Written drunk in front of a mirror, edited sober
By James Egerton
I look into the glass, plain and truthful, it never lies, that old bathroom mirror. My hand can reach towards it and I'll see just that, a hand reaching towards me. But when they touch it's like electric ice, a power surging from flesh to flesh. Glass touches skin. Skin touches glass.
My sister is singing from the other room. She’s never been a singer, always so jarring and off-key. But there's a primal beauty there, sitting underneath the discordance. Her human need to express herself, formulate the inner workings of her psyche with her voice. Something she’s always had. What God had the mercy to leave behind.
As I swivel my head back towards the reflective pane I instinctively raise my arm towards it. As if I were trying to shatter the childhood fantasy of an uncanny world where everything is backwards. Further and further my arm delves into my eyes, murky and brown, like salt mud. In these eyes is the delta to an abyss. You wouldn't think eyes like these would hold life, but they do.. but only for the hardiest of plants. The grass of mountains may live on my skin. Grow on the cold 'inhabitable' surface of me. But- like sand- I shift. I fit the mould made for me. I suppose that's what to expect from a people pleaser.
Such a simple phrase for such a complex marionette of a person. A homogenised puppet for the people around them. My strings are comments, tugging on my limbs, controlling my every movement. Comments from my parents, comments from friends, comments from my sisters, from classmates, from crushes, from teachers, customers, my grandmother, strangers I walk by in the street, the bus driver, my boss, that boy in my English class who I’m not sure understands the concept of privacy, people who I’ve never even met on the mind waste of the internet.
I wrote this because of a poster in my English classroom (which I can no longer be in). It says "write drunk. edit sober." Which now that I think about it is a little inappropriate bearing in mind he teaches 11-year-olds as well as those in their last year at school. God, I miss him. He was every art student who'd spent their years wishing for an indie movie moment's wet dream. So falsely paternal and warm. I feel like I could tell him anything. I've shared my poetry with him so what's the difference??
So that’s what I’ve discovered about myself tonight, that I myself am a reflection of the things around me, the things I notice and the things I don’t. That and that I can bedazzle some sick metaphors, intoxicated or not.