Death has a strange taste. I am heavy with it and every graveyard answers. For Rome. For Rome. Ah, such a dagger to drum on this day that you would smile and call me friend. I weep your demise into the sound of my breath. Returned and recycled with the eternal devil, I am cold. I am cold. Would that I could scour your belonging from my mind with the fading of this fearful night. Exile me. Hate me, when all I want is here. Here, I fall, here. I lie, here. I am. Here. And still, in all my piteous hope, I cannot hold back the day. I watch in salted ruin as the sun breaks crimson as any king. A feathered and fraudulent heart, and I bleed with the naivety of its restless pounding. Peace is not enough, sleep is not enough, death is not enough, for those who chase extinction. The assassin stirs. A brave and valiant soul they say, when truth is such a cunning dancer. As one man, we have talked of life and death as if it can be born so easily, carried on a single kiss perhaps? And yes, I believed them. Every sigh. Every word was persuasion to my vanity. I even thought I was the protagonist for a while. There was a Brutus once. But no matter, no matter. I am cold and everything burns. Everything. In the fall. We have run aground, my friend. Not in our stars, but in ourselves, broken on the rocks of a thousand ambitions, and I am held against the wall. For friendship brings such silent chorus to this barbed horizon, and I wonder if I will still carry your name in the corners of my mind? Already I miss your silence more than your words. So the golden-haired sons have spoken, and for all this lament I still hold steady with the inking of my shadow. Beware the Ides of March; so it is that warnings have a way of keeping score, and it was never that I loved you less, but Rome that I loved more.
December come preaching the language of death. Once upon a time, nuclear war was a damn thing. Even had a government pamphlet on how to poop in a bin bag and live off bath water ’till the radiation killed you. I didn’t know much about loss when I was fourteen but I sure as hell figured out that death wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to you.
So back then there were weekends when I’d stand in the town square trying to reason with anyone who’d listen. Most times people were kind in December. Most other times they wouldn’t even look at me. Most other times if they could’ve raised a gun to my head, they would. Talking treason, they said. Most times. But December don’t care none about treason, November got all that covered in the scheme. December says, It sure as hell feels like a waste of time to me. I got enough trouble keeping the darkness from joining hands.
Most times December say, Shit, you bringing the same old blood on snow worship again? Fear been flicking a slide show through the what-next catalogue? And yeah, all these years down the line nuclear war is still a damn thing, ‘cept now we have scented bin bags and showers full of bottled water. Everything ready frayed at the edges. Too much slay in the sleigh. Too much snowman in the fallout. Christmas come early, if you get your mind to that way of thinking. December say, It’s all the same to a dead tree. Most times.
Rains come rattling after the snakes, and she shines all the more for the venom they left behind. Woke up tied to the railings of a disused town. All the glass broken and just the signs, with only one good screw left in them. She’d check out. But the music just won’t let her go.
Dead leaves bend and break over and over and still look the same. Vinyl shuffled in all the right places, sparking like an AI system. She sighs of famine through the red tablecloth; greed always had all the aces. Makes no matter who deals the hand after that.
Drums on the roof. A song can get closer. Easy enough to get by on remembering how to feel. And most of the time it’s like they come holding up a mirror, looking to find out if they scrub up okay. She keeps the door open. No need to say goodbye when there was never a hello. Just the ghosts of this town, dressed in sheets. And black spots where their eyes should be.
Storm shakes the tumbleweed. She twists the blind shut and asks god to refasten the chains when he’s done.
©2017 Jac Forsyth
What would it be like to shut off our primary source of entertainment? Most of you guys have already clocked the wicked of talent of Stuart over at Forged From Reverie. This piece of prose came out of a conversation we had earlier today and is totally inspired by Stuart’s observations in: Tell your eyes to shut up.
The ghost with two faces
I knew that the lights were too bright here. A postmortem wretches, dragging a white stick along the pavement cankers of dead men. Another restraint of storm twitches through paper bag leaves, wounded and wasted. Silent scars outline in words forged from clay, bold in the hands of memory. And even in tearing sun, I stop to find the corners of this jigsaw.
And would you fire up the dragnets of prediction? Often we lie down in the foothills when all we want is to be torn apart by silent wolves. I have looked for blindness in the darkness of seeing. Shifting stories under stinking sheets. Painting with the blunt end of the brush.
I knew that the lights were too bright here. The accountancy of shame would tell me this is fear, but in the corner of a sunlit room the ghost turns another face. Hope smiles. Still waiting for the taste of my screams.
Did you know that birds scream? I hear them sometimes, when the night train plays out a symphony on melted sand. The sound comes scratching, scraping, catching in bewildered rhythms. Snap. Cut. Slice.
I see now that they draw their torture in screwed up blueprints, and I let the music of that rest easy in my mind. Is this the homecoming that seduces inside my chest? Strange that I feel safer here than I have ever felt.
I’ve wandered too long in dead auction houses. Too many bidders. Too many defeats. Too many white flags. Ideas are dead. Books are dead. The zombies are already here. Words stream live into a billion minds. And on nights like this the birds scream so loud, that they make no sound at all.
© 2017 jac forsyth
Once, I found the truth in Kafka. Now you’re all I can think about. It feels like it’s gonna rain again. Rooftop to gutter. River to ocean. Currents don’t care about the colours of individuality. They take everything with them. But when I close my eyes, the plastic is always orange. And I thought. I hoped. That if I fell into that same oblivion. I would end up on a trash island with you. Tangled up in the six pack nooses. Our clarity mistaken for jellyfish. Somewhere else.
I felt the ripping of your absence before I met you. When we kiss, I know what it feels like to die. Turns out the sea was always the important bit. And when we’re alone you dance like Brendon Urie.
© 2017 jac forsyth
Dress my obsessions in poison. When the splintering came, it came quietly, and now I don’t give a damn about anything. I used to think it was compassion that burned in me, but turns out it was just a scaled up version of paradise. I ripped out the cellophane from envelopes and made a window but no matter what curtains I buy, it still stinks of anonymous mail.
You tell me I’ve figured out a thousand ways to filter the world, but I still can’t identify an assassin in the mirrored line-up. I’d stain them into glass perhaps? Bend them in flame, beat them into a shape I can use? The sickle drummers carve out the tune, but they don’t know shit about the melody. Empathy pretends to be about other people, but all it wants is control of the SatNav. Across the horizon, compassion raises an army, but I seem to be facing the wrong way. And I don’t see you anymore.
Wake up the band. Bring back the panic. In the darkness cellar, a snake waits to be a rope. It used to be the truth, now it’s just another altered reality. I light a match and try to remember what it was like to care if the whole damn world burnt to ash.
© 2017 jac forsyth
There are four and twenty ways to cry. I know them like I know my own skin. Still, this thinking, it scratches me awake. Softness has a way of seeking out the weak places, the fault lines. The errands of departure. What would life be without the loss of it? A platitude, nothing more. And so I take a hammer to the nails of my mind and beat the song back to melody. Colours to white. Glass to sand. Blood to iron. The carcass of it dragged helpless while I break the rocks of absent dreaming. There are four and twenty ways to cry, but for all my tears, I can find only one way to love.
© Jac Forsyth 2017
Truth is a cunning dancer. Smoke over fire, its drums beat out my heart. And I quantify my verdicts with the naivety of their restless pounding. Armageddon was scattered once, dismantled in the bunkers of preparation. I drive this life hard. Peace is not enough, sleep is not enough, death is not enough, for those who chase extinction. The gunman pulls another trigger and a dozen night-birds corrupt with the echoes of my lament, their feathered artillery dragged out across the silence of 3am skies.
And wrapped in the blankets of my insanity, I divide by five and measure their distance in lightning storms.
Hivemind crawls. One more outline breaks on the city skyline, and I corrode at the loss of its platinum repose. Was I born to swarm with bees? To cast-out on the profile of ten thousand articulated shadows? I feel the whisper of it on my breath, secret and bewitched. The beast murmurs, primordial with the forgotten substance of this fragrant light. Nails are drawn, torn, across a pale, crystal sky. I long to be taken by the wind. To fall with the stars in gilded horizon. To taste the scent of honey, wild and stolen from the sun. Hivemind crawls. One more outline breaks on the city skyline, and I am bound winter with the torment of these silent hedges.