If I had known

Most of my poems are just a bit of fun. The ones people know of anyway – the ones I’ve come to recite on St Andrew’s or Burns’ nights. However, now and then I’ll write a poem just to get emotions and thoughts out of my head and down onto virtual paper. Doing so is a release of mental pressure and I’ve a folder full of “abandoned”, incomplete verses that have spilled out of my mind at various times but were too personal or painful to either complete or share.

One that hasn’t seen the light of day is If I Had Known, which I wrote in early November 2021. In the space of 18 months I’d dealt with the loss of various people from my life. I’m not going to name names but they were people who were special to me, people whose lives had been intertwined with my own for varying lengths of time. Yet for one reason or another, I’d lost them.

Emotional pain from a sense of loss is immediately jarring, like being startled by a sudden loud noise and only being able to escape the echoes when there’s distance from the source. In the poem, I tried to capture my feelings at the loudest point, so that I might be able to measure the change as the echoes fade over time.

That said, reading it back even four months on makes me wince a little. I’m still bruised from a couple of years of seemingly relentless emotional trauma, with the backdrop of the global covid-19 pandemic making life feel like a nightmare I’m only just now waking up from.

Writing this poem was like drawing a line in the sand from an emotional perspective. I had to acknowledge the hurt, tuck it safely in a folder and try to move on. For World Poetry Day 2022 I thought I’d take it out and publish it here instead of hiding it away. I’m not sure why. Perhaps as part of the healing process. I hope it resonates with someone else.

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Sympathy for Cypher

If you’ve watched the iconic 1999 movie, The Matrix, you’ll probably well remember the character of Cypher. If you haven’t, I recommend you stop reading now and take the time to watch it before the near-perfect piece of cyberpunk cinema is further tainted by unnecessary sequels.

In the movie, Cypher was the obviously bitter crewman who had come to resent their captain, Morpheus, for his part in unplugging him from The Matrix in the first place.

As Morpheus himself cautioned;

We never free a mind once it’s reached a certain age. It’s dangerous, the mind has trouble letting go.

Morpheus, The Matrix
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20 Books in 2020: The Racketeer

I’ve now read quite a few John Grisham books and enjoy his detail and plausible, finely crafted delivery of the plot. That said, he does have a habit of keeping something so far up his sleeve that you just have to persevere blindly and trust that it’ll all come together in a satisfying conclusion.

The Racketeer tells the story of a lawyer serving 10 years in jail after the feds pinned a racketeering charge on him by virtue of association with a client. With a burning sense of injustice, he keeps his nose clean and ends up in a lenient, open compound style of jail where he concocts a mechanism of leverage to secure his release and give the feds a bloody nose in the process.

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