The Higher You Stand

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Written for an English Advanced question, where we had to use a poem about a shoe as the stimulus.

Submitted: November 08, 2008

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Submitted: November 08, 2008



The shoe was the first to fall, to plunge inexorably to the ground below. But I followed just moments after, the tumbling shoe inches from my face as I spun in unison with it. Two masses, falling as dictated by natural laws universal and irreversible.

The mind was encaged – my mind was trapped by this mortal puppet that would be dashed all too soon on the ground below. Any scream would be torn from my lips, any plea fall on the deaf ears of the North Wind. I was a vessel for any soul, but my soul had wet itself and was cowering in a dark cavern of my mind. I had fallen victim to the elements, to my surroundings, and as a consequence this stream-of-consciousness was the final scream – audible to the gods who would judge me momentarily.

That god-damned shoe rotated mockingly so its two poorly-tied laces lashed my face and drew me back from the poetic heights I had been experiencing. The ramblings of a being rapidly approaching his demise made the shoe’s eyelets wink and twinkle mockingly.

“Shut up,” I would have said, but what use? The wind would carry my words too far away for the accursed footwear to hear them, and were another to hear me say anything I would rather it be a primal howl.

How the mind seeks any release from reality. I mutter ‘Howl’ under my breath, the more fitting last words for a philosopher-prince flung in his prime from an inconveniently tall building. I tried to focus my mind on empyrean heights, that the last and final sleep would begin with wit and verve. Had death snatched me away somewhat sooner, I would have ended on a melancholic note. Or a cry of triumph. Or the previously-discussed primal howl.

Instead, Death mocked me with ephemeral longevity. A transient mortality. One may challenge the fates if one knows the time of one’s doom – for one can be sure it will not come when one is wearing dirty underwear.

Two may challenge the fates if two knows the time of two’s doom –

A plague on this shoe! I cannot utter a grave (oh black humour!) statement with this ridiculous thing forever in my vision. Even when my endless tumbling sends my gaze towards the heavens, the clouds laugh down at me in the forms of stilettos, hobnailed boots, sandals with socks (tres gauche!). The entire cosmos seems determined to rob me of a solemn end.

If a sensible death has been robbed me by this chequered shoe, this bobbing and tumbling fool, perhaps I can face my imminent but bizarrely protracted doom by laughing. Flipping the finger to the universe, just as Vespasian did so long ago. “I fear I am becoming a god,” he said, and promptly died. If only Death could be so prompt on this cloudy and mostly uneventful day.

I shall not dwell on what caused me to fall, for what interest is there in how a journey began? Most people will tell you what matters is what happens along the journey. Most people are twats. What is weighing on me is the destination.

Critics might look upon my last thoughts and sneer. “Not much of a journey, this one. Just the babblings of a hysterical fool and a madman who, if he has not been sent insane by the face of God, soon will be.” To you, I say, you who live in ivory towers and might one day fall out, to you I say –


© Copyright 2018 William George. All rights reserved.

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