prosetry

The Retrogression of Self

ONE.

With every drink
comes degeneration

and every disco dabble
brings deterioration,

the reckless demolition of
a mind that thrives

on vague ideas of happiness,
promises of something better,

and desperate attempts to
experience whatever it means

to “feel alive” while being
mostly dead inside.

Devastation comes with freedom
and my worst version of myself

isn’t worth my immersion and
participation is what is commonly known

as “having fun.”

TWO.

Maybe some people
don’t suit fun or don’t deserve it,
but I simply don’t understand it:

my definition of having
a good time is as warped
as my vodka-vortex vision.

I have no hair to let down,
I ripped it all out.

I do not care for my safety —
everyone that I love is a stranger
to someone.

I smashed the tiles
that I was meant to dance on.

I spend half my life trying
and failing to order more drinks

for people who I don’t know,
with money that I don’t have

long after the bell for last orders
has rattled my rib cage

and leaving after the lights have gone out
and staying after the staff have gone home.

I feel gross and I know I am a mess,
but I pretend that this is fun,

that I don’t have a drink problem
that I don’t have a drug problem

that this is what everyone my age is doing,
that I DON’T HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM ALRIGHT?

and I am an exceptionally good liar
(as all addicts are)

so sometimes
even I believe me.

THREE.

Do you enjoy it?
Do I enjoy it?

Sparkling powder on dirty cistern
on painted thumbnail
on shattered iPad
on kitchen counter with breadcrumbs
on dusty dashboard
on pirate dvd
on corner of stolen credit card
on someone’s wriggling stomach,

with banknotes
with unsuccessful lottery tickets
with a strip of the Evening Standard
with doctor’s notes
with fluorescent straws
with glass test tubes
with torn-up takeaway menus
with your brass house key,

up it goes,
up a nose that never asked
to be involved.

No

I don’t enjoy it,
not really.

Oh

but if you’re offering,
yeah, why not.

It would be rude not to.

FOUR.

I don’t want any of this anymore.
I don’t want to be like this.
I don’t want to fight
this person anymore.
I want to kill the bad half of me,
just strangle her while she’s in bed
with another stranger,
smother her silly
until she enters a sweet forever-sleep.
Oi, leave her,
just let her sleep,
she’s so tired.
She doesn’t want to wake up
to face the morning
Don’t let her wake up
and remember what she’s done.
Don’t let her.
Just let her sleep.

FIVE.

I fill the void with
two litres of cheap wine
and morph into a monster in a mini-dress.
Really though, one sip is all it takes
for the worst version of me to arrive,
uninvited, aggressive, ridiculous.
I want to strangle her
and I think other people do too.
Some guys do, in bed,
but I tell myself that’s different.

SIX.

“Something’s gotta change.”
“I don’t want to do this anymore.”
“I need to change.”

THIS IS IT.

And so I quit, cold-turkey it, miserable, isolated.
Usually something bad has prompted my decision
so I just hide inside and want to die.
And the change is bad,
and the change is good,
and the change is very good,
and then I go back to my old ways and it starts again.

RELAPSE.

I hear them mumbling something about leopards,
and spots, and dogs that can do tricks,
and how an addict will always be an addict,
and that I’m going downwards and backwards
and upside-down at an astonishing rate
and they mention spirals and catastrophes
and concerned and worried and disappointed
but I’m not really listening because I don’t want to
hear it,
I’m gorgeous and I’m laughing
standing at the bar
and knocking back another jar
all eyes on me
the version of me that’s the crowd favourite
everyone gets to see this crazy show again
and I entertain for free –
I don’t mention how much
my party-girl persona costs me
but fuck it
as long as we’re all happy
then that’s good enough for me

SEVEN.

The next day I always feel
more panic than shame:
it is dread, utter dread,
and fear at what I have done and said,
and it’s terrifying.
I try to push it out of my mind. “It’s fine,”
I say, “it’s fine.”
I forget that other people’s memories
work far better than mine.

EIGHT.

“Oi, Party Girl, why do you care so much about everyone else, but not yourself?”
“That’s just how it is.”
“Well, you should. Start caring for yourself.”
“Nah, I’d rather invest my energy in others.”
“But you deserve to be good to yourself.”
“The damage is done.”
“No it’s not, it’s never too late to change. You can turn your life around.”
“No I can’t.”
“Stop being so fucking pessimistic.”
“It’s like when people continue to put food out for their pet after it’s dead and buried.”
“What?”
“Like shutting the stable door after the horse has already bolted and run miles away.”
“You’re not an animal.”
“Oh, aren’t I? I know a few guys who would disagree with you on that one.”
“For fuck’s sake. Fine, I give up. Destroy yourself. But I’m not going to play a part in your death.”
“Oh, thanks. It is your round though…”
“No, fuck you.”
“Large chardonnay with a dash of lemonade please, darling.”
“No. Why do you do this to yourself?”
“Because vodka is cheaper than dialectical behaviour therapy.”
“What’s that?”
“And I get to hang around with you fine people.”
“You’re the most frustrating person I’ve ever met.”
“Why thank you, kind sir.”
“If you were a bloke, I’d probably have hit you by now.”
“You’re so sweet. No ice.”
“What?”
“In my spritzer. No ice.”
“Agh, okay, but this is your last fucking drink.”
“Fine.”
“For fuck’s sake.”
“Thanks, you’re a real pal.”
“We’re all worried about you though.”
“Hey, enough of that. Now hurry up and get me a beverage, there’s too much blood in my alcohol stream!!”

NINE.

It’s all fun and games until

it’s no longer fun?
it’s no longer a game?
you struggle to remember the last time it was fun?
you begin to think that drinking and drug-taking was never actually ever fun?

It’s all fun and games until you admit that it was never fun,
nor was it a game, but rather 12 years of socially-acceptable self-destruction made excusable because of my youth and troubled childhood.

“The fun stops here, kiddo.”

TEN.

Something has got to change.
I think that “something” might be me.


Featured image source “You will drink and drink till you die!” from The Windsor Magazine, 1902.

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14 thoughts on “The Retrogression of Self

  1. What a beautiful posting – so real and vivid and living – it ain’t always easy yet|you make it sound so real life. A change is going to come, change is awkward but I believe in you. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great piece. I love the process shown here. You get to see inside her head, how she struggles, and falls-back to old habbits, until sh finally, might see she is worth “changing.” I hope she does.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Hold On |

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