- How doth the little crocodile
- Improve his shining tail
- And pour the waters of the Nile
- On every golden scale!
- How cheerfully he seems to grin
- How neatly spreads his claws
- And welcomes little fishes in
- With gently smiling jaws!
- -Lewis Carroll
THE SHINING TAIL
SLITHERING, SHINING, SNAKING TAIL
A PINK FLESH LENGTH EXTENDING FROM MY TAILBONE
GETTING LOST DEEP WITHIN THE ICE.
MY GOLDEN SCALES LONG SINCE VANISHED
HAVE FALLEN OFF INTO THE POWDER
TO LEAVE ME EXPOSED TO THE COLD
I AM RED AND BITTER AND MY TAIL IS NOTHING BUT PEACH
BLUED AND GREYED WITH THE FROST
LET MY TAIL FALL OFF AND LEAVE IT, I WISH IT WOULD
GOOD LORD, IF I COULD BLEED NOW
MY BLOOD WOULD FREEZE AS IT TOUCHES THE AIR
LIKE THE SNOW AND THE RAIN FROM THE CLOUDS
AND THEY WOULD FALL TOGETHER.
IF ONLY MY JAW WOULD EXTEND
IF ONLY MY TAIL WOULD LEAVE MY BODY
IF ONLY I COULD DISCARD AND MOVE AWAY
DEEP INTO THE SNOW
DEEP DOWN INTO THE DEATHLY SNOW
DEEPER THAN DEEP AND TO THE CORE
BUT THE CORE IS NOT HOT
IT IS COLD, COLD, COLD AS A HEART
IF ONLY I WOULD SINK FAR, FAR BELOW
RIGHT TO THE HEART
RIGHT DOWN, TAIL- AND SKIN-LESS, TO THE CORE.
This is the end.
I hope he’ll finally be happy.
If anyone has feedback on anything (what they think happened, who they think’s talking, if they liked or disliked it or parts of it) please, don’t be Scared to tell me.
Let me know there’s someone out there and I don’t just live in an endless void of white paper desperate to be filled…
I like to think the old, Romantic poets had the right idea about life. Simply wander around screaming about daffodils to anyone who’d notice, hopefully drowning them in the longest metaphors ever to the point where they call you “a third rate poet who occasionally writes well”. Or perhaps the metaphors would overwhelm them so completely that they’d be completely unable to say anything back. Not that they’d get a single word in edgeways, given your obnoxious attitude. You can’t just go around spouting poems into people’s faces, can you?
But yes, the Romantic poets. The ones whose primary message is “screw any responsibilities or worries at all, and come wandering with me to scream about daffodils.” Much better than stressing about the small things, to the point where I’m sure my hair would fall out. If I had any, anyway. I grow eyebrows, but no actual hair. I used to care. I don’t now.
Still, I’m not actually sure if I’d go with those Romantic poets. Really, I’d just like to make the excuse that I was a Romantic so I could get out of having to do anything at all. I’m not in the mood anymore. I’ve not been in the mood for over thirty years. I was born not being in the mood. Of course I was, and you can hardly blame me. Who wouldn’t be completely done with the world as soon as the doctors proclaimed they had both sets of genitalia? My God, I was born done. I’m convinced my messed-up X and Y genes are the reason for me not growing any hair. Though I can’t think of why; I have eyebrows.
I could be a good subject for a Romantic to write a poem about. Though their poems are usually of describing their beautiful woman or their gorgeous landscape. I’m neither beautiful nor gorgeous. Though you’d probably have guessed that. I’d tell you what I look like, but I don’t think you care. Honestly, I don’t blame you. I’m truly very happy you’ve stayed to talk to me this long, or to listen to me talk. I don’t know what your original plan was when you approached me. I’m sure it was to hear me talk about Romantic poets, wasn’t it?
Do you smoke? It’s alright if you don’t. Not that we could anyway. I might be called in in a few minutes. No point in starting a cigarette if I get halfway through and have to waste the other half. That will just ruin my day. Lack of nicotine also buggers it all up badly too, but I’d rather get my kick later and have more of it than have a short lot now.
Bollocks I would. My lips have been craving it. My mouth, sucking at pens if I carelessly touch them to my lips. I’d chew a cigarette if I could get the same happiness from it. Still. I won’t give into myself. I’ll keep myself on the surface of addiction, not let myself fall any deeper. Though, would that be a completely bad idea? Surely the only issue of cigarette, or nicotine, addiction is that you’re likely to die earlier once your lungs decide you’ve punished them enough and give up. And is death really so bad? I don’t see it as a gateway, such as Buddhists see it, or Christians. There’s nothing on the other side. I don’t see why people get so excited about the prospect of an afterlife. You’d really want to carry on living after you’ve died? Why? Surely death ends a pain.
No matter if it’s a fast death or a slow one, if you’re young or old. A pain will always cease. Another may start up, in the hearts of your loved ones, but once you accept you can do absolutely nothing to change that, you might as well never live again. Or you might as well never live in the first place. I’d probably have given up by now, but you’d probably guessed that. Simply sitting there listening to me, thinking, “Wow, this is far too heavy of a topic.”
A little jump from Romanticism. Not as far as you might like to believe, I assure you. I’d have walked away from the winding road of life as soon as I realized I could. I never had anything to live for. And what’s life anyway? Why do people make such a fuss over it? A birth, a death, they’re the same. The soul is a ridiculous concept, so we’ll banish that. Even if you believe in the soul, we’re playing by my rules right now.
Birth. A miraculous little story all on its own, some might think. A transparent little urine-drinking hairball inside a blood-filled womb. Surely, you might agree with me here, it’d have some stories if it could remember any. But then, after nine months of blissful ignorance, quietly floating and hearing all the sounds muffled and echoed around it, the child is pushed out into a world where the plates of its skull have to overlap in order for it to survive. What kind of a life is that to come into?
And how is birth like death then? Well, if you strip away all the frilly bits, it’s simply a different state of being. The state of being and the state of unbeing. A baby is useless. A corpse is useless. Maybe not that many parallels, but I’m sure you could find yourself a good debater who could talk about them as the same thing. I haven’t that level of energy. If I could, I’d simply sit here forever until I died. No matter how uncomfortable I got, I’d just keep myself here. Unable to smoke, having to listen to that huge clock over there burn its ticks and tocks into my ears. I hate that clock.
I would sit here and die. I would, but I can’t. I have one tie to the world, something that makes me not want to leave. You won’t care that much, so I won’t bore you with the details. In very short terms, my sister. The sister to the hermaphrodite. She’s the only tie I have. If not for her I’d be long dead now. I’d probably even look better than I do now. At least the skull would be like a real skull, not like this mask I’ve got on. Yeah, it’s a mask. A skull mask. I have others, but there’s always an excuse I can find not to wear them. One made of porcelain, for example. I don’t want to pollute it with my ugliness.
Ugliness isn’t the reason I wear the mask though. I don’t care if I’m ugly. I’m not the one who has to look at my face, am I? People who talk to me, they’re the ones who suffer. But the mask is on for a different reason. And, seeing as people are interested in things that aren’t quite “normal”, and seeing as you’re still tolerating my presence even now, I suppose I could tell you. Not the details. Just the reason. The singular reason.
I don’t want my sister to see the face of the person who killed our mother.
This is when I walk.
These are where my horns lie.
I know my own name but you don’t know mine.
Oh, if only you knew.
Found scrawlings from the inside of my grey and dying mind.
[TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide, etc. I don’t want anyone reading anything they can’t handle. You have been warned.]
The original text:
“If you’re ever contemplating suicide, don’t come to me. I’ll only help you figure out a way you want to do it. And I promise, when the time comes, I’ll hold your hand. And I won’t let it go until it becomes cold. But do not think for a second that I would ever try to stop you.
You are not jumping from a building – you are crossing a threshold.
You are not gradually swallowing pills – you are crossing a threshold.
You are not breaking your neck – you are crossing a threshold.
You are not breaking your veins – you are crossing a threshold.
You are not suffocating yourself – you are crossing a threshold.
Whichever one you inevitably chose when you arrive at my side, I will never talk you out of. I will sit and listen and help you. And then I will hold your hand. You’ll have someone you can trust by you. And that won’t ever change.”
The discovered Scrawl:
IF YOU COME TO ME WITH YOUR MIND FILLED WITH DEATH,
TO WALK OFF THE EDGE OF LIFE ITSELF,
A SWEET AND LESS-THAN-POETIC SUICIDE IN YOUR HEAD,
I WON’T TRY TO STOP YOU.
IF YOU COME TO ME WITH YOUR MIND FILLED WITH HATE,
EITHER OF YOURSELF OR OF ME,
PLANS OF BLOOD OR SWALLOWING UNFURLING IN FRONT OF YOU,
I WON’T TRY TO STOP YOU.
DO NOT COME TO ME TO STOP YOU,
I WILL NOT URGE YOU ON. I WILL NOT EVER MAKE YOU,
BUT I ALSO WILL NEVER STOP YOU. I AM NOT YOUR MIND, I DON’T UNDERSTAND,
BUT THERE IS ONE THING I WILL DO.
I WILL STAY WITH YOU. WHICHEVER WAY YOU DECIDE,
IF THIS IS IT, YOUR TIME IS UP, I WILL HOLD YOUR HAND,
UNTIL ITS WARMTH EBBS AWAY INTO ICE,
I DID NOT STOP YOU.
IF ANYONE ASKS ME I WILL NOT TELL THEM THE TRUTH,
I WILL NOT TELL THEM OF WHAT YOU MEANT TO DO,
I WILL NOT TELL THEM OF WHAT I DIDN’T DO,
I WILL NOT TELL THEM THE TRUTH.
BE AWARE. I WILL NOT EVER STOP YOU. YOU DO WHAT YOU MUST,
JUST BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU’RE LEAVING. SAY GOODBYE FIRST,
BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO GIVE UP, TO NEVER AGAIN MOVE,
I WILL NOT STOP YOU.