The television talks to nobody.
(Nobody is home, and nobody is listening.)
Why does it press on, forecasting scattered showers
when nobody will be around to see it,
reporting the news with nobody to care about it,
showing the most lavish lifestyles, the tastiest recipes,
the most fantastical stories, all to an empty house?
Nobody is there. Why does the television continue?
The radio doesn’t. The radio knows when its time is up,
but the television is hopeful,
like a dog waiting for its owner to come home.
The television is at full volume.
It’s shouting to be heard
but all anyone can do is walk by the house and tut.
The neighbours have complained.
They haven’t been able to hear their own television,
no matter how hard it tries to compete.
They have rung the doorbell and tried the door,
but that is no competition
for the journalist reporting from Syria, or the Loose Women,
or the cast of Coronation Street, who gather
in the living room of that house, all day and all night.
The neighbours can’t sleep. Their dog howls.
Every day they knock on the door
and every day they are ignored.
The clock on the mantelpiece times their visits.
Every evening after six.
They want to eat their dinner in peace.
The Russian dolls standing by the fireplace
wonder why the neighbours don’t call the police.
They wonder what the neighbours would do
if they knew who the television was playing to.
If a television is on but the owner of the home
is too dead to watch it, does it still make a sound?
Why, yes it does.
The television talks to nobody.
Somebody is home, but nobody is listening.
Gasps between Words
He stumbled from room to room, from reason to reason.
If I’m drunk, there is an excuse for what I do, he said.
If I’m hungover, there’s a reason for feeling as bad as I do, he said.
There wasn’t a day he didn’t dread waking into, not a
night he didn’t beat himself around the head with
excuses for being the way he is, excuses for signs he misread.
And the feeling he was looking in the wrong place hung over
him, the numbness that the pain had turned into as he
continuously clobbered himself with his own heavy thoughts,
persisted like a black cloud that he so wanted others to see, but
they didn’t. They didn’t know anything.
Maybe if he beat himself up a bit more, got a little more
rough around the edges they would see and ask and be
concerned, because that was the only way that he
could communicate, the only way he could tell everyone
what was wrong, otherwise there was just silence, just
deafening gaps – if only people would listen more closely to
the gasps between his words, those desperate pleas for
air or to be heard, those words that look so simple written
down but that he couldn’t find a way to say, and that’s
why he stumbled from room to room, from reason to reason,
clobbering himself with his own heavy thoughts; because it
was the only way that he could express what he couldn’t find
the words to say.
Off The Rails
There are good and bad ways to deal with things.
Writing is right and drinking is wrong. I know this.
But it’s fun somehow to pretend for one night that
I am going off the rails, I am losing control. If you’ve
lost control how can you have any responsibility?
If things go wrong it’s not really your fault, and
nobody is going to put you in charge of anything –
not even yourself – if you’re a loose cannon. I often
think it would be easier to run so far that I can’t
even see those rails in the distance anymore.
I think I’ve finally figured it out:
I have a capacity problem.
When something’s all I can think about
it’s taking up too much brain space
and there’s no room left for that place
in my head that tells me to breathe
I need a bigger hard drive
to keep myself staying alive.
That’s why when I’m trying to work I just sigh
because I’m huffing and puffing and
trying to breathe, just trying to catch my breath.
At least it’s not fear this time,
fear is the worst, that’s when it most hurts
but now it’s just nothing, nothing thoughts,
pointless thoughts, blank thinking while somehow
still thinking about it, that thing that takes up
so much brain space and leaves no room
to breathe, no room for doing other things
like not thinking of it, scarier than anything
Stephen king could concoct, not something
lurking in the drains, but
a big black cloud in the middle of my head
that gets bigger and bigger the more it’s fed,
its fog spewing into every crevice, what a mess –
what a mess this brain space is.
It’s like I can see myself
teetering on the edge of a cliff
and I don’t know how to save myself
I‘m the only person around
who has the equipment to
pull me back up
but I don’t know how to use it.
When did the cliff edge get so close?
I had been doing so well
but I don’t know how I was doing it.