The Rhythm

Written by Charlie McKay

I expect the walk to cleanse me.
When it doesn’t
I return to the same flat
(the carpet still dirty)
And try again.

I pour water over my body,
But what will that do—clean it?
It’ll only glide
Over the top
Like a soporific glaze over eyelids.

Then I dress
blackly but with colourful
socks, the only ones without holes.
What will clothes do—warm me?
They’ll only make me wish for nudity,

And for impunity against freedom.
Not the blind, rapacious lust for ascent.
Just clean, pleasant
Exhalation.

I sit at the desk to test myself.
How long today, how much
Of the candle will burn before
I yield to the hunger, the yearning for easeful sleep.

Success again eludes
(what is it to me?).

I need to eat, but
What will food do—nourish me?
It’ll just collect as plaque so noxious
It fizzles into a hole,
Dark and empty, like the rhythm.

It takes more effort than I’d like
To pick up the paper and focus on words.
My whole being, the thing I ignore,
The thing I beg for.

I’m a parent that way—always
Running from it, the unutterable
dawning.
Am I savouring it,
Or just no longer in want?

I find myself outside again,
Feeling my way through the black velvet.
Clawing at it like rope.

It forces my feet apart and
forward, till I’m back kicking at the door.
It could be tomorrow already.


Charles McKay is a writer and student based in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. He is studying towards a Bachelor of Creative Writing with the goal of one day becoming a published author. Outside of reading and writing, Charles enjoys nature, sport and music. 

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