jungle

Adam J Marsh
3 min readApr 9, 2020

It’s a packed train.
People coughing.
Eyes that are recessed, lifeless, on high alert,
asleep, highly caffeinated, stressed, worried, angry,
apathetic, scanning for other faces on the train
ch-chug-cha-chug, ch-chug-cha-chug,
my mind can’t think — hell, I can barely string a few thoughts together
I slept in my bunk bed, step brother on the top,
It must be 20 at this point in my life.
Cheap suit jacket. Cost 100 bucks
with a business shirt that doesn’t fit me, leaves me looking like an overgrown kid.
Am I doing what needs to be done with my life?
Am I an artist?
Or did I enjoy having my soul sucked,
from the comfort that only a mediocre office job could bring me?
It’s been 5 years on and off.
Jumping on the Epping train into Flinders St Station
(but they don’t call it Epping no more, it’s the Mernda line),
and I am done with busting my hump.
This isn’t living. Not really.
I’m selling things. Making people buy things.
Working for corporate types.
Working for all types
thinking,
i’m not one of them
but i am.
i am one of them.
I cash their checks,
I buy my food,
I pay my bills
With their money. The money I earned.
It’s not blood money, because at least there’s a sense of adventure that comes with killing others, however messed up and immoral that is
- it’s worse though. It’s a slow death.
The death of ideas, the death of dreams,
the ritualistic sacrifice of your happiness and health,
just to funnel money into your superannuation
just to work for a company that doesn’t actually care for you
that’s what your family and friends are for….
and being a beloved & loved person,
it doesn’t pay the bills. Not a dollar.
I get off the train,
I’m already late for work. I’ll always be late for work. It’s the thing I do with my life. Lateness.
Late for everything.
Late for my calling.
walk down Flinder’s St at a pace,
the sun is warm… this is what I miss,
squinting from the sunshine, rising over Melbourne
through the scratched up & germ clad plastic train windows.
the gentle heat on the back of my head,
as the cool wind breezes in my face.
These 10 minutes are a peace that I wish the rest of my could feel
but the anxiety creeps
I must be at work. I’m 10, no, 15 minutes late.

Then I stop.
I’m unable to bring myself to continue without ordering a coffee.
it’s going to be a long day… and i’ll be staying back late anyway.
I don’t think there has been a single day at work
where I’ve been genuinely thanked and cared
for what I’ve brought to the table.
Either that, or i’m a raging narcissist.
But am I? Isn’t it a common human need to be thanked for your efforts,
I mean, I know I get paid, and paid well,
but still.

That was 5 years ago.
I eventually quit.
Life got hard.

And now this…
this…
I realise it now.
I wasn’t looking at a crowded jungle,
of owls, gibbons, tigers, leopards and mosquitos,
like Rudyard Kipling, reporting on the jungles of India.
I’m was trapped in one.

--

--