A Personal View On Death

Death to me, is quite beautiful.

Death is tying a ribbon into a bow and labelling the package ‘Completion.’ It is finally being able to look back on a life and understand the meaning of that life, the question that has boggled philosophers, some of the best thinkers, since life began. Death is an epiphany. It’s noticing the beauty, the impact, the brilliance of someone.

With death comes a treasuring, and albeit a sum of regret too, but we cling on to what we remember of a life only once it’s gone. Death is keeping those memories and always feeling some sort of emotion because of them. Happiness, anger, desperation… In its own dark way, Death will remind you of what’s most important in life, in the most obvious way it can – through expression. Emotion. Elements of life.

Death is endless love, perhaps frustrating in some circumstances, but endless nonetheless. When we lose someone we love, when their life is complete, our love for them becomes immortal, because life can no longer touch that love, it cannot ruin that love, there will be no fights to tear that love. That love is crystallised and therefore unbreakable.

With death comes a terrible feeling that one won’t experience until they’ve fallen victim to Death’s grip. A pain, a sick feeling that was always there, like cancer, just waiting to be exploited. Mourning, grief… Emotions that cause sickness, sickness of hearts, sickness of souls, emotions that will make make you puke up the backbone of your reality and leave you staring at the mess on the floor. Death gives birth to the second part of life, and much like in the first part of life, we are born kicking and screaming and scared and stupid, but we grow. We age. Death prepares us for how cruel both it and Life can be, and will be, and you will see a different world, a world where you will not take ease for granted…But a world where you will appreciate the softness of snow, the flexibility of young glass, the changing colour of the sky.

Dillon #2

His skin is cold to touch. Colder than The Grey. His teeth are icicles. His tongue is vanilla ice-cream. His favourite colours are white and blue but he pretends they are red and black. When kissing his lips it feels like eating snow. His breath is always foggy. His blood has frozen, so he moves with stiff legs and turns slowly. He gleams with brilliance and cleanliness. He is immaculate and pure and those of wicked and wretched sin, those like me, are hurt to look upon his white statue. The light cuts the black of our eyes like a needle.

Nothing penetrates his glacier exterior. The pools of emotions inside him are never rippled. They are steady and lonely and never overflow and they are a young blue atop and embowled by a flawless white.

He deflects weapons and blocks punches. He is a white barrier. He is physically unbreakable. He doesn’t crack. He glows – a strict, skinny, skeleton glow that radiates from his skin. He is intimate with his surroundings and can surge them with confidence to withstand the wildest of winds and strongest of storms.

When he walks through empty corridors he glides his finger along the wall emitting little flakes from the contact that melt to a tear of water before they reach the ground.

I think he lives like he’s made of glass. Perhaps porcelain. A cold porcelain vase that doesn’t home flowers and acts as just an eye pleaser, a decoration on a marble mantlepiece. And so, he feels cold and worthless and looked at but not looked in, not studied, just passed, his existence fragile and unmendable once it shatters into fragments; picked up with delicate hands and let fall again. And again. And again. 

We could combine, little Dillon. You and I, the frost and the fog could attach and produce a new world. An illusionist and a shapeshifter. Who’s who?

Galaxy Goo

I could crack you open and galaxy goo would slime through the fissures, thick and dark purple and full of little stars.

You don’t even know that.

You have no idea what’s inside of you. What you’re made of. I guess that’s because you can’t see your eyes. Unless you look through mirror. But you and I both know, mirrors only reflect colours. Cosmic magic gets lost in translation.

I have seen your eyes. The first time I met with them, my lonely mind took their picture and replayed them to me – over and over. It connected us in that infinite land of dream and magic and imagination, where we will breathe and fly and implode even after this world has let us go.

You’re heavy. You carry yourself around and you tire yourself out.

Gravity despises you. You’re too hard to hold down. Gravity told Love to break you, so you chained canon balls around your ankles and kept yourself grounded.

That was bad.

You see, dreaming is flying, flying is rising above,out of reach from Shadow, the snappy-stick wetness that moves at night. We sleep to escape it. That’s why we sleep at night.

But you don’t sleep. Do you?

No. You shiver and stare at the stars and wonder.

Oh. Galaxy Goo! That’s us up there! Far from the ground claimed by malice!

I feared for your safety.

But you were safe.

When I turned and found myself deep within Grey depth and not alone, I found you! Oh, wicked truth! Beyond imagination! You are of Grey as I am, as she is! And I pondered just HOW A being of the Grey could survive the darkness without dreaming! Without sleep!

And so I realised,

At night as we leapt to Earths beloved universe and hid in a galaxy, you turned into your galaxy. The darkness couldn’t collect you because you collected yourself.

And so, you could survive the night. And, the night became your dream. And, you lived amongst devils and demons and were immune to their wickedness.

And then came the Grey…

Discord

The man of heaven lifted his hand so delicately so; and with a force, lashed it down toward the being underneath

and the being, a boy, hurtled into a windy curse, a curse of discord, and gravity became an anchor on his ankle

never to fly; to stay away from the man of heaven for all days. But the boy being smart, learned to run instead;

and he ran over the land twice million, until he knew it better than it’s maker – the man of heaven;

and so the boy took his curse and turned it into power; as he became the man of the land, a God too.

Stabilise

On my lonely venture, my love, I saw many things

From the shallow water to the monstrous fire I have walked

And I have ran too, and hid

My love, on my lonely walk I have been taken, abused, feasted upon, stared at, sang to. I have been praised,

And I have been feared too, and hunted

Many a life has twinkled by my presence and on, into on, there and back, around and under.

Bodies and Souls…

Lights and Fires…

and where are you?

Safe, in some warm place, with curtains and a bed. A tame fire opposite your sleepy mind, fed and clothed and perhaps patient for my arrival.

and where am I?

In some cold alley, my face stiffed with black smoke ash, my hair uneven and messy, my fingers burned and my clothes dashed with cuts from thorns. My nose bloody, my eye purple bruised, looking up to a frozen-twilight sky, sick, tired, unsure and lost.

Diminish and Replenish…

Effervesce and Fix…

Many a time, I would hold myself for the little warmth. I named that temporary warmth, I named it after you, and I kept you with me, and every time I got cold I squeezed myself to feel you. Guilty I felt, for bringing a part of you with me here, but then I remembered that I’m worlds away, and you are safe and I am not.

My love, do you cry at my absence? Do you reach your arm over your high castle walls, watching the roads in hopes to see me one fine morning?

Screaming – I’m screaming. “I am not afraid of you!” Scream I. In screaming, I scream “I am not afraid of you!” But, my love, I am afraid. I am terrified. Shaking, actually, breathing fear. I don’t know these roads! I have no friends here? I am here, in front of the face of horror, and its coal eyes do not blink as they follow me. It’s skinny jaw chomps noisily and I can’t see past it? I cannot run back, not again, run farther from you, run away, run ran run, running.

My love, do you miss me? Are you empty? Or complete? Has time crushed you back together? Were you ever not? My soul reverberates! What is this torment? Questioning questions never before questioned in a barren city overrun with bad-intentioned entities?

Oh, my love. In this dusky darkness may I confess something? You cannot hear me. May I confess something to the monsters around the corner, the spiders circling me, the lanky shadows looking down on me? My love, I found you. I found your castle, at the end of some forest, at the departure of some path, I found your castle. And there I stood, small to the colossal gate, weeping on its cold bars. But you – you who are, who can be, who is – terrify me. You terrify me more than those things that chase me, those things that catch me, those things that drag me from my bed. And though desperate for warmth and stability I ran fast away, blinded by wind until I was in lost again.

And I am looking for you again, because I have lost my way again, and nothing is familiar in this ever-changing vortex of a maze. And time…

I just need to stumble into your arms

Let the weight of everything I have done and faced, crash.

My last steps of this terrifying journey must terminate with you,

or it will never end

Pyrophoric

Pyrophoric: The ability to ignite spontaneously in air. That’s the word I’d use to describe you. One minute, we’d be running and chasing, jumping over logs and turning swiftly around the twisted necks of trees, the next, you would accelerate beyond all human capability and throw me to the soft earth – pin my hands and kiss me hard, like you were trying to crush my lips between yours or trying to suck every spit of taste from them, like squeezing a sponge. You could become so passionate so quickly. I admired that about you.

And I still remember that blissful night. The stars had fled; the sky was a black wall to match the colour of the bags under my eyes. We walked – though I cannot remember where we planned on going or why we were going there. All I knew was it was us.

I was alight. The lux of the moon enchanted my pale skin, I was glowing. Yet, although I was burning, you were the only light. I studied you as we moved; your golden-brown skin so delicate that the Egyptians would have bowed to it, your eyes so azure to match a mid-summer sky with more depth and identity than the ocean, and your lips as ripe as strawberries, but as exquisite and as soft as the petals of a young rose.

Suddenly, you halted. You stole my arm and dragged my body, twisting it to face you. The circumstance in your action rendered me speechless. I could see you say it before you did. Your upper lip twitched, and the birds caged in my chest fluttered. The fire in my stomach raged. My bones, it seemed, were loosening in their sockets. My heart beat so ferociously that my hands went to either side of my ribs to keep them from unhinging.

“I love you.”

“I love you too”, I whispered.

You tumbled onto my rickety body and threw your arms around my neck. I could feel the warmth of your body ensnare the coldness of mine. And then, in my ear, I heard the words; “Never let me go”. I cried, you cried, and we glided through the night.

That’s what I think about now.

I wore the suit you told me I resembled dark sunshine in. I can’t tell if there is music playing, because I can’t hear it. I don’t know if there are people around me because I can’t see them. Churches always made me anxious, but this is different. I wrote a hundred songs, a thousand stories and a million poems about you. I recall them all, and I sing them, as I walk down the aisle.

Finally, I see you.

Your skin has been stolen of its colour. Before, you reminded me of the hot tumbling fire of a dragon’s breath – now I am reminded of a hollow white lantern, eerie and lonely. I stuff the bundle of pages neatly by your corpse, so you may read them if you’re ever bored. You did always say boredom was your idea of hell. I hope to prevent that, in the only way I can. I try not to look at your lifeless face. You will forever be a human of electric vitality to me. Forever.

As I rush out, I recall one last memory. It was a warm spring. You and I were bathing in sunlight beneath a cloudless sky in a meadow so golden that I was sure Midas himself was somewhere lurking in the tall lines of hay. We had been observing the sky for hours in peace and isolation. All of a sudden, you turned to me and you asked me; “Why do you always wear long sleeves?”

“I… I don’t know. I – I just do.”

“It’s too warm for them today.”

You went to unzip my fleece but I swatted your hand away.

“I’m comfortable like this.”

You were relentless. I struggled, and you fought back. I began to weep, and then you began to weep. You had seen before you had seen.

Eventually you ripped my fleece from my body and grappled with my folded arms. You overthrew me, as you always did. You examined the length of my bare arms. The long pink vertical scars were evidently older than the fresh thin dark ones.

The meadow was no longer golden, the sky no longer clear. Spring had ended. You found a glass bottle, and shattered it to shards on a patch on Daisy flowers, ripping their stems and decapitating them all, whom had all of a heartbeat ago been basking in our shared sunshine.

You picked up the sharpest fragment and staggered to where I knelt, sobbing like an abandoned infant. Without a word, you unzipped the perfect skin that ran from your right elbow all the way down to your palm. Blood splurged out like a volcanic eruption and the liquid formed rings of red around what remained of your arm.

Of course I knew something was wrong. For me the blood would bubble and drip, bubble and drip. Not jump.

I remember how you stared at me, confused and dazed like a drunken boy reaching oblivion. Your body fell on top of mine, and if it hadn’t been for the dark atmosphere or the oozing wet and sticky liquid that surfaced my torso, I’d have believed you were pinning me down to kiss me, that it was still Summer.

I remember how the soil, clutched, soaked and stole your blood. The plants must have thought your life was water and absorbed you to benefit themselves. But there is something… Comforting, knowing that you became part of nature.

I remember how I held you for three twisted hours until we were found.

I remember everything. All our memories, now only mine, I wrote down into a hundred songs, a thousand stories and a million poems and gave them to you. I hope you don’t forget, as I won’t.

The Stigma Surrounding Name Changing

Personally, I don’t have two different names. I have one name. Leo Grey is my preferred name, but I wasn’t born with it. I was born Karl Paul Andrew Shannon. I have, and have always wanted to change this name. Why? No reason necessarily, I just don’t really like the sound of it. Honestly, I think that I’d like to change it because names are incredibly personal and considering it’s my name, a name that I and I alone have to live with for the rest of my life (and possibly thereafter) I think I should be allowed to do that without the stigma that surrounds name changing.

From my experience there are many different genres of stigma that originate in different sources. For example, my family. My family were insulted and took it as a direct offence when I told them I wanted to change my name. I quickly added that it wasn’t to disregard my family, I just wanted to. But still, it was taken as offensive. I was young at the time, possibly around thirteen, so I was scolded for this behaviour.

All I knew was that I wanted to change my name. I didn’t know to what at the time, but I wanted to change my name. And me being me, I didn’t let my parents’ outlook sway me.

So I began experimenting with names at that age. I didn’t tell my friends because I didn’t know what to tell them, and I wasn’t sure how they would react. I never mentioned it to my family ever again.

I told my friends when I was about fifteen. I told the ones I trusted that I wanted to change my name, I pretended to those who I didn’t trust and that didn’t know me too well that I had a different name. (Obviously they knew my name was Karl, but I pretended my name was Karl-Max [Max being a name-phase I went through]). My close friends didn’t attack my stance, but instead questioned the idea of it themselves. They said it would be ‘weird’ if I were called something else, that other names probably wouldn’t suit me, but I took this as light-hearted, and truthfully, quite right.

So by the age I was sixteen, I had received a positive and a negative reaction. By the age I was sixteen I had discarded in my head the name ‘Karl Shannon’ and I was ready for the change to become legal. But there were problems. It’s a tricky situation, I didn’t understand what to do, I didn’t have the support of my parents, and I didn’t know my name yet. But the fact that I was ready meant enough for me. I was prepared to face the stigma and fight it tirelessly.

Leo Diarmuid Andrew Grey is my name. Leo (pronounced Lay-O) I chose due to it’s pronunciation and the fact that I just love it. Diarmuid I chose for it’s relation to Ireland. Andrew I chose to keep for personal reasons. And Grey being both my favourite colour and abstract thought. This is my name.

I have different friends now. They find it unsettling. Some say I’m attention seeking. I’m not. Some say it’s just a phase, and I’ll regret it someday. People use this as a backdrop for everything; tattoos, sexuality, hair dying, even fashion. But I did take their sight into consideration. I played with the name. I made it my e-mail address, I featured it on some of my lesser known networking sites, I say it to strangers. And you know what? I’m comfortable with it.

Professionally speaking it’s suspicious to have someone who changed their name, simply because it isn’t the ‘norm’. I don’t understand why this would hinder my ability to preform in whatever way, but I’m willing to explain; you guys watch too much TV. I’m not on the run from the law. Changing one’s name doesn’t make you invisible. Fake ID’s and identity theft isn’t as simple as that. If you ask me, I’ll tell you. I would have changed my name because I wanted to. Simple as.

My family still see it the way they saw it those years ago, which leaves me in a tricky place. I am still lawfully Karl Shannon, but in my mental state I’m not. I have refrained from the legal transition simply because I still don’t completely understand how it works in Ireland, and also because I don’t want the awkwardness in my family that would undoubtedly act as a silent gap.

To summarise, people will find it weird and suspicious when they hear of someone changing their name under these conditions. They are quick to judge, but I judge too. Why do you care? Does my name, old or new, inflict you in some way? Jealousy? Or just old-fashioned suspicion? The stigma surrounding name changing is unnecessary and though it isn’t a huge cause of depression or suicide, I think it is harmful in that it is oppressing self-expression and individuality, and it is outcasting people who don’t fit the norm standards over something so small as a name. It is also a means of guilt-tripping purposely proposed by family which is unfair. We should be who we want to be, without fearing our reputation in the eyes of those we love, or should love.