Damaged. Somewhat.

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Nine Inch Nails “Somewhat Damaged (Instrumental)”

Damaged goods. Two words we wouldn’t wish to read on receipt of a consignment of vintage bone china crockery from Phuket and not the kind of rejects we’d ever wish to darken our doorsteps again. Unless we’ve been reading the ledger upside down and back-to-front; damaged goods equate to massive depreciation in monetary value and therefore have absolutely no place littering up our personal spaces in the first damn place. After all, said eye sores will only wind up wasting them or worse still thoroughly disgracing them. At least, that’s what we’re led to believe by the powers that be thinking they know better. However, the truth is actually a million smoking mirrors from their diabolical illusion.

We’re damaged goods. Somewhat. Should greykeeper auction ourselves off to the highest bidder then, on past form at least, we severely doubt we’d fetch a handsome price. Each clocking in at around the forty mark, with a string of bad romances in our slipstream and an even longer yarn of traumatic twine tangled around our ankles like poison ivy, through no fault of our own. Neither of us are in a position to hold down a 9-5 job due to the damage we have sustained on account of said creepers and this has resulted in returning to the storyboard and the one house on earth whose doors always remain wide open. And the waxen cherry on this tainted trifle is that we once proclaimed ourselves our very own worst enemies.

In the back off the side far away

is a place where I hide where I stay

Hardly the most enticing pitch is it? Would it not make more shrewd business sense just to melt us down into slag and start afresh? If nothing else, the components are all there for a bonny curate’s piece and at least we get recycled. Or could it be that our imperfections are not quite the deal breakers society suggests and that all we really need is some TLC and perhaps a roll or two of gaffer tape? Humans are so quick to dismiss that which is of mystery and historically pariahs don’t fare so well with those in absolutely no position to pass judgement. Tucked away like dirty little secrets, eyes replaced with sequins, and rough handled like mannequins – we are ultimately discarded the very moment we hold our hand up to being a crow left of the murder so to speak. Some call us freaks, we much prefer the term uniques.

Not quite ready for the short walk to the chimney just yet thank you, thus we have taken the executive decision to brave it out. Though more than aware of the place all dismembered toys go, we were pretty much defective from the get-go. Indeed, you could say we were damaged goods the moment we dropped off the production line. You see, while all the other ankle-biters were waking up from the customary terrors in the dead of night screaming for mommy, we were perched beneath the nightshade taking notes on our latest phantasm.

Using our exclusive super powers, we could undertake a far grander pilgrimage by simply sealing our eyes shut. Naturally this would entail being plunged headlong into complete and utter darkness; but there’s no place like home we hear. If Dorothy can click her heels and instantly clock up the Oz-miles, then could we not just do the same with our leaden eyelids? It’s not as though dawn’s earliest light eluded us. Indeed, we roused from each broken sleep cycle with all the sweetness and light of a pair of somewhat damaged children whose eyes still reflected the sun. We had seen beneath the veil with our very own eyes and, what’s more, we believed it. Twas our little secret and wouldn’t you know, the shadows duly promised to keep it. To give them due props, they absurdly kept their word.

Flew too high and BURNT the wing

lost my FAITH in everything

The thing about being somewhat damaged is that we tend to be the very last to hear the bulletin. Perhaps that would have something to do with the formidable firewall we erect around ourselves to prevent any additional ruin. The steel-toed kicker is that eventually our vision becomes impaired. And there’s only so long we can hang our hats neither here nor there. Without falling beneath the trance of one of society’s strategically placed hypnosis stations, our battery life gradually depletes and we slip into power save mode through sheer bloody self-preservation. With the dreaded factory settings looming and primed to shut down the server, the only right-click available is to update all systems and restart. A short period of inescapable configuration and we’ll be right as rain right?

It didn’t take a lifetime of therapy to figure out our place in the darkness. We were both the happy-go-lucky kind; nurtured through each phase of our primary wiring by the unconditional love of those around us. Sure there were conditions to our dimples, but there was certainly no lack of nutrition for our dimples. Turns out we’d actually been wired with tremendous care and attention. No mistakes to be made, had it not been for the unwavering devotion of both our parents and grandparents alike, then we’d have been fit for the reject lounge some time ago and frightfully short of complaint. But their love never once hit the ceiling as there quite simply existed no ceiling. Of all the gifts life has bestowed to butter us up for the smash and grab, none are perhaps as critical to our infrastructure as that one. Now we’re not gonna lie to you – we could’ve done with a little more haste from this divine intervention. But that’s just nitpicking. At least it got a mention.

Shedding skin

succumb defeat

this machine

is obsolete

Let’s not sideline the steam here, the train was still in the tunnel so to speak. But there was now very much light at the end of it. Distant, barely even visible, but unmistakable. Having sustained such significant damage, we could’ve very easily pronounced ourselves shipwrecked and waited for low tide to claim us. But they do say the right thing to do is often the hardest. Arriving at the decision to wipe the slate clean is one leap of blind faith that no one on in their right mind would ever dream of endorsing. But we’d already accepted that our mindsets were not of human design way back at the school yard and said leap resulted in the kind of head-on fender bender that could’ve returned both of us back to sender.

But it did nothing of the sort. Indeed, it actually burst the whole “own worst enemy” myth in one fell swoop. You see, we’re ultimately our own whatever the bloody hell we want to be. Enemy appears to be the go-to noun but only because the world we live in conditions us to whack the mole as opposed to simply chatting to the mole. Once you walk smack bang into the one soul the universe predestined you to meet, you’ll find they reflect only the best of you and seek to comprehend the rest of you, in no time-sensitive fashion either. And you know what they say about birds of a feather. Well this very much applies to damaged goods also. Nobody’s perfect but two wrongs can sure as shit make it alright, should the line of sight delight and the timing be precisely right.

Tear a hole exquisite red

Fuck the rest and stab it dead

We are somewhat damaged. Just so you know. What can we say? we’re a work in progress. Sue us, or better yet, see us. Factory settings ain’t that shabby as they afford the opportunity for the secondary rewire jobs we’ve long since actioned. In these so-called “darkest hours” of ours, we’ve learned the truest meaning of friendship. Our family tree has blossomed into a sturdy evergreen that could weather any storm. We’ve allowed ourselves to weep. Felt dead calm each time we sleep. Attained crystalline dimensions which, in turn, gifts comprehension that this sacred love we have and hold far transcends mere perfection. Somewhat damaged we may be but our rusted plumage is beautiful and dusted with no less than the stars. We know that now. Trust that now. No longer are we fit for the slag heap. Indeed, greykeeper are set to soar like a kestrel in flight. And with the additional wingspan only the very blindest of faith can provide, you know we just might.

Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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