from a voicebox unprepared.
Physical, the trepidation
of the sentence, piercing.
Trapped between the walls
that make them.
Broken letters lose their meaning.
Harsh are the shards
of a syntax born of Mutiny
A fist unclenching in
the throat of the destroyer.
They will not come.
Glass fragments of Soul’s window
those suicidal words of murder.
A knot entangled in
the fleshy chamber, lodged
somewhere behind the traitor tongue.
Intent betrayed to silence.
But for the throbbing ache
that stabs in spite,
all is unchanged.
He shall not bleed.
swirling torment over water;
destruction in a blink;
here one moment;
gone the next.
Never does it solve itself,
the grey skyline confliction.
Never will the dust settle
on this heavenly candyfloss annihilation.
Above the water,
where the shipwrecks sleep,
an ever-watching pair of eyes
awaits the fall.
Mind and iris.
Fuzzy edges of a feeling.
Sense nonsensical and
meticulous line of poison red.
Slice of rust.
Liquid pulsing into
flakes of coal-stained ruby.
forever etched now with those screams.
Oppression in a vaccuum.
All is lost.
I hate conflict.
I don’t use the word lightly. Hate is a strong word. There are many things I dislike, some with a passion, but hate is reserved for a select few things. One of these is conflict. I can’t stand it. Some people get twitchy at nails on a blackboard, I get it when an argument ensues. It’s just not in my nature to fight.
Conflict ranges from minor incidents to a full-on brawl. Weirdly I enjoy watching anime, which often involves blood and injury, but that I have a different opinion on. I hate the constant need to fight, that people can’t get along, and that characters are always seemingly angry at someone. But the actual fights themselves are often beautifully drawn and so, if they must fight, I can at least enjoy the art of it.
Physical altercations are, however, only one end of the spectrum. To some extent I find myself actually less affected by them than I do the arguments, the debate, the shouting in peoples’ faces. I can’t even watch Jeremy Kyle if there is more than one minute of consecutive shouting. I’m a turtle. When something happens I don’t like, I retreat. It’s almost physical, I actually feel my neck recede into my chest and my chin become one with my collarbone. Shouting just grates at me.
What’s worse is I can’t even listen to a passionate debate without thinking they’re angry. I stress over the smallest of tension in a voice, so even if what I hear is merely a discussion, if voices are stern I get tense. I have an anxiety over conflict. Any form of yelling or anger in normal conversation sets me on edge. It makes it hard when I’m with people who have naturally loud voices – I always feel they’re shouting.
My intense hatred of conflict has been fired up with the recent General Election. My boyfriend voted Green, my dad voted Conservative and I almost voted Labour. No matter what happened, one of us was going to be in the wrong. As it happens, Conservative won. In the few hours that followed this announcement more hatred and animosity than I’ve seen in a long time came flooding out in news and media: “The Conservatives only love themselves”, “The Tories don’t care about people”, “All they want is more money”, “Fuck the Tory scum”. I hate it. I really fucking hate it. The people who voted Conservative had a reason to do so, just like the people who voted Green, or god forbid even UKIP, had a reason to do so. It’s just the way it went. You all had a chance to vote, you cast your vote, the results came in. It’s that simple. The procedure is fair, couldn’t in fact be much fairer. You ticked a box, they counted them. This time around the Blues won.
Now get over it.
We have to live with certain things. Why get angry about something you can’t change? I hear it all the time, people give me advice and tell me not to let the things that I can’t do anything about affect me. And yet here are half the country complaining about a fair judgement that is no longer in their hands. Stop the conflict. Just stop it. It’s done.
I really fucking hate conflict.
As has been on many a social media site and television channel alike, most of the country is focussed on one thing: the election. Who is voting for who? What will they do about immigration? How much do they plan to overspend by this year? Now, I am a 21 year old female about to leave university and join the ‘real world’, and this would seem like the prime moment to choose a side. But the truth is this: I am not voting, and that’s okay.
With so many people telling you to vote and stressing the importance of making a decision about who will run the country, it is hard to remember that it is okay to not want to vote. But the truth of the matter is that politics is hard, and not many people actually understand it. There is a lot to learn, and it isn’t something that can be taught overnight. Simple questions like, why does everyone hate Ed Miliband so much?, or what is the difference between left and right wing?, are actually much more complicated to explain that you may think. To really understand the complexities of politics, it will take a lot of perseverance, keeping your ear to the ground, and patience. Someone who seems to know everything about it has probably been following it for some time. It takes time to understand something that complicated and you should not be ashamed to ask the “stupid” questions because, to be honest, there are no stupid questions.
I am not voting this year. I took a survey online that suggested I should vote Labour, but just because an online questionnaire says I seem to favour the reds, it doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and sign the next 5 years over to them. The main reason I’m not voting is because I don’t understand it. I refuse to vote for something without first knowing what I’m voting for. I couldn’t tell you the difference between any of the parties, so why would I tick a box, or even spoil the vote, without first getting to grips with the basics? In my opinion, it is perfectly okay to choose not to vote at all if you don’t understand. Rather than casting a vote for something unknown, I have chosen to hold back and spend the next five years watching what happens. I intend to find and read the manifestos, see which I side with more, and then see if the party that wins A) stands by their promises and B) makes a positive difference. If they break their promises, or make things worse, it will make my decision more informed next time the vote comes around. By that time I will have a more well-informed idea of the world of politics.
And moreover, I will have a better understanding of what I need. I have a pretty good knowledge of student life, having just spent 3 years at university. But the vote is for the next five years. I am no longer in education, but I am also not yet integrated into the working world. It is impossible for me to comment on what I need in regards to wages, tax and benefits etc. until I have spent some time finding a job, and living in rented accommodation, I will be unable to know what I need from my government. This is something I think is overlooked. Young people still in education are being encouraged to vote, but that government will be in play when they leave, and it is near impossible to predict the difference in living during and after university. Come the next big election, I will have experience under my belt, and a working knowledge of the government. Only then will I be ready to make an informed decision, and have formed my own opinion.
It is okay not to vote. It is wrong to push a person into voting just because you, yourself, understand it. Many people don’t and it is far better to withhold judgment on an unfamiliar topic than to make an uninformed choice under pressure. Your vote is important, that much is true, so don’t throw it away needlessly. You wouldn’t buy a car without first understanding the differences, so why choose your parliament without an understanding of it? Get informed. Listen to debates, follow the headlines (and know the papers’ biases), read the manifestos. And then when the next election comes around, if you feel you understand it enough, go right ahead. At least then you’ll know your vote will mean something.
The following short story is in need of your help. It’s working title is ‘Exchange’ however I am displeased with this. I therefore invite you all to read this 600 word piece and come up with a title of your own. Post it in the comments section and the best one will have the honour of, well, being the permanent title. Here goes.
There’s a man in my neighbourhood that likes to be talked to. He’s a hobo but he listens good. I see him slumped in underpasses when I go to lectures, pick up a ten bag, buy a box of Minstrels. He has one of those hats, you know the ones. Flappy ear bits that make him look like Goofy on a windy day. I give him a bite of my Snickers sometimes, I know he likes the crunch. It’s the sound it makes, you see. I bet his soul makes the same sound, like throwing a handful of peanuts in a washing machine and spinning the drum.
I’ve grown pretty accustomed to that upturned palm. Never get to read it much but he says he’ll crack me a peek one day. He’s a hobo but he lies good. I know he pays no mind to visual affairs. He can’t read none but he likes to hear a pretty tale any day. Even painful ones have a music that quivers a man’s heart strings he says. A lot can be revealed in a Devil’s chord. I played him some Debussy once. I didn’t hear the sea until he sung it back to me. See? See lad? He cried that day into his cavity-smile.
Most folks won’t shine a watch in his eyes but he doesn’t care for them. No point wasting time on the Rolex-clad. He’s a hobo but he holds himself good. I asked him one day about the napkin he always had tied to his belt. It was the colour of rust. He tapped his nose and smiled his smile and sent me on my way. I thought he meant to learn me something so I came back again the next day. Again I asked and again he brushed me off. I never saw that pouch get bigger or smaller until one afternoon when I saw an old broad walk his way. My eyes were glued but therein lay my lesson I assumed. So I shut my eyes, sparked a J and listened.
Penny for them? Clink clink. Oh, oh alright, dear boy. Well, it’s my husband you see. We met oh so long ago, right after the war. He was wearing his beret and looked dashing, he was such a handsome man, my Bert. I was a simple girl back then but he saw more in me somehow. He always seemed to … it’ll be so hard without him. He had a weak heart, you see. He loved too fiercely and it just … gave out. Oh but I mustn’t be too sad. He lived a long life and I’ll join him on that porch in Vienna soon enough. Thank you, my boy. God bless you.
I poked my nose round the corner to see the old man bathing in his tears. He was smiling that cavity smile and savouring some private melody. Through all of this I hadn’t seen the purpose of the rust-coloured napkin. It looked the same to me as it did before. The woman crossed my path in a talcum cloud and in her hand was a dirty coin. I had to know, so I went to him and posed my question for the final time. Morning, Trash-Can Dan. What’s in the napkin? Through his salty streams he tapped his nose and smiled his smile and sent me on my way. I never knew my Dad. Fresh liquid pebbles manifested in his lashes. He’s a hobo, but he cries good. His fingers worked at the napkin package for a second then he turned and pressed a copper coin into my hand. Penny for them?
Why do we feel we have to censor our writing in order to please the general public? The same old stories with their same old characters and same old plot-lines keep coming back over and over again onto our shelves. The same archetypes that have circulated the literary globe since the dawning of time. I can’t help but wonder, where are the real gruesome stories? Where is the blood, the incest, the fucked-up catastrophes that, let’s not forget, exist in real life.
Why is it socially unacceptable to write stories/poetry/lyrics about the topics that are a litle bit too ‘out there’ for a select few over-sensitive people? For some reason, there are a great number of people in the world who refuse to acknowledge that shit happens. Some people acknowledge it, but refuse to accept it. And what then for those of us that do both? I know there is some messed up stuff in the world, and I accept that. So why should it be considered ‘wrong’ or ‘taboo’ to stay quiet on the subject in literature?
I admit, I am not a great writer. I was under the impression for years I was great, but honestly I just know how to manipulate the English language in a mediocre way. But this aside, every story I come up with has some form of fucked-up shit happening either behind closed doors, or bang in the centre of a public place. For example, I just wrote a six word story for my university coursework:
Pale, cold, naked; Daddy’s Little Girl.
To many people the twisted suggestion of this will be too much to bear and in their heads they will be screaming why has something so vulgar been written? But I say to you, why not? Why shouldn’t it be written? Allow me to explain the meaning behind this story. On the face of it, it is a young girl loved by her father – maybe too much, and in the wrong way. The initial impression is perhaps some form of abuse. The point of the semi-colon is to split the physical attributes with the suggested context. But this can be read another way. Pale and cold, both applicable to the living and dead is it not? The other possible scenario here is a dead girl, treasured by her father. We don’t know why she is naked, but she is ‘pale and cold’, dead. In either case, the impact hits you like a truck on the highway.
This is why I love twisted literature.
What is the point of having one thousand books that all have similar characters, end happily and never have a single catastrophe, when you can have one book that smacks you in the chest with the iron fist of transgression? Dark writing is what I do best, and it is what I love to read. Shit goes wrong; death, disaster, sex drugs and tuck-and-rolling from speeding vehicles. Okay, so maybe the last one is a little unreaslistic, but why is it so wrong to use this unrealistic scenario to imply something much more sinister?
Basically, what I’m trying to say, is that vulgarity can make a much more moving piece of writing than a boring same-old-same-old mass produced pile of garbage mainstream literature. If you aren’t made to feel something when you read it, what is the God-damned point?