Friday, 31 July 2009


Better left untold

Did you see the scene unfold?

The options were limited as I’d no idea you’d lied.

Still so innocent, 

Not even in your presence after all this time.

In essence nothing has changed yet a lifetime

Of movement, joys and failings of a kind

Which belie our time together.

The memories that endure the tethers

Of our Reigns slip through whether

We want them to or not.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

For the Love of Boyo

The huge, pulsating, cockroach festering city sprawls between volcanoes and waters occupied by the Queen of the Sea, who is only placated by the soothing nature of green. Tourists are rare, either foolhardy or wise enough to ignore the mass produced guides which herd along those not interested in misadventure, just wanting to follow each other’s footsteps and recount the same stories but making sure that theirs is so much better than the last one they heard. Tales from the same city, the same bar, the same guesthouse, the same hidden gem. But this city is not one for the fainthearted, it will engulf you and beguile you should you be so inclined. See past the slums, open sewers and ostentatious Chinese new builds and stare deep into its heart but don’t falter as it is profound.

The brightly coloured sarongs are as ubiquitous as a suit in London. When you smile at a baby or try to play peek-a-boo with a child they will cry. You are an unknown, an unusual. Adults constantly stop and stare, their countenance frowned. It is good for the soul to know how it feels to be an outsider, a real outsider. You can’t blend in here, every movement is scrutinised, followed even. However, look deep into the eyes and crack a smile at your spectators and you will receive the warmest one in return that you’ve ever encountered.

The dust is thick, the pollution black and the torridity seeps into every pore, every gland and organ, then interminably seeps out again. Slow, heavy steps accompany this sudoriferous beat. Thankfully, decrepit, elderly gentlemen wait on street corners, muscles sinewed and glistening, putting to shame physical laziness, these are not the greased biceps of peacocks but the force of necessity. They repose, stretched on their three-wheeled, battered becaks. As soon as a customer is spotted the men are on their feet, some with broadened smile, some with faint hope, some with evident disdain, all call you over, knowing this is no place to walk. In the beginning with an almost stereotypical western psyche I pushed past with nose in the air, “I am the great adventurer I can walk”, and walk I did. There are no pavements as such, walking is considered a strange past time here, and usually only happens in air-conditioned malls. A five-minute walk is considered far and ten-minute walk is far too far. I had to walk in the roadside alongside five lanes of traffic, push bikes, becaks, mopeds, motorbikes, cars, bemos, buses and lorries. It didn’t take me long to turn my head and a wise one was slowly, gently, driving his becak just behind me. I got in one for the first time and the love affair with Surabaya began.

becak - pedicab

bemo – minibus used as public transport


Writing this blog is the right thing to do, I think. It’s funny as it is certainly focusing me more but it is changing my writing. I’ve been writing for a few months, twenty minutes or so per day when the illness has allowed me. However, before I was just writing for myself, saying my own pure thoughts, pouring out the first thing that came to mind, those very personal and private ones. Rereading a lot of that work I don’t feel it‘s suitable for here. Now I have to consider what I write, be aware of what is appropriate. I have no idea how many people are actually reading this blog and in all honesty I doubt there are that many. I think it will be the people whom I am closest to, but that still makes me careful now about what I choose to put out into the public domain. I don’t think I should stop writing the more intimate pieces but do both. I imagine the first will be cathartic while this one proves slightly harder. It is good for me, gives me something to think about whilst sprawled on the sofa for hours on end, during the days of solitude, not something I mind. I am very happy with my own company, always have been, I do now live a semi-hermit like existence, with my main human contact being through the Internet. It is very different to my prior life, which was lively, colourful and exciting to say the least but even then I would retreat into solitude fairly regularly. Obviously now I find myself mainly on my own and there is very little social outlet, I would love to get out more and I do try. I make plans but most of the time my symptoms are just too severe. A blog is perfect for someone in my situation and probably why there are a plethora for us to read. I wonder how mine will develop over the coming months, what the constraints of an audience will do to my writing. I sincerely hope it won’t become stilted. Will the focus be too much for my CFS addled brain? Just as now, it has taken me a long time to produce these last few sentences.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Dead Pigeon

There’s a dead pigeon at the bottom of my garden

I’d seen it the day before

I knew it was dying

I approached it gently

It just was, in total peace

Eyes following me

No flapping or moving away

Knowing it was too late

I left it to be

Monday, 27 July 2009

Flying High

Have found myself submerged in dreams these last few days, hours and hours of daydreaming of very detailed imaginings. It’s quite unusual for me but something that has been happening of late or maybe I’m only just recognising it. I find it quite disconcerting and wonder what the cause of it is. Is it due to the fact my life is so unfulfilled, my world so small now or my mind travelling far as my body no longer can? I suppose I shouldn’t worry about it, really what is the harm? I am more used to having two feet firmly on the ground though and to having my mind focused on what is happening in my life, how to organise it, how to deal with problems properly. Possibly as life is now so quiet, so tranquil most of the time, that my main problem is how to structure my day, how not to do too much of one thing of another, how often to rest, how to stay mentally strong but everyday is the same. Strangely enough I don’t really feel frustration, I think day to day living is physically challenging enough to keep that emotion from being too prominent, also I don’t feel boredom as much as you would imagine, of course there are moments but the overwhelming emotion is not feeling intellectually satisfied. My level of mental stimulation is very basic now as I can no longer read for any length of time or in any great depth, when I do manage to read just one complete article in The Independent, for example, I am ecstatic but that is quite rare. I have to content myself with listening to copious amounts of music and browsing art and photography websites, so sounds and pictures. I miss not being able to read properly, I have ached for it but it’s something that I’ve also grieved over and another of the things I’ve had to let go of to be able to get by day to day without plunging into severe depression. Back to my daydreams, I keep stopping myself in the middle, telling myself I’m being ridiculous but perhaps I should allow them, let them engulf me, ride the wave of the nonsensical and bathe in the glory of my imaginings. They may bring forth new ideas for writing.

Sunday, 26 July 2009



Cutting those loose ties

Hanging, dangling

Tired of them flailing about


Yet a stubborn strand clings on


Voyeur that it is

Just waiting to sew anew

Mischief in mating

Slow growing

Till re-tied


Saturday, 25 July 2009

The Truth

How do I know the past is not a fiction, conceived to reconcile the difference between my state of mind and the present?


So I posted this on Facebook the other day and enjoyed the responses it brought forth. It was a link to a great photo set. A series of photos of the same woman starting with her all dolled up looking very arrogant to the final one of her having been attacked and homeless.  The statement being made clearly denotes those memories of ours that we have amended slightly so that how we see them today become bearable. Well that’s my interpretation. I certainly know that I have quite a few like that. I have so many memories that I can no longer recollect. Is that due to very poor memory or that I have a selective memory? I think with the illness and my past excesses it is a mixture of the two, there are of course many memories that I can’t wipe out, I can’t forget them no matter how hard I try but are all the details correct as they happened? Did those who witnessed them have the same memory as I? Also we perceive things through our eyes, through our ideals, our values. I believe three people will witness the same event with a different view, is there ever a correct version of events or do we just attach ourselves to the version that suits us most at that moment in time? The version that fits with our own story. Is it even possible for us to have any idea what the real facts of our life truly are? We know where we were born, most of us who our parents are, where we worked, the paper trail if you will, that we can’t deny, unless we change it in some way. But all the finer details, the intricacies, the moments in time that have made us who we are, I firmly believe we all have a fair amount of fiction in the story of our life. The one we see, the one we live with day in and day out. Not least because none of us truly knows oneself inside out, a lot of us search to know ourselves but we can never see ourselves as others see us. 

Therefore, we miss out on whole sides of ourselves that we are completely unaware of.  So once again we arrive back at the fiction we create, we have a whole vision of ourselves in our heads that only takes in our truths and not the truths that others see. We can on occasion through an honest partner or friend find out about our best and worst traits, how we then see that in relation to our fiction is possibly very different to how they see it. So do we also make up this fiction for those around us, our friends and family or do we see them in complete reality, is their history as we see them correct? We have all put someone or something on a pedestal only for the reality to come crashing down, so do we then see the reality or because we’ve been so dismayed or disappointed do we then make the reality much more negative then it really is? Just as we made the positive far more positive than it really was. How do we make sure that what we are looking at is the complete and true history? As rightly pointed out by one commentator we don’t. Is it really that important, life is so hard as it is then maybe a bit of poetic licence does us no harm, it helps us to get by in our day to day living. However, which one is worse; to have an overly negative view or an overly positive view of our past? Does an overly negative one protect us more from future disappointments, mistakes or hurt? Do the barriers that cynicism creates buffer us? Or the positive one means you can bounce back more quickly from encountered problems? The positive imaginings also acting as a protective barrier.  


The calm and the quiet give me space to think, to separate and dissect all the feelings running around. Each one requires the time for contemplation, in a little bubble. Slowly I calm and all the dust settles, I can see the piles. Some are large and have to be dealt with quickly before they are disturbed and return to the ether. Others are hidden and may need more attention to find but with this quiet I’m sure they’ll be found. I’m looking forward to it, an internal spring clean, a processing, and compartmentalisation of thoughts and feelings if you will. I was scared of the solitude but these last few weeks have shown me that what I sought is what I need. I knew this deep down, my inner self craves this peace and hopes that this will allow the space to help me recover somewhat. Time will tell, anyhow for now it’s what I desire, my self crying out for it. So here it is. On its way.

Friday, 24 July 2009

The Why

So here I am making myself do something of consequence instead of just Facebook and Twitter. Obviously got to be careful and need to watch how long I do this for or my plans will be scuppered, and I won’t be able to write for long. The plan is that I just write now everyday, a little to begin so I can slowly build up my stamina, or at least that’s the plan. After three and a half years I’ve learnt to be highly realistic, I know that often even being really careful this illness will still get the better of me. It’s like some sick joke really. No one really knows what causes it or why some people can get over it and some can’t.  We’re not supposed to do a lot, take each day in a structured and managed way, which is what I do.  That whatever you can do on a bad day is what you should also do on a good day. Then that way you slowly build up your activity, if it makes you feel worse then you’re doing too much. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well try living it, I worked tirelessly on those goals and yet the illness still kicks my butt, and when I say kicks it I mean royally.  I’m usually down for four month stretches, then slowly climb up but can do very little even during my good times. I will write now for about 20 minutes and that will have to be it for today, and I am in a better phase. I have huge plans for my life, I have a lot going on in my head, but only being able to write 20 mins or so a day is not going to get me very far.  But I have to do something, I can’t handle being so damn unproductive.  It just goes against my nature, so am trying hard to find the balance and carve out some kind of existence for myself within the limitations of this parasitic disease.

Everyday now I will write something, anything, related to whatever I’m feeling. My big dream is to write a novel and I’m very good at achieving my dreams, even if it’s rubbish at least I’d have done it. But I won’t compromise my health for it, I still hope that living within the limitations of this illness that I will one day recover, maybe not fully but at least to the point of being able to work part time. I have too much to give to this world and I won’t let it be robbed of me, held hostage by a body. I do hope I don’t have Stockholm Syndrome without realising it and have some unhealthy symbiotic relationship with my kidnapper. I have worked hard not to.  I feel I now have some control over it, not always and not a huge amount of leverage but some anyhow.  Well there it is, I can feel the warning signs now, brain has almost slowed to stop, energy going.