So, this is the introduction (as it stands so far) for my next eBook, Idiomatic Metaphor. I know you’re probably sick of hearing about IM by now, but I’m enjoying writing it, and I think it acts well as a continuation to my already available novella, Adjective Narcissism. If you are interested in reading the texts that came prior to this, you can grab AN on Amazon OR you can read the other extract from IM which I have thrown out into the gnashing jaws of the internet can be read here.
I feel hands on my shoulders, crooked and clawed beneath their heavy weight, one only recently placed aside. I feel eyes, jarring from my work to their prize, conscious, always conscious in arrogance that far surpasses my own; that they control something important, as if anything deserved the mass of that unwieldy description. I feel the sickly breath of elegance against the hairs on the back of my neck, of ego racing like the shock of ancient electricity across my arms, of greed and the refusal of change guiding my fingertips.
I sense death, hidden in the distant mountains, death disguised as honesty or acceptance or the realisation of dreams, as though its meaning could be trapped in some reproduced piece of card, gaily inked to spell out fear, in easily understandable definitions. I sense it lying near the top of the deck, and my hand, guided by desires I rage against, lowers itself in search of that man-made mysticism. What folly.
What folly controls it, I cannot begin to realise, what infuriating idiocy makes those fingertips ingrained with ink, with their nails uncut and jagged, attached to bones raging against the confines of the flesh, disobey me in such a way. It doesn’t matter, they will not last longer than I. They are the ones lifting change from his ill-randomised position; they are exposed to his whims more than I, remaining as I do in the tentative safety of my ignorance and my judgements, of my steady denial of doubt and the barring of the gates against the onslaught of innovation. These walls I’ve raised are little more than wattle and daub, and every moment in which I find myself blinded by the metaphor of culture in the sky, the flames creep closer and closer.
But still, the stereotype laughs as she slaps my hands away, reaching for the deck instead. It is her whims I must guide myself by, her pre-prepared act which spells out delay or the onset of falsified acceptance. Her wrinkled hands, like those belonging to one of the Fates, snaps a thread from her shawl without so much as a glance, the sound no doubt a distraction as she palms her hidden cards into position, and my future spreads out before me. The fertility gone, instead the three cards a still-birth, an unlicensed surgical operation to remove doubt and hope, as though the dual growth was a cancer in possibilities’ womb.
Though it is incredible, how simple it is for someone of strong will, or someone capable of pretending that their constitution is remarkable, to shape worlds around them. How simple it is for one, endowed with the arrogance of an artist, to go so far as to wash his hands of the physical, to retreat wholly into the shadowy recesses of ill-kept genius.
And how simple it is for them to fall into the tricks and traps lain their by their own consciousness, to be turned by the voice of creation hovering over their shoulder and the dry, desiccated lips of beauty at their throat. They fight their way through desire as though it were something worthwhile, as though they suffered under the threat of their own judgement for no other reason than the pleasure of their despicable audience, all limply clapping hands and slackly opened mouths.
Does that make you think that the artist despises his crowd; does he look over the shadowy mass and hold the grimace back behind his teeth? Does he laugh at the pensive faces, and the desperation written across expressions hoping for some deeper meaning in words with no hidden dimension? Are the broken desires he knowingly exposes to his adoring fanbase merely another layer in the character he creates for the purpose of entertainment?
And so, with no answer to the questions I would pose, once again I warn you of arrogance, of the imagination that forges your opinions from little more than the twitching of my fingertips across this black keyboard, greasy with my previous mistakes. An ideological sequel to an already unnecessary text, to a text which succeeded in a lack of meaning alone, and such a failure of literature has forced me back, to return to a folly once more.
The mere act of these words idly landing on this blank page denies my polemic the role of masterpiece. Masterpieces simply are. Supposedly, they are ignorant of the artist and, instead, the entirety of their awareness is directed at themselves. They may be the royalty of their form, but what does masterpiece know of dead streets and dying notions? What does perfection know of cold sores on lips, of abscesses in the gums and blisters on reddened feet? Nothing, for perfection is a lie and, as a desire, nothing but an imbecile’s motivation.
And so, here, we mourn the failures of pretension, we abuse the death of possibility for such selfish desires. Narcissism reigns supreme once more, because I could not save my prose. I looked into her eyes, (for if prose belongs to any gender, then surely it falls under the guise of a woman), and I saw the fear thriving within them. I saw the misunderstanding and, deep within those pupils, I saw a certainty that I could protect her, that I could make the terror and the pain and the ravages of age fall away in a few moments more. I held my hand to her chest, feeling the heartbeat go from a rapid tattoo to the slow, ponderous beat of Skidbladnir’s drums in the ephemeral fog. Beneath my palm, that drumbeat fell silent.
I couldn’t save her, and so you must pity me. I grieved whilst she was in my arms, until I was supporting nothing more than a familiarly shaped collective of stilled blood and selfishly limp bone, of fat and muscle held together in the thin sack of flesh which I was, and still am, ashamed to admit I loved. Pity me, for her head that went limp, for the tongue that emerged from between layers of rotting teeth, for the sound of her breath like the drowning of Greco/Roman sacrifices to phantasm. I couldn’t save her, and I should be abused for such a failure, for such a weakness, but instead you will offer me sympathy.
But what would you, what would I, possibly have me say? That I reject such pity, as that which you would offer me, as a realisation of narcissism? That I am back from the dead in a way she will never be able to be, a Modern Day Lazarus in ill-fitting clothes? That I am some Christ-like figure, born in the lies of the first? That I am Adam in search of my Eve, or Cain desperately seeking forgiveness? That I am Saul on a dusty road with no end in sight, or Peter refusing to deny my friendship for a fourth time? That I am Judas, counting out my silver?
Or that I am a fool for thinking I could offer her comfort by my meagre actions alone? That I could somehow support her in the face of such an ultimatum?
Logic tells us that life is nothing but a brief section of the universe caught in something approaching sunlight, trapped between two endless civilisations of shadow and emptiness, of physicality denied existence because I will not live to see it. Life catches us between that knowledge, suspends us between the joy of our brief period with the earth beneath our feet, and the knowledge that we are destined to return to the emptiness we cannot remember.
So I’m told anyway. It is not knowledge I can profess to forging from personal experience and sudden, semi-intellectual, thought. It is all fact borrowed from better men than I can hope to be. I, using these keys as some overly-technological shovel, have dug the grave-dirt from above those crypts in the dead of night. I have prised the coffins open with punctuation and pillaged their bodies with grammar, escaping into the fog with my prizes huddled beneath book-covers.
But here, in the daylight (a product of artistic liberty, as the sun has long since set as I allow my meandering thoughts to mark themselves upon this page), I can be proud of my theft. I can show it to my parents and pretend that I have achieved something, I can spread my arms wide with copies of my work in my hands and waft it before those who knew me in school. ‘Here I am’, I can say, ‘this is who I want to be from now on! This is, honestly, the very being of myself! ’
As I allow the lies to spill from between my lips once more, falsehoods disguised as experimentation and prose, it is nineteen minutes past midnight, Monday the 21st of April 2014. And I, dear reader, curse such honesty as an affliction, and I beg some parody of a deity to absolve me of its cruelty.