Overload

I, or–I admit–something beyond me,

whispers those words,

a soft breath of air into my ears,

and like a hell-bent hurricane

whipped into a frenzy.

A chemical overload . . .

a placebo for a sick mind please?

I’m going into over drive,

these thoughts inside my head . . .

All manner of things scrabbling to get out.

I cannot take it any more.

ashkenaz

Constantly Ringing, Ringing, Ringing

tinnitusConstantly Ringing, Ringing, Ringing

He always heard ringing in his right ear. It started when he was in high school, and it had endured all the way to university. Back then he had been able to ignore it, giving him a false reprieve for a time. For a time. Those blissful moments of ignorance were what he craved most. Back in the present– the cold, empty now–he had lost his touch. Ignorance had eluded him.

That bastard.

He supposed that the only way to stop the ringing was to go back to its source . . . Back to the run-down shed he had broken into with a group of friends. They were all fine, or so they said. Why just him? That was the question that had burned him for six years.

“It’s not like they didn’t see it too,” he told himself aloud. At the sound of his own voice his head began to throb. He squeezed his eyes at the pain. A constant ringing meant a constant headache. To admit that his life had come to this was embarrassing. What he was going through was debilitating.

Paul, he thought, wincing, You need to get it together!

The pain was a thousand times worse when he thought. Paul could almost hear the words that spoken inside that shed; he could swear that he saw the incident unfold in front of his face. The shed loomed before him, somehow stark against a backdrop of blighted trees, giving off the illusion of bleeding into the structure. Once again that eerie silence wrapped itself around him, pulling him in. Closer, closer, closer.

Stop.

The broken doorway stared at him. It captivated him. Through it was the source of the silence, the thing which devoured the light.

When Paul woke up he found himself spread eagled on the floor. As he checked himself in the mirror he noticed that the right side of his face was stained with blood.

It is inevitable, a voice said.

His eyes rolled into the back of his head. The ringing . . . 

ashkenaz

Metamorphosis

Who am I?

I am we; we is who . . .

. . .You are you.

How do you do?

There is one problem in life which plagues us, vexes us, curses us, heckles us . . . It is what?

What is it?

Identity; that is what. It is one thing for you and I to fuss about ourselves and the lack of understanding our peers seem to give us. We cringe at the thought of what others may think. Oh no! you say to yourself. What if they found out I was human after all?

Heaven forbid if they do.

It just wouldn’t do to have pitchforks and torches shaken in your direction. Oh no!

But imagine waking up to find that you were not who you were when you last went to sleep . . . You’ve woken up, transformed into something verminous.

In Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa did just that. He woke up not himself. Who was he? What was it? Who was what? It was like a mid-life crisis of nightmarish proportions.

How could such a horrible fate befall Gregor Samsa? Selfless Gregor Samsa, the travelling representative who had worked especially hard to help his parents out of debt? Thoughtful Gregor Samsa who had wanted to surprise his sister by sending her to the conservatory?

In the bitter end they came to hate him, and I saw for the first time the subtle hints of evil which his family portrayed. Neglect, hypocrisy . . . Perhaps the question was never Gregor Samsa’s identity, but that of his mother, father, and sister. They were not the people he thought he knew.

Did they try to help him? Yes, but then that help gradually dwindled to nothing. In fact, it was their attempt which killed him; they should have let him out, to be free.

The ending of the story is bitter-sweet, no matter how you look at it.

Fate, I believe, would have been kinder to Gregor had he not tried so hard. He could have had a life . . .