the flesh covers the bone/ and they put a mind in there/
and sometimes a soul/ and the women break vases against the walls/
and the men drink too much/ and nobody finds the one/
but keep looking/ crawling in and out of beds/
flesh covers the bone and the flesh searches for more than flesh.
there is no chance at all: we are all trapped by a singular fate.
nobody ever finds the one.
the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill
nothing else fills.
- Charles Bukowski, Alone With Everybody
This is my last post for the year. I set out to write 52, and I will finish on 14.
I have failed by 38 posts.
But I published 14. And at least 6 of them are worth reading.
I wrote a few more that I didn’t publish. Most of those were about sex.
You can find all of the published works here.
This was my most read post, with more than 2,500 reads.
I enjoyed writing this one the most. Fewer than 100 people read it, probably because it didn’t have a controversial, click-bait title.
2015 was largely awful. We moved from hedonistic lives in the proverbial utopia of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs back home to a South Africa that is finally beginning to come to terms with its true self — xenophobia, widespread youth unrest, persistent racism, a crazy state president — and, like a pet fish adjusting to the size of its pond, my personal life took on the flavour of my conflicted homeland. My marriage nearly fell apart, my relationship with my family was strained to the limit, my socio-sexual-spiritual-economic world view went into the blender and has yet to re-emerge.
The world is largely awful. It really is. As a Caucasian male born into colonial splendour, I experience a small percentage of how awful it really is, but I’m aware that by and large, the world is a pretty terrible place. Even the average South African living in poverty has it a lot better than a kid born into Asian sweat shop slavery or a Central African child soldier hell. In fact, no matter who you are, you can rest assured that someone, somewhere, has it worse.
People are largely awful.
We’re literally depleting every resource we have beyond the point of repair, we constantly bomb our neighbours over very slight differences in religious belief, we preach with authority out of books we barely understand, and we cover it all in a veil of meaningless entertainment so frivolous that not even Huxley’s Brave New World got it right.
The dystopian future has moved from the pages of Orwell and Dicks and into the here and now, and I’m really not sure what to do about it.
But here we are, on the shores of 2016, and an odd thing is happening beneath my rib cage — that strange and mystical spirit called hope is kicking at my sternum and shaking up my legs. I have hope that 2016 will be different. Sure, there are very obvious reasons why I’m excited about next year — I’m in a new city, I have an exciting new job and in the next few weeks I’ll become a dad. But I’m aware that hope founded upon these things is doomed to fail — I could get fired, I could lose my daughter, the city I now call home might burn down in the wake of an angry socialist revolution.
Far stranger things have happened to men far more righteous than I.
Upon what foundation is this rib-cage heat that screams like a watchman on the walls of your soul built?
The city dumps fill, the graveyards fill, the madhouses fill. Nothing in all of human history points to 2016 being any different. Our planet is no longer a self-repairing system — the clockwork of human misery will tick along the burnt out recesses of linear time and then it will end uneventfully in a slow boring heat death.
Except that it won’t, will it?
None of our stories end that way — none of the good ones. There is one theme which ties together the human narrative, and that theme is redemption.
The tragic hero, the apocalyptic third act revelation, the balance in the force.
We are Macbeth, we are Oedipus, we are Tyler Durden.
I am no longer sure through which mechanism the redemption of human history will take place. Perhaps it is as simple as death — a blissful nothingness into which all suffering is swallowed. Perhaps it is the grace of Christ that restores the soul and transforms the body. Perhaps technology will allow us to develop utopian worlds in the far off corners of the galaxy, though I find that unlikely. But something will save us — the thing to which the hope in my chest calls will one day answer.
Either that, or I’m just fucking crazy.
Thank you for reading what I have had to say in 2015.
I’ll probably keep writing next year, if you’re interested.