01:36 and darkened bearings

My under­stand­ing was always as fol­lows, more or less:

  • You spent your early 20s not really know­ing what you were doing, but that was okay because you didn’t really care that much as you were still young;
  • In your late 20s to mid 30s you were find­ing your feet, estab­lish­ing your­self in life: in work, in a secure social circle, in your home, in a relationship;
  • In your late 30s and into your 40s you’d be, well, I sup­pose some might call it ‘set­tling down’. I don’t think I’d refer to it in those terms, but I cer­tainly always ima­gined that in my 40s I would feel rather more estab­lished and, most import­antly, at least some­what secure and grounded.

I don’t. Not in the slight­est. The ground seems to fall away beneath me whenever I attempt a nervous, wary step for­ward. As for secur­ity, I long for some­thing — and yes, occa­sion­ally someone — to hold on to.

I am over­whelmed and abso­lutely ter­ri­fied by the lack of cer­tainty in everything — abso­lutely everything, I prom­ise you — that com­prises my life. Home/accommodation, fam­ily, friends, work/career, fin­ances. I don’t know which way to turn, mainly because I’m not entirely sure I really have a way to turn. If even just one of those found some bal­ance, some sense, it would help.

Root­less, ground­less, search­ing, lost.

And that’s why, as now, I so fre­quently don’t sleep, but instead lie awake in the dark­ness, exhausted by tired­ness and bewildered, vir­tu­ally imprisoned by those all-consuming fears.

I need peace.

16:02 and waiting for outward signs

My head is so com­pletely full of detritus and scabs
That I won­der when they’ll emerge onto my skin

23:32 and hidden in bookends

[Con­fes­sion: I’m increas­ingly leav­ing mes­sages scattered across the web.]

[Like this. In square brackets.]

[You won’t find them, though. Because apart from being brack­eted, they’re also hidden.]

[Because I’m wary. Care­ful. Withdrawn.]

[In this way, I talk to every­one. And vari­ous someones. But also to no one.]

[I babble to myself, under my breath, as I write the words, fre­quently berat­ing myself for the sheer idiocy of my actions. Why am I doing this? What do I expect to hap­pen from it? For people to some­how sense the sen­tences, even though they’re invis­ible? For the words to some­how provide a sense of release, of relief? Neither occurs, of course. Don’t be ridiculous.]

[And yet I go on writ­ing. Hid­den con­ver­sa­tions to many, yet to no one but myself.]

[Blather, blather, blather. And close brack­ets. Done.]

20:45 and this soul meets this body

It’s a real­isa­tion I’ve had before. Many times. It tar­gets me, dead on, and I see it slowly jour­ney­ing over the hori­zon, ready to break over my head and darken my skull.

After its dawn­ing, its split­ting, its cas­cad­ing, it lingers for a time — I never quite man­age to cal­cu­late the length of its stay — before one night, while I sleep, it dis­sip­ates. Where it goes, where it hides, I don’t know; all I’m aware of is that its dis­ap­pear­ance is only so it can replen­ish itself, ready itself for an inev­it­able return on an an unknown date, at an unknown time.

I’ve seen it approach­ing over the last few days, aware that it’s going to arrive and shower me with its toxic truths, make another onslaught on my feeble mind. I’ve wanted to run. I’ve tried sleep­ing more, hop­ing it won’t notice me, that it will pass me by. But no, it always senses my presence.

It’s here. Here.

And so. And so. and so. [That last is a secret reference.]

When I was young, when I was grow­ing up, when all that stuff was hap­pen­ing, I always thought there would even­tu­ally be an escape. I didn’t know when. But I was sure of it, I told myself: sooner or later there would be an end to it, a halt, a finish.

It was as I got older — though not yet at the point of inde­pend­ence; older, yet still young — that I real­ised I was wrong. This would be a last­ing blight. The equi­val­ent of worms infest­ing wood, con­crete can­cer, asbes­tos remains.

Older still, and the blight paid its first vis­it­a­tion. Its been return­ing, off and on, to its own cata­strophic cal­en­dar, ever since.

“Hello. Go on then. Go on.”

“You deserve everything you get. You deserve everything you don’t get. Every hand you’ve been dealt. Every hand that’s been with­held. Suck it up, because it’s your pun­ish­ment, your fate, your destruc­tion. Because. Because you didn’t stop the things that happened, you didn’t pro­tect your­self, you let your­self be sul­lied, ruined and cor­rup­ted. Cow­ard, worth­less cow­ard. Moreover, you didn’t pro­tect that per­son. You didn’t stop that hap­pen­ing either. You did noth­ing, abso­lutely noth­ing. You just cowered and wept and blinked and tried to dis­ap­pear. And this, all of it, is why you are where you are and aren’t where you should be. Where do we begin with you? With your end­ing, that’s where. And I don’t stop there, either. I’m going to make you remem­ber the later times, the people you let down, the people to whom you passed your poison, the people from whom you should have kept your dis­tance. All of them. Every single one.”

I don’t know how long this latest vis­it­a­tion will last, but I dearly, des­per­ately want it to end. I want this ghost to van­ish. I want the whis­per­ing, the incess­ant and breath­less whis­per­ing, to stop.

20:58 and whither

Some­times I
Some­times I
Some­times I
Some­times I

I think
I know
What You’re

Or whether
Or whither
No ques­tion
No answer

Some­times I
Some­times I
Some­times I
Some­times I


09:33 and strike a light

As with most nights, I don’t recall what I dreamt
But this morn­ing I awoke with thoughts of arson

My face flushed, my hands hot
Clearly, I’d been rejoicing beside the fire

I can barely, faintly remem­ber such warmth
I felt almost human, feel almost… but no

I want to be an arson­ist, that’s my goal
My desire is to burn everything to the ground

Reduce myself, reduce you, reduce this and that
To a pile of still warm ashes, flecked with shards

My last act will be the pet­rol and the lit match
I want to die an arsonist

Burn it all down
Burn everything down

Burn me, melt me
Reduce me to dust

15:52 and the loss of the definite article

This never was
That never was

This is not
That is not

This will never be
That will never be

I’m all out
Of was, is and will be

Try­ing to future­proof
But lack­ing in evidence

19:35 and thumbing through thoughts

Given the more the near ten years of writ­ing here, albeit with some long pauses, plus the five years of words that pre­ceded this place, the para­graphs provide few dis­tinct memor­ies. I wrote too many thoughts and not enough of whatever was hap­pen­ing — because, to be hon­est, most of the time very little happened. This place is cer­tainly no kind of diary; in that, it’s deeply flawed.

Some­times, though, there’s a flick­er­ing recol­lec­tion — espe­cially dur­ing the aim­less­ness (and yes, the loneli­ness) of a week­end where exhaus­tion means I can’t bring myself to work and my mind looks too far inward — and I turn to this dis­astrous archive to try and remem­ber if not what was going on around me at the time, at least what I might have been thinking.

And then there are the people. Those few, those very few — not even requir­ing all the fin­gers of one hand to count — to whom I became very close, much closer, closest. With whom I spent sig­ni­fic­ant peri­ods of my life. With whom I sup­pose one might say I shared love — though as I’ve stated here before, for many years I wasn’t sure what that emo­tion meant or what it felt like to experience.

The first: the per­son I never met, though it felt like I did; the per­son I would eagerly have trav­elled the world in order to say a simple hello; the queen who van­ished; the sub­ject of the search that las­ted years; the lack of answers that caused me many a sleep­less night and haunted fre­quent night­mares (and does so even to this day, in truth); the per­son to whom I con­fessed my love.

The second: the escape from real­ity; the per­son with whom this place, where we spent so many week­ends, became a bliss­ful cocoon, whereas it now feels like a prison coated in filth and grime; the encour­ager of ideas, of fantas­ies, of cra­zier moments; but also the per­son with whom I exper­i­enced some domestic nor­mal­ity (and found myself enjoy­ing it, too).

The third: the imme­di­ate ‘click’; the joy­ous, excit­ing, even cap­tiv­at­ing dis­cov­ery of like minds; the secret under­stand­ing that seemed to be there from the very start; the impas­sioned debates con­trast­ing with the black humour; the all too brief times together; the desire for more minutes and hours of warmth and pres­ence, which were pulled from under­neath me without being told, and which I don’t fully under­stand; the con­fes­sion that I kept hid­den for far too long, all because of stu­pid, stu­pid cow­ardice; the fact that, for me, those feel­ings remain.

These memor­ies, it’s true, offer me some form of com­pan­ion­ship. But I can’t sur­vive forever just look­ing back. The past goes cold, and I find myself feel­ing sickened, needy, vile and worth­less, for rak­ing through those lay­ers of dust time and time again.

I don’t believe I will feel such close­ness again dur­ing my life­time. And I some­times won­der whether the pro­spect, if it exis­ted, wouldn’t scare me witless.

I need to steel myself. But I’m too tired to build a fort.

  • Small vic­tor­ies, but I did man­age to stay away from the abyss of my own mind until about 6.00pm this even­ing. Which, given it’s a week­end and I can’t face work­ing, it’s fairly remark­able. It was only as dusk drew in that I unfor­tu­nately remembered myself and began dwell­ing on thoughts of the past.

22:27 and in debt

I’ve been estim­at­ing my net worth again
Dis­cov­er­ing how much I amount to
But not fin­an­cially
Never fin­an­cially
Emo­tion­ally cer­tainly
Mor­ally maybe
Men­tally prob­ably
In cold­ness, I am in profit
So I have come up want­ing
Owing myself
Not owed by any­one
Check­ing out the fig­ures
Cal­cu­lat­ing the future profit
Res­ult: I’m broke(n)
But not broke(n) enough
Rip me off, beg­gar me
Break me more, I deserve debt

03:13 and we are finite

I don’t want to be here. Not tonight. Not tomor­row. Not a year from now. I want to be a quickly fad­ing memory. I want to be a footnote.

23:36 and still here

I’m try­ing hard — though fail­ing — to fight all the demons tonight: the demons of utter loneli­ness, the demons of abject fail­ure, the scream­ing demons inside my head and the domains without (the noise, the fuck­ing noise, the traffic and the damned sirens).

I feel ashamed, even child­ish
When, as now, as tonight
I simply crave love and warmth
The thought of hold­ing a companion’s hand
Just that, noth­ing more

Grow up. Fuck­ing well grow up
Get some strength, weak, feeble creature
Miser­able, piti­ful cunt

21:09 and the simplest of actions

I’m so ashamed and embar­rassed by what I’ve just done that I don’t know if I feel as if I’ve been brave, or whether I’m just sickened and naus­eated by my utterly pathetic weakness.

I’m sorry you had to be involved. I should have stayed talk­ing to myself.

00:56 and this is what it is

And then. Then it des­cends.
A silent scream. Suck­ing in air.
Hand clutch­ing arm. Hand clutch­ing arm.
The sewer of thought. The well of what.
Not know­ing where I am. Though I’m here.
The mind is empty. Yet burst­ing with.
This isn’t what I would call a life.
Live inside me. You wouldn’t.
You wouldn’t call it a life either.
I’ve lost my bear­ings.
Slackened my fin­ger­nail grip.

If you’re the mur­derer. If it’s you.
Please come for me tonight. Do your worst.
The door is unlocked. I’ve invited you.
Remove me. Delete me. Erase me.

I’m ready. I have been for a while.
Don’t ask me if I can do this any­more.
Because you know the answer. You.
You just don’t want to hear it.

The door is open. Come and end me.
I don’t have the energy to beg.
Though I will if you kick me.
I will if you hit me hard enough.
I will if you gouge out my eyes.
I will if you slice out my heart.
I will if you cut my throat.
I will if you evis­cer­ate me.
I’ll beg. Then I’ll beg.
I’ll beg you to fin­ish me.


14:13 and scrubbing at flesh

I need to be rid of anger, genu­inely tor­ment­ing anger, for a while. Even if only tem­por­ar­ily, just to give me some space to breathe. The con­stant under­ly­ing fury in everything I do, think or (vir­tu­ally) say is mak­ing it near impossible for me to func­tion. The only way to make it cease is to switch off almost com­pletely, so that all I can man­age is to stare at a screen, stare into the middle dis­tance, stare at noth­ing. I just want the anger to leave me. Leave. Please.

21:56 and mixed letters

Right now, there are words I want to write here. And yet, even though there’s barely an audi­ence for this place (and thank heav­ens for that), I don’t dare.

But I don’t dare to write the words to myself, either, to step away and put them down in a note­book or a text file, for fear they’ll turn against me and spit in my face.

And so. Here I am. And so. I don’t know what to do with the words. And so.

(I didn’t mean to use the phrase “And so” — it has con­nota­tions from the tumul­tu­ous past for me, even though the con­nota­tion was writ­ten “and so”, defi­antly lower­case, when I first glimpsed it many years ago. As for me, I’ve gone by many dif­fer­ent names as I attemp­ted to live lives other than this one — half of which I now for­get. I still don’t use my real name here, even though most now know it, for fear of being too eas­ily dis­covered. I wouldn’t expect con­cern, more deri­sion and dismissiveness.)

I want this long week­end to be over. I loathe bank hol­i­day week­ends even more than the stand­ard two-day vari­ety. They seem interminable.

Maybe I should try and sleep. I should, yes. I should try and sleep.

19:29 and I would, in an instant, a blink

The rain’s not help­ing tonight. As a res­ult, I’m becom­ing angry and frus­trated. The rain is always sup­posed to help, just the sound of it, allow­ing me to close my eyes and tem­por­ar­ily drift off, step out of myself. All that ridicu­lous psy­cho­lo­gibull­shit stuff, you know. Don’t you?

I tried to work earlier, to take my mind away some­where else. But I was just mov­ing items around a screen for an hour, try­ing to busy myself. I real­ised then that I don’t, in fact, have any work I could use­fully be doing right now, as I’m wait­ing for cli­ents to get back to me. Aimless.

I tried read­ing, get­ting lost in a novel, but I couldn’t find the way in to dis­ap­pear. The words pushed against my eyes, but no fur­ther. The same with attempt­ing to immerse myself in a film.

I feel cold, I’ll admit. I’ll also admit that tonight is one of those long nights when I yearn for some human warmth, com­pan­ion­ship, touch; a break from myself, being immersed in oth­ers for even just a little while.

21:49 and out of touch with reality

I could have been
You could have been
We could have been
They could have been
It could have been
It all could have been
Everything could have been
Abso­lutely everything could have been

You, me, they, it and everything

I need a ‘will be’ or two
I need a few wel­come cer­tain­ties

The only one I have right now?
Tomor­row will be Sat­urday
That’s cer­tain (though I don’t want it to be)

I need more than that
And I’m not just being greedy
I’m being neces­sary
Entirely neces­sary

14:22 and the intemperance of temper

  • It hurts to see your­self being writ­ten out of people’s per­sonal histories.
  • At best, I am a polite if some­what ashamed foot­note; at worst, I’ve been com­pletely erased.
  • I exis­ted then and — though I often doubt it these days — I still exist now. I think(?)
  • I exist on social media, of course. Because we all exist there. But only as increas­ingly vapid avatars.
  • Am I an embar­rass­ment? A blot on your per­fect copy­book? A bruise on your cleansed skin?
  • Last night I dreamt. Vividly. Power­fully. And (I will admit, with some embar­rass­ment) per­haps wrongly.
  • Then I woke for a while. Listened to the rain, the swish of traffic on wet tarmac.
  • Returned to sleep and to a night­mare that seized me, tor­men­ted me, froze me.
  • It was of the future. I don’t want to go there. I want to go back.
  • I’m not even sure how far. Just back. To when there seemed to be… something.
  • A hope.

21:45 and a green hue


Envy is too kind a word, too soft and poetic a word. It doesn’t con­vey the full strength of what I’ve exper­i­enced today. Or the full hor­ror of the dis­taste I feel for myself.

For today I’ve been over­whelmed, riddled, infes­ted and scarred by jeal­ousy. It’s filled me to the brim, to the extent where I’ve wanted to tear and gouge at myself to release the poison.

I haven’t. But I can’t deny it’s been close.

Jeal­ous, ungrate­ful, vile, despic­able cunt. He should be put out for tor­ture, he really should. Hate­ful, putrid insect.

18:14 and electronic humming

I don’t know why I’m post­ing here. I’m feel­ing aim­less, uneasy. I want to relax, escape into a book, some music or a film, but I can’t unwind, can’t con­cen­trate. I don’t have any­thing to say, noth­ing to share, noth­ing new has happened. It’s just too quiet, I’m too tired to work, and I can sense my mind gear­ing up for another assault — the kind it stages when it finds me unoccupied.

And yes, you read right: it’s too quiet. Con­sid­er­ing how frus­trat­ing, infuri­at­ing and even, at times, anxiety-inducing I find the deaf­en­ing racket passing by out­side my win­dow, the unusual quiet today is unnerv­ing me. (Though it’s all rel­at­ive: we’re still talk­ing a con­stant low-level hum of traffic, just no build­ing noise or lorries.)

I’ve been think­ing a lot about answers. How much I want them. How I want this, the forty-fourth year of my exist­ence, to be the year in which I get some answers. I’ve long felt that people and situ­ations hold off from provid­ing me with answers — answers that I either long for or, in some cases, think (with all genu­ine due humil­ity) that I deserve. I want to be sure of a few things, to under­stand and com­pre­hend. Not least because I have — maybe wrongly, maybe unwisely — a fairly good idea of what my future holds (I’m sure you can guess) and I need to be pre­pared for it. I need to have cleared the decks in read­i­ness, because it’s a future that… well, that scares me.

I am think­ing too much. I don’t want to think. It’s barely gone 6.00pm, but I think it would appear to be time for bed — in the hope that I can loc­ate the ‘off’ switch.