Care to explain?

So today I’m going to be talking (again) about the one thing that will always be a part of me, whether deliberately acknowledged or not. I say deliberately acknowledged because I use the phrase “I’m a foster child” as more of a calling card than Bruce Wayne uses “I’m Batman”, although unlike the caped crusader I did not turn my parental setbacks into motivation to put on tights and beat the living daylights out of baddies. There are a few reasons for this, such as the fact that I’d bend under physical pressure like a 1970’s BBC presenter’s alibi, and following on a similar theme I think the only way I’d be intimidating in a back alley would be if I let my pathetic pencil moustache grow and put on large frameless glasses. Of course, it could also be that I’m not exactly the brooding type, and the events that put me where I am happened when I was too young to feel much more than carried along by circumstances as they unfolded, and so it was easier to just not question it. So while I’m not saying that Batman overreacted, he could have at least spent the money he didn’t earn on normal billionaire purchases, or at the very least, some new cybernetic parents if he really cared that much.

I’ve been told that I have quite a dark, or even sick, attitude to my situation, but if the deceased half of my parental unit wants to complain, she can do so when I fix my Oujia board. In all seriousness, I think that this is because our “individuality” is in reality just a culmination of our quirks and gimmicks, and everyone has their “thing”. It explains the emergence of nicknames, the constant re-telling of embarrassing stories, and the development of stereotypes and characters in groups that are mirrored slightly differently a million times over. Now, I am known to milk my “deprived foster child” image amongst friends, because it brings with it such a crushing sense of Irony that actually I have been stable for longer than I was in any real domestic trouble, and whilst it is funny to watch them groan and roll their eyes, I’ve also made a more mature decison to not get too caught up in the stereotype in a wider sense. However, as previously stated, it is bound to follow me around. I have been asked to appear on the news simply for passing my GCSE’s, and subjected to special needs tests, as well as asked to mentor other young people, all because I am in care. I am also lucky to recieve some benefits and headstarts, but I have learned to take these and run without thinking about it too much.

One of the reasons I decided to write about this again was a programme about fostering that I caught the end of when I came home last night. I am very dark about my misfortunes, but only because I am comfortable enough to know that they are just drops in water under bridges already burned. But there are thousands of young people for whom care isn’t just a joke to bring out to disturb your friends. I once saw a collection box that said that young people in care are more likely to go to prison than University; and I’ve just finished my first year. So i’m kind of up there with the Dodo or the Wooly Mammoth in that I’m often told my existence is exemplary and unusual. I guess it could be taken as an ego boost, but really it just makes me kind of sad. Every day people are judged for the very same reason that I have been praised, and I think it is wrong to see all the things that make someone unique put down to a circumstance they have no control over. We are all so, so much more than the labels and images, and yet we often conform to these just because we have found a place to belong. I’m one of the lucky few to look at the benefits of a system which only has a reference point from the outside because of Tracey Beaker, but I still feel slightly guilty that I was carried through largely unscathed whilst others paint themsleves as the negative stereotypes because it is all they think they can do. Hopefully these people will realise the potential they have as people, and not just as foster children. Until then, I don’t think I blame them if they go into Waterstones and set the entire collection of Jacqueline Wilson’s most popular character on fire.

Core, Mantle and Crust.

Face of the Earth; blemished because.

All these spots and scars, and tears upon the crust.

With us all amounting to little more than makeup.

I’m a freckle for the summer, a sore from the winter,

A scratch down the skin and the scar from a splinter,

and the seasons bear down as I turn,

360 degrees a year,

into the person I thought, the person I think I can be.

We don’t pity a canyon for what pulled it apart, but single it out a wonder.

Sending bikes flying over,

as plates are moving under

Just to prove we’re stronger, I guess. 

The Human Race:

The masters of this place,

The features of this face. 

And continental drift a rift between families of stone,

stern Romeo and Juliet, 

Fragments of broken homes. 

and stagnant waves look past us

as we dig these sea for oil,

reap the ground of soil, 

Creating cosmetics with the ash we leave behind.

All hoping not to be blown away without leaving a mark.

So scar this face, these wrists bleeding water,

hold oursleves up, as bones stuck with mortar,

we’ll all go the same, the Son and the Daughter,

We’ll go away as we lived.

And we can’t pull these canyons back together,

But the Earth can take the weight,

The weight upon your shoulders as you set it down,

in place.

A blemish, or a smile, 

set upon the face.

Sandwiches and Torture

A cheese and pickle sandwich at 8pm is truly the sign of a hopeless man.
I’m not suggesting that the sandwich itself is a problem, but more the fact that I made it as a form of procrastination. I’ve heard of art for art’s sake, and am the occasional spokesman of food for food’s sake, but the insertion of curdled milk and preserved pickle between two bits of bread should not be treated as an event, nor a reprieve, from anything. Although I’m sure it is welcome as a way to “fill” five minutes for victims of prolonged torture.

Sadly, I cannot pity myself so much as to believe that claiming my essay as being torturous would hold up in court. Still, productivity is a weird thing, as I often finds that it takes the mental equivalent of being water-boarded for information to make me get off my arse and actually address my course load. This week for example, I did all the background research and interviews necessary to write two news stories for my portfolio, as well as creating a presentation, all for a deadline yesterday. This being in the context that I’ve had these assignments in my head since January time and yet felt no need to make life easier for my future self by being nice enough to notice them. When the pressure ducked my head under for another round of forceful conversation, I spilled the beans over a space of two days. Now, I have until this Thursday to write an essay before my exams start good and proper.

What is strangest about this is that, on the face of it, I don’t actually have that much to do; my weekly contact hours wouldn’t stress out an elderly person with anxiety issues and an optimistic grasp of their remaining brain functions, and I think my work last year was considerably more difficult. Ultimately what’s different this year is that a lot of the work is so flexible and down to my own initiative and determination, as oppose to working towards a set question or goal. I have so little to do, so much of the time, that I think I’ve forgotten what it’s like to feel the urgency of a deadline. Also, I chose this course, and University in general, so I feel that I can’t complain.

All I can say is, thank god for pressure. When it entered the room with the towel and the bucket, laying out other tools like enticing after-dinner mints, I became a sheep being pushed as part of a particular herd again: the herd working towards a definite deadline of definite consequence, that I could just about see through the sodden material. Of course, I’ve barely looked at the revision for my exams in and amongst my attempts to draw news stories out of an area so devoid of life that I’m half expecting a kind of Monty Python-esque plague and cart scene. But that’s something I’ll deal with when my captor moves the other tools and reveals the pliers and the nail gun. Or at the very least, a copy of anything on my reading list…

When the bed bugs bite

Fuck this beating heart

With its power over me; 

both the reason I live and the reason I bleed.

Yet I can never choose which one.

And fuck my brain for never listening, as it hid between my ears;

Accumulating lines from songs and films I haven’t seen in years, yet unwilling to bear a thought or a care for the world that became my own.

And fuck my lips for ever forming anything other than a joke; these words of ineffect connect as well as a fighter against the ropes, 

with about as much chance of hitting their target.

Because when the final bell rings out, I don’t want to be on back foot, pushing against ground as I fail to mark it,

Instead, let it mark me in a way that means that you can hit the ground running.

Because mistakes will make me human, but a person goes beyond.

I guess I’ve found a human right can still be personally wrong.

And my heart it has an impulse,

And my brain has seen it work.

My lips can tell the story once I fall back down to earth.

So fuck the pieces of me seperate,

Snapped off bits of clay.

But if I put them all together….

Morning Gory

Today, I’m hungover.

Of course, I told myself I wasn’t; I have no splitting headache, and my stomach isn’t churning waves of acid and Birdseye burgers. But as with everyone who makes an evening out of pouring chemicals down their neck, there’s always consequences in the morning. Mine just feel more permanent.

So yes, I’m hungover, as all these things hang off my skin, and it just takes one more shot to realise they still haven’t let go. Being drunk is emotion without the logic, and in the morning I realise that I wish my world was still spinning in a way that I could control by simply removing a bottle from my lips. I don’t want to be ready for the day, remembering outgoing messages and lost items that I can easily find under my skin next to the things I lost there 5 years ago, and everyday inbetween. If it was dirt clinging to my body I could wash it off, but this kind of thing re-emerges daily, more like a sweat with a potency that causes me to turn my nose up.

And we all know deodreants are shit.

So maybe it’s called a hangover because of all the things that hangover you, like a permanent cloud with some heavenly paparazzi perched on top of it. I’ll never understand the idea of alcohol as a vice, as it doesn’t release anything but what made you reach for a bottle in the first place. But hey, like I said: emotion without logic. I need logic, and order, which is probably why I’m writing this in the first place.

Today, I’m hungover.

Like many days before.

And every day after.

Because I can, Alright?

I left myself for dead;
Fully realised the gap between the heart and the head,
and the something that surpassed them both.

I wouldn’t call it want,
what I never thought I’d need.
As all they saw was pride
and a stone that refused to bleed.

But perhaps it’s easier to just assume a smile when there is no reason for anything else.

The tales men tell about birds

There’s something about the sky that we can all connect with: people as vast and unique as the weather, whether we asked for the warm or the cold.

I’m the kind of guy who will lift you up and hold you there, letting the air carry you as I let go.

And then you’re flying.

But the thing is up there, there’s sun and there’s snow, and the two cannot exist together.

Can you see where this is going?

They say there’s a calm before the storm, but I’m more likely to seek the storm first, as that’s where all the best stories start. Storms of love, storms of passion, storms of anger; as well as storms that can’t even blow away the footprints you never wish you’d left.

Up in the sky, we all want to be flying, but all it takes is a little turbulance and we begin to fall through clouds that have no desire to catch us.

But as the ground speeds up to meet us, I’d challenge any of you to say that you’d have it any other way.

I’m the kind of guy that will hold you down and kick the grit into your eyes, crunching up gravel and bone with about as much care for either.

We didn’t know we wanted to fly until the ground became unsafe.

That’s why the debris were left there.