To Remember

Some things that I forget, and that other people forget too – that remembering will probably make life more wonderful, for all involved.

'Untitled: Night' Watercolour 2015

Focus and be aware. The more attention you pay to an activity, a lecture, a friend’s troubles, a stir-fry, the more you will enjoy it, be engaged with it, and remember the experience. Be aware of your surroundings; the sound of the wind through the trees, the cars passing by. Be aware of the people who surround you; their thoughts, reactions, what they might be feeling based on their own individual context. Be aware of yourself; notice how you are unintentionally tensing your jaw, how delicious that toast was, why you feel irritated after scrolling through your news feed. Put your phone away. The aim is to live life in flow, so focus – one thing at a time. Concentrate on what is important in every moment.

Do not be too hard on yourself. List your daily/weekly achievements and do not do anything until your emotions, thoughts, anxiety/stress/frustration/sadness have been addressed and calmed.

Surround yourself with productive, honest people who make you happy and inspire you. Limit your time spent on the social periphery in regards to who is important. Don’t waste your time and money with boring, predictable coffee dates or beers, but be open to new people and try not to take them simply at face value. Remember, many people in their 20s are wrought with insecurities – as are you, to some extent – so be warm, but do not compromise yourself or go out of your way to accommodate them and their expectations. Limit the wide range of people you spend time with on an organised basis, so that you enjoy fulfilling friendships that are not shallow. You want relationships that are solid, authentic, and genuinely help to make you a better person. This applies to online, geographically challenged relationships just as much.

The brain and the mind are much more affected by the body than you think. This is why exercise, meditation and health are important. Mood can be changed by changes in the body – go for a walk or a run if you are feeling mentally tangled or stuck.

Minimalism. Less is more. Try to cull unnecessary items, documents, objects that are lying around, and clothes/shoes/jewellery that you no longer wear. Finish one of the many books you are in the process of reading. Clear up the paper, materials, bags, magazines and other things that decorate the floor. Put them away. You should only really need 3-6 pairs of shoes, likewise jackets. Focus on quality rather than quantity – and don’t discredit that phrase just because it has become a cliché. Think about it; the less you hold onto, the freer you are.

Overhung

I’m splayed on the carpet
a bad-mannered starfish clutching my toes

half a piece of toast hangs from my mouth like an old bauble on a Christmas tree
my hair is seaweed,
dancing in
greasy, disgusting tangles around my neck

in ten minutes I will
stand in the shower and dissolve,
skull against the tiles
for now I’ll just lie back on these crumbs

last night… sloshes around my head like
soggy gym shoes thrown from a car

the scraps keep appearing
churning out groans like a compost bin

I plummeted from the dance floor
onto a pair of eyelinered fish heads
sucking out each other’s gills in time to Kanye,
swaggering nasty through the throng

I think I smiled clumsily and retrieved politely
the slice of lime
that had fallen on her head from my glass

then, failing to care, I flailed my jelly arms
back into the strobe light wonderland of
whoever’s kitchen it was

My toast is as soggy as the gym shoes now
I must have dribbled into its charred, miserable crusts
Where’s mum?

At least on this sad, sad morning there is coffee, that jolly little Italian waiting in the cupboard. He’ll help!

There was this other bit where
I was talking to the wall and you came up behind me
putting one drink in my hand, one hand on my waist
my silly drunk waist
I turned around to your grin, and all the noise stopped
my eyes lolled from the bridge of your Roman nose to the sharp line of your chin to your neck and I grinned back, foolish like a schoolgirl
but there was…something

until, in the shaky blur
you were gone, replaced by a fridge
and I realised I was standing
head over the sink
alone

This coffee isn’t working
after one sloppy sip,
I’m betrayed by the aftertaste
like a grotty homeless man’s sneer

He’s staring at me now,
a foggy, motherless mammal
knotted up in flannel pyjamas

Shutting all the blinds
I grovel myself away
little worm that I am
off to the shower
in hope of another chance at my sunny, life-affirming Sunday morning.

Middle Meadows Walk

By the clouds, by the stars
I am enclosed

Rachmaninov lifts me from the cement below
Whispering in my cold ears
His orchestra soars
Matching my magnified heartbeat

Half way down the path
My doppelgänger shadows smirk
I fear that I’ll turn around, hands in pockets
To see my own night-time figure peering back

My dark imaginings,
The gothic moon above,
Pulsing strings and deep blue dread
Beams down in Russian black

Everything crescendos
Until I feel my keys

And see the sodium street-lamps
Guide me to my door
With their golden, unblinking eyes