Paul Robertson’s Story of Mania
I have a huge swelling feeling growing in the back of my head, reaching forward in grasping fibrillated and soggy claws. I know this feeling, frenetic as it is, coiled and sprung and filled up with sand. It is MANIA jumpstarting my head and collapsing into itself like a singularity or a sandcastle or a limestone blow hole. I love it and cherish it at the same time as despising it and feeding it my wants and desires and lust to make it bigger and nastier and more of itself as it swells.
There is nothing to it but what I have invented and scoured from the crusty sides of my eyes but it exists with strength and yes futility that I can not help and can almost touch. I AM filled up with it though in twitchy and hyper accelerated mannerisms and cigarettes smoked too fast with dark music always always in the background. And I’m so tired f*cking sick of it wish it would go the f*ck away out like I always dreamed of being able to control it and switch it on to the times when it’s wanted and fun for one and all.
Wish I could eat but can’t huh that’s prey for my meat than the other way around, and it hurts me just to keep breathing sometimes when it’s sharp and red so red like a blow to the head huh. Oh yeah ah huh right now for f*ck’s sake. I must say this I have to spit it out though I don’t know that I really want to see it all laid open like a finger on a slide.
I was committed first time in – voluntarily no I sure didn’t want to go there. I asked the psychiatrist filling in forms if she wanted to have sex with me and took off my shirt and lay on her desk and told her secret things about the stars. I couldn’t accept it because I believed that I was smarter than the people who committed me, and I still f*cking do.
I did put blades in my arms and I did want to die far more than I wanted to live I did cut In school when I was twelve years old I sat in class and cut my fingers with a pocket knife. “Paul, what are you doing?” “Is this some kind of f*cking trick question?” These things are real, they exist in my messed up and inaccurate memory but they ARE still there. And for a moment a singular pervasive short-lived killing moment memory floods every sensation that I have. Twitch lurches across my face like a wire hook. Brilliant so bright but hard to see. I remember I do some weird party no idea how I got there kissing and groping some old woman while huge old men did lines and watched me with ugly wasted eyes.
Running thru the forest afterwards blood streaming down my face didn’t know where I was how I got there it was the middle of f*cking nowhere and it sure felt like the end. Beaten to a pulp but wild with energy and painting my face with fingers full of blood I felt like I had slid into a Bosch painting. I remember my face swelling I think some guy had hit me with a BAT. They stamped on my head while I lay in the road and fractured my eye orbits apart from other things I had deep black under my eyes for a YEAR. And I stood in the trees in the woods spinning around and around and laughing before I sat quietly by myself found my knife tried to write my name in my arm with cuts.
Woke up in the dark with ANTS in my wounds everywhere my face swollen up like a sick balloon. No idea where I was; none. Started running and kept running. Memory fades in haze. A few days in hospital the normal kind I walked to the bottle shop every day with IV sh*t sticking out of my arm. I remember oh yes different time (time is a sickness) I woke at the beach some kids standing over me saying LOOK AT ALL HIS CUTS before I pushed them away and vomited into the sand.
Found some girl some night and tried to show her I could draw by smashing a bottle and carving a face, my face, into a table in a café. I put a beard on it and it looked like Jesus and I f*cking laughed so hard and laughed and laughed. I stood in the street and hit the wall with my hand until I could actually feel it; I think I broke my wrist not sure it stopped me from being able to play guitar without being drunk for a long time and of course drunk, drunk, drunk I was most of the time anyway. Ah yes oh, helpful Policemen to whom I would not give my name; I told them I was Zarathustra a Nietzschean reference I don’t think he GOT. They chased me down the street and I couldn’t stop laughing until they all crashed me to the ground and I punched one with my broken bleeding hand and spent some time screaming in a cell and throwing myself at the walls.
They let me go somehow and at court I got to plead INSANITY which I also thought was pretty f*cking funny or rather do now as I could not raise rage from my heart, black blackest humour finally swamped by massive doses of anti-psychotics. Broke my guitar and held it like a baby in the street for hours and wept and wept and wept. So many girls I could never EVER remember they were going to rescue me each one – had all my catch phrases worked out “wake me when the war is over” and something about drowning men and a head full of Shakespeare quotes. I couldn’t believe they worked every time but OH YES THEY DID. Sometimes I could not make love to them I was too drunk I think who knows more ritual phrases morning ones were “where am I?” followed by “who are you?” (Insert snarl/grin/panic.)
I started drinking one afternoon was sure I didn’t go out or see anyone but woke up in a pair of dirty women’s underwear. I was at a palatial house with a goddess and threw up in her spa. Don’t know her name I don’t think I did even then. Winters were the worst always lost and drunk and cold always wet and so f*cking far to walk in the rain. Crashing twisting in fear and self-loathing, detesting, despising, abhorring leper outcast unclean. And so goddamned SICK pathetically grateful for whichever nutcase girl was looking after me and holding my long dirty blonde hair out of the bucket. “Why do you hate us all Paul? Why do you do this?” “I don’t hate anyone. I have never hated anyone. I am the avatar of dismay. I am the boiling man. I am just too selfish to die. One of my good friends threw himself from a building and I stayed drunk for weeks. An old and loyal friend fought me in sneering drunken fury, both so full of poison that we could not even form fists. Neither of us spilling heart’s blood whilst we fought, so young and so completely ridiculous. Drowning men.
My ex-girlfriend spat in my face that day. Tried to catch a bus and buy vodka with blood running everywhere again from my own cheap knife the despite boiling inside me, rage a crevasse of pathetic sadness and grief for myself. For Andrew. For all of us feeding from ourselves eating our own venom until it bubbled and frothed in our mouths. I didn’t know where I was just f*cked it all up and sullied the memory of a good man. Lost and wandering and crying f*cked up and such a fool, such a fool so damned my scalding hell heated the slippery corners of my eyes. He was the funniest f*cker I have ever met. Such waste.
S A D S I C K N E S S.
Fevers of blame and despair. Spreading between us like Andrews’ beautiful young body across the cement. I miss him still. No note. His mother’s shuddering sobs shall not leave my memory and spilled in echoes over my ruin as I catalysed the manufacture of my own disgust. Got so used to casualty wards where I would wake up (“seemed euphoric” I read on the chart) with stitches and no idea how I had got there who had taken me. Hit on the nurses, once one reciprocated I couldn’t f*cking believe it. More psyche wards again and again I always liked the schizophrenics they were, at least, as mad as me. Locked wards psychotics everywhere screaming at night. The half hour or hour or whatever the f*ck it was we were allowed to wander around outside our cells, the men all of them except me, every one, ALL hung on the wire fence, heads at odd angles staring out, fingers through the chicken wire. Razor wire at the top.
I remember I had a chance to get out and go to the open wards an interview with three guys running the place. I looked forward to it for a week or something I don’t know the haze too thick, chemical dust deep – I do remember the longing it I thought my articulation would save me again. I hoped and hoped waited got visited by three girls had tried to destroy with the holes in my heart, cutting arcing guilt betrayer that I was, liar, storm of pain my touch and words a plague of emotion. They didn’t come back I think the number of doors with locks scared them though they all tended to think it was PRETTY F*CKING ROMANTIC. I was tanked on some hardcore drugs I have no idea what. Varieties of thorazine the zine family yeah, a chemical lobotomy the pain whirling inside, a thrown running power saw spraying meat but no expression nothing connecting, shut out of my own body.
Got to the meeting and I opened my mouth in front of these psychiatrists and I could not SPEAK. Too wasted oh wasted yes but not in the fun way that’s for sure. I could SHAKE though and I could drool cuz I couldn’t get my facial muscles under any sort of control. So I stayed there for another week or more weeks who the f*ck knows? Hated being there so I longed for squalor ethanol sex attention. Filled instead with drugs and shakes and sobriety. Polluted with chemicals worse oh f*cking worse oh yes than my own toxic liquid destruction. I DARE YOU TO FIX ME! They had this thing where some poor lost mad b*stard would stand up and say the THOUGHT FOR THE DAY after our group meetings with people rocking in the corners. They were all so f*cked up most of them could barely speak some not at all others never shut up but they only spoke to people who were not there. I stood up and quoted Shakespeare for ten minutes. Midsummer night’s dream I think I thought it was nice and cheery for everyone. “Lovers and madmen have such seething brains such shaping fantasies that apprehend far more than cool reason ever comprehends. One sees more devils than vast hells can hold, that is the madman…”
Got out and stayed on the drugs like a good boy but kept drinking and kept cutting. All the f*cking useless things did was excise my personality make me impotent make my hair fall out make me fat make me slow and make me HATE. Worst of it was I could not react act my speed acuity lust passion poisoned memory gone awareness gone focused to an angel point into pure hissing SHAME. That I was born in a f*cking PARADISE of love and that I had flared brutally, violently bright. I knew history enough to understand that we live in a utopia of humanism; I knew enough LIFE to know that I had been born raised loved and somehow STILL WAS by the most beautiful minds hearts and hands. Mother. Father. Sister. Every kindness I had repaid with failure. I deserved every torture I could devise to inflict for betraying them so deep and hard, those who threw everything anything they could find to save me into the pyre of my f*cking excuse for a life.
Shuffle along undead NOT LIFE PAIN but undead don’t fall and weep with acid logic with scalpel reason undeniable distress killing my father see his eyes watching me tear myself to pieces. Hooks of my own hurt see it in his shoulders slumped he has given up I hurt him so much he is dying ahhhhhHHH. Raised with passionate care, soft hands, sweet voices singing in the night care and care and care such a beautiful boy oh he is so beautiful the boy the betrayer the monster the liar the drunk. Guilt an endless sun clawing every sense every thought and it was RIGHT it was TRUE the only thing I had ever done was break the bones in the hands that held me. Eat the life deserve this worse such a coward mouth red and sticky and still Life eater.