REckLEss. A poem.

HEre I am

REckLEss when you’re ARound.

Should I STay

Should I GO

Should I CHance the EBb and FLow

A MOment’s INdecision

And I’m CAught up in YOur SHow

ONce again I’m REckLEss

BUt I’ve noWHere else to

GO

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry. To find out how to buy a copy,
click here.

The Optimist’s Trial. A poem.

There once was an optimist
Who tripped, fell
Lost his wife
Respectability
His whole life
For some reason lost his optimism as well

He picked himself up
Dusted himself off
Set about finding a new life
But it wasn’t easy
So much was tied up
In his head and heart
It wasn’t easy to forget the strife

Three years later
And the optimist returned
In drabs and dribs
A piece at a time
A patchwork quilt
Of emotion and anxiety

There once was an optimist
Who got up, looked around
For a wife
Respectability
And a life
Dim as a broken bulb
But no longer in strife
He searched far and wide
But no luck so far

I guess that’s just me

And maybe always will be

(No) Compass. A poem.

I thought I was
                    free of anger
But it rages

there!
inside!

Everyday

Over every 
           little   
                 betrayal

Surrounded by tears
That lurk just
behind the veil


Release me from hurt

And leave me 
                    be
For I have lost 
                    myself

And have no 
                    compass 

to find my way home again

The Pitch. A poem.

Every time I see her
The briefest moment fleeting
My time with her is limited
To a nondescript meeting

It takes less than a minute
To make the magic pitch
To appeal to better nature
Before regret becomes an itch

But then the meeting’s ended
No optioned heart’s desire
For two souls to be blended
Dream buried in the mire

One thing appears so obvious
And this I’m certain of
I’m really not a salesman
I’m just in (unrequited) love

A Question of Purpose

How do you define yourself? When you have nothing to define yourself with? When your past has been forcibly ejected and you’re holding on for dear life as your plane flies headlong into the ground? When you run out of reasonable and unreasonable metaphors to express yourself?

I hear a lot about purpose. About predestination. As a Christian I’m a believer. But at the same time I find myself purposeless. And I have to ask the question: I’m on God’s path, so what and where is my purpose? (I’m a Christian. I didn’t say I was a patient Christian.)

It’s a simple question, and one that I’m sure has vexed many of you as well. Many people define themselves by their jobs, or their upbringing, or by their education or money. Some by their friendships or achievements. But when you don’t have any of that, what do you do? (Live with your parents, I guess. Question answered? Nope.)

Now, I’m an intelligent man (or so I like to think). I’ve been around. I had a successful career. I’m well educated. I had a loving family. I had the respect of my peers. I did great (and not so great) things. I had purpose. I was fulfilled.

And I lost it all. One day I tripped, fell, and by the time I got back on my feet they were all gone. Like pristine white linen blown from the emotional clothes line during a raging storm. Hmm, that was a terrible simile. How about ‘like a paper boat whirlpooling down life’s storm drain’. No? Okay, I’m out*.

Now, here I am, a creative writing student with no job, no money, no family. Now, I am essentially purposeless**.

I’m searching for the woman of my dreams (is there such a thing?) in the vain hope that with her I’ll regain that missing purpose. But that search has turned out to be more complicated than expected. It seems most women nowadays value men with jobs and money***.

So my question of purpose goes unanswered. I continue to ask everyday. And I wait (less than patiently) for an answer. 

Three years and counting…

Steve 🙂

* I’m not demeaning or making light of my situation. Okay, I am. But if you can’t learn to laugh about your trials and tribulations, you end up going crazy. Maybe I’m there already.

** Except for this blog, I guess. And yes, I do have some family who I love very much, but it sounds far more dramatic and the alliteration works better saying ‘no family’. Stop criticising my creative liberties! Oh, you’re not, that’s me. Sorry.

*** My apologies to any women who think I have summed them up as a cliche–I’m aware I’m generalising. It’s true though ;p

Thoughts of Love. A poem.

Bury those thoughts of love
They are not for you

She is blind to you
Not even hallucination
Or an oasis mirage
You are the poltergeist
Invisible in the room
Ever-present and in pain
Locked into an endless cycle
Of feeble-mindedness
And lonely, wanton disdain

So stop your wishing
Stop your dreaming
Curl yourself up in a foetal ball
And lose yourself in dank despair
Let the black dog by your side
Drag you down into the oily darkness
Grinning as he does
His teeth gripping tightly on your vacant heart

Bury those thoughts of love
Because she is not for you

For you will always be

The fool

See the Light. A poem.

How I wish to see the light
No matter how much it hurts and blinds
My eyes, so used to darkness here
To anxious crowds and bloody sights

Wave a torch, a beacon shining
Like a firefly that flutters in the night
Something I can reach, to aspire
Before the final round of this fight

When the canvass finally catches me
Punch drunk and exhausted
Let me see that final light
And know that it was worth it

Conveyor Belt

Here I am again. Back on the conveyor, darkness seeping to my core. I tried to get off but just wasn’t up to it.

I float through the day, lost in motion that takes me no where. The conveyor clicks and clanks and rolls and on I flow.

When I’m down like this I find it hard to break out. Hard to raise my head and look for a way. Hard to find a reason why I should. Hard to find a reason to go on. Everything is too difficult. Too pointless. But I don’t give up on life. I’ve been down and out enough times to know that’s no longer an option. 

So the conveyor rolls on, guiding me through the darkness that surrounds my head and heart. Maybe even now, there’s a light at the end of that long tunnel. Maybe then I could lift myself up and leave this place behind.

But not today.

Steve

The Loneliness of Being

So what is life when you’re alone?

Many might say life is what you make it: that if you’re alone you make the best of the situation. But for others being alone is a wasteland that sucks the essence of their soul and leaves them a withered husk. Unfortunately, I fall into that category.

It’s not that I don’t have friends. I have a handful I can turn to in times of need, but the problem with having so few true friends is I hate to burden them too often.

There is one person that I long to have in my life, but she doesn’t know me (well, not really) and I will probably never have the strength to tell her. I am paralysed whenever she is around, unable to overcome my fear of rejection.

I’m sure there are others out there who experience the same thing. But it’s not the sort of thing you bring up in casual conversation. And so I linger, festering in my own self pity, lost.

I know I have much to offer. But that matters little when weighed against such fear. But for now I long for sleep. Maybe a new day will bring better things. 

Steve

Twenty Four Kays. A poem.

Twenty four kilometres I walked on a whim
“I can do this, no worries,” what was I thinking?
Five hours, two blisters and a sore ankle later
And I’m wondering if I should feel any way better
Was it just for my ego, or just to feel good
Or was it just for the pain, as I know that it should
And in the end, I can’t deny that which is true
Walking’s a poor substitute for being with you

.

For the full story about my little walking episode, click here.

Steve 🙂

The Long Haul. A poem.

The long haul north
The highway like a dreamtime serpent
Twisting forlornly through valleys
Of gum and wattle, towns and fields

I am an island moving
In the relentless torrent north
Towards faithless destiny
Not remembered or forgiven

Just complete the task assigned and say goodnight
I’m just a chauffeur on the fly

.

I recently drove 2200kms giving a lift to my aging parents to and from their holiday destination up north (there and back twice: all up 4400kms over 4 days).

I didn’t mind the distance. What I did mind was not seeing a family member I was once close to, who I haven’t seen for about four years, and who hasn’t talked to me since a falling out.

I’m not angry. I’m very disappointed. And sad. Maybe one day we’ll reconnect again. I hope so.

Steve

Anniversary. A poem.

An anniversary
Three years of torment
Ashes from which I arise
A new man
A better man
Beholden to the past
But reaching for the future

From this crucible
I am forged anew
To rebuild
To refine
To create
Never to revisit past sins
But to find a better life

With you

.

Not long ago, I said I wouldn’t be posting any poetry for a while to give myself space to create poems for the poetry subject I’ve just started at uni.

Well, I couldn’t help myself. Looks like there’s room for both, after all: poetry blogging and poetry coursing (yes, I like to make up words. So sue me).

Steve 🙂

Sands. A poem.

I rise before the first blush of dawn
Dappled sunlight like reedy fingers
Touching the grey surrounds
Blooming refulgent petals
Apprehension in alpha and omega
What fearsome beasts should rise
On wings of measured determination
Cunningly disguised and lividly forthright
Trapped in sundered cogitation
An hourglass of intimation curtailed
Until sands cease to flow
And all begins anew

Oil and Quicksand. A poem.

My dreams are oil and quicksand
Darkest thoughts, you understand
A heady brew, an unlikely mix
Brought to life, a concrete fix


Dragging me down where dead men float
Tarred and feathered in the undertow
Set me alight in fire and flame
All the better consumed by pain


Oil and quicksand in my head
Hope sunk deep, my feet in lead
Throw me a rope that I’ll ignore
Through neglect, self-pity, forevermore


Let me be forsaken and forgot
Let my head go under, into the bog
Disappear in peat without a trace
Oil and quicksand, my resting place

Three Years Later…

So, here I am, three years after the most harrowing time of my life and everything is pretty much still the same. 

I’m not any closer to finding a real purpose. I still have no love in my life. I’m still socially isolated. I still have no idea what I’m doing (my prayers sound like they’re on constant replay). I still have nothing to look forward to. I still suffer from anxiety and depression (although I can walk around now without fear of the walls closing in, so that’s something), I still have no work opportunities, I’m still pretending to be a writer and I’m still just as much of an idiot as I was before (not sure why I expected that to change).

(Black Dog grins, as much as a metaphorical animal can. “Some more self pity and self loathing?” he says. “Goodo.” He settles in for a long session, head resting comfortably on his paws.)

All this might be fine if I were a teenager, just out of school, but I’m 48 and effectively back in school. So what to do to get out of this ditch I’ve dug myself into?

Maybe I need a new hobby. (“I thought self pity was your hobby,” says Black Dog. “You do it all the time and you’re so good at it.”) No, I have trouble finding time for my existing hobbies (and self pity is not one of them, although yes, I am good at it).

I wonder if I go on a hunger strike, whether that will make a difference? No, I snack too often. And I can’t stand not eating.

Maybe I could just give up and stay in bed, all day, every day. No, too many things to do, including a uni assignment due this Friday. Doh!

Damn this no suicide pact/vow/commitment thingy! Well, I was hopeless at it last time, so I’d probably screw it up again. Besides, the big guy upstairs might not be too happy about me trying again.

(Black Dog scratches his ear. “Never thought I’d say this, but I’m bored already.” He rolls over and goes to sleep, little cartoon sheep jumping in accompaniment to his snoring.)

Maybe sleep is the go. I’ll sleep on it and If I’m lucky, maybe I won’t wake up. Here’s hoping.

Oasis. A poem.

I was lost in the desert
And as the sweeping sands
Surrounded me with the promise of death
As my tongue swelled with my last parched breath
I saw a vision before me
An oasis in the swirling dust
It seemed so far away, yet agonisingly just out of reach
Of water and palms and hyacinths
And I crawled on and on
Because the promise
Was all I needed
To live

Family Lost. A poem.

There are rabbits in my back yard
Each day they rise to greet the light
With eager noses, seek daily bread
While the alpha, tall and bright
Watches oh, so protectively
Together, the family eats again

I had a family once like them
It now feels like so long ago
I loved them so, my family lost
The rabbits are reminders then
With faith and hope
I’ll survive the cost

Hate Life. Live Life.

Almost three years ago, everything changed. I lost my family, my job, my reputation, my possessions, my whole world. Everything came crashing down and I took the one step I thought could solve it. I attempted to take my life.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning was my weapon of choice. Poor research was my saviour. I saw my aged mother, tears streaming down my face, explaining what I’d done. I promised her I wouldn’t do it again. I saw a psychologist, who made me realise what an impact it would have had on my remaining family members, and especially my son.

About six months ago I hit rock bottom again. Not hard to do when you have no sense of self-worth and suffer from life-long depression. I decided I would take a leap off a cliff this time. I had it all lined up, all perfectly planned. But the timing was all wrong. The area was full of people and I didn’t want to be on public display. Saved again.

Today I felt just as low as I had before. I was isolated, alone as always, feeling sorry for myself, as always. I sat there dwelling on the past as I often had, the missteps, the mistakes, the complete fuck ups. The hurt and pain I’ve caused others along the way. I imagined going to the bathroom and opening my wrists. The house was empty, I probably had about two hours before anyone got back. Probably not enough time to bleed out completely. Saved again.

The only other time I thought seriously about killing myself was when I was in my mid-20s. Alone and depressed, as usual. I had a plan. I even outlined that plan to a psychologist, who was really concerned because I was so sure of myself and what I planned to do. I ended up buying a new car. The idea was, I didn’t want to leave anyone to pay off my debts, so I had a stay of execution. For a while, anyway.

If you’re still reading this, you might be wondering why I’m writing about it.
Every time I wanted to attempt suicide, I stopped myself. Even when I almost succeeded three years ago. I stopped myself, because in the end, no matter how shitty everything was, I still wanted to live. No matter how depressed, no matter how lonely, no matter how repugnant I felt about myself, I wanted to live.

And so I’m still here.

Still here. Still standing. Yep, that’s why the blog’s called that.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. Who does? I know there will no doubt be many more times when I feel like taking my life. But I also know that my survival instinct will kick in and stop me, as it has every time before. I hope so, anyway.

I may hate my life, but my life doesn’t hate me.

And I guess that’s good enough.


Suicide Prevention

Mirror, Mirror. A poem.

Mirror, mirror
What do you see?
Just a reflection
Of who I could be
Should I rise
Or should I fall
Could this reflection
Be ignored

Mirror, mirror
Who am I here
My imperfections
Perfectly clear
Have I lost my focus
Have I lost my will
Have I fixated on
A bitter pill

Mirror, mirror
Save me tonight
Let me see
A perfect light
Don’t let me waste away
Inside my mind
Let me see the good
That lives inside

Remember. A poem.

Remember life
The semblance of
Before the fall
(So far you fell, maybe you’re falling still)
When integrity, respect
Were friends on call

All you’ve done
All your transgressions
You just wish it wasn’t so
Accept the facts
(False truths are outside your control)
And move on, go

Kneel, head down
Pray for rain
(Forty days and forty nights should be enough)
To wash your sins
Down life’s ever circling drain

For an end to hurt
And an end to pain
(Through pain you endure, through pain you survive)
For a little daylight
Through the clouds again

Session. A short tale.

“Back again,” says Ms Therapy, reclining in her chair.

“Yes,” I reply, eyeing her curiously. “Every month, as you know.”

Ms Therapy sighs, grabs a pen and notepad from the desk behind her. “Yes, I know.” She sighs again and my anxiety level rises.

“So, what would you like to talk about this time?” Ms Therapy taps the pen impatiently on the pad. She glances at the wall clock. By this point I’m feeling a little put out.

“Do you have something you’d rather be doing?” I say. “I can always come back later.” The last words via a thin smile.

Ms Therapy grins; it’s a little forced. “No, no, you know that I’m here to listen, help you with your problems…” She trails off. Her eyes are distant, and I could swear she’s starting to tear up a little.

“Are you alright?” I say, leaning forward in concern.

“Yes,” Ms Therapy says, putting a hand to her trembling mouth. “No. I’m sorry,” she says. She starts to cry, suppresses it, fanning her face rapidly with one hand, like she’s swatting away imaginary butterflies. Or maybe killer bees.

“How about I come back another time, maybe when you’ve had time to…adjust.” I start to rise, she holds up her palms signalling stay. I glance at the door – if I’m going to get out of here this is my last chance.

“I’ve broken up with my girlfriend,” Ms Therapy says. This is a surprise, as I wasn’t aware she was gay. Not that I know much about her, but I guess my gaydar is as non-existent as the rest of my people-reading skills. Before I can respond, she continues in a torrent of tears and sputtering speech.

“We’ve been together five years. She’s my everything. We are so good together. And last night, all of a sudden, she says ‘it’s not working’ and that she needs to find herself. I mean, what’s not working? She’s never indicated anything was wrong before. Then she leaves and she hasn’t come back and I’ve been worried sick and she’s such a bitch but I love her…”

I’m glad she doesn’t notice how uncomfortable I’ve become; the occasional squirm and nervous tic. “Umm…do you need a hug?” is all I can think to say. Ms Therapy graciously accepts, and for the next half hour I listen to her travails and placate her with “it’ll be alright” and “she’s a stupid woman, she’ll be back when she realises what she’s lost”.

Eventually, the tears subside and Ms Therapy composes herself. “Thank you,” she says. “I just needed to talk to someone about it. I feel so much better now.” It’s a shame I don’t, but I guess I didn’t really need a session, anyway.

“Glad I could help,” I say. My halo glows with new found, smug self-confidence.

“This one’s on the house,” she says, shrugging. “Least I can do.”

“Gee, thanks,” I say as I exit.

I can hear Alpha Girl now: “Hah! You can’t even get a therapy session right!”

Doh.

The Bed I Made. A poem.

Just another day and I drag myself from my bed
(I made it so I have to lie in it)
Open the blinds and let the light in
Far too bright for my dark little world
Maybe I should be a vampire 
Sleep in the day and only come out at night
Where I can hide my issues and parade of tears
Where I can hide my loneliness and anxious fears
Where I can have a better excuse for being alone
And hide away my sadness, no different from here and now
I close the blinds and face my womb
Exercise equipment, desk, books and guitar
If it was any smaller I wouldn’t be able swing the cat that I don’t own (wish I had a dog, though)
I’d like to have made better decisions in my life
But we’re all guilty of that, aren’t we?
In the meantime, I’ll write my blog, do assignments and shoot the breeze
I guess I’ll need a bigger gun, or at least a bigger gin (damn, I don’t even drink)
Oh, well, life goes on, or maybe it’s just a dream
And tomorrow I’ll wake up in the bed I made that I have to lie in



I love stream of consciousness poetry. It flows so honestly, and adopts a natural rhythm all its own.

Shame my life sucks so bad, but I know there are others worse off than me, so poetic venting is a good catharsis. Provides me with plenty to write about, anyway. 🙂

Everything is awesome. Not.

I often get depressed at the worst times. Like today, when I have to do work for uni and my motivation is at an all-time low. The solution? Write aimlessly about depression for my blog. Yes, I’m sure that will solve everything (I may claim to be a writer, but I never claimed to be an intelligent or coherent writer. Or a man with a plan).

Sometimes I play guitar to get me back to a reasonable mental state. But, as we all know (and as I should know, by now), music played by sad people often tends to be…sad. It’s not often that melancholy musos rip into a version of ‘Everything is Awesome’ from the Lego movie (actually, it’s never – no real musos would ever play that song).

Sometimes I lie around waiting for my depression to subside. This is one of the worst solutions, as I tend to fixate on everything bad in my life (which is almost everything I do) and then try to rationalise it with all the people worse off in the world than me (which is a lot more), which makes me sadder as I’m obviously a complete waste of time who has just wasted my own time. Almost a living double negative. And don’t get me started on the bit where I start fantasising about the perfect life (or, more appropriately, perfect lie).

Often, I try to read, but people with depression are attracted to literature in much the same way they are attracted to gloomy music. This makes unhappy endings even more unhappy (“But Rhett, we should be together. I love you!” “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I think I’ll return home and gamble and drink myself into a deep and inescapable hole. And maybe guest star as a Force ghost in the next Star Wars movie.” Note to Disney: do not have an ‘Anakin’ Force ghost cameo. I’m warning you now. You don’t want to see a depressed fan when he’s angry. Nothing to lose, y’know. I warned you I’m not always coherent).

I’m a fairly creative person—I compose stories, poems and music, draw, write this stupid blog—and one would assume that I would be able to find some way (other than high doses of legal and potentially illegal medication) to get me out of the dumps. What I’ve found is that depression is ideal for creativity. I’ve written some of my best work when I feel like crap. Of course, it tends to be a bit depressing, but there you go. Horses for courses, and all that jazz.

I know there are lots of people in the world who suffer from anxiety and depression—a quick search on WordPress reveals hundreds of blogs by sad and lonely bloggers with more than enough to say on the topic. So, my own vaguely pathetic attempts are almost laughable (or miserable, depending on how they turn out).

So, I’m looking for some sure fire quick fixes (yes, I know there aren’t any, but tell me anyway. I’m a true believer in panaceas and placebos, except when they’re administered rectally). Meditation? Tried it. Martial Arts? Do it already. Working out? Yep, a great fix that lasts the period of the workout and about an hour afterwards…Alcohol? I’m sure there’s a potential down side to it, but it’s looking good, so far…

Surprisingly, this pithy bit of writing has cheered me up slightly (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being dead and 10 being obnoxiously and overwhelmingly extroverted, I guess I’m a 4). Not because it’s good, but rather just a way to vent. Maybe I should try some more. Perhaps those uni responses…

Deep. A poem.

I double over and sink
Into waters far too deep
And far too black
I’m drowning here inside myself
Don’t you see me?
No, you never do
Until I’m gone
Dragged down into the depths
Lost forever far from shore
Just another sailor drowned
For the cause

 
Down, down, down, I go. I thought once you hit rock bottom the only way was up. Guess I was wrong.

Depression sucks.

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