The Boredom Artist

Ennui, stasis, liquefying putrid decay. The drip drip drip of the tap in your head. Replace the parts, flush out the system with corrosive rage. Break, smash, burn. Melted marshmallow screams. Faces floating, flashing in and out of the void. Words in a spin cycle, the hum of the machine, you try to crush your skull with your own hands.

The prisoner has no identity. He is hidden from all. Isolation. No one sees or hears him. Rip open your chest and hold up the bloodied pumping heart to the sun…the deception of flesh. Crush the heart and throw it to the baying dogs. Fill your chest with the emptiness in people’s eyes.

Walk among the barcoded husks living an illusion. Is it all a lie? Is it a test? When do we find out if we passed, if we won? In the afterlife when our souls are rattling in the Devil’s rusty jagged soup can?

Music, defiance, shifting realities, flat one dimensional words forming the DNA of new and different lives and yet…it persists. Deja clue. Haven’t we been here before? The stage, the players, the applause, the bows. Clenched fists of victory and hate. Banality. Tired pathetic excuses for human beings; zeroth dimensional cardboard cutouts. Sound bytes clack their teeth, hungry for the propagation of misery. Let us save you by casting more into Hell. The equality of suffering. When the fires rage the grubby puppets will have no more words. What a day that will be, they will be torn to shreds by the people they promised to save.

The annihilation gene has been activated. Reduce yourself to nothing then do the same to other people. Everyone has an opinion, or so they think, type furiously to defend or denigrate, it’s never been so important. Apparently. It’s ‘The Age of Frightenment’. An invisible vortex lives, breathes and fucks in the internet. It drags us all in, a virtual Cyclopic eye with teeth, crunching and munching our data, our habits, our photos, our words, our minds, our souls. It speaks to us even though it has no mouth. Whispering incessantly. Draining us. We follow, like, heart the show because we are in it. A global cast…the cabaret of calamity.

Oh wait, maybe someone has been offended by something, better apologise, make it sincere, preserve the brand. The fucking brand. Glossy mannequins dressed in flesh. Their fake plastic smiles are like coat-hangers with sharp shiny white teeth. Kill the savages! Who said that? Was it me or you? Or none of us? The voices. They are not real. Well, they are, sort of. Oh, yeah, I get it. Don’t forget to stream your suicide live. Thumbs up.

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Clowning About

So I killed a clown. Big deal. He probably had it coming. Freaking weirdo! When I say I killed a clown, it wasn’t like I accidentally bumped into him and he fell off a cliff, no, I decapitated him with an axe. His head flew through the air and hit a little girl square in the face. I burst out laughing. You had to be there really. The little girl’s scream was so shrill all the balloons popped. Everyone froze. The clown’s body was still walking, you know like slow zombies do, blood spurting out of its severed neck. The people stared at it then the head then back at me doubled over with laughter. They started laughing, they thought it was part of the show. A guy went to push the chest of the headless body, that was a big mistake. It grabbed his throat and started to strangle him. It went quiet again. Darndest thing, the severed head began to cackle, a real creepy psycho cackle. It got a bit hectic after that.

The problem with clowns is that they are like a piece of sellotape which gets stuck to you, annoying as fuck. Five of them were staring me down from across the main circus tent, their grins could only be described as murderous. They charged, hitting and hacking anyone in their way with tent pegs and swords. Everyone knew the sword swallower never locked his swords away. I booted the severed head into the lion cage in an attempt to shut it up. Lions are notorious for having no sense of humour. I ran from the clowns and people ran from me.

The circus folk were riled up. The fortune teller threw her crystal ball at me and it was raining midgets with flick blade knives as they were being fired out of the cannon. The strong man tried to chase me, you know the type, looks buff but those chicken legs can’t carry the weight of all those steroids, he collapsed in a wheezing heap. The circus master had lost it completely, he was blasting norms who crossed his path with a Schmeisser submachine gun. Showbiz just isn’t for some people.

I snuck into the main tent, it was quiet there, I needed to catch my breath. Next thing I know I am flying through the air whilst being punched and kicked. Damn. Damn. Damn. I had forgotten about the conjoined trapeze triplets The Damn Busters. It was like being pummelled by a human spider. Bounced and booted, I was getting a battering. Luckily an elephant careered into the tent. It was being ridden by the Angry Dwarf, he was chasing down the midgets, literally stamping them out. The elephant broke the main pole and we fell onto a trampoline and boinged into the gorilla enclosure.

This was a problem. Gus the Gorilla had vowed to punch me so hard that my face would turn into an omelette. It was personal, oh yes. I had rinsed Gus in a poker game and he found out later I had been cheating. Gus yawned lazily. There was nothing lazy about him, he did at least one thousand press ups a day. The triplets skedaddled. It was just me and Gus. He ambled over with a box and opened it. It was a chess board. Turned out he wanted to beat me intellectually not physically. He told me it was about breaking down stereotypes. He had been reading a lot of psychology books recently. Gus was a pro at speed chess, he beat me fair and square. I stood up, uttered a well done and went to the enclosure gate. It was unlocked. Gus could leave any time he wanted. Two zebras hoofed past. Someone had spray-painted them like rainbows, probably the clowns. I looked back at Gus, he had lit a cigar and was puffing contentedly. Gorillas were so obtuse.

The strong man and the triplets had teamed up against some of the clowns; arms, legs, over-sized shoes and squeaky noses were flying all over the place. I need a vantage point I could defend. I kept to the edge of the tents and trailers. I picked up a claw hammer and felt a bit safer after a few practice swings with it. I could hear an unusual noise, it seemed to be getting closer, I was trying to work out what it was when I was suddenly stabbed in the leg by the Angry Dwarf. I hit him with the claw hammer and he flew through the air and into a lion’s mouth.

I made it into the hall of mirrors. It seemed like a good idea because I would be able to see if anyone came in. I quickly changed my mind. One by one, a clown appeared in each mirror. Holy shit! A maniacal need to survive surged through me, it was hammer time! I couldn’t hear anything apart from their laughing and breaking glass. When it was over, I was panting, all the mirrors had been smashed. I was alone but I could still hear their laughter. I picked up a mirror shard and looked at the reflection…I was staring at a laughing clown.

Christmas Is Cancelled!!

The wife of Santa Claus was incandescent with rage. The whole year of planning was for one fateful night. Forget Amazon or Argos, Santa Claus delivered the goods when it mattered most. You have a screw loose if you think one guy can deliver presents all over the world in one go, grow up! There was a whole network of Santas who were trained in reindeer and sledge management. Usually, the whole process ran smoothly, bar the odd Santa here and there who got caught drunk sledging because of one too many sherries. But just like Mission Impossible such Santas were disavowed.

Only the CEO could call himself Santa Claus. His wife was VP and as she did exist as a woman in her own right so, no, she was not called Mrs Santa Claus. Seriously, do some research, Claus isn’t even his surname. She was called Mavis and the brains of the operation. No one could ever look at a Santa and think, yes, that is the guy who can project manage a global enterprise. He doesn’t shave and needs to lose weight, that’s what you think. This year Santa Claus told Mavis she could go on a girls’ holiday to Ibiza. Mavis loved house music and foam parties but rarely had time to enjoy herself since she got married. It was a last minute deal for the start of the winter club season in December so she packed her party dresses and flew out of Stansted. Mavis had e-mailed a detailed itinerary to Santa Claus and the elves to follow. Nothing could go wrong.

Except it went very wrong. She rocked up at the warehouse on 23rd December to find it ablaze. The accumulated stock for the year had been destroyed. It was a deliberate act of arson. The police found CCTV footage. Someone had slipped the reindeers ketamine and they had gone mental! They bolted with all the sledges and started chewing people’s faces off. The military were called in and assault helicopters blasted most of them to oblivion.

No stock and no transport. What of the elves? Turns out they all had a drug problem. The only way they could meet their deadlines was on speed. Quality control had literally gone up in flames. A brawl had started between the elves and Santas after a drinking game of ‘name the reindeers’ had turned ugly. No one was sure what sparked the melee. It was rumoured a Santa had Tweeted a photo of a leprechaun to one of the elves with a #yourmama (this was later deleted but only after it had been retweeted five thousand times in one second. Everyone loves a #yourmama unless of course it is your mama). Punches, albeit small ones from the elves were thrown, kneecaps were bitten and it snowballed. Most of the Santas had a drink problem. Who wouldn’t? Listening to little brats telling men on zero hour contracts all the presents they wanted. Get a job, you spoilt brats! Some think Margaret Thatcher closing the mines started the problems with children in this country as they no longer got sent down the mines to work and went to school to learn instead. No one would own up but several Molotov cocktails were thrown and whoosh it was a disco inferno.

Mavis had to go on The Official Santa Claus website to post the news that Christmas was cancelled due to unforeseen technical problems and outsourcing to an external consultancy company. Such was the online abuse, a sad trend in this day and age, the website had to be shut down. Children around the world were devastated. First they took it out on their parents by crying and shouting. The parents started to run out of valium and were drinking two bottles of voddy a day just to shut out the noise so they did what any responsible parent would do, they found scapegoats. Packs of feral children roamed the streets hunting for Santas and elves to dish out a kicking. Pity those poor fools who had committed to a Santa pub crawl in London. They were already drunk when they arrived at Trafalgar Square by ten in the morning. It was a massacre. Imagine ‘Lord of the Flies’ crossed with ‘Battle Royale’. They were fishing out drowned Santas from the Thames for weeks.

Mavis found out that Santa Claus had not returned to the warehouse after he had dropped her off at the airport. He was in big trouble with his wife and America. One of the reindeer had somehow breached White House security and had eaten most of Donald Trump’s hair live on television. The FBI issued an arrest warrant for Santa Claus. The other law enforcement agencies cooperated. Everyone was still angry about Christmas being cancelled. Mavis wanted to get to him first. Not out of wifely love. No. She suspected Santa Claus was having an affair. It’s all those little things that started to add up: different aftershave, a new shirt she had not bought, a beardicure.

Santa Claus was in hiding. Maybe Mavis wouldn’t have found him except Putin posted a video online of him beating Santa Claus in an arm-wrestling match. Putin agreed to swap Santa Claus for one of the face-eating reindeer. Mavis transported her husband home extreme rendition style, no more first class for that love cheat! She still needed proof though so she waterboarded him. In the end, he cracked, all men do. Quite how Santa Claus pulled Hilary Clinton was beyond Mavis, it probably involved cheap liquor in a pool hall on a Friday night in Washington. Mavis filed for divorce.

Merry Christmas!

Rebirth

I am lagging and flagging,

I wink at the Moon,

I make her swoon.

Tides crawl and creep,

Brides look and leap,

Season of harvest.

*

Deconstructing a miracle.

What else would you call it?

The X and Y chromosome,

Are they available on the phone?

I am nervous.

The world around me is changing,

Alien and hostile,

Scrunching in on me,

Squeezing me to the size of a pip.

It’s me, I am changing,

The world is the same

And it terrifies me.

People smile,

Glib and bright,

Their eyes, oh, their eyes,

Dead turtle eggs,

The foaming sea claims them,

Baubles for merciless angels.

**

A face, an imprint,

Watching, judging me.

Are you up to it?

An image of purity,

A cup-bearer to the gods,

No, no, let me keep him!

***

Blunt and bland,

White white white,

Stark and blinding,

Keep them away from me,

Slobbering shrieking creatures,

Put them in a pen,

And use the cattle-prods.

I blink and tap my heels,

No, this is real.

Everyone tells me it is wonderful,

They must be mad,

Or drunk, or lying.

Resentment has flourished,

Heart tangled with Japanese Knotweed,

Arrigato.

****

I am calm…with terror.

I fake it,

Here is my smile,

I stole it from a clown

Whose face became a balloon,

Up up up it floated,

Harpooned by whalers.

My body is a bucket

Brimming with a bulbous babe

Who squirming like an angry carp.

*****

I am distant,

I am Moses,

I am with God,

I am with child;

Frantic tribes rush,

Ants by my feet,

I look at God,

He shakes His head,

Answering my unasked question,

Fuck it.

I rage at them all,

Their smiles, their exhortations,

Give me a scalpel

To surgically remove their hypocrisy,

My words dissolve into howls,

What is this agony?

******

I trundle with the bundle,

A weary carthorse,

Clippety clop,

Slippety slop,

I am an empty vase,

A fresh wound,

A shrivelled prune

Gory with battle.

This offering,

This bloody parcel,

Anointed crown,

Angry sponge,

My pores sweat joy,

My heart is a burning rose,

I find my religion

In a gummy smile,

I pass out speaking in tongues…

Noli me tangere!

Twenty silver pieces,

I would have held out for more;

Asleep in Gethsemane’s groves,

Ripe disciples to be plucked,

I have a spear for them,

The world is too fast,

It spins and spins,

I feel dizzy,

A goblet awash with scarlet worship,

Could I ascend?

*******

He inherits my anger,

Eyes flash lightning,

Puffs of ash,

Zapping the unbelievers.

I laugh and laugh,

My physical torment,

My stitched scar,

I survived the Wilderness,

I came back a prophet,

Carrying a living logos.

********

I am possessed,

An instrument of torture,

Blue oceans mottled with corpses,

I am moribund.

I could go into exile,

I could find a new Hell,

My skin is parchment,

Arcane language scribed upon me,

Walking miracle,

Read my body,

Proclaim the words,

Darkness flows from me.

*********

She haunts me,

Alive in my head,

Jagged memory,

Tiny hand raised,

Blessing? Imploring?

Stars bleed for her.

**********

Prison cots,

So helpless,

She sleeps,

She writhes,

She cries,

Oh how she cries,

My tears, so many,

I love you.

***********

I want to scream,

I am not the same person,

Hand on the mirror,

Who are you really?

The woman you knew?

She has gone.

Eviscerated by a knife,

Disintegrated by life,

I haven’t auditioned for this play,

I have no lines,

No prompts or stage directions;

Everyone is so familiar,

Your grins are like adverts,

I’m not buying it.

I apply lipstick,

I smile casually,

I am ready

For the parade,

For the charade,

I am a wife,

I am a mother,

I am a woman.

************

How can I have her nightmare?

A dreary weary foghorn,

Swathed pallid bundle,

Floating in a bullrush basket,

Drifting out to sea,

Away from me,

She is asleep,

At peace,

Safe…

She is an arrow snapped off in my heart,

My soul bleeds,

Guilt eternal,

I love you.

*************

I am her again,

Red lipstick mirrored,

She smiles when I smile,

Laughs when I laugh,

But if I catch her eye,

She reveals herself,

Silently pointing at me,

Je t’accuse! Je t’accuse!

I can taste her bitterness.

**************

I am reflection

I am sunshine

I am shadow

I am faded

I am evaded

I am lonely

I am exile

***************

The old wound,

Red raw memory,

Burrowing and munching,

Am I dreaming?

****************

Seasonal symptoms,

Boing boing – Spring!

Floral pageants,

Birdy ballads,

Pulse of rebirth,

I can forget the nightmare,

Ignore those tiny hands

Behind my eyelids,

No, no, you do not belong,

She said goodbye,

She abandoned everyone,

I exist because of her,

Just like you did.

*****************

It is a peaceful evening,

I feel I belong,

That taut knot twisting my heart,

It has loosened,

I am healed,

I can share this revelation,

My smile drops like a careless pebble,

Oh no, no, no,

Cruel, cruel Fates,

I am the understudy,

I am twice revisited,

It is her husband,

Her son, her loss,

They belong to her,

She fell apart

And I healed her.

I weep scalding tears,

It’s not fair,

I go to the mirror,

She is crying too,

She can feel my pain,

Now I understand hers,

We press our hands together,

I turn into glass

And she is resurrected.

Insomniac Maniac

The sky is a piece of coal,

Weighty and glittering,

A cowl with a noose,

A neck is on the loose,

The crown sits heavy,

Dripping with blood,

The blood of death,

The blood of birth,

Eye sockets are hollow rims,

Fleshy orbs sunken and shrunken,

Paranoid moons in a skull face;

Three blind mice,

Leprous and haggard,

Their flinty tongues grate

Like the gates to Hell,

He drowned them in a well.

He was the curse,

His throne a hearse

Stuffed full of corpses,

Ravens had their beaky fill,

Eyes fell from the skies.

Labyrinthine mind,

Of scuttling scorpions

Of hungry horrors

Of baneful banshees.

The butcher of the innocent,

The executioner’s axe,

He swished and he hacked,

He dished and he racked,

Prime cuts of offal,

Injecting him with gall.

His blighted muse,

Her nightmare obtuse,

A bladed demise,

Fresh blood on her hands.

He bellowed and charged,

The Scottish Minotaur,

Unravelled thread,

False promises fed,

Off with his head.

Genocide

Engine of death,

Slicing of flesh,

Use it all up,

Bargain sale,

Jewellery and soap,

A necklace of melted teeth,

Cleanse yourself with murder,

Glossy sheen of genocide,

Breath in fresh air,

Free from human ash,

A child’s rattle is a skull.

Herder, corralled, imprisoned,

Names became numbers,

Inky sleeved tattoos,

Inventory of slaughter,

Empty abandoned suitcases,

Testament to vain hope,

Testament to absolute horror.

City

Go to the city!

To evolve,

To be broken,

To be buried.

Skyrapers puncture clouds,

Loose change and

dreams tumble out,

Shiny gold florins,

Put them in your eyes,

Pay your dues,

Play your ruse,

Lay your muse.

Suited and starched,

Sell the lie,

Loud stride,

Only the poor shuffle.

Roof-top bars,

Haughty and aloof,

A poker game,

Glances and egos,

Champagne pop,

Erotic bop,

Erratic fop,

Terribly gauche,

Straddled and saddled,

They make love to mirrors,

Sweating nectar,

Drowning in libido,

They are immortal,

Mannequins in shop windows.