Just Deserts

I was trying my hand at epic space poetry. ‘Far from tragic Terra’s distant shore,’ I began, only to then run out of impetus. It was a good beginning though. ‘Far from tragic Terra’s distant shore,’ I declaimed loudly, trying to build up some motivation, but in vain. I felt sick, I realised – sick to the core. It was as if I had eaten something bad. It was no wonder that the poetry wasn’t coming to me, I concluded. I needed to get to somewhere more private where I could get sick. I would feel better then. There were there were too many prying eyes here for me to allow myself the luxury of vomiting. Far too many prying eyes. Boring in at me from all directions. I was in the Prying Eye Realm, and I had no room in which to manoeuvre. The memory – I mean world – in which I live (or do I mean memory) was cobbled together by a thousand malfunctioning machines, each trying to outdo all the others in terms of pure malevolence. ‘He took his eye off the ball’, they chorused solemnly, ‘and now look what has happened…’ The world had been remembered badly, it had been remembered incorrectly but there was now no way to go back and check it for accuracy – the errors were invisible, the errors were now part of the structure of everyday life. If you went against it then people would attack you in the street, if you went against it the authorities would detain you indefinitely on suspicion of anti-state activities. The errors had become enshrined in law; they were worshipped daily by millions; they had become a holy sacrament. To speak out against them meant instant death – the religious authorities would beat you senseless in the street in broad daylight whilst the gathered crowds cheered them on, hungry for the sight of blood, relieved and gratified that the wrongdoer had been caught and punished (and that it was not them). Relieved and gratified at the sight of the wrongdoer receiving his or her just deserts. What could be more gratifying than this, after all? What could possibly be more gratifying than this? Even as I write these words I find myself gripped by a terrible fatigue, a truly mind-numbing fatigue. You think I’m joking that I’m not. We think this is all just ‘poetic licence’ but it isn’t. My poetic licence has been revoked, after all. There’s no more poetry in me than there is in a solitary dog turd sitting there on the pavement. There is after all a base-level existence in which no poetry exists, a base-level of existence in which all the poetry of life has been leached out. Removed. Chemically extracted, you could say. We all know this ‘bargain basement’ level of existence. We hardly ever leave it, for God’s sake! We don’t know of any other world. We’re here pretty much all the time, grubbing around in the semidarkness, scrabbling around for what we perceive to be prizes of the greatest possible value but which are in reality nothing more than garish trinkets of the most distasteful nature. We viciously vie with each other for possession of this filth. We are such vulgar, graceless creatures! Such vulgar, graceless creatures. Myself included of course, myself included…







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