poetry, Prose

Instead of killing yourself


By Louise Anne Buchler




Instead of killing yourself
You could make a cup of coffee, peel an orange, play a song you loved when you were thirteen, gangly, and coming undone.

You could paint your nails turquoise, lie in the sun, master Russian, watch Hitchcock films, read a classic novel, meditate on Kafka, and re-think existentialism, your life, your hair.
Watch trains, wave as they pass, stand on the bridge, feel small, feel big, take up space, walk, count every step, run, run faster, catch your breath, hold it, breathe out, let go, the universe as small as the palm of your hand, dispersed dandelion wishes, let go, let go and in letting go hold on
Say I love you, say I hate you, write a letter to your teenage bully, write a letter to someone you once loved, write a letter with all you wish to say and do not send it.

Lie on the grass, lie on the sand, plant something, keep it alive, feel the mulch under your nails, smell the wet breath of soil, pull out the weeds that choke and mar, make space for spring in your heart.

Tell a secret. Keep one. Fold an origami crane, unfold, fold an origami you, unfold. Listen to an aria, listen to Bach, listen to the symphony of voices in small spaces, pick out words, write them down. Observe everything.

Instead of killing yourself
Get a cat. Get 12 cats. Get one more. Feed yourself small spoons of kindness. Swallow. Repeat. Laugh at one thing, let the laughter engage your whole body; laugh at the madness, stupidity and beauty around you – your inner cynic may vomit (that’s ok). Remember your first race, remember the finish line. Remember yourself at 5,6,7 – remember yourself with love, the pictures you drew, the smell of sugar paper and oil crayons, Defend the scabby kneed, jewel of you, cast a line all the way back, champion that heart through the decades, wrap it in tissue paper, keep it safe in a cardboard box, champion all the incarnations of you. Remember how it felt when you understood that we will all die.

Try not to worry. Try to stay. Focus on sitting still. Focus on moving forward. Focus on the scudding clouds, the clarity of blue, September. Do not let the whim of others alter who you are. People come. They also go, they drown in puddles, they sail us over oceans of self-doubt. Sometimes they love us. Sometimes they understand. Sometimes they release us with a hook-wound back into the sea. Bid them well. Tread water, float, swim. Don’t stop swimming.

Brave explorer, I know you have climbed a hundred metaphorical mountains before breakfast – every damn one an Everest expedition, I know something of world weariness, the longing to be still and Novocain numb, here, where everything ceases to matter, that unbearable anaesthesia; it’s a quiet death and there is never a guarantee on the prescription pamphlet that you will thaw from this freeze – like a celebration roast on your birthday, or that change will come, running down the street with the laboured tinkling of a nostalgic ice cream truck or that you will wake a different person, who sucks positivity like a boiled sweet, a mantra of live! Live! LIVE, in your ears. I hear you, I see you, I send my love to you in droves of doves, a deep pelican beak abundant with fish, a handmade kite on a windy day, “a bright red sloop in the harbour” the suicide poets dancing mid air, their words like seagulls declaring their truth – statements are enough in broken climates. We are adorned in these miseries, the heart’s last vestige, it is a poor fit, we are all runway models with broken limbs, birds who forget their wings, we are stuttering like vintage cars, we are negotiating with our ancestors. We are not broken in need of repair, we never ignore the elephant in the room – instead we festoon it with marigolds, offer up a cup of tea. We know the impermanence of life; we consult with graves every day, toes dipping the surface, surveying the depth. We write our eulogies on the body, the staccato tattoo throbs the ending, we are anxious all the time.

I find a forced conclusion – writing it down I imagine we meet on an autumn day, the first leaves scatter like old news – our hands are cold. We sit in silence, the air perfumed with chimney smoke and the taste of green. We are held in the moment, a devastating despair, we face it together, we sound out sadness, mouthfuls of vowels swelling in gutfuls , escaping the gape, they flap and glide – our glossy winged birds, squawking and calling, diving like bombers, circling like vultures, spinning with sorrow. Perhaps we cry, perhaps we feed them bread crumbs and worms, perhaps we load slingshots with tiny stones and shoot into the void, perhaps we build an ornate birdcage, perhaps we become scarecrows, perhaps we release them, perhaps they return. “I am not ok” we say, “I don’t know if I ever will be” – for a moment the sky clears, we are a strange tragic chorus, we are a sad repetition. The birds abandon their squawking. We nod in recognition.

poetry, Prose, Reviews


Inspired by the 2016 film Fences (click here)
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spin the ball with me…hold that leather skull in your hand it’s just baseball

it could be rocket science ingredients leaping from tube to tube with the fear of fire and the desire to turn into something cold and remembered

in baseball folks are running from plate to plate sometimes you miss the ball like it’s a force you can’t see…an idea you can’t free…a divorce in your head maybe

an old man is out building a fence…he buys sturdy wood…he wears a smile and a stare that crawls into your bones

he churns up the naked loam with an old spade…his hands cling to the wooden neck the same way a jaded man fondles a bottle of something strong enough to wash emotions away

“one day I’ll finish this damn thing” he tells himself…earth, sweat and spray rinse dense memories he cannot leave behind unless he presses his lips to the gentle kiss of a gin bottle

old, polished, strong to the taste just like a boy he remembers and the man he forgets




Philosophy, Prose

into the jungle

It was the first night. I was in a car with three three other men. We were greeted by a dark skinned, 6 foot tall behemoth. His beard hung from his face like a heavy scroll. He bent down. He peered into the car with abyss-black eyes. The first thing I noticed were the tight leather gloves cloaking his hands, ripe for a killing. Continue reading

Articles, Prose

Monologue from Crave (written by Sarah Kane)

The following is a monologue I came across from (what is quickly becoming) my favorite playwright, Sarah Kane. How did I find her? Well, I was browsing a this link about the top playwrights.

It was about the top 10 famous – or terrifying, to be article specific – playwrights. Many of them were the ‘classics’ like Arthur Miller and Samuel Beckett, Jean Paul Sartre. Something that would cause (anyone with an iota of culture in them) to raise an eyebrow, or at the very least leave a footnote in the conversation.

Yes, conversations have footnotes. It’s those fragments that leave with you into the night when you’re having that last cigarette before bed, or you’re lying comatose steadily watching the spiral of the ceiling fan. So good these bits are, you hesitate when reaching for the toilet roll, after you’ve taken a meaningful shit.

This is what Sarah Kane leaves buried in the best (and sometimes the more troubled) of us.


“And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes and tell you I like your shoes and sit on the steps while you take a bath and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food and meet you at Rudy’s and talk about the day and type your letters and carry your boxes and laugh at your paranoia and give you tapes you don’t listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio and take pictures of you when you’re sleeping and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florent and drink coffee at midnight and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match and tell you about the the programme I saw the night before and take you to the eye hospital and not laugh at your jokes and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while and kiss your back and stroke your skin and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your
and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home and sit on the steps smoking till you come home and worry when you’re late and be amazed when you’re early and give you sunflowers and go to your party and dance till I’m black and be sorry when I’m wrong and happy when you forgive me and look at your photos and wish I’d known you forever and hear your voice in my ear and feel your skin on my skin and get scared when you’re angry and your eye has gone red and the other eye blue and your hair to the left and your face oriental and tell you you’re gorgeous and hug you when you’re anxious and hold you when you hurt and want you when I smell you and offend you when I touch you and whimper when I’m next to you and whimper when I’m not and dribble on your breast and smother you in the night and get cold when you take the blanket and hot when you don’t and melt when you smile and dissolve when you laugh and not understand why you think I’m rejecting you when I’m not rejecting you and wonder how you could think I’d ever reject you and wonder who you are but accept you anyway and tell you about the tree angel enchanted forest boy who flew across the ocean because he loved you and write poems for you and wonder why you don’t believe me and have a feeling so deep I can’t find words for it and want to buy you a kitten I’d get jealous of because it would get more attention than me and keep you in bed when you have to go and cry like a baby when you finally do and get rid of the roaches and buy you presents you don’t want and take them away again and ask you to marry me and you say no again but keep on asking because though you think I don’t mean it I do always have from the first time I asked you and wander the city thinking it’s empty without you and want want you want and think I’m losing myself but know I’m safe with you and tell you the worst of me and try to give you the best of me because you don’t deserve any less and answer your questions when I’d rather not and tell you the truth when I really don’t want to and try to be honest because I know you prefer it and think it’s all over but hang on in for just ten more minutes before you throw me out of your life and forget who I am and try to get closer to you because it’s a beautiful learning to know you and well worth the effort and speak German to you badly and Hebrew to you worse and make love with you at three in the morning and somehow somehow somehow communicate some of the overwhelming undying overpowering unconditional all-encompassing heart-enriching mind-expanding on-going never-ending love I have for you.”




He moved in a sway of movement, half-rippled time flowed through his bones. He remembered being at the restaurant, the smell of cigarettes and the slow juice that crept out of his steak. He was there only for a moment. Everyone else was ready for the party, dressed in pressed shirts. He arrived there with sandals and the shirt he forgot to wash.


Now he sat alone in his bed. Lying in the ether of his blankets and watching the electronic images flow through the screen. Is it possible to feel unfinished with your own emotions? It was eleven o’clock and he could still feel the tipsy mist stroking his head with a strange hand. Pathos they call it. When a character is almost miserable. When you’re stuck between the fork prongs.


He cleared his throat with the mischief of a cough. His head buried into unconscious content of the duvet. He could start to dream, and smell the lacquer of the future. Because dreams were real. The slow effervescence of quiet waved away the ticking chaos. When you sleep you are no longer feeling. You are riding through dialogue, and counting the dog-eared pieces of color.


It is morning now. He sloughs off the creases in his head. He sits down and waits for the kettle to finish losing its temper. He dips his lip into the soft warmth of coffee. He can breathe again. The last drops gather together in a brown crown, circling the depth. It reminds him of the dream that lies at the bottom of everything. It watches the quiet voices start to murmur something about the underside of our minds. They are there in the bed with us, much like the static coffee droplets and our scrambled hair, for a little while.






Prose, S.S.B

Chapter 20

This morning Gregory folded his clothes neatly in the basket. They were fresh off the line and he then decided to make sure that everything else that he did, that morning, involved some of sort of cleaning. If he were to be totally truthful…he hated cleaning up. It was a personal nightmare. It felt like he brain was slowly eroding away with each menial step he continued to take. Although he’d now learnt that phrase “Someone’s got to do it”. It rang in his head like an equally annoying alarm clock.

While cleaning up his radio blurted out Bon Jovi’s song, Living on a Prayer. Although whenever the chorus came he bellowed out “aaaah-ha living on my owe-hone”. It seemed to comfort him now that he was making his own way in the world. It wouldn’t have been his first choice, but he was starting to like some of the choices he was starting to make.

“Fuck you.”

The following song was a Katie Perry song, and a pet hate. He abruptly turned off the radio, and continued to shuffle through his pairs of socks. Since cleaning up and washing up after himself, he’d started becoming a lot more forgiving with certain knit-picks he’d had in the past. For example, he’d had an issue with socks. Gregory was by no means a perfectionist, although socks had started to wander into that category. Gregory had had the belief that socks had to match…no matter what If he ever saw some forgetful person wearing to different kinds; he’d mentally berate them for being so sloppy and untidy.

Since he’d moved out of the house, a lot of Mr. Tweedle’s opinions had begun to change. Unfortunately the subject of socks was one of them. This is because he simply couldn’t be arsed to fold them up so they would look pretty for a week or two. There wasn’t enjoy time in the day to spend an extra twenty minutes, going through the of sock folding. Instead Gregory he came up with a much better idea. The idea was to have a sock bucket. One little bin where you clean the clean little soldiers ready to be unleashed upon the world. It was far more creative, not to mention that everyday now had an element of surprise in it.

Gregory threw everything in his sock bucket, and left. He had business to do.



Prose, S.S.B

Chapter 18-19


Gregory had an ugly confession to make. It was the kind of confession you’d rather be mumbling to someone well-proportioned with a gun, or some spindly-legged 18 year-old American teenager who hadn’t taken his pills…or to be more specific to no one at all. Gregory had to have a few swigs of his favorite brandy before even having the interview with the Narrator.

The fact was that Gregory was ‘over-estimating his age and responsibilities’. These were the word that bounced out of his father’s mouth with the ferocity of a paper shredder. His poor mum simply shrugged off two tears teetering on the tips of an emotional outburst. To be even more honest, Gregory wasn’t a professional programmer. He did love computers, and electronics…but the only major success he’d had in his short-lived adult life were the few comments anonymous people threw at his blog.

Gregory was a reasonable lad, and this sort of confession was normally far beyond any twenty-four year old…but the inevitable had landed on him. This was probably more painful to admit than his previous fabrication of his identity.

Mrs. Tweedle had a dear a fragile face. Gregory had once heard that ‘a face is nothing without eyes’. He thought about this, and decided that Mrs. Tweedle had fragile eyes, careful hair, and a tightly worn mouth. Come to think of it, it could only be the eyes that were fragile because everything else in Phillipa Tweedle had had the urge to resist gravity as much as possible. To be more specific Phillipa was one of those people that words like toilet, sex, slippers, bath, and hike were seen as fearsome challenges rather than exciting possibilities.

Despite this she waddled over to the foot of Gregory’s bed one evening. She sat down rather promptly and in her dear voice said, “Munchkin…there’s something we need to discuss…”

His blood went cold. This was not because The Wizard of Oz has given him nightmares fifteen years earlier, or because she had taken control of his legs and voice at the same time. His blood turned violently cold because she spoken that ‘cursed phrase’ that hadn’t come out in a very long time. Every time she spoke it, his dignity rarely lived to tell the tale (or in most cases, the saga). Soon after the morbid introduction Gregory came to learn the following…he was to move out of the house.

His mum had made it sound so simple and silly, that he’d hesitated on uttering ‘yes’ to her rhetorical phrases and suggestions. Basically he’d learnt that they were doing a lot of kicking…and he simply had his hands in the air like a criminal. This wasn’t a misrepresentation either. A few weeks later – still fuelled by the injustice – Gregory had crawled into an internet café and posted his thoughts on his blog.


20 ways to leave home, get a job and become a psychopath


Recently I was kicked out of house and home. By recent I actually mean that I got this news a good couple of hours ago. It’s so fresh in my head that I still have to remind myself I’m moving out tomorrow and being banished from freedoms, and thrown into the chains of commercialism and the claws of capitalism. Allow me to demonstrate with a list resulting from three magic words, no well-meaning citizen should ever hear.

They kicked me:

  1. Out of the house.
  2. Out of my warm bed and blankets
  3. Onto the grimy streets that await me.
  4. Into the company of people (drunk and hung-over). I heard that one of them studied Philosophy soon after he had memorized ten shooters from the eight clubs he’d been to.
  5. Into unemployment, and millions more strangers staring at me.
  6. Into a house full of people. They politely call this a ‘Communal Dwelling’ which feels more like a concentration camp of chaos.
  7. Away from the Internet (which was my intellectual warm bed and blankets).
  8. Away from my parents. Despite my swearing at them, this means I’m still going to have no one to drive me to the bus stop every morning.
  9. Into the murderous rain. This is due to pt. 7 and other ways that they are telling me where to stick it.
  10. Into Laundromats, filled with the lower class somberly staring at the cycle of clothes and suds. All I was thinking was: Where The Fuck Is There Telly Around Here
  11. Into dirty newspaper stands. Because after a few evenings in the pub you forget about the news, and because you’ve spent you hard-earned money drinking…you now have to squint at the headlines of The Guardian, through the rain and with a hangover.
  12. Into the hands of the Coppers. (see pt. 18)
  13. Into a fast food store. The most words you’ll ever say over the phone are “Please stop shouting at me, I’m only a cashier.” And then very occasionally, “I can’t make the cooked-spider disappear from your fries.”
  14. Away from people that had a good sense of hygiene, and table manners.
  15. Far away from any kind of domestic animal. The only thing I can pet is my drunken roommate when he’s throwing up in the toilet bowl and not my sock drawer.
  16. Away from people who have a sense of moral decency to remain sober. (The opposite is equally frightening – see pt. 4)
  17. Away from a clean fridge that stops food from going off. (i.e. it never malfunctions)
  18. Out of the reach of my favorite breakfast cereal. The last time I saw it was in a supermarket. It was the very last one in the aisle, and so it was between me and the old lady.
  19. Onto the street (with millions other people who don’t mind poking you in the eye with their umbrellas when you forgot yours in the door of a train).
  20. Into dirty internet cafés (where I’m typing this and trying not to think about the yellow stain on the left-button of the mouse).



Months later another computer geek got hold of this very post and decided to email it around to every school mailing list he could hack into. This did not go down well for Gregory. Within a period of a few days he was subsequently armed with a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a lawyer, a dietician and two social workers. When a tabloid reporter later asked the reason for all of this he replied, “My Mum’s eyes are the only thing about her that is fragile.”

After a year bulleted by, the newspapers (thankfully) had now found another Tsunami to investigate. It left Gregory to his lonely devices of drinking, insomnia, gaming, smoking, and watching late night TV. When one stray reporter did remember to do a follow-up…Gregory gave him the number of his shrink. Which made the newspaper read:

When I asked about the condition of the infamous Kick List Conman, his psychologist reported that “[Mr. Tweedle] is in an emotional, but stable condition.”



Prose, Uncategorized

A message from my sister…

(NOTE: The following story was told by my half sister, I’ve simply interpreted what she said – via my step mother – the scribe.)

*The Crystal of Love*

By Trinity Ballam-Smith

Chapter 1

One day there was a jungle girl named Ellie. She lived in an island named Hawaii. She was sooo happy there. One day (while trying to find some grapes) she spotted an elephant. She didn’t know that she could speak to animals. But when the elephan tried talking to her…Ellie listened.

They were very confused because they didn’t know they were sisters. They went to the elephant Cloud Princess and she said,

“Do you know that you two are actually sisters?” and she was amazed that the elephant princess had old her story.

She replied, “”Did you know, a long time ago King Rothbart turned me into an elephant because he was so angry. I didn’t let Rothbart go, so he strangled me and he took all my powers away. I only have one power left, and Rothbart doesn’t like me any more. he put me into a dungeon, but luckily I broke through.”

She paused momentarily, and continued.

“Rothbart takes all my powers away, and doesn’t gove me anything. So I moved into the Cloud Kingdom, and I needed to live all by my own.But luckily I had some animals to speak to me.”

Rothbart came every single day to check on the Cloud Princess, but eventually she fought back to get more powers. The world changed and all the trees were dark around her…and there was no pollution in the air. the Cloud Princess and stopped all the pollution.

Ellie (the Cloud Princess) said, “Bye-bye” to the Cloud Elephant, and ran off to find the Crystal of Love. She told them about a wand, and a ring of love, lying in the dark depths of despair. To find the Crystal of Love, Kindness, and Helpfulness you must go there.

“Remember,” she said.

“The Crystal of Love, is the more important than all the kindness in the world!”


pressed keys

ive got to keep on holding on to this keyboard and the life that lives and leaves me the black plastic keyboard gathers into my frown brown hands making a small mould for me makes it all feel like a dream with the keys pressed into my palms and the software staring through my rapid face im a simple king of my emotions, they crowd me now look for a face between the pages of roughly hewn software spitshitting my pages between brackets and hemidemisemi colons who themselves are

nervous of the cursor

but then back to the main page where i can at least breathe without an emotional choke and squeal from it you see i feel to good like that strutting out in the rough public who seem to throw a few glares and bulleted comments numbered by rage and date


maybe its me hiding behind that nervous cigarette held in my smooth fingers ive always been good with the smoke that drapes you across the room itll listen when you get close enough to speak and then once a mutter escapes it splashbackflashes like a firstime shy girl whose not meant for the show tonight

she will at least watch me

through the vital light and nervousness that crowds and irritates her curtain hair and fatalashes look at me will it ever last through the game and my bleak sense of interest a predicted momentum and almost just about ready to leap into the shadows smoke and darknavy part of her dress that

not many of us have talked about yet because the rest of the show seemed so much more muddled and interesting to the pie lit eyes and bakery faces cooking under those fragile dance lights that catch up with the rhythm laced into her loins lying along the rest of us in jokes beer crackedcans tenderjeers soberyears coke pulse and leftover smoke coming from me and

the keys i pressed