Rules To Live By – Toby C

Rules. To live by? Some rules are written, others spoken, most broken.

 Let me be your ruler. My creator of rules? My measuring instrument? A cheap line from a Lorde song. I’m no queen bee but I don’t need to be told what rules I need to live by.


Is that what you have to say when you don’t play by the rules? Who do you say it to? Friends? Family? Your unforeseen calamity?

Tuck your shirt in.

Don’t kill people.

Be quiet in a library.

Li – bra – ree.


Be balanced. Be fair and equal. Stay true to yourself. Give good advice and have a calming presence. You can’t love an Aries, or be friends with a Scorpio. Those are your rules. Dictated by the stars. Followed by fools. Followed by faithful.

A boy walks down a street. Humming. Skipping. Carefully hip-hopping and hum-bugging towards a “6 pm sharp” dinner. Step on a crack break your mother’s back. Don’t step on the crack. Don’t be late for dinner. Don’t talk to that man who hangs out by the park. Don’t. Promise me. Promise. Keep skipping and humming. Hip- hopping and hum-bugging home. Straight past the park. Past the man. That’s a rule. 6pm please. Sharp.


Don’t touch it. When plotting a graph your pencil must be. Knives are. Teeth are. People are. But people need to be told not to play with knives. Nor to bite. They are rules. Ones to live by.

So what are my rules? The ones to live by? Rule. A heavy word. Like a foot sinking indefinitely in mud. Till you can’t move. So don’t go near the river. Live. A command? Life. A question.

Syntax. The answer?


 The story?


This story?


That has rules. It is made up of rules. Often written, often spoken, often broken.

Broke. That’s why you have to live by the rules, or you will end up.

Bro. The one you break the rules with. To live. Feel alive. Not to end up.

Syntax. A weird idea. A Theme? This theme? Can it be a theme? It’s a rule. Written. Spoken. Broken.

Rules. To live by? Yes and no. Ruler? The maker of rules and a measuring instrument. And a great line of a Lorde song. Tell me what rules you live by.


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