Bold and Underlined

First, I fell for the heavens and then the deep blue sea. I came to rest in a rain gully that ran the length of the street. My stomach was damp and cold, my hands were grazed and electric. Somewhere there was laughter like a bell.

Where are my friends? My dear, dear friends? Who amongst you will grant me safe passage?

I found my feet, took two long balletic strides and fell again.

I must be on hill of some kind. But where?

Hateful, harsh voices documented my folly.

I must hide. I’m too delicate for this savagery.

A sob was growing in my chest. I sang instead.

“Oh Mama! Can this really be the end? To be stuck inside the Ring Road with the tumbledown blues again!”

I beat a palsy retreat.

Let the darkness find me. Chart my course. Tack away from light and sound, until there is one…

My body danced with inertia.

Let it find some peaceful place for me.

For every five steps I took, my toes found the tarmac thrice. Slowly the sound, the light, the fury and the fight slipped away, another world was willing me into its arms.

When I woke there was pooled-blood pain in my knee and a stretched smile on my lips. I sat bolt upright and found myself on the deck of a canal boat. My wallet was in my right hand.

Have I bought the bugger? No, nonsense. No such arrangements could be made with a man of such frightful dispositions.

Still, as if to distance myself from this hypothetical buyers remorse, I disembarked and climbed the wet stone steps which lead to the street.

How had all of this gotten started? A train, a kindly God-fearing creep and a copy of C.S Lewis’ radio lectures on morality. That ‘orrible bastard had seen me coming. He’d probably been carrying that book around for weeks waiting for a derelict like me to slip, trip and fall arse-over-tit into his lap.

“Religion is the opiate of the masses, old man! Do I look like the masses to you? It takes stronger stuff than that to lay me down!”

No, before the train. The interview…

It hadn’t gone well. They hadn’t bought into my bulllshit. Nobody ever did. When I realised the jig was up, I babbled about Wittgenstein, Gaullist myth and the Ethereum blockchain for what felt like hours, words turning to porridge in my mouth, tumbling into my lap. I was still staring at the porridge in my lap when one of them said,

“O-kay, thanks for coming in, we’ll let you know in a day or two.”

I carried their pity with me like guilt until I hit the bar at Dirty Dick’s. I hit the bar at Dirty Dick’s like a water balloon hits a freight train. It went straight through me and I was carried a hundred miles east in its slip stream.

I flipped the sermonising C.S into the first receptacle I passed leaving Norwich station. I pictured it spinning all the way through to Narnia and hitting Aslan the Lion square between the eyes…

Enough! Sweet Christ, ya basta!

Down by the canal in the half light, dusk or dawn, dawn or dusk, a head full of C.S Fucking Lewis. I decided to walk down the hill, less resistance. The sun was rising and I heard the coarse rattle of shutters being lifted.

I asked a shopkeeper if he would sell me wine. No one was around so he let it slide. I took my bottle of red into the street and felt the day creep up on me. I owed the boys in Nottingham three thousand words on, The Tangle: The Hottest New Shit In Imaginary Money. What was the world coming to? Had we filled our lives with such rot and filth that we willingly embraced nothingness?

TRUSTLESS FUNGIBLE NOTHINGNESS

No matter, I had a plan. Home to bed for three and a half hours, shower, breakfast, papers, sit down at the computer and…bleed.

As it turns out, I slept for twelve hours, kicked my phone into the garden, watched the sun disappear over the wash and considered joining the Kurds in their quest for autonomy.

I wrote this last part down with the word quest in bold and underlined. It looked something like this;

QUEST

 

 

 

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Vonnegut Made Me Do It

Bafetimbi Gomis is such a great name that I thought I’d write a story about him. Not a whole story, just enough of a story to pass an ad break or two. He’s not even getting his own story but being dropped into another. The story he’s being dropped into began with the infamous hijacker, D.B. Cooper, boarding a plane, ordering a drink and it goes on like that…

That part of the story is here somewhere under the name Little D.B. Needs to Fly. Bafetimbi is flying the Boeing 727 that has just taken off from Seattle-Tacoma Airport. D.B. Cooper is the only passenger left onboard and he’s just become 200 grand wealthier. Bafetimbi knows this as he arranged for D.B’s conditions to be met. The money has been handed over, along with parachutes, meals for the crew and it goes on like that…

Both men have been remarkably calm throughout the experience. D.B. Cooper is remarkably calm for a man who has just hijacked a plane and extorted the United States government out of 200 grand. Bafetimbi Gomis is remarkably calm for a professional football player who has never flown a plane before. By the standards of professional football, Bafetimbi’s career has gone well but not great. He’s played for Saint-Etienne, Swansea, Galatasaray and it goes on like that…

Bafetimbi suffers from suspected Vasovagal response. This means he faints at times of stress. His co-pilot, William Rataczak, knows about his condition but hasn’t had the chance to raise his concerns with the bosses at Northwest Orient Airlines. Rataczak hasn’t been able to catch a break all day. He started the day by pissing on his socks, then tripped over the dog leaving the house. Now the plane he’s co-piloting with a French footballer has been hijacked and it goes on like that…

Where will it end? Somewhere over Nevada, D.B. Cooper asks the crew to join Gomis and Rataczak in the cockpit. He requests that they stay there. Cooper begins lowering the aft stairwell. Rataczak notes the change of cabin pressure indicated by a dial on the control panel. Gomis nods in recognition even though he has no idea what Rataczak is talking about. All the while, D.B. Cooper is getting ready to leave; he puts on a parachute, takes off his clip-on tie and it goes on like that…

Gomis and Rataczak land the plane in Reno, the ordeal ends. Bafetimbi Gomis cries openly now, clasping William Rataczak to his chest. Rataczak doesn’t cry, he just wants to raise his concerns about Bafetimbi Gomis to the bosses at Northwest Orient Airlines. After Gomis has let go, Rataczak is first debriefed by law enforcement and then by the aviation authority. William Rataczak then finds a Northwest Orient union rep, requests Grievance Form 4J and it goes on like that…

D.B. Cooper remains on the aft stairwell somewhere above Nevada. A ferocious current claws at his legs, chest and face. D.B. Cooper has eternity to stare into the deep void beneath him as paper bank notes are sucked away, one at a time. He neither jumps nor falls nor lives nor dies. D.B. Cooper is descending the aft stairwell, descending the aft stairwell and it goes on like that…

CRK Guernica

 

Evening fell and as I attempted Proust, all my guilt came home to roost.

All at once, my shame it rose, jolting limbs from rich repose.

I knew well this sad sensation (a diurnal fixture of my resignation),

but tonight was different, tonight was new.

In my bones a fresh malady grew.

No longer was a simple spectre brewed,

no longer the chill of my lost Blue Nude.

The visions that held me then, and the horror that holds me still,

is the carnage of Guernica and dead horses in a field.

Dead horses in a field cast my stomach black.

Franco’s fleet foot incendiary yield did my conscience rack.

Where was my saccharine melancholy?

The prize for years of mortal folly,

of grandeur sought and storming mood,

my sweet misty release, Blue Nude.

No thoughts could stand still in that dead horse field,

no dreamy reflection of the fate I’d sealed.

All that stood was acrid panic, rictus features and ash Germanic.

Good God my appetite has been so crude!

Crying hunger, whilst on fat I chewed, leering and aching and waltzing Blue Nude.

So when market day came I took to that field, her as my armour, my Svalinn Shield.

There in Guenica I stood and floods of fire fell,

as black fat cracked under grinning shell.

Evening still falls, far off bells do peal,

whilst in Guernica I lay, twisted amongst those dead horses in that dead horse field.

Sing Always Fury and Delight

sing always fury and delight,

lumpen sentiment choke.

braising embers and the light,

posting bugles joke.

deathly darkly silent still

ascending slowly the gentle hill,

pale horse rider and greying hound

passing freely over humble ground.

football scarf and surgical scar,

broken hearts will mend.

carry weight and journey far,

forgive me my truest friend.

hold on until I join you there,

that place beyond the hill.

hold on until I join you there,

I walk towards you still.