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The Mirrored Men

The dawn sun
is as multi hued as a rainbow,
as sensuous as a divine kimono.
Crepe Myrtle blooms dance in the breeze
like care free children.
The olfactory bliss of Lemon Myrtle
is marred by diesel fumes.

The forest beckons.
Serenity shatters like a glass cathedral,
in the path of a choir boys vengeance.
Punk parrots die of fright mid flight.
Their shadows scream
like throat cancer afflicted banshees.

In a hilltop clearing, 
hooded figures move as one.
Gravity is their slave,
their synchronicity as unnerving
as the taxidermied hybrids,
hanging from the Olive grove.

They traverse treacherous terrain
more fluently than a waterfall. 

As slowly as a fish suffocating on a jetty,
they pivot in my direction;
their faces turn faster than their heads.

My limb hair is as upright
as the star picket I’ve torn from the Earth.
Their frog like mouths curl into leering grins
as I meet their black hole like gaze.
They close the distance
as gradually as grains shifting in an hourglass.

Midnight has come from nowhere.  
The star picket has been twisted
into the infinity symbol
and embedded in the trunk of an Angophora.

 

 

This poem was inspired by the Monsters Among Us Podcast. http://www.monstersamonguspodcast.com/

 

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The Cockroach Guru

Mr Bellinger was busy marking essays
reminiscent of the work of typing monkeys,
when his siblings died
in a head on collision with a road train.
Their brakes had been declared perfect,
by a mechanic as suspect
as a property developer’s ecological survey.

Without elaborating, Bellinger described his holiday
as “less fun than a choice between
having his brain vacuumed through his nose
and his liver extracted with a spoon”
Mister Piccolo, the music co-ordinator,
found his colleague more depressing
than a legless Taekwondo addict.

Bellinger’s first morning back

was as dull as dusting a warehouse one speck at a time,
and more tricky than untangling plaited vas deferens.
Being weeks from retirement,
was all that kept him from slashing his wrists.

Bellinger expected the final bell to be as exhilarating
as beating a forest fire to a barren hilltop.
During lunch, he dreamt of a bamboo massage parlour,
in a patch of urban rainforest;
it’s cosy atmosphere awash with Cedar oil.
He’d started marking at four a.m
so there was time to treat himself
to the closest thing to fulfilling his fantasy.

First, Bellinger had to judge a speech contest.
Was the current leader worthy of an award,
he wondered,
as the final speaker 
strode to the podium.
Guessing Huon Stratton’s  topic

was like wondering if the Melbourne Cup
is going to be a horse race this year.

Bogans, nerds and distinguished scholar,
I wanted to explore the evolutionary history of Blatta orientalis,
but Bellsy said that would be less entertaining
than watching gangrene spread,
that I need a topic more lighthearted than infanticide.
If I can’t convince you learning about cockroaches is fun,
I’ll wear a hot pink mankini to the swimming carnival.

The cockroach brain is decentralized
so don’t be surprised if the one you decapitated,
with a razor blade, last week, is still alive.
Do not despair, ultimately it will succumb to thirst .
Due to it’s rectal water re-absorption you might die first.

Roaches can spit but can’t blow bubbles.
Alas they will never know the joys of bubble gum.
Incapable of burping,
or playing the gas bugle
they’d be insectoid gelignite,
before the end of the night,
if it weren’t for teeth below their oesophagus.

Cockroach kidneys writhe like snakes
as they frantically pump toxins from their blood.
Dracula deduced they’re are as good as juiced;
they have no blood vessels.

Roaches probably aren’t religious
but Ramadan would be a stroll through the dinner scraps
for these nuclear holocaust survival candidates.
They’d think nothing of enforced fasting for a month.

If cockroaches were Catholics the Pope would love them;
male roaches present their mates with sperm packages
wrapped in protein coats,
leaving them perpetually pregnant.

Cockroaches Achilles heel is poor eyesight in red light,
so they’re easy to kill in strip clubs.
Elsewhere they’re hard targets
for the swiftest of clown shoes.

Motion detecting hairs on their posterior
make the average stalker feel so inferior;
ordinary hunters are bound to despise
the two thousand lenses in their eyes.
It’s hard to envelope these insect Houdini’s
when they can slip through cracks as thin as an envelope.
Some species are harder to detect than stealth bombers;
small enough to hide in ant nests.

These ninjas of the insect world
are engineering marvels
but forensic experts would gladly break
all eighteen of their knees,
because roaches like to
track the arterial flow of murder victims across ceilings.
Many are globetrotting fugitives,
thumbing their nose at extradition treaties.
They’re stowed on ships and planes
before disgruntled crime scene technicians
and outraged cooks know they’ve fled.

In the seventeenth century the Danish Navy
dealt cockroaches self-esteem a stinging blow
by offering a bounty of a single bottle of brandy
per thousand carcasses.
William Bligh, captain of the Bounty,
once de-roached his entire ship with boiling water,

For the sports nuts among you,
cockroaches scale speed is on par with top fuel dragsters,
those finely tapered vehicles with parachutes for brakes.
Fortunately their reflexes would embarrass
formula one driver Michael Schumacher,
at the pinnacle of his prowess,
otherwise they’d be crashing into the fridge a lot.
The machinery driving these fiendish super athletes
has animatronic wizards salivating.
Insect dance troupes beckon.
These athletic marvels can spin fast enough
to make a ballerina’s brain explode
from the centrifugal force.
Roaches can hold their breathe
from kick off to half time in the football
so white water rafting murder plots
are dead in the water before they’re concocted.

Is mixed martial arts your favourite sport?
Male Madagascan hissing roaches
possess horns for ramming rivals
from their alpha male mantles.
Sadly their trash talking is indecipherable.

During the Middle Ages
it was customary to release cockroaches
into new dwellings.
Today, outside of sporting circles,
roaches aren’t so widely revered.
In a Plano, Texas, Cockroach Hall of Fame,
Liberoachi was the star attraction.
He sat at a miniature grand piano,
his white mink cape
as flamboyant as his dazzling claw strokes.

Mr Bellinger cleared his throat.
“If the winner is like a blue ribbon bonsai,
older than the Sphinx.
The also rans are
 toxic weeds
that germinated yesterday.

Sir, the art of pun sai, the forerunner of bonsai,
originated in the eighth century China.
The Sphinx dates back to 2494 BC.

Poets licence Huon, poets licence.

They must be easier to get than drivers licenses.
Sir, did you know the Egyptian desert roach,
Polyphaga aegyptiaca, can absorb water vapour?

Mister Stratton, did you know first prizes
can be arbitrarily revoked?
Bellinger was smiling, like a kid in a toy store.
For the first time since the Carter administration,
he considered working until nursing home heavies,
dragged him from his desk.

Lucy Sarah Diamond

As the early morning chill subsided, Lucy Sarah Diamond draped her hoodie across her guitar case. “I see a red door and I want to paint it black, no colours anymore, I want them to turn black”, she sang with a soft dystopian fury. Her hopes and dreams were very much alive, but right now her vocals were redolent of a coffin prison, closer to the mantle than the sun drenched fields above.

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire” a metalhead across the road roared. In decibels he was mighty, talent wise he was a mite.

“I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black, with flowers and my love never to come back” Lucy sang with perfect pitch. I got the feeling she was mourning the loss of more than a lover. 

While she sipped from the lid of her flask, I dropped gold coins into her guitar case. She invited me to help her finish her salad breakfast, an assortment of edible funguses, as mysterious as her, were nestled between the leafy greens. Only the mushrooms looked familiar. I happily gave her another ten dollars, after her rendition of Under the Bridge and watched her slip the note into her floral silk bra.

She looked at me with amused curiousity as I gathered the courage, or the stupidity, to ask if I could slide a larger denomination in there myself. She looked up and down the deserted street before saying “go for it”. I didn’t feel like the generous one as slipped a one hundred dollar note over a towering dark nipple. After furtively glancing up and down the street again, she invited me to delight in her womanly softness. I traced my fingertips over liquid satin, before stretching my hand over the cup and squeezing ever so gently. By the time I’d bought her back catalogue of C.D’s, the footpath was swarming with frantic commuters, shoppers and schoolchildren.

“He’s my boyfriend” Lucy told Darius Fabian, the ruddy old real estate agent, who had witnessed proceedings from his office window. He continued to insist I’d set a precedent that couldn’t be ignored. “If you want to transfer a million dollars to Youth Off The Streets, while I watch, then I’ll think about making your dreams come true mate” Lucy challenged. I wasn’t sure whether she kissed me solely to maintain the charade or because she wanted to.

“I’ll give you three hundred”, the real estate agent sneered.

“Three hundred will get you a song request, a few C.D’s and the happiness that comes from knowing you’ve given me somewhere safe to sleep tonight”

“If you come to my Double Bay penthouse for the weekend, I’ll give you three thousand dollars and whatever make up and pretty new clothes you want. We’ll eat at gourmet restaurants, with the most delicious dessert you’ve ever tasted”

“This sugar babe is fussy. Only the finest Belgian chocolate will do” Lucy quipped.

“If you stick with me you can have all the Beligan chocolate you want darlin, a little padding on those curves wouldn’t hurt a bit” 

“The coincidence that I grew up in Belgium, with my Nigerian parents, was not lost on me. Most people thought I was French, I was surprised Lucy had picked my accent. Apparently Darius Fabian thought I was a member of the local indigenous tribe, because at one point he asked if I’d left my didgeridoo at home. Eventually Darius stormed off, muttering something about seeing to it that Lucy’s busking license was revoked. He came back to hurl more abuse and she responded with a parody of The Angels hit, “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.” Australian audiences are renowned for replying to those lyrics with “no way, get fucked, fuck off” naturally, under the circumstances, Lucy performed that part too.

Lucy’s goodbye kiss was hungrier than the one intended to dupe Darius Fabian into believing we were a couple. She tasted like passionfruit. Presumably she was living the precarious life of a couch surfer, opposed to roughing it on the street because she smelled as nice as her freshly laundered clothes.

“I’m an art lover, do you have any reccomendations for where I should go first” were my parting words. Lucy directed me towards an old hotel in Alexandria, now known as Quirk Gallery. Just before I turned to walk away she handed me a poem she’d written, while we ate breakfast together. Lucy grinned mischievously as I leaned in for another goodbye kiss.

Quirk Gallery was an eight storey art deco masterpiece filled with some of the most enchanting impressionist and surreal paintings I’d ever seen. On that Monday morning it was empty enough for the zany marble statues to outnumber the patrons. Perhaps the most striking one was called The Prince of Darkness, if the horns, fangs and tattoo on its forehead were any indication. It was busy pouring petrol on Middle Eastern and Tamil refugees. This abomination bore an uncanny resemblance to the Minister for Immigration at the time.

One room was full of what appeared to be taxidermied extraterrestrials, ranging from what I can only describe as a blue skinned manatee man, shepherding reptilian tigers, to slug like quadripeds using their tongues to play strip poker. I could envisage them performing surgery with those deathly pale protuberances.

On the eighth floor, I gazed at a uniformly black canvas in bewilderment. If there had been any suggestion a mystery painting was hidden underneath or the artist had created sophisticated patterns invisible to the naked eye, I would’ve been instantly enchanted. What was the point? Apparently I was supposed to glean something from the one word title, EPIPHANY. A house painter would’ve been sacked on the spot for replicating such an uneven job. That dastardly darkness was as clumsily applied as shit from a toppled fertiliser truck.

Maybe the art lies in the way the paint was spilt. “It’s all in the wrist” the critics might’ve quipped, if there had been a video of the methods employed. Sadly there was nothing to analyse but a canvas draped in black, it’s runny topography as dull and annoying as an eternally dripping tap. Luckily I drifted into a psychdelic state before I was completely overwhelmed with despair. The last thing I noticed, before losing touch with this dimension, was the curtains beneath the painting. I briefly wondered if they were hiding some sort of puppet show. What the hell was in the salad Lucy gave me?

For reasons unknown, I found myself repeating the word topography over and over again, like it was some sort of shamanic mantra. This word acted like a magic spell, transporting me to tropical darkness. It was barely possible to discern the forest from the sky. The jungle was a more enchanting mystery than anything in the gallery.

I reached Imagination River and quenched my artistic thirst there. Strangely, the deeper I dived, the less I feared drowning amidst its schools of haiku tattoo sporting Demon Fish. Eventually I realized they were hallucinatory, by about the fourth bite. Eating one was enough to scatter the rest. A hallucination within a hallucination, interesting, I mused as visions spawned by the Demon Fish’s flesh shapeshifted from shadowy shamans to mermaids, who cried tears that froze into the sweetest silk. Intersecting rainbows, from alien spectrums, escaped from their cavernous wombs and rapidly cloned themselves.

Imagination River transformed itself into a winding fruit mocktail, as confounding as time travel. It seemed I had travelled in time. Eight hours had elapsed since I’d almost collapsed from boredom, in front of that sloppy ten by eight foot patch of darkness. I was standing at the cafeteria counter, with no memory of how I’d gotten there, any idea how long I’d been there, how many drinks I’d had, or what was in them.

The waitresse’s name was Tiffany. “For the last time, no I can’t sell you any more of those vodka, cucumber, strawberry, watermelon, raspberry and blackberry cocktails, infused with hints of  lemon grass, elderflower, aloevera and crushed ice, #### off we’re closed, Tiffany yelled.  Why was somone who was waiting so impatiently for me to leave, listing the ingredients in their most complex cocktail? How many tracks of my mind had been operating simultaneously?

“I see a red door and I want to paint it black, no colours anymore I want them to turn black” drifted from the Jukebox like an acrid cloud of melancholy, infected with crippling nostalgia. Suddenly it dawned on me what I needed to do.

“Sir, the gallery is closed, the security personnel barked. It seemed my psychedelic state was yet to leave me. The guards had apparently turned into snarling black dog/sequoia hybrids, a surprising alchemy of sorcery and natural selection. The guards panted heavily as I accelerated, ascending the stairs in fours. They sped up like flames bursting from an accelerant. I went to a gear that left them gasping like fish on a jetty “I see a red door and I want it painted black, no colours anymore, I want them to turn black” echoed softly off the Victorian ceiling.

At last, the solely black painting came into view. It was supposed to have transformed. Disappointment struck, like a slow monotonous sledge hammer. Tap, tap, tap, tap, went that metaphorical sledge hammer in my tired, tortured ears. The sound of that painting was still as dull and depressing as an eternally dripping tap. Aren’t paintings supposed to be gushing with inspiration? I walked up to the one word explanation beside that swathe of darkness, hoping to find something between the lines which alluded to more than the blandest midnight.

I desperately needed to see the music again, to dive into the cool rippling, spiralling swirls of stereophonic heaven. For the first time I noticed the copper coin printed beneath the towering BLOCK LETTERS, that spelled EPIPHANY. I looked closer and spotted the drawing of a tiny lever nestled between parted curtains.

“Hurry up”, the woman from the cafeteria yelled in exasperation. Had security gone or never been there in the first place? Their apparent departure was as welcome as an oasis among aeons of sand dunes.

I parted the curtains beneath the painting and nudged the lever. The canvas rotated one hundred and eighty degrees to reveal a red door, on a television screen. An explorer who bore an uncanny resemblance to me approached the door, picked the lock and wandered inside. Climb in to us, whispered the optical illusions on the walls. “What Dreams May Come”, mumbled the star breathing wizard in one. “First, let this dream within a dream gleam” uttered the platinum armoured unicorns. Their choreography painted symphonies with the southern lights.

With baited breath, the explorer removed the veil from the towering canvas in the centre of the room. On one side was a red door that appeared darker or lighter, depending on the viewing angle. A smothering sea of nothingness monopolized the other side. The explorer took a copper coin, the size of a frisbee, from his coat pocket and scratched at the red door, swiftly scraping it away, to reveal the hidden painting beneath.

The vast canvas was dominated by a grey skinned, almond eyed, interdimensional traveller. While glowing purple blood, seeped from self inflicted wounds, he painted the dripping phrases. “It’s an epiphany Tiffany. From the sheerest darkness emerge the brightest lights. Creativity goes to die in a flood lit room. With no torch to shine the old is invisible and so are distractions from the new.

The canvas swung one hundred and eighty degrees again. While I waited for the grey skinned, almond eyed, interdimensional traveller to apply the frisbee sized coin to the darkness, it strode into that opaque night, the gleam of adventure in its eyes was the last thing I saw before it vanished in the distance.

The moment I left the building I tried calling Lucy. I was in such an emotionally charged state that it wasn’t until the fourth attempt that I realized I wasn’t making any typos, the phone number was a digit short. Over the next few days I searched for her in every popular busking spot in Sydney, to no avail. I tried every variation of her name on every social media site. By the end of the week I was asking random pedestrians if they’d seen a busker who called herself Lucy Sarah Diamond.

Eventually I returned to The Quirk Gallery. I couldn’t tell you what was in my first cocktail because the list of ingredients was longer than this story. It’s quicker to say that it reminded me of a tropical island paradise, as strange as enchanting, the kind of place where interstellar space can be seen on a turtles shell, if you focus your eyes just right and leprechauns teleport their spawn into the incandescent platypus eggs, that litter the surf. My next cocktail was weirder still, yet equally refreshing.

On my fifteenth visit to the Quirk Gallery that month, I followed the eerie, acrobatic sound of an electric guitar. It’s feverish tendrils stretched from the roof to the ground floor. Hooded figures circled the masked six string virtuoso, feigning attacks and retreating. The cloak was tight fitting enough to reveal her voluptuous figure. There was a healthy plumpness that was absent the first time we met. After her astonishing instrumental performance Lucy removed her mask. There was something different about her that didn’t make any sense. Eventually I realized it was her hair, it was already foot longer than last time we met.

We sat down in a dimly lit corner of the cafeteria “I’m not Lucy. She told me that I might see you here. She was so sure you were going to ring her that she wondered if you were dead, like her. I am the demon that grew within her until she was no more. I came so hard while she begged desperately for continuing access to her brain. By the time she’d faded away I was so wet that her lovers needed to swim to me.  I can’t sing like Lucy but she could never play the guitar quite like me. Whenever I need a more intense vocal performance I revive her for a little while, torture her some more and kill her again.”

I almost lost control of my bowels, from listening to the thing that had consumed Lucy gloat. My goosebumps were about to escape my skin and strike the walls like tiny arrows by the time I remembered it was April Fools Day and realized that Lucy was still Lucy, that she was just reciting a few lines from a warped horror movie I’d seen too.

“I don’t know how my hair grew so fast but I think it’s something to do with the eighth floor, a lot of weird things happen there” Lucy explained as she lead the way to the Botanical Gardens.   

 

 

 

My Flying Amphibious Car

An edited and expanded version of my Facebook status update, from this day, in 2014.

Writing is like travelling in your very own flying, amphibious car, you can go anywhere.

It’s excitement plus here in Campbelltown, I just activated my Opal Card. I might even go on a public transport mystery tour but then again, I could just be the envy of all my friends, as usual, by spending the weekend studying weeds. While they’re out dirt bike riding or hang gliding I’m here studying Ricinus communis, the most toxic plant known to humankind. Beat that, if you dare!

Alas, one of my rivals just trounced my hardcore spirit of adventure. They’re Googling Nepenthes attenboroughii, the Giant Pitcher Plant, which is even more lethal than Ricinus communis. It has been known to catch and kill rats.

Not even the notorious Orphan School Creek has Nepenthes lurking in amongst the junkies needles. What do you mean you’ve never heard of Orphan School Creek? You know of the Amazon, The Nile, and the Colorado River, yet you’ve never heard of this waterfront wonderland, nestled in among the most prestigious estates in Canley Vale and Carramar?

Nepenthes attenboroughi, possibly the only diabolical invasive species never to haunt the most picturesque weed choked storm water creek on the planet, kills rats by dissolving them in an acidic cocktail. The less deadly Ricinus communis is unsurprisingly a good source of ricin, a poison with a malevolent reputation. It conjures up images of the ricin tipped umbrella used as a stealth weapon, by an agent of the Bulgarian secret police, to murder dissident writer Georgi Markhov. 

This status update/article, has turned into a slice of horror history. Anyone who said writing isn’t fun should be dipped head first into the world’s largest specimen of Nepenthes attenboroughi. Either that or they should be sentenced to 10 hours of Juncus acutis deseeding, in the Brick Pit, at Sydney Olympic Park. Which is worse, you decide.

The thread of logic in this article might be fraying fast but I think I’ve proved the idea that writing is like travelling in your very own flying amphibious car. You can go anywhere you like. There is no limit to the parties you can crash. 

 

Appendix

The Brick Pit, at Sydney Olympic Park, began life as a clay mine, which used to produce two thirds of the red bricks found in old Sydney houses. It was also the site for Bartertown scenes in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. This hole is now one of the last refuges in the Sydney Basin for the Green and Gold Bell Frog. The soil down there is not a great deal more fertile than moondust but the place is looking less like a desert than it once did, thanks to unrelenting efforts to transform it into a haven for birds, lizards and frogs. 

 

 

The Shape Shifting Rubik’s Cube

They say they will kill him, as they look him in the eye
because he is Samurai, he’s never been afraid to die.

Even Gobi and Arctic extremes are too kind for his kind.
In the Amazon and urban grind he tapers body and mind.
Some are jarring in sparring, Mute catches comets in a jar,
brawling takes you somewhere, fistic magic takes you far.
It’s like former greats modeled him, they’re short of parity
He’s no Tyson, Sugar Ray, Money May, Ali or Loma parody.

No warrior is more astute or resolute than Mister Mute,
the fucken turbo mouths are just playing the skin flute.

The corrupt spruiking king loses a wing while he gloats,
his hacks and their totes wannabe match fixing U-boats,
but their impact is frayed and outweighed by dust motes.
Orb reveals how he floats and Mister Mute takes notes.
He’s bound to realize how you’ll capsize, then capitalize.
The secret is to know how you’ll flow when the floors go.
Those who won’t surf the cyclone don’t yo-yo, they dodo.

No warrior is more astute or resolute than Mister Mute,
the fucken turbo mouths are just playing the skin flute.

Is that prankster so named because he just cannot talk,
or is he so framed because he makes motor mouths balk?
Is he ice cold machismo stalking by Robert Frost’s fork?
Is it the art teacher or the killer outlining Orb in chalk?
Mute’s bound to realize how you’ll capsize, then capitalize.
A drill is delving into the dune and droning every tune,
setting Orb up for a bomb that will send him to a moon.

Mute switches stances like a scammer switches romances,
blurs the boundaries between boxing and hip hop dances.
He has the noise to ruin music and music to soften noise,
all the poise and the ploys to sort the men from the boys.
He measures distance like divine computers gauge fractals,
his flying left hook has been known to catch pterodactyls.

They say they will kill him, as they look him in the eye,
because he is Samurai, he has never been afraid to die.

 

 

 

God Botherers

“Jehovah’s Witnesses are coaxing
fools into endless bible coaching.
The angel fuckers are approaching,
it’s time for theologian poaching.
Don’t they know Satan lives here
and that his evil is without peer?”

“Bible bashing girl Wonder,
I do not deal in Gods puny
sheet lightning and thunder.
You’re glad to be fuel, cool.
If not I’m not your ghoul fool.
Forget Riddlers and Jokers,
I am one of those seriously
hard core furnace stokers.
See no evil, not even traces?
I’ve stoked eleven fire places.
I’ll incinerate every disciple.
My badness you can stifle?
you’ll need more than a rifle.
Hoping I’ll mind my manners?
I’d prefer to bake your nannas!

The Cleansing

My efforts were more futile
than chasing the yellow jersey,
with a Penny-farthing and a vial of heroin.
You roared in exasperation,
as another match melded with soaked ashes.
“There is no friendship phoenix” you screeched.

As the storm erupts,
memories of pouring drums of kerosene
on our bond’s dwindling flames
are as muffled as gunshots on the bottom of the bay.
The deluge is a secular baptism,
washing away vestiges of nightmares.

Rain Road is a sauna.
A rooftop drummer
dares the lightning to char him to oblivion.
Parkhour wunderkinds display the true meaning
of living on the edge.
The bookmaker smirks
as Death hemorrhages Benjamins.
Bankers clamor to offer loans.
Life is tumultuous enough
without challenging Death to a duel.

The rain barrage intensifies,
cleansing me of your toxic bewilderment.

Delusions of Grandeur

Some common causes of delusions of grandeur are stupidity, narcissism, mood disorders, psychosis and drugs, such as amphetamines. Stupidity shortens the odds of someone being ludicrously overconfident but not everyone with delusions of grandeur is remotely stupid. Every narcissist has grandiose delusions but not everyone with grandiose delusions is a narcissist.

I have been known to overestimate the significance of my words but not myself. The belief that every member of the human race is of equal importance is deeply ingrained in me. My delusions of grandeur were triggered by the manic phase of bipolar disorder. At times, being in a socially isolated bubble caused me to overestimate the standard of my writing but not to the extent that bipolar mania did. 

Manic episodes are times of unnatural intensity during which colors are unbelievably vivid, music is more beautiful than ever and lame jokes trigger explosive laughter. The world of a manic or hypo-manic (mildly manic) person is surreal. Cyclones of symbolism soar from scenes more mundane than a geological age of cleaning toilets. Every observation, every moment of contemplation is blended with such extreme feelings of profundity, it’s impossible to avoid the belief you’re expressing paradigm shattering wisdom, with every flourish of the pen.

The reasonably realistic self assessments of the recent past could be replaced by the belief you’re destined to be mentioned in the same sentence as Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Samuel Coleridge. As your fingers dance across the keyboard, launching a riot of rubbish on to the screen, your sense of accomplishment is akin to Jimi Hendrix’s, as his magic hands reinvented rock and roll. The most boring and garbled statements you’ve ever uttered feel so overladen with wisdom, that if tangible they’d surely drag an air craft carrier to Davy Jones locker. 

Eventually you plunge back to reality, sometimes rapidly enough to make Icarus and his detached wings look like they’re still rising. What looked like the makings of a best seller, looks more like word salad soon enough. 

One in three hundred thousand people make a living from fiction writing. When I’m sane, which is most of the time, I’m not an aspiring full time writer. I prefer to perform repetitive tasks for a living. They’re a means of meditation, of recharging the creative batteries; especially if you work in forests like I do. Building sediment fences and injecting herbicide into weed trees is unlikely to land anyone on the cover of Time Magazine but it does improve biodiversity and can lead to a vibrant, tranquil state of mind. 

Probably all of us have met people whose delusions of grandeur are a regular feature of their personality, like wannabe singers who’ve never hit a note in their life, yet their belief they are the king of karaoke is as unwavering as a base jumper’s thirst for adrenaline. Sometimes the same people who think they’re destined to be the next Frank Sinatra are also convinced they should be the C.E.O of a major company, despite being fired from every lowly position they’ve ever attempted to fill. How terrible it would be to spend one’s entire life lost in self glorifying fiction. I’m glad that my delusions of grandeur were a symptom of an episodic illness which can be suppressed with medication. 

The majority of those with bipolar disorder experience delusions of grandeur and about half of those with schizophrenia do. While someone with bipolar mania is likely to overrate one or more of their abilities and might feel more important than usual, they’re not as likely to think they’re Jesus Christ, a C.I.A operative or a wizard as someone suffering from Schizophrenia. A schizophrenia sufferer’s delusions of grandeur are likely to be constantly reinforced by hallucinations.

Unfortunately the pharmaceutical treatments for schizophrenia and schizo-effective disorder (a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar symptoms) tend to be less effective and more hazardous than the pharmaceutical treatment for bipolar disorder.

For more information on the symptoms of and treatments for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder and other mental illnesses, I recommend using the following link https://www.sane.org/

Featured Image:

http://www.ifihadablogitwouldlooklikethis.com/2015/06/12/delusions-of-grandeur/

(posted by Amanda Rakenwith, on the 12th of June 2015)

Reawakening

Urban chaos feels as distant as the Oort Cloud.
The forest shields the river from civilization.
Stress vanishes in the sun caressed shallows
of a Jurassic lake.

A lone hut looms
on a desolate, windswept horizon.
Within its mud brick walls,
blazing fires suck the swamp
from our boots.
Tibetan singing bowls complement distant thunder.
The midnight gale howls like a dingo.

My eyelids are as heavy as oars
in the middle of the vastest ocean
and my dreams as psychedelic as the sixties.

Miles deeper than sunlight can penetrate,
luminescent seaweed jungles innovate.
Their symphonic hues spread as they vibrate.
These orchestral visions we cannot recreate.
It’s the purest paradise Earthlings have seen,
viewed from the boudoir of your submarine.
Only the euphoric expression on your face,
can outshine mysteries enshrined in this place.

 

The Last Exam

As James head sinks into the pillow,
arguments for and against
the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
swirl around his mind
with details of the stock market crash,
the New Deal
and Japanese bombers descending on Pearl Harbor.

Dreams of post exam freedom give way to
Auger Beetles Swiss cheesing his fingernails,
as he clings to a crumbling crag.
The patch of summit he collapses on collapses.
Dragon scorpions swarm the cave prison
he drags his shattered limbs from.
They fasten him to the walls of a dungeon
with barbed wire. Every time
he makes grammatical and referencing errors,
razor ants steal muscle and sinew.
For the slightest vowel miscalculations
he’s force fed slimy bowel evacuations.

James is jarred awake by morning sunlight.
Cold sweat soaks his pyjamas.
After icy showers
he stops mistaking bathroom creepy crawlies
for auger beetles and dragon scorpions.
All morning he reads and contemplates
the final distillation of text book summaries.

Throughout the exam James transcends the focus

of a formula one race car driver.
The pens down order
strikes like a Japanese torpedo
in a merchant shipping lane.
The last time he felt such relief,
he lay exhausted on the beach,
after swimming from a capsized yacht,

The Virtual Reality Pod

Her fluttering mini skirt and translucent blouse,
immobilize Herbert like a tranquilizer dart.
She puts a steadying arm around his waist
and leads him to a virtual reality pod
Her delicious sales partner’s voice
is reminiscent of honey and triple rainbows.
“Would you like to watch a movie from the inside?,
the first seven minutes is free”
she whispers in his ear.

The director is allergic to orthodoxy.
Solid marble is plasticine
beneath Athena’s lathe humbling touch.
Her opalescent Lady ego
and an Amazonite Lady empathy wrestle for supremacy,
on a granite globe.
Bee monkeys swing from the sculptors left ear lobe.
It stretches like a rubber band
in response to every bungee acrobatics command.
No telescope is required to view alien oceans here,
Athena’s eyes are cosmic portholes.
In exchange for premasticated sea weed,
terrestrial cephalopods skate on beach slugs.
Through tentacle sweat glands,
they give their gastropod buddies sun tanning lotion
and colour enhancing drugs.
A bat on a leash
rotates Athena’s fan at hypersonic speed.
It’s just an exhibition advertisement.

The movie approaches like a cloud of parrots at sunset.
This place makes Alice’s Wonderland look as mundane
as an accounting manual.