“Tell me, what is it exactly about writing that gets you?”
“Nothing, I’m bored, bored to tears.”
“But you do it so damn beautifully.”
“So you say, but tell me this, where’s the book deal? Where’s the plaudits, where’s the fucking life I dreamed about!?”
“Within your grasp.”
“My ass, and even if I get it now all my fucking friends are gone. What do I do, sit and drink and shake the hands of people who I couldn’t care less for. Blubber into my goddamn whisky. Fill the air with enough what-ifs to send us insane again?”
“Your friends aren’t gone. How could they be?”
“Because I was never myself, all those years stuck to my fucking bed, aside from that meeting people – great people – and pushing them away against my absolute will. FUCK!! I see them but I can’t get in.”
“You’re bitter. And I think you’re losing your head again to be honest.”
“Damn right I’m bitter, I’m reeling, feeling lost just like I used to. Christ that OCD destroyed me, and I know what people reckon regards my writing poetry. They laugh, they judge it for what it is, silly.”
“It’s not silly, it’s superb. There are so many of those people who love reading what you write. Trust me.”
“Then where are they, where’s their commission, their need to give their loved-one a poem?”
“They have done that, only the other day a woman told me she cried on reading one of the poems you gave to her sister.”
“Which one’s that then?”
“Dunno.”
“Course you don’t, why would you? Bet it was supposed to be a comedy.”
“Come on.”
“No, it’s ludicrous, I’ve done EVERYTHING! Analysed every damn inch of every damn poem. It’s lost on me completely. Really I’d rather not be here.”
“Where would you want to be?”
“Not glued to my bed in a one-horse town, where there’s no creativity, no drive. A homegrown statistic to the last. I know that is shit to say, people here can be great but… but… FUCK! It’s my fault, hardly theirs. They’ve held out their hands only I’m too fucking weak to take it. I’ve nothing to say. I’m a little different after all. Fuck, I’d punch the cunt who talks like this. Sorry but I would. Do you know that five published poets – one of them well known – told me they didn’t get why I wasn’t published? Said he’d publish me himself if he was a publisher.”
“Why don’t you push it?”
“Because even if I can push it like never before I won’t be twenty-five again, and I certainly won’t have a decent career. A stop-start barman with a side-order of freelance anxiety. The most successful freelancer out there I’ll have you know. ALDI, fucking ALDI!!”
“What about ALDI?”
“Exactly.”
“Prick.”
“Know what, my beautiful sister came down from Dublin to see me at the weekend, to keep me company. I treated her just like I would my sworn enemy when what I wanted to do was sit and laugh, only there’s no laugh in me and my skin will crawl for that above all else. I’m worried, I’ve never told anyone else that. P-E-T-R-I-F-I-E-D.

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