Once you swam in me

I would hold you
as you slept
and keep you from drowning

When you woke
I would often pull you
to my depths
A mounting dull roar
in your ears
A faint glimmer above
as you gurgled
through a whirlpool
of salt air
I opened
for you

You would sometimes cling
to passing driftwood
But with tidal inevitability
I would envelop you
Still holding
a rough plank
or worn bough
or empty-handed
you would slowly
slowly sink into me

Once you swam
heedless of fatigue
toward a white spot
toward a bobbing brightness
toward a pontoon
I had torn
from a large boat
Grasping at the remains
of its metal frame
you clambered atop it
And there
I could no longer have
my fill
of you

You assembled a nest
of flotsam
You now know
every piece of wood
every scrap of plastic
intimately
It comforts you
that there are only
so many ways
to arrange them

Do not forget
that my fish
feed you
That my currents
determine your course
and can dash you
against sharp
black
rocks
however you may toil
with your salt-worn paddle

Do not forget
it is my surface
that shimmers
with reflections
of lush land
that turns out
to be nothing
but waves
in me
whose bitter spray
you taste
as they break

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it decides
to dissect​
and inspect
you inside
like an insect
its interest a
pin though
your abdomen
and into
its stark
white
board

around you
regular
columns
rows
of other twitching
insect bodies
honey-combed
by compound vision
some dead
all skewered
six legs
or fewer

a rattling
cacophony of
rasping clicks
a metallic
mass-gallows
of fat sallow
bad-blood-sick
love-filled ticks
unable to muster
the will to rupture

amid the grid
of pulsing nausea
you’re only aware
of your own
of the oozing hole
that holds you in place
exposes your viscera
to its inquisitive gaze
brittle layers of
chitinous
bitterness flayed
wounds of want
and self-pity displayed
layers of defensive
constructs arrayed
labeled
on tables

Patterns
we violate
the stillness beneath seas
We do it again
and again
and again

We the uncomprehending tick
that swells
with the valueless seed
of another
We
the other

We devour
our
fat
feeble
forebears
We ignite our remains
We ignite our remains

We shed
sharp geometries
Weave them into our offspring
Strip and dissect
Brand and discipline

We watch ourselves pace
endless rows
of kennels
We incinerate our own
We incinerate our own

In front of screens
we degenerate
into a twitching
machines
Our electric atavism
burning senseless paths
through atrophied grey matter
We latch onto an orange anus
spewing hate
it feeds us
we feed it

We crowd around ourself
Leave ourself
dying on a cold pavement
We flare red for an instant
fade to colourless flaccidity

We exhaust our remains
Our patterns frantically shift
Unrecognisable
we lose our struggle
against the cold regularity
the oceans
of stillness

A noble line of greatness
stretches from antiquity
You march toward its forefront
to claim your legacy

You think a throne awaits you
you’ll be fastened to a stock
where the vermin that fellate you
drive broken glass into your cock

A capering clown
puts a paper crown
on your solemn lowered head
you’ll bleed out like a stuck pig
though never fully dead

You’ll never rest Orestes
though your mother’s ghost will come
to find you in your torment
and you’ll manage ‘fuck off mum!’
You’re slumped and bowed in silence
Softly she will plea
You disavowed me with your violence
Why did you murder me?

You now survey your kingdom
through undulating vision
the dirt you are
dirties
the dirt beneath you

You find it hard to swallow
that the blind dreck of this world
Not the sheer will of Apollo
did your body’s being build

your chest a feeble fluttering thud
your head a heavy jug of blood
no matter how much flows
from dark tissue exposed

Sick
of occasionally stuffing my heart
with inebriated fucks
fucks
never fully mine

What I really need
is a phlebotomist
with warm eyes
who asks me
to take off my coat

I hand her my form
and sit down
snugly preserved
in duplicate
within her two
amber eyes

She nods
as I extend my arm
and slide the sleeve of my shirt
above the crook of my elbow

Above this
she wraps the tourniquet
feeding its elasticated strap into
its plastic buckle
drawing it tight

‘This will sting a little’
The needle punctures my skin
enters my vein
I sigh out
a voiceless lungful of air

She fits a glass tube
to the needle’s housing
Glug glug
my blood
floods
its vacuum
‘You’ve very strong’
she murmurs

Feebly now
dark red pulses
into the third tube
She withdraws the needle
a cotton swab in its place
taped to my elbow
‘so it doesn’t get on your shirt’

She turns to her samples
and papers
and scribbles
without a glance
she says
‘you can go’

We exchange a
cascade of
goodbyes

Sick of occasionally stuffing my heart
With inebriated fucks
fucks
never fully mine

What I really need
is a phlebotomist
with warm eyes
who asks me
to take off my coat

A habit
I had hoped
shed
sees me return
again
to an uneven mattress
bartering
dreams for hours
of a life foreswarn
the remainder lived
fewer
forlorn

Leaden legs
and bleary eyes that
deadened
peer at leaden skies
through a rain
specked pane of glass
Autumnal curtains
gently pulse
and endless
cars and people pass

Now in so few ways inured
to the soporific haze
of a dream-leeched
day endured
let alone the
grimy little
hours that
settled
gathered days
months that piled
heaped a year of stolen youth

A life that barely
filled half
a shared
room
its white walls
crumpled bed-linen
and radiator

It’s small
now
I sit
I examine the suture
over the void
that was my future

I don’t normally post about my diet and training, so prepare to learn about another facet of my geekiness. In fact, This is my first training and nutrition related post in 5 years of blogging. In this case, I felt that fasting for 16 hours every day with an 8 hour feeding window was a significant enough change to share my experiences.

This could be a lot more impressive, at just over 1000KCal of rice, eggs, soya mince and veg. Sadly, it needs to fit in a 1.6l airtight lunch-box and I’m only aiming for 3400KCal a day.

I couldn’t live without breakfast!

As long as I can remember, I’ve struggled to function without breakfast. This worsened when I when I took up weights training. I began stuffing myself with everything between 2500 and 5250 KCals of food a day. Eating regularly and breaking my fast as soon as I got up helped me to wolf down some of the more obscene amounts of food. Aside from putting on a bit of belly fat, I became accustomed to eating regularly, eating a lot — and due to budgetary constraints, eating a lot of carbs. I quite sure my insulin sensitivity dropped as despite consuming three eggs and a sizeable bowl of cereal every morning, I felt famished by lunchtime.

Or could I?

I started reading about intermittent fasting and found the idea of being able to eat a reasonable amount of food, maintain or even build some muscle and strength and cut my body-fat simultaneously very appealing. Following the leangains method, I calculated my basal metabolic rate, adjusted for activity and took some percentages based on the goal of body re-composition (+20% on training days, -20% on rest). The rest was willpower. On the first few days at work, I went on a feeding frenzy at lunchtime and gobbled up whatever sweets and biscuits happened to be lying around. This was especially bad when I had a supermarket meal-deal for lunch, including a sugary fruit-juice and crisps (which incidentally, with the right sandwich, adds up to around 1000Kcals.) I gradually adapted, drinking several cups of green tea in the mornings and sometimes not quite making it to 2 or 3pm, as I’d come hope late from martial arts training and only eat dinner at 10 or 11pm.

Some background info (I’ll be just thorough enough to show how unscientific this is)

I’m not going to fool myself; this couldn’t be further from a controlled a scientific study. I changed so many variables in the few weeks before I started this that anything could be responsible. Before I started fasting, I’d been taking the bus to work and eating large supermarket lunches with sugary fruit-juice. I’d recently started cycling to and from work and taking a packed lunch with low-GI carbs, vegetables and some protein. I’d also started doing martial arts training in the evening, which incorporates HIIT circuits – a change from sitting at my laptop when I got home (and a massive improvement, for so many reasons). It gets worse: Due to these other changes, I switched from a 4 our day upper-lower weights training spilt, to a 2 day push-pull split of my own invention. I could squat (& bench press, press, leg press, dips…) on Saturday, when I didn’t have to cycle the following day, rest on Sunday and deadlift (& pullups, power cleans, rows…) on Monday. From Tuesday to Friday, despite martial arts training and cycling every day, I could recover, in theory.

One thing that remained fairly consistent was my my macronutrient balance. I tend to get just over 20% of my calories from protein, around 50% from carbohydrates and just under 30% from fat. The proportion of protein tends to rise to around 26% on days with a lower caloric intake, simply because I’m not adding loads of cheap grains to make up the calories. Maybe my diet isn’t good enough (if we take seriously advocates of very high proportions of protein and fat). I think it’s adequate, considering my limited budget. After all, a similar diet has allowed an 6′ 1″ (185cm) ectomorph like me who weighed just under 70kg to reach 79kg within a year, without a remotely high bodyfat percentage.

Shredded within a month?

Nope,  I was sill about an inch of belly-fat shy of a well defined six-pack. After the first month, my weight hadn’t changed much. I weighed 78.9kg fasted before I started and I don’t believe I weighed less than 78 at  at this point. I reduced my calories and cut out some unhealthier food sources. This included cheap peanut butter (replaced with whole peanuts) and whole-milk. While the peanut butter wasn’t that bad, the wholemilk was; despite containing a bit of high-quality protein, it is just saturated fat and sugar (lactose) suspended in water, along with antibiotics and bovine growth hormone in some countries. I will admit that during one of my past bulking attempts, I’ve consumed close to one litre of wholemilk a day, on the recommendation of strength coaches John Rippetoe and Jim Wendler. It works, yes, but only if you need to drink an extra ~ 640Kcals of mostly empty calories a day.

And in a few weeks I dropped 3kg

I did take some time of training, spend two weekends visiting people but tried to match my enthusiasm for vices such as alcohol with gluttony, an one point eating an entire roast chicken to line my stomach with slow-digesting fat and protein before going out drinking. Despite telling myself I’d keep cutting until I hit a fasted weight of 75kg, I’ve decided to slam on the breaks and eat more again. I’ve had cravings for juicy steaks and rich, crispy pies and ice-cream recently, which may or may not be the result of just having lost about a kilogram a week. I’ll allow myself a few treats, but don’t want to go mad and fall into the trap of unsustainable crash-dieting.

Go back to eating breakfast every morning?

I actually don’t enjoy starting the day with bowl of grains and dried fruit any more. I still wouldn’t mind the eggs (and a 10oz bacon-wrapped steak for that matter!), but that’s a different story. I enjoy being able to go longer without food, is research indicating a range of heat benefits aside from fat loss.

However, this research is still in relative infancy. A considerable amount of research still supports meals spaced out over one’s waking hours. While I have seen photographic and anecdotal evidence of people reaching impressive body-composition goals on intermittent fasting, I have been unable to replicate this. I’ve become more fatigued and irritable, and have little to show for it in terms of fat loss.

For the time being…

If I put on a significant proportion of body-fat the future, I might consider IF as one of a number of tools to help overcome this. By this point, there may be more conclusive research. At the moment, I’m physically active, have a fast metabolism and a healthy bodyfat percentage; I seem to reap no obvious benefits from IF (less obvious benefits would require blood tests, which may have to wait until I’m older and need them).

I can see little point in continuing this experiment now.