SHARK ON DISPLAY IN LEEDS

The pang in the heart of the lonely young man that resembles the faith of expectant hands, that the loneliness is but a bitter prelude to the fruitful bliss to come, a cornucopia of real life after everyone has noted your genius and your voice is valued in the highest places, at the mountain tops of western civilization. After which the preceding anguish is but a gold- streaked picture in the pulp novel of your existence, inertia followed by a blinding and violent rise to fame and money. But sometimes loneliness is just loneliness and you don’t get a prize at the end, though you may believe somebody is watching. And even if they are, what’s it to them? Everyone has the same time in a day’s turn.

Shark teeth. You can feel it in the back of your mind. Are you a black overtipper. Do you over tip because of the stigma that black people don’t tip well? Let’s have a discussion, no thanks I tip the perfect amount. Stupid twitter threads, always ruin the flow of your inner thoughts. Jumpstart the car again. Their teeth one time I saw in this museum a dead one. It was preserved three hundred and two circulations, they said. I might be imagining that part. The scars at the side of it are not a memento of human attempts to tame it but their lungs actually. So I’m told. My guys never wrestled these beasts, too far. Plus we couldn’t swim from what it sounds like. But man, are they impressive, huge thing in that museum and they always have their mouths open too, a nice touch by humankind not to deprive them of their dignity by rendering them like mute little pups in the sanitized gray walls. Man always had that, God’s mercy in him to some extent, haunting all his conquests for all time.

When I was a kid I acted like a kid, thought like a kid, behaved immature. Didn’t care to know nothing ’bout loneliness, or sharks, or dead sharks in museums giving people bad dreams. It all coalesced together when I was about 17, moved here. One of the first things I saw was that damn thing, huge tongue…they say you can put a boat in there. We don’t have anything like that where I come from….kind of a Hellenic temperament, to spend your free time gazing into the mouth of a shark. And everyone was so casual about the whole thing like yeah someone killed that bastard what of it it’s no big deal this is England we invented money and guns. 

I suppose that’s when sharks and loneliness started to get all sloshed up together in my head, the high seas, or a really big washing machine. That being alone and not talking to anyone, I mean I’ve always been comfortable by myself but there wasn’t nothing like it. And you know how life goes, once you set that precedent… Life is just more of the same- meaning where there is loneliness there will be more. For the lonely there is only more on offer. Loneliness following loneliness like lice, or a pack of ants, spiders in your room, the plague.

Shark tongue, wide as the open field we played at in Fairview. Same surface area as the moon. And the teeth surrounding it. All the same I think that they’re happy with the way things shook out, I mean there’s worse ways to go than being immortalized like that. I mean it’s not like they were some great thinkers or nothing, they weren’t gonna build the pyramids in due time. Might as well be a nice statue for some foreign place, everyone marveling at how big you grew.

Discovered loneliness for the first time here. Slavery too. Doesn’t bother me much. But it does a little. Hear the Irish was slaves too, what was that like. Need to go there one day. Wonder if they also kill sharks in Dublin.

— Gillan is an emerging poet and writer currently studying for a law degree at the University of Leeds. He regrettably doesn’t have much published work available for the time being on account of time restraints (among other things) but some of his poems have been featured in Punk Noir Mag.