Blame Angelbev for talking me into posting this. I wrote this three months ago, while under the influence of a lot of narcotics for a separated and sprained knee. This is pure, unadulterated ANGST.
The lines in italics belong to T.S. Elliott's 'The Hollow Men'. Elliot and drugs, equals this. Sigh
Mistah Kurtz-he dead, A penny for the Old Guy
So many dead over the years. Centuries, millennia even. Too many to name, though I know them all by hearts. Those I couldn't save; those that didn't want to be saved; those who condemned themselves. And none more so than I, in the end.
We are the hollow men
They say time heals all wounds. Maybe it does- for others. Maybe it just fades the pain of loss, or just catalyzes it into a more bearable agony with the bright bloom of early grief fading into a calmer darkness more easily hidden. The gloss of forgetfulness to some, but not one who is cursed with total recall. My curse is remembrance, even when all else and everyone else has forgotten.
We are the stuffed men
They thought I was so old, but I wasn't, not for my kind. Young and foolish I was then, and rash besides. Thought I knew everything, that I knew best. They proved me wrong. Every one of them showed me I had much to learn. I still do, and sometimes I'll even admit I know nothing. Not that I'll ever tell. It would diminish me in their eyes. Never meet your heroes, and it's best to avoid getting too close to things you cannot possibly understand or control. Like lightning, black holes, fate, and me.
Leaning together, Headpiece filled with straw.
Always thought I was so clever, so smart. How very many times I was wrong.
Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless
All those words, so many. Never ran out, could talk the ears off a Pyrovile and then some. They said I never said anything, despite all those words, and how could I? To air it all out would only make it real, force it from concept to reality. Bring it from a vagueity to an absolute truth, and truth is, I lie. I always do, because I must.
As wind in dry grass Or rats' feet over broken glass In our dry cellar
Lies are the buffer between the harsh coldness of truth. We all love our lies, those simpering words like "tomorrow will be better" and "things will get better", but it won't, because the Universe isn't that kind. Ask Adric. Ask Dodo. Ask Jamie- did he survive Culloden Moor?
Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
How else to sum up all the fruitless attempts to make things better that always fail? How else to categorize the endless cycle of travel, triumph, and never ending failure that always ends in a flash of bright light? Once again reborn, to start the cycle anew?
Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom Remember us-if at all-not as lost Violent souls
Ask Peri, or Ian and Barbara. Peri who I throttled after the change, then killed in an alternate timeline, before she ended up on a world far from her own. Or Ian who stopped me from putting a caveman out of his misery, right after I'd kidnapped him and Barbara.
but only As the hollow men The stuffed men.
Yes, behind all the scarves, velvet, cravats, leather and lace, I'm so full. Full of broken dreams, sacrificed desires and the longing for just one more new horizon, one more day where everybody lives. Full of hope and damnation alike. Because I have to be. All those worlds out there, the parallel worlds, the civilizations both lost and saved, that's me. It's what I've done, what I gave up my world for. What I preserved in the name of peace and sanity, but not in my own. Not my own, for even I like my little comforting lies. The truth, it hurts.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
It was years before I could risk a mirror. Years before I could chance meeting the eyes of the one who'd judge me the hardest: myself. It's why I left him, and left her. They'd both see too much, and I couldn't bear looking in my own eyes for too long for fear of what I'd see looking back at me.
In death's dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind's singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star.
Children, playing in a park. Ood, finally free to sing their song. Oh the consequences of it all. I've always run to avoid those. Perhaps this time I've outrun myself.
Let me be no nearer In death's dream kingdom
Logopolis, Androzani, I can't forget? Accidents and sacrifices. So much was an accident, perhaps even I, and as for the rest.... sacrifices are plentiful too. Sacrifices to hubris and vanity, love and gratitude. So many died to save me, how could I not die for them when I'd the chance? I have a little trick, a way to cheat death. So what if it never comes out how I'd expected. I left home because too much was expected. Always preferred the unexpected, the surprise and wonders out there among the stars. Except when the surprise and the joke was on me, and it usually was. And oh, how they paid, the mortals around me, the ones who dared follow. They paid. I paid. We all paid. But who's running the till? Not I.
Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat's coat, crow skin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer
Get back, you'll burn!
Burn with me.
Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom
Can you see me, Mother?
This is the dead land This is cactus land
I've seen worlds you could only imagine, seen things better left in dreams. For all the wonders out there, there's still so much I've not seen. So much left to be done. I could do so much more.
Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man's hand Under the twinkle of a fading star.
But maybe it's better this way, all those worlds left untouched, unvisited by me. Things left undone. Less to take the blame for, less chance to leave everything tarnished in my wake. Because it is, will be, was. Tarnished, that is. Or changed, rather. Like the photon, both wave and particle until its observed. What would've stayed if I hadn't looked in, like the meddler that I am?
Is it like this In death's other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling
with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone.
Met a creature, an unknown being, all alone in the dark on Midnight. That could've been me- almost was me. But it wasn't. Though I'm still alone. Always was. From the Academy to Arcadia, from Metebilis 3 to Trenzalore, I'm always alone. Even when I'm not. Companions, assistants, they just stave it off for the time being until their leaving brings it all back. Alone. Again.
The eyes are not here
Whatever you do, don't blink. The monsters will see. Or worse, the monsters hiding inside won't be able to. Gods forbid they should get loose and run free. Again. Because we all have our monsters the things hiding in the dark that terrify us all, even the monsters. Sometimes, we're the monsters. And don't I know it.
There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
Go forth in all your beliefs, and prove to me I'm not wrong in mine. Except when I am, which is more often than I'd like to admit. Especially since I'm not sure I dare to believe in anything anymore. It's too disheartening when I'm wrong- but by all means, believe! Believe the sun will rise, believe that the people you love will always be there, believe your world will always turn. Believe, and hope I don't prove you wrong.
In this last of meeting places
They always thought I could stay. But I couldn't, no more than they could. Someone always had to walk away. It was kinder than the alternative.
We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
Don't talk to me about beaches. Any beaches. Or Aberdeen, or the War Games. Anywhere, any when, any day. Nope, not happening. They remind me of goodbyes and the only thing sadder is "hello".
Sightless, unless The eyes reappear
What I did, I did in the name of peace and sanity. What it cost, was my own peace and sanity. But then, when did I ever say I was a nice man?
As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death's twilight kingdom
You should never know your fate, but I do. Sometimes I think I've seen too much, know too much. Seeing ahead, it's forbidden- even for Time Lords. Is it so bad, though? I can hear the Valeyard calling me. He's waiting for me. Up ahead, he's waiting for me to slip. To fall. And it's getting closer- closer than ever before, with every single breath.
I don't want to go.
The hope only Of empty men.
It was pure arrogance that made me think I had won. Pure arrogance to think there could possibly be anyone winning that. The Time Lord Victorious, indeed. As if. Thinking I was the winner. When really, I was the loser. I just happened to survive and everybody lost. I'm still losing. My arrogance proved that when a brave, valiant woman lost her life to save all of reality, when I dared defy everything. Everything I had ever stood for. Everything I believed in. What I lost the most, was myself. And I'm still losing.
Here we go round the prickly pear
All actions have equal and opposite reactions, like I taught Newton so long ago. Or was it yesterday? I forget. But anyway, I went gadding about and having a blast. Never thought there'd be a reckoning. Foolish. There's always a reckoning.
Prickly pear prickly pear
I wiped them out once and I'll do it again, I fear. Always getting the last of them, I think. Ending the threat until they pop up again- the cockroaches of the universe. Back for another round. Of course I'll win. I always do. But what will it cost this time? They already got my planet, my people.
Here we go round the prickly pear
And of course, they came back. And of course, they were set to destroy everything. Threatening all of existence and costing me the only thing I had left. Someday, they'll even get me, most like. They certainly keep trying.
At five o'clock in the morning.
Now's the time, now's the hour, and now's the only time I know. And I've got to do it again. Destroy my world so others might live. Such is the cost of war, the cost of Time, the cost of being the last one of my kind. Is that forgiveness, Mother? Is that acceptance for this terrible, unavoidable deed that I must do again? Forgive me, accept this, because I cannot. But I must.
Between the idea
You promised me forever, with no concept of what forever really is. I know forever, and it burns. It burns everything you are, and everything around you. Everyone that touches you gets burned- ask Jack. You can't, you mustn't. I won't let you suffer that, so I pushed you away to save you. You came back, but in the end, forever is lost and so are you.
And the reality
We both know that promises, like rules, are meant to be broken. So are hearts, apparently. Though neither of us meant to. That's why I sent you away again when you redefined "impossible". That way you'd never know the pain of that burning forever.
Between the motion
I left you on that beach again with a piece of myself, for I could never give you all. I couldn't. We'd both burn, the worlds around us in ashes, and I couldn't ask you to burn with me. I asked someone else once, and look what it cost them. And you wonder why I run.
And the act
Splitting myself in two was completely inadvertent. I sent myself away because I was a stark reminder to myself of what I've done. Couldn't bear to face that, when I still couldn't look myself in the eye. I still can't.
Falls the Shadow
Forever haunts me. For forever, I'll be here. Running for my life, traveling, living the same old life. Running on the fumes of my burning hopes, dying dreams and wishing you'll have that fantastic life. Without me.
For Thine is the Kingdom
They live forever in my memories, the ones that lived and survived to tell the tale of their adventures and encountering me. Except the ones that didn't, but for them, I remember them always. I try to remember their brightness, their shine, the inspiration they gave to me. Because I can. Because I must.
Between the conception
Lies always make things easier to accept because the truth usually hurts. Lies like: it'll be all over when you wake up. Tomorrow will be a brighter day. One day, there will be justice and life will be fair. I'm the ultimate purveyor of truth, other than Death. But He has never ceased to follow close behind. And I tell you: tomorrow never comes. There is only the now. Past, present, future, it's all the same. It's only....now. And time can be rewritten.
And the creation
There's never anything that can prepare them for meeting someone like me. Nothing in their previous experiences. So they run away screaming, unable to handle it. Or worse, run away with me, thinking they can. It's a fine line between the two, like it's a fine line between genius and insanity. They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing, over and over again and expecting different results. Perhaps I'm insane. Because I keep doing the same thing, inviting them along, and expect different results. It always ends up the same in the end. I'm alone again and I've left broken and there's dead people behind me, marking my passage through time and space.
Between the emotion
Hate and love are but mirrored sides of the same coin. One can easily turn to the other, and vice versa. Indifference, now that takes effort. I was always so easy to fall in love with, though I'll never know why. Perhaps they hadn't the energy to summon up ambivalence in the face of my restless energy and unbounded enthusiasm.
And the response
Enthusiasm is easy, when the alternative is sitting around contemplating your actions and the consequences thereof. So many have died in my name, or died because of my failures. Or died because they got too close, drawn in like moths to flame. You can say I'm irresistible, even.
Falls the Shadow
They're all waiting for me in the dark. It's why I keep going, never stopping, never flagging, never resting. Because to rest is to sleep and there, in the darkness of dreams, they're waiting. Gallifrey. The ones I couldn't save. The ones that tried to save me. The ones that tried to save themselves. And couldn't.
Life is very long
Especially when you've got centuries, versus mere fleeting decades to reflect on the things you've done. All your mistakes. No telly, beans on toast, lacklustre job or taxi at 2 AM for me. What hey, not for the likes of me. More run in, save the day, slay the monster, rescue the damsel, then make a memorable exit. Except when it all goes pear-shaped- and you save the monster, slay the damsel, rescue the day, no one sees you make your exit and everyone forgets. Except me. I always remember. Always.
Between the desire
I'd dazzle them, inspire them to want more, because there's so much more to be seen. "I'm a Time Lord, from Gallifrey." Convince them of all the worlds out there just waiting to be seen, to walk in the dust of the ages with someone timeless.
And the spasm
Never counting the fact they would be lucky to survive, much less be able to look back on the memories of adventures past with a fond smile. That is, if they could ever stand to live a normal life after knowing what's out there. "In the Kasterborous System..."
Between the potency
They'd think I was magic, invincible. "Come with me, if you want to live." But so often, I wonder if they'd have been better off if they'd never met me. Should I have said, "Come with me if you aren't sure you want to live, but want a lot of excitement while it lasts."
And the existence
They taught me so much, all those different people with different experiences and backgrounds: that the sanctity of life supersedes the adherence to the rules. Rules are made to made to be broken, aye? That love does conquer all, even if it hurts so much more. That's why I always ran. Never letting them know how I felt, because that loss would be too much. That final, hearts clenching loss would finally break me. And I was already far too broken to deserve that. But I loved them all. I did and I still do.
Between the essence
Everything has it's time. Everything must fade to dust, even memories- for others that is. Remembering is the price you bear, when you've seen it all, done it all, and yes, ended it all. Its the last memorial to Time, and I'm the last Lord of that. Time remembers all, and so do I.
And the descent
All the times it went wrong. Went right, instead of left. Went up, instead of down. Interfered when I should have jumped back in the TARDIS and ran as fast as the Vortex allowed. But no, when was I ever able to leave well enough alone?
Falls the Shadow
I am that shadow. Always there, bouncing around the timelines. I pushed and nudged things along so they'd turn out as I saw fit. Always trying to better things, even when it all went so wrong. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
For Thine is the Kingdom
I would take them through time, not just space. Showed them civilizations long forgotten, or just a dry bit of text in their wildly inaccurate school books. Lead them through places never seen by any but their distant ancestors- or relatives.
For Thine is
I always like to hope they carry a little piece of me, like I carry them. Always unforgotten. It's the only hope I have left. That's why I let them go- when I can. Leaving them the bright young things in my memory. Never fading, never tiring, never dying. Unless they do, then it's back to moving on because looking back hurts. Hurts so much.
All these millennia, rebelling, running away from a place I never belonged, with it's stodgy rules and tired ancient traditions. Hoping to find that place, that home. But home is not a place, it's people. People that care, a hand to hold, someone to tell you you've been forgiven. Absolution for that which never can be forgiven, even though I had no choice.
For Thine is the
I taught them to hope, every one of them. Hope so they wouldn't give up. Hope so they would carry one, when everyone else had. Hope so they could inspire me, or shame me with their näieve beliefs when I had lost my hope so long ago.
This is the way the world ends
We all lie. They said I wasn't necessary; frivolous, a shame upon the name of my House and Family. I scoffed and said I didn't need them either, said they were stuck in their ways, and stole a ship and ran away. In the end, we were all wrong. I needed them to define myself; they needed me to end it all. But we were all right, in some ways. They were stuck in their ways and it destroyed them. I was frivolous and a shame upon my name. It's why I set that name aside forever when I destroyed them. And myself. But I was born again.
This is the way the world ends
That was the day- the Moment- when hope died, and everything turned to ashes in mouth. Dreams, hope, mercy, all died with Gallifrey. The home I never belonged, never wanted, but could never leave in the end. So many worlds gone now. Turned to dust, inhabitable frozen chunks hurtling in space. Lost to legend, stars burned out, and people long since gone to dust. So much destruction in my wake.
This is the way the world ends
Oh, Arcadia. How you left your scars. Bad enough the Master hid at the end of the universe and turned himself human just from the horror of it. But I, I went on. I learned to live again, paste a smile on, save the day and keep going. Save the day, and ignore the lives it cost along the way. To be the mad man in a box. Never stopping because the memories, the guilt, the despair start to catch up to me. Again.
Not with a bang but a whimper.
And I'm still running.....I'm sorry.
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