Edward Vukovic


Another day has passed. And another and another and another. Always passing, never stopping. Never a quick pop in for a chat. No coffees and teas, no breakfasts or brunches. Another day. Passes. Like sands through the hourglass. I hated that show. Iconicised drivel masquerading as entertainment. Feeding the masses with titbits of fake peoples‘ lives in an attempt to make them feel better. Days of our lives, my arse. My days are never like that. Days. Another day passes. No work done again today. Like shit through a straw, so are the days of my life.

I’ve been here a while now, unsure of what it is I’m supposed to be doing. Forever engaging myself in parlour mind tricks, trying to convince myself that what I’m doing is something worthwhile, something special. Though dull, it’s not an incredibly hard task. I find myself wandering through the annals of memory, carefully choosing each record in a vain attempt at proving to myself that I know something. Each advance through this alleyway of anamnesis allows me to adjust my attitude accordingly. Yet I find that each little adjustment has no effect in the larger scale. I remain insignificant in my station, and every seemingly overwhelming decision counts for naught. Particularly my attempts at salvation.

As each minute dies I find myself listening to the decaying song of disease. It enthrals me, excites me inexorably. I can feel it trickle slowly through the air, pulsating benevolently as it encompasses my soul. I choose not to struggle, inviting it in, hoping to gain a glimpse of inspiration, of elucidation, somehow knowing that its tyrant’s kiss will awaken my lecherous heart. I stare at it. Two ghostly vessels drifting upon clouded waves, sails billowing softly, a Martian sun smouldering quietly casting its fearful smile upon them. Illustrious secretions pervade rivers of blood, traversing unknown lands, ruling cerebral colonies. I have seen the writing bug. Its translucent wings flit tirelessly as it hovers indefatigably within me. It sings its mournful songs, biding its time. SNIP! I’ve been bitten.

Tap tap tap tap tap. Fingers aching from relentless exercise. I watch as the story takes shape. Words spew from the volcano, molten, fiery. Illicit fragments from discarded worlds clamber onward, vying for position, hoping to be number one. I watch the characters battling unseen terrors, cursing each other vehemently, declaring their vengeance. Tap tap tap tap tap go the fingers. Worn shoes hobbling on worn cobblestones, a cane in tow, a withered hand carrying a woven basket filled with the ideas of those long dead. Tap tap tap tap tap go the fingers. Mourning women glare unblinking into a sky rich with hunger. A sky torn between desire and dread. Swallowing itself endlessly like an abyss. Empty. Tap tap tap tap tap go the fingers.

He sits watching the screen, his dying coffee sits neglected on the desk. His fingers work feverishly, tapping away, masking the woe he feels within. His eyes flicker slightly, watching the words appear, watching his masterpiece take shape. A moment of hesitation, a quiet pause, one last tap. He smiles, he has written enough for one night.

I find myself writing constantly now. Each new sentence bringing me closer to a life I cannot live. There is no constant however, no continuity. Just words. Words fluttering faithlessly along currents of indecision, making things up as they go along. I watch them as they fall. Watch them with tired eyes, wondering why they fall so gracelessly. Endlessly watching and writing, heart, hands, eyes and mind working in unison. A union of the senses, almost oblivious. But now I find myself being watched. Shhhh…

The writing has stopped. Halted by circumstances beyond my control. I’m sure it is doing it. The eye. It stares at me, plotting, peering soullessly at my innards, hoping for understanding, searching for weakness. A verdant chasm, seeking retribution for crimes without a victim. I sit in the darkness, bathed in its hollow glow, vaguely aware of time ebbing surreptitiously away. I try to wake, try to refuse its charms, but it holds me tight, cuddling me against its prickly bosom, cooing spasmodically. Vacant.

Here’s a story, of a man named Brady and his… no, no good.

I remember when I first came in here. Dark, stormy, rain sweeping through the night like ants over crumbs. The heat irrepressible. I remember a sound. A hum, a song. Calling, begging me to enter. I remember the storm. Rage. The sky clambering downwards, engaging the ground. Fire, lightning, brimstone, ashes. They were all there. Like cheeky schoolboys standing behind a bully. Laughing, jeering, shouting, fearing. It enveloped me. A moth in a cocoon without release. I wasn’t a moth. I’m still the worm. Wriggling around in the darkness of time, blind to the world, burrowing deeper and deeper. And I remember the watchmen. The guards of the hole. Broken windows looking out across an overgrown yard. Stern, judging. Chilli pepper pupils bleeding thoughts and fears. I remember seeing it for the first time. The void. I remember watching it vacuum the world around it. A kaleidoscope. The world akimbo. Its song washing me, cleansing, scalding. A dull ebb. Memories seeping through flaxen pipes, minions of forgotten demons shelving and organising. Clerks of the damned. I remember… working.

The chair squeaks distastefully, begrudgingly swivelling as its rider moves about. Cold fingers delve into the pockets of his hair, searching. It is late, he needs sleep, but the glow of the screen keeps him stationary. He must finish this piece.

I tell myself that I’m going to start working again. Beg myself to promise myself. I look blankly at myself, sympathising. Then I ask myself to at least try to work again. I tell myself that I can’t promise I’ll try, but I’ll try to try. I begrudgingly accept.

Nothing. I’ve done nothing. Why is it that I sit here constantly, staring moronically into the flickering malevolence, entertaining myself with convenient delusions of application? Time is running short, if indeed time exists at all. I can’t tell anymore. There is no dark no light, no day no night. Each minute blends into another blurring the moments, whirring past me inconsequentially. And what do I do whilst this is happening? Nothing. Nothing. Fucken‘ nothing. Shit.

Cold and barren, a metaphor for ice-cream,
Like a fish caught in an updraught,
I watch the words flickering romantically,
With obsessions and desire,
These luxuries I cannot pretend,
To know, as one might know,
The smell of cheap perfume,
I watch the words, watch them as they sing,
Enjoying each chord,
Each rhythmic disillusion,
I find now that they have taken over,
Arranged a coup,
Laughing as they feign their support, all the while,
I am ambivalent towards them,
It’s all a façade, a joyous reminder,
Of what is,
Yet to become a masterpiece,
Flotsam in a sea of invulnerability,
Like a flower caught in a rip,
Warm and fertile,
A metaphor,

Another sip of coffee. Another sip of tea. Wishing for sleep, he remains awake, in the hope of gaining some ground. The ghoulish glow masks the frailty of his face, as does the beard, thick now, heavy, wild. He rocks back in his chair, his fingers resting momentarily on his belly. He frowns and listens, hoping to hear the call of his name. Silence greets him. He frowns again and his fingers adjourn from their respite and go back to work.

Six months I’ve been in here. Doing this. Supposedly. Or is it twelve? Or one or two or five or eight? Or is it simply a matter of days? I don’t know any more. Don’t even know what I’m doing. Not much has happened so far. In here. Here. Where is here? What is here? I don’t know that either. All I do is stare. Into the unblinking void that sits not one foot away. It watches me. Makes me think of. Things. I like things. They’re not definite, not assured of. But they’re real. You can touch them and taste them. Caress them or discard them at your leisure. But you can never be quite sure of what they are. Exactly. They make you wonder. What makes things, things, and what doesn’t? Like an omen. You know its there, but you don’t know how or why it came to be. It’s been too long, I can’t think straight any longer. My work’s suffering. 6 months. Wish I had some things in here, even if all I wanted to do was throw them out. Let them rot like the detritus from a long abandoned war, falling gently through the sand, desperately clutching at the surrounds in an attempt to halt the descent. Into inevitability. Unlike the void. I watch it swirl, mix itself with the colours of the darkness. Shadows upon shadows, grinding, humping, cascading inward. There’s no inevitability here. No finality. Infinite. Alone. Dark. Fuck. Six months…

I’m sick of it.
I can’t do this any longer.
I’m sick of the pitter patter pitter patter.
I’m sick of the humming.
I want out. I want out. I want out. I want out. I want out. I want out.

Took a deep look into the void today. Tried to get a glimpse of what was inside. Instead, I managed to snatch a deep look into myself. I watched myself. Tired eyes losing shape, bleeding ever so gently. Leaking. Crimson. Crying roses. I watched as they watched me. My eyes and me, maintaining a constant vigil, each searching desperately for a way out. They begged me, tortured, relentless, hoping for some sort of release. Vermilion puddles forming as sanguine rivers slowly dry. Stranded. And… just for a moment I saw the future. Saw myself as I would be. As I wanted to be. My work completed. Congratulations, adulation. But this soon dissipated, like specks of sand in the desert of time. No rain today. Eyes shut tight.

The void spoke to me today. Told me what it was that I most feared. I fail to see how it could know that. Considering I don’t know myself. I think I’m beyond it now. Desensitised. Time’s withering effects. It’s left me like a babe suckling at its mother’s tit. No longer gnawing at me, teeth gnashing. No longer draining me, clumsily slurping away my soul. No longer pinching me, probing at my mind, no more tiny fingers scratching me, searching for things they cannot find. It’s quite a pleasurable feeling. Knowing that the void cannot hurt me any more. I bask in its azure glow now, confident. I recline and lend an ear to its whimsical rantings, sometimes singing with it, sometimes dancing. A puppet on a string, writhing as the puppetmaster jerks me this way and that. His proddings changing my directions, whisking me back and forth. At least he used to. The strings have been cut. The puppetmaster has retired. I am alone on my stage. To perform my dramaturgy for an audience of one. The void. My soliloquy’s rendering its critiques irrelevant. It speaks, but I cannot hear it over the applause. Clap. Clap. Clap.

Time is running short methinks. I know this for a fact. Know that if I don’t hurry my little arse up, my little arse won’t be around much longer to be hurried up. Somebody wiser than me told me once that… shit, what was it that he said? Fuck. I can’t remember. I can’t remember! One of the most profound things anyone has ever imparted to me and I can’t remember. Fuck!

Words, words, all I see is words. No shapes or colours no pictures or shadows no numbers or figures no lights or rigours. Nothing but words. Words. They haunt me. Spectres wielding sceptres of destruction. Ghoulish figures dancing in the afternoon breeze, watching and mocking my existence. They claw, they bite, they rip. I try to flee, sensibilities asunder, trying to escape. Fruitless. No end to the darkness. Just words. I hate them. Hate their form, their life, their power, but I need them. And they detest me. Each day a dictionary of snide remarks and broken glances, of muffled jibes and fallen glimpses. They know it. Know that I need them. But they stray. They’ve forsaken me. They’ve forsaken me. THEY’VE FORSAKEN ME…

Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock. Time is no friend of mine.

I spent most of today tapping the wall in time with a song that I cannot remember the name of. Even the void seemed to flicker along in accompaniment. I’m sure I heard it humming along to the tune. The words have abandoned me now. They no longer hang around mocking me. They’ve aligned themselves with the numbers and have emigrated altogether. I’m not surprised really. It was always on the cards. Time had already left me for another lover, so why not everything else. There was something today though. I had another vision of the future, tumbling haphazardly through the twin tunnels of my soul. I saw myself standing in front of a mass of tuxedos and evening gowns, cigars and champagne. A million glitter balls rotating aimlessly, retrieving whisps of idle conversation from people with nothing to say. I watched myself as I remained silent, frantically unaware of the situation. And then I heard my name. Everyone turned and faced me. A sea of expectant faces, anemones of envy and awe swimming silently upon the waves of noise. I opened my mouth to speak… Questions were fired at me, volley upon volley upon volley, and my answer was always the same… nothing. „What have you given us?“ they cried. I held up my hands, twirling them in the air-conditioned breeze, exhilarated and ashamed. „Nothing“.

He sits in the dark, alone. The computer is turned off, his coffee is cold. His body slouches forlorn in his chair. Particles of dust swim majestically along the currents of his breath. His chair bemoans its fate, bearing the weight of a man it wishes it didn’t know. He rocks gently, adding to his chairs woes, then slouches once more, awaiting a fate he doesn’t know.

The void turned its back on me today. No longer does it flicker amusingly, no longer does it hum its wondrous melody, no longer does it comfort me and contort me so. I have been abandoned by everything. Now I sit in the dark, my ruby eyes peering sadly at the hole whence the void had lived. Fingers twitching relentlessly, tapping a tune, barking at the moon. Click, clack, tip tap. Whatever I muster vanishes immediately. The darkness swallowing it whole. I can hear my creativity deep within its belly, wailing, crying, thriving. All things known are quickly unknown. My work at play, my play at work. Both are alien now. I should never have accepted this job. Delusions of grandeur. A storyteller I thought I was. A storyteller with no story I am. A leading character in a Biblical epic I thought I was. A character in a sitcom I am. Cast away like Gilligan but with no skipper to hit me, no Mary Ann to ogle, no Professor to advise me. And now no void. No void. I am devoid of my void. My void of thoughts. My void of dreams. My void of words. My words. No longer.

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