Straight Down, Straight Down
My emotions are disordered and at the whim of the seasons; a cloud of storms, a storm of clouds. I lay them bare, naked on the pavement as my head nestles in the curb. Spinning sirens, there’s been a fight. I’m the out-of-focus figure in the background convulsing as I cough city songs into my concrete pillow.
It always ends like this, I run till I fall to the floor. It’s easier from down here; the faces seem friendly and somehow I’m free. No pressure, comatose and horizontal. The taste of puke in my mouth doesn’t bother me, none of it fucking bothers me. I’ll roll down the street in my own filth, being kicked by empty accidentally-bearded men whose cheap quid shop trainers mean I feel their old bones against my ribs as they swing drunken roll over toe pokes. I’ve lost all interest and thrown my responsibility away. I’ll hide in confused chaos, and fuck anyone who tries to find me.
I hang my tongue out and taste the poisoned rain, quench myself on the tears of broken housewives, clean myself in the phlegm of disapproving citizens, spitting in the face of fools as a source of nutrition. I barf in anger and vomit maliciously on the walls of violent abrasive cement churches, I write my name in piss and scream my head off in the graveyard. The synthesised taste of cheap stolen supermarket scotch is dear to me and I collect spliff ends off the floor where the teens smoke, outside the pub where I lost myself.
In a home somewhere a lonely bed sits patiently, waiting for me to snap out of it, to be a man, and sort my life out. Let them sort their lives out, better still let them sort mine out, I know where I’m going; straight down, straight down. This is a rant and one I live with the conviction of a vicar.
There was a time when things held importance, when I aspired to blah blah blah, when my veins ran young and rushed round my heart in anticipation of the future. A time when I listened to what people said, and even pretended to care. But the truth was I always clung to the ladder with a weak grip and the more steps appeared the more I wanted to let go. I’d break my back to feel again. But now it’s all speeding; standing is a chore and breathing a luxury. I fold the pain and cramps under more consumption. I’m a hole. Stuff me till I’m gorged, till I burst, too selfish for suicide, too cowardly for revolt. I’m thoroughly unimportant, a public drowning. I’ve lived in the shadows, at least let me die in the spotlight.
This street is a line and we’re all shapes merging and morphing, fighting and fucking, a developing grotesque sketch like the pencil-drawn narratives and biro fantasies that adorned my school books, in the days when I knew some things, when some things went unchallenged. Here even time is compressed at my whim: 10 cans of cider and watch the day fly, too lazy for consistency even my character is liquid. I haven’t the memory required for a personality, I haven’t even gathered any stories or trinkets from the road, except scars and bruises which run so deep I’d rather stab you then crack a smile, crack my teeth, crack this crack till I crack.
A battered form of man challenging gravity to a duel in a midnight beating;
“starving hysterical naked”
I let the years ferment, long ago I lost the ties that hold my emotions in check. Bleeding, shattered I crumble under the bent green chipping metal of a bustop. I stare at myself with utter contempt, but the fluctuating chaos of my indifferent indecisive cold rotating thoughts quickly suppress any attempt at self-analysis. Like the Elephant Man I scream at my own reflection, half caught in the windscreens and eyes of those in transit, people with somewhere to go, somewhere to be.
I used to ride the bus and gaze at the montage of landscapes and moments; the circular routes were best, like a sundial the city rotates and each passing of the same point heralds a different perspective, a new tableau of urban living. To ride the bus was a pleasure, another escape from the involvement required to commit a proper life, another place outside of it.
At some point on the bus I realised I was dead, and that I had been for a long time. I was a rotting corpse rolling round the back seats of the bus, sat straight from rigor mortis, a smile torn like a scar through my cheeks. It was when I turned my focus inside the bus that the pain really ached. Without the divide of the window I saw it clearly, under a clinical light. At first I laughed as pawns piled into the seats their pockets stuffed with tokens, rushing home to store them under mattress, where they grow cellulite and saggy breasts, loose teeth and hair to stress and bosses and with their last dying gasps extinguish the fragile flame of youth still flickering in their children’s eyes by recounting in bedtime stories, parables, tastes and values, dreams and shopping lists and insecurities. The dogmatic lie that slowly kills them on the school run, until your children are skeletons and demons, blood-sucking corpses re-animated by the black magic midnight voodoo of late free-market capitalism. It’s a dog eat dog world and we’re all dead men walking.
It made me vomit, a burning enveloping sensation that started in my head and spread through my body until I found myself standing on a bench in the centre of town bursting my lungs for someone to listen over the growing rumble of a suicide in motion. My broken urban patois made them ignore me, and my years under thumb made me irrelevant. My fists grew angry and I bounced from month to month from cell to cell, from pipe to pipe, from rock to rock until I stopped even muttering my thoughts.
What use was it? I am a madman ranting in a foreign tongue, coughing up chunks of blood in public. I’m essentially rude, the impolite excess flab of society forced to play the same character night after night naked on this public stage. But fuck it I’m more intelligent that all you cunts. I know where I’m going straight down, straight down.