my inbox killed my darlings

She hurtles after him. A single neon street lamp barely reveals the aftermath of a road attacked by storm clouds.Wind bellowing through her hair. Full flight beneath her feet. Anticipation burning in her chest. Stealth glowing behind her cat eyes.

My eyes flutter open.

She is gaining on him.

Roll over.

His hair slicked with sweat.

iPhone reads 4:56am. Unplug it.

His heart roars.

Roll over beneath the covers.

He’s losing ground.

Swipe screen.

And still, he runs. Crying out to his thighs, his biceps, his blood to CUT JUMP MOVE NOW! But –

Flashing number seven, hovering over my mailbox icon.

But he –

Nibbling rodents of unusual sizes: Qantas Travel and AirBnB spam-mites.

Dear Erin, Have you renewed your subscription to…DELETE; Dear Erin, Unfortunately, Michael has revoked his application but the good news is that mould would like to continue squatting…NEXT; Hi Erin! This incredible raw food offer expires…NOW.

Dear Alison, Do you think Mr Mould would consider signing a five to ten year lease? Fuck knows he’s in arrears as it is. Might as well grow some balls while he’s at it. Actually stake his claim to that shoebox of steaming green gunge that we call ‘My Asset of Intelligent Potential Wealth’ and see if we can take him for everything he’s got.

BACKSPACE BACKSPACE BACKSPACE SELECT ALL DELETE

Ooh…hang on…

It’s that petulant child, LinkdIn. (LinkDin? LINKDin?)

Do you know this guy?

I dunno – do I?

He thinks he knows you.

Aren’t you supposed to tell me this stuff?

He’s been looking at your profile.

Ok. Interesting. Young?

Your age.

Handsome?

Naturally.

Industry?

Film.

Come on… ‘Freelance’?! Does that really count?

He knows you’ve looked at his profile now.

Shit. Fuck you, linkdin.

Wait –

Does that make me more or less interesting? My profile has nothing on it. Why are all these strangers asking to ‘connect’ with me and my nothingness?

I should update my profile.

Make it worth their while.

Hey. When did she become a ‘Copywriter’?

I should apply for that job.

Make my life worth my while.

I can’t really be bothered though.

Oh dear God…

Oh…holy fuck.

FUCK YOU LINKDIN

How the fuck do I spell that anyway?! (I should check before I post this…should I post this?)

SHUT UP! Look!

Oh no…no no no no no…NO

Cat Girl and Lion Heart Boy lie splattered across the highway of my mind.

What have I done?!

A horrific homicide of dreams haemorrhaging into the dark, intangible interweb.

But I only took my eyes off them for a moment!

That’s all it takes.

Help! Somebody?! Anybody?! Please!! Help me!

An ambulance wails a distant cry.

It pierces my heart.

Yes! Yes! Oh, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Come! Quickly!

It’s coming closer…

Hurry!!

But it’s too late.

No!

I know it.

No! No! No…oh, no…

I stand over them for that short instant, watching the light drain out from behind their eyes. Almost as fast as they came into being, they are gone again.

Man…

Life is so short. So unfair.

My poor darlings…

A heavy breath falls out of my nostrils.

Well…

iPhone reads 4:58am.

I’m up now.

Plug it in.

I should make the most of it.

Roll over.

Maybe go for a run.

Eyes flitter and close.

But sleep never comes.

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Fire Fly

My eyelids draw to a close as I drag deeply on my cigarette. The gentle insect drone hangs in the hot air, swelling inside my head, as I sit here alone on the back step.

I love this hour. Coming home late from work to the old, sleeping farmhouse. The smell of sweat, garlic and sweet fruit infused on my fingertips. I’m away from the city, away from the world. Just me, and the stillness of the outback. We’re old friends now.

Staying up into the early hours of the morning has become of my hobbies recently.

I take a generous swig of wine and hold it in my mouth for a moment, letting my tongue soak in the dark grape. The eucalyptus trees that line the stream at the end of the field are silhouetted against the city lights. As I let the mouthful of wine escape down my throat I wonder how many of those skyscrapers are occupied right now. Bustling with worker bees hammering away at their desks. Shutting out the world and zoning in on spreadsheets, deadlines and bonuses: The Important Stuff. Why do we do this to ourselves? What is the point?

Christ, who the hell do you think you are? You think working in the kitchen is ‘the shit’, like you’ve got it all worked out, huh? Who are you kidding?

But at least I’m happy.

Well, most of the time. When Cam’s on.

Aren’t I?

Well, yeah, why not? I like the work, I like the people. What else do you need? And Cam is a pisser – man, I’d hang around that joint just so I can muck around with him – he’s quality!

Fuck, I don’t know. It’ll do for now.

I take another drag, another mouthful.

I can’t stay here forever – I know that. This house will fall apart, for one.

I do want more than this though. I deserve more. At least, I hope I do.

Wondering what I’m doing with my life is fast becoming another hobby of mine.

I try to quiet my mind with another drag, another mouthful.

Then, a distraction of another kind. Beyond the trees, something glows. I squint my eyes and concentrate on the spot. It’s a red ring with a centre of bright white.

The bushfires. Of course, I had forgotten. I remember a sound bite from the morning’s news debating whether or not they had been deliberately lit. They were big this year. It kind of amazes me that someone would have the guts to do it. It’s an amazement that borders on awe. The exhileration, the buzz they must feel seeing the blaze, the press, the control through the destruction…

Another drag, another mouthful.

Wait a minute. The ring looks bigger now. It can’t be. The fires are miles away. They can’t reach us here.

Can they?

I squint my eyes, harder this time.

Images start dancing out of the flames, morphing into solid silhouettes.

There is a figure. It dances alone in the flames. It’s hypnotic. I’m transfixed on their flight, the flow. It’s hard to make out if the heat is radiating off their flesh or if they are burning. But then the figure steps forward, further into the bright light at the centre of the flames and I can see him. His skin is dry and his cheeks are pale.

I look away then and reach for the wine bottle sitting beside me. This wine must be strong. Or I’m drinking way too fast. I sniff the opening and scan the label. Everything looks ok. I light up another cigarette and turn my gaze back to the flames.

They’re much bigger now. And closer. I can almost make out his features now. The flickering flames form fingers and limbs. Four arms protrude from his body. A drum is tucked under one, another points towards his lifted foot, the third is on his heart and the fourth hand is extended, his palm facing me.

An old memory flashes to mind – I’m walking to school. I come to the pedestrian crossing. The man in the white coat with bright reflectors across his torso waits. As I approach, he holds out his hand to the traffic on either side. He keeps his hand in place as he strolls confidently into the road, blows his whistle loud and clear and I sprint across to the other side.

‘Go, little fire fly! Run like the wind!’, he would call after me. And my legs would shoot off, gaining pace, going faster and faster. My heart racing. My blood pumping.

My palms are sweating.

What the hell is going on? I’m being pulled from my seat, compelled forward – by what? What is this?! My blood pumps faster and I have am forced to grip my hands on the step beneath me just to ground myself to the spot.

I am not of my body. It wants to run, wants to chase.

My gaze locks on the figure. It is fully formed now. And so close. Come on. Come to me. Step out from the flames. Come to me. Open up my chest. Nestle under my ribcage. You’ve ignited the engine, now ignite my heart. Show me what I am. Do that for me. Please.

Do it. Do it now.

Come to me. Do it.

Why don’t you come?

What’s your problem?!

What are you waiting for?

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?!

I hear myself scream out loud.

And suddenly my body takes over. I shoot off the stairs and I am running. Running with the heat, the buzzing insects cheering me onwards. My lungs gasping for air. Running towards the ring of fire. Wanting, reaching, chasing. He holds my gaze until my chest cries out, ripping inside my chest. My body lurches, wincing, my eyes clenching. I come to a grinding hault, my hands on my knees to hold me upright. I heave the air in.

I open my eyes and look up. He is gone. So too is the fire.

And it’s just me, alone. Standing in the middle of the field. My old friend softly hums to me while I catch my breath. I wait as my pulsating veins calm themselves. Waiting somewhere between home and the rest of the world.

 

In the Nataraja statues, Shiva dances alone in a ring of flame. When this image has four arms, one hands holds the drum, signifying both the rhythm of time and our own heartbeats; another gestures toward his lifted foot. A third hand is raised in abhaya mudra, which resembles our modern gesture for “stop”, but in this case signifies “fear not”. The fourth is in teaching mode. One foot, usually the left, is crushing a small misshapen figure representing ignorant action, while the other lifts, indicating liberation.

Downward Dogs & Warriors: Wisdom Tales for Modern Yogis, Zo Newell (2007, pg. 36)

Dharma Dog’s Addiction

The grooves on the lid of the jar strain against the skin on my hand. Fucking – stupid – bloody – argh! – why do they make them so – fucking owwww! – give up – no! Fuck you I want some fucking peanut butter – fatty – what did you say? – someone will walk in any second now – why can’t I open – you really want them to see this? – FUCK!!!

A squeal from the other room. It pierces my ear and punches me in the stomach, ricocheting up my spine. I leap out of myself, over the toybox, army roll down the corridor and dive over the the bike parked ever so cleverly in the one of the most frequented pathways in the entire house. By the time I have made it through the gauntlet and into the living room doorway, the shrill has dissolve into an infectious giggle. It bounces around her body with boundless energy.

His tail kicks up such a desperate dance. It’s determined to snap off from his backside and fly off back to it’s maker, unaware that it’s already home. He has her tiny frame pinned to the floor with all four paws and a sloppy, wet tongue. He’s strategic – I’ll give him that: he’s got shoulders, hips and face covered – she’s not going anywhere. Not that this ever crosses her mind. She is exactly where she wants to be. Right here, right now, this is her bliss. Her truth. All of her short five years on the planet have come to this moment. And she is all light and love.

“Kitti, you ok there?”

It’s a stupid question, really. I feel sheepish as soon as it leaves my mouth. She, on the other hand, pays it no attention. It doesn’t even make a dint on her bliss bubble. It simply bounces off into the stratosphere, deleted from reality.

Their love is impenetrable. He can’t help but smother her with joy. It’s completely out of his control. She is helpless to it’s power. She can do nothing but surrender herself of it.

I smile and let out a long breath. I realise I am still holding the peanut butter jar. It’s no longer cutting grooves into my skin. Without shifting my gaze from the two friends on the floor, I gently twist open the lid, plunge my middle finger in and scoop out a generous dollop. I wrap my mouth around my peanut-buttered digit, relishing the salty goodness.

Who needs artificial distractions to entertain our minds when life itself shows us when – and how – to shift our focus? The illuminated life is so much more vibrant than we give it credit for. If we would only pay attention.

 

Dharana (focus) is holding one’s awareness in one place – Part 3, Sutra #3

This steady single focus propagating unceasingly is Dhyana – Part 3, Sutra #2

“As a man thinketh, so shall he be.”

It is better to live your own dharma unsuccessfully than to try to live someone else’s dharma. – Bhagavad Gita