‘Number seven’ is a box of nothing marking the entrance
to the garden of remembrance of the boys that went & never
returned & that first faltering kiss. The earth tilted in a
love cartoon as she reeled me in to her halo of blonde, a fog
of perfume, booze & cigarettes. She was the best looking girl
in school, I was a mug to think she was only interested in me.
I got a few months of that Princely sensation ’til the night
I saw her on the arm of the bruiser with the big dog.
DAY, HOT, STICKY, CRUISING, LATE:
Uptown with Mr Mojo amidst the mid day lap top cubicles
of the Social.
Been driving so long I’m connected to this car,
the darkness, punctuated by streets lights,
Reading tail lights to forecast the imminent
future, blinded by headlights in mirrors.
Radio surfing fast between stations, crack a
window for a slap in the face, swigging water
from a bottle one handed in the rain, singing
to the rhythm of wiper blades.
Windows wide on a hot night, drifting off to the healing sounds
of happy voices drinking gently under pergolas of tiny lights.
Back in the sanctuary of Essex, the wheat crop turned golden
whispers at night beneath our wide open windows as I lie awake.
The sky explodes, electric pink & yellow, bruised & medical,
smells of hospitals & power stations, crackles with a chemical
fizz, dumping bullish gobs of warm rain. I’m turned
inside-out, recovering from intense sleep deprivation, three
days of cigar smoke & recycled air.
Flying with two hung-over posh girls, talking plummy trash
about the fabulous damage they’ve committed on themselves.
Their cute playing with a toy town wound makes me flinch,
their naïvety around the dark side so sweet. They look & smell
bad, but I feel worse, built from reconstituted fragments of
historical hang-overs I barely hold together & no one has a clue.
I want to shower the pain off my skin, flush the system as the
inside of my numb head twists & contorts to face in the wrong
direction. I’m dogged by hallucinations, jerked in-&-out of
violent sleep, strapped into a world of sharp & cavorting shapes
that laugh & taunt & cut. But today is peaceful, simple, listening
to the rain & the whisper of the corn.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Good people, beautiful country, homeward journey.
WHEN YOU WERE SOUND CHECKING:
News of another air disaster reaches paradise. Open mouthed at
the loss of yet more innocents. The dust, the heat, the sun,
on stage at the edge of the sea. Palm trees, swim-wear dancers
wave & smile. We pass bottled water, fresh tea, throat coat
& coffee, exchanging pleasantries & greetings with old friends.
Police pose for photographs, sheltering from the heat, truck
drivers shake our hands in the sanctuary of air conditioned
production offices fashioned from shipping containers. Lights
are programmed, sound system tweaked, new additions to the set
re-visited & run through. Gentle people going about their work
in fierce summer heat, everyone keeping their cool as we leave
feeling good about tonight. The news of this catastrophe,
the news, the news, the news, the families & friends of nearly