Peace walls

Sometimes you die inside, or at least go comatose, and you can't feel it anymore... It's very much like when you're incapacitated. You've been punched in the head by life and god and the world and your lover and everyone you love so many times, that you
And she swore, He was the darkest heaven she had ever seen.
Life is unmistakably better in Northern Ireland than it was some years ago. It is worth recalling that, even into the 1990s, people could not move freely without security check, unemployment was high, more people left than arrived, foreign visitors were almost unknown, holidays abroad were a luxury for the few, city and town centres were grim. Nowadays, free movement, low unemployment and immigration are taken for granted.

However, society in Northern Ireland remains fundamentally divided. About 90 percent of people attend schools segregated by religious denomination, and leisure, sporting and political preferences often proceed along those same sectarian lines. On one occasion, Unionists and Nationalists in the Assembly even divided up on the issue of whether or not to wear jackets in the chamber on a hot day! Most obviously of all, peace walls are being constructed faster than they are being taken down – including one, in the grounds of an integrated school.


Instability is always a threat. A lot of the "real work", symbolically represented in my earlier train of thoughts, remains ahead of the divided communities, while fences still make the best neighbours.

And she swore, He was the darkest heaven she had ever seen.
Sometimes you die inside, or at least go comatose, and you can't feel it anymore... It's very much like when you're incapacitated. You've been punched in the head by life and god and the world and your lover and everyone you love so many times, that you just forget what you're feeling, or that you feel it.

All this feeling burgeoning inside me... I want to capture this moment... I've never felt so alive... the pain is exquisite.

I'm so proud of my hollow laugh, of my hollow smile, of my smug, hollow eyes... I've got this wall, see, I've got this wall, and I'll be damned if you're getting past it marker, I'll be damned if you're going to come into my heart and my soul and hurt me, and maim me, and kill me... More and more selective you become in who you let in, and as more people hurt you, as they inevitably do, you close yourself in, more and more and more, until, as I was, you're so closed in, you can't breathe, your
walls so thick you forget what the sunshine feels like...

I realised my walls had closed in, I realised... so I chipped, I chipped, I took my plastic spoon, and I dug, and I dug, and as I dug, my spoon became metal instead of plastic, and someday, it'll become a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, and then someday, it'll become a ladel, then a serving spoon... that trickle of pain, that almost tear, it never felt so right, never felt so me... that hurt, that hurt, with no benefit of alcohol to suppress it, my natural consciousness let it in, let it in...

It's cold outside, but I'm suffocating in here... so my soul whispers, in what feels like its last breath,
whispers...
"please...
please...
open the window..."
So I climb, I climb, because the digging hurts in and of itself, and my arms are sore... I find footholds in that wall, and it must be at least a hundred feet high... but I keep climbing, and I climb...

and a shaft of sunlight is in sight...
I reach out, I reach out, it's there, I see it!
and the sunlight touches my fingers, it's so cold, and I can breathe the fresh air, my lungs sliced by the disparity, the cold of the outside world, but aching with gratitude all the same...
But I forget the precarious nature of my position...
and I fall, fall far, and fall deep,
back into my room, my room
where no light can reach.
but...

I remember... I remember the feeling... I felt it, it felt so good...
so natural...
so alive...
So I pick up my spoon...

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