I watch as the world passes by without me. From my perch atop the old Record Ridgway factory, I can see for miles across the city. The void is calling me. It’s the only one that ever does.
I’m just high enough to trigger that strange human urge to jump, but low enough to know that, unless I’m lucky, it would only leave me with broken bones. Cold stone and corrugated sheeting surround me, rust, broken glass and thick moss covering everything like a post-apocalyptic botanical garden of abandonment.
I sit on the concrete lip and admire the frescoes of graffiti that punctuate the 1930s architecture. Ninety odd years didn’t seem too long a time, all things considered, but the view from here has changed drastically in that time. So has the world. The men who had worked their trade in the factory below were long gone. My granddad had been one of them. The company was sold to an American firm, and all production moved to China. Sheffield Steel couldn’t hold a candle to Chinese slave labour apparently.
Despite the brooding figure that I may strike, I am no vigilante or prowler of the night. In fact, it’s eight in the morning on a cold Tuesday, and I’m hunched up in a little ball up here with a pounding headache after drinking a full bottle of Jack the night before. Why choose a derelict factory? Why not? I find it a good place to reflect. The factory, like me, is little more than a ghost. Why do I need to reflect? Personal failure, as per usual. Continue reading
“Because it is your job.”
“But I do not feel like smiling.”
“Nobody does. Act. Put on a mask and smile.”
“Because that is how you form social interaction.”
“We form bonds through lies? Wrap ourselves in deception to deceive the deceiver?”
“What about reality? The truth?”
“Truth is what the masses believe. If everyone is fake it becomes reality.”
“Because you are having your photo taken.”
“So I must grin like a fool?”
“It is a moment locked in time forever. You must look happy.”
“Like a wax model? Constructed by others? Locked in falseness forever?”
“Wax and photographs last while flesh rots to dirt.”
“I surrender to opinion.”
So I must smile. Wear the face that is kept in a jar by the door.
Coat up in my imitation leather jacket and synthetic shirt,
Walk among the dyed hair, bottled tan and altered bodies.
Eat the processed meat and drink the juice untouched by fruit,
See the reality shows that could be from another universe.
I question life and life questions me. I question myself.
You can do anything you want in life if you try.
That is what they say as you are forced through school,
Forced into a job that you hate. Forced to grow old and die.
I use to watch the wildlife from my window as a child.
Rabbits ran through hills, frogs swam through ponds and I smiled.
Then the bulldozers came. Nature was replaced with housing
And left me stranded in a sea of humanity.
“Because you are alive.”
“A smile is just muscles that are used to express emotion.”
“Do you not feel happy?”
“I am happy. There is no need to express it every second though.”
“That is what is expected of you.”
“I do not understand.”
“Good. We are making progress.”
“Because the world is watching.”
“You, me, and everything. Nothing.
“But I am unimportant.”
“That is why you have no right to frown.”
“Because I have told you to.”
“I am my own man. I will be passive because I am free.”
“You will smile because you are a puppet of society.”
It is a winter’s night
cold is thick in the air
and my covers do nothing to protect me
from the icy fingers that claw
across my skin.
The wind howls outside
rattling the doors
sending a ghostly draft
through the house like the malign
breath of a sleeping god.
I shiver and bury myself
deeper into the confines
of my cotton prison
seeking the warmth
that my soul has lost.
Had the world always been so cold
or has the heat faded
alongside my life
or maybe all is still warm
and I am simply dead.
This is the last poem I have from uni that I feel is remotely worth sharing. It was written during a bout of depression and could do with being more subtle I think. I wanted to capture the bleakness of how the world can feel when the darkness is washing over you mind and soul. Those times where you lay in bed on a cold night and contemplate the world.
“When the researchers looked specifically at authors, they found that they are overrepresented among people with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety syndrome, and substance abuse problems. Authors were also almost twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population.” – (http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/study-writers-are-twice-as-likely-to-commit-suicide/263833/)