An Ode to Hope

If tomorrow is judgment day
And I’m standing on the front line
And the Lord asks me what I did with my life
I will say I spent it with you

If I wake up in World War III
I see destruction and poverty
And I feel like I want to go home
It’s okay if you’re coming with me

‘Cause your love is my love
And my love is your love
It would take an eternity to break us
And the chains of Amistad couldn’t hold us

If I lose my fame and fortune
And I’m homeless on the street
And I’m sleeping in Grand Central Station
It’s okay if you’re sleeping with me

As the years they pass us by
We stay young through each other’s eyes
And no matter how old we get
It’s okay as long as I got you baby

‘Cause your love is my love
And my love is your love
It would take an eternity to break us
And the chains of Amistad couldn’t hold us

If I should die this very day
Don’t cry, ’cause on Earth we weren’t meant to stay
And no matter what the people say
I’ll be waiting for you after the judgment day

‘Cause your love is my love
And my love is your love
It would take an eternity to break us
And the chains of Amistad couldn’t hold us

(Whitney Houston – My Love is Your Love)

Soar

I balance on the tight rope and look down. A canyon gapes menacingly below me.

Oh God.

I snap my head up and squeeze my eyes shut. Every muscle in my body freezes. Somehow, by keeping still, I will survive. I think.

I think wrong.

The tight rope begins to tremble under my feet, and I let out an involuntary groan.

Please…no….

I open my eyes and observe Hope calmly walking the tight rope towards me. She wears that immortal smile and stars dance in her eyes. You would think she were out for a walk with the cat (a habit she has taken up it seems – I tried joining in but the cat made me feel unwelcome).

Hope now stands in front of me, balanced to perfection.

“Hello J “

“Hi.”

“Fancy meeting you here!” she laughs.

I am not laughing. I am terrified. A laugh would produce a contraction of the stomach muscles which could well signal my end. I shut my eyes again.

For a moment, the world stands still. But Hope…….Hope happily begins to bounce up and down, gently at first before steadily becoming more forceful, which sends shockwaves right along the line.

My arms shoot out and my hands clench in vain at the air.

“Stop! Please stop!”

“No!” laughs Hope as she continues to bounce, her words perforated by each jump. “Remember….. your….. wings….”

Wings. Wings? My wings?

Oh yeah. Wings. My wings.

Hope stops bouncing, and looks upon me with a look of the most divine love. She flashes me a beautiful grin before gracefully reaching out an arm to push me gently into the empty space beyond.

The air begins to rush, the world spins, and I plummet towards the grumpy, hard earth below.

I give a panicked scream.

“Wha?! Help! Please! PLEASE!”

Hope’s presence is gone. She has finally left me. I am alone. I am terrified. And I am going to die.

As I fall, I reach terminal velocity. The speed at which I can no longer fall any faster. I tumble this way and that, before eventually going into a flat spin. I continue to scream. I fight and struggle and claw uselessly at the air through which I drop.

I am doomed, I realise. I am really doomed. It is useless to fight the inevitable. I may as well let it all go now for what those last few moments of peace will be worth.

And in letting go of the fight I become enveloped in calm. I submit to it. I relax. I accept. And I TRUST. I trust that everything ultimately serves a higher purpose over which I have no control, including this fall to my death. So be it.

The realisation gives birth to destiny as my wings shoot open and catch the air in a moment of singular beauty. Lift chooses to demonstrate its power over gravity. My fall turns into a glide. And the glide turns into a soar.

And so I soar. A single flap which emanates from my subconscious sends me higher. And higher. And higher. I shoot towards the stars glistening above in the clear, cool sky.

I experience peace. A peace I cannot describe.

I spend some time with that peace before eventually folding my wings to commence a dive at the earth; gaining more and more and more speed until I become a streak of pure light. The awaiting earth – which only shortly before looked so grumpy – suddenly acquires a distinctly softened look. It seems to brace itself for a terrible impact that it knows is going to hurt.

I could. But I won’t.

I apply my wings to apply shape to my dive and listen almost absentmindedly to the air as it screams over them. Contrails begin to appear on the wing tips and I draw a lazy shape in the air with them before twisting them to catch the air rather than cut it. My speed bleeds away before I land gently on the ground.

I find Hope waiting patiently before me. We gaze in silence at each other, and it is a minute or so before I eventually choose to speak.

“Thank you Hope.” I whisper. “Thank you. But please – if you love me – please don’t do that again.”

“Don’t worry.” She whispers back smilingly before cocking her head mischievously. “I won’t have to.”

I become me

“NO……REGRETS”

The concept confuses me at first. Why regrets? What have regrets to do with anything?

As I lie in the dirt, I open my mind to the possibility. Hope kneels beside me, watching patiently.

Regrets.

Yes. I do have regrets.

I regret the day I walked into a bar on my own and lit my first cigarette. I regret the money that I have squandered and wasted. I regret the friends whom I allowed to slip away from me.

I regret all of the stupid decisions that I made and stupid actions that I took. I regret the arguments and fallings out. I regret the neediness and insecurity. I regret the laziness, and self-destructive behaviours.

I regret the mess I have made of my life.

Tears come unbidden into my eyes, and slowly trickle down my face before beginning to soak the dry earth below.

“No regrets.” I whisper.

Hope gently takes my hand.

“Now forgive yourself.” she whispers. “It is within one of the many gifts one can bestow upon oneself. It is within YOUR gift. You need not ask for forgiveness from any other quarter. Life has moved on but you have forgotten to move on with it. And that is not YOUR fault.” She motions towards the dead demon. “You blame yourself. Now it is time to stop.”

I stare at her and she returns my gaze as a small smile plays around her mouth.

I think and the tears come harder.

I am sorry. I am sorry for everything.

I am sorry for hating myself so much. I am sorry for denying myself the right to be happy.

I am sorry for the things I have thrown away. I am sorry for being my own worst enemy.

I FORGIVE myself.

Hope jumps to her feet, throws her head back and laughs at the sky above. She opens her arms wide in a gesture of joy. And suddenly it begins to rain. Lightly at first, before gradually growing heavier and  heavier.

My subconscious registers it dropping on my skin, and beginning to soak my clothes. But I cannot take my eyes away from Hope. I gaze in wonder.

She is embracing the rain. It hits her face and soaks her hair. It trickles down her open arms and washes over her armour. Small trickles at first. But these soon become rivulets and then streams.  The black blood which up to now has begun to dry on it now begins to wash away.  I am watching a rebirth.

Hope laughs again in ecstasy and the earth begins to rend.

She now gazes upon me sternly.

“STAND!” she commands.

I climb to my feet.

“Now, open your wings!”

I cannot help but obey.

My wings open and I gaze upon them. And their beauty astounds me. A thousand shades of white and blue and purple adorn my eyes. And as I flex them instinctively, a hundred trumpets begin to blow. A thousand. A million.

I have become something else. I have become me.

And Hope?

In one fluid motion she sinks to her knees, and offers me her sword.

And I accept my birthright in silent thanks.

Now let slip the dogs of war.

Hope springs eternal….

I dream. Or rather, I nightmare.

I am surrounded by my demons. Fear. Sadness. Anger. Disappointment. Resentment. Bitterness. Weakness. Guilt.

They kick. punch, bite. They laugh, goad, mock.

I lie on the barren dirt. I crawl into a fetal position. It is the only position I know. I wait patiently for the kicks. I know they will not kill me. I am only useful to them whilst I remain alive. If I were dead, they would have to find another energy source.

I close my eyes and wait. This will pass. It always does. I just need to wait.

The next kick does not come.

After a few moments, I dare to open an eye. And I see her feet.

Hope stands smiling at my assailants, and now I see that they have turned their attention to her.

They growl in unison and I have been forgotten in an instant.

She beams at them briefly, and then suddenly her visage changes. She stops smiling. Her delightful beam disappears. Her forehead crinkles in anger. Displeasure flows into her lips and then upwards into her eyes, which suddenly acquire an icy cold look of hatred.

I watch as she slowly draws a sword I never knew she carried. As I gaze upon her blue armour, the sword draws a white cold sheen. As I look upon it, it looks coldly back. This sword has never known any prisoners. Its purpose emanates slowly through the air.

She brings the sword towards the ground, and lazily begins to draw circles in the dirt with the tip. I watch in fascination. This angel – the one I love – has become something else. She has become a demon in her own right.

My companions hiss at her. And spring.

She moves effortlessly. Every motion acquires a deadly purpose. She knows no hesitation, and no fear. She dances in the air and as she does so, she opens the fabric of the air around her. The demons cannot help but enter, and as they do so wounds open in response.

They scream in hate and fear and pain. The white sword sings happily as it hisses through the air. As it sings, it becomes faster. And faster. And faster.

As I look upon my angel, I realise she has ceased to exist. She is now an image on the retina. A blur. A state of being. I now realise Hope’s purpose. She is a killer of negative things. And as I watch the blur, I am sure I hear a happy laugh escape. She happily fulfills the purpose for which she was designed. She did not come into existence to play with cats. She came into existence to further a divine purpose. One which she embraces.

The demons drop back . All except one.

It is bigger than the rest. It must have fed on me since I was born. That is 38 years times 365 days times 24 hours times 60 minutes.

Since my entry to this world, it has fed. And fed, and fed.

It hovers over me, and screams.

Maybe Hope will leave. Maybe she will allow this thing the one object it desires. Maybe she has calculated that she has done enough for one day.

No. Hope springs eternal.

She flows effortlessly through the air as my demon swings for her. She moves inside the arc of the demons swing and brings her sword upwards, hilt first. The hilt smashes into the demon’s jaw as she continues her flawless movement. She bestows a crushing kick to the back of its leg, and it drops weakly to its knees.

It lets a screech – mournful to behold. Hope stands over it, sword ready.

I feel pity in my soul and I hold out by arm in supplication.

“Stop!”

Hope draws an icy gaze upon me before starting to melt.

“John. Would you like me to save this poor soul?” she whispers.

The demon stares at her sword before turning its gaze towards me. Its eyes are full of fear. It looks at me beseechingly.

My mind fills with conflicting emotions.

“Yes.” I finally whisper.

Hope looks upon me sympathetically.

“If it was a soul, I would.”

She swings and the white sword makes a gleeful sound. She watches the demon’s demise coldly, before turning back to me.

She sends a sign through the air, that, upon hitting me, throws me backward onto the ground.

As I cough and splutter, my eyes open and I see the sign burning the air in front of me.

“.NO………..REGRETS.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking Forward

Hope’s armour helps. Her presence helps too. But I can’t help wondering.

Is this it? Is this all there really is to life, in the end? Get up, get dressed, skip breakfast, catch an over-crowded bus, and deal with the mountain of paper work that grows steadily day by day.

I look at Hope as she plays with the cat. I send the image of question mark through the air at her. We don’t need to talk anymore. We use pictures. They do say a thousand words, after all.

She gently plucks the question mark out of the air, and nods her head in my direction. Upon doing so, a thousand newly-born images float benignly in the air. Some of them float towards me. I begin to examine them.

I see sunshine. Boats. Softly lapping water. I see sunsets and sunrises; and burning asteroids entering the earth’s atmosphere as I watch below.

I see chocolate cake and hot coffee. I see snow-laden windows and log fires. I see soft beds with fluffy pillow and clean, crisp sheets. I see ice-cream and fresh roses.

I see nights in – having a laugh with people I don’t even know yet. I look happy in those images. And those people….they seem to like me.

I watch as I bestow my love on a puppy as it looks upon me as the centre of it’s world.

I see people in trouble thinking that they want to call me. I have somehow managed to become a fixer it seems.

And then I see a female. Or maybe not her face, but a part of it.

We are lying in bed and we are laughing about something. I look down upon my body. It is not perfect, but it reminds me of what I once looked like before the drink and the fags and the unhealthy lifestyle killed it.

I turn my head towards her. She is looking away but I can see that her eyes are closed, and she has a rosy tint to her cheeks. Her hair is all messed up and rests idly on the clean pillow. She is laughing, and the edges of her eyes are all crinkled up. Her mouth is parted slightly.

She is laughing at something I said. What did I say???! I wish I knew.

I watch as I tilt my head forward and nuzzle her neck. Her fragrance enters my nostrils and I breathe her in. As I rub my nose upon her neck she laughs louder. It must tickle. I can feel her happiness. I can feel the effect of my presence on her. I sense the happiness that I somehow manage to bestow upon her.

The image disappears.

Hope is still playing with the cat. Suddenly, she snaps her head in my direction.

“?”

I don’t need to think.

 

“Good answer, honey.” I answer out loud. I tun my attention to the cat’s happy purrs as she reclines under Hope’s gentle touch.

And the magic begins to infuse me.

 

 

 

 

 

Belief

I have always shied away from confrontation.

Confrontation made met wet myself. A gift from my parents. Shout loud enough at John, he will piss himself. And then do what he is told.

Those days are passing. I am 38.

Please shout at me now. I will wrap my arms around your fucking neck and I will strangle you.

Or maybe not.

I begin to grow a new suit of armor. A suit of armour that says “Forget about it”.

Insults begin to bounce of this suit of armour. So do snide comments, slights, racist remarks, criticisms and smirks.

All of a sudden I realise I dont care about the incoming flak.. I look down on my armour.

Hope designed it, manufactured it, and bestowed it upon me with a kiss.

It is perfect. It suits me like a second skin. It does does rust. It does not taint. It does not degrade. It is top class, premium grade armour.

I try to exercise in it. It moves with me. It covers me like a liquid. Plus it has that goddam sexy blue light running through it that Hope has.

She beams at me.

“……….try it…….”

That voice. Please God, if I can mate with one angel before I go to hell,  pick Hope.

She laughs her laugh. She knows me.

I leave work and walk towards my bus stop. I take my time. I am geared. This is worth taking the walk. Hope dances beside me. I can tell she is delighted. She loves me. I love her back.

My normal bus stop is closed. My old self grumbles and I can feel the hatred rising. “Fucking bastards. Fuck! Why is this closed? Useless cunts. Why me? Why always me?”

Hope touches me. I know. I cant control it. But I can deal with it.

As I move on, another guy begins to shout.”Where the fuck am I supposed to go??!” He begins to bash the sign of the now defunct bus stop. His rage begins to bubble up. Bystanders start to move away. This is trouble. His anger is visible. He is getting ready to lose control.

Without thinking, I stop. I would never have done this in a million years. I look at him. He stares at me, eyes wide and angry.

I stare back. No fear. NO FEAR.

I raise a finger.

“Next one up.”

He stares at me. I stare at him. No fear. Maybe he recognises my suit of armour. Or maybe he recognises that I would happily place my jaws around his throat and bite – if the thought entered my mind. I hope it is the armour.

He relaxes.

“Yo. Thanks.” he mumbles.

A half assed sentiment but I dont care. I stand and watch him as he slowly makes his way to the next bus stop. I slowly follow him. This is my stop too.

I can feel his eyes on me. I can hear his confused thoughts. I can hear the conflict within him. He doesnt know what to do. Kill me or kiss me? He doesnt know.

My armour sparks. Stay still. Keep quiet. You have served your purpose. For now.

My bus comes next. It NEVER comes next. Today it does. And it is almost empty.

I climb on. The bus driver doesnt see me. The other passengers dont see me. I remain a nobody until  I get off 30 minutes later.

My stray cat waits for me, and I note that Hope is stroking her.

“………well done………..”

I try to suppress a smile.

Hope acknowledges my failure and laughs.

 

 

 

 

 

Monster

Yes, they released me. It didn’t take much. I flashed a bit of knowledge at them and upon doing so, they released a monster.

Am i am monster? Yes. I am.

And now I live as one.

Why do you think I could be a monster?

Because I am the most ruthless person you will probably ever meet.

When one wants to break the habit of being one, one must be ruthless.I am tired of this fucking world polluting my soul.

I told you I thought I knew how.

I get rid of all clutter. If it does not add to my life, it goes. There s not a single thing in my life that I cannot tell you when I bought it.

I stop watching the news. I stop watching ads. When they come on, I press the mute button. I stop reading newspapers. I am tired of the POLLUTION.

I dont give a fuck about this horrible fucking life. I dont give a fuck about the horrible people in it. I have been chosen to walk the path, so I walk it. You wanna come? You think you can make it?

I read every self help book there is. Do I believe any of it? No. It is all bollocks. But you know what? The positive energy is there. Every night I read this crap, and every night I fall asleep, a part of my brain digests it. Positivism. I don’t care. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

I start waking early. I set my alarm to wake me up at 6.30am. Why? I don’t know. I just do. I make myself wake, no matter what. I get out of my bed, and I open the door. I have my first fag underneath the whispering trees. A fag? Yes, a fag. I would rip your heart out if you tried to stop me. That battle will have to keep for now. B ut a fag keeps me compliant to myself. The body and mind are not one yet.

I stop eating fast food shit. I stop eating microwave shit. I googled how to chop lettuce and tomatoes. That’s what I eat now. Salad and eggs. I will teach myself soup.. I am bored of eating dead fucking animal. I want to eat green stuff. I fucking hate it, but you know what? Peas are actually ok.

I stop listening to negative people. I am tried of their goddam fucking whining. I stop having lunch in the canteen. I now have lunch at my desk. If you are negative, then fuck off. I do not have time for you. From now on, I surround myself with positive people.

I buy an app. It plays relaxing stuff. I listen to it. I fall asleep listening to waterfalls.  I start to imagine taking off my armor, and soaking myself in the cool, clean water. I start imaging the water washing away all my mistakes. I fall asleep to the image. I start waking up feeling better.

I listen to music. Happy music. Uplifting music. Dance music. Pop music. The radio is on in the flat and in the car. It surrounds me. I do not want any depressing shit. Only positive.

I watch Netflis. Breaking Bad. It makes me laugh. Parts are light hearted. I NEED light hearted. Please keep me making me grin.

I pray. I am not big on God. But I am smart enough to play the angles. I play the angles. I pray to St. Martin. What is the worst that can happen? He don’t exist or don’t listen? What have I got to lose? Nothing. And he got me this goddam job.

Every moment I have, I visualize. I try to relax I try to smile I imagine myself with a loving woman. I imagine myself with friends. I imagine myself with help.

I start to believe.

I START TO BELIEVE.

This bastard world tells me how I should think. It tells me how I should live. It tells me what I should drive. It tells me I should have 2.4 kids. It tells me I should be married.  I tells me what I should eat. It tells me how I should vote.

FUCK IT.

I am a fucking MONSTER. And Hope lives beside me, whispering to me, encouraging me, reassuring me. I am right. I know I am right. I am going to make it.

Watch me if I dont.