tripped over my touchtyping feet into an irc pm… private messaging, that is. this guy i know. he’s alright. Waiting for the stock market to make him rich. Good luck. I say. Anyways, we’re talking about movies and after aronofky we’re onto choke, based on the chuck palahnuik novel. Then i remember writing this prose poem back in 2004, a travelogue of going to toronto and back to cardiff again. I’d posted it on a writing group style forum and someone had compared it to palahnuik. I go looking for it, but it’s gone. Lost in the cracks of the web.
Takes me a while to find the fucker, getting desperate, was hosted on somewhere defunct, thinking that i’d lost an important part of myself. Then i hit the waybackmachine, look up my old blog there, and i find it.
So i’m reposting it here. There’s a few good lines, i guess. Worth saving i figure.
thank you for your patience
Like plum stones sunk in neon
Look so clean
Smell so sickly
Drifting through duty free
People sleep with arms wrapped around their heads
Waiting in limbo for connections.
Wispy voices float in the air
With names on their tongues like cherry bombs.
I want to sit and smoke and drink
so pay £2.99 for a pint of stella
and smoke and sit and drink and write
my second ever poem about being in an airport
whilst my eyes sink further into my skull
and I cry for sleep as if for a lost lover.
*I’m tired and hung over in Toronto.
The air feels like electric syrup
Again leaving me sticky to the touch.
Everybody stares here
Eyes like needles
Shooting straight for your nerves
Which light up light bulb wire
And burns just as much
They filter you through their system
Kino balls dropping around pins
punching through your wall
Searching your being for fuck knows what.
In Britain it’s polite to leave you the fuck alone.
Not so here.
Here people get right up in your face, strip you naked
With their eyes
“How you doing?”
*I used to eat until I was full.
Now I eat until I am bored of eating
This fat Rosedale bitch is walking around the perimeter of the field.
Around and around.
I don’t know she’s a bitch.
And she ain’t really fat, just middle-aged, and the obvious victim of multiple childbirths, the weight of motherhood.
I watch her across the field, passing a set of goal-posts, walking.
Not even power walking, which is like a national sport around here.
She can’t be trying to lose weight. If she was she’d run, right? You know, break a sweat?
Around and around.
They sure do like their sport around here. Little league football teams, decked out in their kit, huddle around soccer mum coaches (and it is mum, not mom, this is Canada dude) Father and son toss a baseball between them, catching it in mitted hands. Children play tennis. Everyone locked in that healthy living paradigm, living out careful conditioning. Can’t help but think of Canada as a utopian dictatorship.
The American football game I was watching has broken up, the men gone to drink beer and sit around on the couch.
Rosedale is full of nice big houses full of nice big middle class families.
An area ripe for subversion.
Walking to the subway station, the day after I landed, Jennie wondering how much charly they go through around here.
Must be a lot.
There she is again, slow easy steps, her sandals flip-flop in dust.
Me and Jennie saw a racoon the other day
its insides smeared across the road, its tongue flat against the concrete.
Glassy eye looking nowhere in particular. We nearly went back for Jen’s camera, but she wasn’t in the mood for the extra walking.
She never is.
This is what it must feel like to be a housewife;
I’ve washed the dishes
I’ve tidied up
Had a shower
Did some grocery shopping
Read a book
Watched a DVD
Sat in the park drinking Bacardi and coke from a plastic coca-cola bottle watching other people exert themselves.
And now I’m waiting.
Jennie said she should be home about 6:30
Is now 7:15
I have no money
And without Jennie, I have no plans.
So I sit and read, listening to my iPod play through tinny television speakers.
There’s not much to eat; Froot loops, some bacon
– no bread
some cheap noodles…
The bacon is Bob’s bacon. Who the fuck is bob? And is he gonna want his bacon back?
Bob, of course, does not exist. The idea is for you to think he does. He’s a marketing device, the personal touch, to make you think your dealing with a real person instead of just another corporation that takes in people and spits out bacon. And pigs too. I think there might be pigs involved.
Marketing is where writers with no integrity go
That or TV.
“Please mister! I’ll be good! I don’t wanna write scripts for Melrose place!”
Downtown. Two black guys dealing in Dundas park. Sitting, Chilling, shaking hands. A guy comes along on a bike, buys a bag, talks a bit, then carries on.
Actually, it might have been a woman.
Got 23 cents to my name instead of the $600 my mum should of wired to me; phoning her at 3am (8am there) stressing how important it was that she did it that day, how broke and desperate everybody was, forgetting to mention the fact that we hadn’t eaten properly for days and Jennie can’t figure out why she feels so sick all the time.
I guess she forgot.
Tried calling her earlier (had a veggie burger last night and a bowl of froot loops this morning) to find her not yet home (9PM there) and my sister not being helpful at all, bitching about how late it was, and how she didn’t know where mum was at, again failing to pull her head out of her own arse and realise my situation.
Doesn’t she know I’m hungry!!??!
No money for subway so had to walk from Rosedale along Yonge rd (long street that) for like an hour. Expecting the money to be there – $1.23 in my pocket, which won’t even buy me a can of jolt cola after tax. My trusty iPod shows me the way. Got to Lush and Jennie hungry and thirsty and standing patiently while she checks her British account to find…
Nearly wigged, my mood plummeting like a half brick tossed in a canal. Then comes the head ache. I moan to Jennie who tells me to shut the fuck up, and she’s right. Gotta Getta grip. Gotta getta some sugar. Buy a can of coke and drink it in Dundas park watching skaters and squirrels. Try to write but realise it is shit even before I put pen to paper. After a while caffeine and sugar flood my system, and with the help of some good tunes from Interzone (mah iPod), causes a positive emotional cascade, propping up serotonin levels.
Ding! I’m cool now. Don’t feel so desperate. Look around a bookshop and pick up a few free weeklies (of which there are many, including two GBLT type ones). Hungry? Drink lots of water and don’t think about phat pizzas with pepperoni the size of dilated pupils.
Jennie finishes work at 8:30.
Not too long now.
Each of my words is a weight around my neck
Each word sets me in stone whilst my head remains fluid
Sometimes stuck after people say “But you are this, you said so yourself” and I slowly turn to granite, immobilised by the weight, until I start picking at rock like dandruff, examining each piece in the light, before tossing it away.
I forget who I’m supposed to be and carry on like I’m no-one in particular.
There are constants.
Few and far between
The flotsam and jetsam that sticks to me because I really don’t know, who am I to say? Can’t completely trust anything, too many moth-eaten ideas taken as gospel, sun don’t spin around the earth, nobody listens when you tell them there’s a hole in the ozone layer, because you aren’t screaming with money and boardroom power you gotta be myopic ‘fore anyone even listens like your worshipping your own ideals like they truly are the word of the almighty. Everyone just the sum of how and what they’re told in that special way like a key turned in your brain and then you become so easy to push around and you’ll smile at your tormentors cuz you think they’re saints – even me, I am no different, but at least sometimes I sit up and spit in their faces.
*Sat watching the skaters again Dundas park. Two pidgeons have made a home for themselves in the gutter above a bubble-tea shop on spadina avenue. Watched them building, the male bringing twigs to the female to lovingly weave into the patchwork of the nest. Occasionally one of these twigs drops to the street below. When this happens I toss them back up.
Found a whole bunch of studio Ghibli DVDs in a Chinatown audio-visual shop, including all the classics I haven’t seen. When that money comes through I think I’m gonna have to come back.
Everything is spinning but staying very very still. I close my eyes and feel like I’m on a rollercoaster that never stops and treats gravity like human trash.
I can’t stop scratching, fingernails tear through layers of dead skin, collecting in nooks and crannies, forensic evidence for later use, for when I put myself on trial in front of the whole world and whisper my subjective truths like they mean shit, apart from confirmation of my guilt. I am guilty, there’s no denying that. Hook, line, and sinker.
*Toronto International airport lacks the frenzied duty free consumerism of Gatwick, but tries feebly to give it a run for its money. While I wait for boarding I read in a smoking room occasionally glancing up at the Canadian elections running on the tv in front of me. Airline staff come and go, along with the occasional individual or family. On the plane I do not sleep and watch the horizon line separating night and day, wishing I could just stick my head out the window to get a better look. I want to chase it across the sky.
“Dirty little maggot, you stealing juice?”
I look up at the security official, my sunken eyes peaking from beneath my hood, and measure his humanity – can I bend his will with pretty words and a sad smile?
Could I convolute his thought processes with overcomplicated language?
He looks working class, down to earth, the common London twang. I just look a mess. I’m not sure he just said what I think he just said, the aggression and condescension, my brain probably scrambled from passing through too many time zones. I decide to appeal to him on his level, slipping into colloquial wordage, kinda cockney –
“alright mate? just charging up me iPod, dint mean no ‘arm…”
He appears to relax; I guess I tend to come across as a bit of a queer bugger, long hair, permenant dark rings around my eyes, missing front teeth… just gotta let them hear what they want to hear, the familiar, non-alien. Just another one of the boys, innit?
“Just watch yourself mate. Management are wankers ’round ‘ere.”
“Sorted man. Nice one.” That weak, sad smile.
I see pity in his face – guess I look a state; all jetlag and sleep deprivation, which is pretty much the truth. Can’t sleep for shit on planes, sometimes takes all my will not to wig and threaten the other passangers with plastic cutlery. “Listen, you little shit. Kick the back of my chair again and I’ll cut you up real good, got that fucker?”
You gotta be careful these days. One wrong move and your being striped-and-cavity searched and having your heritage questioned. Might not see sunlight for months, held indefinitely under the ‘patriot’ act, or whatever. But then, one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.
*In Cardiff I feel strange. Don’t wanna be here. JetLag sucker-punches me up and down the streets. I sleep so weird, getting bursts of energy and fatigue. Like a comedown without the knowledge that you’d dropped the night before. My cousin mocks this, he does not understand, and does not want to understand. He just wants fuel for his mock-a-thon. Wish I could throw his broken body into a sarCasm.
This life is not my own and never was but somehow this is where I find myself, constantly frustrated suffering mediocre static feet stapled for stability. All tied up in Gordian knots, banging fists against fictional walls. Habits like Parasites crawl into my ear while I sleep and try to move into their former homes to find themselves replaced with determination and kinda focus but feast and laugh anyway in gleeful UltraHighFrequency tones on their prey which, so weak, still growing, fight in pointless fits of rage. If I go someplace quiet and close my eyes I can still hear myself in Toronto, eyes popping out of my skull with the possibilities but when I open my eyes instead I see that familiarity breeds contempt and that I don’t want this space/time no more.
*Lying in bed
Pretending to sleep
Wishing I was
Eyes squeezed closed
Waiting to dream.
Supposed to be hitting the job agencies today but don’t feel like leaving the house. Couldn’t anyway, only pair of shoes resembling sponges. Got caught in storm last night, walking home from grangetown, wind ripping through me, rain like plastic bullets. Got home looking like a drowned rat. Felt like one too.
Took off all my clothes
lay in bed
closed my eyes.
*Converse trainers rattle around inside a tumble-dryer, beating out syncopated rhythms. I push my fingers deep inside and come out with grains of sand clinging delicately to skin;
Me and Jennie sat on a sandy beach on Toronto island. The waves lap at her feet as she stares out into the incomprehensible waters, trying to take them into herself, whilst I stand, knee deep, trying vainly to skim odd-shaped stones along the surface.
I met a girl last night
in a dream.
Down my ear canal.
Named by her father
who lived in text-books
And dreamt of dead civilisations
Like others did of Hollywood starlets.
When she spoke of him
Her eyes fell
in mousey whispers
like he might be watching
she told me
That she could only
love in dreams
like she was broken
on the outside
And as she spoke
I fell into her eyes
And span in blissful vertigo
We stood in a garden
And blossomed together
sat beneath a tree
She told me her story
And I told her mine
Before I woke
She asked me
If I would
Meet with her again
And I said I would
But how would I find her?
Then my eyes
Fell open like smoke
And she was gone.
Trying to find someone
Music pouring into my head
Smoke floating around my brain.
A seagull flies over and I tip my head back
to watch it pass over a lamp-post.
*In ‘small man’ a guy on a bicycle races another guy on rollerblades
Around the knotted paths
Whilst another judicates from a pedestal
I sit and smoke
And listen to the blanket of sound
I wrap myself in
Far too much.
Snake bite and black in the park vaults
With Sean and Mike
And on old school raver called Dee
And the usual alcoholic poet at the bar
With dreadlock man
Who I sometimes pick up off of.
“Ain’t you the guy who deals smack?”
“Nah, man. Not smack.”
“I seen you go outside with a lot of people.”
*Tonight is black and PVC
glow sticks and MDMA
dropping base and pills
in toilet stalls with friends.
Dancing and hugging
riding the bliss till 2am
then falling home
talking and singing
with a small goth girl on my back
When we reach our destination I drop again with Vicki
who makes hardcore seem like silly putty
and whilst everybody else has crashed by 5
we stay up till 8
enjoying the morning air.