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Monthly Archives: June 2013

So it’s been a bit of a shit time recently. Not satisfied with merely breaking up with me then ignoring me for days on end before offering me an actual explanation, not satisfied with displaying that amount of cruelty in the early weeks, the amazing ex-boyfriend has now taken to kicking me when I’m down SO MUCH, that other people have started to intervene. Breaking up with me wasn’t enough, see. Here we are 5 or 6 weeks later and he sees now as a good time to be texting me at 4am, calling me at 2am, wanting to know who I’m sleeping with and why that makes me a terrible person. I expect I really should be sitting here in a mourning veil, gently sobbing into a silk hankie, turning away all offers of sex from sexy men in case the ex decides to throw me a bone. Because I haven’t been doing that and because I’ve been getting my fill as a single woman, he’s accused me of never really loving him, of stringing him along for the whole year, of never actually being sincere when I called him the love of my life. It’s a sad affair when you think you know someone, and you love them, and then they go and turn on you like a worst enemy. He’s acutely aware of my mental illness, in fact it’s why he left me. I’ve pleaded with him to stop getting the digs in but he just couldn’t. My parents have actually now had to contact him telling me to leave me alone. Not satisfied with leaving me and pushing me into a dark place, he just loves to remind me why I was such a trauma to be with, why I’m so difficult, and exactly what about me he finds despicable. I’ve been pretty depressed. That’s not enough for him. He wants me to go as far down as possible. I was wallowing last night and it made me act irrationally. Now, I just have a feeling of needing to carry on. What he’s doing is called bullying, and it’s not a very nice thing to do. At first I thought it was all my fault, I consulted several friends and gave them honest accounts of when I did indeed act like a dick in the relationship, but see, the ex can’t accept he ever did. Because of ONE person I recently slept with (I would like to reiterate I have been single for over a month, and he’s the one who left me), he’s hitting out at me with such vicious force that it’s starting to feel suffocating. Because of ONE person, I must not have loved him. Because of ONE person, I deserve – in the ex’s eyes – to be spoken down to in such a way it’s ironic he’s accusing me of never really loving him, when he now has the capacity to talk to me like I’m some kind of monster. 

But the good thing is, it means I can move past him now. I was in love with this man, he was funny and gentle and kind, and sure sometimes he was a little weak but aren’t we all? He’d get depressed and I’d do all I could to comfort him. I’d tell him all the time how much I loved him. I mean sure, okay, sometimes his exes were a bit of a problem (in particular the one he creeped on YouTube, and planned on seeing without me. Or the one who added me on Twitter, she’s one who couldn’t stop emailing him. And there was that woman who told MY friends that she’d had a casual sex relationship with him and that turned out to be a lie. Oh, and there was that one who actually emailed me begging to know *sob* WHY *sob* DON’T *sob* YOU *sob* LIIIIKE MEEEEEEE), and sometimes that really fucked me off. Oh god yeah, there was ANOTHER one who was messaging him, but that also was meant to be a secret kept from me. So, we’d argue about that. How I felt like I’d just been added to a harem of useless women for some unfathomable reason still fawning over this man. I had this difficult past too. One guy. This one bro. He too would email me all the time and I would always, always respond with “leave me alone”. Since the break-up, I needed a friend and this past bro knows me very well and knows how to take care of me, so maybe somewhat irrationally, I called him. I’d like to again reiterate, this is as a single woman, after my boyfriend who the day before told me I was the love of his life and that he adored me and never leave me, left me. Of course, me and the past bro ended up sleeping together. It was on the cards. We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Regrettable sex with someone on the grounds you remember they were great in bed and at least you know what to expect. The ex asked me if I had slept with this past bro, when he called me at 2am one night. I said yes, and since then, a torrent of absolute hate and disgust has been unleashed. Like it’s any of his business. You know what I think? I think he’s full of regret. I knew if I slept with this past bro, I was once and for all burning my bridges with the ex. He wouldn’t want to go near me again if the past bro had, you know, put his SCENT ON ME. I did it largely for that reason. I was clinging onto hope me and the ex would get back together and I needed to eradicate that hope. 
The past bro has been an angel. Loving, caring, kind, and most of all – patient. I feel mad at myself I didn’t allow myself to stay friends with him when I was with the ex. At times, I could have really used a friend like that. In the ex’s eyes of course this means me and the past bro are wildly in love and always were, so that’s why it’s acceptable to text me at 4am calling me names, making me feel 2 centimetres tall, accusing me of dreadful things. 

Now, is it just me, or is that super fucked-up? 

I don’t know. I just sort of thought that when you dump someone on the grounds that they’re no longer worth the hassle (which is why he left me), I don’t think you have a right to have any opinion on the sex they’ve been having and who with, do you? Especially if your relationship with that person was littered with reminders of exes, especially ones you’ve expressed actual obsession with? You can’t exactly go moaning to the person you’ve left that they might end up loving someone that isn’t them, that they were stringing you along when all they did all the time was tell you they loved you, so publicly and proudly, openly expressing deep adoration, can you? 

Is this some kind of male thing I don’t get?

You know, it’s funny. I’ve been out with some horrible people. The ex, was the nicest boyfriend I ever had. Funny how it turned out that this break-up is the most vicious, destructive, nasty and bitter one I’ve ever had, and that the sweet, kind man I fell in love with is nothing more than a jealous and embittered little bully, wanting what he can’t have and throwing a temper tantrum because he threw away a toy that someone else has picked up and started to cherish. 

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Get well soon. 

Today, I went to go sign on. I’ve only recently finished uni and surprise surprise, there are no jobs. Some of my family would like to believe there actually are jobs and I’m just being a workshy fop, but there really are none. I can demonstrate this because today I was browsing the “Job-points”, and I clicked “all jobs”. After about 7 pages, and there are about 8 jobs on each page, the jobs literally ran out. There was nothing. No work. Nothing. And the jobs advertised were all requiring NVQs, BTECs, training I don’t have and can’t afford. My advisor’s advice? “Move to London”. 

I thought about this and at first I turned it right down. However, in this past 5 weeks, my boyfriend dumped me (on account of me being apparently too much for him, but secretly on account of him being too scared to leave his mother’s apartment), I finished uni, and in this time of desperate need, some of my closest friends have been absent. Not even dropping a line to say hi, just truly absent. One particularly “close” friend of mine, the night before I got chucked, I spent buying her drinks and talking to her. Has she even messaged me since to check in? Has she fuck. 
The literature scene in Manchester is really exciting but I’ve squeezed all I can out of it now. Aside from Bad Language, the nights thrown in Manchester are just the same old regurgitated shit over and over again, and I’m bored of it. I’ve no partner, no job, no education, no real friends, nothing left, here in Manchester. I’ve lived here for three years and this city has done nothing but fuck me over. The friends I’ve made are 90% not real friends, the opportunities aren’t real opportunities. I wasn’t lucky enough to be born into a delightful middle class family who see my poetry as a fundable whim, and that’s what separates me from a lot of the people “on the scene” in Manchester who flocked to Manchester University to study an MFA in Poetry (because Manchester’s in the Russell Group – forgetting that Manchester Metropolitan is schooled by our poet laureate). 
There’s nothing left for me, so I’m starting to apply for jobs in London. I’m not being a big fish in a little pond, I’m just a little fish about to go into even a bigger pond, but Jesus, I want to have my life, now. I’m heartbroken that the love of my life actually wasn’t, and that some of my friends were so false. It’s time for me to move on. So yes, I’m applying for jobs in London, and I’m going to bugger off there. 

Not much else to say, other than thanks for the memories, I guess. 

Tonight, I arrogantly entered a contest for a flash fiction slam, having never written flash fiction before and having never entered a slam before. Not only that, but I wrote my three requisite pieces, within an hour after coming home from the jobcentre, before having a right nice nap. Needless to say, I didn’t do very well. However, here are my three pieces. The first is restrained to 100 words, the second to 150, and the final to 200. Enjoy. 

December 21st. (100 words)

Do you remember? It was December and we went listening to the carol singers, huddled up around our cups of Gluhwein. Your thumb peeking out of a fingerless glove with a papercut from wrapping presents. 
Then Santa Claus comes round shaking a donation box like sleigh bells. We put our quids in and did our bit for Marie Curie. 
It had been four weeks since we fell in love, and yet we sang without joy, or bliss.
It had been two weeks since he died, and now all we can do is wear daffodils on our lapels. 

Lunch With Will Self (150 words)

Will Self looks quite simian as he sits opposite me, alternating sips of a macchiato with sips of tepid water. Will Self struggles with a rare blood disorder which means he has to have his blood letted once a week because his body makes too much of it. He said he hasn’t had it done in about a month now and he’s feeling fine. I glanced at the lunch menu and told Will Self I didn’t know what to order. Will Self said, “Indeed, the cynics are correct. The sense of free will is only that feeling which we have, when we take the necessitated option that appeals to us”. 
“I know you are,” I said. “But what am I?”
Will Self ignored me and decided on steak tartar. When the waiter took his order, Will Self exploded into majestic, crimson fireworks. 
I’d heard this can happen, sometimes.

Eight Weeks (200 words)

They think it’s okay to sell the fish whole but they don’t do that with the other animals. In the supermarket, we saw trout on ice with clear, glass eyes so we knew it was fresh. It looked stoic, and proud, and I wondered if when I die, I’ll look that dignified. “We’ll take it” I said, and slapped £3.50 down on the counter. 
I could feel it cold and firm in the foil-backed plastic bag, all spine, and gutted of all inner processes. It looked so unflappable. By the exotic fruits I took the fish out of the bag and waved it around by its tail, smacking it with my hand, attempting to revive it. I passed it to you with great care, and I selected four pomegranates to put into our trolley. Everyone was staring but you didn’t seem embarrassed to be with me. “Four pomegranates” you said, “that’s actually not that many pomegranates”.
It’s probably a good thing it turned out I wasn’t pregnant, in the end. We’ve enough on our plate, as it is. 

Hi all, I’ve written a new prose poem. This is the first draft, I’m sure time will change it. It’s called Don’t You Know There’s Something I Need To Talk To You About? 

It’s coming dark in this rented bedroom where we sleep, on a heap of pillows, sort of lying together, you’re careful not to put your arm around me but your legs are pressed up by mine. You are breathing in the most quietest I have ever heard you. I have my back to you and I feel this movement. People have got opinions. The suspicion that surrounds us cases us to hide further, deeper, only centimetres apart. You turn and a set of keys falls off the bed and onto the floor but is briefly caught mid-air for a second as we both stop breathing or moving or, more precisely, thinking. I heard the echo of the drop for the rest of the evening. Louder when I turned to look at you, and in your face I saw a sort of femininity I hadn’t noticed before, and the co-dependency you falter in my loving me still, presenting as you, talking under your breath in your sleep. I don’t want to tell you what you said because you won’t remember, but it was pretty wild. The more and more I look at you the more I see the fragility of us and the palpable barrier between. When the keys finally drop you start up, then you look at me and say “go back to sleep” and we go back to sleep. They fall. We try not to. 

It feels like it’s probably dark outside when we wake up but it’s not, we’re just tricked into thinking that because we slept so long and now we feel bad. The light present in this room is so ugly. I need a lamp. Do you think you could get me a lamp? Call it a tribute. I don’t like the way we look under the harsh light, we look too real. I can see each grey hair in your sideburns and you can see the moles under my eyes that make it look like I slept in my make-up. 

We leave the house to go and buy supplies and you stand at the bus-stop near my house. You’re not the only man I’ve ever stood here with. You lean against the timetable and smoke so I have to try to remember if the bus comes in at 04, 14, 24, 34, 44, 54, or 07, 17, 27, 37, 47, 57. You’re a tall shape and you seem less tense in the top half, wearing colours of midnight shadows. When we were sleeping earlier I had a dream that I wasn’t very lonely any more. So many middle class people go cycling round here, all with baskets on the front of their bikes. One comes by us now, a twee Francophile with a baguette in hers, as if waiting to be caught by a photographer. She goes in the direction of the Golf Club but neither one of us can imagine her playing. In that few seconds I heard the keys fall again. Not the few seconds as she cycled by, but the overlap of seconds during and briefly after that, when I accidentally fell into you whilst trying to get out of her way, and that second in your arms seemed absolutely terrifying. So much more intimate than the sex we’ve been comfortably having. There’s something more intimate about seeing you and not senselessly throwing it down than actually doing so. The keys drop so loud in my head I look down at the pavement to see if they’re there. 

Today, I’m nervous on the bus. Things have been quite pointless recently. There’s a man on the back seat who is talking on his BlackBerry about having just got out of jail again. He looks pale and manages to be skinny and flabby at the same time. He said it’s been a week. A look of disdain bounces off your face and onto all reflective surfaces and I remind you that you are no better than him, you’re just more affluent. He’s just got out for GBH and is organising a drug deal over the phone. Now tell me how he’s so different to you? You’re not exactly the King, you know. You tell me how comfortable it actually is “inside” and make no attempt to express contrition about your anecdotal experience. The boy on the bus knows violence. Like you, he knows the flood of adrenaline that – in me – causes hyperventilation and hot, clammy skin but in men like you – causes lightening in the limbs and tightening, coiled fingers. You can imagine a fight happening with all the balletic grace of trapeze dancers in the big top, but really it is just fighting, and all men like you are let out an animal, night-animals the police are used to seeing, their fur raised and their eyes luminescent when caught out in the darkness by a torch. 

You’ve missed Manchester, I can tell. You’re diving back into it like a child gone back to the family caravan park. You want to go to the food hut and then the clubhouse and get a slushy. You want to order a cocktail from the old place but the old place has shut down an all you can get there now is burritos. You draw parallels. “Back home we have a bar a bit like this.” “Back home they do the best martinis”. Yes, but back home is not where I am, and I am not humble enough to come out with a statement like that and say it with any humility. Listen to you, calling it “home”! This may as well be London. London isn’t some magical place where all wishes come true. It doesn’t have its own mind, there’s no collective consciousness, it’s not full of opportunity and i couldn’t find work there unless I worked for you. There is nobody more friendly or fashionable or happy than here, people don’t walk differently. It’s just a city. And just like here it’s so much more lonely than a place populated by millions should be. The difference between here and London is a matter of miles. The difference between me and you is a matter of three years and terrible timing. There’s very little about me you haven’t already walked through. 

It’s officially “night time” and the streetlights have come on. I see you in a composite of differently moving shapes belonging to their own eras. Your neck outstretched peering into the window of a bar to check for tables is Summer last year when I walked out of your house, and you stood at the door to watch me leave, peering over the hills, without the energy to call me back. Your arms will always be Summer 2010 when we first met and I saw then, naked, at the baths, and you made a comment about how the shape of my legs was pleasing to you. The head on your body is every single day of Summer 2011, looking down at a desk then back up at me then back down then back up at me from behind the glass wall that kept us separated. The body as a whole is Summer 2013, now, the present. What is it with us, and Summer? The first time we fell in love was Winter but even then, I reckon we’d been saving it up since June. 

I don’t want to stay out until morning but I don’t want to not stay out until morning either. I need the comfort of buildings much taller than me, I need to watch the day come right back in again, I need to fall asleep in a cab home and have you wake me and we do that little dance of do-we-or-don’t-we. Come in, stay as long as you want, it’s not like I’ve got anything else to do. Outside the Midland Hotel there is still a concierge, at this hour. He’s wearing a maroon coloured suit with gold buttons and what I think is a stupid hat. I do hate the pomposity of the rich, the cartoonishness of money; the shocking pink of a £50 note, silver cloches that covered our breakfast when we stayed here, the shiny baubles you all adorn your poor with to decorate them. The concierge is kind of handsome. 

We made it. The sun is beginning to rise so can’t we go watch it from somewhere? Cool blue sky dimmers in, we stand and wait for a taxi. Get in the back with me and put your arm around me. That’s safe. It’s all quite safe at this point. Just try not to think about it. And listen, I meant to tell you. I really, really, really need to talk to you about something. It’s about me. Well, it’s about us. 

Yesterday this post had a long introduction, but I thought the introduction was crass, so today I’ve got rid of it. This is an experimental piece of writing called Patient H.

:

Case A

 

This study involved a thirty-four year old male who had previously suffered three psychotic episodes with subsequent hospitalisations. The man is successful in several walks of life at once and has a preoccupation with conquering any walk of life he should chance upon  (it should be noted this is not based purely on delusion as he is genuinely successful, in all walks of life he chances upon). This an had not experienced a major psychosis for over ten years but complained of nervous-system headaches, a lack of forgiveness with peers and “grinding depression”. His inability to concentrate has been long-lasting but something he puts down himself to “heartsick distraction”. He is a dime-successful publisher and has increased his workload by 200% at least since we last saw him. He takes breaks from his work in his private office with 20 minutes per day of meditation. His manager has allowed him mood-lighting and soft-furnishings, should the harsh light and corporate stripes induce panic attacks within him, or should he at least find them ugly to his eyes (that are “Super-Perceptive”, hence their intensity in colour and communicative qualities). 

After his first hypnotherapy session, this man reported feeling “very relaxed” yet conversely “very unsettled”. This confirms the initial diagnosis of schizo-affective. Shortly into treatment, he reported his ex-wife had once remarked that he was “much less reactive” under his regime of olanzapine (given for over a year since a suicide attempt resulting in a coma and 3-week section subsequently). He told his wife he had begun to feel “sort of happier” after 2 weeks of Sertraline as adjunct therapy but demanded the company of his “wife”. 

During this time, as if by luck, the woman he refers to as his “wife” (is this psychosis? Make note) became suddenly present and affectionate. Thereafter the man reported his headaches and panic attacks subsided almost entirely. As treatments continuted, he responded much better with the aid of his wife, and reported he felt more “human”. Midway through this treatment he reported his creativity had “flourished” and was currently putting together a “small piece” for Random House’s subsection of Jonathan Cape. Shortly before discharge, he reported a sudden and startling awareness of “the horror of Silence”, and the auditory disturbances persist as a result but he assures – they are welcome, friendly (now) and advisory. Without them, said he, life would be so dull as to dive headlong into a chasm, “should Cathy choose to go with [him]”.

Rachael Lucas, a friend of mine (who is actually pretty bloody famous and successful), author of ‘Sealed With a Kiss’, challenged me to write a poem in half an hour or less, based on the giddiness of a thing I MIGHT HAVE STARTED (ssh) with someone I MIGHT REALLY LIKE. So, I tried it, it’s not very good, but it’s called Some People Live in Strange Ways. 

We’re not waiting for morning. Some people live 
In strange ways, like us, and we agree on terms.
Our laughter is suspended in the warm, thick air

Of Summer, as if touchable; visible and light
Trapped brightly and stuck, leaving marks, bruises
Made real for the evening. We hear my housemate

Listening to Radio 4, gently stirs us though not enough
To want to wake. We’ve engaged, become, discussed
And touched. Tenderness can be a violent act, as you’ll

Learn, when we re-entangle, you belong to me
Tonight, and only me. A waistcoat demands me. 
It’s getting light. Some people live in strange ways

Like us. It’s warm again, let’s make the most of the 
Uncomfortable heat; all the city drops into a deep fog,
Like we’re the only ones awake and suspended in

The warm, thick air of Summer. Night came in like
The sound of an orchestra tuning to A; in spikes
And dips. Some people live in strange ways, like
Us, and we agree on terms. Tonight, suspended
In the warm, thick air of Summer.