The phone box, by Tom Bland

was perfect on the outside,
not one of those red ornate ones, the black and silver metal, more of a frame than a
box, I was already inside puking up my guts after taking two long lines of ketamine.
“I was trying to find an insight to justify the grotesqueness
of the experience.”
“Sometimes acknowledging the grossness is the insight,” my therapist said.

During my clown training, we named
every facial expression we made first in the mirror then to each other;
the teacher noting them all down to the point
where in a performance, he shouted a name,
and we made
that face
towards the audience so
they too learnt the power to
control our features, the exaggerated heightened
emotion
pushing our skin into its shape.
I found myself
a demon in front of an audience: “I only had a
standard joke to play with.” I wanted them
to experience the terror ripping out
of their/our gut.

My therapist remained silent. I
went to the toilet, staring at her toothbrush, her husband’s toothbrush,
her child’s toothbrush, and three types of toothpaste.
I came back into the silence, sitting down,
composing myself, she asked,

“Why are you training to be a psychotherapist?”

I felt something curdling inside my gut: the image of me on all fours puking on her Russell
and Bromley’s patent shoes. She could see I was seeing something.

She told me she had a client who leapt off the chair onto the floor rolling into a ball. She just
handed him a piece of paper and a pen. HELP ME. HELP ME! My whole body wanted to
do
the same,
but my mind turned back the impulse into the seat I was already in.

My friend had lent me a circular LED light on a stand, which I set on
strobe, placing
a zombie mask over it. For the whole night, I sat on my
bed just staring hoping it might make
me write something
but nothing came except a splitting headache
: “Everyone
thinks nothingness is light, but it weighs of everything that is absent,”
I read
somewhere.

“Melancholia was Freud’s closest idea to saying ghosts
were real,” one of my tutors said before speaking about one of his clients
who took his own
life. “He was always attempting to find images so he could
distort reality, but the more you distort,
the more obvious it becomes.”

I saw a client who kept saying “no” whenever
I tried to interpret. I asked, “Why
do you always say no?” And he said, “I don’t,” just staring at me.
“Don’t fuck
with what has already taken shape, even if it is wrong,” an artist
said spitting out the end of his cigarette. He bent his head
onto the
ground photographing his face next to the wet butt. “I really
want to masturbate over the slimy end,” his mouth said.

One thought on “The phone box, by Tom Bland

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