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Tori Amos “Precious Things”
My souls duality
A deviant divination
Quite possibly a sinisterly
In replicated pigments
Of ashen joy
We’re born alone and we die alone. Talk about a bleak forecast. This suggests that everything we stockpile will ultimately amount to not a solitary bean in our coffers come final curtain. The realists would remind us for damn certain that we’re all just gradually fading to black. That in the greater scheme of things, possessions are of the lowliest possible rank. This is only one opinion, of course, but one which appears to be widely endorsed by those long since divorced from happy endings. Reminding us that death is very much pending, that the rules it sets are harsh, unbending, and that life stories were never intended to be never-ending. Dishing out condolences like quarterly bonuses, the onus is on what we’re set to lose in the fire and not what we stand to learn from the fire. Should we be blessed with good fortune and reach that ripe old age we hear mixed reports about, then we’ll be deemed to have “had a good run”. But then we guess that depends on whether or not our race has yet begun. Should our exertions count for nothing, then we may as well jack it all in, right? After all, the mandate clearly states we die alone. It’s as black as it is white. And what’s left to lose if the shoes on our feet and clothes on our backs can’t be buried with us?
And should this extend to the people in life we cross paths with? I mean, it’s highly unlikely they’d agree to being buried alive in our casket just to keep us company when the slugs and snails cometh. So what’s to stop us cutting our losses and looking out solely for number one? In the long run, this may appear to require a great deal less effort on our parts. Plus, we won’t have to worry about nursing broken hearts once they make the three-phase trip from lovers through acquaintances to strangers as the cynics would have us believe. There’s always the danger of things heading south, but only if we insist on staring down at the ground. Once we look beyond unreasonable doubt, then we’re in with a shout of toughing love out and suddenly the dual-berth sarcophagus isn’t quite such a ludicrous idea. A tiny bit morbid perhaps but life is somewhat flimsy without whimsy. Lest we not forget, we’re ultimately all “walk-in’ to the chimney”. So why not stack the odds and double up on frolics? Find what’s precious to us, hold on ever so tightly, and never ever let go. Or alternatively don’t. Each to their own and it’s their funeral. Ours just has a nicer ring to it.
From beneath my feet
On a blood drenched floor
I really cannot help myself…
Tis an art I adore
We humans have a tendency to conceal all the feeling we’ve pent-up over the long cold winters and, before we know it, the tears are in arrears. This is where the midlife crisis comes in like a multi-tool, although it may not appear that way at the time. It’s a rite of passage which can ultimately benefit us but not unless we use these unforeseen slumps to dig ourselves out of the trenches we find ourselves in. Much of this has to do with the way our minds wire as children and how much we continue to tow an imaginary line of our own flawed design. Life happens fast, so it should come as no tremendous surprise that we coast through our twenties and thirties in a state of blissful ignorance. If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it – this appears the go-to mentality and is all well and good unless we live in a state of constant frigging denial. There is only so long we can remain idle before matters are taken swiftly out of our own hands and a lifetime of best laid plans scatter far and wide before us. Stubborn pride invariably kicks in at this juncture, as we become determined to address the elephant in the room before it is hunted for its ivory and wall-mounted.
Bribery isn’t an option here as the breakdown is deemed to be “for our own good”, not that we would know this as our lives fall apart like Matryoshka dolls with personal space issues. Still no sign of the tissues as we haven’t reached that point quite yet and will be required to entertain a considerable amount of unvarnished truths before the blubbing commences in earnest. But there is certainly no scarcity of raw emotion. We feel like racketeers, little more than con merchants who managed to hoodwink life for a fair while there, and would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those pesky meds. You’re goddamn right we get testy as the thing about being stripped back to the motherboards is that this leaves us murderously exposed and wide open to all manner of viruses and other distorted Trojan horses. Not to mention the clear and present danger of imminent implosion as stress and anxiety buddy up for the obligatory tag team combo. It’s not long though before we begin to see the signs; with skim reading evidently not panning out, it’s time to squint our eyes and read between the lines.
For my destructive fascination
An insightful fragment
Of shadowed hallucination
Under no illusion that there exist flaws in our design, we can either resign ourselves to the fact that we’re defective or use this retrospective more effectively. Memories are way less selective as there’s something about hearing the words “everything must go” that bludgeons us into remembering every last detail, regardless of whether or not this proves distressing. With matters now pressing, we are forced into a corner, but this actually winds up serving us rather open-handedly. You see, man-made fears will only chase you until you face up to them. And, should this double down time have been used shrewdly, then we’re finally in a position to restructure them. We may well have had enough of them, but trepidation has been known to get decidedly clingy once the bough begins to splinter. Into the unknown we proceed, banking on said jitters to set ourselves free. Fear may well kill minds, but it can also refill minds which have been running at glass half empty for far too long not to be considered drought. Only if we let it, mind.
This is where we find ourselves at a crossroads of sorts. And given that matters have been so callously removed from our own hands, it just feels nice to be presented with an option. Either we succumb to the petulant voices in our heads that imply we are worthless; that we’re only going to die alone anyway so why not suck up this intelligence like thirsty mosquitoes and get to work on the eulogy. Or we leave the doom and gloom to lost prophets and found footage, and get a little pro-active. Should the first path appear more attractive, then good luck with that and enjoy your pine receptacles as you’ve now officially earned them. But if the booby prize doesn’t appeal, well then you’re in dapper shape to supply your own wake a rain check. Naturally, there will be a number of obstacles strewn across the battlefield and you will likely be required to tiptoe through the claymores to reach the beacon of recovery. What can we say? It’s a voyage of discovery and never professed to being easy street.
This is where society forms a poison smothered fist and fucks our skullcaps clean through to the magnolia behind us, should its conditioning be conclusive enough. Bitterness has a heinous habit of creeping, learned that way back at dread, and it is all too easy for fallen angels to fear to tread. Soak up too many bitter mistruths and the astringency then spreads like rattlesnake weed, attacking our most vital organs as it looks to heavy-hand us into emotional foreclosure. We hold onto those tears tight, scuttle off to our elected crawlspaces, and refuse entry to seemingly frivolous attachments such as hope and faith. There’s simply no space for second-hand emotion when neurosis is doing such a bang-up job of raping your every last endearment. Terms and conditions apply, those being the complete and total surrender of anything resembling positivity and fervor. Furthermore, there are wolves at the door, and you left it wide open you fucking muppets. Like puppets on strings, you couldn’t help but get tangled, and fast tracked yourselves to the place where all dismembered toys go.
Fragility bleeds through
Staining with sanctified Remnants
The silt of heaven’s
Deserving of …
Fuck that shit with a sandpaper strap-on unfunny side up. Last we heard, life was still sweet, and we’re not the types to cower all defeated. So we took stock of the precious things in our lives, the ones which defy the twisted lie that states – we’re born alone and we die alone. What utter horse shit. Dreamed up by those who evidently didn’t follow the blueprint we’re laying out here and remained stuck in perpetual hindsight until they died their lonely deaths, likely with twisted features and agonized death stares. Blinded by darkness, as opposed to allowing themselves to be guided through it. All lights extinguished, hope and faith done for, and nothing whatsoever left to gun for. We have been to the brink, teetered over our chasms, and threatened to toss ourselves into the void on occasions too numerous to tot up. And while we’d love to report that the precious things we had amassed en route to crunch time held us back from taking the plunge, they actually did nothing of the sort.
They held our hands tightly. Reminded us that leaps of faith never fail ever. Then went on to plummet from this lofty precipice arm in arm, with eyes wide open and bloody hearts ajar. Granted, we may have hit a few cunningly placed twigs on our descent, but precious things are known for their regenerative qualities and they happen to tally up rather splendidly with mad scientist skills, should we have these in our repertoire. Red wires, blue wires, all became fused wires, as we fired up our soldering irons and became one with these precious things of ours. And now we get to debunk the whole “born alone, die alone” theory and show it up for the scam tax it is. Unless we’re mistaken (and just to be Crystalline, we ain’t), there was a catcher’s mitt on-hand for our delivery, not to mention the person pushing this cushion and any horrified onlookers. Given that birth and death bookend our existences without requesting permission, it seems only correct to apply the very same logic at the back-end of play. And should we subscribe to that somewhat elementary school of thought, well then that’s just bloody precious in our book.
Truth be known
I’ve always played nicer with dismembered toys
Find your precious things as we have and you will never ever be in danger of dying alone. Better yet, you’ll no longer deem it necessary to cry alone. You just have to find those willing to offer up a cuff and stick to them like period blood as congealing means we can live once more with feeling. We have spent the past couple of weeks on sabbatical and this has been absolutely necessary in order to spring clean any stubborn cobwebs creeping into our peripherals. But this has been time decidedly well spent as time is a fluid most precious and there are diamonds and pearls everywhere we look, thanks to finding that which glimmers and redecorating our ballroom accordingly. This is the waltz before the storm, only not one hell-bent on widespread destruction and airborne livestock. A tornado of love, be that romantic, in relation to us, or correlation with the new true blood, which rages only to clear a forward path for those willing to chase the twister’s tail to the end of the rainbow. We’ll see you there, precious things. And you’re goddamn right, there are unicorns.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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