Spiders

vidar-nordli-mathisen-776709-unsplashThis is some prose I wrote about the battle that we have with the shadow sides of ourselves. Learning to live with the darker parts of myself reminds me of learning to live with our household spiders, which for some of us is often a step too far!

SPIDERS 

I have always been afraid of spiders. They are long, black spindly-legged specimens of dread. Their mortal threat lies there in their very being: not under the veil of a furry coat or a smooth skin but there, in your face with no punches pulled.

The spider. His crawly legs and sudden movements surprise as he sidles surreptitiously across the surface of the window sill. Silent but deadly. Then he stops: still but with a menacingly potent potential. He take no prisoners (unless you’re a fly). I mean – would you tackle a tarantula?

Spiders’, the vegan, animal-loving, lama-saving cohort chant, ‘Spiders are the kings of the household ecosystem, keeping all of those house flies away from defaecating all over your dinner’. I would rather have a fly poo on a pea, imperceptible to my naked eye than a spider in my bath, willing me to turn the tap on but then running out before I can unleash the fatal torrent in its direction: a display of twisted tactical mastery.

I clutch the piece of card and the Tupperware pot, waiting for an opportune moment to launch my attack on the malificent entity. It knows that I am about to mount a kidnap attempt, but unlike a mouse frozen before a pouncing cat, it stalls to outwit. No sooner do I bring the cardboard weapon down upon the wretched eight-legged currant, it runs six centimetres to the right. It stops, standing still. My frustration and anger build but the killer instinct takes hold and with a deft scoop, I catch my prey and open the window. It is humanely deposited on the window ledge. I shut the window and exhale in triumphant bliss. No more spindly-legged battles. No deaths. No tears. A mutually acceptable resolution I trust.

Sweet dreams; fluffy cloud sensations and spectrums of colour. I wake in the morning embodying a rested glow. I run the bath. Frothy bubbles frolic playfully under the gushing water. I lower myself slowly into the warm water. The warmth envelopes my being like an aqueous hug. I close my eyes and breathe. The tap drips hypnotically. Thoughts waft in and out of my mind. I look at the window above the bath. It is starting to steam up now. I start singing, a slow melancholy shanty. The melody rises up with the steam; sweet and angelic,  heaven-bound, lulling me into a drifty soporific state. Then silence. The tap stops. The sounds tapers off, hanging in mid air. I spy something small in the corner of the window: small but not unremarkable. A black fleck poised with intent on the wrong side of the closed window (not the outside side). It goads me to investigate it further and I do.

I emerge from the embrace of the water with a Neptune-like glory. Death is in my sights now. Water is my power and I am the fleck’s nemesis. Every ounce of humanity that I ever had has rushed out of my body like a retreating garrison. With timing and aplomb I throw a sodden sponge at the fleck. This is it. Bang. Gone. Triumphant and bold like a Valkyrie princess I snatch the sponge to see my winnings only to be met by a surprising vacuum of fleckiness. NO FLECK? What the heck?

I look down and see it in all of its arachnid smirkiness heading snidily towards the toilet. I leapfrog out of the bath to catch it, taking a fishtank-load of water with me. I trip and bash my head on the toilet seat. I lie on the floor in a naked heap. My pride is damaged and I am vulnerable. I have been defeated by a centimetre-long household insect. The threat is present, real and hiding in plain sight in my own home.

The ever-present resistance I feel is comfortable, patterned, safe: trusted in its familiar unpredictability.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2019 

The Thought Constrictor

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The Thought Constrictor proudly conquers the brain of the Prey, depositing layers of delusions into what becomes a tapestry of constricting thoughtforms. With a finely-specked endoscope, ready at any moment to shine light on the lies, fantasies and destructive projections I burrow into the depths of the central nervous system and sit there as a Patient Companion. Sometimes I can hear the snake spitting out venomous messages with no apparent trigger: ‘you’ll never do it’, ‘it will never happen’, ‘you will just stagnate’or ‘there is a problem’. The words reverberate round the walls of the skull like pneumatic reminders of the futility of the Prey’s existence. Sometimes the noise is so relentless that I surrender almost entirely to it as if I’ve succumbed to the narcotic hypnotism of a cultist ritual.

Cushioned by the grey squidgy tissue I nod off for a bit but then slowly open one eye. As I do so the noise dies down. I open the other and the noise now reaches a dull plateau. Like the syncopated repetition of a pumping house track in a crowded bar it is enough to keep my attention from waning. Urged on by the fact that I now have the attention of the Prey’s brain, the snake causes more thoughts to tumble out: ‘they don’t like you’, ‘you’re not good enough’ or ‘you can’t say that’. This time, my awareness deepens and the thought forms become like an annoying brother or sister.

In order to get away from the low-level irritation I choose to jump into the eyes of the Prey’s brain and focus on the world outside of me. I focus on the passing cars; the flowy arcs weaved by the teenage skateboarder on the pavement and the jobsworthy traffic warden who triumphantly slaps a ticket on an illegally-parked Vauxhall Astra. The thoughts stop. The outside world in the moment has my attention and the snake has given the Prey the liberty of being back in his life again.

I am walked down the street until the Prey gets on a bus. He pays the driver and sits down warily at the front at a sufficient distance away from the vodka-swilling dreadlocked girls. The bus pulls away and the Prey drifts back into the maleficent stronghold of the Thought Constrictor. This time the thoughtforms are sharp and pointed:  ‘you won’t score with the ladies’, ‘you’re a loser’,it says and the thoughts pinch the Prey sharply. I am tired so I let the thoughts roll. They roll around the Prey’s head as the bus sways around every corner. The backwards and forwards motion lulls me somewhat and the thoughts come out as words in a trance ‘yooou caaan’t get a giiiirllllfriend’or ‘you are too old’ and so on. I sit there. The Passive Patient Companion.

The bus stops and causes the Prey to jolt back and forth. I look through his eyes and see that the bus has reached the last stop. The Prey gets out of his seat and walks dolefully down the stairs. He steps off the bus and wanders into Poundland. ‘What a shame’ sighs the snake, ‘you’re such a failure you have to shop at a budget shop ha ha ha!’ I am more awake now and wink at the thoughtform and it sidles off. The Thought Constictor launches another thought. I watch it and it disappears.

Ah f**k it.It’s all b****cks anyway’ says the Prey under his breath. I feel something tense up in the front of his face. I reach out towards the inside of the jaws and can feel two pockets of creases on either side of the Prey’s face where the skin has bunched up. A smile, I think. He is smiling. I do a small cartwheel on the squidgy grey matting and then go back to sleep. The snake thinks he has won now that I am snoozing but the thoughts know not to return if they are going to be met with such robust challenge.

My job is done.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2019 

 

Small Boy Fear

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I stand here and watch as you destroy your world for no good reason.

A caustic cackle splinters the hopeless pause before you launch your fist into the door.

 

You don’t want this deep down but it is all that you know and it keeps you safe.

Ensnared by fear. Diminished by shame. Burdened by doubt.

 

You resist the unclipping of your wings, as that would lead you to discoveries about yourself

That might bust the myths you thirstily imbibe about who you really are.

For then you would realise that your own reality has been a lie:

A well crafted work of elaborate self-deceit.

 

As I shine my light towards you

Your demons laugh in my face

And that makes my light burn brighter and stronger.

 

But like a startled animal

You run back underground,

Hiding once more from the truth of yourself

And the pain of being loved.

 

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2019 

The City At Night

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Wandering the cityscape at night

I am the passenger with no ride

Passing by

Passive to the passers by

 

Let me be here

And the city says ‘yes’

 

Shadowy trees eerily extend gnarled branches

Like wizened wizards

Benevolent boughs of bonhomie:

A silhouetted sop to the anomie

(my soul’s familiar enemy)

 

Let me be here

And the city says ‘yes’

 

Figures scuttle rat-like and risky

Bin bags billow in the wind:

Black balloons

In chorus rustle;

 

‘Let me be here’

And the city says ‘yes’

 

Pimps and dealers

Cut deals on corners

On edge on the edge

With jagged intentions

Searing through

Serendipity

 

‘Let me be here’

And the city says ‘yes’

 

Girl meets boy

In temptation’s trist

Bodies entwined

Under sodium glare

Breathless they murmur

In heady unison

 

‘Let me be here’

And the city says ‘yes’

 

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2019 

Packages

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We go around

in neatly folded packages.

Work-shaped, mall-shaped, party-shaped.

Sufficiently malleable to fit into each slot.

Still wrapped when we get home.

(Often tightly).

 

Tightly taped and parent-shaped for the kids.

Ribbon-tied and bug eyed for the spouse.

Always gifted

But never unwrapped.

 

What if one string were slowly pulled from the top

To reveal what was inside?

‘No!’ we protest,

‘For that would destroy the package:

the multi-version of me that is my

identity’.

 

(The ‘i’ in identity

is with a little ‘i’

for the little eye

does not want to have

the inner view).

 

Pull the string.

Because what you really are

is both inside and outside

of the parcel anyway.

 

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018 

The Shadow

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Impossible circles etched out on my heart

You are the toddler with the ballpoint pen

And I am the rice paper

Stoically I sit here in the dark

For I have no energy left to run

And no-one to turn on the light for me

So you loom large

But I know you from old

So I hold out my hand

And we wallow in this strangeness together

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018 

The Pace of Life

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The march to the Pace of Life is quick, I think. It takes no prisoners. Those who march to the Pace of Life  give the impression that all purpose has been knocked out of them: that they are reduced to a hollow rhythm. One-two, one-two to the beat; each foot a syncopated slave to the drum of their daily existence.

Mine is a rather different pace. I have no purpose to my walk at the moment but that’s ok. Sometimes I dither and sometimes I circle the same ground over and over again, as though I were looking for something I had lost. As I get older and my feet get heavier I wonder whether it is innocence that I left behind. Wearily I still look for the things that shine: old bits of copper, fun acquaintances, fallen pennies, new lovers, bits of treasure…..

……..but now I know that they will lose their sparkle in the half light.

This is the direction I chose to take and there is no turning back. I am on my own now, my path illuminated only by the light of the sun and moon. I am at the whim of my heels. The road forms itself; it becomes a path that opens up; a benevolent direction: an insurrection to the action, reaction and mindless distraction of everyday life.

‘Aren’t you a drifter?’the clockwork marchers say as they one-two, one-two to the beat of the Drum.

And you already have all the answers….’, I retort,  ‘or will you look them up?’

They only rustle their planners and thumb their diaries in response, organising their lives to factor in every linear possibility from birth until death (and even that one’s on the calendar – Tuesday if possible, not a Monday so as to avoid bridge night).

The Pace of Life planner doesn’t allow for error. It doesn’t allow for eventualities or vicissitudes. Or winds of change. Or changes of heart. Or changes of lover. Or changes of direction. It maps the course with routine predictability to ensure there is absolutely no availability.

For availability might mean being alone. Or time to think. Or time to change. Or time to grow. Or time to stop putting one foot in front of another in sync with the invisible metronome whose Stalinist presence monitors every second, every heartbeat and every heel strike of every footstep, counting one-two, one-two to the next chronological signpost. Easter. Christmas. Birthday. School holidays. Another Event with a capital E.

On the planner, there is no space to scrawl in a day for contemplation or silent contentment: no time to scrub out a week and spend it in timeless nihilism. Too busy, they say, too busy.

Too busy for connection, reflection, contemplation and wonder. Too busy for savouring or wondering; dreaming or envisioning. Too busy.

Too busy for touching, lingering, sensing and feeling.

Too busy for feeling the fullness of a moment: the sort of moment that has the power to cause the cogs in the clockwork to grind to a halt yet the sort that will last……

……forever.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018