UNTITLED: Poetry from the Archives

james dean smoking

james dean smoking

I take another hard drag, hoping to finally end it.

It’s days like these I hate myself the most.

She sits slumped over, cross-legged and sobbing on the carpet. I’ve clearly fucked up again. Done my worst, which, over my course, I’ve become far too good at.

“I wonder if I’ll ever truly understand her,” the voice in my head connives as I nod in feigned comprehension at the snap of her words when she hooks me back in with

“ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME?”

A pause. Finally,

“Yes.”

Yes, I’ve done a great many horrible things to many people, but this, I tell you my friends, is the worst:

To look at the woman who loves you in spite of yourself – not your fake self, or your work self, or your bar self or your Facebook self – and to see her hurting because of the person you are inside, and you’re too selfish to let her go when you know you really should…

That’s pretty fucked up.

But don’t be too hard on yourself. That’s just how your Mama raised ya.

And how school charged its tuition.

But know that there’s no class in life that can prepare you for it. I propose that maybe if I knew the value of delayed gratification over the definition I wouldn’t be stressed so much. And maybe if I learned vulnerability instead of viscosity when dissecting the human heart I’d be able to reach out to her like a normal fucking human being.

But I am the product of my experiences, the majority of which are shit. I have the makings of greatless and she deserves a hell of a lot better than me.

Yet in spite of that, and me, and my cold words and explosive reactions, her hand still rests on my thigh, squeezing it white-knuckled as she works out her demons in frantic exorcisms on the floor.

She sees what I could be, drawing attention to everything that I’m not. Her praises pierce the weak points in my armour and I stand defenseless against her innocence. How alien my black-and-white world must seem to her childlike wonder. She is everything that is good and pure in this life. She is colour. She is the sun.

I am what remains once she sets.

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DO YOU DOODLE? (my Monday meeting ritual)

space scene doodle artwork

space scene doodle artwork

I used to doodle incessantly when I was a child. I can still remember trying to sell my juvenile artwork to my parents for extra chocolate bar money during my pre-kleptomania (read: hustlin’) days. I also remember this habit/passion/pastime trying to be exorcised out of me during my school years.

I was always something of a daydreamer. My eyes would be locked on a swaying tree outside, my mind would have me be living as Superman, and my teacher would be shouting my name across the classroom.

“So nice of you to join us, Mr Kirton,” she’d say sarcastically.

“I could kill you with one punch,” I replied telepathically, my crooked smile and rhythmic nodding putting her at noticeable unrest.

She’d return to her chalkboard of authority and I’d return to doing some actual good. The world needed me!

I find it funny that I am now employed in a profession where the ability to daydream is part of the gig. As much as “creatives” embrace the whole oddball persona, being a little bit “out there” is necessary to deliver great conceptual work. I just love that my colleagues don’t find it weird when I spend Monday morning traffic meetings invested in my notepad, exploring worlds far beyond the reach of the real. #perksofthejob

Or maybe they do notice, but don’t feel comfortable enough to test my Cheshire grin and psychopathic nod. Can’t say I blame them.

Write, but don’t read

I’m a professional writer. That is to say I get paid by companies and clients to apply my personal insights and persuasive expertise in written form to the end of sales. Just as an athlete applies their quadriceps, explosive reaction times or hard-as-a-rock head to the end of goals/points/concussed enemies and sponsorship ROIs, I am expected to be good at what I do. And great at what I do if I ever wish to make a real name for myself. I am Capitalism’s deep and stirring voice reminding you to “Just do it.”

That aside, it has happened before where, upon learning what I actually do for a living (note: copywriting has zilch to do with law*), I have been asked what literature I choose to indulge in. This is usually posed by fiction readers whom I can only assume see me as some kind of credible authority on what makes great writing. Maybe they hope I read the same books they do. Perhaps they want a new genre or author to get wrapped up in under a blanket with a cup of cocoa on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Maybe they’re just humouring me because I tell the occasionally witty joke and offer my hoodie to dames when it gets cold out**.

Whatever their reasons, I usually get the same reaction when I do tell them.

Her: *smiling* So you’re a writer? What books do you enjoy reading?

Me: Yeah, I don’t really read.

*face loses expression*

Her: At all?

Me: No, not really.

Her: But you’re a writer…

And she has a point. According to my LinkedIn profile, blog title and box of business cards I never hand out, I am “a writer”.

Me: I read the papers occasionally, but then I get depressed and do spec domestic violence campaigns instead.

She’s unsure of how to respond. Her boyfriend grabs her by the arm and they leave. I’ve seen the type before.

This week has been different, though. My girlfriend bought me a copy of “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss (or Tim to his friends) and I haven’t been able to put the damn thing down. It’s strange, but in a good way. And it got me thinking: The last book I truly enjoyed this much was Freakonomics. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it on here before, but if you haven’t read it (and the follow-up sensation SuperFreakonomics), do yourself a favour and order a copy. Today. Available now in paperback on Amazon for the low low price of $12. “Just do it.”

Anyway, the conclusion I have arrived at is this: I read what I find deeply interesting, and it’s a pity that it doesn’t happen all that often. At this junction, mind you, my life coach would reprimand me for justifying why I don’t read as much as I should, but on this point I stand firm***. If I’m going to invest twenty hours in reading a book, I want it to be an absolute pleasure whenever I pick it up. Anything less and I ask you, “What’s the point?”

I look at bookworms with a sense of awe and (on some level) jealousy. I wish I could pick up any book, or go to a book swap and walk away with five novels I know will be coursed cover-to-cover by next week, but I can’t. It’s too painful. I’m not strong enough.

Maybe I’d be a better writer if I did read more. Maybe I’d feel more fulfilled. I don’t know. All I know is this: 1) I read what I love to read and don’t find nearly enough books to satisfy my particular taste, and 2) I highly recommend The 4-Hour Work Week to anyone who has not read it yet.

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*E&OE. Ts and Cs apply.

** I’m old school like that.

*** That’s what SHE said, amirite?