Flies – Pt II

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This day, like others in the house

away from the wind

is filled with small plotlines

 

Squashed by a clap of the hands in an hour

as the pen scribbles out the point

 

Plotline, space, plotline, space

one fly killed, space, ten flies killed

 

A walk around the block

(a purpose slotted into a space)

 

The flies appear aimless, but they’re not

 I appear full of purpose, but

 

 I find

the day whittled away

with only squashed flies to show for it.

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To Remember

Some things that I forget, and that other people forget too – that remembering will probably make life more wonderful, for all involved.

'Untitled: Night' Watercolour 2015

Focus and be aware. The more attention you pay to an activity, a lecture, a friend’s troubles, a stir-fry, the more you will enjoy it, be engaged with it, and remember the experience. Be aware of your surroundings; the sound of the wind through the trees, the cars passing by. Be aware of the people who surround you; their thoughts, reactions, what they might be feeling based on their own individual context. Be aware of yourself; notice how you are unintentionally tensing your jaw, how delicious that toast was, why you feel irritated after scrolling through your news feed. Put your phone away. The aim is to live life in flow, so focus – one thing at a time. Concentrate on what is important in every moment.

Do not be too hard on yourself. List your daily/weekly achievements and do not do anything until your emotions, thoughts, anxiety/stress/frustration/sadness have been addressed and calmed.

Surround yourself with productive, honest people who make you happy and inspire you. Limit your time spent on the social periphery in regards to who is important. Don’t waste your time and money with boring, predictable coffee dates or beers, but be open to new people and try not to take them simply at face value. Remember, many people in their 20s are wrought with insecurities – as are you, to some extent – so be warm, but do not compromise yourself or go out of your way to accommodate them and their expectations. Limit the wide range of people you spend time with on an organised basis, so that you enjoy fulfilling friendships that are not shallow. You want relationships that are solid, authentic, and genuinely help to make you a better person. This applies to online, geographically challenged relationships just as much.

The brain and the mind are much more affected by the body than you think. This is why exercise, meditation and health are important. Mood can be changed by changes in the body – go for a walk or a run if you are feeling mentally tangled or stuck.

Minimalism. Less is more. Try to cull unnecessary items, documents, objects that are lying around, and clothes/shoes/jewellery that you no longer wear. Finish one of the many books you are in the process of reading. Clear up the paper, materials, bags, magazines and other things that decorate the floor. Put them away. You should only really need 3-6 pairs of shoes, likewise jackets. Focus on quality rather than quantity – and don’t discredit that phrase just because it has become a cliché. Think about it; the less you hold onto, the freer you are.

The Soldier and his Poison: a Dental Duel

  

The battle begins at the rising and the setting of the sun.
 
There he is, the scoundrel.
Waiting, staring, still. Silent and motionless in his metal cup.
The disproportionate comb is focused.
He is preparing for our daily battle of brush upon calcium brick.
Every day and night, this cunning soldier stands erect.
His loyal companion, Col, stands by his side. Let not his squidgy body fool you.
Col is the gate to the crucial chemical penetration. Col is the poison, the soldier – the spiny syringe.
 
Col and Sol wait. At the encroaching tread of my bare feet on blood-coloured tiles, they signal to each other with telepathic talent: and the shining light of the heavens above is switched – ON!
 
I, fishing an oat from a tooth, stride in.
Dressed in my royal striped bed-wear, I am a soldier too.
 
Col’s poison is squeezed silently from his shiny body, and the soldier waits for the great jet of icy liquid to permeate his bristles. Not a noise pierces the air, but for the incantation under my breakfast breath: Pearly-white ONE-TWO, Pearly-white ONE-TWO, Pearly-white….
 
The soldier ascends. My battleground is open wide. The battle begins!
 
Tooth against soldier, tooth against paste, the pain and suffering is relentless.
The bricks hold a solid stance; a powerful posture, but Col and soldier are in the prime position for attrition. The pain of my weak pink gums! The pain of my bewildered red tongue! Like a fat golden retriever, it is flopped and brainless – no help to the fight.
My cream-coloured gems gnash and gnaw. Outside of the action, the faucets watch on, stunned in their silver spectatorship.
Hot is gunning for me, Cold is gunning for the enemy.
 
Suddenly! Without warning, without a chink in the air, without a teapot or a hat, without Margaret Thatcher, without Charles de Gaulle, without –
The soldier falls.
 
Time slows. The moment seems to last a lifetime.
 
And then there he is, lying splat in a mess of saliva and frothy white.
 
And I realise something amazing. We were on the same team all along.
We were playing the same game – I no longer need to be afraid.
We shouldn’t be fighting each other, we should be fighting together.
We’re fighting the bacteria.
 
I save the noble stick from the floor, mop up Col’s suds kindly, and put my new friends back in their Ikea-cup home. You get some rest, pals – I prod them affectionately.
My day has never begun so well.
 
Tonight, the three of us will battle together,
and I’ll smile wider, and cleaner than ever.
 

Cinnamon salt

I sat in pulsing silence

a drip of sweat over sunscreened cheek

of just-before-1pm

 

The temple was red

and “mom, it smells like old indian people”

came floating through the open door

 

Incense went stick upon stick

from an endless donation box to Confucius

and other gods

 

I didn’t know

but I did remove my shoes;

flat leather plates with thinning straps

 

Sitting, exhausted

on a tiled step of tourist history

 

I could tell, after ten minutes

another bunch of americans had gathered near

“oh look shhhh! she’s praying!”

 

Maybe I was

maybe the ignorant tourist was praying

in an ancient temple devoted to gods and figures of eternal wisdom and power

she didn’t know or understand

 

Still I breathed in the perfume dust,

knowing there’s always

the beach

 

From kneeling to swimming

it’s a 4km pilgrimage from here

so the sign says

 

I’ll go now

I’ll wash away the sweat and sins

by sea