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  • Writer's pictureMateusz Zalewski-Grzelak

Carried on Bayonets.

“Was this life worth living?” - I often ask myself. The answer is almost always: “No”. No matter, how much I deceive myself to like it. No matter, how many great moments I tore away from my experience just to build a monumental temple. There, I stroll through it and adorn divinities.

The last fifteen years of my life were like walking through no man’s land, continuously, whereas I couldn’t stop for a single moment. Thousands of psychic wars that tore my entrails asunder, then again - I could not stop, wave a white flag of surrender. There was no one and nothing to surrender to, at least not on my terms. Definitely not these religious mongrels, they were contributing to my misery with their sacrosant idiocies. It was never a question of faith, I had empirical proof and solid tenets, pathein (experience) and mathein (learning) for working with the Divine pluralities. Yet, despite this grace and blessing, I still had mortal worries. Earth is like a swamp of deception for the newly born cognoscendi, it clears with age towards open, spacious starry nights. While our illusionists never stop setting traps, they are less effective and disowned of hopes to ensnare us effectively. In the end, they seem like a bunch of idiots never attaining what we have behind their backs. They were simply to busy chasing us and others in envy, delusion and self-defeating repetetive foolishness to accomplish that, which should be done in perseverance, intended duration, focus and patience. When a blind man walking through a fog is attacked, he strikes in all directions, when he sees, outmanned, outgunned, he becomes helpless - breaking down to opponents' whims, or defiant and holding ground. Some invisible bayonets belonging to vengeful ghosts and spiteful wraiths are forcing me to march on. Despite exhaustion I carry on, suspended between despair and affirmation.

Great wings unfolded above in the skies in day and at night-time. They are consoling, but inasmuch as afterlife is concerned, commitment to this life that effectuated in bareness is a thing of regret. My claws, my teeth, my will, my determination were barely scratched the menaces I tried to defeat. For most living humans it was fighting windmills, they never encountered the other side, the abroad in embattled ways. In ignorance of others, one is easy to drown by things, that the others are not aware of and do not believe in. It is a solitary war with the invisible, laughable, yet with real effect on perception, nerves, mind, senses. Ignorants, the unknowing, are not excluded from this war, they are merely used as toys and tools for achieving a different aim. Humans are flawed as they are, they are easy to manipulate, and foolishness needs a direction to destroy. An atheist is as much affected by a haunting as anyone else, it does not matter whether he believes in it. There are haunted places, there are also haunted people.

I asked myself - was it to crawl forth proudly with forced decorum and medals of a survivalist? “Make a stance”, so I confronted things that would defeat me anyway, but I flirtatiously gazed into the eyes of my own death and sorrow, as a plaything myself. The stronger you grow, the more you provoke. But when it is a question of life and death you most grow stronger, despite the odds. The devil’s paradox and bet: fight for you life for years, and in the end realize that your battles were a trifle comedy, here the jester laughs and points at you, asking: “So, do you still want to live?”. Pure perfidy.

When I go to sleep and close my eyes, shades of dead accompany me, narrating stories of their lives in lackluster imagery floating all around. Yesterday, it was a dead soul of a car-mechanic and a grandmother, a house-wife. Withdrawing, fading memories about their lives are all that shades may ponder about, until they finally still in an empty haunting. You haunt the things that were the content of your life, speechless without love or passion. That isn’t supposed to be a motivation, but a kinship. I was signed off to the dead at the age of 21. I survived all the trials and ordeals just to live, but in my late thirties, looking back I may fiercely utter: “It was not worth it, it was not worth surviving”.

The land of the dead is not a happy place. It is forgetting of oneself, knocked into unconscious black. It is remembering at the same time, catching the remnants of decaying motions of past life. The car-mechanic was showing figments of his desolate workshop and grim tools, I admired them for a while. They were of no use anymore. No one needs such skills in the land of the dead. The question begs the answer: “This faded, that unnecessary, what was it for, a plaything of dead dreams”. He didn’t speak, he couldn’t. The old lady was cooking a meal for her family, later in life she was redirected to a welfare house for the senile. Maybe she pondered, while removed into oblivion from people she once cared about. By the same people that found her a liability, already in that crooked wheelchair. She prepared the best meals ever in her good times! They were delicious! Emergent memories of a dead soul that cries mountains: “No one needs, what for, sorrow”.

Change of perspective - that life is not everything there is, focus on the depth of everything. It brings solace, swiftly changing lenses like in a kaleidescope. At least, before it settles in some flawed perception that consumes us in a realistic depression. Live and let live! Enjoy the moment! Law of the youth never applied to me. Living heroically, despite despair is an expert thing, before you notice you are a senex, a crone. Yet at one point one needs to see, “whether it was worth living”, if not - force it through, make it worthy, even if it’s too late. For the sake of beautifying life, an aesthetical endeavour, if nothing else. That is a part of demiurgic, saturnine toil. It is running from the ruins. Sometimes you plant a rose bush, build a modest hut, to mark your escape to better days. If not so, at least to posthumous fates that are better than the kingdom of the shades, Hades, Styx and Acheron.

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