Kojo is a 25-year-old world renowned writ- no that’s a lie. Well not yet anyway.
He says "I often find it difficult to describe what I write because it simply comes from a place centred in how I feel or what I’m interested in at that particular moment. Like any other human, this shifts continuously. Generally though, I write written spiels seeped in existentialism – what it means to be human and to be alive; poetry about… whatever takes my fancy I guess."
Waking up. Those first few minutes when you forget all of life’s worries and pleasures.
Those moments where nobody has passed, you’re not broke, lonely, late for work or failing at school.
Those beautiful, few seconds, which tick by with your mind in a pleasant bliss, unaware of the impending train about to drag it 18 ways from Sunday. If heaven can be found on Earth, here, is where it will be.
She’s still in my bed.
I should hold her.
Raise her head and gently slide my left arm under the pillowed side of her neck. Coiling it around the front as if to say I’d never let her go.
She’d snuggle her into my arm and grab with both hands as if to say she’d never let me let her go.
My right hand, now resting on her belly as if they were holding her together the vital stopgap preventing her contents suddenly spilling out onto the bed.
Although I never complained when her liquids spilled before.
And we’d stay there, silently smiling. Thinking of one another, with one another.
Thinking about how perfect this scene was. How’d I would write poetry about it someday soon.
I can still smell her on my sheets. Still feel her forehead on my lips.
Listen to her hear my heartbeat quicken as her cheek nestled in my chest.
This is what they spoke of. This is where I had finally reached.
I love her.
For a moment i wonder if i dreamt last night. You know when you wake up from a nightmare where ‘x’ dies or that thing happens. Then you wake up and laugh because the mere thought of it seems so ridiculous now. Yet just a few moments ago it seemed so painfully real. For a moment, I was there too laughing at absurdity. At impossibilities. Here, in this heaven, the dead do not die.
Then the train arrives. It doesn’t slow down as it approaches, the passengers waiting at the station are pulled to it’s cold metallic sides like magnets. Head first. Today I am one of them. Clinging for life whilst being torn from the station of serenity. I cannot stop this journey.
The train takes me back to Moorgate station, when she said those words “I think we should break up”, it takes me back to the eternity that passed where I simply stared at her. Blindsided. Hoping she was telling the most poorly timed joke. Whilst knowing damn well she was too funny for poor humour like this.
The train takes me even further back. Finsbury Square, 5 mins prior. Where I asked her “So where do we go from here?” A loaded question. I knew where I wanted to go but I needed to hear her say she wished to come.
That the thought of my unhappiness was unbearable and she would do the small things necessary to fix that. That she still loved me too. That this discussion was silly and we still had to move to Canada, and play golf, and go rock climbing again, and break-in those pink furry handcuffs you love the feel of, and do double dates and out cute the other couples and go to the beach, and have freaky sex on the beach, and go back to France and show Eric the concierge how much French we’ve learnt since our last visit. How we still had to argue about whether we were getting a dog first or a cat, and whether you were stealthily moving into my place 1 hair product at a time, and how I laughed from my belly when you denied, but your ‘just a couple tings’ has somehow colonised 2 drawers and half a shelf and you’ve been awarded permanent residence in my bathroom cabinet, and your wheat-free products will always have a spot on my kitchen shelf and within my fridge, and within me, you... will always have a place to call home.
How we still had to grow old and beautiful together.
My question “So where do we go from here?” instead sat there. Like a piece of shit.
“Er, I guess I’ll think about it and you will to(?)”. I’m not sure if this was a question or statement. She had this weird way with words where the two would often mesh seamlessly. I’ll think about it and you will to. This hit me like a punch in the stomach.
What was there to think about? All I asked is for you to put the effort into this that I was.
“…. sure” I reply.
Her favourite word. “Sure”. A word of compliance. Of nonchalance. A word which perfectly communicated the most neutral “I don’t really give two shits either way what you do, but do you boo” you can muster. I chose her favourite word to end our conversation here so that we could now ‘think’.
The walk to the station was long. Me constantly 3 steps ahead, intermittently looking back to make sure she was still there. I’m not sure why but I felt she may suddenly evaporate. We crossed the two roads in between the square and the station, conflicted as to whether I should reach out to hold her hand as I did – she made me pinky promise weeks ago I’d always do so. No matter what.
Guess we’ve both broken commitments.
My phones been dead for 5 hours now but I plug my headphones in anyway. 10 steps away from the station I hear a faintly muffled “KC…”. I wonder whether I should ignore it. Pretend I actually have music playing. I could mouth the lyrics to a nameless song. Give her more time to think before speaking. As if a few more seconds would change everything.
“Yeah Bubbs?” I reply, unplugging my headphones and turning to face her, my face lit up as she said exactly what I needed to hear.
“I’m sorry your birthday was so shit, I’m sorry I don’t make more of an effort in this, I’m sorry I don’t make you feel how you make me feel”.
I heard her say all of this, within my head.
Instead what she said was “I… think we should break up(?)”.
Another question-come- statement.
Another fist in my stomach.
I stare. Dumbfounded… still.
Now thinking back, maybe it was my psyche preparing me, maybe a part of me already knew what was coming. Don’t respond it screamed. I responded. I stared
The train takes me inside Moorgate station, where we parted. Her for the Hammersmith, Circle and Metropolitan lines, me for the Northern. Us, from each other. We stare at one and other.
People pass. Eons pass. And we stare.
My body begging me to walk towards her. Pull her close and wrap my arms around as if to say I’d never let her go. By now my arms were twitching to embrace her. Ears burning to hear her run over and whisper “I’m sorry, I changed my mind, I’m being silly and rash.” She was always slightly more impulsive than me.
But I didn’t move. Couldn’t move. Simply stared, seeped in pain. Numb.
I wish I knew what was going through her head at the time. Did she feel the same? Were her eyes pleading with mine so I could tell her she was being silly and rash? That I would never let her go without more of a fight?
Her eyes were bloodshot, welling with tears. I don’t know how I noticed, as mine were too.
Tick… Tock… Tick… Tock. We stare for an eternity in this decaying space until she finally begins to walk… towards me… my heart quickens at the thought of the scene finally playing how I envisioned.
“I’m sorry” I pre-emptively play her voice in my head again.
“I’m sorry”, my knees now buckling under the weight of these two simple words.
“I’m sorry!”, my soul screaming for her to utter.
She continues to walk towards me but these words do not follow her.
She stops in front of me, alone, I haven’t moved. Still frozen but thawing in anticipation of words that will never arrive. She doesn’t look me in the eye, but she hugs me. Tightly. Like she was either holding me together or needed something solid to stop her crumbling. Maybe both.
Her head buried in my chest again, kissing the heart she dropped goodbye.
I am barely able to lift my left arm around her, but it still formed a natural coil around the back of her neck, holding her close. As if to say it hadn’t yet got the message. As if to say it would put up the fight where the rest of my body now failed to summon strength.
As if to say it would never let her go.
Who’d have thought that she would be the one to let me go.
It’s funny how I called you Bubbles yet you popped mine. Pushed me to embrace love and then left.
The first person I ever gave my heart too, you dropped it with a shrug and a tear. I wake up clearly and remember it all.
The train finally stops and I remember every single detail of last night. Heart no longer quickening in the morning. Now it simply beats on, slowly, stilly. Arms no longer coiling. They got the message. They fall, lifeless.
I sit up and reach for my laptop, face telling the story before my fingertips could. I open a new document and type the words
Somewhere, still waiting to be found; an existential crisis at the bottom of a Costa cup.
Broke, bloody and bruised, clinging to a life they promised him he was worth.
These 20something years on the conveyer belt of academia, a currency equal in value to a well-timed retweet.
We, are the middle children of history. The Segway generation.
Trapped in the chasm of the old world and the new. Clawing our way to a scorched surface, swallowing tablets of iPads and Xanax.
Dulled, depressed and defeated.
Destitute and despondent.
A generation of half-men raised by broken women failed by rotten men.
I stand on the precipice of a crumbling tower and wonder whether the foundations for its survival were ever truly laid.
There’s no emoji to describe what I’m feeling right now.
I’m scrolling through advertisements who know me better than I know myself, casting light on private voids and telling me to plug it with [whatever bullshit I just purchased on Amazon].
Prime arrives before the self-doubt sets in.
Mail ordered salvation for £7.99 a month. Hallelujah money.
Is that not the ultimate saving?
My eye spots a good deal before my wallet spots a problem.
So please before this poem is over — whip out your phones and gofundmynutsack.com/I-deserve-it.
They call us entitled. Snowflakes. Weak.
Were they not the ones who raised us in their image?
Do they no longer like the mirror?
Is it ugly?
God. He who must not be named, a name I had tried to abandon yet here you are… Calling out for them in ecstasy whilst I worship inside your temple. Here you are… sceptre in hand on your knees praying to new idols. Forgive us.
We gave up awaiting the return of our forsaken fathers long ago.
Soul. Did I ever have one to begin with? Or did I simply lose pieces of it somewhere on the way to this stage?
If you see it on the floor please keep it safe. This young half-man is so terrified he’ll be crushed under the weight of ticking time and his own potential, bomb.
When he inevitably falls on this rat race he did not sign up for, he’ll need those horcruxes.
My DNA unravels every time I see another stream of red and black bodies on my screen. Or black bodies sold into slavery in 2017. I’m so sorry I wear my apathy like a straightjacket in the winter. I’m so sorry my concentration extends only as far as my arm can reach but I’ll wear my thoughts and prayers like a badge of honour for you, I think(?)
We are swimming in a sandbox of mundanity, and click bait, and clicktivism and “where the fuck is the clitoris”?
Our destiny is perpetually buffering.
Our Nirvana is in seeing the world, yet most of us will never get the chance to see out of the ends.
Our dreams will remain these far off foreign things unless you wake up and go to war with cozy coffins every single day.
I struggle with this. Every. Single. Day.
So this poem is for them. For us.
For the triers. The defeated. The beaten. The broken. The halves. The weak. The meek. For the down trodden and the forgotten.
This poem is for the abused. The victims. The survivors. The mute. The lonely and the unloved.
This poem is for the poets.
And for the lost.
For the women and the men.
For the children, always.
For anyone who goes to bed tonight hoping to wake up to a better tomorrow.
Hoping to somehow wake up brand new.
You are not alone.
We, are a generation of damaged goods.
And we want our money back.
The absence of essence essentially in this instance, means an incendiary moment of explicit intuition.
... Or something about evolution.
Here I am. Staring at a blank paper propped up perfectly on a HP Pavilion. Placed on the lap of a person falling to oblivion. Oblivious to the world outside, inside a space once dark, now lit so brightly he is blind.
Though he can see, he has no sight.
Tonight, he wonders whether he will see peace.
Perhaps a moment of unbridled release.
Perhaps on his knees hunched in a ball crying inside because the light incinerates the tears that fly from his eyes, they cannot fall.
This boy is way too tall, and they will crash into the ground like raining fire.
I once told you, that the absence of essence essentially in this instance means an incendiary moment of explicit intuition.
So do not come close. For he will burn you along with himself. Unintentionally or not, the sparks will fly, like poorly made fireworks bleeding across the sky, I’d die to hold you in my arms right now.
But I fear you are already gone.
My utmost fear is that you won’t even survive my atmosphere.
Instead you’ll likely burn on entry.
Cremated remains of our lost love dancing on a Casablanca the skyline
Whilst I sit here wasting time writing these intentionally abstract fucking rhymes with no purpose or meaning behind them.
I wonder whether I’ve mistaken my illusions of grandeur with delusions of grandeur.
Whether a revolution of character is needed more so than an evolution of mood. Or an elation of spirit.
These temporary moments give way to temporary feelings. These temporary feelings give way to temporary sensations. These temporary sensations have become the reel of my life’s video. impermanent. Fleeing
Fleetingly, I am floating in it all. Hoping it’s with a purpose yet fearing it’s really not. Because quite frankly, I’m burning and with no signs of slowing down I will take you all with me.
And fire is not my element.
It’s brash and violent, although sometimes beautiful. Incinerates the old earth making way for the new. So after each burn out I wonder is it true, could I really be a new me and you a new you
I don’t know whether it was revolution or evolution. But I know I am no longer the same.
Now I think about it, maybe the two aren’t even diametrically opposed. Maybe it’s cyclical, revolving. I suppose that’s the purpose of this long-winded piece.
I pulled myself from oblivion. From a place once devoid of life and happiness and absent of colour.
Guess I’ve changed now. A revolution of self via evolution, indeed.
Doing things which scare me just to prove I still bleed. Bullying my heart into beating. Into living on.
Fire is still not my element.
But the wind does bring my essence sweet release.