"Be careful. That happiness you’re seeking might be boobytrapped."
"Sounds okay to me. I love boobies."
Stranded and gasping for breath, you told me, “I think I’m going to die.”
I could taste your despair like rancid aluminium but I refused to swallow it, so I offered a desperate lie. “I’ll find you water.”
You pierced my skin with doubt.
Bleeding from your disbelief, I filled an empty leather canteen with my tears, handed it to you, and walked the desert sands alone.
so much coffee
I sold my dreams
and replaced them
with a child.
Please keep this secret
Do not remind me
of my dreams
or that I ever had them.
A few days ago, I received a report about a guy being racially abusive to one of his neighbours. I set up an appointment via letter for the suspect to come in to the office and discuss the allegations made against him.
The suspect called me today to say that he can’t make the appointment because it’s Ramadan. I said that I don’t understand how that would stop him from attending the appointment. He said that he is fasting. I said that I can arrange to visit him at his home if this easier. He said that no one can visit him at his home during Ramadan. He said that he does not have time because he is praying and the only conversations he can have is with his “creator”. He said he cannot speak to anyone else during Ramadan.
“I’m not sure if I understand how this can be the case,” I said, “because you’re having a conversation with me now on the phone.”
He said he is only speaking to me now to say that he can’t attend the appointment or meet with anyone during Ramadan, but he could do it after Ramadan ends. I said I would make a note of the conversation and arrange another appointment for early August.
On the one hand, I can’t be bothered entertaining all the nonsense of rearranging an appointment for this guy because it in someway legitimises the non-legitimate. On the other hand, I also can’t be bothered entering into a long debate which goes nowhere if I can just see him in a few weeks and deal with it then instead.
Sadly, even in 2014, far too many people make the mistake of observing silly religious rituals. Equally as bad, far too many people make the mistake of accommodating them. By rearranging the appointment I can’t help but feel stung. It feels like I am overly-accommodating his stupidity. I am complicit to his idiocy and give sustenance to his ignorance.
Recent generations have fallen for the myth of availability. We’re continually being taught that if we believe in ourselves and work hard enough, we can all be great. Surely, one of these great people must have found a universal law telling us we can’t all do that.
Greatness is the greatest of mirages. We spend years dragging our tired bodies towards a magical pool of water forever on the horizon. While we continue wandering the blistering heats of the desert in search of it, it will always remain out of grasp.
Greatness is the biggest con of them all. Beyond simple falsity, it is the swindle of our lives. This permeating notion that everything is up for grabs eventually leads to a life wasted, or a motivation so demotivating that we lose all faith in achieving anything.
We try. We try. And then we try again. Some of us keep trying but we still find ourselves as far or further away from our goals than when we started. Paulo Coelho would have you believe that you’ve not tried hard enough; you haven’t believed in yourself enough. It’s easy to spout that sort of shit when you have your own chef to cook you breakfast. As much as the successful would try to have you believe otherwise, success is an anomaly, and it is rarely linked to greatness.
We need folk to earn a crust clearing away shit so that the next Picasso isn’t put off painting the next Guernica by the smell of shit. We need bricklayers so the next Gaudí can design the next Sagrada Familia without getting pissed on from the clouds above. We need people to work in an assembly factory making drawing boards so that future geniuses can go back to them in order to get something perfect.
What we should really be taught is that some of us are not destined for greatness, but that’s okay; we all play our small part.
I’ve always been embarrassed of my real name. I know this confession may seem strange to most people but that’s because most people are called Michael or Sarah or something fairly generic and normal. However, I happen to have the misfortune of being named Cock Shit Dick Piss.
This name, my name, was given to me by my father. A plethora of other names were available but he deemed Cock Shit Dick Piss to be the most appropriate. Of course, I should point out that my father comes from a long line of Cock Shit Dick Piss’s so you could argue that he was merely keeping to tradition.
With that said, I should also confess that, technically, I am Cock Shit Dick Piss Jr. but I find the Jr. part takes far too much time to say and, as you might expect, I’m not particularly fond of my father. Whenever I questioned my father on his decision to name me Cock Shit Dick Piss, he always likened the situation and circumstances to that of the Johnny Cash song Boy Named Sue. I would always tell my father that I would much rather be called Sue than Cock Shit Dick Piss.
Imagine how difficult being called Cock Shit Dick Piss is when getting a take-away coffee at Starbucks or when waiting at a doctor’s surgery for an appointment. They either think I’m being deliberately crude, attempting to make them look foolish, or both. It’s not pleasant for me or the nurse or the barista or anyone nearby for that matter.
“Cock Shit Dick Piss. Is there a Cock Shit Dick Piss?”
It is particularly embarrassing when meeting new people. It also became rather dull. Nowadays, I rarely make efforts to meet new people. Frankly I’m fed up of the exhaustive reactions to my name. Some people laugh, some are shocked, some provide a look of incredulous bemusement. It became a certain rigmarole to suffer the predictably intrusive questioning of meeting new people.
"Is that really your name? Really? But really?"
It may seem particularly strange, having been given a name of such ludicrousness, that I haven’t made the decision to change it by deed poll. But I just can’t bear to do it. It is, after all, my name and although I wish my name were different, to actually change it would be to cowardly wave the white flag of surrender.
So I move on, with my head held high but only metaphorically held high. In reality, my head is almost permanently stooped from the violent pangs of shame I suffer on a daily basis thanks to being called Cock Shit Dick Piss. But this is my battle. To paraphrase one of the better lines in the weakest of all the Godfather movies, it is ’the price I pay for the life I choose’.
But, in all seriousness: What is in a name? A Cock Shit Dick Piss by any other name would smell as sweet.
Who gives a flying fuck about your poem?
No one gives a shit about your story.
You wrote an article about that thing, did you? Well, guess what? We couldn’t care less.
No one’s bothered that you’re trying to make something of yourself.
Oh, you’re trying to do something of meaning with your time? Blah, blah, blah.
No one gives a damn if you’re going to give up because no one gives a damn about your efforts in the first place.
“Come and see me perform!” Erm, no thanks. No one can be bothered.
“Read my thing on Tumblr!” Naaa, we’re just not interested, mate.
I’ve been left out
in the sun
for too long
and I’m in serious danger
of no longer being a grape.
I am a dying fish
stuck on a rock
out of water
flipping and flapping
and desperately trying
to get back into
He shut himself away for days,
sellotaped cardboard to
block out all the light
turned off his mobile phone,
leaving a lingering
feeling of panic in all
who loved him.
I would knock on his door
he was there.
It was a reassurance:
he was at least alive
but not necessarily
I wrote him
and pushed them under
Several years later
he told me
how much they meant to him;
that sometimes they set a spark in his heart
enough to coax him from his house
to buy groceries
and see sunlight
for the first time in days.
When I came home,
I thought about what he said
and I cried
in my flat.
I could not tell
if they were tears of joy,
but it didn’t matter anyway.
Here’s my latest piece of work up on the DOG-EAR website about originality, or how they put it:
Mansour Chow plays with a prickly little paradox in ‘Originality’.
Scoffing complimentary canapés
and downing free cava,
we fluttered about the place
pretending to be social butterflies
because that’s what you’re supposed to do,
She introduced me to friends as
'the love of my life so far'.
I’m too battle scarred
to refer to anyone as simply ‘the love of my life’
and I think she was too.
We were too old and too wise.
for positive assumptions
But my introduction
carried with it a pessimism
like it was swiped from my chest
and thrown on a griddle
each time she said it.
Corroding my innards,
I suffered an awful cruelty
but cruelty all the same.
It started as a whisper in my ear:
"Someone will replace you."
By the end of the night,
it screamed into my soul:
"You will be relegated.
I’m waiting for something bigger.
And I wake to a permanent ringing in my ears.