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The Author Is Dead

Juliano Zaffino - The Author Is Dead - Blog

I'm Supposed To Be Having The Time Of My Life

Juliano Zaffino

'and this is what you get for living out your tiny life / with dreams the size of your head'

'and this is what you get for living out your tiny life / with dreams the size of your head'

I’m Supposed To Be Having The Time Of My Life

But it’s just kind of average, really.

And I’m sat here at 2:13 and it’s been a few weeks
Since I wrote the first line
On my iPhone, on the toilet, late at night, hiding from guests,
Hiding from life, hiding in the warm light reflected from
The toilet bowl, the sink, the bath.
And I’m sat here at 2:14 and I’m watching TV,
Old re-runs, old and overdone,
And I’m writing a poem about dissatisfaction
Because I’m somewhat less than suitably satisfied,
Somewhere on the low scale of the customer survey;
We take your feedback very seriously.
Life in a capitalist dystopia is marketable and meaningful.

And I’m expecting a reply in 5 to 5000 working days.
And I’m hoping I’m dead before then.
And I’m supposed to be having the time of my life.

But it’s slowly killing me.

And I’m full of barely existential angst and it’s killing me,
If I’m honest, totally killing me; the kind of angst
You don’t tell your therapist about because he’ll call it ennui
And tell you to take off your clothes so he can get enn u.
Then when I have my next episode he will say he did all he could,
As if his cock was medicine, as if his hands around my neck
Were meant to squeeze out the demon, cast out the devil in me.
And then he’ll tip my head back and then he’ll tip the pills back and then
He’ll spit in my mouth the way his other patients like
To wash it all down; I’ll swallow what he gives me
Like the good boy patient that I am and he’ll give me a lollipop,
He’ll say it’s all in my head and because he is a professional,
And because I am in my own way at my own business a professional,
At the business of being busy, I believe him, saved and spare,
Until the next break from reality, which more accurately we should call
A break from unreality, from delusion, in which we realise
I’m not okay, I’ve not been cured; I’ve just been cursed.
And he’ll tut, my tutting therapist, he’ll tut, and again, and then
He’ll put his hands on me again still tutting, still thrusting,
Forever fucking, forever fucking me up.
And he’s supposed to be curing me while I flourish,
And I’m supposed to be flourishing,
And I’m supposed to be having the time of my life.

But it’s driving me fucking crazy, baby.

And I’m going crazy from the sleep-deprivation in our
Cosy little death-bed, ten sizes too small for me,
Ten too big for you, a paradox and a fucking obvious metaphor.
And I’m lying next to you at night and I’m dreaming
About infidelities, of being fucked by the football team
And the cast of the drama society’s production of Grease,
Even though I hate them, even though it’s my least-favourite musical,
Because I’m desperate for a reason to feel this disgusting.
And I’m cheating every night in my sleep and every morning
When I go online and talk to guys I’ll never fuck
About the things I’m never going to do to them,
And I like to tell them all the things they want to hear
Because it absolves some of the guilt
And it gets me off, the absolution more than the thing itself.
And I stare out in the bars that we go to, over your shoulder,
Looking for an eye to look back into mine, a wink, a twinkle,
Something like a blessing, a call to the men’s room
For a manly rendezvous, but the thought of it all just
Sickens me, the thought of the scent, and I just can’t,
And I’m revolted by every desperate lonely guy that I meet
As boyfriend one becomes boyfriend twenty-three
In a succession of seedy sucks, needy fucks in a sad procession
Winding onwards into eternity, each one with dick-in-hand,
Homo-centipede, a sight to trigger your gag reflex.
And, yeah, I’m supposed to be having,
Fucking pounding riding lying sexing boning crying fucking heaving,
Having the time of my life.

But it’s like being a virgin again.

And I’m so inexperienced in this world, in the realm of the living;
I’m asking for you to teach me all my lessons, everything
I need to know to get by in these dark and darkening times,
Looking for brains in abandoned out-the-way places, waystations
That hold no more in brains than they do in sustenance.
And I think about the years I’ve spent wasting away
My slow and stupid legs in favour of a thousand books
That taught me nothing but stories that mean nothing, a whole load
Of nothing. I spent a lifetime getting smart, my one single virtue,
When all of a sudden reality sets in and I finally stop moving;
And I’m dwarfed by the spires, by conspirators,
By friends who won’t even wish me happy birthday
In a year, who will always say ‘see you soon’
But will never bridge that distance of their own accord.
And you’ve been told you’re smart your whole life
Because there’s not much else you’re good at than
Counting to a million and reading as many words
In a day, and you’ve told yourself that you’re smart
For so long, and you sit next to thirty strangers who
Know all the pedagogical terms that you could only
Feign to read in dreams, and you feel yourself
Getting dumber the way a small grape will change
Its shape when it’s buried beneath a mound of
Bigger better sweeter fruit, in the heat,
And out you come like the raisin no one wants to eat,
Dumb and defeated, fucked up, depleted.
I have a thousand nightmares every week about towers
Of books that stand over me when I sleep
And the tiniest spider comes along and bumps the bottom
Spine and the book stack creaks and topples,
Paper like boulder smothers me, suffocating Antigone,
Making me small, making me nothing at all.
And I’m supposed to be having the ed-you-kay-shon
Of my life, and I’m supposed to be learning how
To have the time of my life, I’m supposed to know.

But it’s impossible to learn.

And we learn to work to earn to shirk to yearn to jerk
Awake at night at the age of a thousand still working
A thousand hours at the office just to stay alive,
Just to keep the heating on and the lights on
While our grandparents in their graves still call us lazy
But they’ve been dead since they were ninety-five
After thirty years of retirement; we’ll be working still
When they pour what’s left of us into the urn,
Cast into the ground, working still, working the land,
Working the till. The remains of our bones are tired,
And our children can’t afford to pay the engraver
His wage to print our names on the stones
Which tell their children who and why we were.
They’ll forget all about us and never know the ways
We fought to atone for the sins of our parents,
So they won’t understand the burden we bear,
That they should bear for us, and for their children.
And this is what you get for living out your tiny life
With dreams the size of your head. We’re supposed to be
Dreaming the dreams of our lives, six figures, two cars,
Holiday home, the years after work for living what’s left of life
And having the absolute most golden time of it.

But it’s unlikely I’ll ever retire.

And I guess I ought to be reaping some benefits right?
I’m still alive and this is the best time in life to be like me:
Holding hands in public and dumping glitter on my head,
Wearing the tightest clothes I can get my hands on and every night
Falling asleep in a different lover’s bed. No love (of any kind) though,
We fought for that right too, the right to be as miserable as the rest,
As old aping hateful heteros at eighty, turning their noses up
In disgust at “that fucking PC shite” that we call representation.
And I don’t want to be dramatic but we’re under attack;
Now I can feel my heart beating in the closet again, a mile away,
Banging on the bars in the key of I-want-to-be-free,
Where the inner part of me is raving screaming thrashing seething
Bleeding with refusal to be buried alive again. And as a teen
It was almost commonlaw to want to be anyone other than me
But now if you tell me to be someone else I will scream,
Rage hard against it, shake the bones of the cage
You would have me trapped in and writhe, and write, I will only be me:
I refuse to be anyone other than me, at this time in my life.
And they’re killing my people for a god in Chechnya
And they’re killing my people for a god in Saudi Arabia
And they’re itching to kill my people for a god
In the good old god damn U S of A,
And we’re under threat again and I’m watching
Homophobic horseshit take centre stage on the stage
In the place that we’re supposed to run, at the hands of our “allies”,
And I’m supposed to be having an equal time
– Better than somewhere/somewhen/someone else –
And I’m supposed to be living the time that I have.

But it’s all just pissing me off.

And I don’t know how to live, really, I’m nostalgic for suicide,
But mostly I’m fine? I look out the window every morning and I wonder
How the people go about with their daily lives. Don’t they know we’re in a crisis?
And I click a hashtag on Twitter and the nitwit pigfucker is wittering
On about the cost of trans people and laying out policy for the opiated masses
As he demeans his own people and my own people and I wither, wondering
How we’re not all out on the streets setting fire to every person that we meet
Along the way, burning the fucking world to the ground in protest,
And I think about this a lot now when I watch the news, when I read the news,
When I hear the most casual homophobic epithet thrown my way:
I should burn the fucking world to the ground in protest.
That’d teach them
. As if I ever even thought they could be taught. Nope.
No way. The only way to get it into their skulls is to excavate them, the skulls,
Scoop out the contents like on-the-verge-of-melting ice cream,
Replacing the vile bile and the hateful spew with sweet nothingness,
The very fucking best they can hope for. That’s the new covenant
In this digital age, in this violent time of silent protest and ungentle going
That I can only conceive of in the early hours, before I look outside
And see the people milling, see them swilling down the hatred, old white man
And his old white wife who don’t care because the torches and the pitchforks
Haven’t cast their divine designs upon old white doors, old white houses.
And I’m supposed to be having the time of my life –

But it’s shite, and everything I write ends in self-immolation, a fiery middle finger
That says “fuck god” and “fuck mankind”. Fingers up, match struck.

I’m supposed to be lighting the fire of my life.
I’m supposed to be lighting…

But it’s not… really I’m not doing any of that,
And it’s kind of bumming me out?