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The Ballad of the Arrogant Hearts

THE BALLAD OF THE ARROGANT HEARTS: VENTRICLE

Prologue Eins:

Tear it down! Break the barricade!
I wanna see what sound it makes
I hate this flavour with a passion
And I fucking hate the aftertaste!
How does it feel? How does it feel?
Well, it feels like I’m on fire!
Wake up, I know you can hear me…

~*~

I.) A Senseless Stardom And A Playwright’s Pain.
.

Bury me by the open venetian windows, where I can visit you every night

You know my anatomy like a circus act, but you turned off the spotlight

My pavement kiss tastes harsh, but the scissors accentuate my sacrifice

You deceive and desecrate me far too often, but shit, I’ll never suffice

.

Pose like a drunk pubescent actress, come on Marilyn, show some emotion

Every boy watching television shall receive your desperate transmissions

A noose of flowers and confection confessions melting on your tongue

Your affections were transgressions, but you’re so pretty when you run

.

I used to write letters and poetry, but now for you, I only write obituaries

Don’t be sorry for little orphan Annie whose cellar is her own sanctuary

I’m a vagabond, you’re a bastard child, we’re a match made in angel hell

Inferno strikes under our tangled veins and the paradise the demon sells

.

You were memorising phone numbers like it’s the digits on my credit card

If there was a prize for a comely crass drama queen, you’ll win that award

Ignorance might be your best friend, but I’ve been dating her for ten long years

It’s a violent explosion of distractions and disappointment in second gear

.

As they all say, fuck the love, we’re in this game for the fame and money

Toasting our dead hearts with cocaine and expired 20 dollar champagne

I’ll scream for help, sabotage! Please don’t murder me with pleurisy baby!

And if I cry in my sleep, then you will know that I’m still dancing from pain…

—————————————

-i-n-t-e-r-m-i-s-s-i-o-n-

—————————————

THE BALLAD OF THE ARROGANT HEARTS: AORTA

Prologue Zwei:

Make me a promise here tonight!
Love like a tidal wave
Dreamless in early graves
I never want it to be this way
The chemicals will bring you home again
This is it, when it’s done, we can say that
When it’s sudden death we fight back!

~*~

II.) Confessions Of A Mad Stranger To An Inebriated Lover.

I confess by the altar, this is my last testament and surrendering admonition

Two souls like an orchestra, and I’ll conduct this symphony of destruction

I’m the only menace to your fugitive life, a key witness and an accomplice

I got scar evidence to lock you behind diamond bars for a million years

.

You said it wasn’t a crime to feel, but the police are banging down my door

I promised I’d be just a little more sorry, but it’s just been a vulture’s chore

This turbulence in New Jersey, this fucking turbulence is beautiful for me

I may be deleterious and despondent, but your Europe eyes are a mystery

.

I can smell clashing bitter bourbon and saccharine chocolate in your breath

You sicken me, but I feel better by shutting the closet doors and drinking late

Towed away in our underwater love, and I’ll be drifting away to abyssal death

But if I escape hell, I’ll sneak back into heaven for free, so don’t close the gate

.

Don’t pay for your blessing, just grind the forest ax and damn, don’t hesitate

The big bad wolf will rend you to shreds if you swing away a second too late

Stuttering from the piercing bullet bites and the blizzard cold on your tattoos

Though I’m taking, I’m taking, I’m f-f-fucking taking back Saturday from you

.

The jagged edges of your dress are wounding me badly as we’re locked in final embrace

Weighed down and singing our tainted names under the concrete rain like a disgrace

I know I’m a stupid motherfucker, thinking that with eternal hate, I’ll never be left alone

But darling, I’ll leave the answering machine on all night, in case you decide to come home.

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See Jane

Jane was taught many things throughout the course of her life. Jane was taught to be a good girl to mummy and daddy. Jane was taught to say her prayers and obey what she was told to do. Jane was taught to clean herself up and clean up after herself. Jane was taught to do her straight auburn hair up in ribbons and pigtails, polish her red maryjane shoes into a dazzling shine, and wear her best cotton pastel dresses. Jane was taught to walk with proper posture, smile gracefully, speak in a soft feminine voice, and to go about with tasks in an elegant finesse. Jane was taught to learn her academic lessons well at the private all-girls catholic school she was attending, and as well as her weekly lessons about faith and God at Sunday class in the town church. Jane was taught not to play too roughly, never to join the bad flock of black sheep, and to generally stay out of trouble. Jane was taught to be polite, friendly, amiable, and to be approachable and presentable. Simply put, Jane was trained to be a perfect girl, and she was taught to love it.

What was wrong with Jane?

Jane was the epitome of nice. Jane was the classic textbook example of the girl next door; charming, demure, a bonny maiden with a beautiful appearance and personality, living a scripted, sterile, storybook suburban life. Jane was a starchild, excelling in everything and anything, always at her best. Jane was sociable, had lots of friends and could easily make new acquaintances. In the morning, among the company of people, she was quite pleasant, a darling sweetheart in the glossed-over, uncrutinising eyes of the faceless neighbours. See Jane greet. See Jane traipse. See Jane dance. See Jane laugh. See Jane wave. See Jane smile. See Jane happy. But alas, that was the full extent of their limited perception. To them, Jane could be summed up in positive words less than three syllables long. They could never see the actual Jane, dark and complicated. They couldn’t glare past the cracks of the well-practised façade, and take a gander at the real version that’s not made of plastic skin and porcelain eyes, refusing to see the truth of the perfect girl that barely sleeps at night. See Jane depressed. See Jane grit her teeth. See Jane scream. See Jane self-harm. See Jane feel empty. See Jane strut mechanically. See Jane do drugs. See Jane muffle her crying on her pillow. See Jane as a complete fucking mess.

What was wrong with Jane?

Jane was taught many things in the course of her short life. Be this, be that, don’t do this, don’t do that, Jane never learned to think for herself. Simply put, Jane was brainwashed to be the perfect girl, and she absolutely hated it. In the end, it was not Jane with the fault, she was only the innocent victim. Rather, it was her guardians, her teachers, who missed a crucial lesson that might have saved Jane from self destruction. For Jane was only taught to exist, but she was never taught to live. Teeming alongside the controversy now, the very same life enveloping death that the multitudinous attendees are currently buzzing with. The haughty crowd, all clad in black garb, then proceeds to judge Jane with whispered huffs, gossiping under thin walls and blabbering behind paper fans hatefully, shaking their heads condescendingly with a chorus of tsk-tsk’s, saying stories and telling tall tales about how Jane was such an amazing girl, it’s such a waste Jane had to go this way, Jane always seemed cheerful and no one ever saw it coming, I remember that one time Jane…, Jane will be missed, nothing but senseless argot and unapologetic bereavement. Today, everyone mourned. But today, everyone also saw an accurate glimpse of Jane for the first time, and unfortunately, for the very last.

See Jane die.

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Cosmic Band-Aids

The coalescing Seattle twilight was an interplaying illusion of dusk and haze, warm colours replacing the pastel skylines, only to be painted over by the deep indigo eventide. The local rustic town café was already closing up, and they barely had time to finish the last bites of their chocolate bonbons and sip the remaining drops of their hazelnut vanilla frappé, before the intermittent barista ushered them out—quite literally, with a tremulous hand and an apologetic jilted demeanour. Now they stood outside the establishment in introspective reverie, dimmed bronze sodium streetlight the only solitary light source that resiliently pierced through the caliginous melancholy.

She was a blushing rose, liquid and pale, every infinitesimal detail somehow magnified to be remarkably interesting. Fragrance of baby’s breath and frankincense, posture of a regal and sophisticated monarch, delicate face as that of an angel’s glimpse of paradise, personality of an intricate vintage lock and a million exploding suns. Her companion, admittedly, was a person of less enigma, yet was still a character of significance, an oakwood branch, roughly-hewn and intense, simple yet charismatic. That svelte and cheeky-looking fellow had untidy coffee-tint hair, a discursive ironic smirk, an insouciant slouch, and a steely glint that, more often than not, signalled trouble.

As the fog and the regent shadows further intensified, the pauses and discomfited silence between them further attenuated. Moments passed. Her candyfloss-pink sundress fluttered like a jaded butterfly as she tucked a frayed bookmark behind her seashell ear, and her taciturn companion watched her intently, like an engrossed pawnbroker. Without permission, he began to remove his worn tan overcoat and gingerly placed the article over her cool shoulders, still warm and cosy by his own body heat. Flustered by the uncalled attention, she turned away to brush a stray raven hair back into her gossamer tufted bun, and lost grip of her book of poems, fragile pages yellowed and dogeared with age. Sylvia Plath’s ancient anthology dropped with a soft thump right side up, opening uncannily on the centre page containing Mad Girl’s Love Song, and both bent down and fumbled clumsily to pick it up in haste.

Fingers tangled. Glances exchanged. Blue eyes collided with green. Hands clenched. Throats choked. Hearts skipped. Breaths hitched. Souls shattered. Their blueberry-strawberry swirl ice cream melted absently like calligraphy on the pavement. The book now lay abandoned and forgotten, its unspoken poetry dancing alongside the breeze. No words were whispered. None were necessary. Overhead, the last of the brimstone shades faded away, and incandescent stars splashed the darkness of the falling sky. Below, firework eyes showered sparks, and skins intertwined. Witnessing it all, hiding behind the wisps of pewter clouds and overlooking the nocturnal planet, the glowing moon quaintly smiled.

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Incarcerated

He was tired of everything. He was trapped in a hellish predicament, and he was sickened ad nauseam by being abused by wardens and inmates alike. Today, he was once again thrown into a riot at the cafeteria, stumbling out with a split lip, a sprained arm, and bodily aches all over. But then again, he also managed to pickpocket one of the security guards and smuggle something into his cell, hiding it under his soiled pillow, so the pain didn’t matter anymore. Now, his prize rested patiently within his hands; bullets loaded, safety lock off, muzzle glinting mischievously. His fate was set. It was the first sound he heard, the sound that got him into this shithole, and it would be the last sound he would hear, the sound that will absolve him of all his tribulations. He shut his eyes. His fingers twitched. He pulled the trigger.

BANG.

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The Conviction of the Moon

Those firmament tears were amber

As it crystallised in its fragile grasp

The stars witnessed that November

How the sun drowned with no gasp

.

The crowns of their empire shatters

The stars beseeched their trial runs

Jury of the solar system in smatters

Proclaim against that deathless sun

.

The court adjourned and it abjured

In flagrante delicto, they were sure

They have a case against the moon

Ex gratia, a saturnine arcane gloom

.

Order! Objection! A recess! I’ll hear!

Oyez oyez taken to deaf stone ears

As the crowd accused, opinions nil

Sneered at the convicted, little thrill

.

Reconvene the order of the audience

I repeat, the moon said, gall cadence

This is a bum rap, I divorced the sun

I’ll appeal, you’ve got the wrong man

.

The opposing side argued to the end

We lost our lights, a beloved friend!

I’ve no time for liars, I declared war

When you killed off a beautiful star

.

Both sides were taut, horizons grey

It seemed they will not finish today

Yet the murder weapon is procured

Lunacy, a sickness from lunar word

.

The gavel slammed the wooden slab

Ringing in that silent courtroom hub

I thereby sentence you to your exile

From the milky way, until you defile.

.

The moon, taking its fate, left home

Before he stepped down, his lesson

Caught smug mouths of the rallying

The stars cried, their planets glaring

.

I loved the sun dear, she was my own

Yet I was blinded by a foolish weapon

As asteroids rain, I will refuse a nudge

I shall let the universe be my only judge.

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Stargirl and the Rocket Lights

You are a curiosity, or a mental case, as some called it rather crudely and dismissively, and you knew everyone noticed. But they didn’t care, and neither should you. One day, you impulsively proclaimed, whilst balancing on the top of a redwood tree branch, that disappearing acts never got old, so you said goodbye to your squirrel friend, clambered down the tree hurriedly, and dashed home. You burst into your room with a loud door slam, gathered up your paraphernalia, grabbed your half-full rucksack dotted with strange pins and souvenir keychains, which was patiently waiting by your ramshackle oakwood cabinet, and began haphazardly shoving various motley things inside. Once you were finished cleaning up and made even more of a mess in the process, you quickly plastered a teddy bear print band-aid on your cheek from where the rough wood accidentally scratched and left a thin red mark, clumsily tied your DIY pinstriped Keds’ purple and green shoelaces, stretched out—as if competing in a marathon—on an abandoned Twister board on your carpeted floor, and finally you left the house, chasing your dissolution without so much as a backward glance. The first part was easy. The next part was easier.

The nightwalking horizon was tinted virtually the same colour as your ripped stonewashed denim overalls, the reticulated stars were in implausible full burst and clearly visible, a myriad riot like the splattered black inkstains on your bohemian tie-dyed shirt, and the moon was shaded exactly and uncannily like your ivory silk flower leggings, the number of the craters perfectly aligned with the number of the frayed holes by your knees, the ones you tore yourself with zigzag safety scissors. The dreamy air tasted faintly like bubblegum ice cream, and the astral bodies were softly clicking into their designated places, a marvellous tableaux of God’s fanciful ethereal jigsaw puzzle. Nothing more was to be prepared; all you had to do was pass against the serendipitous turn of time. That particular task in itself was no difficult feat for your whimsical affinity. The other factor to consider was your destination. Invariably, it didn’t matter which bus you got on, if you were even waiting for a bus at all, for you have an overpowering ominous sensation within your heart that you’ll always inevitably end up on a wayward road, diverging on the intersection to nowhere. And in your own quote unquote words, as that one cliché that nobody says goes, signal for the universe and the galaxy will come.

Your vintage analogue Hello Kitty clock ticked sluggishly second by second, and the small candy floss pink lights by the side came to life and began to glow fervently as the hands struck exactly 8 PM. You had a lot of time to spend thereon and then, sitting prim and taciturn on the graffitied wooden bench, waiting for the longest forever. You intertwined scarlet camellias on your plaited geranium hair and held it in place with a gargantuan leopard-print scrunchie. You tapped your hands, plucked a few sweet and sour notes on your marmalade-orange ukulele, and hummed a Joy Division song melodically, and you laughed quietly when you flubbed the chorus with a splintered squeak. You counted the cheap glittery stars you stuck on your plastic journal even though you knew the number by heart, some microscopic yellow speckles transferring to your skin as you absentmindedly peeled one at the side with a polkadotted fingernail. You scribbled lines of guitar keys, and doodled literal intricate keys without paired locks, onto the slightly-torn cover page with a blueblooded space pen, and used the same pen to trace the wiry butterfly outline on your right ankle. You observed with childish wonder and twinkling heterochromatic dandelion eyes as prams, automobiles, taxis, and tallyho’s passed by you in an amicable whirlwind breeze and friendly engine revving. There were a billion tangible stars in this side of the dimension, just a little more than the glamorous stars shining on your notebook, and you can pluck each and every single one off their orbit. You had a lot of fun little preoccupations, and the time on your hands seemed almost eternal.

Time was up. When it seemed like the aberrant clocks hitched their breaths and you’ve done a thousand and one tasks to fill such a lacuna, finally, Hello Kitty’s spinning hour hand gingerly moved into its designated place. The moment it touched the notch and exactly as the pink lights began their little show, you tilted your chin until it was higher than your freckled button nose, and stared enthusiastically at the empty tranquil sky. As if on cue, your implausible carpool vehicle hurtled imperceptibly from beneath the atmosphere, burning the crepuscular firmament’s concrete shadows at light-year speed, and arrived with a dissuaded thump, to take you away from such a bland and diluted planet. Tucking a stray highlighted neon hair back in your pierced and heavily-ornamented ears, you cautiously replaced the overflowing tatterdemalion notebook back in your bag, bounced on your heels and stood up with lilting sneakered toes, and ceremoniously stepped into that rocketship invention calmly, without any nuance of surprise or astonishment. It seemed you would simply walk straight and be swallowed whole by the blinding flash, but at the last moment, you turned back at the dominating darkness and sent a quaint, fragile, almost palpable air-kiss flying from your painted ruby lips and painted dainty fingers onto the open space. The entire population of the world must have felt a faint zephyr graze their cheek softly at that very moment, but they were too naïve to even bother with noticing it. Yet you said your polite goodbyes, so it didn’t matter. You grandiosely waved a final farewell, the tattooed patterns on your arms spinning and dancing with pastel motion, and you smiled lazily, quite cryptically, as the metallic-gold doors closed in dénouement with a sibilant hiss and a burst of flourishing steam. The metaphysical vessel roared as it propelled into ignition again, shooting up into the sky immediately and billowing into evanescence out of peripheral view, and you were gone with it. Your wish was granted, and you permanently left behind the life you always tolerated with distaste, into a more interesting place with a better yesterday, and no one cared…except for one.

Stargirl, when you ran away and stole the cornflower moon with you from the midnight sky to elope, did you think no one would be interested? When you vanished and charmingly serenaded the sun into a retrograde motion, did you think no one would find out? Did you ever think, for a single heartbeat, that when your star, hiding in plan sight among millions of the other specks in the star-freckled sky, was quietly extinguished, I wouldn’t even notice?

I out of all people would hate to admit such a fact, but for once in your extraordinary yet ephemeral existence, Stargirl, you were wrong.

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The Calumniation of John Smith and Jane Doe

Let me tell you a story about a boy and a girl
A very different version than you’ve ever heard
Okay, so I’m lying, but all I’m trying to say
This isn’t about the one that got away…

~*~

Let me tell you a story

Of a boy and a girl

One who killed the sunset

The other’s feet curled

Both watched wretched stars

Crash with meteor showers

They licked nectar of the gods

And elucidated powers

Win the matriarchal anarchy

Of the obstreperous race

And the boy and the girl

Were the mascots and the face

And they chased popularity

Like spiders on a web

And anyone who gets caught

Will be devoured and dead

She was the queen bee

He was the screaming lion

They ruled the concrete jungle

With a fist as hard as iron

They solved society’s code

And clambered on other people

With sharp knives and wits

They reached the highest steeple

Forever staying to indulge

Lounging in pecksniffian glam

The boy and girl found bliss

Amidst avariciousness and scams

But their leniency evolved

And the bridges under restless

They began to grow tired

Of withholding the masses

And so their bullets ricocheted

Their crown jewels glinted

Crowds pulled them by their hairs

To obtain what they needed

It turned bloody and carnage

Habituated from vicious attacks

Their downfall shall climax

With a clean suicide pact

The boy with his revolver gun

The girl with her noose and razor

Sitting by the burning castle

“Let’s end this now together.”

But it doesn’t finish that easily

They both survived the dare

He missed his brain by inches

She bled, but only paled fair

One ended up in a hospital ER

Comatose for his existence

The other was thrown in jail cell

To waste away and lose sense

The girl escapes, mad rambling

With some floss and a bent spoon

The boy sleeps, she pulls the plug

“This will all be over soon.”

And this story doesn’t end

With a wedding and happiness

In this version, one gets killed

By the other one’s duress

Let me tell you a story

Of a stupid boy and a foolish girl

This modern Adam and Eve fable

Is no fairy tale for the sober.

~*~

Watch it from your ivory tower
Paint the sky grey, like a coward
How long you’ve got?
I can go on for hours
A sweet little tale that ended sour
My words will ring in your ears…

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Sleep: The Awful Things That I’ve Seen

And through it all
How could you cry for me?
‘Cause I don’t feel bad about it
So shut your eyes
Kiss me goodbye
And sleep, just sleep…

~*~

4:30 AM. I was just drifting off to sleep, beginning to conjure coalescing dreams, hazy and not yet solidified. As my slumber deepened further, sliding into proper unconsciousness, the fantasy materialised more clearly.

I found myself standing in the middle of a school building, an ancient and decrepit one, along with several faceless people, all of which seemed vaguely familiar, yet none that I could decipher specifically. Up to that point, everything was fine. It was just another one of the dreams that I have on a regular nightly basis, fractured and almost nonsensical. I wasn’t worrying yet. Continuing the journey of my dream, I rode on an elevator with the aforementioned faceless company, the elevator’s metal doors and interior glimmering with cleanness, strangely sterile and out of place, a stark contrast as compared to the near-dessicated state of the ruined building. I pressed a button to go several floors up, and the elevator hummed lightly, the glinting silver doors closing with a reassuring ding.

And that was where the nightmare began.

After a few seconds of waiting in uncomfortable silence, the elevator finally stopped with another cheerful ding!, the lights flickering momentarily as the doors opened smoothly, and we all stepped out of it without so much as a glance or hesitation. We found ourselves in a room, a total mess and cluttered, practically flooded, with varying sorts of garbage, debris, detritus, and disused technology, and just as equally rundown as the one we had previously been to. Thus we began investigating, scouring the place for god knows what endgame.

As I clambered atop a pile of junked wicker furniture—already unravelling from its weave and was all but falling apart—to scout the location, someone suddenly realised that one person was missing from the group, and s/he called us out and gave attention to the fact. By some form of interlocked gregarious instinct, we all looked curiously towards the elevator, eyes drawn to the buzzing reflective doors, and, as if on cue, that prominent ding! sound cut through the thick slippery silence like a bread knife through butter. Breaths bated, we all waited in suffocating suspense.

It didn’t open. No movement from the inside. No indications of our absent companion can be seen. My faceless companions and I didn’t acknowledge each other, either. We were all simply frozen to the spot, and no one moved a muscle, not even as a soft music box tune began eerily playing from behind the closed doors, muffled as it seeped past the minute cracks between the doors. As it continued to play, sweet and lilting at first, I began to grow uncomfortably disturbed, for it seemed to be seeping past not only the elevator doors, but past the boundaries of dream and reality as well. It felt so real, so palpable, so tangible, that for one moment, my dream self actually broke past the fourth wall, becoming fully aware of its incorporeal state, and I pondered if I accidentally left my phone’s music player on before I fell asleep.

But then, out of nowhere, a high-pitched screeching sound went off and collided with the initial silence that was keeping the dream at bay, as the music box melody grew louder, more distorted, chillingly hair-raising. The stentorian tone came to a point where it became too unbearable for my thoughts, and I immediately jolted back to reality, hoping to effectively get rid of the discordant noise.

Or, at least it seemed to be reality, at first. I can still see what I would’ve seen if I was awake; the red and grey stroller that my older sister left on the place, immobile and parked carelessly in front of me, my phone clutched on one limp hand, its screen faintly glowing and still opened on an abandoned Aldiko eBook that I was listlessly rereading before I fell asleep, and the sheer darkness of the quiet room only being perturbed by the light on the dining room, always left open at such hours of the day. I was awake, and everything was all normal…

Except the damned music box sound was still playing in my ears, and I can’t move.

From that moment forth, I knew I wasn’t awake yet, nor was I dreaming still. I was trapped in limbo, floating between a hellish combination of unconsciousness and consciousness that I can’t break out of. I can’t go back to sleep, but I can’t wake up anymore. It was time for drastic action. Blood rushing wildly in my heart and heart hammering out of my ribcage so hard it might just break, I frantically tried moving an arm, a leg, any limb, any muscle, to no avail. I attempted to straighten out and change my semi-foetal position, but all I could feel cooperating was my left toe, wiggling frantically, willing the rest of my body into a contagious movement, and without much success. Not even my eyeballs can be goaded into looking side to side, fixated blankly past ahead, horrified gaze locked upon the stroller, forced to watch the unfolding events transpire, as my vision shifted and spun out of control.

I felt sickeningly dizzy. Gravity must be working against me. There seemed to be an invisible force that was moulded into my entire body, blanketing me entirely as it pressed against both internal and external flesh and held me down, and the only sound I can hear anymore was no longer the pleasant music box tune, but rather, some sort of strange caterwauling amalgamation of static and a rushing wind vortex and painful banshee wails that roared angrily whenever I attempted to move, its volume nearly deafening, nearly driving me into intense deliria. This unknown spectre was overpowering, sending fresh waves of prickles on my skin, shudders and chills down my spine, and contorting currents all over my body with every futile attempt of mine to make motions, telling me victoriously that I was held under its claws, pinned like a helpless mouse under a cat’s paw. I was its puppet, and it can make me motionless whenever it wishes to. I was under its total control.

For what seemed like hours to un/conscious me, this unwinnable game went on mercilessly. The invisible force grasped strong and willfully as it immobilised me, the raging static continued to come in cacophonic mocking screams, the dreadful fear ultimately pervaded and successfully overrode every part of my system. I couldn’t break away, I couldn’t find a release, I was defeated and thinking that I’d be trapped forever in this fucking state, and come next morning, my relatives will find me already turned to cold stone like Medusa’s poor victim, with a permanent expression of horror etched on my visage, a person literally frightened to death.

But then the spell broke down. I felt everything lighten up gradually, that shocking magnanimous force that has paralysed me and held me hostage for the last few minutes slowly dissipating, the angry static noise ebbing away into nothingness, and I finally began seeing everything in a less surrealistic, less blurrier, less disorienting sight. I opened my eyes—or if they have been opened all the time anyways, I am still highly uncertain—saw the lightless room, my resiliently-illuminated phone, the abandoned monochrome stroller, my hands clutching the mobile, normalcy, reality, and hopefully for good this time. I glanced down absently at my trembling bent legs and realised with ecstatic joy that I could already move, and I rocketed myself immediately into a stiffened position, almost letting out a vivacious cheer of triumph. Everything rewound back to its proper setting, and my wildly panicking heart began to calm itself, gradually lessening a beat every second until my pulse was at an acceptable pace once again.

For several minutes after that, I was motionless. I simply laid still, staring mistily at the dull yet reassuring glow of my phone, listening to the tired whirring of the restless electric fan. For the hellish dream may have passed, but I wasn’t completely relaxed that easily yet. Fear infested itself momentarily again, and I immediately jammed my eyes shut, very much afraid that if I moved or swept my vision over the place, I would see a horrifying countenance grinning with razor blades for teeth and glaring back at me with flaring jaundice-yellow eyes. I was still scared out of my wits, thinking that, perhaps, the nightmare was not over yet.

Sooner than later, the fickle irrationalities subsided into common sense. I knew I can’t keep up such an act forever, and if there were any bastards waiting to devour me whole, then goddammit I’ll face them now. I hesitantly opened one eye, and, seeing no otherworldly creature about to pounce on my viscera, only my luminescent phone’s clock blinking sullenly and reading 5:08 AM, I opened the other eye and sighed exorbitantly, the sound of my own voice washing over me and providing me clarity and sensibility. I felt ashamed and silly, yet at the same time thankful and relieved.

But not for too long, before horrifying thoughts struck me once again, epiphanies falling down on my mind so hard I saw stars. Deprived of sleep and going through such a traumatic experience in such a short amount of time, one can only think so clearly before hell sets its hounds loose upon their brains again. I gasped audibly. My blood froze abruptly. My pulse raced maddeningly again. A hard lump metastasised on the back of my throat, making it difficult for me to breathe. A final chill slithered down my spine, and rested there permanently.

I cannot sleep again. Whatever beast or demon or godforsaken creature used me and made me its plaything for tonight, I fear it will return again to finish its job. I cannot let that happen. Never again. Perhaps if I just make it past this night, then it will leave me alone. But I am tired. I am very tired. No, I’m okay. I’m fine. I’ll make it. I’m going to die. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts…

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Flint and Flame

You are the match

That burned the whole city down.

The person who danced on the ashes

Of the ruined smouldering town

You were that blazing

Decade-long wildfire

That caused evacuations

That ate civilisations

That tore down society

And tallied a thousand casualties

With your tempers high

Above both degrees

Celsius and Fahrenheit

And your smokescreen of shadows

Obscuring the sunlight’s glow

Your embers snarled angrily

And lashed at those who dared

To touch their fragile paper skin

On your dangerous beauty

And they coughed up blood,

Inhaling charcoal fumes that

Rose above you in softest

Of intricate laced whorls,

Your gruesome work of art.

A haphazard elegance,

That you were.

A blending of tangerine and

Xanthus and azure and all

Colours invisible to the naked

Eye, birthing your kindle red.

You were luminescence;

A hopeful light of blinding hopeless

You were warmth;

A radiating heat of scorched blisters

Every part of you, flammable

Every part of you, sparking a pyre

You were life, and death, alike

Black of soot, white of light

Left to their hands to decide

Which blade they shall use

On the fates they will deride.

Yet; only one choice did it take

And you melted steel and flesh

Ignited into fueled madness

Laughing at the agony you behest

Burn it all, you crackled, glaring

No survivors, incessant destroying

The oceans of Pacific had barely

Made a dent on your aberrating

It was as if fate was on your team,

So you laughed and fought back

But gritted at your diminishing

Against the soothing cold attack

So you flared, and flickered,

You sizzled, and simmered

You were truant then tame,

For a moment you won the game.

But the cyclone stormed suddenly,

The rains fell triumphant at your loss

Your infamous last words faded

It’s…magnificent…chaos…

Your pillar of fire flared even higher,

Against the tide of the cruel water

The magnum opus of your fame,

A final swan song to your name.

You dwindled and you darkened,

You were nothing more than a stain,

And you were finally put out…

But your damage will forever remain.

You were the rampaging fire

That burned everything down

With your conflagrating hate

I watched it all, the annihilation

Of an innocent nation, and its

Own rebirth, in a phoenix state

You were the match that

Burned the whole city down.

Until everything was too late

And mercy, for I was the rough surface

Who struck so carelessly

Against your phosphorus nitrate.

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Calypso Syndrome

It’s strange, this calypso.

I never minded it much at first, dismissing it airily as one of those Muzak or background noises that you never really notice until it becomes an unbearable itch, and only then do you start paying attention to it. But in a rather unusual case, this itch of mine grew all the more inflamed, and eventually my skin opened into bleeding sores that are unable to heal. By that time I can no longer simply wrap it with gauze and bandage and pretend it wasn’t there, waiting patiently for it to close into scars on its own accord. And the poisonous tune in my wounds began to affect not just my veins, but my neurones as well. And for a pleasantly tintinnabulum orchestration, it surprisingly hurts.

The calypso comes and goes with thrums of drumbeats and ludicrous whistling and other intertwining instruments that I am unable to disentangle from one another to properly identify, and though I must admit it’s a finessed, almost elegant tune, it’s also making me conjure the queerest of surrealistic denominations and distorted, perplexing thoughts from out of nowhere, sort of like a surrogate deconstruction, an impermeable derealisation, but gradually worse in the long run. Somewhere at the back of my mind I picture cowboys with revolver guns and Stetson hats, mounted on horses and kicking dust and desert tumbleweeds everywhere, and I’m the unlucky pilgrim that got caught by the rope and towed in their blistering lassos. But I’m not biding my time to contact lead poisoning, nor am I willing to scalp some nemesis. No siree, I shall hack away at the abrasive bonds with a silver butterfly knife, drink a round of hard liquor victoriously at the saloon, and retire by the brothel with a painted lady by my side.

What…what am I even saying anymore? This nonsensical metaphor further drives me off the exploding rocket, that musical calypso pirouetting daintily in my subconscious like a music box ballerina spinning soft and delicate in its silent gears, yet at the same time gnashing angrily like an undeterred steam train wearing down its metal tracks with a screeching discordance. The residual smoke from either grinding clockwork machines is making my head feel quite hazy and warm, to a point almost feverish, and you might see pewter whorls rising from out my ears. My bonny maiden, what have you done to my mind?

My dear, sweet, darling maiden, forgive my ideologies and spare my heart no harm. What have you done to me? Your melody is luring me in, onto a cliff, which I could’ve sworn was filled with tantric torrents of stygian waters and jagged rocks brandished mercilessly to impale me at the bottom, but now it looks like a doorway to paradise, the palest cerulean glimmering softly like a polished sapphire, a fantastic reflection of an immaculate cloudless sky, though not of the greyed hurricane skies accompanied by a foreboding drizzle, that the sombre weather has to offer today, so I haven’t the faintest where the parallel mimicked itself from. Heaven, perhaps. And if I lean in closer and dare to hang one ear off the edge, I could almost swear that your harmony’s getting quite louder, less garbled, less shrieking, more pronounced and more than decipherable. I’m almost tempted to jump right in, if only to have to listen to that perfect symphony palpably, but perhaps for even more sensible reasons as well. Or sensible to myself, anyways.

My quivering legs are beginning to dangle off into vast emptiness like a terrified child testing the cold water with his toes, and every last vestige of my dispersing sanity and gracious consciousness begs for me to back away from this dangerous farce, to catch my breath and touch my back for feathered wings that aren’t there, to shatter my delusions along with my fallen halo and walk it off, walk it off and never return. But that would be like throwing away the most decadent, succulent, most tantalising piece of fruit the entire planet has ever produced, without bothering to bite down on it and get even just a single taste of paradise, and I know once I waste it on initial hesitation, I’ll never get it back.

It’s hypnotising, this calypso…the never-ending music…that ocean of eternal aegean…this perennial phantasmic phenomena…it strains my invocation of curiosity very much…it winks at me, calls out to me, taunts and mocks and jeers at me…I cannot take this any longer…I must—no, I will know…I shall put an effective stopper to this vexatious mystery once and for all…to cease the sores from infection and haemophilic bleeding…to slash away the ropes of the rampaging cowboys…to cool down this deliriously smoking fever…and to return to my ultimate empyrean destination with welcoming arms to my elusive fair maiden…once…more.

I stare downwards at the dizzying drop as I allow it to pull me in—

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Filed under Prose