The night was hot and the sweat ran down to the small of her back. She reached the pedestrian street where people jostled each other. The smart, the young, deformed, old and eccentric. Close to the city only a few convenience shops were still open with immigrants working the twilight hours.
Her dog pulled and became tangled with a passer-by. It would be tethered behind the gate where she knocked lightly and it opened ajar. Her lover stood half naked at the bottom of the stair and took her hand. Pulling her up to his room with no words said, and the sex was urgent.
The room was spartan and she looked up at the bare yellow bulb. The bed smelled of old sweat and her lover. There was no one to help clean and fetch and choose eye catching decor. There was a laundry basket overflowing and a stained sink. She washed herself and remembered how her lovers had been. When they could stay in a room for days, only leaving for food or for wine and cigarettes. Before time was short and dreams had turned to shadows.
She was tempted to stay, to help out, to call her husband and call it all off but she left. The children still needed her and what could she do? No job, no income, no ideas. Directionless. She left alone with her dog to hide at a cafe, enjoying some wine, avoiding her gossiping friends. Her fellow inmates, trapped, obsessed with their dogs and their lovers.
She counted the days since she saw her lover and she counted the years of her marriage to the stranger she had loved.
She didn’t care for her lover and he didn’t ask for her help or anything. He didn’t know her fears or her loves, but only her sex and its wants because that was all she was willing to give.
The stranger took his toll. He expected food and someone to care for the children. They rarely said more that a few words and she wondered if he suspected and she doubted he would care. He seemed content in not knowing.
She caught him watching porn once and was surprised that he still had an interest. They fucked occasionally but she was alone while he rode on top, crushing her, grunting then rolled away and went back to his television. She read books, about distant places and dreamed but doubted she would ever leave.
Her lover asked if she would go with him to Melbourne for a weekend and she wondered how. She didn’t wish to push her luck, yet she yearned to go. It would be exiting and her sister could take care of the children. But she couldn’t invent a convincing lie so she declined and went back to the stranger.
The tracks shake loose in the cracked cement as he leaves the train and the old majestic homes crumble while the flash men walk drunken, lusting, singing ditties with whisky voices from the docks in the old town.
It wasn’t as if he couldn’t remember where he belonged. It was that he didn’t want to live there anymore, so he stood for a while fumbling with his keys. The old place was falling down from decades of neglect but it was clean and straight inside and smelled of fish broth and bread from the kitchen.
The daughter hangs clothes on a line out of the window and watching her father, hoping he isn’t drunk so early. She would not be shocked or surprised. He hasn’t been the same since the company shut down the docks.
He falls and the daughter helps him to his comfortable chair and fetches a cigar. He bites a tip and she lights it and he bangs on the arm when she doesn’t do it right. The acrid smoke fills the room so she opens the shutters despite the rain.
The people used to say he was brave man, a fighter. Now they say he is broken and ignored but for the daughter who picks up the pieces of his life. He has no purpose now and drinks more than before, driving the mother crazy. They argue and then make peace.
Drink, argue and make peace. It is the pattern of the days.
Wounded wandering sleepless on a polished floor slipping unto two deaths, the one you hope for and the one you avoid. Hoping to end in a sleepy fog, mind swimming in tar, down into the shining black death instead of lingering decrepitude. Owning all beyond the time you awake but not owning over the lake of dream sleep.
I am but a dream of the great notion. When it wakes up I will just be a memory to it because when you are gone nothing more exists.
Falling with a tired head unable to do the list of shit you had planned. A hand arises in darkness and slaps your unready face shocking awake screaming cursing cunts and fucking off your attacker.
Mountain dew is slipping in the mildew of the morning approaching finally the mist creeps away from the mountain slope it blankets revealing tortured landscapes orange and russet cubes and bridges roads people scurrying along vultures soaring preying on death as it like deaths lover the vulture, the scavenger the pig dining on whatever it can get away with.
The man throws in a line wondering how it will turn out. Waiting for a bite not really, waiting for death more like it. I can’t see the love people have for the pedestrian. It is something to find joy in the small things and I do. Mostly in men and their creations and the absence of men completely.
What do I present to the world more than my imagination, I am afraid of death so I create. It is why we crave a progeny because we are afraid of death, it’s why men cheat, its why we write, it’s why we build and plant trees and spend our twilight years planting and growing in a small vain hope of leaving something behind because we are afraid of death. Plant a tree. It’ll be here for years after I’m gone. Build a house same reason, Have an affair because we want to hang on the the past to avoid the future. Like a regret, an anchor, a grudge. Stopping us from moving on into the future, holding into the past.
He stepped over a crack in the threshold she waited wanting him to stay but hating herself for her weakness. They made love, she needed it filled an empty space that needed filling, for him it wasn’t the love that he needed but to hold on to life, to stop it from slipping away, but of course it already had.
He felt owned not by this beauty who needed him but by his wife, his family, his kids, his boss, society, they all took pieces and it was difficult to find himself divided and plastered over so many walls. Sheila held him between her thighs mightily and he wanted to stay. He felt whole for a brief moment. He owned this stolen secret moment and he was himself for this time but not completely. His conscience wouldn’t let him own it. Sheila treated him like a man he hoped to be, Something not real because the real man was splintered and owned by many others. Its why he ran in the brief time he was alone without possessions, without an overseer. Sheila gave him that and not more.
She walked home in red heels wobbling on the cobbles. A silent tram in a far bend between the terraces. Her husband working late in his bar with his mates with another sheila. If he was home already, he didn’t ask. A forced acknowledgement. He just thought who his Shiela was. If he was jealous she would feel something but he barely noticed her. He had his wine in a dark room, the tele lighting up the walls. She went to bed, she washed the smell of her lover away.
The freezing winter river wind makes suffering for the slums in the shadows grief directed by the trauma affected fades as cruel ice melts from lynching bended branches dripping on the willow banks.
Mad starving mothers nurse corpses glare with hollow dark sockets at spastic mares from the winter mountain ice foraging for grasses there.
The beasts remind the harrowed minds of the divine while sick spirits drip on angel’s wings blanketing an amused muse. The dead eyes glower at the angels power as corpses cower.
The amused muse lifts a skinny fist blanket in a rodent bone room studio. The covers are as warm from the fire as her behind to the blind.
Artist finds rat meat fine and ignores the peeling walls as mad mothers die outside they make love in warm fickle angel’s wings.
The blind artist and the muse amuse, themselves while out in the cold the foraging mares stare at frozen cadavers crusting there.
The old wall remains,
And it’s shadow.
Hidden in the darkness is memory,
but our friends only see stones,
not the shells in the soil, or the bones,
that are buried on the hill.
It was an old house.
The enemy knocked it down and left.
They are friends now, but the trust is fragile,
To dust, those crumbling walls we’d tear them down,
and build with bullets in the mortar to remind,
of passing wrongs.
But would those walls be strong.