Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫

[1] Genesis “Land of Confusion”

[2] Survivor “Burning Heart”



noun: a confusing and difficult problem or question.


Things were so much easier when I was a nipper. Back then, my trusty Rubix Cube was as close as I came to a brain teaser and, if I felt perplexed, then I’d simply peel off and reassign the stickers. However, in recent times, I have been forced into attempting to piece together a far more troublesome puzzle – midlife. There have been ups as well as there have downs since my big meltdown two months back but one ever present has been the knowledge that, despite making slow and steady progress, I’m still some way from fixed. My favorite face to wear is that of a clown as it cunningly conceals any agonizing pangs but, should you wipe away that excess make-up, then there’s a young boy weeping beneath. Some mask their pain better than others, to me its an art form and I attempt to wear my smile 24/7/365 as it is something I’ve had a lifetime of experience doing. A simple smile doesn’t cost a thing after all and it happens to be rather infectious to boot. The ability to bring joy is a great natural aphrodisiac, folk feed on that shit, and it’s far more rewarding using any endowment to spread joy, when there are so many bitter cynics attempting to frown and smirk their way through life and someone’s got to shore things up right?


The natural “clowns” amongst us, the comedians, stand up and entertain for their hour-long sets and quite often there’s not a dry eye in the auditorium come the end of their show. Ironically, many of these funny people then scurry back to their dressing rooms, neck their meds, and sob into their face towels like someone just torched their spinning bow ties. It’s as though they wish only to donate all of their smiles to their audience and, by the time the spotlight dims, there’s nothing left for themselves. Pretty upstanding when you think about it but also more than a dash sombre, depending on how you choose to view it. Needless to say, I much prefer the former. Now I’m not about to go badmouthing Radiohead as I have tremendous respect for their work, but there’s only so much doom and gloom I can take before introducing a pair of house bricks to my testicles. Thus, when those black clouds come rolling in, the first item in my inventory to be retrieved are my jazz hands. Mercifully, I’ve never yet misplaced them.


So today has sucked, big whoop. It has also seen the wrap party of a piece which I posted last night by the name of Bring Me The Head of Justin Bieber and where the hell that shit come from I have no idea. I shit you not, I can’t honestly give you any kind of definitive answer. You see, I have no concept whatsoever of the answer. I’d been enjoying hi-jinx with my cherished Grue family and suddenly felt the uncontrollable urge to step into my clown shoes and tickle some pickles. For reasons unbeknownst to myself, that little berk popped up in my random Google search and I was instantaneously inspired to lay the smackdown on his lily-white punnet for the good of all humanity. That’s just how it happens apparently. Don’t ask me what drives me as I’m merely a passenger myself. An hour down the line I exhaled the breath that had been pent-up in my cheeks for way too long while the Crimson Quill dripped its delectable honey. Et voila. Ridiculousness abound.


The mere sight of my greatest irritant offered all the encouragement required but if you asked me to chaperone you through the A-Z of the process then I’d simply donate a look of vacancy and shrug both shoulders, perhaps toss in a “meh” for good measure. It’s beyond my own control once the quill is bled, the grinning Airplane auto-pilot is inflated and keeps us on course while the ghost writer inside me takes over for however long I’m under. The longer I scribe the more I begin to relish not having the responsibility of keeping myself in shape, conscious, alive. It’s the moment I close my laptop when I’m introduced to the other guy. He’s a nice fella, means no harm, gets on without complaint. But he’s got no fucking vertebrae. Speaking of which, I’m sure my lute is around here somewhere. Anyone for a short shanty? I can’t guarantee that reading it won’t make you dumber but, as long as you don’t read it twice in short succession, you shouldn’t reach dumberer.

Slippery When Des



I once knew a lad with no vertebrae
his name was Des I recall
he slid out of bed like a grass snake
to prevent himself taking a fall


Some of his friends called him spineless
No backbone was what they retorted
but Des made a quite tidy living
from spending his evenings contorted


At first understandably cagey
as he slithered about his abode
opportunity then came a knocking
and he took his show straight on the road


Not bad for a guy with poor posture
this man is no sympathy case
as Des just acquired his first million
and that buys quite a smile for one’s face



Are you starting to see how this works Grueheads? You see, the slump I was in before conjuring up this little low-brow offering is a thing of the past now and I have Des to thank for that one. I needed this shit as the meds I haven’t taken for a week or so have now started to drain from my system and I could feel myself steadily slipping towards my own friend depression quick smart. Sertraline has been my prescription drug of choice for the past few months after I was informed that my brain doesn’t produce nearly enough serotonin to keep the rain clouds at bay. Granted, I don’t help my cause by getting high as weed is well-known to be one of the major depleters of this particular chemical. But a man’s got to have at least one vice right? Anyhoots, my smile-o-meter reached an all-time low today and, for all my very best attempts, I just couldn’t lift myself out of it. That was until I picked up the Crimson Quill at least. I swear that thing is enchanted you know.


I make no secret that solitude is ordinarily my friend but not today it wasn’t. Instead it wanted to see me down in the mouth and it appeared it might get its wish too. Drago had already hit me with a couple of significant kidney blows and I was slumped against the ropes, praying for my corner to throw in the towel on my behalf. I’d have done anything just to hear some montage music and ogle some honeys as they strolled across the ring hoisting round-cards but this time the bell wasn’t coming. The referee had scarpered from the bout and my bruised abs were taking one helluva pounding. I sat for two hours in an old cemetery, can’t tell you what I actually did, just existed to my knowledge and even that was tenuous. Any passing mourners would have been forgiven for thinking me some kind of one-off gargoyle and decomposition didn’t feel too far away. Indeed, I could almost smell the formaldehyde, and was certainly in the right place for last rites.


However, after providing myself with a rousing Mickey-like pep talk, I decided to use this exact prose to clamber out of my abyss. Why am I sitting here in sub-zero conditions not even scribing I thought. That shit’s my therapy after all. Thus I sit here now in far warmer pastures, with Crimson Quill bleeding profusely and suddenly I can view my life once again through the rose-colored spectacles I far prefer to wear. It doesn’t matter how much I feel like my world is dissipating while I watch on helplessly, as scribing sees me safely back to the one place I know damn well I belong. The Grueheads soon nurse me back to health, offer all the replenishment my soul needs to continue its growth, and fix me back up pronto. I’ve actually made considerable headway today when I think about it and the kindness of people like you tools me up for the long fight ahead. Who would have thought that Twitter would provide my lifeline? It may be a drag at times, but this tool has introduced me to a wide array of non-judgmental folk who have accepted whoever the hell I am without ever questioning me and that makes it alright in my book.


Sometimes I’m a comic, others a poet, and can be a militant son of a gun when required. But mostly I’m just one gargantuan pulsating orb of happiness. Every illumination that shines from my soul is received with such appreciative response that it sends infinite light back my way and that is the process of how the Crimson Quill bleeds each day. I can only scribe passionately and honestly and have no intention of changing this habit either. Knowing I’m loved brings the very best out of me, clears a path through my intimate darkness, and guides me forth. Nothing else I do in my life right now, short of spending time with my beautiful boy of course, nourishes my soul in such a manner. My zest for “living a normal existence” may have diminished but it’s a whole lot of fun being a mutant and fellow mutants are a rather charming group of people once you wipe the drool from their chins and fire a thousand or so volts into them. Freaks it is then. I hear that they come out at night which likely explains why I’m sitting here at 2am putting out akin to a randy hooker.


Fuck “normal” and without lube for additional chafe. What is “normal” anyhoots? I know one thing, whatever it is, I have no desire to be it. Not any longer. I’d rather just be me and take any roughs and smooths as a package deal. By my own admission I’m something a literary whizz, but this comes at a price, that being normality and the vaguest dash of common sense. I’m a technical gibbon, an utter buffoon, and clown shoes happen to look decidedly purty on my feet so there’s no choice to make when you think about it. Ask me for a tea-towel and I’ll bring you a dish-cloth. That’s the pay off and I’m comfortable as hell within this role. The reason for this is simple – I can make a joke at my own expense and do so freely as I know my weaknesses but damn well know every last one of my strengths too and that’s going to be my focus from hereon in dagnabbit, either that or die trying.


Right then, I believe I’ve harped on enough and should let y’all get back to your evenings. Have I provided the answer to the conundrum of life? Of course I haven’t and it would be absurd of me to even attempt such. Instead I have merely offered a little insight into a mind which I only seem to understand when reading my own articles back bizarrely enough. It’s a pleasant place to visit but remember I have to live there and that’s no picnic at times let me tell you. There is one guarantee I can give however; a Keeper stamp of authenticity to every solitary last piece that I scribe. With the Crimson Quill my defenses are zilch, I say it as I see it always and my words are always unprocessed. Whatever side is shown, all are valid dimensions of my psyche. Piece them together using the mental breadcrumbs scattered liberally through my prose and you should soon know my soul intimately. Therefore meltdown has been averted for another day at least. Conundrum? I see no conundrum.


Click here to read Last Chance Saloon






  1. Keeper, thank you so, for your words. You could not know that tonight I’m having a lil meltdown of my own! A argument and hurtful careless words led to my crushed heart! When I read your words, I felt peace and something moved my soul and I knew that all will be ok! So I just wanted to say thank you and tell you that you’re loved!! And I’m in awe of your talent and your good kind heart! My love always Xoxo

  2. Oh I love you Keeper…I never fail to smile when I see you post something new. You and my fellow Grueheads have been there for me in my darkest moments and I will always be there for you. *hugs*

  3. You are such a deep thinker. It can be your enemy. Don’t make me worry about you. Let your quill fly with the momentum of an appendage possessed. Think less, feel more. You’re special. Evidence is on the page. Love to you. xoxo

  4. hahaha 🙂 a very good and honest truthful work Brother 🙂 I wonder the elderly man in the image with the harp? If he gets varicose veins in certain areas,hahaha 🙂 AC

  5. Absolutely love this my dearest Keeper…I thank you for all of your brutal honesty and candid commentaries. I’m truly honored to know you. You fine sir are a beautiful blessing to this world and the entire Grue Family. All my love and hugs darlin’ Xoxox

  6. Hey man, I was seriously worried about you during our phone conversation. Hope the chat helped, so relieved to read this piece today. As I said brother, keep looking at the bigger picture, the shit won’t last forever. We both know there are clearer skies ahead, then you can revel in the glory that you so obviously deserve.

  7. Tears are the curtains we open to reveal happiness. Pain and sadness are merely a heavy blanket which sometimes we need help to move. Loneliness is best cured with the company of friends. But most importantly remember; Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.

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