is it real?
A Friday in Winter © 2018
2015 – what a year…
Will you love me for a while? She scared him a little but he was falling. She knew he was the one and he had kind eyes.
Who ever fails at life? What is success? Why do we invent such categories? Who invented them and for what purpose? This may well be the pertinent question. Follow the patterns and repeat. Seems to be what they do around here when they ‘grow up’.
We’ll need you on deck at 6am sharp, we depend on you. Can you work Saturday? Oh look we’re cutting hourly rates to help the boss he’s got his golf fees due and his wife’s Range Rover Evoque needs a service. Let me repeat, we need to run a tight ship as you know. It’s competitive and it’s all about “Productivity and Innovation!” Or something. It was a great company. They told us at the meetings. Except Penny who moaned like a broken record over coffee at morning breaks and everyone rolled their eyes. “Burnt out old bitch…” Jim offered in the wash room. We laughed. I nodded. Jim had his finger on the pulse at work. She was clearly no good for morale. We need team players here. It’s my boys birthday on Saturday. Fuck.
Your doing alright and you’ll go far here son. Sign this tax form and we’re good to go.
The children had wide innovative mind’s and eyes that looked at wondrous beginnings and saw infinite miracles. But they’ll need a good job. We love those kids. We’re working for them you know! Then they left for work and nobody spoke at that hour. Grab a coffee and go. The child care arrangements were almost perfect. The sports news was what they talked about and the kids got the idea. Facts are facts and Santa ain’t real kid. They never saw their little five-year-olds lonely tears behind her pink bedroom door. She held dolly so tightly and she sobbed gently into her blanket. Sally was always such a happy girl. They took her to MacDonald’s for her birthday. Such a lucky girl. Day care on Monday.
“I want to die.” Heather said flatly and I thought it was a deadpan joke. I had just remarked about the rainy day and she says that. Sat next to me. Wet umbrella folded in her lap. Then she got off at the next bus stop. I still wonder who she was. I call her Heather just so she has a name. She looked about 19 or 20. She seemed lonely. Lost. Never forgotten her. Never saw her again.
Contrary to popular belief, not everything society does is written on tablets of stone as if in some master instruction manual thoughtfully passed down by the gods aeons back. The slavish repetition of pointless and detrimental customs is arguably a form of belief, or faith, in Idiocy. Either that or a form of mass psychopathic dementia. Could all those staunch atheists actually be true believers in the neon God they made? Perhaps ‘God’ has been staring at you from billboards and tempting you with cheap fares and better holidays. Church morphed into the café strip down town and that hip bar on Fridays after work. Well, there were 100 different beers on tap and the music was ok. Happy hour 5 – 7 and the wine was cheap and cheerful. Tony was 30 and had a certain charisma which got her attention about eight months ago. He joked that he was praying for that new role in Marketing and pictured himself in a new Audi A3 Cabriolet Quattro in metallic shiraz. He knew it would impress and he worked the room well. We don’t do religion they told friends at dinner parties smartly trying to sound hip as they headed into middle age. “Only fools believed”, they said and everyone laughed. She believed in Tony and his smile. More Chardonnay Maxine?
Work on suckers and slaves. Pay tax. It’s the law. We care about each of you. It’s department policy. Take a number and wait over there. Next!
Some things have long been written in stone. But you ignore all that it’s not relevant to anything. Ancient what? Those pyramids are amazing we did a package tour in 97 heaps of fun. Experts said something that sounds awesome and somebody sounding important said it on television so it’s true. Gerry at work saw it too and he agreed. “True as a turtles turd!” he says. He’s a funny guy Gerry. History – it’s what you get on the History Channel – plus those kooky Aliens shows. We sponsor a little African boy can’t recall his name. We’re doing South Africa and Egypt at the end of the year. Six weeks. Work will be piled high when I get back oh boy! He smiled then looked pained. He flicked on the plasma just as Brien threw to Ashlee with a witty segue and a twinkle in his eye. Flawless. Polished. Ashlee took the cue with precision and seamlessly launched into the weather report. She was perky and upbeat so he always caught the evening weather report. Hottest June day in Melbourne in recorded history. She had a cute smile which was etched in his imagination.
He and Maxine hadn’t touched in six years.
“I don’t fit into this fucked up world…” Alex whispered to the drab walls as he slammed a hit. It was a clean place for a squat house and the junkies left him alone. There was running water in the back lane. Alex was good at algebra and liked electronics. Built a computer from scratch when he was 15. They said he’d be an electrical engineer once. He hadn’t eaten in two days he thought fleetingly then he pushed the needle into his arm and pressed. Bliss.
He hated that fucking job. He had no choice. The fucking bank and this pissant cyborg petty micro managerial-guru fuck head line manager owned his lily ass. He had wanted to be a fireman when he was seven. Or an international hot air balloon pilot sailing the skies of the world. Being seven was fun. He could picture the gang as he daydreamed from his neat office work cubicle with grey partitions and pinned minutes of the safety meetings. A small framed picture of his boy was pushed haphazardly back behind the computer. They laughed and climbed trees in somebody’s yard and shot at aliens and monsters. Now they needed to create ‘brand energy’ and ‘facilitate visionary synergistic relationships with clients because ‘time is the new currency!’ Fuck. He was becoming more forward thinking with each passing day and couldn’t stop thinking out of the box. He could smash that window and jump it was 15 floors. Freedom. He hated their fucking tin pot buzzwords with every fibre.
The world seemed an enormous mystery that extended well beyond the far edge of the next block where little Sam and his big brother Brett lived and who knows how far it goes! Whoa! Transformers! Cool! They had a little black terrier called Pete and their dad made stupid jokes. Those days felt as if they’d last forever because we felt like we had forever in front of us. Life was one adventure after the next.
Does anything else in this world seek such nonsense? Tigers looking for a promotion. Roses out-bidding the competition. Baboons gazing into space thinking of that perfect getaway.
What should this tell you? Think hard now.
Humans are strange creatures. So stuck. So fearful but so full of their own imagined worldly schemes, schemas and paradigms.
Lost you could say.
Love your children and teach them well. Question authority and find determination in your belly. Put the fire in theirs. You may save their lives. Give them love and hope. Make it unconditional and let them fall. Hearts get forgotten in a world trying to make sense. Be present in moments and laugh lots. Do your best and be gentle with each other. Strive to be happy.
It’s broken. People are broken. They gloss it up and you’ve got your life to worry about. You can change the world. Oh wait you’re late for work and the house payment is due. You’re treading water and staying afloat can’t be happier they say! Got to pay for that holiday now too. Shit they’re going to cut off the gas on Thursday.
I’ll look cool in these Ray-Bans. Black or tortoise shell? Can we have tacos dad! Need another script the Valium runs out tomorrow. Shit.
I’ll call work they might have extra shifts. Fuck.
They were all in stunned disbelief when they heard the news. Found hanging by his own jeans tied around his neck from the steel rafter in the ceiling of his garage. The old couple next door called the police. A week or two was all they said. The smell had got beyond a joke. Tom was 85 and says he knows the smell of death and that were no rat. His frail wife looks into the space between the trees as clouds drift past like puppies and sky dragons. He was 23 and unemployed someone said. Truth was he hadn’t seen his mum in twelve months. They’d argued about money and who said what in just another family row. He ran out that night nowhere to bed down. Then they didn’t speak. Couldn’t talk to dad wouldn’t know how.
A quiet kid seemed reserved. They didn’t know his name. A month later when they’d worked out who he was it got page 6 with a dozen lines in the town news beside a half page advertisement for a kitchen ideas showroom grand opening sale with never to be repeated crazy prices. Maxine shifted her gaze and noticed the flooring tiles. She paused and for a fleeting moment she imagined her kitchen floor with those gorgeous Italian marble tiles, and that stainless steel induction cook top was to die for. Bliss. In that moment she broke and cried in grief and utter despair. The wind blew cold and she cried and shivered as twilight dimmed her lonely kitchen and tomorrow autumn would turn to winter.
He was always a good boy who loved climbing tall trees and shooting aliens and monsters with the gang.
Once when he was 13, he picked a fistful of Mrs Stevens daffodils on the walk home from school and banged on the front door to peeve his poor mother. As she opened that damn door her heart melted as her little boy says I love you mum and he holds out the flowers. He has the face of an angel with those beautiful kind eyes like his father.
He had always loved his mother with all his heart. She’s been putting daffodils on his grave each Wednesday for three years even on rainy winter days. He would be turning 26 in May.
We lay beneath a shady tree by the river and breathed the clear air deeply. I watched water molecules dance like nebula and dissolve into azure skies and distant sounds of a city muffled by
they had merged into a parallel universe which was identical in every way to the old one where Earth was – except for one thing,
she wasn’t in it.
There is true art involved in creating beautiful subtle images as visual poems. Moving evocative images may linger in our memory for years like a flickering memory or fragment of a dream.
Good writing and good image making require the same keen skills of observation, the same sense of the moment, the same ability to distil the essence of moments and life.
Both done well hold the essence of being human. One with words creates it’s images in our imaginations, the other with light and magic.
(written for a broken guy from a guy who has been broken)
We your brothers understand. Many of us have been where you stand now, some still are. At times We all fear being alone. We seek to be loved. We grieve not just death. Your grief now is real and the depth of your despair is understood. We bend until we break. Be gentle on your heart and comfort your soul.
Some have weathered these storms of pain and loss. They saw that as days and moons passed this pain and loss was part of a larger more important journey. They came to know in their hearts that they have a greater purpose to seek and fulfil. They have seen that hard times are a preparation.
Through the trials of this life We come to appreciate and know what being human truly is. In the days ahead and as you now reflect and watch the Stars and feel the warm Sunlight and the breeze on your face, know that you are gaining insight and wisdom.
Take breath. Now. Again. Your thoughts gain strength now and in time your energy will rise.
Your life is a wondrous miracle.
Breathe deeply. Rest.