“Why Don’t You Have Facebook?”

Business-Does-Not-Need-Facebook-Page[1]Would you like to know the real reason why
I don’t have a smart phone,
I don’t use facebook,
I rarely send emails,
I avoid internet communication almost entirely?

It’s because everyone is talking to everyone else at once.
And no-one knows who anyone else is talking to.
And no-one knows what anyone else is talking about.

I can be having different, separate, deep, meaningful conversations with many people on many topics at the same time.
There is no commitment online: It is possible to jump from one chat to the next so easily.

If there is a pause in your typing… are you talking to someone else?
I have to tell myself “You’re just thinking” or “You’re just feeling overwhelmed”
But I have no way of knowing this to be true!
I can’t see your body language
I can’t read your facial expressions
I can’t connect with the soul reflected in your eyes.
This makes it harder for me to trust.
A digital wall between us
This plants seeds of suspicion and jealousy.
Thorns that grow up and choke my heart

But real life communication is not like this.
In the real world, when there is a pause in the conversation I can easily tell whether the other person is thinking carefully or if they are distracted by something else.
In the real world, if the person I’m talking to walks away to talk to someone else, I know, and I can walk away and talk to someone else too.
In the real world, it isn’t possible to become emotionally invested in a conversation which has already evaporated.

So now I go back and look over the whole Discussion.
Suddenly it looks very different.
Those moments where you weren’t saying anything begin to seem incredibly ambiguous:
What were you really doing while I poured my heart out into that chatbox?
Were you thinking about how to respond?
Were you struck down by emotion?
Or were you just talking to someone else,
and reading a random internet article…

I’m not saying give up technology for my sake.
The fact that I feel jealous and suspicious is not your fault.
My emotional responses are my own problem to deal with.
But I refuse to suck it up, desensitize, stop caring or push my feelings down.
So how do I deal with them?

Life is better offline

Alex Herlihy – 2014

Dark Nostalgia

dark-dream-christiano-torres[1].jpg

Did you dream about me?
That’s all I am to most people now.
No address. No phone. No facebook.
Dimly remembered.
I recognise people from long long ago everyday and when they see me
It is strange strained stares that I draw. Stares that say
“Who are you?”
“How do I know you?”
“Why do I recognise you?”

I am dark nostalgia
Someone who sat before you and shared your torture,
Someone who knows how to speak your language,
Someone who remembers where you live, the bus you caught, the school you attended
Yet you still can’t quite place that presence of the past in the present.

And yet my face draws dazed recollections into your eyes
Your gaze swiftly averted
Fluttered heart breaking
You don’t remember me
The only explanation
You never knew me
The final answer
Did you dream…
One last hope –
About me?

Alex Herlihy – 2011

Loyalty

2016-01-04-1451947020-1057181-Betrayal4edde75f206fe-thumb[1].jpgI will fight for you
Because you are my friend
If anyone tries to hurt you
I’ll be there to defend

It sickens me to see how sad you are
Come into my world, be brave, don’t fret.
They defame you while we watch from afar
But I’ll stand up for you, never forget.

Why did I bother?

I will not fight you
I value you more than that

Why do you fight me
I thought you were a friend
After all my trust and loyalty
Is this how it’s going to end?

It sickens me to hear how happy you are
You show no signs of guilt or regret
and defame me while I watch from afar
So am I a friend, or did you forget?

Or maybe you never cared anyway

get out of my life
get out of my life
get out of my life
get out of my head
I want you dead.

Alex Herlihy – 2010

Cold Nostalgia

6f78e67723857a7a3446ac9d99a3414c[1].jpgI step out the door into the frost
Walk once more to the fountain of loss.
Memories haunt every corner on the way
Hiding in these trees that the wind would sway

Against the grey clouds and white sky
I can’t help but let my imagination sigh.
I’m walking through an Autumn tunnel
And standing in a wet winter puddle

To the left is my third school
Desolation brings a breeze cold; not cool.
The grounds; abandoned. The gates; locked.
But my memories would have this scene mocked

I see children, wearing the blue of the day
Laughing and running their childhood away
A rather stark contrast to this black I wear now
I still smile to see a uniform as I glance down

I’m at a cross in the road covered by leaves
On the right is a place for someone who believes
To my left leads another tunnel of trees
But the evergreen conceals darker memories;

An image of friendship confronts my eyes
Friendship caught in a walking web of lies
It disappears into the darkness and distance
Leaving behind loyalty, trust and innocence.

I bend to pick up these pieces of past
Why is it that these virtues never last?
Why did friendship have to walk behind
Lust embracing a love of my mind?

I drop the naive back on the pavement
Ignorance shatters and secures my only repayment
I’m walking on without looking behind
For if I did… I wonder what I would find.

I lived in that house. I know this road.
Still the same lawn; ever un-mowed.
There’s the park where I used to fly
On swings so high you could touch the sky.

I look to the other side of the street
To see three who “by coincidence” did meet
Smiles, laughter and completely alive
I blink and let the image die

Onwards, to the fountain, I’m almost there
This is the big one for which I prepared.
A circle of significance, clock of no time
This hunk of metal hides meaning behind grime

The image is so strong this time around
That my whole body lifts itself off the ground
And I find myself walking through twilight rain
To the overflowing fountain from a train.

The path is deserted; Everyone has found cover
Alone I am walking, but wait, there’s another
A beautiful girl radiating red sunshine
Confronted with her, the weather seems fine

She smiles, walking towards me with arms extended
I walk towards her feeling as if time had just ended
We fall into each other and on the spot embrace
While the freezing rain falls; soaking her smiling face

But we don’t mind. Just stand still, holding on
Once over this moment will be forever gone
I close my eyes and enter a void of bliss
The world’s best kiss doesn’t compare with this

I can feel a cold wind licking my cheek
The amazing feeling begins to grow weak.
I wake up to find the sky still grey
Still that same dreary winters-mid-day

Memories can bend a chain but not break one
To break a chain requires something more of a gun.
With that in mind I turn, walk and climb
Find the glass bridge and recall a crime.

Lust’s lying spider smiles as he holds close a close friend
I wish to ignore what I saw, but can’t even pretend.
She stood still while with most gentle caress
The damned deadly Demon her beautiful body did undress.

I’m watching my memory be murdered once more
The past includes images that strike at my core.
Trust turned to lust while loyalty and love were just lies;
Nothing of this nostalgia retains purity to my eyes.

Time to learn, turn and leave this place
Walk back, wipe the rain from my face
Back through Hornsby, Normanhurst and Wahroonga;
Through the lies and lost love. What cold nostalgia.

Alex Herlihy – 2010

I Hate You

seven-last-words-church-of-god-in-christ-jesus-vNBnzj-clipart[1]I opened up my heart to you
I opened up my mind to you
I revealed all my weaknesses to you

Then you went and fell in love with me
But I your best friend? It wasn’t to be
Through my rejections you came to hurt me

And then I turned my back on you
So now I “present” my back to you
But what are you going to do?

Do what damage you will as I know
This is to be the final blow
And I am prepared to take it

Once more I reveal my memories to you
One final time I show my heart to you
Again I open my windows of weakness to you

So hit me.
And then I can finally be free of you.

Alex Herlihy – 2010

Winter Formal

wintermemorie-6592[1].jpgWe were standing there one winters day
Me and Ba and Shank and Ray
“The seats are wet”, “I know hey”
Oh look there’s Scott, “His hair is so gay”

There was a time where I would have defended
Raised up my arms and cried most offended
Scott is a friend “Hey stop it you guys”
“Give it up with the slander and lies”

But no not today oh no no no way
Scott is the reason the sky is so grey.
I look left to déjà vu this dreary day;
For fate I have a debt to repay.

Ironic, how he’s no longer my friend
There’s no doubt how this is going to end.
Should I try to correct the fault?
Let my hard feelings out of that vault?

Yet I can no longer trust Scott, so I refuse.
Andrew Semler has been naught but bad news.
He has hit my moral event horizon on
the side which sends our friendship long gone

He’s made the mistake you don’t make twice
The kind of promise I won’t take thrice
He’s entered the game and stolen the dice
My poker face now is a cold mask of ice.

He knows I’ve played this game before
And I’ll not lose again; this time it’s war!
I have confidence either way for once
Security in my success against this dunce

I’m married. I simply can’t lose
My loving wife will join me on the cruise
So I’m not competing for a partner
Not searching for a happily ever after.

All I want is to ruin Scott’s dreams
And do it all with my smile like a beam.
Yes I’m a bastard, a horrible fiend
I will no longer tolerate Scott on the scene

I write it all with a touch of guilt
But that’s good, it’s how I’m built
There will be no regret by the time I am done
Only plenty of guilt with which to have fun

Already the emails have found themselves sent
The third vertex already finds herself bent
It seems like an early success
But I am not so easy to impress

My power on the internet has only grown stronger
My stalking resumé grows longer and longer
I can see all that has exchanged between
My favourite nerd and my Redheaded Queen

At the slightest hint of love and wonder
I will ruthlessly tear their hearts asunder
And it’s none of this from Jealousy, yet.
It’s the nerve of this shadow in every respect

I’ve fought against him for a whole year
It’s time for the right words to enter his ear.
This happens to be the most fitting way
To get across what I’ve wanted to say:

You are not you; you are stubbornly me
And I’m sorry to destroy your heart, honestly
But if it takes such murder to make you see
Then I have no regrets; Let it be.

Alex Herlihy – 2010

The Need to Belong

Clockwork-Orange-34[1].jpg

“What do you think I should do with you?”
I sigh. Not this shit again. The unanswerable question. Haven’t teachers learned by now that asking the criminal student what their punishment is going to be only results in blank stares and a mumbling of “Umm..I dunno”? I mean, how the hell do you answer a question like that? “Well sir I think it would be most excellent if you give me a piggy back and buy me my lunch today” or “Oh please give me a good spanking sir! I’ve been a very naughty boy”. Even a hearty response of “Aye my lord!” would be as good an answer as any to this ridiculous question.
But do you know the funny thing? Every time the request for my most valuable opinion on this matter has been thrown at me, I’ve always managed to somehow produce the correct answer. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done; whether I’ve just murdered a classmate with a lead pencil for stealing my ruler (The bastard deserved it), I’ve burnt down the science block because science is the worst subject in the world (Who the heck designed that syllabus?!) or I’ve just stolen the bank account details of every teacher in the school: I always manage to smooth talk out of trouble.
Hell… It must go with the name. A-Lex: “Above the law”. Just give me time to make a considered response and I’ll have the words they want to hear, presented in Iambic pentameter with a British accent to boot. But don’t let that fool you into thinking I’m ‘lying’, oh no I could never do that. Everything I say is completely truthful and sincere. It has to be! And so here I am; faced with the impossible question again. One multiple choice answer away from a million and one dollars.
What did I do this time? Well let me put it this way: This is what happens when the clockwork orange doesn’t drink his milk.

I was born with a brain to rule the world, whether by anarchy or monarchy is irrelevant; all you need is something to think about and a good dosage of ADHD to keep you from thinking about it. I grew up free of added substances, and oh what a stroppy young lad I was! Centre of the universe, as all children tend to be, and ready to fight to maintain the position. Ironically I was filled with modesty and far from spoilt, it’s kind of the case when you come from a loving, yet quite dysfunctional family. Nevertheless, from a young age I had the criminal tendencies and loved them. My teachers and carers didn’t. I found myself in trouble every second day, but managed to hang on; the fire of my wrongdoings growing ever higher. Eventually the flames flew out of control; the straw that broke the camels back; I had performed the perfect lead pencil poisoning. We were sitting there in the library, cutting and pasting, or some other tedious task designed to keep a collection of five year old kids occupied, and my ruler had gone missing. I was filled with rage, someone must have stolen it! Lo and behold, there it was, in the hands of my best friend. I drew my lead pencil, immediately confronting him and demanding to know why he was holding my ruler.
“This is my ruler…?”
That was as good as an admission of guilt for me. I wore the best mask of rage a child of that age could ask for, and plunged my pencil deep into his chest.
His failure to breathe registered in my mind as the sign of victory and I pressed the pencil in harder, grinning sadistically as all that beautiful blood gushed from the wound. The other children screamed and ran for the Librarian, the fools, my friend wasn’t complaining; I hadn’t heard a word of protest from him. Foam, phlegm and other disgusting bile of the inner body was bubbling at his throat and coating his lips, which had begun to turn blue. I didn’t recognise the signs of imminent death, if I had I would have been as horrified as the rest of my class mates; and so in ignorance I assumed I was merely providing an eye for an eye, a pencil for a ruler, and enjoyed it as much as possible.
The librarian finally parted us, and everything that occurred next happened in such a whirlwind that to describe it in this linear fashion would not do it justice. I had killed him. To this day he still has to wear nappies to compensate for the damage I did, and to be honest, when you’re wearing pants like that, that’s as good as death to me.

It had taken them a while, but they had realised something was seriously wrong with me. And so, to the best and most expensive doctor I had to go.
“He doesn’t really seem to belong”
“I don’t WANT to belong”
“You don’t want to belong? aww, that’s too bad, because you see… You ‘need’ to belong. If you don’t want to belong, we’re going to make you. We’re going to make you a good boy.”
Drugs, prescription or otherwise, ruin life. I was administered cocaine with a brand name, and that ruined my life by fixing it.
So this is what it feels like to belong huh? Not half bad… 103% on every test, teachers falling over themselves to have me in their class, give me merit awards, call me the model student. Super concentration ability, incubated natural intelligence to the point of genius. Sounds good. Lack of sleep, the inability to talk to someone’s face, headaches, the loss of my sense of taste. Sounds good?
Changing school six times, losing sight of what it means to have a best friend, losing the creative side of my brain to logical, mathematical, computerised thought processes. This is what it means to belong? Alright.
What a Dreary world… I rebelled in much the same manner as I always had, but in much more controlled doses, and always escaping punishment.

Nine years on, and I’d lost my emotions. If this is what it means to belong, I still want nothing to do with it! Why do they keep telling us all that drugs are bad, while feeding them to me as if the whole country depends on it, and then I only end up like this anyway. Hypocrisy on every level! My dosage had doubled, tripled and doubled again, and I had had enough.

I didn’t drink my milk. And here I am; facing the consequences.
It seems rather sad to me, that I truly do need to belong in order to survive in this world. Belonging is annoying, but it’s something that has to be endured. The world doesn’t need another terrorist, murderer, rapist. The world needs a good leader, not a criminal. I know this and understand it. Hate it and accept it.

But it doesn’t stop me enjoying myself every now and then.
The door of the Principals’ office clicks loudly, locking the outside world away.
The one sir to rule them all slowly moves back towards his desk, his shoes thudding loudly and echoing off the walls with every step.
He sits down at the extraneously large table, rests his arms upon it, crosses his fingers together and glares at me over his glasses.
I smile and stare right back.
“I don’t know sir; What do you think I… should do with you?”

Alex Herlihy – 2010

Confessions

failure-edited[1].jpgYou do… do you?

Oh god how much hurt a lie can do
My mind was torn everytime I spoke those words
“No, I don’t love you”

What I meant was “I can’t love you”
It was said with a sense of paradox too
Because it was exactly what I wanted to do.

Exactly what I ‘needed’ to do
In order to extract the key to your heart
And allow me to love you.

Alright alright alright yes I loved you
I had to hide it and it hurt
But what else was I to do?

You flew from those with love on their; “To do”
But I wouldn’t have that be me
Oh no… oh no damn you.

At first it seemed to work with you
I still uncovered your feelings
But fixing them I was not in a position to do

Yet there was nothing I wanted more to do!
Oh God knows I wanted to
God knows I tried to help you

You love me too do you?
I was so sure…
Really? Really? You do?

You do? Do you? You do?
I remember you, do you remember me?
Do you? You do? Do you?

You don’t… Do you.

Alex Herlihy – 2010

Train Ride

800px-GO_Train_sunset[1].jpgIn the one hour past dawn, freezing cold
I wore nothing. You wore Black.
Was it your practicality? There was no light for absorbing sunheat
Could it have been your mind? Grief at yet another holiday
The station was warm enough to me. All the smiling faces,
Children wrapped up in the warmth of their innocence
The loving arms of warm ignorance; A smiling mother
Using her whole body to shield the future
from the cold world.
What was behind that smile?
Fear, uncertainty, love
But most of all, protection.
Your mother smiled in the same way
And you felt for the arms of your father.
A blind master of the many colours she commands
Her eyes reflected the black back not to what she saw
Only to herself.

My mask kept me warm.
All through the shivers and goosebumps
All I ever needed was my head.
And warmth enough to insist
“I’m not cold”

The train came and went within a minute
Enough time to exchange a merry goodbye
Time to see a body of smiles
To see a face of resignation
And the sadness in her eyes.
For the whole minute, you waved to your father.

On the train you slept.
Restless, you curled yourself up, unrolled,
Got into a tangle, not once did you look comfortable
But I stayed silent, watching, thinking.
A spider once told me “A simple arm over the shoulder
can go a long way” to spin the web further.

Silent and blind.

What a way to set up for tragedy
I might have been wearing blue, but
“I’m not cold”
Yet, where my arm lay said otherwise
You were warm to touch, comfort in the air.
So why were you shivering?
I felt you warm when you felt cold
“I’m not cold”

I sat next to you for seven hours
Awake or not, Asleep or not
I had eyes for the scenery
I couldn’t help it
The people around us were too interesting
I chuckled as they guffawed
Smiled at their slang
Made the world rhyme with every action they made
But the most unchanging, beautiful view
would not have been the same without you.
The world rushed past the window
I gave it a glance or two
But my mind was focused on you.
Your mother has been aiming you at God
Choose your father and touch the trigger.
Oh how I wanted to hug you, hold you, help you
but never love. A lie became the truth.
“Lean on me” the three word poem in my mind
Three simple words, held back inside
Snuggle, cuddle, hold, hug

Sleep.

You tossed and turned, dreaming of God knows what.
My tiredness only wanted your rest,
My inaction was silence, observation, thought.
Philosophers may understand the world
But they aren’t the people who change it
Warm ignorance escaped my gaze and fell to you again
I waited and waited,
expecting to see a memory of the spider
playing with his prey
play out again.
But No face-to-face revelation occurred.

I wanted to give you warmth, comfort, and help
But I never gave myself the opportunity because
“I’m not cold”

Alex Herlihy – 2010

Unfinished Poetry Fragment

At first, it was love.
My more logical side was always shouting “Slow down! Slow down!”
But the barely audible, back of my head still managed to win my devotion.
Someone who stays silent slays both ignorance and intelligence in a single stroke
The quiet ones know best, don’t they.
Don’t they…?

It was love.
I, A Lex.
I, Above the law.
I, A clockwork orange.
My creative and destructive impulses
Forcibly repressed
To make me quite presentable as an all-around acceptable member most respectable in our school society.
I used to engage in violence, revel in the fight,
It was Blood, guts, gore and glee! Until the doctor set me right.
So with classical and chilli-sauce, A repression of my drives
I share the name and I share the pain;
I am a clockwork orange.
And yet… it all comes down
To the milk I drink in the morning.

It was love!
My milk was neglected.
My drugs left untouched.
All my long repressed emotions and desires
Bubbling, exploding, escaping!
I was swimming in freedom!
Freedom out of control.
My heart was torn out and dangled before me
To show me what I had done
Reveal my love for what it really was
only an addiction.
As my life fell back upon the milk
Punishment was madness, insanity.
Withdrawal symptoms ironically.
The longing to return to the place where I belong
grew weaker and faint through time
To the point where indifference replaced the love
A faint annoyance at the blindness in my old friends minds.

Alex Herlihy – 2010