Bitumen Rivers

Taillights guiding me through the dark,
The only other sign of life on this lonely road.
Destination locked in but it doesn’t feel like home,
And again my thoughts begin to wander…

Not for the first time I think about life in perpetual midnight
The multitudes asleep, uncaring
(Easier to deal with than the usual awake, uncaring)
The roads my playground for eternity

Snap out of it as I see the road block ahead
Guilt and uncertainty wash over me as panic bursts my heart,
See the side road, make the turn,
Alone again on the road to somewhere that isn’t here

Single track roads and humpback bridges,
Blind turns and misty crossroads…
They used to hang people here you know?
But if they want to hang me they’ll have to catch me first.

Through sleeping villages and across fenceless fields
On, on into the night, every mile closer to home
Fills me with more and more despair;
Because home brings sleep, and sleep brings dreams

And dreams force me to confront who I am again.


I think I dreamt of you once

Contact made;
Hold me in those eyes,
Don’t drop me now.
Suspend me, pull me in
Closing slowly until…
Pull away, avoid contact;
I’m sorry – we’re both sorry.
It wasn’t supposed to happen.
Not like this.
No page from your imaginary script,
No cue from the director,
No lights,
No camera,
No action,
Just reaction,
Just realisation:
This is wrong.
So why do I find myself repeating that tired cliche?
Why do I see this same scene
Replayed before me every time I close my eyes?
If this was so wrong,
Why have I carried it with me for years?
Why does the memory still raise a smile?
And why am I unable to imagine
Anyone in your place?

The soundtrack to my battles

I’ve been exercising more recently. Time was I used to run 10Km every weekend, but I got lazy and less inclined to get outside (the weather didn’t help, admittedly, but still). This week, however, there’s only been a single day when I haven’t done some strenuous exercise.

On Sunday I cycled 32Km. On Monday I ran 10Km (and my time was awful because I was so out of practice). On Tuesday I went SCUBA diving. On Wednesday I ran another 10Km. On Thursday I cycled 55Km. Yesterday I rested (I thought I’d earned it). Today I have run another 10Km (my time was a lot better today, but still not where it should be).

Why do I do it? Simple. I need to escape from my daemons. They are many and varied, and they take up residence in my head, where they feed, growing in power, threatening to control me. DISCLAIMER: All daemons mentioned herein are figurative and not literal, in case you think I’m some religious lunatic or otherwise insane.

Because of the different types of daemons I need different methods of escaping them (I long since gave up on actually destroying them, as it was costing me more than I gained) – whether that be strenuous exercise, painting, reading, singing, playing guitar or writing. However, I find that escaping one group of daemons will also help to keep the others at bay.

Supposedly, “serious runners” don’t listen to music when they run. In my experience, “serious” anythings seem to be boring dogmatic people who miss out on the fun side of life. As such, I listen to music when I run (or cycle). I usually listen to high energy punk-rock or melodic hardcore, or perhaps some retro-wave depending on my mood, but I tried something different today.

My usual 10Km run is a straight run to the reservoir, 3 laps round said reservoir and then home. Today I decided to break my pace into intervals of high speed running interspersed with light jogging and walking. Supposedly this interval training is great for weight loss (not that I really need to lose any weight, but hey), but it didn’t really fit in with the music I was listing to, due to the constant changing tempo of my footfalls.

So I decided to listen to the Doom Original Game Soundtrack by Mick Gordon. For those of you who have never played Doom, it’s a SUPERB first person shooter video game wherein you must destroy (quite aptly) hordes of daemons. The daemons tend to attack in waves, gradually getting more powerful, more numerous and larger as you battle them. As this tension mounts, the soundtrack builds with the action, going from a quiet (but threatening), almost ambient background hum to a deafeningly brutal djent crescendo as the most powerful daemons appear. Then once they’re dead, it’s back to the uneasy near-silence.

Listening to this as I ran, I started to feel an almost tangible fear rising as the music increased in intensity, spurring me to run faster, until I was running hell-for-leather (no pun intended) until my lungs were on fire… and then slowing to a walk as the cadence eased off.

To all those readers who engage in interval training, I highly recommend listening to the Doom OGST while doing it. And if you want an idea of how it sounds, listen to this and imagine how it feels to be fleeing the daemons: