I’m a dirty scoundrel, haven’t showered for days and bad food going down the tube.
The towers of frustration have been built and I’ve been tryin’ to tear ‘em apart.
The desire was so great and the disappointments have been addin’ up.
Tell me, where do I go from here?
Through the hallways I walked to disappear, but here I am.
From their minds I drove every unfavourable word, but still they stand.
The air is thickenin and I’m tryin to get through with as few scars as I can.
But it ain’t easy and I can’t find no way to give a damn.
Well, once you told me I’m all alone but it ain’t so bad.
Did I tell you I’m tired of fightin, or did I forget?
The fountains of blood are flooding my city.
Remind me once more, why did I come back here?
The room is heatin up but it’s cold where I’m standing.
And you can laugh and call me weak but you don’t know the tally.
I don’t have anymore sweet names to call you by
and I take the last train just so I can let it all out.
I thought I saw somebody, but there was no body there.
I praised my idols, now I’m tellin’ myself ‘you’re gettin too old for that’.
It can’t really be this way, can it?
Tell me, where do I go from here?
I don’t wanna look in no more, and I don’t care to look out
The clouds have gathered but they’re yet to turn dark
Don’t have nothin anymore to say to anyone
Everything is beginning to look like a careless lie.
Tell me, Is there anyplace to go from here or do I gotta start again?
The line is drawn.
The streets I walk are all swept with boredom. I have no desire. I have no hope for anything. I have no belief. Too many times I have followed men into ‘the light’ and have only come to stand in a chilling room, naked. I have been mad with desire. I have been mad with hope and I have followed that hope rapturously until all my thoughts were realised. Only to be left drunk and miserable. Drunk and lonely. Drunk and sad. In a hotel room alone. Nothing was ever realised. I have let men come and scratch at my stomach. But they were only able to leave a few marks on my skin, and now those marks are faded. I have searched high and low for another like me. I have tried to unburden myself before those who might understand. Ah! The hope that another might understand what it means to be tormented, what it means for a heart to be blown up by bombs in a mine field. And they have only returned a calm voice saying ‘Yes, I too know’. But they never knew. Another man that knows could not speak so calmly, his voice stable, his eyes free of bitterness and anger. So I walked away in the dead of night, feeling wretched, calling onto somebody who might know, but that was only a belief I grappled stubbornly.
Now I awake in the morning and sleep in the evening. I am tired, with no where to go and nothing to do. With no where to turn. Without a dream, without a voice. I muster up no thoughts. I don’t try. I don’t care to even want another to stab me, to stab my heart, to rip apart my flesh. It has happened once before and still I stand in an empty street. Those who I thought were for me, were not. They are for some other. And then, if I had a measly, minute care, I’d ask, ‘Who then, is for me!’ And if there is an answer, I will leave it where it stands. Once I would have taken it, I would have drunk it and let it fill up my body so that I was moving with acid inside my lungs. I would have turned every corner, I would have walked into every bar, I would have gazed into each person’s eyes wondering if it is he, if it is she, are you the one for me? Do you understand? Are you like me? Do we resemble eachother! I would have gone mad with desperation. But I have been through all of that. And still I stand in an empty street.
Yes. I have heard many men ask, What is the answer? What are the answers Well. Who anymore cares? I say to somebody, Come! Show me a beautiful woman, show me where and show me how, and I will say that it is only flesh, that it is only tits and legs. I will show that she is nothing beautiful. I say bring me a man and I will show you that he is a boy. There is no place else to go. Every cobblestone has been stepped on, every vessel has been drained. Now I will take my glass of wine and cigarette and let pass the hours. The streets are still empty.
Sometimes she spoke as though in a daze. When somebody asked her how she was doing and let her reply without interrupting or trying to convince her otherwise, she answered honestly. Her reality was bleak, some said. She was pessimistic, most said. She would talk for three quarters of an hour, at least, in response, and at the end of the hour, could hardly remember all that she said except that it was true and it came from some quiet place inside which nobody really wanted to know. Many things were unfortunate. The romanticised idea people somehow always conjured up about who she was and what she could do, based on the very little they saw of her hardly ever evaporated.
Geraldine tried not to think so much, but she always felt too much, bar the working hours at her job. She was a good worker and everybody said so. People preferred to think she possessed some sort of work ethic or discipline. In history, her feelings had taken such a hold of her that she could barely move. An old boss once told her that if she was feeling down, it wouldn’t be a problem for her to take a day off. As he spoke, all she could think was “It’s not one day, it’s weeks and weeks”. She grew tired of continuously changing jobs and at some point, decided to switch off for a few working hours. The change grew into a habit.
Geraldine had no gifts or talents. She was nothing and she was nobody. That was never going to change. That people looked at her as an idea was never going to change either. All she wanted was for somebody to say ‘I know’, instead of trying to make her feel better. But that wasn’t ever going to happen either.
Anyway, she didn’t even leave a note behind.
Old Jake’s face is inundated with prodigious warts. Yet, he strolls up streets with his head held high, as though it were a sacrificed pig on a stick. At times his hunger is so treacherous that he gnaws at his own teeth and chews his white-spotted tongue, though he’s never once upturned his palm to passers-by, never begged or pleaded to the wooden faces of the idle and tired, or to gangs of hipsters huddled and dominating sidewalks. A limp lengthens each of Old Jake’s steps. To the onlookers, he’s a walking, breathing hangman. It was last Sunday, the Sabbath Day, that his limbs found comfort on a bench, and as the Church bells rang a seraphic mask of surrender spread across his face. Old Jake was surely ruminating, probably watering down scorching images which hung on the silver blade of a guillotine behind his hazel eyes. He was taken so completely by these reflections that his back slipped from its position and his head bumped onto the armrest. As his brain began to smolder from the very spinning cogs which cause windmills to turn in the thunderous night, his body was assailed by a loft of pigeons. The next few minutes found each innocent bystander frozen by iced winds. Then, the sun shone on a face torn apart by sharp beaks and clothing torn to shreds, a body scratched and bleeding weakly, the marks of the birds’ claws etched across his flesh. Old Jake died right then and there, his body emaciated, his face adorned by great warts and his lips loosened, a pacified smile and wide-eyed, his hazel eyes glaring up through leaves swaying with the motions of an unfounded merciful wind.
A man with a sign yelled out ‘Isn’t it Obvious?’ to the passing faces, baffled and forgetful.
On Cnr Street.
Night-time is my time.
You’ll usually find me on the city streets, three quarters of an hour away from where my bed is stranded. There’s no body recognisable around. The lamp posts are turned on and each night an ambulance siren is interrupting the breeze. I drift to St James Park and lay down on any one of the bench’s lined up across the pavements. Staring up, I look at branch’s carrying hundreds and thousands of leaves swayed by a light, warm breeze. Each night I’m in a different world. I could mention what I’ve seen, but you couldn’t know how to believe me; you’ve heard of these images since time but have never once felt them seeping into your bloody mouth from your cranium. People walk by me, couples in heat joining hands, friends chatting the night away, businessmen whose pockets have thickened by the latest gadgets. Beside me skateboarders try their luck at tricks, try to achieve something that’ll astound everybody. Why Not. Across from me, a few bench’s down, a homeless man rests his back against a rusted armrest, blowing smoke into the air, while a bottle of alcohol balances assuredly in a brown paper bag by his torn trousers. One night I see it all - the symmetrical pattern on this man’s tie, the squeak of that woman’s voice, the grey eyes casting a suspicious stare upon the wandering boy. Another night, I’m somewhere else, re-visiting lucid dreams I’ve suddenly awoken from as the sun was beginning to sink back into the land. I enjoy all of this - the polished people, the scurrying animals, the groans of the homeless, all in their own time.
Some time later, I walk past Town Hall, Georges St, Elizabeth St, Park St, to Kings Cross. Hiding near apartment blocks on a darkened street is a small cafe which doesn’t lock its doors. As I step in, a man behind the counter is calling out after comers and goers ‘CIAO!’, and intended for me, ‘BELLA!’ He lets out these brief Italian words like songs which still ring in your ears hours later. I can never help but smile. It has a great atmosphere, this small cafe. It’s comfortable. It breathes life into you, not stagnation. All sorts of people could be found there as the night darkens - lonesome women, sanity finders, honeymooners, heart reviver’s, magicians, born-again hounds. The other week, at about 2:30am, this man with a polo style shirt buttoned right to the neck, his back hunched, was talking about bully’s - the medical institution, I think. He kept saying, ‘They’re all bully’s, that’s all they are, bully’s - just to get what they want from you’. I assumed he was talking about money. He looked like he had been bullied in his life, looked like it had really gotten to him. I didn’t pretend I was reading. In a place like that, you can talk to just about anybody that walks through, and most do.
Just as the working man spends eight hours of his days in an office or kitchen, I spend mine in long strides, up and down sidewalks, anonymously. The hours pass through me and before I can look up, the skies are changing colour. Everything’s beginning to change colour.
Her endless affection for him yielded.
The interference of a deity, or a miracle disguised in man’s suit had not arrived. She didn’t awaken suddenly to a bright morning experiencing the absolute wash of past memories. She wasn’t irreversibly shaken by an axiom which maundered in through the gap of her door, making itself a stable place. It was as simple as the long-awaited defeat of an unanswered love. Fecund ideas strengthened and preoccupied her. They erected before her mind’s eye as compellingly as flashed pictures from a grown man’s childhood. He wasn’t sought after any longer.
It wasn’t absolute - a couple of months passed when she found herself remembering him and all he had dragged in. Weekends were thrust upon her where she fell into a desperate want - to see him, to see him, to see him. Was it ever to be over? The question was painful to ask. She could hardly open one of the many books on her nightstand, the protagonist always a tragic hero compelled to deal with relentless disappointments and the sole unanswered love which thereafter summed up his life - diminished, in the light of unbearable suffering. She couldn’t help but feel that the life of this hero and hers were more than intertwined, that they were almost the same person, and his destiny would be hers. She could barely keep alive; what she would give to read his story through squinted eyes, so she would not have to come to terms with the truth of how another’s heart has fallen, just as she had felt it in herself.
But, surely, the end had arrived. The vicissitude cleared up much yearned for space in her mind. She could see through the windows behind the stranger’s fading silhouette, and they were open, they were opening wide. It wasn’t important that those three years had become three decades, and she felt not as young as those born in the same year. Who had known such incessant anguish, accompanied by an uncharacteristic languor? How many, on the uneven roads of this planet, had felt their heart almost beating out of their chest before exiting a train to lay their eyes on the crossroads personified? Who could know of unyielding desire- the power of the heart so strong that it turned the mind absolutely unimportant. Who understood it? Certainly not he, and in a state run-down, high-strung, barely she. Though, how foolish to try and understand the workings of the heart, the reasons for its desires, when 1,863 days of wandering led not to any veritable answer. She knew, finally; How Vain. Leaving behind her need for answers in the hope that they may lead her to the promise land, she left behind the very life which, in the beginning, beckoned the question.
How strange is the metamorphosis brought on by a vanished desire, how curious! How at once one is taken by a jokesmith whose acts are founded upon her weakness, how at once he extends his black hands only to grapple air.
Thereafter, she had a freedom to accustom herself to.
Minus the Pay.
Chevvy turned to me
She spoke out, ‘Hey baby’
Situated herself on an empty seat
And we began talking.
‘Why are you out here all alone?’
My face flushed, patted with sweat
I had walked a few kilometres
Needed to find a way to rest.
Her feet bare, broken nails and dirty
Said ‘I just came out of lock up
They didn’t treat me so good
It’s been two days, they kept my shoes
All I want is my emptied cup full’
Chevette, but they know her by another name
Tranny Chev, she had surgery to change
Her parents just didn’t understand
Told me she’d been on the same side of the street
Since she was fourteen.
I didn’t say much, could listen and nod
My curiosity kept me by her side
And in the nick of time
I let out a single line
That brought her arms around mine -
‘I don’t think anybody’s parents
can get through to their children’
After that, she couldn’t but help
Desire not the same thing for myself
‘Don’t sell yourself baby, it just ain’t worth
They take what they want
And leave you hurt’
But she couldn’t believe I would stay far
From the street women and the men that come
So I told her ‘I had thought about it once
When I wanted to leave from where I was
With money my reason’
And she cut me off, she seemed concerned
For the girl who she had just come to know
And she repeated once more so that I heard
‘Don’t do it baby, there’s just no worth’
I continued ‘I understand,
I’ve been with a few men who
treated me the same
I didn’t take pay, I didn’t see them again
But I remember that awful feeling
that did remain’
And on we went, as the police walked by
And I cautioned her, so her face she did hide
And out came the man she had loved
Who pushed her around,
she showed her scars.
I’d heard of this story all too often
What could I say but feel so sorry
That another woman kept herself by the side
Of a hurtful man because of love.
I didn’t offer answers, I knew there were none
And hope can only get one so far
I only could listen and wish away her pain
We both knew how an attempt to change
Is usually in vain.
Well soon after, my feet began to shake
From this seat I would walk away
My cigarette box empty, there were two left
Before Chevette sat by me on that midnight bench.
The summer is Gone.
Your name loomed in my dream last night
Beside it, the word Truth
I can’t help but wish against all I know
That I thought too much of you.
The gate has been locked for some time
By a joker and a gypsy boy
Who on his way tossed away the sole key
That would grant my bail.
His sense of humour cost me a price high
It took along my dreams
I, Who am unable to leave this dim room
From which I used to flee.
Now I can see not the sun that always shone
But the shadow cast before it
And I scrounge for those letters of yours
When my longing goes unanswered.
And by the bottom of each one of your notes
Your name it is I who wrote
I suppose this is what the scientists meant
When of wishful thinking they warned.
Though my eyes now don’t look your way
and my greeting must be cut so short
I know that when I turn my back to leave
The little I saw of you will
By my own empty hand
In my own empty hand
The Pocket of the Night.
He was cracking through the bondages of his chrysalis. His personality had either turned tumultuous or was beginning to reveal itself vastly. There sprouted in the deepest of his heart, torn to shreds, a strong refusal. Lead by wrong folks from early on, he disbanded himself from enforced fraudulent teachings - his mind was a garbage dump for unusables. The onerous habits which were cultivated at the hands of falsely trusted people were becoming estranged to him. He was gravitating towards an apparition he was witness to centuries ago, which he was never able to forget, albeit being stained with the sawdust of uninterested, blind folks guised as preachers who were curiously placed into his universe, their limp legs crossing over one another, their lips splattering attractive adages he realised, too late, belonged only, and only, to a Cloud 9.
The Great Book of Teachings on his nightstand was replaced permanently with The Book of Longing, with the Tropic of Cancer, with Chronicles written by divine spirits who would never be found in bricked buildings. He had read the wonderful poem ‘You go your way / I’ll go your way too’ and knew the hand which had held that pen, though it was censured, loudly, imposingly, persistently. This condemnation was a mystery which, when the day became quiet, he had grave trouble knowing. Its pervasive lifespan blighted him, like a jackhammer beating down on his head until his arse was in his mouth and his widened eyes deep in his sockets, staring absently backwards. How else would he leave the dark paralysis without unhooking his flesh from those that asserted themself his siamese twin.
Suddenly, he couldn’t believe his past actions sinful. What was a man to do, Carve down his form until it became pleasant and easy on the eyes of the misinformed? The people who swarmed around him had yelled out ‘You’ve wronged me! Make it Right!’ and in a guilty panic, he hastily rewinded his gears, only to return to from where he came with a can of oil in the grip of his palms, and black smudged across his forehead and the contours of his mouth. There was behind him a cackling figure who was fogged with the regurgitations of misconstrued words, which flew from self-righteous throats; they belonged to an overwhelming populace. He could see the cobweb now, where before he felt agonised by the sole stench which permeated the room.
Yorik sauntered upon midnight streets in the electrified city of Tokyo. His reddened eyes kept to the glistening pavements, and his stout hands, warm in his black pant pockets. He was relieved of all he had left behind, eminently people with whom he always felt a strained distance. Occasionally, his body scraped against another’s and his thin lips heedlessly mumbled a void apology. Though, unaffected, he continually swept through the swarming crowds.
His blank mind was focused on the gushing Japanese wind which forcefully swerved about his bare skin, hidden beneath a weighty jacket. His ears were struck with its righteous howls. He felt the splatter of a droplet amidst his disheveled hair from the eave of a decorated temple. He saw each fogged exhale released from the hollow room of his mouth, as it dissipated from his lips and ascended into the Kingdom. It was strange; Yorik was overtly aware of himself.
“Hey hunny! How about it?” A whore took the road beside him. He had never been averse to the workings of street women. Truthfully, Yorik’s greatest pleasure was in the scent of sweats entwined, rising from two heated, convulsing bodies. Many a night he quietly crept out of his bedroom in lure of unfeigned, titillating intimacy and tirelessly found himself at a worldly whorehouse. It was the only place he’d inhabited where he was allowed spacious time to entangle himself with the details of another. Although the whore’s heckling pierced through Yorik’s ears as a knife might through a dead fish-eye, he intently walked on, away from her, because her mere presence meant nothing to him.
Hours had faded away. A streak of light was pushing its way through the night sky, bestowing man with an array of feeling which belonged, all-together, to another world. Yorik was compelled, against his most desperate cravings, to leave behind the world he felt the sole inhabitant of. His chin rose reluctantly and his grey eyes grew lighter. In which part of the foreign country he stood, he couldn’t discern, but he knew time obliged him to find out.