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illustration by the author Cacophony
by Maria Slater


It peaks with sanity;
The single moment of consciousness inevitably faced
Bursts from beyond the myths;
The relentless drumming of the pulse
And all it does to satisfy our longing,
Our lust for imagination,
Our greed.
This speck of clarity we trample over,
Dismissed as daydream-dystopia,
Cannot be.
Not simply 'be'.
To 'be' would be too simple;
We are whole,
We are complete,
We harbour multifaceted, rage-inducing lies masquerading as quiddity for no one but ourselves
And the hope we cherish;
The faith we keep.
Guided by denied yet appreciated understanding that all of this is false and faded
Beyond recognition to our tarnished minds.
But still, we believe.
We fantasise,
We idolise,
We sleep
And dream of who we could be
In a world perhaps more ordered than our own,
Where fact and fiction are fact and fiction
And disillusion is something else.
Where one beat in a million spells the meaning of life.


Regurgitate this emotion
Tell me you care for me now
When all I could give you was comfort
And all I can ask you is 'How?'
'How when you told me you loved me?
How, when you cried for my skin?
How could you let me surrender?
To the demon I harbour within?'

Dislodge the sordid blade
With which I've learned to live
Leave me for nothing but ashes
Not even the chance to forgive
Why, when you slaughtered my apathy
Why, when you murdered my greed
Why, when you let me become you
Did you burn my hope and leave?


Emotion creeps
From beneath my shallow contentment
To sleigh me again.
It surfaces with as little aggravation as a whisper;
A single unintentionally harsh direction
Of maternal lips.
The thoughts I had numbed for mercy's sake,
Finding the shelter in apathy you denied me.
I gave myself to superficiality
And sacrificed pain for lies,
But my hatred remains,
And emotion creeps.
Creeps as the spider beneath my skin.
In defiance of all that I have strived to imagine
Pretence sheds its glow
And I become myself,
As comfort depletes
Unease seeps
And emotion creeps.



Rose fades to white.
This serves what purpose?
A measure of your conviction,
As it was,
As it always will be.
The cacophony of paths on your skin lead us East
To home.

Home, where no one can reach you,
Where every sympathy is turned away
By a bitter tongue
And hollow, unfounded pessimism -
No one can feel as you do now.
No one can understand how you suffer,
How you bleed,
For we are all ignorant.
We are all empty.
We are minions of a vacant consul;
A cavernous wasteland in which we have misplaced our trust.
Our pity for you is misguided,
And incomplete.

"You deserve better than this."
Your ego protests;
Self hating yet self-obsessed,
"No one is worthy of your trust;
Not one who listens,
Not one who cares
Not even one who has felt those harsh words
Cut like the knife of which you still bear scars.
Not even her.
Not even me.

Not even friendship,
Not even faith,
Not even deliverance,
Not even death,
Not even pain,
Not even success,
Not even joy,
Not even lust,
Not even greed,
Not even pride,
Not even sickness,
Not even health,
Not even hatred,
Not even time,
Not even truth,
Not even trust,
Not even fear,
Not even hope,
Not even love.
No one is worthy of you.


Drag me under
Toss me out
Ignore me while I wail and shout
Screw me as I lay bereaved
Tell me I am "ill-conceived"
Run your nails through my hair
Rip it out without a care
Strike me down
Fuck me up
Tell me that you love me


I contemplate my situation;
What could have been and should have been
And would have been if I had braved happiness.
Odd that the power to win over my emotion
Would breed from a lust so shallow
As his
And hers.
For both together they are mine and I am theirs but not by heart;
I am yours.
And you are there
Just you.
So perfectly and beautifully grown and matured
In what little time I have taken to free myself
And turn full circle back to your newly, nearly-contented self.
We talk of what could have been.
Of what I knew and you knew
Would have pulled us into desperation and left no hope of healing.
A cure I found not with you, but after you, and perhaps between you.
With time and physical perfection;
Aesthetically true, but not quite our emotion
Came the education few accept but I required
So I could slide cautiously back
And realise I feed from you.
Feed on your jealousy as if it could repair my longing
And satisfy me.
A satisfaction I will not want
And will not need
If I can find the courage within myself
To begin again
This time knowing
This time understanding
This time unafraid of you
And unafraid of me.

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