Mayhem Literary Journal is generously sponsored for 2019 by Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, The University of Waikato
issue 3

october 2015

issue 3 - october 2015

O-Week Eulogy - Karl Guethert

Rain on
student’s stone.
O-week put to rest.

…rite of passage...
…what he loved…
…it’s just what’s done…

Felled before semester’s start
dudes all share a round,
a bitter case.

‘Cos let’s get drunk
Up on the roof.
Or are ya pussy, mate?

From Me to Me - Karl Guethert

Write. You need to keep it in your veins. The marrow in your bones is full of words, full of power, full of everything that makes you. You’re going to hate your work. A bile that will burn through your pages. A hatred that will envelop your fingers and dribble out through your pen. But just keep writing. Write when you have inspiration. Write when you are punching your head in boredom. Write when you want to curl into a tight lump of nothing and fade from the world.

Seven years of darkness is the reward for being you. An entire life condensed into a single day, over and over again. An existence inside of everyone else’s world. You’ll crave the shushed pity from your family, but will slap it aside. You’ll keep up appearances and hide behind the same face daily. A smile held up by invisible fingers. A lie smothered over layers of nothing. Mint sauce over burnt lamb. Lean on the kitchen doorframe and convince your parents that you are fine. Take this lie and work it into myth. Shape it until not even you can tell the difference. Wear it every day. Those seven years will pound on you, but never leave. The myth will stay forever. Or, perhaps, it was always there.

Write yourself to suit the occasion. You’ll know who you are, and that’s all that matters. But no one else should see this. Give them the part of you that they need to see. In classrooms, never joke. In public, stay reserved. There are only a few people you can share your whole self with. You’ll never share your whole self, because even you will be ashamed. Even you don’t want to live with the entirety of who you really are. You’ll sit on a student couch until 3am with a girl you’ll later fall in love with. And you will talk about this with her. But that’s where it will end. That’s where it will always end. An acid drop through the heart.

No one wants to commit to loving you. There will only be that one time, and it will boil in your throat until you have no more words. She’ll write a letter, a numbered list, telling you that you’re not her boyfriend anymore. That there’s nothing you can do about it. That you’re still friends. Turn from her. Never expect a single thing in return. Turn off the radio with a thump when it plays that song that reminds you of her. Or her. Or even her. Play it to yourself when your fists want to punch the wall. Smile and nod when those you hold close offer their warmth. You don’t know if they’re handing you the truth, or babbling what they think you want to hear. You’ll feel like you’re only there because you’re convenient - someone who’ll do things when no one else gives a fuck. Not because you’re genuinely wanted. The wrong person in the right place at the right time.

You won’t even remember if you love yourself. But remember to write. Carry a red notebook in your backpack. Fill it with your chicken scratch penmanship. You’ll hate the cold words that stare at you from the page, or the mocking cursor flashing on the computer screen. They are a twisted mutation of attempted skill. You’ll never wear heart-forged pride for anything you do. But you’ll know that you hate yourself if you never. Write. At all.

Contributor's Note

Karl has realised that some of his best work comes from the "angry boys and girls" genre of writing. This doesn't phase him in the least.

 

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