Red In Tooth And Claw

Are human beings inherently violent? Is there something tucked away in our survival of the fittest land-grab mentality that loathes talk and compromise and longs to spout bile and cause harm to others in the name of our cause?

I see history, both ancient and more recent, being replayed around the world in these fragile early years of the twenty-first century and I wonder for the umpteenth time whether we humans will eventually destroy ourselves because deep down we’re just stupid, vicious, territorial and selfish apes whose ability to manipulate tools has developed way out of proportion to our capacity to wield those tools with true responsibility.

Islamophobia? It’s over a thousand years old. After 9/11 George W. Bush inadvisedly used the word ‘crusade’ in an early response to the perpetrators’ perceived religious cause. Sixteen years on we persist in the medieval Christian fallacy that Islam condones murder. It does not. It’s easy enough to prove this to yourself: read some scripture outside of your own. Most people don’t read scripture at all, they garner their ‘facts’ from unsourced social media click bait opinion.

White supremacy? Seriously? There are white Americans whose grandparents fought against, maybe even died fighting against the putrid ideology of racial purity for what reason? So their descendants could be free to pursue a putrid ideology of racial purity? There are British people whose recent ancestors sure as shit were affected by the struggle to bring about a more united and peaceful Europe which we erroneously call ‘the last war’. What would they make of their descendants raging against such unity and railing against immigration in a manner all too reminiscent of Third Reich rhetoric?

If we are so incapable of learning from history, even from events which took place in an era of mass communications ensuring images and footage can provide evidence of the horrors of the past, why should I hold any hope that humankind will somehow survive its own barely suppressed need for aggression fuelled by an apparent dominance of self-interest over altruism in the slime of our collective psyche?

Most of the time I believe that love conquers hatred but even if this is true we exist within societies which increasingly diminish the importance of love in favour of other, more deceptive forms of personal power like wealth and status. The pursuit of purely materialistic gain boosts the ego, increases an already preternatural tendency for self-interest, neglects the heart, starves the soul.

This is not new, by the way, it’s something lone voices have tried to tell people throughout history.

‘For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ Matthew 16:26

“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” Buddha

‘Those who love the life of this world more than the hereafter, who hinder (men) from the Path of Allah and seek therein something crooked: they are astray by a long distance.’ Qur’an 14:3

“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” Gandhi

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Inko Pinko

It’s a Thursday. A kind of not breathing great and ouchy day but some of the ouchy was by choice, not just because my body isn’t enjoying the not breathing great stuff. A part of me now feels like a sharp needle jabbed into my skin loads.

Because a sharp needle jabbed into my skin loads on my inner right forearm. A tattoo needle, I’m not a junkie. Unless you can get off on the ink going under your skin in which case I’m off my everloving tits on ink.

This one is a Dublin souvenir, a silhouette of James Joyce that sort of also looks pleasingly like Trotsky should I ever need to wind up alt-right wankers. Joyce himself might wind them up too as many people with such baseline, racist opinions are less likely to have read Modernism’s greatest master of the written word than they are to have wasted their time peering at the fascism-by-numbers pictures in ‘Mein Kampf for Nazi Dummies’.

Fuck off Nazis. Whatever country you’re in or from. Oh and for the record, being opposed to Nazi ideology doesn’t make you ‘anti-Nazi’ it just makes you a human being who isn’t a cunt. It’s pretty much a default setting not to be a Nazi, you have to be fucked up in some way or other to believe all that white supremacist bullshit.

Anyway, I am inked and this makes my world slightly better today. If all the Nazis could just fuck off to Venus forever that would make my world even betterer.

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Good Days and Bad Days

Google deliberately misinterpreted the word ‘diaphragm’ for me.

You might imagine that the worst thing about having a respiratory condition would be the difficulty with breathing. Breathing is, after all, something rather important in the grand scheme of continuing to exist. Well yes, breathing difficulties are bloody awful and really out a damper on your day but the nature of my condition means that while I am always aware of my lungs being somewhat compromised I am still able to draw breath and I don’t require oxygen from a canister. It is only during the big flare-ups that breathing is laboured.

My system overworks, however. Clever of the body, in one way, to adapt to an area of weakness by developing in other areas. My diaphragm, for example, works way harder than most people’s, the heroic thing. Trouble is, diaphragmatic muscles aren’t exactly the beta muscles for developing far beyond their original size and capability. They’re not biceps, they don’t grow and grow the more you exercise them. Which means they get strained and torn a lot when trying to do all that extra work.

And that’s the worst thing about my condition. I live in a state of perpetual pain. Muscular pain can be low key and I like the days when mine is minimal because I feel almost like a normal person. But a lot of the time my sides and my back hurt and hurt and hurt. And my neck because when your back is all twisty and strained your neck takes its cue from the diaphragm and overworks and oops, more strain.

Ibuprofen is a useful anti-inflammatory which many people find helpful when it comes to muscular pain. What’s that now? Ibuprofen is known to exacerbate breathing problems? Oh well I can’t take that then, can I? I can’t take aspirin either because of my stupid stomach which leaves me with paracetamol – good for headaches but not so good for muscular crap – and big fuck off bastard painkillers such as Tramadol.

Tramadol is like God’s way of telling you not to sit behind the wheel of a car. Or cross the road unaided. Or remember what it was you wanted to say at the start of a sentence by the time you get to the end of…uh, I forgot what I was going to say.

You don’t need any of this information. I’m just whining, right? Yup. And so would you in my place so count your blessings and buy me some cake please. No, cake isn’t anti-inflammatory, I just like it.

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Silence And The City

The silence of the city at night is never absolute but it drapes over buildings and sidewalks like an idyllic resolution to the day. In the darkness shadows take new shapes, morphing into playmates for the still rebellious mind of youth trapped inside an ageing body. In other parts of the world the sun conducts a riot of noise and movement; here all is quieter than the neglected graves of long forgotten soldiers.

Life is in the brain. Regardless of pause or pandemonium outside of us, we live so long as the pink/grey flesh and the synapses dance merry pranksters jigs and reels. The more my health restricts more demanding activities the more I cherish my whirlwind brain that whips up thoughts like dust made alive by a storm.

I fool myself that these ideas matter, that I am unique by virtue of not being somebody else. We’re just meatbags lost in thought, lost in time and space, lasting but a moment of the universe and blinking out to fall back to an endless cosmic food chain.

The silence of the city is somewhat maudlin this evening, it seems.

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And So Peaceful Until

Quiety quiety not much ado about nothing or naught. That’s been most of my weekend. I’m connected to the world I want to be connected to, am content in my semi-withdrawal (papal approved) and the only sadness comes from the ending of Orphan Black, one of the finest and most original TV series of recent years. It ended well – a dash of gruesome violence, the tying up of most loose narrative ends and stocky man dancing about in his underwear. Genius.

I’ve got no plans for the week until Thursday when I am going to submit to some ouch needle pain argh in order to have a new tattoo painted upon my skinny body. This one will be a nod to my trip to Dublin but won’t be a body of water to accompany my commemorative tattoo of Lake Erie. Art should be subtle unless it needs to be outrageously blatant.

Otherwise I’m stupendously uninteresting. Apart from the second head growing from my bottom (papal approved).

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Sleepsical day, Satursway, milk and munchies, grey is gray. And all the streets are filled with footstep feet that barely keep up with the Jones crusher. Goddamn the pusher, babycakes, who takes and takes the world’s mistakes pretending to be almost not quite round: oblate.

Guitars are leering out from corners, little Jack Bruce all creamy goodness, woodentops and metal cheese string, we sing, sing, sing, sing while the buildings fall like tumbledowns not made to last, faster than a single bound. My hands are tied.

Bricks, the devil’s daughters piled up twenty thousand more and mortar. No, I’m nothing more than dreamwhizz whimsy back to bedroom, back to sleepsical the livelong day.

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Oh Clouds Unfold

Mattress. Now I have to stand in the fish tank and sing.

And for those of you who don’t know the more obscure stuff by Monty Python that was an oblique reference to a piece of the more obscure stuff by Monty Python.

And it’s where I’m spending the day. No, not inside Monty Python. That would be difficult. There is no python: it’s a multi-persona entity of which one is dead, one has Alzheimer’s, one stopped being funny after making a great movie in 1987 and none of them want me inside them anyway. Not even Palin and he’s otherwise very accommodating.

I’m spending the day mattressing. Which is another way of saying I’m in bed. All day. The whole of it. The whole of the day and the whole of the mattress (I fidget). I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the mattress.

Can somebody stand nearby and throw cake at me please?

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