All posts by jwtownshend

Underpants

Sliding down a valley.
Falling through a hole.
Tumbling over and over.
Dropping further.
Lower and lower.
Next to my broken ankles.

Underpants.

The Greatest Slumber

Sleeping on green sheets, under two warm duvets, and a thick woollen blanket.
Me and my cat are mutual hot water bottles.
Serenity is in my body but my mind is distracted by the muffled radio sounds through the wall.
A double is fine but a bigger bed is an aspiration; indeed.

Heat trapped radiating in and around us.
The day’s gone contents being chewed up gently in my head.
Fleeced of a rest by some fool shouting next door.
He turns up the radio to drown himself out.

There’s always someone else but you can be settled where you are.
Until the next trawler dredges up old bedded muck.
I’ve never been as certain although at a distance is it both easy and hard.
Letting myself drift into fantasy I notice a change.

Voices cease; a radio off.

The greatest slumber will be here soon.

Framing the picture

Trying to assess how I am
I frame a snapshot of my mind
Cropping out bits to make a good scene
This is how my sanity will unwind

An overreaching attempt to grasp a hot mug
Spillage and pain
A needed drink wasted
I put my head above a burst water main

A sea of movement
An elaborate dance
Feeling between us
Keep us entranced

Monotonous duty
I work to some trance
In vogue so I vogue
I take my chance

This Morning ITV1

Next to a holly tree
The silver fox sat on the forest floor
Hungrily thinking about visiting the chicken farm nearby
For there worked the raven haired girl

The woods were on a hillside
So the fox skulked down to the low field where the farm belonged
Roosting crows flew from the canopy branches as he rustled past below
He made his way to the field verge

It was winter and all the girls were glowing in the biting cold
By the damp wooden shelter he saw the Little Soph with the midnight hair
Soph of the field would smuggle eggs for her silver furred friend
Just as he came to collect his treat there was a colossal bang!

Down by the small piers at the side of the river
There was a pompous buffoon shooting at the birds in the sky
He wanted their shiny things hidden away in their nests
Neither he nor they had the generosity of Little Soph

At the sound of the calamity Soph and the fox made their way down
The blustering fool by the piers was so involved in himself he didn’t hear them
The silver fox barked and growled and so shook was the man
That his feet fell before him into the air above the slippy water’s edge

Splash! He had blundered in a massive way
Wet and cold from head to toe in icy mire
Soph laughed and fed the silver fox some eggs
So the fox went back to the holly tree where he spent the morning content and well fed

A quick decline

My hyper sensitivity and extreme resilience are two sides of the same coin.

I have a lot of those coins.

I should learn to flip on demand.

Instead I want to spend them all on you.

As all my constituent parts condense into one.

As all memories of myself are gone and forgotten.

I learn the best days were the worst days

And the hardest days were the easiest.

Everything speeds up

Spinning slowly

Then faster

And faster.

Stillness.

The end

Concentration

For times longer than I have known.

They predate on our emotions.

Feeding, gorging upon our fear.

Confusion they spread.

Misinformation is read.

They want us to believe in them.

We cannot. We have our sense, logic, and hope.

With that we fight back against it all.

We’re left alone with our books

Alone with our music

Our art. Our reality.

Alone with ourselves

Alone with the truth

Of all we can do.

So we listen and we listen.

Putting mind over mood.

Living every second.

Helping as many as we can.

Stably crazy

I listen to the whispers from the rocks. “Don’t step on me. Step on the soil; it is silent.” The soil cannot speak but would it complain if it could?

The grass here grows long. Thick and dense. Stems snap and screams; more screams fill my head.

Should your voice be different? Of course, but it isn’t, at least, not always. You say “hi”. I can’t hear myself think which is just as well. I’m scared of what I might be saying.

The cars go past my window far too fast. “Honk honk honk” someone toots. I cannot see out but it has been raining. I can hear the tyres slice up the water with a harsh crescendo that diminishes into the distance.

Leaves are falling. That’s nice.

I am writing nonsense again. Good. What to say? What to do?

Why I am breathing so loud? I sleep still. All but for the bellows squeezing back and forth. Until I turn and turn and turn.

A postcard to a beloved

She dances like dust in a beam of light.
Entranced, I’m a rabbit in the headlights.

I want to sing to her but I have the smallest voice. No one can hear me whether I whisper or scream. So I delight in my silence.

So today I wrote, quietly and alone, a message within a message, for once, without my phone.

2 Counsellors

*Two counsellors are at the office party, are a little drunk, and have been flirting at work for the last few months.*

Counsellor Y: I love you.
Counsellor Z: Eep! I love you too. You are such an amazing person.
Y: You are the only person who thinks that. I appreciate that. I am not though.
Z: You’re not what?
Y: An amazing person. I’m actually pretty terrible. I can be a right prick.
Z: Well, you are actually very good and besides, you aren’t as terrible as I am.
Y: I am. I will show you one day but I hope I never do.
Z: I can’t imagine it. You are kind and generous.
Y: And I jump to conclusions and feel resentful about things in my past.
Z: Don’t we all. Don’t beat yourself up. You’ll just get depressed.
Y: And you might not able to help when I feel depressed.
Z: I can try. I care about you so much.
Y: If only you cared about yourself that much.
Z: Then I would be happier I guess.
Y: You should work on things to make you happier.
Z: I can’t think of anything. I have no good qualities.
Y: Socialise more.
Z: Maybe, maybe not, I get very anxious when I’m alone.
Y: Yeah but you feel happy around me.
Z: Well I think about you a lot when you’renot around.
Y: But don’t feel happy?
Z: I do but it depends what else is going on.
Y: I feel happy when I’m alone I wish I could share that with you.
Z: You can. I want to see you happy.
Y: I get petulant with other people.
Z: I can’t imagine you being petulant.
Y: Well I have been in the past.
Z: My past has been difficult.
Y: The past is overrated. Just another thing to feel bad about. You’ve got the present and the future.
Z: My past is my everything. It’s completely valid.
Y: I’m jumping to conclusions that you’re jumping conclusions about something I said.
Z: I don’t know what you mean.
Y: I can’t explain.
Z: I want some support about my past trauma.
Y: So how did it make you feel?
Z: Traumatised!
Y: We should look at it another way. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with being traumatised?
Z: Nothing apart from the trauma, the lifetime of pain, and the flashbacks. No there obviously nothing wrong it.
Y: Let me rephrase that…
Z: You just like me being traumatised. You prick.
Y: I thought you thought I was an amazing person?
Z: Well you were before you started being a prick.
Y: I warned you I was a terrible person.
Z: You were right.
Y: I was right as usual.
Z: Prick.

Autumnal Peacetime

The air is cool. No wind to speak of. Feeling my heart beating away in my chest.

Bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds. Every tree, every leaf, perfectly still.

My mind is buzzing with everything I’ve ever learnt. Not all at once but it’s all in there somewhere.

My cat is mellow today. Affection is going a long way. Thinking about last week’s confusion seems a long way off.

My flat is a mess but the speakers are singing to me and I have a cup of tea in my hand.

Paper skin

He’s got paper skin; peeling away, red ink and all.
The words don’t matter; he is what he feels.
He lashes out at those around him; so fragile.
Full of yesterdays news but he hasn’t read anything.

His paper skin doesn’t inform.
He won’t let you close; he’s so ashamed.
Not of himself because he’s always right.
Just ashamed of his words; it doesn’t add up in his head.

There’s a patch on his arse that once was page 3.
It’s the only bit he likes.
‘Not vulgar, this is moral instruction.’ Is it’s message.
Flesh on flesh and it just stinks.

In fact, all of his paper skin smells rather bad. Unelected and unwanted. A buffoon at 10. He’s a buffoon all day.

Looking in the mirror

(This is a very negative rant. Feel free to skip this. It’s triggering and best avoided unless you are doing some psychological investigation into self hatred or something. For the record I don’t feel like this very often and was written with misdirected anger which produced a false reflection of my state of mind even for that moment. This rant is my worst possible way to see my reflection. My worst thoughts aired.)

Fuuuuuck! Just melt away like I know you will. Droop low enough to touch the floor. Or fatten up to fill the cracks. Time will age you before you hear a tick because you are a stupid fucking idiot prick.

Don’t worry, nothing will wipe away that vapid stare. Your face aloof because no one’s there, the lights aren’t on because no one’s home, you’re slow and dumb, why do you think you’re forever alone?

You’ve never succeeded, you’ve never won, you lose on purpose because your life’s a pun.

You’re starting to love yourself. You fool. No one loves you. Why would they? You fool. Obviously they must be idiots too.

So why do you hate yourself after so much progress? You don’t achieve anything; you just have process. All you do is try to cope, everybody thinks you are a dope.

You’re not so bad, you try your best, yes you’re getting good at lying, next!
You’ve still got brains, you’re pretty smart, then why don’t you use them you boring fart.

Go to sleep. You look tired. You have never been someone I have admired.
Wake up soon. Don’t look at me. Forget everything about yourself in your dreams you’re free.

Cliché? Touché

Life. Never to be the same again.

The last day of the week didn’t get off to a good start.

My alarm went off. I showed you my painting I thought it was red and you told me it was green.

You took me for a walk to your hills where I planted my flag. The wind was lacking but I could still feel a bite on my face. A tear. Your footsteps in the snow will be gone tomorrow.

Back home you sat by the crackling fire and sang the saddest song. I cried; became afraid of my actions and words or lack thereof.

Would it even matter if I disappeared into thin air? A faint trace of your smell left on my hands from the night before. You have gone now.

Emptiness. A new hole. The pain is back. Does it never cease? In my dreams I walked to your hills but they looked like different hills and my flag was gone. There sky was clear but there was no moon. The ground was wet. My face was dry. Something forgotten returned from the mist like a wisp in a woods. An old ghost drifting through the trees; weaving a path through the thickets. It was my worst enemy. A mirror. A chasm. Just darkness. My safe place.

Diary

An enormous furnace of radioactive burning gas just pitched up on the horizon and blasted my bedroom full of luminous energy. Fuming! It’s almost everyday at this point…

Being a bee

Honey in my throat. A buzz in my brain. A hive in my stomach. A queen in my heart.

Every thought a flower. Each memory a breath of wind. The distant hills are not our home. This brick has everything we need.

You didn’t give me my wings but you taught me to fly.

What you give to me

The sweetest taste on my tongue; a feeling my brain adores. A safe warmth in my feet spreading up to my head. A glow brighter than the sun in a land of perpetual sunny intervals. A shine from my heart that lasts longer than a lifetime.

You give colour to the trees; your leaves each more varied than the last. Your swirls and strokes have more life than the seas. Your smile feeds on pain and gives out love. Your words calm those nearby and promote harmony.

Those out there somewhere might sneer at our joy; their deficient empathy can’t slow us down. Their lack of patience can’t force our movement. Their blue and gold dresses can’t tempt us to fruitless avenues. Their misunderstanding can’t teach us otherwise.

Inner feelings. Beautiful senses. Outward protection.

Thank you.

The Memory Shack

There is a cosy wooden shack centrally housed within the dark grey garden by the torchlit woods in the left side of my brain.

She stands in there most days, warm and content, painting her mind. The canvases are ever changing maps of who she is.

Standing close to apply strokes of colour, she is a light that is always on, in an otherwise flickering domain. I smile at her as she lifts a painting and puts it to one side. It is a blue and red streak dancing on a grey background.

I look at the painting and then at her. Carried in her glowing eyes is a flame sparking comfort; affirming my affection.

She sometimes leaves to sow seeds in the garden. This time she takes out the compost bucket too. A ritual of emptying painful memories into the universe’s empty space for renewal.

Distracted and alone I look through the window, the first clouds of the morning replace the starless sky, a dawn breaks bringing a new light to the room.

I wander outside as illusions tell me there are things to be done. It is dark and she is not there. I cannot see into the black depths so I head back towards the shack’s door.

Back inside I see her by the window painting the sky. Adding trees and light to the canvas. These are her abstract memories and feelings. She paints a purple orb afloat on a wobbly grey ocean.

A bird through the window calls me. So once more I step outside. In a boat lashed with wind and rain, I see the bird flying around the opposite side of the shack, I raise the sail and follow it around. My eyes track the wooden panels and shapes around the outside of the shack. The wood, not yet aged, is just one or two years old. I am trying to look inside but there are no windows, just backs of canvases, still wet with paint and reality.

Adrift I grasp at the darkness. It is cold and unyielding with it’s ever changing silence ringing in my ears. The bird appears and for a split second I can feel her warmth once again.

Lightning strikes and I am lost. I awaken somewhere new and unreal. I touch my blanket as a hungry cat jumps up to greet me looking for his morning meal. I check my phone and find a photo of a painting. A purple orb afloat on a wobbly grey ocean with trees in the distance and a cloud filled sunrise in the sky.