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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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.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

This play is for the Meadow Cows,

on the creaking lane, ‘neath the creaking bows…

Horses in audience for the grieving Clown who casts himself in;

Run Out Of Town!

How stunningly daft this theatre of fools, with it’s Watermelon and it’s Swimming Pools!”

The player, a spectre, pacing a well worn floor…

“For my unhearing Love! I love you once more!”

“Unhearing! Oh Boots…”

Turned away in her chair,

Clown exit stage right, pursued by a bear…

Absent Without Leave

For those of us who’ve picked it up just to put it down,

found it wanting

and thrown it around.

For those of us who return the next day

with regret in our eyes

for what we’ve chucked away.

For those of us whose keys don’t fit,

whose bridges burn

beyond paths dimly lit.

For those of us who walk slow in the rain,

who wince at the touch of the Boss and the Chain.

For those of us, I propose a toast!

Or maybe an apology,

a letter in the post.

You didn’t see me coming

but then neither did I,

for those of us who yelp and rage and fight and fly…