A CONVERSATION FROM THE BOTTOM OF A WELL

An OCD dialogue.

“Out of my eyes,
Out into a world of tainted truths and confusing times,
Shocked I was alone, until I heard the distant scratching that became your call – your dreaded sign.
I had potential, you smelled this, and now I’m cold and blue and tangled in a sodden hole.
A dream is a witch, or so you said, and kept me locked into my thoughts, while she merely cackled over cold stones.
Sobbing into my hands, I lost attention but gained every gruesome detail, as one does, as you knew.
Fucking monster in my marrow, do you dream this nightmare too?”

“Sweet Emily! I would not exist without you,
Yet could not care a cold stroke of lightning.
Had I been so weak as to be ignored, you would not know my wrath, nor mercy on much kinder days.
I am the reflection in the fjord, the nightmare on a horse,
I am your sword arm as well as your twisted spine.
Without me you could not celebrate such relief, and may have died a thousand times.
You were going nowhere but the gutter,
A baneful, human child, no different from the others.”

“Ha! You are fantasy, hot lies in my ear.
A thick oil to ruin my canvas one brushstroke from the end.
You kept me hidden, dead indoors, kicked me down the cellar steps, then nailed me to the floor.
What exactly do you plan? It is suicide to kill me here – for surely we are one,
So why such fuss and manic eyes that force my hand to grasp that fucking gun?
If you look too deep you may find yourself at the bottom of this twisted well.
What then?
Acceptance that this is us, that oblivion isn’t if but when,
We lost ourselves along the way, as one does, as you knew.
Fucking monster in my marrow, do you have such nightmares too?”

DRUNKEN DREAMS OF NANCY

I can’t remember a day without ocd and depression, but I remember speaking to an older guy who regularly slept in shop doorways, carrying a bag of stones far heavier than mine. He refused to get over a girl he once loved, and told me that most days he wanted to die, but was waiting to catch rabies first.

This is for Butler…

Take a bow,
The never-ending champion of black clouds,
Sometimes smiling, mostly not,
A red-eyed, hairsplitting demon-in-a-box, half-seas over, crying into the wind.
The apprehensive lord of pigeons danced like a fool and sprawled cock-a-hoop into a sea of dark concerns,
His magic all snuffed out.

This bag of bones with swollen feet,
Vicious dreams on gruesome streets,
A purple puddle on the ground,
You’d think it was a jewel he’d found.
Screeching mandrills in his brain,
They’re chewing on the ends again,
A stream of nonsense shows the way
To catch his raving death today.

Drowning to the chorus of ‘you’re a moron,’ he sinks to the bottom of the tin can and waits to die.
His life flashes before his bloodshot eyes,
Mostly embarrassing moments stacked up on top of each other like wet cardboard boxes.
Lost in a hurricane of self-pity he tries desperately not to think,
Blackness except for the sparks of paranoia that blaze like exploding rockets in the night sky.
When he wakes it will be tomorrow,
Back to sticking invisible pins into maps on walls.
He’s searched a million corners this way,
But his premonition of his holy grail was wrong,
Love is a nuclear bomb.

A swaying figure slips beyond
The gas-light, baying rats respond,
With biting, needle teeth like pins,
Infecting all with everything.
A raging future, mad in tongue,
With joy demented rats will come,
To chase away those rabid dogs,
Inside his blood like kids on drugs.
To bite him with their poisoned fangs,
Sending rabies to his brain,
A hulking wreck on battered knees,
He wants your filthy rat disease.

Blistered eyes twitching in deep sleep,
Drunken dreams of Nancy make sense only in this haze,
Distorted scenes make him believe in the harvest of better days,
Until the sun-light fades,
And the topaz skies turn gun-smoke grey.

Cross his heart to make a wish,
He didn’t always live like this,
Two employments on the bounce,
He even had a girlfriend once,
Spread his arms, she snapped hers shut,
Love is fake, he knew this but
Risks are drugs and “Here I am!”
Potential in a baked-bean can.
Paranoia ate his world,
Death to love and love to girls,
Hacked to pieces, this is how
And why he wants your rabies now.

His life was never going to be easy but this was balancing on the ridiculous,
Drinking cheap whiskey in a box on the river-bank is a cheap ambition,
But he knows tomorrow it will feel like the right thing to do.
The loneliness is his friend
But also the beast that will be his end.
The wind outside menacingly howls her name,
He is asleep but still the contradiction twists his insides,
Deep in his dream he curses the world but raises his glass to the sickness he carried with him
And the girl he left behind.


THE SENSE OF A FISH

As a pragmatic follower of science, how can I let ocd direct my thoughts?  I know it’s an illness, as much as I know I can’t control a war in Syria with magical thinking, but still it comes…

Oh, and then it came,
Drenched in waves of blasphemy,
Like drowning in a bath of beans,
Is something as it should not be?
Have flashing lights not blinded me?
This behemoth with a swinging axe, a mouth of lies that bleed and scab,
Throw me the book and a handful of scraps; I’ll sleep by the woods in the dusk of the trees,
Shrouding my ills with a tactical sneeze.
Or in a box on a riverbank casting my line,
Catching those devils and wasting my time,
Reality comes at the speed of a shot, slaying my hopes and the seeds that I’ve got,
If this is the truth, then tell me it’s not,
The sense of a fish as I spin on the spot,
So it’s breakfast for lunch and to hell with the plot!

The shadow of something I know won’t disperse; juggling nothing is second or worse,
Unlucky for me there’s six lies in my purse,
Enough of a feast for my stomach to burst.
I scream on a hill to the silence beyond,
Rolling down slopes to my brain in the pond,
Yet still, in this ball, I hurtle through space,
In a race with ideas that are thumping to flow,
Opposite ways wherever I go,
So it’s fingers to all and their minions in tow.

Here is the way of the Panda,
Chewing bamboo as rivers meander,
Deciphering riddles as they spin in the air, following colours and leaving me here,
Losing the plot,
It’s all that I’ve got,
The sense of a fish as I spin on the spot.
Climbing the arms of a towering oak,
Chewing the gum from the sole of my shoe,
Nodding my head to the all-seeing few,
The king is not dead, so what should we do?
We didn’t conform ‘cos he wanted us to.

Twice I have sold the dream in my eye, to the crow in the sky, the sense of a fish was useless and more,
Bowing farewell, then slamming the door,
Seriously, what were those A levels for?
Here in my rags, my eye to the beast,
It’s probably manners to smile at least,
I’ve been juggling dead rabbits for years,
‘Til my invisible friend whispered truths in my ear,
“Those rabbits aren’t dead, they’re comatose hares,”
So I gave them a pinch and a wish,
I guess it makes sense if you think like a fish.

I roll from the sun to regroup,
Tanning my hide and counting my loot, six lies in my purse and a pound in my boot,
Dropping my jaw in a bowlful of soup.
I’ve nowhere to go but the gutter and brown,
There’s nothing but puzzles in this part of town,
For my problems, I’ll sell you a lung, and a bag for your screams when the cold violence comes.
Wet fingers are pulling my knotted red hair,
The sense of a fish as I lull in my chair,
Professional vultures are circling here,
A toast to the stains on the wall,
A berated, frustrated dead fish in a bowl.

SKIES OF THUNDER

Ocd intrusive thoughts and the clouds they cast…

Those bloodsucking leeches,
Their bodies black and twisted,
Tiny fangs to pierce the skin,
And suck the blood of all things true,
And if there’s bits of light in you,
They’ll blot them out with skies of thunder.

That cold sting of needles,
Pulling threads of wonder,
Weave across my sun-bleached scalp,
All the days in May won’t help.
The Devil’s on her lurching loom,
I’m burning in that fucking room,
She’s gonna share your nightmares too,
And I’ll get all the worst of you;
Sign it with a purple bruise,
I’ll die beneath these skies of thunder.

Those trouble stirring questions,
My stomach bleached and twisted,
Inch long claws to scratch the walls,
And etch their curses on the board,
Every God damn prodding word.
All the things that could and might,
Coursing down a wooden spike,
A barrel and a greasy trigger,
Fifty thousand itching fingers,
Chew those words and give me splinters,
Beneath a blistered sky of thunder.

THE PUDDLE

An ocd memory…

One night, struggling with intrusive thoughts and lying in the same clothes I’d worn all week, I fell asleep and dreamed I’d slipped into a coma. I was heartbroken to wake up in the morning, having to face those terrible thoughts again. I grabbed a pen and lost myself in space for a while…

Don’t drag me back, I’ll clamp my jaws around a ‘gator’s bones,
Wish my limbs become elastic, taught and heavy as a bag of stones,
And all the while I hear a scream that keeps me hidden in this maw,
Bitter-spirit in a puddle,
Rampant horses tied to tongues, maybe devils, cheeky fire in their bubbling, charcoal lungs.

Tiny hands, almost hooves, scratch and claw a way to keep my pulling thoughts amused.

How I got here came about a tumbling bridge,
Whether certainty or slumber,
Mighty elephants with heavy feet I sense I crumpled under.

But for flags and trumpets blowing kisses in my ear, certainly, I know for sure, I would not have woken here.

Haunting tunes on tapping spoons, those devils smirked behind disguises,
And no such luck as nice surprises,
With mucus in their eyes, paranoia rolling up a hill, wide awake and spinning like thoughts on a wheel.

Pressure on my chest, I might have kicked the ground and cracked the darkest corners of the sky,
But niggling doubts like nibbling rats could never let it lie.

Black wings blighting something special I could almost understand,
The stuttering sun,
Burnt my skin in bursts and made it clear that after all of this, I’m not the chosen one.

I’m simply here in lands of scented flowers in a garden, refusing to accept the cold hands upon my broken feet and shoulders.

Don’t bring me back, that place is nothing but a puddle on the pavement, blowing oily shapes of mad behaviour ‘cross the shallow water,
Making journeys to a looping moon, and sometime soon, the wisdom of a fool to trick me back into their squeezing hands of murder.

Grit my teeth around a wrist, grinding hard beyond sweet music,

Like the background of a movie,

Here I dance like a manic goat, not embarrassed of weird movements.

There I know I’ll shrink to nothing, like amoeba in a puddle, like a salt grain in a thousand dunes of sand-bits in a muddle,
Like the raindrops on a pavement.

Wash my hands and come back tomorrow opposite ways of the rancid puddle, watch the cosmos in a bubble, but it’s oil, not a rainbow.

Six fellows drag a mattress to the middle, tempting joy with tales of luckier times, I sort of get the angle,

But leave the monkeys at the table.

Delighted to sit and cause confusion, to be a ripe old sleeping ape of grand delusion,

Painting spirals in the room they use for thinking, attracted to their lights, I’m happy sinking.

Yet I notice now the puddle stretches either side of the gaping road, all that heavy rain and uninteresting times,
I guess we must suppose.

When does a puddle become a lake? Or the bubbling stream a river? Build a boat worth twice its weight in gold I bought with damaged bits of silver,
Head for distant peaks and squeeze me over, don’t bring me back, I’ll clamp my teeth around a gator’s bones…