Creative writing

Self-deprecate

What is it we do
To ourselves late at night
As the coals simmer softly in the darkness?
The moon doesn’t exist for us,
There’s too much romance we’ve applied
To that ball of dust in the sky we’ve allied.
We’ve forgotten about the Romantics:
Wordsworth’s rainbows and Blake’s grain of sand.
But we have ourselves still –
We really do.
And we sit in the dark
In our own shadows
Within the shadow of something else.
That pain inside
We can’t quite understand.
All competing for a love we will never receive –
So it goes…
So we blend ourselves into the dark
Like the artist rubbing the charcoal on the page.
We ask questions we don’t understand
So any answer wouldn’t be noticed.
At the sight of a ray of light spilling through
A wooden blind
We see an opportunity to celebrate;
Celebrate not the light
But the unlit.
These tropes of light and dark!
Tiresias who saw all; Oedipus who did not.
Yet Oedipus saw, Tiresias did not.
So what is it then?
This grotesque Romanticism of smudging ourselves?
We’re splatters of one colour
On the same coloured canvas.
But we want to be noticed.
We still want to be seen.

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Chocolate & Morphine: Satire of Society

The faded white paint peels perniciously
from these haunting hospital hallways…
Wards filled with beds filled with bodies filled with sickness:
a stitch in time saves none.

Disinfectant (the omnipresent ghost)
saunters around like a drunk,
making sure to get noticed by all.
Helium-filled GET WELL SOON! balloons
limply deflating among deflated bodies wearing
weathered blood-stained gowns.

Plump bags filled with clear liquids
stand slumped beside bedsides:
IV transfusions transfusing HIV?
Needles, catheters and antigens
hopelessly fighting these pervasive pathogens.

Death strolls around (cane in hand)
carefree and calm,
handing out chocolate & morphine
(accepted without heed).
He alone gets to laugh last.

Staccato beeps echo like wretched weeps &
hearts murmur their mumbles,
drowning among these malicious maladies.
Society?
Critical but stable.

Tattoo (Stream of Consciousness)

It stains the skin eternally like a love lost that will never return. For if it were to return it would destroy the beautiful pink roses and leave in its wake a wide void of destruction. The tears will roll like the seas and the currents will electrify the skies. The day will come when all the pain fades away… until then the bullet wounds of emotional destruction remain gaping holes for the world to view like they are giant museum pieces waiting for your applause and approval.

As we all sit in the waiting room with the constant buzzing sound and clashing of piano keys in no order or sense, we delve deeper into our meaningless lives and sink, sink, sink in the voids of our depression and mechanical life doings. Singing along to the songs of society that we have been indoctrinated into believing hold the truth, the way, the light, the life, the truth.

Trickling down the side of the statue is a new kind of blue blood which is poisonous but majestic as it runs down into the drain and filters through your tap and creates absurd assumptions and preconceptions in your mind. But you will continue to drink because it tastes so good and if not why not. “THIS IS MY LIFE!” you scream from the rooftops of your own creation and expect people to understand and say OKAY while they sit back and watch you kill yourself slowly, willingly.

Spirit of Her

(In a calm, friendly and conversational manner.) You know, all my friends have girlfriends… It gets kinda annoying after a while seeing how they act around them, how they try to impress them. But I see the way they talk about the girls behind their back… They don’t love their girlfriends… They love the thought of a girlfriend. Because it gives them power, a sense of manhood. (Pause, thinking.) But what is it that makes a man? A real man?

You know, I’ve always been different like that… I’ve never seen girls as trophies… I’ve never seen them as prizes to be won. Maybe it’s the way I was raised… (Getting slightly more serious, but showing compassion.) Yeah, that’s it. Most of these guys, their parents are divorced… Their homes lack love. Maybe that’s why they treat the girls the way they do… Maybe it’s their way of dealing with what’s happening at home. But that doesn’t make it right…

Recently, I’ve really been longing for a girlfriend… Because I want to feel loved(Pause, shift to slight sadness.) My mom died when I was only eight years old. She got cancer. Brain cancer. (Showing some upset.) I still remember the hospital visits… The white walls… The clinical air… The hopeless atmosphere… She deteriorated really quickly. She was bringing in most of the money to the family, so when she passed on my dad had to work overtime to keep my sister and I in private schools. So I’ve been lacking a bit of that love… Not that my dad doesn’t love me, he really does, it’s just not the same as that motherly love, you know…

Maybe that’s why I want a girlfriend… Need a girlfriend… Someone to love me… Someone to love… (Trying to lighten the atmosphere, smiling fondly.) I’ve always had this image in my head of this girl and I lying outside on a warm summer evening next to a pool, starring up at the cloudless sky filled with stars… Just being happy in each others’ presence and sharing pointless stories… To me that’s love… A bond between two people that is more valuable than all the world’s gold… (Pause. Deep in thought.)

(Looking upwards at the heavens. Truthfully, on the verge of tears.) Mom, I really miss you… I just want to feel your warm hug… I love you… I know this may sound weird but I believe your soul is now inside the girl who is meant for me… (With notable determination and desperation.) And I’m going to find her mom… I’m going to find her and I’m going to be with you again… Because that’s love mom… That is love.

Nobody Loves Me

(Onstage is the boy lying on the floor, on his back. He holds a small hand mirror in his hand. As the piece starts he raises the mirror and looks at himself in it. His arm is straight, not bent.) I shouldn’t even be here. On this planet, in this place. (He sits up, with his legs folded.) Everyone always says I’m the different one… The freak! I have no friends. Nobody loves me. My parents couldn’t handle me. They said I ruined their lives, that I destroyed their dreams. Their dreams? (Standing up.) What about my dreams?

We were happy, I was happy, until she came. A sweet baby sister named Angel. The irony. They gave her all the attention, all the love. So I made her go away. I clipped the angel’s wings and used her halo as a Frisbee for the neighbour’s dog. (Showing his excitement.) Oh the excitement of destroying something that was a destroyer itself. A destroyer of the already depleted love my parents had for me! I felt alive for the first time, like I had purpose! Flames of passion burned inside of me!

They told me I was sick… I smiled because it was a happy day for me, I thought they would be proud of me. But they sent me away… Nobody loves me. (Becoming paranoid.) I’m trapped inside this big, glass case… As the darkness shines in on me I wonder how to escape, how to escape this glass cage of society. They study me from the outside. Some say I destroy because I have a chemical imbalance. Some say it’s because I have a warped perception of reality. Others just shake their heads and pray.

I look into the mirror everyday and every night. I stare deep into my own eyes and try catch a glimpse of my soul… Is it black? Or maybe navy blue? (Smiling as he says the line.) I smile because I know it’s the only way to get through life. (Staring at an audience member.) I’m not different, I’m just like you – wearing a mask to hide the pain. As I stare into the mirror I feel the guilt, the guilt, the guilt. It burns like acid inside my chest.

(Slightly confused but also fascinated.) I see a brief reflection of an Angel with broken wings and a lopsided halo. (He suddenly becomes scared.) The angel smiles a smile of recognition. My existence is rattled. I scream. (Getting really angry.) I hate you for taking them from me! I hate you for turning the world on me! I hate you for living! (Pause. The hate turns into desperation. He drops to his knees.) I begin to weep until sleep drags me out of reality.

(Reaching out to touch his reflection as if he is looking at a mirror – which is the audience.) Each new day I stare at my reflection hoping it changes… If only I had love from someone to help me change… But nobody loves me.

Riding on Hope

I’ve been here for about ten days now. It was never part of my plan… to get thrown in jail, I mean. It was never part of the plan! My whole life I believed that I was destined for greater things! My mother always told me I was a star… That I was going to make her really proud… That I was going to be her beacon of hope!

She had a tough life, you know. Her father shot her mother when she was only eight years old. Eight! She ran away from home when she was fifteen. She lived on the streets for five years. Then she met my father and fell pregnant with me. I was her hope. I was her dream…

I was always a good kid growing up. I never did anything wrong. I always did as I was told. I obeyed rules like they were meant to be obeyed! I got bullied at school for being too much of an obedient child. Tall poppy syndrome. They punched me. They kicked me. They swore me. But I always got up and felt sympathy for them… I never did anything about it. I guess it made me stronger…

Damn, man! I didn’t even do it! I DIDN’T DO IT! It wasn’t me! They think I killed my mother! THEY THINK I’M THE ONE WHO SHOT HER! It wasn’t me… I’ve told them that! I’ve been here for ten days and they haven’t listened to my side of the story!

I’m riding on the wings of hope… I’m hoping they’ll listen to me… and believe me. I’m just hoping. That’s all I can do in this cell… hope… But at night, when there are no lights on, only the feint moon shining softly through my small window… that’s when it’s worst… that’s when you hear grown men weep to themselves. That’s when you hear the walls whispering their tales… Their taunts…

This place is notorious, you know… No one ever makes it out of here… Hope has no place here. Neither does justice. Only suffering and death.

Reflective Essay: The Pearl

It may seem a cliché to say I remember that day like it was yesterday, but there is a reason for clichés: they hold truth. I was in a decrepit house situated in a small village that was too insignificant to even be considered in demographical statistics. It was the type of place where everyone knew everyone yet everyone was a stranger.

The memory is engrained into my psyche. It was a Sunday afternoon. The sky was clear but in the distance I could see a storm approaching. The evil moved rapidly and began to envelop the beauty. It was summer so storms were not unusual, but something about the approaching storm made me anxious. It was as if my animalistic instinctual nature had caused this response. It was a feeling of wanting to flee, like bucks and birds do when they sense an approaching tempest. I heard the fleeting sound of crows and the distant howling of jackals in the hills.

It was then that I saw the eye. The eye of the storm. It was huge. Swirling. I felt confused. I had never experienced such a storm, I had only heard about such occurrences. As the storm began I, as if by instinct, ran into the basement of the house. There was a small window in the basement where I was able to view the storm from just above ground level.

I saw a dark funnel punch its way through the clouds. A tornado. It touched down about one hundred meters from the house. I could hear the vicious howling of the wind. Trees were being ripped up, torn apart and discarded. Pieces of metal from surrounding structures became flying pieces shrapnel. A chuck hit the basement window startling me into a further panic. A diagonal crack stretched across the window. The whirlwind came closer and closer. I heard the roof of the old house rip off. I suddenly felt a strong force hit my body and then…

I woke up.

I was sweating. My heart was pounding. It was early morning. I realised it was all a dream. No, a nightmare. The thing which was most striking was my epiphany: I had awoken from one nightmare into the next. A nightmare much more real: reality.

I sat up in my bed and contemplated the nightmare. I found it unnervingly parallel to my own life. I remember a teacher once told me that the rich symbolism in dreams can be interpreted to tell you more about your subconscious mind. I realised the storm and the tornado that was in my pasture of life was all the hate that I had to endure in my life as a result of being different. This destructive tornado had destroyed many, torn lives apart and left remnants that needed to be rebuilt, often over many years. Just as the tornado is part of nature, so too is hate part of the human being, but that does not make it any less destructive.

At the beginning of the dream the sky was clear just as my life was and although I knew the storm of hate was inevitably going to happen, I still felt fearful. When the tornado hit, I tried to protect myself by going into the basement, the basement within my own life, a place of self-consciousness and withdrawal. My basement allowed only a small window from which to view the approaching hardship.

I got out of my bed and walked over to my bedroom window. The curtains were still drawn. As I opened them I saw the cloudy, grey, sombre sky. I was staring at the clouds when something beautiful happened. I saw a speck of blue emerging. The clouds were clearing, the storm of reject was passing.

As I walked away from the window and started to get ready for life, I realised that although I had been subjected to such hate and rejection over the years, I knew there would be a clear sky on the other side of the storm. I tied my shoelaces of faith, picked up my bag and walked out of the front door. The sunshine splashed over my smiling face. I stepped out into the world a braver, more confident man. The world was my oyster and I was the pearl.

Flashback

I stand in front of the big, ebony door. It’s cold and it’s raining. My full-length trench coat barely contains my body’s heat. I am enveloped by fear. I knock on the door thrice. I am transported back to the orphanage.
It was a bitterly cold and rainy day in 1986. I was six years old. I’d just been dropped off at the third orphanage in my lifetime. I was guided to my new room through the narrow corridor of the derelict house by the matron. My decaying suitcase I carried contained every possession I owned. That was when I first met him. He introduced himself as Thando – he was a black boy about my age, my roommate. He had a short afro. His clothes were noticeably old and he’d outgrown them. That didn’t seem to stifle his spirit.
The big, ebony door opens swiftly. A man stands on the threshold. His hair is completely white. He is wearing a black butler’s coat.
“How may I help you?” He has a slight British accent.
“My name is Warrick Tomilson. I’m here to see Mr Dunst. Is he available?”
“Mr Dunst does not see anyone unless they have made an appointment.”
“Please. I’ve been looking for Mr Dunst for some time now. I just need to have one minute with him. It is important.” My voice is shaky and I sound desperate.
“Well,” he says hesitantly, “come inside and I shall see what I can do. This way please.” He leads me into the vast entrance hall. “Mr Tomilson,” he says gesturing towards a black sofa, “if you would please take a seat and wait here.”
I sit down in the sofa and admire the wooden chessboard on the table beside me.

The year was 1992. I was playing chess with Thando in our room. He and I were best friends by then. Our bond was indescribable. Thando and I both hated being orphans – the idea that someone gave us up was unbearable. Neither of us knew our biological parents. I knocked over Thando’s king. “Checkmate.” He gave me his trademark smile.

Just as the memory of knocking the king over fades, the butler walks back into the room.
“Mr Dunst will see you shortly, Mr Tomilson.”

“Warrick Tomilson,” I said, laughing at the small booklet in my hand with an awful photograph of my face. It was 1996. Thando and I were sixteen and we had just received our first ID’s. The orphanage we had been staying at for the past few years was closing down. We had one month left. Thando and I got onto the topic of our biological parents as we were walking back from the Home Affairs office.
“I want to find them,” I said in a determined voice near the end of our conversation.
“Warrick, my friend… if you have determination you can do anything.” He smiled, exposing his mouth of white pearls.

Thando’s words echo in my head as I hear the looming footsteps walk towards where I’m seated. A man dressed in a black suit with a grey shirt and a black tie walks hurriedly into the room. We make eye contact. He has tears in his eyes. I know this is the moment of fear all orphans experience in this situation. The fear of being rejected – again. He steps closer to me. I stand up. He manages to let out two words which I’d longed for all my life, “My son.” After a moment of hesitation we embrace. I feel his warmth. I rest my head on his shoulder and close my eyes. I know I have just found my real father.