Woke at 3:30 busy words running loose inside my head.
Half finished sentences colliding, colluding, tormenting me every
time I roll & try to sleep. Got up, showered, to the World Service.
Took a camera for a walk in cool clean air, alone & happy in that
special place before the sun. Drove into town at the usual time to
find it running on skeleton staff, empty, a film set out of season,
spaghetti western, all the parking spaces free. Lone men looking like
school boys in washed out summer shorts sixteen seasons out of date.
I catch them picking turds out of the grass, one hand on the leash of
a small dog, the other in a small blue bag. Each one glances as I pass
offering a deal, a pact between males, never to reveal the fragile
landscape I see behind their eyes.
There’s a new girl serving at the cafe, no music, no mood, no smile,
no welcome recognition, no sandwich refrigerator illumination,
no breakfast club. Her face is switched off as she interrogates me.
And do I want milk with that & honey or jam, & will I be taking it
away or eating in? I’m undressed, exposed, apologetic, dirty.
The usual suspects don’t arrive to collect their orders, don’t hit
their marks or sing their greetings, exchanging customary pleasantries,
teaching me the etiquette of citizenship. Nothing is the same,
everything is wrong, a town stumbled upon with it’s trousers down
behind the bushes. Only the cafe looks familiar enough, nut cold &
exposing it’s bones.
A few stragglers on the street looking dazed as I leave, glance
in passing at my appearance in jacket & jeans, trying to look like
I’m the only one here on legitimate business.