘Stuck pig’ I say, ‘Stuffed pig doesn’t make sense’ I’m not allowing him to finish sentence. Giving myself a moment of satisfaction where I corrected two trained medical personal. This was a victory, and I wasn’t finished.

‘And technically, the phrase is squealing like a stuck pig.’

They’re looking at me narrowed eyes and an air of confusion, looking at me like I’m deranged. Like my version – the correct version – of the idiom doesn’t make sense. Something to do with hunting I presume. Who knows where any of these phrases come from. At least use them correctly.

There’s a strange rush involved when correcting someone who so clearly know they’re better than you. When they look at you like couldn’t do what they do, like you couldn’t be responsible for a person’s life.

I open my mouth ready to deliver the knockout punch to their ego. To give them some other irrelevant little piece of knowledge to show them I’m not as stupid as I look.

One of them is looking at the soaked towel wrapped around my wrist, applying more pressure now. And I’m meeting his gaze, watching his hand press the cloth the wound.

The other is still looking at me with a quizzical, pitiful look.

My mouth hangs open, but the words just won’t come out. Perhaps it’s the loss of blood, or perhaps I just can’t remember the point I’m trying to make.

Volga

The last few days
of joyous occasion
but I am content
to spend it
on the edge of
the riverbank,
feet inches
from the cellophane
skim
on the water’s lips.
I can hear the processed
guitars on a processed
track coming
from the house,
accompanied by
pitch deaf vocals,
the homeless choir,
the hopeless notes,
I wonder who wrote them.
Two of my discarded
cigarettes float on the
surface,
defiant
like the Argos,
reliant on me
to not disturb the water.

Sláinte

I wrote you a letter
explaining how important it was
for me
to never see you again.
It took me over a year
to send it.
All the while I was
trying to piece together
a life without a future tense.

I tried to stop smoking
for you,
but it never stuck.
There’s a glacial disdain
in the old photographs of us,
we would perch uncomfortably
in condensed clothing and an
illegitimate aesthetic.

There was a soft-focus tenderness,
you weren’t quite pretty,
but you were almost beautiful.
I was hell-bent
on living out a Serbian
montage, and you just wanted
to prove your father wrong.
I discussed shrapnel with him
over Irish whisky
and I just knew he despised me.

You would whisper
of fascists, and of sociopaths,
and of pathological lying
for the sake of creating a reality.
I would reply with the talk of exile,
with hiding my shame in a country
foreign to me.
On the pinch dark nights,
with the Zoroastrians and
the soothsayers, it seemed
most convenient for us
to scorn each other.

For you agreed with my
pilgrimage, but not with my
methods. You thought flying was
arousing, but I always thought it
irrelevant. Flying just didn’t
feel religious.
The next time we spoke,
you thought it was
important to discuss
my mother, and I
resented you for that.
That was the moment
for the weight to shift,
for the stones to dig deep
and the chain to snap.

You’ll never write back,
and there is comfort in that.
I told you I was leaving,
but I never said where,
although you could have guessed
that I wanted to witness the
end of the cappuccino
years of the American
façade. You’ll loathe me
for what I said,
my dear,
but my sentiments were honest,
just as you always
wished they were.

M.I.A.

Just a quick apology for the lack of recent inactivity. I made an impromptu decision to go away for a few weeks to gain a little head-space.  I’ll try and remain as consistent as possible before my next inevitable hiatus.

A Letter

Just a little timed piece. Mainly doing practice writing in the down time to a larger project I am working on. I’ll mostly be putting up this kind of thing for a while in lieu of silence.

 

I don’t know how long I’ve been awake at this point, nor how many times I’ve read the letter I am holding. There must be a limit; a moment when I start to make meaning from it, when I know what the hell I am supposed to do next. That direction is just not arriving. Every reading just leaves me with another question, and by now I just don’t know if they will ever be answered, and that’s a thought that makes me nauseous. I pour myself another drink. I rarely drink my scotch neat, but now seems like the time to start.

It’s the bottle your parents got me last year for my birthday. The thirty-year aged stuff. You would have loved it. I was saving it for a joyful occasion, but I don’t see one of those rolling around any time soon, and besides, it seemed like the most bittersweet choice given the circumstances. I take a sip, but swallow more than half the glass at once. I lay the glass back down on the table. Next to your ring. It’s been right there since the moment I got home. I read the letter but I couldn’t move the ring. I couldn’t bring myself to touch it.

Where did it all go wrong? I get extracts of explanation from sections of your letter but I won’t accept it. It’s not right, and it’s not fair. Everyone fights. We could have stood up to it. Why did you run away from this? There’s a line I keep reading over, the line I obsess and wrestle with;

I am sorry, but there was nothing I could do

                You could have done anything – anything but this. You can’t throw in the towel like this. You promised me that we would persevere through anything that came along. Do you remember the night we made that promise? Sure, we were drunk, but we knew the gravity of what we shared. You can’t just change your mind. You can’t just take that back.

There was nothing I could do; some love just fails.

Every time I read that. Every time you tell me that the most stable thing I’d ever had in my life was something that failed – I’m at a different stage entirely. At first I wanted to shout. I wanted to scream my lungs raw, tear piece from piece from the house we loved. Shatter every piece of the dining set my mother gave us on our wedding day. Shatter every reminder that I was never prepared for this. I didn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. I wanted to cry – I wanted to break down into an infantile wreck and sob for days, I wanted to feel every single emotion all at once, but I just couldn’t do that either. You’d joke about that kind of thing – saying you’d never once seen me shed a tear. Well that guise was shattered when we saw your sisters new-born. You knew that was what I wanted – a family – but you tore that apart before it had the chance to materialise. You didn’t expect me to break down, you didn’t think I would shed a tear. I am just living up to your expectations, at least in this.

I finish the rest of the scotch in the glass, and pour myself another. Was it my drinking? Christ, you were a mean drunk, but that didn’t bother me. I got used to it, it was just – it was one of the things that made you, you. I knew you never meant the things you said –

I mean, I guess I thought I did. Were you being honest all those times. All those nights you would get too drunk too quickly, and the things you said – well, you apologised in the morning. You always did. You always told me you loved me, told me you didn’t mean a single word of it. Told me you still have some unresolved feelings from the past. Told me things still confuse you. You would want to know what you said to me, but I never wanted to tell you. You could always force it out of me though. It brought you to tears when I told you the words you said to me. I used to think it was out of regret, that you didn’t mean it. Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe they were just truths I wasn’t supposed to hear.

There was nothing I could do –

I hate myself for wanting to believe you. For getting a sense that this is my fault. That you just needed a way out. You had a way out. You could have been honest. Maybe it’s easier to just pack up and leave, but you’re running away. I don’t expect you to stay and fight if you’re unhappy, but at least be fucking honest about it. I feel myself getting angrier, and I try and close my eyes. Breath through it. Slowly. No –

Fuck that. You ripped my fucking world to shreds without so much as a goodbye. You left me a letter and a goddamn ring, like you didn’t think that would kill me to see. You always were one for dramatics, but this isn’t a goddamn play. This is our lives – my life – and what you’ve done is cruel. I gave so much to make this work. Sure, things lapse. Sometimes I couldn’t be there when you needed me. Sometimes I have other priorities. That’s life. I couldn’t have made more time for you

But –

If you walked through the door this very second I know I would forgive you in an instant. I’m trying to be irrational, but I’m struggling. I’m watching the door, waiting for the miracle that isn’t going to come. I top up the scotch. I dread the idea of sleep right now. Going into the bedroom. Seeing the extent of the damages. Seeing what is left, if there is anything to salvage. I don’t care about what was taken – I’m haunted by what is left. I tease at the ring off my finger. It’s become tighter since you put it on. I’m holding it between my thumb and forefinger and there’s a jarring moment. A moment of reality, of gravity, and that what is severed cannot be undone. This is no longer just a bad night. This is my life now. I place the ring on the table. Next to yours.

I brace myself for rock bottom. If I’m not crying now, it’ll never happen.

And it never does.

Takotsubo

Takotsubo – you won’t find this words definition in any English dictionary. Find yourself a medical dictionary however and you’ll be lead to Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy – a very rare, and often misdiagnosed, heart condition. The word itself is Japanese – it was named after a type of octopus trap which resembles a clay pot. It was named as such by Dr Hikaru Sato in 1991, as the heart ventricle tended to misshape and resemble a takotsubo octopus pot.

I first encountered the term working in an IRCU unit of a hospital, that’s the interventional radiology and cardiology unit, pronounced – ‘urkoo’. I was a clerical imaging officer, essentially a glorified administrator. I had come across most terms and diagnosis’ before, however when a diagnosis report came back for a patient with ‘TAKOTSUBO CARDIO?’ written by a consultant, I went out of my way to work it what it meant. I had never looked through a medical dictionary before and I haven’t since. I seemed to think that it would speak in layman’s terms, and in hindsight it was probably not surprising that very few of the definitions made sense to me. It is a consultant’s reference book after all. Undeterred I took to the internet – which likely should have been my first option at the time – and I found a trove of definitions and descriptions of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy for the common man. Something struck me quite profoundly. Most medical syndromes tend to have a common name, and Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy had two;

The first: stunted heart syndrome, and the second: broken heart syndrome. I remember at the time finding this profoundly poetic. I also distinctly remember trying to force myself not to romanticise something that was slowly killing a patient, but that didn’t happen. With broken heart syndrome, the weakening of the ventricle, which in turn gives it the octopus pot shape, can often be triggered by emotional stress – a lover’s death, a family member perishing, or maybe a life of frequent anxiety.

This was something I found unsettling, but oddly moving. The times I had heard that old cliché ‘they died of a broken heart’, I had passed it off and rolled my eyes. Yet there I was, reading medical proof that you can in fact die from a broken heart.

I’ve often found that when a discovery like this is made, it’s often our knee jerk reaction to put this in relation to ourselves. It is, at its core, a selfish reaction, but what are we if not selfish? I had stopped thinking about the patient with broken heart syndrome by this point and I was playing over my fragmented family tree in my head. My family had two things in abundance; heart conditions, and emotional instability. At the time this made me laugh. It still makes me laugh today. It’s like dousing a time bomb in kerosene and configuring the timer to go off at an unknown time. As I am one to do, I tried to think about this rationally and see if there is any actual correlation in this. There was my great aunt who drowned herself in her bathtub – her husband suffered with various heart problems after that. In my lifetime, there was my uncle who died from heart disease, and he was a widower for several years. Right on my doorstep, my father had a heart attack a few years after my mother’s death. Three is the magic number, so I concluded that my family had some sort of curse. The tragic Walker / Davies paradigm.

This all should have been pretty eye opening, and given my hereditary disposition to heart problems and emotional conditions, it should have been the turning point for several habits. You often hear about people realising the severity of something, something like this, and they stop smoking, or drinking, or taking drugs, but I didn’t do any of that, not even after I found out my own heart beat was irregular. I just accepted it, and gave a little sigh to mean ‘well, I’m fucked’. One of the factors which acted as the catalyst to this thinking was my new-found intrigue with Albert Camus and this notion of absurdism. With a Sisyphean state of mind, I decided that rather than trying to derive some sort of meaning, or maybe look to have faith that it could turn out another way (philosophical suicide as Camus called it – that phrase always made me smile), I just accepted it, and carried on as usual.

The choice of what I was surrounding myself with at the time made my frame of mind seem quite logical. I never thought you could just experience a text and then be done with it. Every piece sets something in motion. Camus made me stop questioning life events, DeLillo made me concerned about the society we deem as normal, and Palahniuk made me cynical with a bleak sense of humour – and I read a lot of Palahniuk. It speaks volumes when I look at my initial reaction to that little event at work. It went from finding out a patient has a very rare life threatening disease, to me finding humour in my family’s discouraging correlation of passing. It’s a cover in truth, but I’m not even trying to lie to myself about that one. In truth; I find it poetic, and I find that to be more worrying than finding it humorous. I just couldn’t escape that name; Broken heart disease. It’s as if your whole body just seizes up, ceases to want to be when it knows it’s lost something important. It’s as if no matter how resilient you become, your heart can resort to this infantile tantrum phase when it can’t be with the one it loved.

As if it knew its purpose, and having done all it can do, and committed all the time it can to someone, it knows when to put its cards on the table and walk away. Every thought triggers two more, and the chain of events leaves me in stunned silence.  What brings me back is knowing that with every typical cynicism I have, how readily I can overlook conventional examples of what is ‘symbolic’, all it takes is the mention of one rare heart condition to leave me in a state of questioning hush.

Final blues for the bloodied youth

I started out watching from afar, the humiliation, the panic, the generational famine,
I wish I could con myself to identify as a flâneur, but the word sickens me,             leaves me
Stricken with the sense of observation without acting, as I’m watching others pounding the hard rock
With bloodied knuckles, repeating, repeating, leaving stain after stain for the sake of the action,
And I join in, and I let it strip at the flesh, leaving bruised bloodied knuckles to remind me of it,
And the act is there – but we aren’t doing shit, we’re persevering, surviving, waiting for
The night to roll around, shotgun, south bound, in the Argo of our own sort, wound up to hide
The scrapes and the dents and the cuts and the ruptures, and I miss my cue and we’re backseat, and hungry
And we’re looking for paradise lost, just waiting to get fucked by clean-cut strangers and pilgrims,
In the Sunday morning parade and I’m digging up old manuscripts, for the sole purpose of trying to fuck them back

And the driver – he’s a cunt and I wish I’d never met him, but he’s stuck with me out of convenience so I shouldn’t complain,
And the girl in the back seat, I never remembered her name, and it would become an issue when she’s yelling and screaming
About how I could forget – you never told me? – fuck yourself – I’m trying to be rational and get us out of this
But I am yelling at her right back – out of grandeur and of showmanship – out of making a scene – I shout  ‘it’s part of my charm’ –
She laughs – and I cover myself again in consistency and wry smiles for all I was in this for was a sense of helpless selfishness
I would happily be the villain, the brunt of it all, just for a purpose in a situation that matters to some

There’s the smell of sweat and ecstasy, there’s a vomit green transparency, a glaze
That coats the walls and makes us wonder why we ever came here at all?
Well that’s for lack of anything better to do – we’re the rubber slipper of this city
There’s a haze in one of their eyes, like mirrors splintered and left to die,
The voice asks me what I want and I reply ‘Climax –
and surprise me’
There are no scholars left in this cesspit, they litter the halls in rigor mortis
The soul can only afford so much abuse, and we aren’t honest enough to
Wear hearts on our sleeves, our own, and others, ill-perceived, not out of spite but out of greed
And when I couldn’t bring myself to grieve for a mangled friend and his Aprilia
I tried to write a poem, but it was shit, and I fucked him over one last time, I could have
Left it on any unmarked grave, it could have well have been any of the others suffocated by tides
of righteous perseverance

And it came as a shock to us, the righteous, bruised and battered ones, the lovers and the fighters and the takers and the users,
And the strangers chatting shit, and the dealers peppering the mix and the cradlers, the painters, the poets, the bastards,
And the heathens and the wrathful ones, the seething mass of anxiousness, the dreamers, the scapegoats, the quarrellers, the murderers
And the players and the Argonauts, the distressers and their own distraught, the assholes, the junkies, the white-trash, and their heroes,
And the fragrant scent of disregard, the lonely fuckers playing parts, the unstable, the halo, the martyr and the saviour,
And we all are one and share ourselves, and we hated every sense of us, fragmented perspective, cut loose – undiscovered
What is there to take when it’s all been ravaged in the drought of our self-sufficient lack of morals, if there’s a god then let him show
The difference between our kind and others, we’re sick and tired and smothered bloody
and aching, and waiting for something to finally arrive
To take us away – Leave this all behind.

Husk

I’ve got one hour until my parents are back from the theatre.

I’m at my typically cluttered desk. Textbooks and notes bathed in the sickly glow from a budget mass produced lamp, designed especially to fit the Swedish specifications of a stylish and productive workspace.

There are only two things on my desk that are important right now. On the table is a photograph of me and my best friend, Hugh. It was taken a couple of years back. A school excursion, the typical outdoors experience that’s supposed to build character. It was a weekend of early mornings and shitty experiences, but we made the most of it. Hell, we made it fun.

To my left is a small plastic bag, containing a coarse white powder. Give it to a pharmacist or a chemist and they’ll identify it as ‘Desomorphine’. Show it to a kid my age, or a junkie down on their luck and they’ll tell you you’ve got a cheap shipment of Husk. It’s a drug that appealed to the latter for a few years. It was an alternative to heroin, but a tenth of the cost. There was a reason for this. You had your typical long term side effects; heart palpitations, stunted brain cell development, rabid gum disease, but that’s to be expected.

Husk had a much more obvious and worrying long term effect. Necrosis of the skin.

You can probably begin to imagine it, but I can tell you, it’s worse than that. It’s like a section of your body doesn’t get the memo that your heart is still beating and it just – gives up. It rots. The skin falls away and reveals the blighted muscle tissue and discoloured bone that the drug has got to and ruined. Deploy. Discover. Destroy. The drug follows every teaching of our founding fathers. So, you’re left with these stinking, rotting masses of flesh hanging off your body.

It’s unpleasant;

                                but I have no intention of getting to that point.

Another way the drug differs from typical opiates is the overdose. Take too much heroin for your little heart to manage and it’ll just give up on you. Husk won’t kill you however. It’ll just…change you. Reduce you to a blabbering fool for the rest of your life. Motor skills, language skills, sense of reasoning – out the window. Hell, you’ll be lucky if you can even pronounce your own name at the end of it. You’ll be reduced to the equivalent of an adult new born. A shell of your former self. Hence the name – Husk.

All this didn’t deter the most desperate people looking for a fix. It got big in the darker corners of Europe, and then made its way over to America. The authorities and the DEA didn’t pay it much attention until it started making its way into high schools. As soon as it threatened the suburban middle class, they mustered up a crusade to stop the blight. Hell, I’m saying this as someone from that world. My father’s a doctor, my mother a lawyer. They own their own house. I am the very embodiment of my own cynicisms.

So why do I have the drug? Well, I’m not looking for a fix, and I’ve never had an interest in getting high. I tease the picture of me and Hugh in my fingers.

He overdosed on Husk six weeks ago.

 When I found out, well there’s little that can prepare you for that. I knew him better than anyone, and I knew it wasn’t an accident. He was a smart guy, hell, one of the smartest people I’d ever met. He had been accepted into his first three colleges of choice. He was going to be a doctor, and a damn good one at that.

He wasn’t the first to overdose at my school, and he wasn’t the last. These weren’t copycat actions, and these weren’t the actions of followers.

Daisy Thompson – she was published in several student literary collectives – she overdosed eight weeks ago,

Paul Erikkson – he could have got a sporting scholarship to any college of his choosing – he overdosed five weeks ago, 

Holly Davies – I sat behind her in my further mathematics class and she overdosed just six days ago.

The brightest minds, the most charismatic and prosperous individuals were dropping like flies. This wasn’t suicide, but it was their escape. I didn’t want to believe it, but you can’t just ignore a correlation like that. They all had a lot ahead of them, but sometimes you got to think, is that what they really wanted? We’re barely learning to think for ourselves, and we’re already sizing up the mountain we are going to have to climb for the rest of our life.

I understand why they did it. I wouldn’t have bought the drug if I didn’t.

Being constantly told what you’re going to amount to, being reminded about your bright future, it’s merely a constant reminder that you have expectations to fulfil. It’s hard to be happy when you’re constantly sizing up your next step, as well as the distance of the fall if you miss it.

Human nature is simple; we just want to be happy.

I mean real happiness. Not the fleeting kind we get day to day – going shopping, watching your team win, watching a film you like – this isn’t it. These little anomalies of content will always be tarnished by the next little dilemma to come along.

I mean pure, unadulterated, unconditional happiness.

The kind I saw last week, in Hugh’s face.

He was sat in the canteen, spooning yoghurt out a bowl with one hand and throwing it onto the floor, his other hand playing with his genitals. People don’t die when they take husk – this was the equivalent of an adult new born.

Never in my ten years of knowing him had I ever seen him laugh so hard, or seen him as care free as he was that lunchtime, painting his strawberry flavoured masterpiece with his dick in his hand.

He doesn’t even recognise me anymore, but that doesn’t change a thing for him.

Maybe the first was an accident. Allen Jones – he always had troubles with what he was going to do after high school. He didn’t have the grades to go where he wanted, and I guess he just wanted a release. When he came back to school – well it was strange to see. Always smiling, always content, always at peace. He used to have panic attacks like clockwork. Now he just sits around sticking the pages of books together with glue. Every single kid in that school, from the honour students to the kids who’d huff solvents in the toilets after school, every single one is the middle child of history. There’s no more American dream to strive for, and the concept of correcting the instabilities left by it is too far off.

We are just filler. We are the commercials for European sports-cars and male impotency medication that crawls through the early morning television schedule.

When you think of it like that, I’m not surprised all the kids did it, and I’m not surprised Hugh did it. He was setting out to spend half of his life in Med school, and then the other half to follow would be there to pay it off. You don’t get a break in this world. The only time when you aren’t plagued by responsibility is as an infant, or when you finally cash in your twilight years, slowly dying but out of your mind on medication.

I’m not trying to say what these kids did, what I intend to do, is right. I don’t need to justify my actions.

It’s just easier –

                                And things seldom come easily.

 I’m pinching the bag in between my forearm and thumb, and looking at the picture of Hugh. He’s never coming back, so I may as well join him.

The substance should be dissolved in water. I’d seen it a million times in films. I never thought I’d be at this point, but hell, life’s full of surprises like this.

I’m holding a lighter under a spoon with water and the husk. Too much for a first-time user. Enough to overdose on. What I didn’t understand from when I saw this in films is that when you’re doing it for real, it’s a much slower process. I flick on the television I have next to my desk. The news flashes on the screen and they’re showing a report on Husk. It’s strange to watch it whilst I’m dissolving a fix in one of my parent’s silver spoons. These anti-husk reports are on every couple of days.

But, this isn’t that.

It’s live footage, from an airport. I let go of the gas compression on the lighter and move closer.

The whole airport is in lockdown. Apparently, there’s a kid – he’s locked himself in one of the bathrooms, and he’s threatening to overdose.

His uncle is there outside the bathroom, distraught, begging the kid to come out. There are passengers, pilots, baggage staff, air hosts and hostess’, all watching. All waiting. Every single close-up shot of the crowd reveals a face so heavy with empathy. The reporter is talking to a woman slumped on a chair, crying. I assume it’s the kid’s mother, but it isn’t. The woman chokes out that her daughter overdosed a couple of months ago, and then she creases in on herself, crying frantically.

There isn’t a single shot of the crowd where there isn’t someone as distraught as this.

There isn’t a single shot which doesn’t have someone who’s whole life was torn apart by this drug.

The reporter is rushing over to the airport bathroom. The kid came out. He didn’t do it. He’s crying. He’s shaking. His uncle rushes over and hugs him.

And everyone’s clapping for this kid. They’re smiling through tears.

How must this feel for those whose kids went through it?

I can’t even begin to imagine, and the logical step would be to think about my parents. For them to come home and I’ve –

I can’t even think about it.

I throw the spoon in the bin, the lighter, the bag, the syringe. Everything.

I pick up the picture of Hugh again. I look at his goofy smile.

After the overdose, he can’t use a mobile phone. I doubt he’ll ever wrap his head around it again.

I reach over to my phone and address a text to him. I tell him he’s an idiot, and then I tell him I miss him.

What I just wanted to say at 4AM

I always said
that wine after 4am is a bad idea.
I instinctively mean
red.
Who drinks anything else anymore?
We’re discussing all those supernatural times
we spent, mixing cheap bourbon
with ketamine, or whatever amphetamines
we could get our hands on.
I’ve been sober for over a year now,
but this isn’t the time to mention that.
You always saw me more attractively
when my willpower was stunted.
We’re pivoting in circles,
round perspectives which we have committed
years of our time to.

I think it is time for you to move on.

I gain as little from this place as you,
and I shan’t stay for long.
I don’t know where I will go,
or when,
or even so much as why,
but I do know I won’t say a word
when I do go.

I’ve spent four years
right here
chasing my inept sense of romance;
helplessness
in the face of a paragon.
Shining a torch on every detail,
derailing every thought
that didn’t match my imaginative belief.

Oh, how I wish I could fall in love with a ghost.

I just wanted to say that
I am sorry, my dear,
that I took your heart away from you.
You weren’t using it,
and,
it was just so easy.