Trauma.

We stormed the Castle walls

after the eternal siege,

 

& saw rotting corpses in ugly sleep, without dignity

but with a peace denied those few we found alive.

 

Their eyes were almost closed

& damp with pitiful terror.

 

Their mouths made sounds we could hear but

could not understand.

 

We looked around us for reason, the evidence

of a final stand, but we found nothing.

 

Then the walls began growing, we were

surrounded, helpless, scared, abandoned

 

& at last we understood.

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Empty Today.

Empty today.

 

Empty.

 

Today, empty grey sky gave way to weak purple light

& I saw small:

distant stars, so far apart…

 

Empty today.

 

Empty.

 

Today the walls will not look back at me

& a thought occurs again & again:

“Throw the wet warm red at them”.

 

Ending today.

 

Ending.

 

Today will have no real ending, because

vision is just a trick of the light

& so am I.

A dream I think I once had

She smoked a cigarette beside me

in the passenger seat of my car

in the dark, in the park one night

a lifetime ago.

 

She said: “We are born,

we do stuff

& then we die.

That’s all…

 

I wish I could, but

I just can’t make myself care

that much anymore…”

 

Spectral blue curls billowed out

from between the clumsy teeth inside

of that beautiful mouth,

& attempted to dance with those lengths

of false-coloured hair she absently caressed.

 

She had an affinity for dysfunction,

she told me:

“I thrive among the broken things”

 

& I remember thinking

that it was fucked-up

how much I wished I was more fucked-up

than I already was.

 

I wanted too much;

 

I wanted her love.

 

Nothing else seemed important,

not the the future, not improvement,

not hope

or the vast tracts of free & unfettered time

that lay before us.

 

Eventually,

I drove her home.

Nothing much had happened

yet somehow it still felt significant.

 

After she had left me, as

I sat staring into the darkness,

the smell of smoke & her presence

lingered

 

& I was overcome

by sensation so intense,

all that has followed since

feels like dull disappointment…

 

(This story is fiction, only the stories that composed it are true)

The City at Night

The City at night smells like memory & life to her.

Only in the right places, of course.

It smells like youth, like fantasies of endless abandon.

Especially when it has just rained.

She does not know the names of the chemicals & materials that constitute this smell. She knows only the reason why it excites her:

Once, a long time ago, she would roam luminescent concrete pathways like these & she was free.

Liberated from the wrong kind of eyes & noise, she found herself in a forbidden reality; a place where rules were different, where she had just enough money & friends to create a sense of excitement…

Now she is older,

& freedom has gone.

Somehow all those nights came to an end & she was left with nothing but soft-edged memories.

Unable to keep hold of all the little details, the beginning has become only the fragment of a dream.

Freedom changed;

obligation replaced attachment

& left her with this feeling:

a feeling of distance,

the strange sensation that she is not what she once was, the she is lost & always was.

Reason has fallen.

Yet stubbornly she still clings to something she cannot explain…

“…we all have dead & dying hopes & beliefs scattered about our feet…

but I refuse to believe that we cannot find the strength

to bury them;

that one day we will

find the strength

to begin again.

 

Fuck you if you don’t believe;

just watch me.”

Apoptosis

He went to work.

He came straight back home.

Gave up his daylight-dreams of improvement to the comforts of deranged sense & sleep, & told himself that he would never do it again. He would stop thinking about it.

He didn’t.

She went to work.

She stayed out in the night.

Not wanting to return home to the stillness, the nothing, the oppressive sound of silence, she told herself that escape was found in oblivion. She would never return again.

She did.

On Saturday, they were no one.

On Sunday sunlight glided through the windows, dust motes floated through the air & the sound of birdsong rose above the city-noise.

It all became too much.

So, at different times, in different places, they both went outside.

They looked up to the sky & something that felt like peace perverted by corrupted innocence filtered out everything they took for granted.

They sensed beauty in the periphery.

They heard noises, smelled fumes & perfume, saw beasts & machines.

It all became too much, so

they both turned & went inside again

alone.

 

“…a greater weight in the region of her heart.”*

 

Gathered together beneath the clear plastic canopy

of a deformed & leafless tree,

the elderly & the mentally inadequate

stand & wait in the 12:30 rain

of a blue-grey Summer without sun.

we are

the intricate accidents

unfolding within the periphery of your vision

The number 52 bus arrives,

& leading our small procession of damaged people-things,

is the Carer attending to his temporary children;

careful to shepherd them safely to their seats

he fails to notice me & gently we collide…

this man is in possession of the happiest eyes

& the saddest smile that I have ever seen

He says:

“Sorry! Sorry, sorry.”

as if it were his life’s refrain.

I say:

“No, no, it’s fine…”

but my mumbled reply doesn’t reach him,

his concentration is for better things

for the people other people

secretly wish were not there

to see…

because the broken things bear witness to an unbearable weakness;

 to all of the ungracious, hidden little pieces within us:

they are the uncanny light in the eyes of other Apes,

they are the inevitable smell of piss & the trembling lips

of old age,

they are the mucus that runs down your philtrum

when you cry.

We are the flat & hollow sensation of every planned occasion that has failed us.

The number 52 bus returns to movement,

& before I fall into my seat, before he spills into his

there is between us a silent, complicit pact:

a pathetic, futile, beautiful act

of defiance

against the endless,

fucking desperate

tragedy

of living as an animal

haunted by words

in a world that

will

not

care.

 

*