am (23/June/18)

not one but two, not two but three, three names I have, maybe four, could there be more, how can I be sure I wondered now and then before, not one but two but three but four and maybe more… there’s the name I never was so instead became the compromise I am… there’s the nicknames that’ve dogged me through the years though most left littering the verges of a past misspent, not many though they are, they are and have been and will ever be until…there’s my pseudonyms, surely not my names at all except they are too, become integral to the time, the place, the when and where behind which lay this very same face, some young, some old, some older still onward into footsteps taken… there’s two for my first and not three as some assume and much to my chagrin some do… but am I my name or is my name me?… have I become it or have I made it fit me like a glove, let it burrow into me, wound itself inextricably until the seam is near-invisible, does it grow and age and die just the same as I do?… does it stumble awkwardly from my mouth or from the lips of others?… when I hear it, even after all these years of being me and still am me, it still sounds strange… how often do I use it, this thing, this tag, this label, this flag, what is mine, my own, me, my name?… rarely… and to this day still feels strange to hear myself say it, something I avoid at all costs when possible… am I am who I am who my name tells me I am?… my name, names, the one, the two, the three, the four and even maybe more where the bones are buried underneath the floor…

© 2018 robert greig

like thoughts aren’t (17/June/18)

it was morning, a few flecks, apologetic remnants of yesterday’s rain which had given up the ghost well before evening even before the afternoon got wind and damped it down with a blanket of cloud-pocked blue… thoughts were marshalling, lining up for the day getting ready to rise up like some kind of zombie army, uncoordinated, random, staggering without really anywhere to go (as I’m sure the last zombie you met was just like that), fanning out this way and that a bit like ripples don’t…… however big, messy, clumsy a splash is the ripples that radiates are always tidy, even, concentric, symmetrically-inclined, exhibiting a certain unassailable order regardless of how traumatic its birth may have been…… ripples are stubborn, refuseniks of chaos, control-freaks…. like thoughts aren’t, though doesn’t stop them having pretensions of such but instead merely tripping over one another, two left feet the lot of them, overlapping, spilling, head-on collisions, ricocheting then scattering like woodlice unexpectedly exposed upon lifting a brick from where they were slumberly sheltering and having forgot to plan for such an eventuality, or more likely not even ‘thought’ of it in the first place…some will remain huddled, infiltrated and exposed longer than others not believing it’s happening, while the majority streak off in all manner of directions as fast as their fourteen legs can carry them (imagine having fourteen legs, I’d like to see you handle them without falling over yourself) defying any predatorial attempts to catch them all… once you let the genie out of the bottle there’s no squeezing it back in, while wondering how it even got in there in the first place…… all the while each woodlice wearing an expression of surprise as much as the one who lifted the brick and taken aback by this explosion of feverish activity, the way ripples don’t…… I hate being woken up suddenly, I imagine the woodlice feel the same…… and thoughts……… …

© 2018 robert greig

spots of a snow leopard (6/June/18)

sometimes it feels like I’m only in control of three things… making coffee, shaving and choosing the next book I’m going to read… outside this triumvirate all else is slippery, out of my hands, out of reach, swirling around me like frantically-feeding hirundines, screeching swifts, unintelligible martins, trickling swallows, all of which by night morph into bats, pip and noctule, long-eared and whiskered, tiny monsters snapping up the air, one minute there then gone the next, appearing out of nowhere then returning to the same nowhere… water in the hand all too soon resembling a hollow depression… meet the onlooker, the passenger, begrudgingly brought along for the ride, product of circumstance sending out a single fine thread that’s soon grabbed by a passing wind dragging me spiralling upwards, adrift in the drafts the ground vanishing by degrees, altimeter whirring round and round until overwound beyond the ken of its spring and cogs… and still I never get any closer to the sun, though as the air grows thinner and my skin translucent a snow leopard casts a momentary glance of feigned interest at this paradox, fleeting though it is, then moves on with better things to do like itself be enigmatic… for what it’s worth I have time to count its spots and know exactly how many it carries, but no one else wants to know, or’d believe me anyway… every morning the magpies get bolshie, at this, that or the other, there’s always something and if there isn’t they pretend…. it seems we need pain to stay awake otherwise we’d sleepwalk through the passing days… emotions though, they get in the way, mess you up, turn you inside out, never stop emoting, never give you a break or a moment, never let you off the hook instead relishing you dangling in a constant dysfunction… it’s what make us human… apparently… but that could be the problem, maybe being human isn’t all it’s cracked up to be……

© 2018 robert greig