‘Can’t you see the bike lane? Asshole.’
Ears ringing, rattle, rattle, rattle, the tremors before the earthquake, feel it tingling through the extremities of my body, tiny fists rattling, and it’s starting to rain, and the man is long gone but this feeling remains, and why did he have to do that, to throw his feeling onto me, just one thing too many today, just one thing too many, no, no, don’t go down this path, you know where this leads, monkey brain they call it, monkey brain, I can observe the feeling I don’t need to go on the ride, I can take a step back, I don’t have to act out a drama that’s been played too many times before within my bones, I don’t have to, I don’t have to, I don’t have two, one, two, three, four, bore, sore, what for, what did he scream at me for, and my brakes aren’t working right, and my tires are flat, and it’s raining and so windy, why is it always windy when I cycle, is it permanently windy in this country, and why did his face remind me of him, as if I didn’t have enough reminders already, as if I hadn’t spent all day trying to eradicate my boyfriend, ex boyfriends, face, angry face, from my mind, angry face, why is everyone always angry at me, what is it about me, stop thinking you’re special, stop monkey brain, monkey brain, monkey brain is going to drive me insane, breathe deeply, you’re just watching a movie not partaking in it, you’re not the center of everything, stop narrating your life as the lead, dissolve ego, dissolve, be in the present, be in the - why is this person in front of me cycling so slowly, like deliberately slowly, oh my god I think I’m going to snap, I think I am moments away from getting off my bike and throwing it at this man, he’s young too, no need for someone so young to be cycling so painfully slowly, why are people always cycling so slowly on roads where you can’t overtake, or I could try but what if I get shouted at again, stupid man, he probably thinks he’s - oh stop stop, you don’t know who he is, maybe he’s cycling slow because he has knee pain, or his father died in a road accident so he takes extra care when cycling, or likes to cycle slowly to appreciate the scenery, although there isn’t much scenery just house after familiar house, this place can be so tiresome sometimes, all of the time, why am I still living here, why have I not left this city yet, when every bone in me wants to be anywhere but here, where the Winters are endless and there’s a grit, a bleakness, a harshness, environment affects so much of who you are, I want to be somewhere where people are happy, is anyone happy here, like truly happy, it always seems to be circumstance rather than desire as to why people stay here, or no that’s not true, there must be people who like it here, monkey brain, monkey brain, why do I never appreciate an empty mind until it wakes up, until it wakes you up, 3am, 4am, 5am, sometimes it feels my mind hates me, and living is a battle, a war to fight against these shitty tools I’ve been given, you’re not special, stop acting like you’re special, god you disgust me sometimes, the story you tell yourself becomes your reality, need to stop telling myself these stories, I have so much awareness now so much knowledge compared to before, I understand my feelings, my thoughts, what I have to do in theory so well, but it doesn’t seem to help when I’m like this, when my mind is running four circuits at once and no wonder I go into overdrive, no wonder it all shuts down, no system should be operating like this, breathe, so quick, so quick, I need it to slow down, why won’t it slow down, why can’t I catch a moment’s break, why can’t I relax anymore, when was the last time I truly felt rested, when was - “I can never forgive you” thanks for that brain, that’s what I needed to hear right now, his voice, his voice, his voice, will I ever hear his voice again, will I ever see, monkey brain, will I ever see anything but the images I have of him in my head, why does his angry face come to me so much easier than his smile, what if I forget what his smile looks like, and such a good smile too, this is what I mean by my monkey brain, always clinging to the negative, I’m not clinging, you can’t control how you feel but you can control how you react to it, I am refusing to react to this, this ends here, I’m switching off now, one, two, three, kill me, kill me, that asshole, why did he have to shout at me and make me like this, does he have any idea of what he has sparked within me, of how I’ve been maintaining this careful balance all day, on the precipice treading so delicately so as not to dip, to make a stable out of unstable, of course he didn’t, why would he, do any of us ever truly reflect on the consequences of our actions on others, on what we spark within them, on what we cause, just by living we cause so much damage, so much “I can never forgive you,” again with the voice, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, please stop, please I can’t deal, it’s fine, it’s fine, you’ve got this, you’ve got this, you know the more times you say I got this the less I feel I’ve got anything, the more I feel it’s all slipping away, has gone, that I have no control, no power, I can’t even keep my monkey brain under control, monkey brain, monkey brain, monkey brain refuses to be tamed, refuses to let me be sane, I just want to have a bit of sanity is that too much to ask, oh no don’t get desperate, remember the more desperate you get the worse it gets, you need to stop feeding this, remember all you’ve learned, six years of counselling and for what, what have I learned, I’ve learned that I hate my mind, and sometimes hate my life, and often want to die, but overall want to be alive, oh what a beautiful synopsis, I can see it on the back of your autobiography now, tales from an angry- oh would you stop, just shut up for two seconds, how is time going so slowly, I’m still so far away from home, and I thought cycling was supposed to clear your mind, exercise being good and all that, but I’m just sweaty and exhausted, but hey what’s new, I’m always exhausted, it sounds exhausting to be you he told me once, remember, remember when he said that, the first time you considered it and said yes yes you’re so right, I’m exhausted to the point of delirium and I think I’m living more in my head than in my life, and I can’t attach to other people because I’m whisked away by my monkey brain, monkey brain, drive me insane, I hate the game, same, same same, so senseless, so stupid, self pity does no good, you’re not an I, remember dissolve ego, be in the we, recognise how you are a part of all of this, a part of the greenery, the trees, a murderer holding a machete, jesuschrist where did that come from, and his mask dripping with blood, and such a violent image, maybe I saw it in a past life, I like to think that sometimes, it’s somehow easier to accept than my brain just being so- monkey brain, monkey brain, and I feel like I’m in a vacuum all too often, that I want to break out of these imaginary walls, I feel trapped, why didn’t I tell him that, but I don’t think he’d understand, can any of us ever understand what’s going on in someone’s mind, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I’m coming apart at the seams, sometimes it’s just me and sometimes there’s so much more, I never get this balance right, either there’s all the words or none, and I haven’t worked out which one I can cope best with, when I’m constantly switching, it sounds exhausting being you, I don’t forgive you, I could never forgive you, you piece of shit, okay no he didn’t say that, hahahahahaha, what is with this demonic laughing, it kind of sounds like someone I know, maybe someone from school, or my dad, or no don’t think about family right now, keep focused on, on, can’t you see it’s a bike lane, I kind of wish he ran me down then and there, that would’ve been awfully pleasant, awfully considerate of him, his face, his fucking fucking fucking, how many more times are you going to curse, fucking face, spray it with mace, such a case of this, ahh, oh my god stop giving in, stop adding fuel to the fire, you’re fine, you’re fine, you’ve got this, one, two, three, breathe, breathe, breathe, I feel like I can’t breathe, you can breathe, I feel like I can’t breathe right, why do I smoke so much, how many did you smoke today, I have no idea, need to start keeping count again, how else am I to know how much I’m supposed to hate myself, oh Jesus stop that, stop it, no you don’t say stop it you just remember, you just disengage, why does it always sound so easy in those self help books, in those memes, I can see it all with so much clarity and now, now, the wind is getting so bad, maybe I should just get off my bike curl into a ball on the road and die, and cry, and lie, lie, liar, liar, liar, I can never forgive you, please just give me a moments peace, a moment, what I wouldn’t do for a moment without this unstoppable narrative, pushing, pulling, screaming, my untrained monkey brain, can’t you see the bike lane, can’t you see the bike lane, can’t you see the bike lane, I can never forgive you, no I can’t see the bike lane you motherfucker, you, you, oh good one you got him there, you got him there real good, real good man, why man, is my brain just an amalgamation of fragments of speeches I’ve overheard, like an iPod on shuffle, iPod what an old reference, remember your iPod nano and how that kid in school took it off you and threw it to the ground and - yeah, that’s great brain keep reminding me of things to get angry about, super helpful, super, you’re such a star, you’re, monkey brain, monkey brain, monkey brain, please get me out of here, what if there’s a tiny me stuck inside me who’s waiting to be freed, and he or she or - breathe, one, two, three, take the life away from me, no I’m done, done with doing this, I’m watching the movie I’m not partaking in it, it’d help if my mind didn’t go a billion miles a second, if someone could transcribe this shit there wouldn’t be a computer fast enough, it’s faster than I speak, it’s speaking ten sentences at once and none of them are helpful, some of them are helpful, it’s okay, you got this, you got this, you got this, one, two…oh holy shit...
Short Story // Monkey Brain
Dermot is a 24 year old poet and fiction writer living and working in Dublin. His work has been featured in The Blue Nib, The Catullan, and in 2014 his short story Bus was shortlisted for the RTE Francis McManus Short Story Competition. He’s ventured into the world of film with his short films Fever and Escape, as well as the world of poetry where he’s part of the poetry group The Cracked Spine Collective and has performed internationally. The focus in his work at the moment is around capturing the complexities of the human consciousness, particularly he’s interested in challenging the premise that our thought process has a coherent linear expression.