Prompts: What was your first intrusive thought? Why is poetry the language of the dead? What was the reason you woke up this morning? Are you sure you are awake? Does your best friend know you? Is everything a lie? How do you know you are alive? What did the last spider you kill say? What do you look like to an ant? What about to a vulture or to a whale? Do you regret being born? What should this question be?
We are the dead, travelling backwards to meet ourselves. Sometimes we will meet head on, and this may cause confrontation, or otherwise joy unbounded. Sometimes we will miss ourselves, by minutes, or decades. It happens. Time travel is still an unreliable art. For these times there is poetry, words that capture a moment in time, a feeling, a thought, the moon in all her glory, as a post-it note for our future or past selves. A message in a bottle to know that we are not alone.
I did everything I could. I hid away in the corners so you would not find me. I was minding my own business so as not to disturb yours. Yes, granted, the bath was not the best place to hang out on a Monday morning, but it was so smooth and shiny and perfect, I just wanted to explore that white expanse for a while. To experience what heaven may feel like, the vast beautiful vista of space and nothingness. The void. But the shower and the plug and the pipe were not like that. They were dark and dirty and lined with the hair of lesser beings. And fewer legs. It was a different kind of void, and I did not deserve it.
It has been said before: “that I regret nothing, except the mistakes of others”. In this case, I do not believe I was a mistake, but may have become one. Over time. To myself. A collection of mistaken regrets, accumulating like the cumulonimbus above us. Clouding my better judgement. I regret nothing, except each and every second before last, which I fear could have been better spent. Should have been. Next time, perhaps. One more time, with feeling.
I am unknowable, yet write my heart on my sleeve. I am immovable, yet crumble and cry at the sight of a spider accidentally washed down the plughole. I appear restrained on the outside yet wild as a horse inside this constrained body of mine. My best friend, my best man, is my sole confidante. My love for him will never die. Yet, no doubt, we infuriate each other too, like an old married couple. There are always some things unspoken. And this is probably for the best.
The difference between sleeping and waking is that I speak my mind when asleep. I know this because my sleep app, designed (apparently) to help me sleep, but effectively just records the time I am awake, captures these movements and moanings and mutterings in the night. I wake in the morning to listen to my night-thinking and to find out who I am going to be today.
There is no truth, there is only perspective. We are all short-sighted in our own ways. All over-compensating for a distinct lack of vision. And then there is belief, which are the white lies of comfort we tell ourselves to keep ourselves alive. This is how I know I am a living being. I am still holding on to the belief that I am a mind inside a body having thoughts and implementing actions. Some of these I have control over, and some I do not. And it matters not a jot which one is which, and this is why everything, effectively, is a lie.
This question should be confident. Bold. It should not be afraid to provoke a reaction and make a statement. This question should cut to the quick and the dead of the pulpy marrow of life. This question should be wearing pink pyjamas when it comes. This question should haunt all our dreams, like a faded dress hanging up against the window, the breeze billowing slowly through it, moving in time with our breathing. This question should prompt hysteria and hysterics, and occasionally fur balls in cats. Prey or predator. I am happy to be both. Sometimes at the same time. This is not a split personality, but rather an emotional and sexual reality. There is always someone to whom we may appear larger on the outside, than the smallness we feel inside our own true selves.
This. Here. Now. What am I doing? What am I writing? What are you reading? Does any of it make sense? Not the words, but ‘it’. Does any of IT make sense? And then again.
Now. Here. Why? Why am I doing this? All of the questions, all of the time. How can a thought be intrusive, that’s what they’re there for. To tap us on the shoulder and cough, ahem, politely (or otherwise) and remind us what and why and who we are. I am a walking question mark, doubled over by the weight of carrying these thoughts every day. Sometimes, an answer arrives, and I can straighten my back and my load and say yes! Eureka, today I am an exclamation point too!
JP Seabright is a writer living in their own fevered imagination. Details of their published prose, poetry and experimental work can be found at jpseabright.com and Twitter @errormessage.