DARWINIAN // Woke at the Coalface

‘Eat. Sleep. Sprint. Repeat.’

At no other time in history could I wear this summation of existence on an article of clothing and not be thought of as odd. But nearly everyone’s doing it nowadays, so I guess that makes me somewhat normal — or at least someone somewhere’s definition of ‘normal’. It’s funny how society bolted from the t-shirt as an undergarment in the nineteenth century to being worn as outerwear in the mid-twentieth century. Quite the transition, no? We shrugged from ‘shock of the new’ territory into the realm of blind acceptance in one quick, easy, costume change.

So, what does this actually mean? It means that t-shirts are in. It means that catchy sayings in bold typeface beneath cartoon pics of hollow, burnt up earths with factory stacks belching out poison are in. And it means that the combination of all these things is in. I guess the t-shirt is what society now deems ‘social convention’. Yup. And the only constant is change.

Frankly, I’ve never understood the appeal of t-shirts. To me they’re just walking billboards littered with guache advertising for untruths mixed with half-truths dressed up as ‘The Truth’ that you absolutely cannot live without… so buy today. And I happen to live at the fraying edge of all of that. Oh, damn, I don’t know what to do! Should I wear this shirt and risk exposing my unmanly physique for all to snort in derision at? I’m barely hanging on here, trying not to be the wonky thread that makes my carefully insulated life come undone. My face is already unacceptable by society’s standards. Now my body too?

Is this irony? The fact that I can be shamed for my pear-shaped body rather than the trite maxim on my overstretched top doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe I’m overthinking this. Maybe I shouldn’t be perturbed that not only is this the uniform that must be worn if I want to be part of society’s cabal of acceptance but that I can also be rejected if I fail to squeeze into it in the prescribed manner. No, I should just push these thoughts out of my mind…

The earth coughs up flowers for no one to notice.  The mighty dig past said flowers for coal to burn to make loot. Said mighty diligently practice their brand of self care, amassing said loot to the neglect of everyone else. And here I am, trying to decide whether what I’m feeling is mere vanity or the emergence of some awful realisation.

God. What possessed me to buy this stupid shirt anyway?


© All rights reserved 2018

How Ghosts are Made

Death is supposed to be the last, great refuge for troubled minds. From ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and into the big black. It’s the blessed relief of personal extinction. The hidden regret and all-too-public shamings that cluttered up your fretful, spluttering half-life finally get snuffed forever.

But can those things ever truly be extinguished? Perhaps not really. Perhaps they simply lay with your rotting corpse, waiting to be unearthed all over again. It’s probably some gravedigger that does it — a sick sadist with a muckrake and an agenda who drecks through your spell of days like it’s a top priority WikiLeaks scandal that the entire universe must know every last gasp about.

So why does it feel like the universe already knows? Why the nagging guilt no matter how bone free your closet might actually be?

Your social media accounts don’t magically self-destruct within five seconds of you stiffing it. Those secret dick and clunge pics don’t clean up after themselves either. And those passive aggressive status updates you so artfully tailored for maximum jabbiness aren’t fooling anyone — least of all that one person who must never be named for fear of mutual friends finding out you’re just a bitter, judgemental prick.

The internet is the new universe, and it’s watching your every move like the silent, voyeuristic, omnipresent predator it is. Instead of looking out, we look in, and so does it — right inside to our collective core. And while it may have begun life as just another straw god we’ve fashioned for ourselves, this is one straw god that’s grown legitimately and malevolently all-powerful. The internet has the genuine capacity to not only destroy lives but also to completely unmake them.

That isn’t a boon for the cause of social justice by the way — not when you have pernicious shame-baiting disguised as entreaties for ‘correct’ ethics and behaviour. It makes me so mad. I hate the Twitter bullies, the Facebook assassins, and the faux progressives who are just as petty as the next person. An individual’s life can be cherry picked then ripped apart in the kangaroo court of misinformed opinion. Rest in peace? More like rest in pieces! And meanwhile, the self-righteous wolverines of ‘integrity’ continue to parade their brand of alleged egalitarianism within their echo chambers of uncritical acclaim.

“They never knew me.” That’s the nub of it. It’s the one thing we can all truthfully say. No one ever bothered to try to understand. They took a little snippet here, they took a little snippet there, and then decided these snippets were all there was to know about us. Never mind the rich, inner animateness we had going on. Egoists never care for bosh like that. They have no regard for any of the hopes, fears and innate humanity we may actually possess. All they need do is to poke their noses into our private affairs, sans context, and usher in complete ruin — all to declare another someone a moral failure.

So, yeah, this is why I’m still here. I cannot dissolve in mindless repose while this shit is going on. I cannot lie because they cannot let it lie. And what they say hurts me. It hurts those closest to me. The mutual backslapping sanctimony of those serial dogpilers keeps me tethered to this wretched mortal cliché. Yeah, I’m so fired up about it that I even left my cosy grave to go and buy myself a bible today. Me, a ghost, buying a ‘holy’ book! I shouldn’t even be here. I’ve got better things to do than to exist. I’ve had my time.

The internet is just the universe of our modernity, and god is… well, he/she/it hasn’t fully been discounted yet, as much as the human race might wish otherwise. God is the eternal poltergeist that haunts the darkest corners of our minds, a narcissistic tyrant who won’t let go, who displays a rapey kind of ‘love’ that keeps on taking until all that’s left is the detritus of hollowed out ghosts.

I’m going to burn this bible, god. That’ll show you, you spectral thug! I’ll rewrite your Wikipedia page, exposing who you really are, then lock it down so that the evidence cannot be removed or tampered with, and remains viewable for all time. I’ll shame you yet, though I no longer believe in your existence!

No, really, I don’t.

Now, please, just let me lie.


© All rights reserved 2018

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // G is for Giraffe & Geniality

My neighbour is a giraffe. She’s just given birth to two little babies. Well, they’re little as far as she’s concerned, but big as far as the rest of us are concerned. It’s a matter of perspectives, I suppose. And ladders.

Sometimes my neighbour forgets to put on her maternity bra. When she comes over for afternoon tea, she accidentally lactates all over my fresh clean tablecloth. I know she can’t help it, and there is such a thing as postnatal depression, but still…

Look, no one likes to be rained upon—that’s all I’m saying. Now I’ll have to put the Royal Doulton teacups through the industrial grade autoclave. And, well, she’ll be visiting again tomorrow…

I hope she doesn’t cry. The leaking is bad enough, but the emotional fallout? I don’t know what to do with that. How many times can she keep forgetting? How long must I play the hospitable host?


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100 WORD SKITTLE // Jump-Off (Follow-up to Push-Up)

That boob was rather more tangible than my eyes had led me to believe.

No mere shadow, it yielded beneath my boots when I jumped on, and as I catapulted away it sprang back into perky, domed perfection. Actually, I don’t know for a fact that it did. I was rocketing at such speed that I was physically unable to check behind me.

No bother. I was more interested in the giant, fiery nipple in the sky. If I could reach that then the Areola Belt wouldn’t be out of the question. Good thing I was wearing my space suit!


© All rights reserved 2017