Chapter 1: those words of goodbye that never finish being said
You tried to say goodbye, but still
the hole you left behind was deep:
those unspoken words crying
like the cloudy songs
of the sky above, the sun lying in wait
for the morrow, where happier hearts will smile
But today, it leaves us with the sky a grey
to mourn for this loss: this tragedy
we could not avoid.
Chapter 2: dying amongst death but still hanging on to hope
He never left the hospital
and yet he was still so hopeful, so bright,
Even surrounded by all that sickness
and death and hopelessness
and people like him
who hadn't been able to find anything good
in life…but there was a guy who was dying amongst death
and hanging on to hope.
Chapter 3: the blandness of hospital food and the sweet taste of laughs
They weren't going to cure him like that.
He wasn't sick anyway.
Just fed up: with everything,
He doubted even a gourmet meal
would have any taste
in his mouth.
But then he found a friend
and they laughed
and the food tasted just the same,
But that was okay
because he wasn't now wasting away:
he had those laughs instead
to fill him up.
Chapter 4: the ants that kept their heads down and ignored the light
He'd crawl on the floor,
on the roof and never look down
at the shimmering lights, at the ants that crawled
in search for food
Because he was one of those ants
himself, not yet fit to rise, not wanting,
even, to rise...
So low, he'd fallen
into the haze, and woken up
and bright glaring lights stripped him bare.
But now he had pulled himself up
like a babe, first hanging onto a chair
to stand, but later teetering on their feet
with hands in air
And standing, tall and proud above the crowd
and with crumbs in hand to call those sad
crawling ants like old he
where the lights glare.
Chapter 5: the parts of the body slowly waste away
His legs have gone numb.
When was the last time he moved?
When was the last time he had somewhere
he could go
Beyond the small cone he sunk within:
the walls that grew tighter each time
until they were a corset,
until they were a bottle
with the lid screwed tight
and he couldn't breath no more...
His fingers have fallen off.
When was the last time he moved?
When was the last time he had something
new to touch?
His eyes have shrunk inwards.
When was the last time he saw anything
beyond this scene, already burnt into his eyes?
His body has become a shell.
When was the last time it was something but?
Chapter 6: alcohol and medicines don't mix
They're oil and water, meds and gin,
but honestly? He can't bring himself to care.
He's already spent. He'll waste away
and the bandaids are only prolonging the end.
Blood seeps out. Fluid leaks
from his ears, nose and brain
till he's a dry sack of bones
and they burn the sack and leave the bones.
Chapter 7: enjoying the fine details
Was it appreciation
The fine arts,
or boredom that nothing could sate
and this was the next best thing.
At least they could pretend to laugh
over chubs and their unfortunate names
or clown fish, or the shark that snoozed away
in a clip, unbecoming.
They're not fans. They're not marines.
They're just watching the clock tick
and they know it'll stop but what else is there to do
(at least for him)
except dwindle away.
Chapter 8: please say 'yes' for me
He's turned into quite the manipulator.
Always gets a yes in the end.
Always has to. Never wants to hear a fail
even though he's only human and humans fail.
Sometimes it's not him. Still, he's responsible.
He's the one who can't cajole them.
They're the ones who won't listen.
They're the ones with a marker on their grave,
and he's with a black mark onto his name.
So he'll play the board
because those black marks scar
and he's got enough of those.
Chapter 9: not even gold will always shine
Not even gold will always shine
but he's not gold. Not pure enough
though he can be made to shine
with the right amount of polish.
He's a mockery of gold instead.
Pretending to be good, pretending to be clean
when he's all bad and rusty
Chapter 10: midnight party
They sneak down when it's dark and all the nights are off
and there's only one nurse at the station, and her head's on the desk
and the computer screen slumbers, black and untouched
and their footsteps are gentle pads down the hall.
The ward fridge is hardly stocked that late at night
but so bright when they open the door.
Sandwiches left behind. Some cartons of milk
for tea and coffee, and custards and jellys for desert.
Hardly a party menu, but the thrill of it's still there
and it's their right as well, as residents of that ward.
They gorge themselves, out of sight and sound.
It's bad for the body, but good for the mind.
Chapter 11: the sniper from out of bounds
He was a fighter, first and all,
punching, kicking, pounding home
and glaring at all the rest.
But some things he couldn't fight,
not as he was: not with his body,
but instead with his mind.
He was a sniper, now and through,
picking out his targets in the flock
and pegging them
to the wall.
Some things he couldn't catch.
Some slipped away.
But he could tower over
those few that remained
and crush them underfoot.
Chapter 12: there's no green out there
There's no road ahead of him now.
There might've been,
once upon a time.
He's long since veered off
And isn't it sad that he doesn't even
have a licence yet, and now
he never will. It's too long a wait.
And he doesn't want to wait.
There's no road ahead of him now
that he can see: just the same old
grey bland landscape, like a desert
field – and really, it may as well be
a desert field
For all it's stopped him in his tracks
'cause there's no green out there.
Chapter 13: he's too old at nineteen
Nineteen was too chunky of an age.
Nine was better
when there were still dreams out there
and he still had them
and when he was so colour-blind, he couldn't
tell there was no colour to have been seen
Chapter 14: this is the path you’ve put me on and I’ll stay on it this time
This is the path you've put me on
and I'll stay on it this time.
I know I've wandered off before,
but I definitely won't this time.
You pulled me back from the edge
I'd failed to cross once and was
heading for again.
You showed this old worn out me
something worth trying
And then you went and died
instead of me, and I couldn't do
And I still can't
But I'll stay on this path you've put me on
so one day I can.
Chapter 15: the seeds can grow better now
They were choking before
with weeds and dirty soil
and polluted water
But you took the time to pull them out.
Each and every weed.
And you brought fresh new soil
from the nursery and covered me
warm and snug.
And you watered me from your
fresh water bottle every day
even though you had to take your medicines
with that water anyway.
You cared for me, even though you were ill.
You helped me out, even though the one
who needed help the most was you.
And I got better, but you only got worse
even though you smiled
and I only wished, this plant that I'm growing
into can do something for you
But what you ask for in return is so small
in comparison, I wonder why you ask
at all: aren't I already here
But we both already know, that even now
I can do no more.
Chapter 16: he can no longer fade away
He can no longer fade away,
with every swab, every time
they tie the tourniquet on his arm
and draw some blood
and then frown over the results.
His mind used to wander
as though he was dead already
up in the clouds
But now he can only cry,
because there's something
closer to earth to smile upon.
Chapter 17: don't you understand how precious life is?
It disturbed him
How could someone just toss away
their life when he tried so hard
to cling onto his
and it still slipped away?
It was painful.
And it made him angry
because he wanted that:
that which that other boy
would just toss aside
But then they got to talk
and they realised
the grass always was greener
on the other side.
Chapter 18: hospitals weren't a pretty place
Hospitals weren't a pretty place,
full of the dead
and the nearly dead
and the ones who wanted to die
and the primadonnas who were
nowhere near death.
Chapter 19: they can still have parties indoors when it rains
It seemed silly dressing up
but they did it anyway.
They dressed each other up,
spiked their hair,
painted their faces
and sung and danced
and partied on jelly
from the fridge
Because this was their celebration,
all they could do together
now that he was trapped
But they could do all these
things together, so maybe it didn't matter
he couldn't go outside
Chapter 20: they no longer want to say 'farewell'
They no longer want to say farewell
but now they must:
Their time's been short
but it's coming to a closer
and now the angel
knocks on the door.
Once upon a time, he would have wanted
it to come, to come and take his soul
But it's not here for him
And for who he's come, he's always
wanted to stay alive, live another day
and now even more, together
But forever's not to be
and his timer's run out.
The angel's calling now
and it's time to go.