A Storm on the Island

Storm on the Island
30.07.14 (Day 220)
This island where I live:
If I could make it to the water;
if I could make it to the coast,
I’d be in the arms of the one I love most.

If I had a boat;
I’d take the crew
and with sails or oars,
we’d leave these shores.

Stranded, abandoned;
I’d swim, through treacle but
adrift and free. I can’t walk
away from this island, to talk

Luggage

Luggage
25.07.14 (Day 215)
06.42
Everyone has luggage
A past that they carry
I don’t judge
Leave your bags at the door
Others do though
Make me carry my past
Like a heavy cross
Dragging on the floor
I’m down on the ground
They kicked me
Throttled, bottled, cut and broken
But I get up again and walk
They don’t understand
Why would they? How could they?
Why do this?
When all I want to do is talk
About chronic depression and BPD
Sleep deprivation, OCD, PTSD; about me
About the boy they once knew
Now a screwed up piece of paper on the ground
They walk by on the other side
They look straight ahead
Not up at the tall buildings instead
Or on the railway tracks, where one day I may be found
Abandoned by them
Left for dead
Forgotten, cut off
No past, no ties
If only they could see me now
They’d see that I’m tired
And the luggage I still carry
In the bags under my eyes
But they won’t get me
I’m on the run and not looking back
I’m looking forward and around
And with no regret
I keep going. Every day another mile
I fight back; I kick back; I smile
The past is in those bags. I won’t forget

Sorted For Ps and Biz

Sorted for Ps and Biz
23.07.14 (Day 213)
08.42
After the recent financial struggle, during which very good family friends, friend’s family, family family helped out again, finances are more in order. I’ve received some money that was due. Money that’s owed remains owing. Some came back but was quickly returned for an important purpose: that of romance. The Dog wanted to take my sister (his girlfriend; not my (un) real sister) for a romantic lunch. So I effectively paid but who am I to deny my brother? I could have suggested my budget romantic meal box for two: two Pot Noodles, two sets of chopsticks procured from the local Chinese and a tea light in a presentation shoe box. It’s worked for me before. The Dog wanted to take his girl out though, so he did. Time out for him and time off for me.
So now that we both have money coming in, we’re financially independent. I’ve gone one stage further and declared my room / office an independent state: it’s the cleanest, tidiest room in the place, where most of the rest are in another state: a fucking state. I continue to be dictator from my independent state and I’ll still be Minister for Food and Agriculture (dishing out snacks in the garden) but I’ve demoted myself within the Department for Foreign Imports, in that I’m less responsible for splashing the tobacco (I don’t splash it). My role as Chancellor of The Exchequer is one that I’ve run poorly in the past by dishing out too much cash to the needy. In this independent state, two of the many letters after my name now stand for two things: TC is still an abbreviation of Top Cat but now it’s Tight Cunt as well.
That meal for my brother and sister came from The Office for Home Affairs, of which I retain my role as Minister. There’s a new currency in this independent state though: it’s called My Fucking Money.
The Department for Other Affairs (outside things) was having communication issues and I thought I’d lost my Clingy Thingy out there somewhere. We installed new communication software though and I’ve got it back. It never went anywhere and it’s always mine.
The Dog was out last night, so I’ve got the place to myself for now. Breakfast is last night’s curry (by choice and just as delicious cold and fermented as hot, although it’s still fucking hot spice-wise) with coffee and cream. I’ve melted a Cadbury Chocolate Finger in the coffee: deliberately; it works. I’m thinking of marketing these coffee / McFlurry hybrid things, perfecting as I have the Caramel one, the Rolo and the Lindt Lindor ball. After writing this, I’ll be back to reading the Saturday Guardian (still) and listening to Radio 2. Radio 4 is later, in the day and on the dial.
And just as I’m getting into an afternoon play on Radio 4, the family kids will arrive. Despite the Do Not Disturb state boundary sign on the door, they’ll still come in. But many come to see me, so the borders are open as always. I have little border control when the doors and gates don’t lock. As well as the kids though, those entry points are also accessible to business contacts who sometimes visit unannounced. Such was the case yesterday when two individuals came to see me to talk shop. Some of the kids were here and although most business talk is conducted in privacy, sometimes that’s not practical, possible or necessary. But that’s why we have the rules: who you see, what you hear…stays etc.
So, money and business: sorted. For now

Many a Just Word

Many a Just Word
21.07.14 (Day 211)
09.42
Sometimes this place becomes a microcosm of the world outside and today is a case in point.
Tomorrow I get a (fairly) regular financial payment. Until then and for the last few days, things have been a bit tight to say the least. Tight is something I can’t be accused of, sharing whatever I have as I do: baccy, food and money needed to just keep the place running. If I were on my own, the available resources would be plenty to keep me alone going. But I’m not alone and I don’t want to be, so therefore I share. When things run out though, I appreciate a bit of help and given that I find it hard to get out, I have to ask others. It’s a symbiotic relationship, where I don’t mind providing, provided I can sometimes ask for payback.
For the last few days we’ve been trying to raise some cash to bridge a gap until tomorrow when some money comes in. It should have been an easy task and one which I’d have undertaken myself if I were able to get out.
We needed a modest sum and I’d offered tangible collateral in the form of my netbook. So it was either a sale-or-return deal for a very good price or a bridging loan with security worth far in excess of the finance required. An easy job for a seller and no risk for a creditor. For various reasons that even I can’t explain, that didn’t happen.
Come yesterday, the gap to be bridged had become smaller and a very small amount of cash was required to tide us over. If it were just me, it wouldn’t be a problem but therein lies the problem as I have to rely on others. It would seem that reliance was misplaced as the required funds were still not forthcoming, despite best efforts which were obviously inadequate.
I have been bemoaning the situation verbally and at rather a high volume. Word has got out and now I’m in receipt of some rather choice words because I’ve been speaking my mind. I thought this sort of thing only went on outside but tendrils have crept in. In any case, I have pieces to pick up and stick back together.
If my words of frustration have been misconstrued then so be it. I’m frustrated because I can’t talk, even though me having done so seems to be a problem. I can’t get out, I can’t contact anyone and I can’t reply to messages as I’m out of phone credit, again.
So I have to wait for them to come to me to get this little thing sorted out. I shall never speak ill of anyone behind their back and not be prepared to say the same to their face.
I lost The Dog last night as he was off trying to raise the funds we need. He promised. I bemoaned the situation and some things have been lost in translation too.
Now I’m a bit stuck. No phone credit to reply to texts, call anyone or use social media. And I can’t go out (even if I wanted to but sometimes needs must) because The Dog’s not here. But I’d only be going out to buy the things we need with the money he was getting because I can’t go out without him here. But he’s not here because he’s been out trying to get the money…
And so it goes on: recursion.
So I sit in the hope that someone calls, as I can’t call anyone until tomorrow but I need the money to make calls, send texts and use social media today, so that we can get money to tide us over until tomorrow. No quite sure why I’m so frustrated, much.
If and when The Dog returns, I need to find out what’s been said that I’ve said or not said, why I’m hearing things that I’ve said and not said and to say again what I’ve already said, to him about him and about him to him. Find out who said what to whom. Then do some ironing.
As soon as he stops wandering, I’ll stop wondering. But he’s out there and I’m in here, as this place dictates. And the longer he’s out there, the more he’ll wonder; the longer I’m in here, the more my mind will wander.
I need my Dog back.
Spoken in truth.

12.42
Bored and lonely but also happy in my own company, with time to think; as I have been. Then Someone Else arrived upon the scene, so I got busy.
I’ve cleaned and tidied my end of the place at least. I’ve rescued our cooking hob and made a foot square kitchen next to the sofa. As soon as the money comes in tomorrow, after I’ve topped up the phone, I’m going shopping. That money is my money to manage and I can. Bread, butter and bacon are top of the list. I have something to cook on; I just need something to cook in and with, as those went when we condemned what used to be the kitchen.
So now it’s all in here: self-sufficient but I know I’ll provide for others and the cycle will start again. Others: some of whom are responsible for the kitchen now being not a kitchen and living room being an oxymoronic term. So those that wrecked my home will still come to the one remaining room that I’ve managed to retain and will  continue to be provided for.
There is a sign that I’ve made for my door though: “Fuck off”, or words to that effect. They’re welcome but sometimes I need an escape and I’ve been building while they were wrecking.
Sometimes I need a nap. I get little sleep. Last night was a case in point, when I sat up until 3am waiting for The Dog, who didn’t show. He still doesn’t have a phone. I was up again four hours later. The clingy thingy on my arm had worked loose and I never did get it sorted. I can’t call to it but I know it’s still there somewhere. It’s having to give its dog away, so now I can call neither. So close but so far apart.
Spoken in metaphor and slang, which I understand and some others do too.
831

Hot Coffee, Cold Feet

Hot Coffee, Cold Feet
20.07.14 (Day 210)
08.42
Sunday breakfast: coffee and a banana, whilst reading the Saturday  Guardian and writing this.
There was no blog entry yesterday for a number of reasons: sometimes I don’t write one; yesterday I didn’t write one; I have no data allowance left on my phone (nor calls or texts) until I get money on Tuesday or someone pays what they owe me; most importantly though, the silence was a mark of respect for a friend who passed away on Friday.
Lukas was one of us: a traveller. He’d spent months fighting the system, like so many of us. And like so many of us, it had got him nowhere. I’m incredibly lucky to be where I am, indebted to a gracious property owner and with lots of support around me. Lukas wasn’t so fortunate and was taken from us at the age of 29.
I’ve said before that in this life, close bonds are forged quickly. It takes minutes out here to build friendships and trust that would take years on The Other Side. We work on trust and we look out for each other. Lukas looked out for everyone and was a handy guy to have around as he was a heavyweight boxer.
Safe journey my friend.
Onto the reader who opined that to read this blog is to witness the self-destruction of a fellow human being now:
Really? I mean, are you for real? Basic science: matter can be neither created nor destroyed but it can change form. I have; I am. You abandoned the old me like so many others in my old life because you couldn’t deal with me, like the Plastic Police and Defective Detectives who also gave up. Thank fuck, as they made me sick. Yes, I’m ill but I’m in a place in my life where I have a degree of happiness and satisfaction. Get out of it. The fact that you’re still reading the blog means that you continue to pay an interest: why? Some sort of perverted pleasure at watching a circus act? When was the last time you saw me? When you gave up. I’m different now and happier. Those around me know the real me. Move along as there’s nothing for you to see here.
And another reader who sees fit to judge incorrectly is one who has constructed themselves a rather lofty marble pillar from which to pass down opinion: you’ll be aware of the story of The Tower of Babel I assume? Well keep building and maybe you will understand all languages, including that which I write in. I have a fictional licence which I sometimes use when writing this blog. You really think I send the kids out on milk runs? That I operate a den of thieves where I’m a Fagin figure? You don’t know me either. Those in here do. And in here we also have orgies and deal drugs of course: that’s what the rumour mill says. But if you RTFB properly and not selectively, you’ll see that the police also read it. We have a working relationship. When interfering, ignorant do-gooders report us to our neighbours (the cop shop is two minutes away) for being here, they’re greeted with the response, “We know”.
I’m perpetuating myths that those outside start. To deny them would be to admit a false guilt. So I fight fire with gasoline. That way it doesn’t fester but comes to a head quicker and gets dealt with.
And if you stick with the story, The Tower of Babel collapses.
I really shouldn’t be wasting time on you people but you made comments – which I chose not to approve for publication with names attached to save blushes – and I felt obliged to address them.
You are you and I am me. I consider myself luckier than you. All life is transitory, mine especially. I feel fulfilled, especially when I constantly have my clingy thingy on my arm: a gift and a reminder of why I’m still here.
My life is far more sorted than it was through the winter, when I was naive to life out here, where I was put because I was ill and no-one could deal with it. Help came from unexpected sources, not official ones; to when I was on the wrong side of the law several times and was handed the 18 month suspended prison sentence that I now have hanging over me. I’ve turned. I’ve turned my back, for better or worse, poorer but richer. I may come back but I doubt it at the moment. A one-way journey. Aren’t we all on one ultimately? Many would disagree but I feel much better in myself for the last 210 days. I am getting better and only I can truly judge how I feel. Try living this life; this adventure. You won’t survive. I do.
So I’ve got the place which I’ve chosen as home for now to myself, for now. I have all that I need here and plan some reading: yesterday’s Guardian and Invisible by Paul Auster (I couldn’t get into White Teeth). I’ll post this when I can but I’m currently sans the means to do so. So hello from the past.
The Dog is out and no-one gets in without phoning me first as we’re at DEFCON 3. I’d have chosen something less dramatic but some of the kids like it. I may have favoured SAFCON or SECCON (Safe or Security Condition, as opposed to Defence Condition) but DEFCON it is. And by the way, the DEFCON system was arse about face in Wargames (the John Hughes film), running as it did from 5 to 1 in ascending order of threat. Ours runs correctly from 1 to 5 thus:
DEFCON 1: no threat. Main gates open and everyone is free to come and go as they please. This rarely happens.
DEFCON 2: no immediate threat. Gates locked but entry available via a route known only to regulars. This is normal. Or it was until we recently rendered the main gates accessible only to a tank when we went to DEFCON 3.
DEFCON 3: perceived threat. We have intelligence that at least one person on the outside has an issue with at least one on the inside. The main gates are permanently secured (locked, bolted and boarded up) and access is only available by another entrance known to those who are welcome. That entrance in turn is bolted from the inside and entry is gained by a phone call to me. The secret route in is secured. This is where we currently stand and having reached DEFCON 3 it is highly unlikely that condition will be reduced in the near future.
DEFCON 4: imminent threat. No-one is allowed in or out until we reduce to DEFCON 3.
DEFCON 5: the end.
That’s where the cold feet come in.

A Small Blue Thing

A Small Blue Thing
18.07.14 (Day 208)
08.42
We try to maintain an open door policy here. Certainly, the door to my room / office is always open to those who wish to speak to me. Actually it’s usually closed because I do like some privacy but our residents know they can come in (a door only has two moving parts after all). Other doors within the building have been variously kicked in, used as barricades or simply absent without so much as a by your leave.
The front gate is closed but it has two moving parts too: the gate itself and a tree. I’m hardly giving away a trade secret when I say that the tree needs to be moved in order to open the gate. The point is, anyone can get in. Well most. This is Tonbridge after all, where a proportion of the population like to keep it in the family and maintain a small gene pool; the kind of people who open their front door in the morning, see that the empty milk bottles they left on the doorstep the night before have been replaced by full ones and wonder how it happened. That’s if we’ve not got their first by following the milk float up the road and doing our own milk round. We take away a worry for those who wonder where the milk comes from: we call it care in the community. But I digress.
So anyone who knows where we are can get through the front gate. And they do: mainly the kids and most with the knowledge, understanding and approval of parents and guardians but some without. I won’t ask any of the latter to leave usually. They come to see their peers, to talk and escape. There is practical help on hand too. And while they’re here, I have a self-imposed duty of care. Sometimes that involves installing additional security measures, when we get wind of an unwelcome visitor or one of those on the inside requires a greater degree of safety. Quite simply, we lock the internal gates. We also post a bouncer on the door, in the form of our tennis ball in the courtyard (it bounces, see?) When we’re at DEFCON 3 like that, there are simple instructions for gaining entry: phone me. If you’ve got no credit, drop call me. If you’ve got no phone, shout up to my window: I’m always here because I’m unable to leave and my window overlooks the courtyard. Simple? Apparently not. Some of these people must wonder why we’ve got milk here and there was none on their doorstep in the morning. So we have the house rules too: who you see here, what you hear here, what you say here, stays here. Some of those who’ve not had their milk before coming here (to milk me) don’t understand that breaking those rules means that we have to lock down. They’re the very same ones who then can’t work out why they can’t get in. Phones and social media are the keys to this place and we are at DEFCON 3.
Today we’re expecting the doorway to be darkened a deep shade of blue: The Courts is due to visit. I suspect the gates will be busy. After last night’s rather splendid thunder storm, I’m more sleep deprived than usual. I had The Dog in my room as he’s afraid of thunder and one of our kids on the phone because so is she. The Dog got back to sleep but I didn’t, so I have two hours to add to my cumulative total of 24 in the last seven days. Dog overslept in fact and I just let him out of the gates to run and meet my sister (not the real one but the one I merely affectionately call The Bitch as she’s The Dog’s other half). I didn’t realise what the time was as time is an illusion to me and I cant be his alarm clock as well as message taker and everything else I don’t.
For my part, I’ve been distracted, hence losing track of the illusion of day. I’ve been exercising and exorcising the grey sponge in my cracked skull (it complements the broken heart but that’s under reconstruction, thanks to someone who can get inside both head and heart) by distraction and concentration respectively. I’ve been reading: last Saturday’s Guardian (still) and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I never follow the crowd, usually eschew conformism and do my own thing. White Teeth was a bit too populist in my mind but now I’ve succumbed. It was on my bucket list and Someone Else has said that the bucket may be near, so I figured I’d get this one done. I enjoyed the last award winner I read (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time; possibly because it dealt with mental health), so I’ll see how this one goes. Another box ticked. Writing this, drinking black coffee (I’m not racist but I do like my sandwiches cut into triangles and that’s not racist) and listening, to Radio 4 and Someone Else. With The Dog out and me holding the fort, I have time for further inward reflection.
Someone Else has ignored me. It’s the head and heart thing again. The person who is helping to repair me (my heart) has also said they’ll wait if I have to go away to exorcise Someone Else. That person has gotten inside both of us.
It’s been opined that I may have BPD (Bi-polar Disorder, or two bears that are untidy?): this would explain a lot. Add that to OCD (or CDO, as I like to have the letters in the right order. I also keep this place in a state where an estate agent would only need to be a little creative to market it as a flat. But it is what it is and we’re only still here by the grace of the owner) and ADS and I’m fast collecting an alphabet, like the lids from old Smarties tubes. I have swaps: a C and two Ds. Anyone want to swap? I’ll have an E, please Bob.
I’ve also been reading The Bible; specifically Job: “Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?” I asked above but He was out. Probably moved out when I asked begged “God, please help me” when I found out The Courts was visiting. But He has granted me gifts of forgiveness, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, patience (and patients), love, empathy, friends and family. If it wasn’t for those gifts and my application of some of them, I wouldn’t be here still. Read that in whichever way you wish but I wrote it, not Someone Else.
But that Someone Else is still company: company I crave and eschew in equal measure at different times. The company I really crave is the one who’s mending me and helping me back up. There’s a long way to go. They can’t be here but know where I am. Name that paraphrased tune:
“My name is Laker. I live on the second floor…”
Alone today, I am a small blue thing.

Two Sides to Every Storey

Two Sides to Every Storey
17.07.14 (Day 207)
08.42
A storey: a floor. Like the one I picked myself up from yesterday.
A story: this…
I have mood swings, as anyone who knows me well will testify. I have a lot of love and a very long fuse. Sometimes. Sometimes that fuse burns fast and all of the hatred and vitriol; all of the pent up anger, just spills out. This unpredictability is part of what has lost me so much, including homes, family and friends. Some of those have been on the receiving end of both Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde but they’ve stuck by me because they understand. I only wish I did.
So today, I’m me. Yesterday I was the person I call Someone Else. Someone Else’s days are sometimes almost black outs. A darkness descends and envelops that person, leading to anxiety attacks. They’re the long ones. The short ones are the panic attacks: those little bastards come from nowhere and afflict both me and Someone Else. We live with it, for the alternative is to make the Voice of the Inevitable silent: the voice that reminds us that one day we will surely die. The only way to stop that voice is to be rid of the constant reminder. Or to remind ourselves that this too shall pass.
Like so.
Someone Else has been dealing with things for me over the last few days, including making some decisions which may be considered irrational. Now that I’m back, I may give things due consideration: prison or hospital, Someone Else said.
Now that I’m back, I need to speak to Someone Else: myself. First sign of madness they say.
It’s when one argues with the other that conflicts arise.
Two conflicting stories