Penartha and the Crimson Gates


I decided to kill myself on the 19th of August. The decision was made through a lengthy process of self loathing, chronic pains and a general disdain for my own existence. When I told the preacher in our mid-western town what I decided to do.

“God holds no passion for those who take their own lives.” he warned.

My mother used to tell me the same thing. For some reason, I suppose I expected a man of God to have a better answer, but somehow, all the reasons to remain alive fall flat in the face of suffering. Besides; I figure if I know why I’m being punished, it’d be easier to accept.

I didn’t want to die a virgin. Girls never liked me much, so there wasn’t much of a chance for me to find anyone that was willing. But I knew ‘Mick’s Bar’ has prostitutes coming in and out. For a person that was perfectly content with the idea of his death, I felt disturbingly anxious when I met Candy. She wasn’t a stunner, but she had a sexiness to the way she sat that knocked me out of my mind and between her breasts.

She smoked, and she drank, and I sat in the corner of the bar holding my Iced Tea with both hands, staring at her. She looked back, and our eyes met, then my eyes and her tits met, then I got acquainted with the rest of her body that carved itself into her dress under the dingy bar lights. I looked back at her face, and saw a little smile forming at one side of her lips, and then she turned back to the bartender and whispered something into his ear.

It didn’t take long before the bartender approached me with his smooth walk, and asked.

“You’ve been sitting here for a while. Are you sure you don’t want something stronger?”

I lifted my head up slowly, trying to catch another glimpse of Candy’s body and chuckled.

“Do you serve Cyanide?” I asked.

Continue reading



I woke up naked, alone, sweating and feeling like a demon borrowed its way into my chest and sunk itself there. Breathless, I got up and looked around me. It was my room, but it also wasn’t. Nothing was where it should be, but it was just as I left it. I reach out’ and grab for my phone, hoping there’s some app to fix this mess up. There isn’t. I threw my phone aside, and sunk my face under my pillow.

“What are you doing, looking for salvation anyway?” I asked myself.
I was breathing easy again, the prospect of impending doom relaxes me.  I looked at myself in the mirror across my bed. My face felt longer than it was the day before. The only other instance where  I felt like this was the first time I woke up in prison, and the reality dawned on me, that I will be there for a while. My time was undetermined, but definite.

Even my stomach felt the dread. All it wanted to do was puke out that God damned demon in my lungs. There’s no getting rid of it. Not anymore. I’ve surrendered myself. I am a prisoner of birth. I’m bound to the serene destruction the world has in store for any mental faculties left to me by now. I am in no sense liberated from my freedom. I am simply astonishingly unmoved by it. The world is beautiful, but I don’t care.

The demon nestled himself comfortably. He only stings a little, but I know he’s there. Any time now, he’ll pop up, rip me in shreds and break me down. But until then, I’m solid on my two legs. Not out of a drive, some purpose. Simply because I have no other choice, but for how long, that too I can’t say.


There’s a bastard that lives in the back of my mind. He littered my skull with graffiti and rude engravings. He’s swung from neuron to neuron and wrote ‘fuck you’ in permanent sharpie on every one of them. Sometimes, I create a new neuron. A newron. But it doesn’t take long before there’s an introquet ‘Fuck You, Mister Wheebly’ on it.

I can honestly say I brought the Mister Wheebly onto myself. See, I tried attacking him. I conjured up a police officer with a large mustache and larger biceps. Officer John Wheebly. Wheebly was a remarkable man. His head was so bald it had a shine to it. His lips were large, and never dry. His eyes shone with a fire that was the most gentle and ferocious you would have seen. He was fast. Agile. Smart. Lord so smart! My mind was clean.

The world was different with Wheebly around. The mornings felt genuine, and the sleep I got was deserved. My work efficiency grew by three-hundred percent. I received a raise and graduated three different university programs in a single year. Without the little parasite in my mind, I was thriving.

Good things can’t last. Fuck You. Fuck You.Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You. Fuck You.

Forked road

I fell in love once.  I can pinpoint the moment I knew it was her I needed. The moment I saw her. That should’ve been the first sign. I am a blind man.’ Her and I’ quickly became ‘us’. Love never comes without it’s high. Something about that person tells you that they will tether you on to the cliff you’re bound to fall off. A quaint relaxation that a missing part of you returned to its original place.

Helen was a work of art. Watching her walk was entertainment. Not just for me. Everyone saw it. To be present, was an honor. It didn’t feel very honorable two years after we moved in with each other. The perfect image of the sturdy rope that you draw for yourself quickly dissolves with every bastardization of the reality you drew. It was cute that she snorted after laughing. I once wanted to strangle her during a comedy film.

I ended it two weeks ago. The fight was stupid. All of them were. Over the four years we were together, we came to understand how flawed our image of each other really was. I came back home one night, after spending a few hours at the bar with my friends, and I found her waiting for me on the chair in front of the door. Had it not been for her texting me a million times about when I’d be back home, I would have been shocked.

She asked me to give her my phone.


“I just want to see it, give it to me.”

I pulled out my phone, and gave it to her. I didn’t feel like going through the hassle of a fight, and there wasn’t really anything in it that needed hiding. She quickly tapped in my code and started going through my phone.

“I didn’t know you had my password.” I said.

“Yea, well, I do.” she quickly replied, without even glancing up for a moment.

I walked around her, and went to the bedroom where I changed into my pajamas. I brushed my teeth, and sat on my lavatorial throne. I reached into my pocket as I squeezed, only to remember where it was. I then realized I hadn’t had a quiet shit in more than three months. The only time one shits peacefully is at work.

She called for me from the living room just as I finished wiping. It happened so often, that at that moment I had a revelation that I might have been turned into a dog.

“Pavlov’s fucking dog.” I said to myself, as I pulled up my pants, looked in the mirror, smiled at my handsome self, and got out into the hallway.

“Nadel.” she moaned.

“I’m coming. I’m coming.” I said. “Can I have my phone back now? Are you happy?”

“No, I’m not happy. I know you’re keeping a secret from me.”


“You’re hiding something, and I don’t fucking like it.” she said, pushing the phone into my hands.

I grabbed her by the arm as she turned away.

“Wait, just. Hold up.” I said, bringing her near to me. “I’m not hiding anything, I promise. Where the hell did that idea spring up from anyway?”

“It said it on my horoscope.”

I rubbed the bridge of my nose. Mona Lisa was burning right in front of my eyes. I remembered the first time I made her laugh, and how perfect she was. How flawless. To me, she was God’s masterpiece in engineering. So how was it that I was being bombarded by a Lego wall built by a limbless toddler?

“I can’t take this shit.” I said, letting her arm go, and returning to the bedroom.

She stayed in the living room and watched television.”E! TV”. I laid in bed, and surfed the internet for a while. I heard Kim Kardashian sobbing from the living room, and something clicked in my brain. I searched for her porno, and I masturbated. I hadn’t jerked off in longer than three years. There was a certain sense of liberation and comfort after that, and I rode that pleasurable feeling into a blissful nap.

She woke me up at three o’clock in the morning.

“I’m sorry.” she said.

“It’s fine, we’ll talk tomorrow.” I yawned at her.

“I won’t be able to sleep if we don’t talk about this.”

I took a deep breathe and imagined a marine assaulted me out of no where and drenched me in cold water.

“Alright, I’m up.”

“I don’t know.” she said, “Those things are almost never wrong, and you know how I feel about them.”

“It’s fine. Can I go to bed now?”

“No, not yet.” she said, giving me a playful smile. “Remember when we first met?”

I nodded slowly, still smacking my eyelids together, trying to let them know they’ll be working for a while.

“I asked you what you think about fate. Do you remember what you said?”

“You make me feel like it’s not bullshit.” I said with a nostalgic smile.

“And you remember when you used to read the horoscopes with me and laugh about how you’d see them happening?”

I laughed, and realized that it’s only nostalgic if you lost it in the first place. The marine came back and gave me a good kicking, and drowned me in ice.

“Where are you going with this, Helen?”

“Do I still make you feel that way?” she said. “Do I still make you feel like fate and everything beautiful in the world isn’t complete bullshit?”

“No,” I blurted out. “not a single bit.”

I kept cold and wore a marine’s poker face. She started sobbing.

“I could feel it you know.” she sobbed through her palms.

“I don’t know what to say. It’s just not there anymore. The world is as dull as it always was, and your glitter faded. Everything I loved about you never existed. I was sold a bad product, and so were you. It’s my fault. It really is. I don’t regret any of it, but we should have known.”

She cried louder, and nodded her head.

“You’re a fucking fool, you know that?!” she yelled at me. “You think you’ve got it all figured out. ‘Mister nothing makes sense’. You and your stupid fucking ways. You just can’t follow anything, can you? There’s no fucking way to make you even think that any of that was possible. You’re so stuck up your own ass, you can’t see what’s right in front of you. You don’t take anyone’s bullshit, I’ll give you that. But it’s only because you’re so in love with your own.”

“Tell me, then. What’s in front of me?” said the marine.

“Love, you son of a bitch. True love. We have something special, and you’re throwing it out the window.”

“Love?” I said, “Love is a lie Hollywood made up so we can populate more and create more consumers. Love is a satire taken serious. What we had was special. Nothing in the world can ever recreate it. It ran its course. I don’t want a part of it anymore. I want out, Helen.”

She sobbed again. Louder, and then louder. I sat and I watched.

“You’re breaking up with me?”


She sobbed harder, and I got up to wear my clothes.

“Where are you going?” she asked “Let’s talk about this.”

“We just did. I’m going to sleep at Jerry’s tonight.”

She went to the living room, and I could hear her cry. I could hear her cry all the way until the end of our stoop. I looked back at the life I built over the past four years. If fate intended this, then it’s nothing but a bad joke. I took out a cigarette, looked at the side walk that split in two opposite directions, and wondered where I should go. There was no way Jerry is awake. I felt like being alone anyway.

Left or right. Fortuna depended on it. There must be a correct path, I thought to myself. There must be the perfect path. I stood there for a while. I smoked three cigarettes by the time I realized what I had to do. I went in between both paths in front of my chain linked fence. I closed my eyes, and I spun. I don’t know how many times. I made it a goal to not count.

It’s not a mistake if I didn’t decide it. When I stopped turning, I saw that I had spun right back to where I started. Facing the street. I stepped off the sidewalk, and went to the other side, and my feet declared the direction on their own. I had no idea where I was going, and I didn’t care. Nothing I did was right. Nothing I did was wrong. My feet started walking faster. Before I knew it, I was running.




Of fireworks and lighter fluids. 

Whoever you may be, you remain a work of art no matter. You are a prophetic piece the world attempted to explain, constantly in motion, creating a world of your own as you walk. 

Your truth is as potent as the deepest of thoughts. Why stand in the way of the most honest fiction? You’re a self perpetuating miracle. Be in awe of the universe. Let it pleasure you. 

That’s not to say the world won’t cripple you. Only a fool wishes happiness constantly. Heaven is maddening. A Rollercoaster needs its drops. Sometimes they crash, and for a moment, in this infinite universe, a firework on a lonely rock sparkled as only it could. 

A bright sparkle that the moon can see, or a fizzle. Nothing else can be like it. The universe will never witness anything that even resembles it. Explode then, my dear. Burn out the night sky or sparkle at the bottom of the ocean. But do not fail to launch. 

Why I act like a total Richard. 

I’ve technically lost my mind long ago. The insanity of the world manifested itself inside me. Now, like every great Richard before me, I follow the steps of my thought. I am the living embodiment of what I believe. If it were a religion, I’d be a cleric. 

What man often disregards when attempting to lead life, is the utter disparage between our nature, and our applied nature. We all want to be loved. It is in our nature. We yearn for acceptance and understanding, but we never grasp it, we only believe it exists. It’s inherent in us. Hope. Love. Fantasies. Arbitrary when applied. But I’m only human, and that’s my nature. I’m not made of stone. Despite what everyone says. I’m a mushy life form going through a world too complex for anything to explain. 
I want love too. I just know it’s not graspable, so I won’t waste any time on it. Love is a pit that one must learn to climb out often. This is the eternal struggle between nature, the world and the human impulse to act irrationally. Our mind is a fragile thing, attacked with hormones of all sorts, constantly being bombarded by things it didn’t evolve for. Despite that, we learn, and evolve. The pit stops needing a rope, and becomes a leisurely walk up a set of stairs. 

Hey, bro. You packing?

No, I won’t sell you drugs. But I might fuck your girlfriend. I know it’s odd for you. I probably look like every stereotype you figured made sense. Yea, I wear a hat, and my pants fit me weird. I’m a hue of brown, and my hair is darker than the night you approached me on.


I probably scare you when I walk by too. It’s not hard to see. You can tell by the way your eyes droop everywhere except to meet mine. Even then, I don’t mind it. I’d probably be scared of me too.


What I do mind is your dumb ass assuming I have a kilogram of whatever the fuck you need to get high on right that instance because I ‘look’ the part. That my skin color robs me of all humanity and renders me into a vending machine for your habits.


I’m not even bothered that you think it’s weird I don’t sell drugs. No, not even that. It’s the look on your face when I tell you I’m in your same university that irks me. The shock in your voice when your assumptions that an Arab man can’t  be educated are broken, mangled and shoved right back down your khaki shorts.


Go, make the same mistakes you condemn me for, and get away with it. I’ll be here proving you wrong, not because you were ever right, only because you never touched on the truth.

Note to self:

Here’s a fact, brother mine. Being high makes no difference. I know you think it’s another world when you’re doing nothing, and life is boring, but that’s where you find two things. A better distraction or the balls to accept the world as it is. Dull and monotonous, sprinkled with just enough nonsense and incredibility to keep us asking for more.

Recovery is hard work, only because you have to be doing something. Your addiction is your inner winner looking for a means to succeed. And where else  have you excelled than in your own self destruction? Despite your unending ferocity and dedication trying to prove to yourself a failure.

What murders me is how easy you make it look. If only you found the way to aim it at being better. Sobriety is a state of mourning to you, and I’m aware of it. The thing about sorrow is it becomes easier to bare. But don’t think you can ever let it go. Part of you dies with it, and that’s good. It needs no reviving. No one wanted it around in the first place.

Keep up the hard work. It fits you.

There’s too many African shops in China Town.

The hood’s changing, and so am I. Nothing looks the same anymore, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve got this new set of eyes. See, I go to university now. Big fancy place. The classes smell like libraries, and the people look like they’ve been rich their entire lives. My neighborhood reeks of shit, and has homeless people sleeping at every corner.

Everyday I travel between both worlds. Wednesday is currently my favorite day. It used to be the same when I was fourteen and still in High-School, because it meant we stopped classes at twelve-thirty. Now I like it because my classes start at nine and end at six in the afternoon. I don’t like that it means I have to wake up at seven, and bike to central station to be there at eight-thirty, but it’s a small price to pay.

I take a special pleasure in biking through the streets in the morning. It’s quiet. Everything looks clean. People haven’t popped up like sore pimples on the streets. The drunks are still asleep, and the bottles and cans haven’t emptied yet. I pass through China Town, it’s nothing special. Just a long cobble stone road full of Chinese grocery stores and bakeries with a large arch with red and yellow dragons at the exit that drops me off near Central Station.

I jump on to the train, and the journey looks like a faint dirt road. People pass by, but never enough to develop an easy path. I get to watch the sun-rise, and sometimes sleep through it. If I’m awake, I admire the houses in the middle of the large fields. I watch horses run and sheep eat grass and clean cows.

Then I get to Leuven. A city dedicated to academia. There’s only students, and those who serve them for money. I stick out like a sore thumb with my hoodie and suspicious skin. I feel like an alien on another planet. One would think I’d adapt and get used to it, but that’s shaping up to be an impossibility.

It’s my lot to be an outsider. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a certain sense of pride in it. But even golden sheep feel like they have black wool sometimes. I walk through the streets with their beautiful gothic architecture, and I can tell I’m being watched. My focus is unbroken, and I make my way to class.

I arrive half an hour early. So I sit back and watch the people. Everyone looks weird to me. Like I’m in a different country inside a country. I feel like a tourist that stumbled into a wrong city. The music in my ears stops me from hearing them. Their glances pass me by, and my scowl welcomes them.

If I could get up, run around and kick everyone in the shin, I would. Instead, I sit back, scowl, smoke my cigarettes and get into the classes. The teacher smiles at me, and it’s the most warm smile I’ve gotten. I get up and ask her a few questions before classes start. I always have something I’m wondering about, and she loves it.

They look, but I don’t mind. I wear my apathy like a middle finger. In classes, I excel. My eyes say “Bring it”. I’m excited, I want to devour every tidbit of information coming out of my professor’s mouth, and I keep my attitude up until the last class. Then there’s no one left. It’s me again.

Me and my music. Sometimes I read a book while the sun sets. I share the details of my day with it. Then it’s dark, and I’m back on the train. My legs are pulsating with exhaustion, and my mind is throbbing. People look at me weird because I lay my legs off the side and drift into sleep. The train conductors always wake me up with a look of disgust.

Then its’ right back to China town. I walk through it, I don’t like biking back home. I smell the roads. No one looks at me wrong. It feels like I’m in the right place. I pass by the Chinese restaurants, and the grocery stores, and the loud smokers and the laughing drunks. In the past five months, seven African shops opened up. The wannabe gangsters stand outside them with their hats cocked back, and their drugs shoved somewhere in a nook for easy access.

We stare at each other. I’m not in the business of getting into fights with a gang of monkey ass assholes, but there’s no money in being a little bitch, either. They usually nod. I nod back. The street is cut in half when I reach a cross road. On one side, the blacks take the corners, nod and smile, and ask you if you want some ‘bomb ass weed’.

On the other, the Morrocans sit back, and smoke. They don’t offer you anything. You have to ask. They don’t seem as eager, and maybe that’s why the blacks are moving in and growing on their turf. I throw my hand up to the guys I know, and they ask me how my day was, and it goes something like this:

“Ewa, philosopher.” they yell. “Learn anything interesting today?”

I throw a joke their way, and sometimes share something, like the world being a simulation, or free will an illusion. They laugh, and we shake hands, and they offer me a toke of their blunt, and I say “I’m good”. I continue my walk, and I dodge the empty bottles, and the cans, and the rest of the salesmen I have nothing to do with.

Maybe things changed. Maybe I see them differently. Maybe it’s both. And maybe I’m just an African shop in the middle of China town, hungry, starving, devouring everything in my way. Maybe there’s no right place for me. Be it the train, or the class. Whether I’m supposed to be there or not, I simply am. And I’m making it my spot. If you think you’re taking it, I wish you nothing but harm. If you feel like standing with me, don’t stand on my toes.

Forgive me

I’m sorry, ma’. I never meant to be this way. I just happen to be. It was never my intention to set the bar so low that me not fucking up is an achievement. And I’m sorry I can’t seem to stop fucking up.

I didn’t tell you about this cause you kissed my hand the other day, and told me how relaxed you felt seeing me the way I am. Imagine how you’d feel if you knew that the same hand you kissed knocked a guy out tonight.

How horrible it would be to see all my hard work dragged into a police car and signed off as another mal-adapted member of society. I got lucky again, but for how long? There’s no promises here. Only regret. And shame. I never deserved you, and you never deserved this. But I’m working on it. I swear.

The drugs are gone. They’re no longer there. That’s a step forward. A leap into a different universe and it’s already exhausting enough, but I just can’t seem to get a fucking grasp on anything. It’s like everything is ticking against me. But maybe I’m the one ticking against everything else.It’s my fault. I’m taking the responsibility.

I kept feeling like you died the other night. All your pain, all our life, everything you ever were wrapped up into all the pain inside me, and I drank it away. I never drank my emotions away before, because I never had them.

I’m sorry. I just want you to see me doing great. Not well. Not good enough. Great. At least before you die. Then I can go back, I can hurt myself again, hurt others, burn every bridge I ever built. But before that, I just want you to see that you weren’t wrong for believing in me. Not for a second.