When We Loved

You cornered me with love
a contortion into hate
between what you said
and what you did
who you claimed
and who you were
a chaotic contradiction
out of which I ended up believing
that to control
was to care
and to fear
was to feel

You wielded over me all the power I longed for
through force you shaped my self
while I wished to have a different form
but incapable I gave myself over to you
to make me what I thought was better
but which turned out to be just you,
your image,
your dream
and your ideal
broken imitations
of who I used to be
and corrupted lies
of who I should be

In the end I broke our love
or so you said
yanking at frayed ropes which had bound me
trying to drag me back into your world
as I sought out a new one

I’d like to say the power is mine now,
that my hands took over
but I know that’s not true
over every move I make
lingers your so called love
eager to recount
another cruel fable
of who I used to be
and who I should be

Time stands at my side though
the time I need to forget
and regrow
beyond the chaotic contradiction
of your love

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A Connection, I Suppose

This body politic is infected
broken down by a pathogen that’s half self aware
half selfish
insidious in nature
consuming in scope
and proud to say it’ll get us
before any other disease will
a form of connection
I suppose

This country’s economic ghetto
is under the thumb
held in stasis by a financial Cosa Nostra
maintaining order through exploitation
and tradition through corruption
with ageing Dons counting cash
assuring the hungry that it only gets worse
when new gangs arrive
holding us safe from invasion,
only to kill us themselves
a form of connection
I suppose

This home and castle
has a Lord
claiming Prima Nocta
to fuck us
and calling it Right
because who put up the walls that keep the enemy out?
Who swings the sword against the outsider
even before we’ve heard their name
or had a chance to know why they came
attention drawn away
by cap doffing obedience
to Regal right
a form of connection
I suppose

This story has no ending
not the way it’s told
the dulcit tones just carry on
until the body’s cold
always reassuring
that the teller’s got it right
always disavowing
any poor, unknown insight
It’s words are getting louder
it’s silences obscure
and the chance of thinking round it
ain’t quite there any more
a form of connection
I suppose

But we still have one reminder
of what we were and are
beneath all of the diseases
and Mafiosi power
we’re the one’s who live life
not the ones who say it loud,
not the ones who run it
or build walls
and steal crowns
and sooner rather than later
the body will react
locals will stop paying dues
all that bowing we’ll retract
we’ll find the final fullstop
start on another page
and all of those connections
will be from a dying age

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An Easy Discovery

Face by Dylan Malik Orchard

It wasn’t caged
it did not hide
nor deny it’s rightful place

It wasn’t new
it wasn’t found
it came through no new grace

It wasn’t yours to gift to me
nor any bodies else’s

But still I found it
though never hoped
to discover long lost faces

In memories I saw it pass
in fleeting, nervous moves
in lonely hopes
and doubtful moods
I clung to unseen truths

And only now
in silence’s maw
do I finally see
that one true missing aspect
was all that was meant to be

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Charlotesville & Violence

The reaction to events in Charlottesville has been a major part of the news and social media cycle recently. Rightly so, although it’s worth remembering that banner head events like this are just the peaks of what can and does happen on a daily basis throughout the US and here in the UK too. It’s size makes it more prominent, but perhaps not massively more important than the daily acts of intolerance and hatred that some people set out to encourage and take part in.

One of the strands of reaction, one which I find perhaps more confusing than any, is the condemnation of those people who set out to physically resist the Fascist presence on the streets. It’s not the loudest line, fortunately, but it does have enough prominence to be a disturbing one so I figured I’d throw in my 2p’s worth of opinion on it.

I don’t understand how, or why, people try to analyse physical action as a political or philosophical act, I’m not sure everyone involved in it does at any rate. Even if you believe that some Fash or fellow travellers can be talked to and brought back from where they are (and I do) that’s a moot point when it comes to actual, street level action. The only question there is what effect their presence has on a community and what measures are needed to limit it, I don’t understand how anyone with any experience of the world can honestly try to break that down into a comfortable political talking point to be chewed over with sorry recriminations from a safe distance. When these people go out to march, or more usually just act up in their day to day lives, they’re not setting out to convert people, or convince people of their righteousness, they’re trying to assert their power, they do it solely to make themselves feel bigger and to intimidate and threaten the people around them. Saying no violence in return as a personal position might feel morally right to an individual, it might even be morally right to an individual but it’s still a myopic position and a selfish one to impose on other people.

Try to impose the same thinking on others, imagine it’s your family, your friends or your kids who are walking around that area when the Fash are out. Imagine it’s them being told they deserve to die, that they’re less than human, that they should be lynched or thrown in gas chambers. Imagine that it’s them being physically attacked for the colour of their skin, or their religion or for believing that Fash thinking is wrong. And that’ll all happen even without them being involved in any counter protest, it’ll happen just because they exist. It happens every day in fact. To condemn people who take physical action in return, or who defend those who are attacked in that way is, tbh, a fucking disgusted moral imposition to make on anyone especially if you’re taking your stand from a safe distance where you’re fairly sure you won’t face the same.

I’ve posted a statement from a former member of the clergy above (click to enlarge). To me that’s a truly decent position for any pacifist to take if they hold their beliefs honestly. You don’t have to fetishise violence or think it’s good or get a buzz off of it. You just have to accept that your moral stand (if that’s really what it is) isn’t viable or reasonable for everyone and perhaps even acknowledge that, if it were, it wouldn’t just be the philosophically peaceful counter-protestors who’d get a beating for it. If Fash felt they could act with impunity on the streets, whenever and wherever they are, it’d be whole communities who’d have to live with it. Day in and day out.

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Suicide and Cowardice

I’ve never listened to Linkin Park, or Korn for that matter, and long and varied as I hope my life’ll be I hold out zero desire to experience either band in the course of it. So when I touch on Chester Bennington’s suicide and the reaction to it here I’m not coming to it from any particular fan-ish or grieving angle, more a personal one given my own experiences with the suicidal and the depressed.

Chester’s death didn’t really come on to my radar to be honest. Someone I’d never heard of killed himself, sad but no more interesting or relevant to me than the deaths of anyone else whose time comes before it perhaps should. What has popped up on social media within my usual blank faced staring at the screen though is the angry reaction from Korn’s Brian Welch.

Honestly, Chester’s an old friend who we’ve hung with many times, and I have friends who are extremely close to him, but this is truly pissing me off! How can these guys send this message to their kids and fans?! I’m sick of this suicide shit! I’ve battled depression/mental illness, and I’m trying to be sempethetic, but it’s hard when you’re pissed! Enough is enough! Giving up on your kids, fans, and life is the cowardly way out!!! [sic]

There’s been a strong response to the above, even though he’s now apparently deleted it from Facebook and while many others have already touched on the feelings I share towards it I figure it does no harm to put it all in my own words. Some lazy, cheap headlines reported the statement as an outright attack on the man rather than one couched in a more personal disappointment from someone whose own experiences, apparently, have some comparison to Bennington’s. Some of the initial outrage was mediated when people bothered to look beyond the misleading hackery that they first saw. Even if the statement had been nothing more than third rate editors decided to label it as though the aggressive response wasn’t, in my opinion, necessarily fair.

Suicide, and to a degree the depression that can precede it, can be taken in two ways and the closer you are to the individual in question the truer that becomes. On the one hand the factual realities of mental illness are, as any decent person can realise, tragic ones. People who drift so far into their problems/condition really shouldn’t be judged or attacked for the manifestations of them, any more than a victim of more clearly physical disorders should. On the other hand though mental health problems, while they may be illnesses, aren’t as easily quarantined into disdain as physical ailments. It’s easy to section off a physical disease from the person afflicted, it’s easy to hate what the former does while never for a second losing love for the latter. But with mental health the illness can become so insidiously wired into the behaviour of the individual that it’s hard, or even near impossible, to be objective about it.

From my own personal experience I’ve known individuals who’ve committed suicide and been driven to the point of attempting or openly considering it. And my reaction, like Brian Welch’s, wasn’t exactly as detached and understanding as some of those attacking him might have liked it to be. In fact at times it’s been downright bitter and disdainful and even if I didn’t term their actions as ‘cowardly’ I can’t deny that my views weren’t much more friendly or considerate. I was angry at them, or more accurately at my inability to help them, or the world for leading them to a place where the hope I wanted for them became such an impossibility in their eyes. I was even disgusted by them at times, although never openly, because I wanted their problems to become a matter of choice. Helpless in the face of them I wanted it to be a simple matter of personal strength to escape that trap they’d fallen into. Much as I told myself that it was the manifestations of an illness and not the nature of a person I was dealing with that was a hard line to maintain in day to day life, where that truth wasn’t just considered as a ‘right’ thing but was tested as a daily requirement.

Now, with a measure of hindsight and more comfortably separated from the more visceral immediacy of things I can certainly say that my reactions could have and should have been better but at the time, as I experienced the loss, or was around the destructive force of people being driven into that extreme darkness, I reacted as a human being being effected by someone close to them. I reacted, I think, naturally for the circumstances. Which isn’t to say I didn’t do what I felt to be best to help them but it is to say that the understanding, benign feelings I would have liked to have felt towards them and within myself were near impossible to maintain.

And that’s an important thing to remember when it comes to comments like Brian Welch’s. His insensitivity, his cruelty even, weren’t the sum total of his broader reaction to mental health, they were a reaction to a death which to everyone who isn’t in a place where suicide becomes a necessity will always seem avoidable. They were a reaction to the loss of a friend who, as everyone whose been around similar situations will know, will always leave him wondering whether there was some way to stop it from happening. That they seem so personal, so vitriolic is a testament to the nature of the illness rather than the failings of the man himself. As I said, depression is insidious, consuming and winds its way into every aspect of who a person is. To hate it is, in part, to always risk the act of hating it’s victim too. And as abhorrent as that may seem from a distance, as much as we may all want to be the sound voice of reason which can judge the condition as wholly separate from the person, the closer you are the harder that gets to do.

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