A social site for poets in Sydney.
“So what does it take to be a writer?” He paced slowly and aimlessly around the living room fingering things in a way that would make him seem unordinary. “A lot of tissues.”
The man chuckled, “no, really,”
“See those notebooks all stacked up there?” He saw. “I subscribe to them. Every tenth one they send me a complimentary pen. Usually blue or black, they're not consistent, nor very fussy. To feel like I've earned that pen I write in those notebooks. Fill them up with ink. It gives a great sense of accomplishment fulfilling one duty while also finishing another. Like you're too good, but aren't allowed to know.”
The man pressed hips lips together looking at the neat stack of notebooks and thought, really thought. After a few moments he said, “But, ah, how do you, ah, start? Just get up and go to work in the morning and write in your notebooks,” he smiled at him and gestured a hand to the pile. He was slightly hunched now and his hands were placed on his hips.
“No,” the writer said, 'that's my other subscription. Email. As soon as they've sent my weekly order I get to work. One supply lasts me, usually, at least four days.
Three-day weekend.” And lifted the corner of his mouth. This man was meant to talk, not smile.
“It's a profit based deal I have with them.”
“That's pretty good.”
“I'm an ongoing customer. They're good people I deal with.”
“Lucky.” He traversed the lounge and coffee table and stacks of various magazines and indiscernible piles of paper, some black, some occluded by words upon scratched over words. It honestly didn't seem like a lot.
“One word. Damned if it's the one I would use.”
“Not a fortuitous guy, heh?”
“Not one for thinking such things. Would you like a drink?”
“Scotch if you got it.”
He went to the kitchen and brought back two different bottles and two stout crystal glasses. Scotch poured into one, gin into the other. “You don't like it cold, do you?”
“What, no. No that's fine. Couldn't ask for a few crackers, could I?”
“Don't have them.”
“No. Nothing to snack on.”
“Howcome you put underpants on in the morning?”
“Because that's what you do.” He said nothing, waiting for him to drink. “Are you commando right now?” He chuckled boyishly for a moment. The writer's look stopped him.
“Most civilised people, I guess. Hippies don't, but nobody expects much out of them at all. You know? So you don't really think about . . . not” he threw his hands in the air “doing it.”
“Unless you were a hippy?”
“Maybe. Maybe some business men go to work like that.”
“Imagine a telemarketer. No pants as he sells you a set of encyclopaedias.” The man did and it disturbed him to silence. At that moment he unconsciously decided never to listen to a telemarketer longer than it took to realise it was a telemarketer.
“Ah . . . have you got any ham.”
“No cold meats. If you're so famished I have a carrot.”
“God no,” he hunched over his glass and looked up at him in disbelief. “Geez. Anyway, raw vegetables aren't easy to digest. Not good for the stomach because they sit too long.”
“Is that right.” The writer was stirring white powder into his gin with a teaspoon.
“I know a few things about diet, and what actually works, comparing with the lies that they feed you on t-v and in chemists. People are lead to believe they all act the same. Or that's what they have to be like when going on most of these diets. It's natural for some to be overweight. Necessary. Nobody says anything about body builders, but they're overweight. It's not healthy – if, that is, you want to get technical about it.”
“So what's the opinion you consider ingenious?”
“Just listen to your body. It knows more than your mind when it comes to eating. The stomach has its own brain -”
“Yeah, yeah it does.”
“Well not as the same as the on in your head, but,”
“I get it.”
“But some don't realise that the body has evolved to live. It's a machine. We treat it like something more. Heh, like a shrine, a temple.”
“A mind on top of a machine.”
“Most sensible thing I've heard for a while.” he took the man's empty glass and his and placed them both in the sink. “Might as well take off your clothes.”
“Yeah.” As he took off his shirt then jeans, he looked the writer up and down and smiled, perhaps at the understanding of the roles they involuntarily played. He as alright with it, and smiled right at him, no matter how stupid he would appear.
“We're not great people,”
“Why do you say that?” The writer glared him.
“I was gonna say,”
“Never say that. No matter who you are. No matter what you do. You never say you're not something.”
“I guess I was just trying to express a little humility.”
“That's not humility. That's submission. There's a difference.”
“Who would I be submitting to, exactly?”
“Everyone you believe to better that you. Great people. And the problem is that you don't know who or what great people are. So who are you certain you're better than? You have no idea.”
“I know there are better people.”
“the only person you could ever know was better is yourself. You know how you do that? By realising how shit you were yesterday. There's no accomplishment in knowing your faults, and no progress by knowing you're better.”
“Ignorance is bliss,”
“To a certain degree. But it has been abused, and is often an excuse to justify stupidity. Don't worry yourself with judging life. Finding places to award it credit, or condemn. It's all talking backwards.”
“What, every conversation is meant to be informative? We're meant to attain something when we talk to one another?”
“No. That would be just as unproductive. We need to talk about other things. Anything other than ourselves.”
“Yeah, what do you suggest?” He said it with a smile and sarcasm.
“That window pane. The Venetian blinds.” He pointed to the ocre wood Venetian blinds. Talk about their structure, components, what tree is cut down for the wood. Anything but ourselves.”
“Men are involved in making these things,”
“A challenge, then. Talk as much as you can without mentioning the integration of humans.”
“I find that incredibly difficult.”
“Congratulate yourself, if you must, on attaining humility then.”
“Thank you. And I shall.” He wanted to kiss and hug and fuck the writer at his side but he stroked his face and body and lay there.
“Why do you do it?” The writer asked.
“Do what?” The gentle smile had cemented itself.
“Change our minds every time.”
“Maybe we never set to do anything but to be here.”
“That's not on our mind beforehand.”
“Our intent, then? The true which may be – what?”
“Damn you and your maybies. This world spins slow and right before you get here. The stars shine and the universe is going to die in the cold someday.”
“But all that happens is the sun goes down and we lay here.”
“And we sleep, and pretend things tomorrow.”
“For someone who knows so much, why do I never hear you say why?”
“Because it tells people you don't know.”
“So lying gets you through,”
“No, not at all. You compare and reference, and find something to say, no matter how obscure it ends up being. That's why old people seem so wise. They can form a conversation based on any topic. It won't be sensible, but it will be noise to fill the terrifying void.”
“The void that is self-realisation. Silence.”
“And how long can you get by on obscure conversation?”
“As long as you have the will, and desire for tales, of some kind. Until a smart man notices your bullshit.”
“What do you do with him?”
“Fuck him.” They both burst out laughing, the writer surprising himself.
It petered away and they settled into a hug, forehead to forehead, they fell asleep.
It was morning and the sun was bleaching the world.
The writer woke up alone then went to his computer and wrote. Nothing was in his mind but somehow it all ended up on the screen. It travelled from the subconscious, or, technically, the Wernicke, then Broca's area, exiting his fingers instead of his mouth. One day he decided that writing was not sensible, but reasonable. Even in madness there was plausible reason.
He took a break later on in the day, boiling and grilling two cobs of fresh corn. He ate them standing up at the island in his kitchen, glancing the backyard, and looking at the hanging pots and pans.
Thinking of this place scared him. His own home, the place he rarely left, and liked on some level, troubled his day. Like the nine to five workers, though, they could not think on their cubicle, or desk continually. Who would maintain their depression if that was the case. They'd all kill themselves. Call a terrorist and say, 'we'll hang a target on the east side, you can't miss it.' This undoubtedly would birth a terrorist hot-line. The economy would rearrange, and everything wouldn't be left so completely to contentious chance.
'We live by rules of a plague,' he wrote. 'Fascinated with dying the moment we wake. Striving, ready to die at the end of the day. Why we rush for things to be done. Why we must painstakingly accomplish. If we did not, the reason, the incentive, the plausible fiction bred during our dreams of the previous night would be deemed meaningless. A concealing lie that hides only you.'
None of this rubbish was ever published.
(Me: Sorry about the layout. But you've persevered this far, and that is far enough. IF i took the time, with the original and its proper layout at my side, i could have corrected it and be read as origiinally written. This, though, has no doubt bee a greater challenge. Hope it didn't damge your mind too much, but if it hurts, then you probably recieved it as i intended.)
Technology - our frenemy. Though perhaps more my friend than yours. :P But I feel your pain.
Amazing piece. This is my favourite part: 'We live by rules of a plague,' he wrote. 'Fascinated with dying the moment we wake. Striving, ready to die at the end of the day. Why we rush for things to be done. Why we must painstakingly accomplish. If we did not, the reason, the incentive, the plausible fiction bred during our dreams of the previous night would be deemed meaningless. A concealing lie that hides only you.'
You definitely know how to make a connection with the reader. Keep posting. I would love to see more.