My job has reintroduced something into my life that has become one of the worst things to come out of social media and the subsequent messaging apps: The group chat.
I mean, there is the obvious problem of people talking at all hours of the day and night on it…
The itch starts small, at first.
A few scratches hits the spot.
Slowly needing more and more to satisfy the itch.
Before I know it, I need to scratch until it hurts.
Unsatisfied, I have to keep going.
Until I draw blood.
After a while, even the blood won’t stop me.
The wound, infected now, starts to stink of death.
The rot, starts to spread.
Infecting healthy tissue.
Until the entire area is black, green and putrid.
Until I am rotting inside and out.
Until you can smell my putrid stench a mile away.
When I first started writing during the last stint of homelessness, things were very different. The idea was to offer a glimpse in the life of. The two main things I wanted to lean into were 1) the homelessness of it all and 2) the process of dying.
I brush my teeth so hard,
My gums bleed.
I tighten my belt so much,
It digs into the skin.
I tie my boots so tight,
I can feel my pulse in my feet.
I don’t walk, I march.
Everything has to be done with intensity.
Everything has to be over-done by the nth degree.
I don’t know how to slow down.
How to have a softer touch.
How to not be like this.
I have ground my teeth down to nubs trying to hide it.
But there is no hiding this.
If you pay hard enough attention.
It’s always been there.
To some degree.
I’m like a high-strung guitar with a weak neck,
Collapsing under the weight of its own tension.
I woke up this morning and found that I had lost everything.
Feeling as though all the air had been sucked out of the place.
Like the brilliance of life had lost its luminescence.
And everything had been tuned down a few colour grades — grey-scaled almost.
I tried to leave; to go outside…
The pianist plays his tune.
Hands aflutter on the keyboard.
Moving in a blur.
The notes hit hard and fast.
Each key press precise.
Pressure. Duration. Tone.
The music inspires emotion.
Yet the pianist’s movements are almost mechanical.
Fast, rigid and squared.
As if belonging to another song.
Not one that flows with such auditory liquidity.
Stroking the ears, minds and hearts of all who dare listen, and wonder.
How could such a thing come from such a mechanical man?
It hits unexpectedly. Bedlam erupts all around me in a cacophony of gunfire, smoke and chaos.
My grip tightens into a white knuckled squeeze. I feel frozen. Stuck in place. Lost.
Someone screams MOVE!MOVE!MOVE! at me and I don’t think about it, something else inside of me takes over for me and executes the commands that were stuck in the backlog.
That was it. My moment of hesitation. And I blew right past it from one moment to the next without a moments thought.
Everything changes after this.
I do the thing. Step by step. There is a flow to it. Like a pianist who plays a piece that he has known for decades. The fingers flying every this way and that, seemingly at random; but with a precision that comes only from practice, practice, practice.
“I am a weapon”.
I’ve heard the phrase used a lot. In a lot of different contexts. Most cases feel like they have a sort of measured amount of boasting or ego behind it.
The word is generally understood to mean An instrument or means to defend against or defeat…
From my perspective, people are likely to either love me or hate me. Or they love me until they hate me. Regardless. There are seldom iterations of the in-between. Being a person of extremes in both directions, it makes sense to me that people would respond to me in a…