I Will Give You Rest
When you try to push the sky
away and realise it’s the only
battle in your life, just think
that respite will come to you
on the day of reckoning. All
of your writings and your trees
won’t be able to prepare you
for the overwhelming sense of
capitulation and resignation as
events spiral out of control with
only you fully aware of what is
taking place. As acid rain melts
vehicles and the gutters fill with
the flesh of the recently occupied,
the Millennium Cross will split in
two and unleash the souls of those
betrayed by heaven and hell. The
graveyards will fill up with white
horses who zealously guard the
sites, their masters brandishing
swords lit with flames and sporting
cloaks soaked with the blood of Noah.
As you consider the circumstances,
you will only recall the moments in
your life where your attempt to take
the initiative failed. Lying to sound
more impressive in job interviews.
Trying to touch for someone who
was always going to reject your
advances. Living by yourself for a
few months before your finances
went awry. Trying to convince the
shop assistant that you handed them
£20 instead of £10. The overwhelming
emotions of failure, humiliation and
being humbled unite and cast an
extensive, protruding cloak of suffocation
over your existence. Living in passivity
meant there was no chance of despair
at the hands of oneself. Jokes nulled the
tugging sense of isolation, and the lack
of conversations meant you could have
the most spectacular one-sided arguments
in the world. Your envisioned opponents
cowering with recognition at your wit.
Spectres and storm clouds gather and
descend on the hapless residents of the
city who have managed to survive up to
now. Skipping across the motorways, the
ghosts cause head on collisions and then
potter off as if the fun for the day is over.
More acid rain descends, and soon the
noise of the city descends into an eerie
lull, followed by silence. The sort that can
be heard whenever there is discontent.
Under the arch by the Lagan, the homeless
and the junkies sit in awed wonder at how
quickly things collapse at the hint of trouble.
Cracked skin slowly pulsating and their crusty,
jagged toenails digging into whatever remains
of their shoes. Nodding off into the ether.
Now, watching the world collapse around
you, and not knowing what to do, you go
back to your envisioned arguments, entering
another realm where you’re paraded down
the street by a worshipping crowd with
piecemeal skin, held together by eczema.
Chanting your name until it morphs into a
sound akin to an amorphous blob. And the
sky no longer constrains your ambition. It
is time for you to ascend.
He died in 2018. At the height
of summer. The ward looking
over the city and the sunshine
overwhelming, a beacon of
positivity and life-affirming
energy. I wasn’t there, as I
didn’t want to see someone
I’d known all my life reduced
to a shrill, feeble corpse.
Tonight, on Google Maps, I
saw him outside the house,
painting the gates. Absorbed
by the task at hand, noticing
every missed spot and how
much excessive paint. Lens
flare highlighting the gravel.
Validate your redemption here
by bleaching your eyeballs and
tattooing your skin every colour
imaginable. Condition yourself
for a life of humiliation and
degradation by casting yourself
as a post-repulsive hybrid of
human and architecture.
Once again, you’re lost in the
underground as the green
aurora by moonlight hardens
your flesh into rigid, immovable
chunks and your hair disintegrates
into minute strands with each caress.
While you ponder your next move,
the ghosts of long murdered little
children skip across the motorway,
oblivious to limbo’s boundaries.
Your phone morphs into your hand
and your newsfeed appears in your
bleached eyeballs. The iris and the
pupil merge and display the relevant
icons when scrolling. You lie transfixed
the various tabs blurting out sounds
that merge to create disjointed rhythms
and chopped up vocals straining for emotion.
After a while, you start emitting sounds
not of this island, accent congealing into
a yodel, and your delivery has been reduced
to several sounds. Crossing the border, the
troops (instructed to look for abandoned
babies) see you convulsing and crying with
gleeful sadness, struggling to articulate
yourself. They fire their chemically
altered weapons and, in the end, the
process of your bones melting and your
flesh solidifying into further rigid, immovable
chunks allows time for the updates to install.
Bio: Influenced by post punk and industrial music, and evolving out of a hidden desire to create anything, Christopher Owens exists in that moment between conscience and the sub conscience. And, after all, the two years leading up to the apocalypse needs a soundtrack. Published in Belfast, Punk Noir Magazine, Sweat Drenched Press and Outcast Press as well as authoring reviews for The Pensive Quill, Metal Ireland, Chordblossom and The Quietus. Debut collection appearing in 2023 care of Close to the Bone Publishing.