Category Archives: Prose

Pink Lilies

Lilies crown the few square metres of dirt

A carpet of pink

The wooden box

The soil, fresh, wet, smelling like earth


2 or 3 metres below

Some feet tread carefully

Over the flowers

The little ones don’t care

Trampling on the carpet


‘I was what you are, you will be what I am.’

Some of us know it

That feeling

Of slipping away, fading into dust

Some of us don’t

Anaesthetized or sleeping


None of us can run away from it

We can delay it

It doesn’t always end in a wooden box

Or in an urn

Or in fragrant bandages


It

Just

Happens

 


Jian Lam 9F

The poet and the songstress

This is a story about a poet and a songstress with a problem,

The songstress’ problem

It couldn’t be solved by a thousand compliments or ten thousand ovations,

Only the poet understood,

She wanted to push herself further and further, past her own limits

He understood because he, too, was a creator, and he had often encountered those limits,

So the poet began to sing,

For the songstress,

It was the song of chrysalis,

This chrysalis was more beautiful than any gem in the world,

Any who saw it, praised it,

But hidden within, there was an even more beautiful truth,

“Wings slumber inside you”

A burst of lightning coursed through the songstress’ body,

“Will you stay in that hard, cramped she’ll forever?

Is that what you truly desire?”

It is not

The poet’s song was like a spider’s thread, catching the songstress’ hard, tiny heart,

And wrapping itself around it,

The poet continued to sing,

He sang so that she could be true to herself,

The song became a sharp jaw,

Placing its fangs against the shell surrounding her,

“You needn’t hide yourself in anything”

With quivering hands, the songstress sloughed off her shell, as if in a strange enchantment,

She no longer saw the poet himself before her,

A comforting gaze, a hot breath like fire,

The smell of excitement, his very existence had become a song,

Her clear skin, that had captivated millions,

Was exposed to the wavering light,

“How beautiful,

You’re so beautiful”

More. Show me more

It’s all right”

The poets words were a sweet poison,

Spreading through her heart.

And the blue sky was there,

The songstress will be reborn,

She will throw off her false cocoon,

To become a free papillon,

And fly off, into the distant blue sky,

As she really exists, in her true form,

“Fly! take flight to a new world!

Fly!”

It was neither fear nor pain,

Let alone regret,

It was a height of joy she had never known,,

An overwhelming feeling of liberation,

The songstress died..

And a true songstress was born.

Prose: “James Murphy, Aged 29” / “December 2014 – January 2015”

“So, what are you going to do, kid?
Still ratting at the chains of the gates of the world…
But you can’t quite pretend.”

It’s been eight weeks of not really doing anything; late nights of trying to write but ultimately only to avail of a full trashcan. I was always able to write when I was going to school every day and repeating the same hollow routine, ignoring a weight that was constantly growing. I pretended I was okay, and when people asked if or why I was sad I just made it seem like a joke, like everything was fine. Then I got home and wrote. Writing in those times was always just a way to get a little bit of that weight off my chest. But writing never really changed anything for me; I was always still the same person at the end of every poem, story, script, diary entry, essay, review and article. So, when I stopped being able to write, about eight weeks ago, I still felt the same. The sole difference was the maddening notion that I was no longer doing anything even as remotely productive as my useless writing, as if eight weeks of complete freedom couldn’t change anything. It seems like more than enough time to completely turn a life around. Fifty-six days, or one thousand three hundred and forty four hours. An excessively long time, when all it actually takes is a second.

It’s obvious at this point that change starts with me. Only, it’s completely disheartening when you don’t know where to begin: a million directions for your next step, each one more daunting than the last, only an abysmally low number of them leading to anything good. Odds can be the most frightening thing in the world. You have to remember that the odds will always stay the same unless you make a choice. Then, at least, something becomes a reality; a certainty. Naturally, it only makes sense that you keep moving. I’ve forgotten that. It’s become too easy to merely stay in the same place and forget. I forget the things that I want and the huge unexplored world outside, instead giving in to quick fixes in an unending effort to stave off the anxiety of knowing that I never tried hard enough, and the fear of failing if I do. It’s like standing on the edge of something, ready to make the next leap but constantly second-guessing myself. I’ve been on that edge for literal years. I’ve made promises to myself again and again that I’ll make the leap, move forward, change; I’ve made promises in a million different metaphors and never once kept them.

I’m still here, in the same place I’ve been for so long; still a scared little boy on the cusp of becoming a man (by societal standards, anyway); frozen in one place trying not to cry; trying to look strong, but this was never about strength. It was always about focus; keeping exactly what you want in your sights; never looking down; never getting distracted, even if you get tired.

But you won’t get tired.

Hypertext Fiction: “Wata” / “October 2014”

At home, I live in a cold, little, cream-white room, the walls thin enough to hear my father’s age wearing down upon him as he sleeps for five or six hours in the adjacent room and awakens to a job that he hates. Some nights, I sit in that room and my father snores and my computer whirrs and the wind howls like plague come to kill all those without walls or warmth to comfort them, and I cannot help but wonder what I would do if I was one of them. My things are spread out all over the floor because I have no other place to put them. My father tells me I need things like a shelf for my records, and I tell him we’ll get it sometime from IKEA, but really, I just don’t want to waste his money. I should get a job. I should get a life. I should finish all my homework and accomplish all my goals in life and make people happy and maybe then, I can die happy.

Some nights, I sit in my room and I feel my perpetual weight and perpetual loneliness and I see myself drowning at sea. In my dress shirt, business trousers and old black business shoes; the boat is going just too fast, chasing a white whale or something. It’s running through a storm that surrounds me in black and rain, flashing lightning to reveal grey shapes before it all goes dark again. I’m holding onto a rail but it’s too wet and the wind is furious. Like all hell has me by the ankles, I’m holding on only to realise that I’m holding on to nothing at all. It’s over, I know it is. I let go.

For the seconds that my body is swept through the air I feel a certain freedom, finally yielding to the force of the wind; the force of nature; the force of a power bigger than I. I’m smiling. Then the impact. Then I’m too far down to see anything but water; kilometres down and I just keep sinking. Dark blue; there’s nothing here—no fishes, no reefs—just me. My heart beats slower. The sound and the fury flee my head. It’s quiet. Peaceful, unchangingly so, as if hidden in this purgatory is the singular encapsulation of eternal peace. In my dress shirt, business trousers and old black business shoes, I lay back and close my eyes. Suspended, I lay there for what feels like seconds but could very well be years.

There’s millions of tonnes of water pressing down. I pay no mind to it. In the darkness, over time, it is the loneliness that swells around me; within me. It grows inside me and when it finally, inevitably screams like a newborn child I am suddenly unable to breathe. In my panic, I would scramble for air in this airless void and my body would contort and wrestle but pinned under millions of tonnes of water, I am motionless. It is now that I feel life leave me. It is now that—after the impossible weight and time and failure has crushed my bones— it is only now that my spirit finally concedes. I could tell you that it is at this moment that the great sun shines through the water and illuminates the loneliness; I could tell you that my leaving this world after all this strife is beautiful and perhaps meaningful. But, in truth, there is only blackness amidst the blue.


NOTE: Though initially unintended for this purpose, this piece has become part of the blog’s Hypertext Fiction series, in which our writers respond to pieces written by other writers in an effort to create a large, connective body of work spanning the entirety of the blog’s contributors. The piece continuing onward from this one is Zachary Sunter‘s “The Rope, the Stars and the Night Sky“.


I’ve had a few moments of breakdown while listening to the album Flood by Boris. At the start of part two, the only thing that’s happening is there’s these really quiet drums and lightly stroked guitar chords; its minimalism is really confronting. I reckon it evokes the cover art, which maybe looks like the perspective of a person drowning underwater. So, that’s where the idea came fron.

Oh yeah, the title “Wata” is a dual reference to water and the guitarist from Boris. Damn, she’s cool.

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Prose Compilation: “Fragmented Existential Self-Portrait”

“A Fragmented Portrait of My Existence”
A compilation of personal writings and observations.

I.

Sometimes, you think about the end of the world. How do we go out? Is there a bang? Whimper? Perhaps it’s like that old shtick about the deer and headlights and no one will quite expect it. But I doubt that there will be violins, whispering mournful melodies for our end. God will not be available to deliver our epitaph. Nick Woods says he’ll go out to a bar, “get plastered one more time” and yell at the top of his lungs “congrats, we made it to the end.” I think we give ourselves a little too much credit. Perhaps we’re not important, just an evolutionary tree branch that grew to a size that the tree itself could not support. In the end, the branch will be too heavy, and snap under its own weight. Perhaps when we’re finally too much for the world, something will happen, and we won’t be anymore.

II.

At some point in the 20th century, it became apparent to Albert Camus that the happenings of the world were no less than consecutive occurrences culminating from the factors of everything involved, intentional or otherwise. Suddenly, life became an equation of variables, incorporating more pronumeral representations than any number of linguistic symbols could facilitate. In spite of the Xs and Ys, however, Camus decided that he would be in control of his own life, as much as possible. He decided that whatever factors the most random of intervening forces should throw at anyone, perseverance was still worth the effort.

And then he died. For more terms than a million men could contemplate in a million years, the outcome was always the same: death. But, given the constant of death, the outcome is probably not that which existence concerns itself with. Now, rearrange the equation and solve for X.

III.

A clock: the very same clock since the beginning of the year, greeting me every Tuesday morning with its mocking expression of an hour at which I only desire to sleep. It is a fairly mundane clock, with a blandly coloured, modern design like that you could almost assuredly expect to see in the generic setting of a dentist waiting room: cylindrical, decidedly utilizing only white and metallic grey and numbered in a most uninspired font. From my current position I would appraise its value at a maximum of twenty dollars, due to the obvious suggestions made by its faux-metallic outer shell and display covering of plastic imitation glass, curved as if casted from one side of a ball. Two metal sticks make periodic but subtle changes, and a furious, thin rod spins unrestrainedly. Numbers and countless little dashes encircle the three hands in a repeating dance. They turn, and turn, and turn, and meet each other at the twelve before turning again.

That damn clock: forever a testament to the cyclical nature of this life. You’ll get up at the same time every day, and that damn clock with be staring back at you with that same, mocking face. Darby Crash used to say that everything works in circles. Sometimes you’ll do something and you’ll find yourself at that same place again. “So circle one is what we’re doing right now. Someday we’ll probably do circle two.” Someday just keeps getting further away.