If depression is a black dog,
Then I reckon that
Paranoia is a grey rat:
Small and sulking,
Squeaking, skulking –
Yes, that’s about the sum:
A greyed-out rat who always looks askance –
A rat who feasts on ev’ry crumb,
And looks for plots in ev’ry chance.
A rat who thinks the world must think
About his each and ev’ry thought –
A rat who sniffs at ev’ry chink,
And always find the intrigues sought.
He pads in silently, and whispers how
The world conspires to bring his doom,
The righteous woes that plague him now,
His whiskers twitching in the gloom.
Then scuttles off to disavow,
And seep his piss across the room.
This is the time of the viral star:
Of the unintended baritones,
Of sudden blasts on nose trombones,
And the throaty roar of bass catarrh !
The husky whisper strains with grief
To the beat of mints against the teeth.
It was late o’clock in late October, I recall,
As I buttoned up my coat and set off home –
My hours in the library had still left no trace,
The depths of my mind were whipped to foam.
So, keen to sooner reach out to my waiting bed,
I took a shortcut past the ancient church –
And in my barely-woken walk I stumbled through the graves,
As I fancied how their folks might up-and-lurch.
But I never thought they would…
But I never thought they’d push the slabs aside…
And yet, here were their skeletons
Just walking round as if they’d never died !
Good thing I was overtired,
Or else I’d surely have to scream and hide…
Paralysed by shivering and weariness,
For the sight of all those bones had rattled me –
But most because I’d spent all week to memorise
On the finer points of man’s anatomy.
And as I looked in horrified astonishment,
A prayer had made its way onto my lips:
“The head bone is connected to the vertebrae,
And the metacarpals to the fingertips.”
But I never thought they could…
Yet I never had the chance before to watch the dead.
And yes, the hour was very late,
But then, well, so were they ! Yet there they tread –
And right there in the flesh…
Or, excuse me, out the flesh, I should have said.
I saw upon those skeletons the marks of busy lives,
Like bones that once had broken and re-set –
I saw some more with fractures, some with cancers, some with spurs,
In a lesson I could never now forget !
Their joints had lost their cartilage, yet showed no trace of arthritis,
Where bones were grinding naked onto bones,
And osteoporosis having tapered some so thin,
Yet so carelessly they danced around the stones.
And I’ve never understood…
But I suddenly remembered ev’ry word I’d read –
These visions were impossible,
Because of ev’ry fact that popped-up in my head
And I was overcome,
And I dropped down in exhaustion on my grassy bed.
And when I woke up, slowly woke up, propped against a gravestone,
Quite alone in my new neighbourhood –
Well, I dusted off the dew and I made my way to class,
To a test I had to pass – and knew I would.
Now I cannot expect you to believe a single word of it,
Yet deep down in my marrow, there’s a shred…
Though I looked around the churchyard on that morning as I left
And saw ev’rything was still and very dead.
But I never said you should…
Don’t believe my ev’ry no-word-of-a-lie –
And as a trainee-medic,
I will always trust in science till I die.
But whatever did occurred that night,
I’ll always know one thing – dem bones ain’t dry !
I am a little bit embarrassed to admit that ‘arthritis’ above needs to be streesed on the first syllable instead of the second to fit the rhythm, but I can’t be that embarrassed since I haven’t removed it.
This virus has me in her grip,
But hey ho, I’ll survive.
I tell myself she’s just a blip,
A cocky pirate boarding ship –
I’m wrapped-up tight against her nip,
But very much alive.
She’s in control and letting rip,
And I must join her on her trip.
And whoa, here comes the whooziness –
Don’t panic, take it steady.
This floozy ain’t so doozy
And her poison ain’t so heady.
My thoughts might be a little hoarse,
My sleep a little sore,
But best to let her run her course –
She’s nothing I ain’t seen before.
She comes at me in jumbled dreams
And thoughts that slip and glitch.
Her technicoloured jump-cut scenes
Are selling-out my mental screens,
With fevered swirls and acid sheens
That quickly skip and switch.
She won’t sustain a metaphor,
But throws them off and coins some more.
Her visit’s sure to last all week,
And while she’s home, she leaves her streak
With red of nose and pale of cheek,
And watery of eye –
But I can shrug and I can wait,
And slowly, slowly, decimate,
And slam the door and bar the gate,
And bid the bitch bye-bye.
The neons and fluorescents
Are more swimming than they’re dancing,
The hubbub throb is muzzier,
The tinnitus is buzzier –
But sweats are less incessant now,
And dreams are less entrancing.
The fever breaks on which I surf,
My bones are bumping back to earth.
Hey, I hear you’re godless –
And your universe is empty,
And this life that you are living
Is your only shot at plenty,
And your death will be your ending,
And your birth was just a chance,
And your soul is just your neurons,
And your story is a minor space romance.
But are you happy ?
Or is your logic just a bluff ?
When you’re only made from dust,
Is this lonely world enough ?
Hey, I hear you’re godless –
But you say the Heavens wallow
In a myriad of wonders,
With a thousand more tomorrow –
And although our death is scary,
So much more-so is the chance
Of our ever even being,
To be living in this epic space romance.
I guess you’re happy,
It seems you’ve really found your style –
Hey, I hear you’re godless,
But it’s great to see you smile.
Caterpillars metamorph, from juvenile to butterfly,
And maggots turn to ants and wasps and beetles, by and by,
And tadpoles can be newts and salamanders, toads and frogs
But when it comes to mammals, well,
There’s little change of which to tell,
For puppies only ever get to grow up into dogs.
But you know, that’s not quite true – we’re changing too,
Though the other way round:
See, larvae are more evolved than their parents –
Their bodies the new kids in town.
But we, you and me, start out as a fish
With proto-gills and a tail to swish
In a primordial sea of warm –
Then it’s time to move, to shed our skin,
And let our reptile-selves begin:
Engage, evolve, transform !
It’s time to metamorphosise,
We mongrel robots in disguise,
From instar into more-bizarre,
Our restless genes must shift and swarm
And take this blood-cold world by storm
By becoming the mammals, the furry mammals we are !
But don’t stop now, the urge ain’t gone –
I don’t know what’s next, but I feel it coming on…