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 drops are a secular baptism,
washing away vestiges of nightmares.

The road is like 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 narcissism, stupidity, 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 don’t consider myself to be more important than anyone else. I’m quite dimwitted in some ways but fairly intelligent in others. Despite my typically down to Earth nature I’ve experienced delusions of grandeur. In my case, the cause was the manic phase of bipolar disorder. 

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 reinvent rock and roll. Your most boring and garbled statements 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, while I was high without drugs, looked more like word salad soon enough. As I said earlier, my delusions of grandeur didn’t involve the belief I was more important than anyone else, they just wiped out my ability to be objective about my own work. 

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. 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 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. I’m glad that my delusions of grandeur were a symptom of an episodic illness which can be suppressed with medication. How terrible it would be to spend one’s entire life lost in self glorifying fiction.

The vast 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 think they’re Jesus Christ, a C.I.A operative or a wizard etc 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.

 

Featured Image:

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

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

Featured

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 like a banshee.
Rasping shrieks of cockatoos cease.
In a hilltop clearing
three 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.

Suddenly it’s after midnight.
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/

 

Reawakening

The forest shields the river from civilization.
Urban chaos feels as distant as the Oort Cloud.
The last vestiges of stress vanish
in the sun caressed shallows
of a Jurassic lake.

A stone hut looms
on the desolate, windswept horizon.
The midnight gale howls like a dingo.
Huddled before the hearth.
Tibetan singing bowls complement distant thunder.

Eyelids as heavy as oars
in the middle of the vastest ocean.
Dreams as psychedelic as the sixties
devour the mundane.

Miles deeper than sunlight can penetrate,
luminescent seaweed forests 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.

Dewey

The Camellias and Roses along Remedy Street,
are silent welcoming committees for someone else.
Misty rain is a sweet distraction
from all that pierces Mervyn’s soul,
like African Box Thorn through an eyeball.
Since burglars stole the frames from his family photos,
he’s carried his most prized possessions in a back pack.
His Toughbook is a more constant companion
than Booboo the Bear ever was.
He’s prepared to defend it to the death,
with the fusion of Brazillian jujitsu and Muay Thai
he’s been learning since a fellow kindergartner decapitated Booboo.
The advent of online backup hasn’t changed the equation.
Mervyn without a laptop
is as dysfunctional as Mervyn without kidneys.
His anxiety vanishes with the last vestiges of day.
Tiny suns illuminate people peering streetward.
Do any of them realize inviting him inside
would be smarter than drinking molten lead?

Every week,
Mervyn considers visiting the house he grew up in,

to retrieve the telescope and albums
his grandmother mistakenly mailed there.
The new owner threatened to unleash his Pit Bulls,
if Mervyn set foot inside the gate again.
Tenants the size of a Polar Bears,

covered in tattoos of dragon slaying vampires,
threatened to “break his legs with a sledge hammer”,
if he rang the doorbell one more time.”
“I sold your precious telescope.
Those photo albums I found, I burnt them,
whaddya gonna do bout it”
a squatter taunted him,
oblivious to how close he was,
to getting his arm broken.

There’s a strange lady
on the corner of Brumby and Thoroughbred;
her yard is populated with granite freak show legends.
Waxwork likenesses of locals gaze at them in awe.
Mervyn mistakes the sculptor for a statue.
She holds yoga poses for millennia.
Her automatic gates slides open.

“I can’t sketch you from there” she protests.
Mervyn follows her like a lost puppy
and that’s how Victoria depicts him.
She signs, scans and prints the image on to a shirt
before he can sip his way through
a concoction of pineapple, passionfruit and coconut,
with a hint of strawberry and mint.
As Victoria sketches Mervyn nude
he discusses the archaeological significance,
of her pottery collection,
and identifies the chess match
between a television detective and serial killer,
as an imitation of Vladamir Kramnik versus Gary Kasparov.
Before he can finish the story of how Van Gogh lost his ear,
Victoria kneels in front of him
and feeds his towering monument to her lacy cleavage
into her cavernous mouth.

Mervyn enters his mouldy, cockroach infested flat at dawn.
The plumbing is older than Rupert Murdoch.
His carpet is more worn than the turf
of a fifth day test cricket pitch.
Rain pelts the pavement outside.
Mervyn dons his blacked out swimming goggles
and succumbs to exhaustion,
with the sound of Himalayan singing bowls
massaging his ears.

“You’re so far away from me”
Mark Knophler’s classic storytelling voice,
drifts from his clock radio,
waking him in time for his midday shift.
It’s been ten years
since he’s had a lover to travel home to.
The supermarket is Mervyn’s home away from home.
Some can tell you which shelf every item is on.
Mervyn can tell you which products contain palm oil,
from plantations that replaced orangutan habitat
and which companies are guilty of child slavery
and environmental vandalism.
Want to know how may milligrams of Vitamin B12
are in your can of smoked oysters, ask Mervyn.

His Saturday night wander,
is the most spontaneous event in his schedule.
Visiting the sideshow freak sculptor
soon becomes a permanent feature.
He never knocks on her door,
instead he walks around the block
until she spots him.
Tonight, she’s busy synchronized swimming,
in her birdbath, with a masked petite beauty.

It’s been eight years since Mervyn crossed the highway,
to the street where he was born.
On the first day of summer he makes the trek,
in the hope of travelling back to the twentieth century.
He pauses enroute, to watch Quiz Maestro.
“Unbelievable, The Maestro doesn’t know
opals are a hydrated amorphous form of silica”
Mervyn closes the video in disgust.

Dawe Street is unrecognizable.
There’s a massage parlour,
where the corner shop used to be.
Houses have been demolished
to make way for high rise units.
The park has been transformed
into a putt, putt golf course.
The laneway where Mervyn raced his BMX
no longer exists, neither does his fish pond.
His aviary has been replaced with a pool.
A young woman glides along the bottom long enough
for Mervyn to wonder if she has mermaid genes.
As she surfaces, she spots his elongated shadow.

“I, I, I grew up here.
I, I came back to visit my childhood
but I can’t find it.”
Alicia senses Mervyn is as peaceful
as the finches and wrens
flitting from one bush to another.
Tears well in his eyes
as he walks the winding path through the shrubbery
and runs his fingers over the assortment of
Acacias, Hakeas, Bottlebrushes and Indigoferas.
Mervyn removes his shoes and luxuriates in the feeling
of Weeping Meadow Grass beneath his feet.

“Wonderful isn’t it, I’ve kept it weed free.
I moved in the day Donald Trump was assassinated,
by a peace activist without a sense of irony.”
“You moved in on the 4th of July 2019?
Trump was killed at 7:45p.m.
John Smith, a former US Army sniper,
shot him in the eardrum,
through the partially open bullet proof window,
of the armored presidential limousine,
from five hundred and four metres away.
The vehicle was travelling
approximately thirty five kilometres per hour”
“Wow, you’re a history buff and a half”
“At work they call me Dewey,
they say I am a human library”

“Would you like to sit on the veranda with me,
you big strong enyclopaedia?”
Still wearing her fruit salad print bikini,
Alicia perches herself on Mervyn’s lap.

In an effort to ignore the tingling in his plumbing,
Mervyn lists the botanical names of every plant in the garden.
Then he identifies the constellations.
Alicia just grins and listens.
“What do you do for a living” Mervyn asks,
once he’s exhausted the backyards
clusters of conversation starters.
“I’m a burlesque performer.
We’ve met before, in a past life perhaps?”
“No, in aisle four, you wanted to know how reliable,
the sustainable fishing labels are.”

“Come inside, I want to show you something.
Mervyn’s eyes light up
as he sees the loungeroom is empty,
except for a dazzling array of portraits
and a curtained section in the middle.
“How about you work on that library in your noggin,
while I banish the chlorine demon”
Mervyn waits until he can hear
needles of steaming hot water raining down.
“No peeking” Alicia’s disembodied voice warns,
as he creeps towards the curtains.
One of the picture frames contains a surveillance screen.
Apparently Alicia has pressed the wrong button.
After running his eyes over the language defying beauty
from her mischievous gaze
to her painted toenails,
Mervyn returns to the love heart of golden thatch,
between her succulent thighs.

Alicia steers an electric wardrobe into the room.
She’s dressed like a corporate executive.
Miles Davis’ most ethereal masterpiece,
drifts from the speakers.
A marathon strip tease ensues.
Eventually Alicia’s figure hugging pin striped suit,
is as abandoned as a burning building
and her black lace brassiere draped around Mervyn’s neck.
Her matching panties stay on,
as do the tassels concealing her towering nipples.
Mervyn had always been too busy watching documentaries,
and summarizing encyclopedias,
to go to a burlesque club.

After careful deliberation, Mervyn shuns
girly frills, lace and rose embossed satin,
in favor of a wild cat print matching set
and a zebra pattern mini dress.
Alicia dresses more gracefully than any ballet dancer
ever pirouetted across a stage.

The curtained area is large enough to hide,
a love seat and large screen television,
or a queen sized water bed.
Alicia parts the curtains with the tantalizing slowness,
she unbuttoned her business shirt.

Inside is an easel shrouded in black cloth.
A riot of variations,
of Alicia the Burlesque Goddess on canvas,

sweep through Mervyn’s mind like a raging river.
The way she scissors through the shroud
conjures images of her hairdresser shutting up shop,
playfully pinning her to the ground,
sliding her skirt up her silky thighs
and shredding her hosiery
as skillfully as she’d trimmed her cascading golden hair.
The shroud’s tattered remains fall to the floor,
to reveal a portrait of a puppy, wearing an Oxford cap,
posing like Rodin’s thinker.
The inner frame swivels to reveal the wolf version.
“These paintings remind me of you.
I bought them from a strange lady,
who was sculpting conjoined werewolves in her garage.”

Alicia wraps her tiny arms around Mervyn
and kisses him, tamely at first.
His curious hands glide over her.
He circles her breasts,
as though 
touching them would produce an electric shock
powerful enough to launch him through the window.
Her wandering hands embolden him.
“Not like that Dewey, a kiss is a dance,
you’ve gotta listen to the same song to get it right.”
“I can’t hear any music”
“Never mind”
First they do things Mervyn hasn’t done before,
then they do things he hadn’t realized men did with women.
“I didn’t know hominid species do that”
a stunned Mervyn exclaims,
once he’s managed to stop moaning in ecstasy.
The one thing Alicia doesn’t need to teach him is staying power.

In the morning they watch episodes of Quiz Maestro together.
“My daddy is the producer
and he’s always looking for new talent”,
Alicia hints between nibbling on Mervyn’s ear lobe.
“I’ll show you how to dance on water” she insists,
after they share a fruit salad breakfast
in epic kisses.

Nightmare

The bed penetrates the ceiling,
like a magic carpet through the clouds.
Invisible forces approach.
They pop balloons from the inside.
They’re enraged by a marathon, claustrophobic slide.

The Dogs of war began to snarl and snap,
before they could clap.

Their supersonic levitation
is as controlled as a Zen master’s breathing.

The dogs bite with a savagery the oppressed cannot match.
Half her features are gone,
yet she does not flinch,
her eyes pierce psychopathic fury
like javelins through soap bubbles.
The hounds are banished
by a nightmare of their own creation.
Dali watches her regenerated face multiply like Olive seedlings.

The dogs fly on.
A single exclamation mark seeds like Mother of Millions.
The exclamation marks fly.
The atmosphere is punctuated with silent screams.

She resists the urge to spear the tarnished exclamation points
through abandoned, bombed out shells of hospitals.

The exclamation marks spiral out of control.
Those reservoirs of victims, oppressors and observers blood,
bleed like haemophiliacs.

In the eyes of the brainwashed,
singing in the ministry of propaganda’s choir,

their exclamation points are Excaliburs,
swung with Samurai precision
and nonchalantly returned to their stone holsters.
In reality they strike nothing, yet stain everything.

Turn an exclamation point one way it’s marks a zombie’s words,
turn it another and it marks a scholars.
It is you, it is I, depending on who is looking.
It is the haywire needle of perspective,
it’s co-ordinates pinpointed by seers
and the phantom satellites of the collectively insane alike.

Western Geisha

Evelyn’s eighteenth century marble cottage
adorns the last quarter acre block
in the latest city to emulate Manhattan.
The urge to launch this crème de la crème
of curvaceous gems
on to a four poster bed as elegant as she,
can be as overwhelming as an avalanche.

Evelyn possesses the power
to preoccupy her admirers with nobler passions.
It is said, her dazzling array of brush strokes
can capture your spirit on canvas,
that there’s something more exhilarating
about watching her paint
than witnessing the theatrical grandeur
of her forays into burlesque.

If you wish to see her graceful figure
unencumbered by layers of satin,
being a world renowned sculptor
is more advantageous than wealth.
If a corporate emperor,
with the artistic prowess
of a methamphetamine crazed jackal,
wishes to witness such a spectacle,
funding a children’s hospital for a generation
isn’t guaranteed to win the bidding.

Evelyn is glorified in birdsong.
Blue Tongues seek refuge in her hollows.
Banjo frogs frolic in her waterfall fed ponds.
I’m yet to buzz the intercom
and set foot inside her sanctuary.
The sound of her soul 
drifts into the park,
from a grand piano.

Would You Like Coffee in Your Tequila?

Constantine’s terrified, tortured liver
is under siege from an ethanol river.
He’s converted his laundry into a brewery.
The old geezer’s backyard distillery
is flanked by beer can pyramids
as legendary as Giza.
His wine rack has more shelves
than the Library of Congress.
He lists vodka, whisky, Cognac
and bourbon as separate hobbies
and gets angry when you tell him
a flagon of rum after breakfast
is neither normal, nor the best way
to prepare for the daily commute.
Constantine’s zombie movie collection
is scattered across the cellar floor
to make room for compilations of beer commercials.
He believes the legal limit is 5%.
Alcohol from specimen jars in the museum
disappeared the same night
his local bottle shops went on strike,
but he’s not an alcoholic, just ask him.