you and i had a secret
do you remember?
we held hands in the crowd
lights blasting and music shining
thundering through our veins
you and i
a secret whispered
the crowd pressing in
the night sky above whirling
galaxies and stars endless
but we had a secret
here in this darkness
you and i.
what is the secret? you ask
i’m slipping away.
what is our secret?
2. to stop time
it was a dark dusty attic and the boy sneezed when he came in, wanting to play. almost immediately he saw the demon; he stopped, wide-eyed, hand still clutching the toy soldier. “would you like to have a gift?” the demon said, smiling. it sat on the shelf like a small ornament, with blinking, knowing eyes. the boy nodded yes. the demon licked its lips, and slithered next to the boy’s ears and whispered a secret. and then it was gone.
the boy is now fourteen. he is on a boat with his cousins, singing softly into the wind; the wind catches his young clear voice and brings it riding on the sea salt breeze. he climbs to the top of the boat, prince of the world. the sun rises, peeking a tiny sliver of its brilliance above the faraway mountains; the boy’s breath catches. it is a beautiful moment. but then it was gone, and he descended the ship’s ladder to breakfast.
the boy is nineteen. first love, staring into the chestnut brown eyes of the girl who has become the beginning of everything. the amber streetlight catches the sheen of her lower cheek as he places his hand on her face, tilting, her hair falling around her shoulders. they hold each other, swaying to the silent music of their hearts in tandem. when their lips touch the boy remembers. but his heart pulls away.
the boy is twenty five. the bar is loud, doors slam and laughter, raucous, brothers slapping their thighs and joking about the good old times. red flush in his cheeks, the boy, now a man, fiercely living, gripped with a mission and emboldened by success, calls his friends to a toast. they stand, and the boy looks into the eyes of those he would live and die with. something tugs at the back of his mind which fades away as he speaks.
within a split second of the car screech all was still. the boy looks at his raised hand, almost surprised that it worked. he surveys the scene. the looks of horror on the passerby faces, the skidding of the car. the terrible closeness. he walks over to the epicenter of the pain to come. the beginning of the end. he looks at her small happy face a last time, a tear glistening down his cheek. “why?” he said aloud.
the demon stood across from him. “you know why,” it said. it was the same size as him now, a shape, something indifferent. “your gift. to know what you truly love.”
democracies r falling apart and the terrorists r cookin up bioweapons in their backyard beheading coptic christians in the centre of the world where the snipers r shooting up children trafficking through libya germany britain, voting for the continent to split in half like the americans across the ocean and their orange demon or the french’s le pen, from glowing computer screens infected by young slovenian dudes and siberian hackers, continents are shifting and the maldives r drowning as the ice melts and we r running out of food as the venezuelans starve and they start growing meat in the labs while chinas making blind grabs down southeast asia where duterte is slaughtering everyone, just like russia molesting smaller countries pedobear putin wit assad dropping sarin gas on little kids and their mamas oh women r oppressed but so r men and north korea breathing radiation down our neck, spaceships r taking off and mark zuckerberg making AI in his kitchen and scientists testing black holes millions of miles away, pulsars are revolving and the galaxies are dancing, here you are bag of carbon, what are you gonna do? here you are young and on the brink of life, pregnant potential breathing the fresh god sent air, what the fuck r u gna do? what r u gna do.
4. god plays dice
you need to imagine it like that; a brightly lit table in the darkness. go up to the table. the mean-faced dealer sitting opposite, and he is holding a small die, and when you lay down your life he will throw the die in one smooth movement across the table. when the die leaves his hand the angle at which it hits the air is the terrible weight of that late, wide-eyed night you made your best guess on that university, that course, that scholarship; the unassuming, invisible eddies of air nudging the die left or right merely your first few weeks on your first job, like baby steps in the real, chaotic world. look: the arc of the die is how your first job leads to the second, and how you will begin to forget why; wife, children, family, unexpected, marriage pulling gently, the gravitating away from your course. it is how you put away that little book of ideas you told yourself you’d save for a novel; the unthinking script and film every day, whirring on repeat. look: the bounce and tumble of the die is forgetting what it was like to run easy, without the aches and pains in the bones; bits and pieces, sputtering to a stop; the moment that comes with no warning, as you sit cosy in old age, when you look back in wonder and pine for lost dreams. when the die comes to a still you will understand what you have bargained for. like quantum states pulsating, something collapses shut when you make a choice; the paths turn their backs on you, leaving you with the plain straight road ahead. so come back to where you are. only stand before the table, your life in your hands. there is only one die. there is only one bet.
“Let’s go play!” The kindergarten kids rushed out the building happily screaming and flooded over the small playground. Mrs Lancaster, the old headmistress, looked on smiling. She motioned to little Johnny. “Go have some fun, you rascal. Just don’t break any bones this time!”
He giggled, wondering why her crows feet wrinkled her face so much. Tara, Connor and Sharlene ran over and pushed him towards the swing. “Johnny, you just have to try the swings!” Sharlene cried.
“Why?” Johnny pouted, afraid of heights. “Because you’ll love it!” “Why!” “You always love swinging, dum-dum!” “but why?” “If you ask why one more time i’m going to sock you!” Connor yelled.
They are at the swings. “Consider the infinite regress of justification,” little Johnny argued. “The Kantian rescue of foundationalism has been failed by contemporary philosophy, so we may doubt all propositional knowledge which requires further propositional justification; only knowledge-how may be fully certain or at least pragmatically true, given the defeated incorrigibility of sense data and the triviality of self-referring statements. morality itself is no longer compelling, let alone your arguments to interact with a playground object!”
Sharlene stood opposite him. “You are merely an insecure post-structuralist, seeking arguments to support Saussurean fallacies about the nonexistence of mind-independent reality, especially since you don’t understand him yourself.” She wags a finger. “Hume himself admits the flaw of his skepticism: the lack of certainty in coherentist knowledge structures is irrelevant because armchair philosophy is hardly useful; such philosophy built on ordinary language is bound to distort meaning beyond recognition and become self-defeating.” “That’s not true!” Tara retorted. “What would Foucault say? Obviously that power is pervasive and continues to influence you as you speak, rendering your arguments as shallow as light reflecting within a panopticon.”
“What the fuck, guys,” Connor said. “Oh no!” Mrs Lancaster was suddenly beside them, glaring.
“How dare you!” she seethed. “if i ever catch you discussing linguistic philosophy again, you won’t be getting sweets in third period!” She lifted a black cane and the three children dived into the bushes.
She glared, then turned smiling to Connor. “You’re a good boy, darling.” “Thanks,” he replied. “I always keep to analytic philosophy.”
the riot police were here; she thought violently, running down the alleyway and diving into the nearest corridor; she hoped her message in the graffiti had been seen. otherwise everything is lost. heart beating fast she leaned hard against the wall as they called out her name; shadows moving closer, across the red concrete bricks. it was now or never, she thought
flinging herself out holding the box – the truth – before her. from it came a blinding silver light and the dark faced police with the riot gear and forbidding shields fell away. only Will, the man she once loved, stood against the light. he looked at her, gun raised, eyes pleading. she walked to him, and with one terrible motion smacked him right across his face
7. death throes
i mean the sch is way scarier at night than in the day and it’s not because it is dark but actually it’s because it is well lit. everything is nice and lit and when you walk past the canteen or empty tables it feels like there should be someone there but when u turn around there isn’t. something feels off. anyway the lights at night are yellow. it’s a harsh yellow and it doesn’t look good on green or black or white tbh. it reeks of age, of time. the canteen is empty the tables r empty and the light is yellow, and when u stand at the walkway u can see the whole canteen, wide, you know the view. the lights overhead are bright but there is nobody. what does that tell you? the tables are expectant. it is almost as if they are already ready for you to walk in early next morning and everyone will be there again. in fact it is almost as if you are just early, and you know your friends will be arriving soon