More fool the man who does not feel it in his blood, blind to tightening rise in the air: the raw-churned stomp of the crowd, threatening to upend the world like a drunk let loose on a doll’s house. Golden wrappers stream over the lusty roar of the covenant stalls, sweet as high notes in the stands and glittering low in the cheap-seats: he comes now: a flare-stack, sodium blue and black gouts billowing, the oily mark of his footsteps burning into the past, the scent of singed leather and melting flesh traced thinly upon the track-breeze, yet heavy in the heart of untrammelled frenzy: he comes. And stops. Before the crowd, one stump raised in salute, for those of you about to live…
The silence chimes clear as a glass tapped,
ringing snug into the cockpit
and melding hands to the steering wheel -
then gone -
a speck lost in the warping heat of distance,
threaded quick into a loose purple sky.
The journey is so much deadweight and pageantry: the road runs on forever without end, terminal as zeroes or lazy figure-eights. The driver is asleep at the wheel, eyes shut pedal down, blind to the dashboard devouring the spine of cats-eyes threaded into the throat of the night. There is no fox-light, caught flashing yellow rings at the woodland bend; no burning farmhouse high on the beacons peak; and no trees sighted on cascading horizons: no yews and no eyes. The roadmap is a hologram, layered x-ray plates, visible only through sleep or undressing the swaddles of concrete and cut glass. The secrecy of shadows blur by against the windows, whispered between pillars of yellow light: now close and breathless as a guttering candle, now distant as the echo of a night-city’s nimbus.
The radio stays tuned to 1980s static,
vintage years for blank incoherencies;
the sine qua non of sleep’s deepest levels,
white waves surging beneath the car’s black hooves.
The road signs sing You Are Now Entering Providence and There Are No Lessons To Be Learnt Here, respectively.
Now is the time of the past: clocks clogged with dust. The Victorian wards are teeming with the infinity of white-painted walls. The squeak of wheel-chairs shiver high on the windows like a whetstone singing. The nurses appear as x-rays burnt into shadows. Round the table cards are tossed down amongst the bounty of spilt morphine and used cannulas. Flies swim lazy and disconnected throughout the gloom. Those blunt medals turn grey on hospital gowns. Old jokes stack up, bleached of all meaning. The amphibious dolour, half dying, half dead.