Under the Stairs

Under the stair things lay hidden and forgotten. Waiting for a cleanup, a distraction or a fire to end things. There is no concern for time. It waits and never worries. The stairs creak and groan and dust falls.

There are pictures of kids growing, long buried. 8 track movie reels and a brides dress, faded and unloved. Under there is a portrait of the builder, when he was a child with his girl sister in spats and lace up boots and a wide brimmed hat. Under there is cold and damp and dark except for a dusty beam. There are tiny spiders with pins for legs and piles of cockroach shit in dried up leather shoes that will never walk again. There are puppets, cars, a stroller and headless dolls. Boxes of shiny christmas balls and tin soldiers waiting for war. A bicycle rusts silently lamenting it will never be ridden again. A rifle sits on a rack near the antelope it shot which stares at the unopened door with it’s glass eye.

Under the stair are dried up memories that can fill a child’s mind. A mouse raises a family. Under there is a distant sound of a crow squawk, echoes of running, a shout and a muffled baby cry. The echo of a television and of lovemaking.

Down there the paint peels from the wall on cobwebs and layers of dust with no footprints. A broom hoping to sweep it away, old ladders and cans of paint.

The old house is sold and these memories find a way back into the world. sold off and cast aside. The musty smell is torn asunder by the smell of fresh paint. The old rusty tins look on jealously, they waited but they weren’t needed in the end. There is rocking horse and a chair the people use. They sort through the memories with rubber gloves, dust masked inquiry. Astonished .

Train

Long coated grey men wait for the morning train. There are young people, dressed beautifully for the day, not cowed or cynical. A hundred worlds cram into this rhythmic space. Businessmen, clerks, factory workers and students. The train is a great leveller because here we are all just passengers, going to our work, tired and irritable, wishing it was the weekend, reading our papers, laptops, magazines, phones. Texting, listening, daydreaming. Few stare from the window and watch the world. They’ve seen it all a hundred times without anything new. So we stare into the middle distance and avoid the eyes. No one speaks.

The train rocks along clacking and rocking and swaying into the world. I sit wondering if I am suitably inspired to do my best today.

There is a young woman opposite in a short skirt and a long scarf. I consider her for a moment. She is curvaceous with olive skin and dark almond shaped eyes and a Roman nose, she wears earphones and reads a magazine, oblivious to a young man watching her.

The train noise is louder as we flash past a station. A lady leans against a pole, irritated that school children haven’t given her a seat so I offer her mine. She gratefully declines and continues scowling. The kids ignore her and continue laughing at their private jokes.

Along walks the uninspired conductor. To do his job with enthusiasm would be too personal. The automatic voice tells us the next stop but we check the screen anyway.

I once saw an exhibition on old trains at the old depot. There were vintage trains there, turn of the century trains with women in wide hats and long dresses and porters and orderlies in flat topped caps, smoke and whistles and old platforms with steam blowing about. I remember the old red rattlers from when I was a boy and you could hang out of the window an let the wind blow through your hair. You could stand between carriages and smoke a cigarette. This isn’t one of those. This is the type where you can’t open the window.

I want to speak to someone, to connect and make a new friend. I want to chat up a girl who noticed me. I want to discuss the news I heard on the radio this morning as I dressed. I want to tell someone about my day ahead and my hopes for it. I want to talk about the war. You know, That war. An old lady is watching me. She looks too old to be going to work. I sense she in enjoying herself and the silent human contact. She is on a day out, an early riser like me. I want to reach out to her. Ask her how she is.

Who will catch you when you fall?

I’m too tired to look up at a dog sniffing, I hope it doesn’t piss on me as I haven’t the strength to push it away. Need to keep notes on all of this. How the fuck did I get here? Life didn’t start out this way, that’s certain. I remember being young, good looking and in love. Was that so long ago? I can smell my own ass, and sure as shit I need a shower. Hell! Was it only just last week I was there in the bank, trying to get some money, from a check I got, from somewhere. It’s was like I have this force field of stench keeping people away. They don’t want to see me, as if I might ask for something, money, a favour, a few moments of their valuable time, what are they afraid of? Do they feel guilty? They should, because everyone is guilty.

I ended up here somehow? It was the relationship, the corporate job, the modern home with the spa and all the fittings. Now all I see are legs and asses. I’m as low as a roach down here.

The ground is hard and cold in the spring and my hands grimy black. My sign says that I am homeless and I need money for food. Most people don’t read it. Sometimes they put paper money in my cup. and that goes a long way. I can buy some wine for later when it’s cold. There is a clothes bin down near the public school I can sleep in, if Norm doesn’t take it first or the men haven’t emptied it. My teeth are loose and my back feels like it can’t take much more of this.

The street is illuminated like a noir painting,  A cross, a crack to fill, shiny things flashing past a nouveau post office. A man walking towards me jigging coins wanting me to notice how generous he is. ‘Thanks,’ I interrupt and a car parks perilously close to my legs on the pavement. A door clicks and she steps out. All legs with an ass I could go to town on. She has golden hair tied back. A pearl necklace which matches nicely with her white diamond wristwatch. The shoes she’s wearing would keep me warm for a month. I could buy a house with that car. She looks towards me but doesn’t see. I am something unpleasant. The man comes around and they walk, he looks back and tosses a coin as if to tip me for not staring. I saw though. I saw how she looked like a girl I once knew in a previous life. A time that is like a dream, before the estrangement and all the drugs, and the breakdown of everything. I was that guy and she was my girl. Maybe it’s not real. Maybe I was never that way. Not rich not handsome, not dirt under your shoes.

I see crazy Anne. ‘Poo Anne’ the locals call her, well it’s not nice but it is descriptive. She begs. We have our corners. Our territories. They say she was an singer. She did shows, all over the country. She sold records and was on TV. They say she was inducted into the music hall of fame. She was somebody. Now she begs and sleeps in the boarding home on Cavendish Street. She was with this guy who had connections. They used together. He use to beat her occasionally. Maybe he is in prison for putting his wife in a suitcase. Perhaps he is dead. Anne should be so lucky.

All the famous beggars, the handsome homeless, the millionaires rummaging through bins for throwaway sandwiches. We were loved once. Think about that when you see us. Our place is only a few doors away from your Bellview Hill home and your Mercedes. Your mental breakdown, your divorce.

I think I saw my brother last week, he saw me and crossed the street. I remind him of the old days that he can’t deal with. I think I saw my daughter. She was stoned and stared at me with bleary grey eyes, unable to focus. She asked me for a cigarette, but I don’t smoke and I said ‘no’. ‘Shelley’, I said but she said she thought I must be mistaken. She said her name was User or Hooker or something, I can’t remember but it wasn’t Shelley. Shelley doesn’t know I’m alive. She spoke with her dead eyes after a pause of staring at my hands then flinched when I lifted a coin from my cup not trusting it. She was waiting for some kind of recognition but wouldn’t look me in the eye. She was in a dark nameless place of shadows. A rung lower. Borrowing and stealing air from the living.

Noir

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I love the noir, the dark city streets. A rat foraging. A possum eating fresh leaf tips from a rosewood seedling out back in the night garden where spiders haunt dark spaces, crawling over walls and spinning webs of truth, unseen.

A long alley, headlights at the end glaring setting your wispy hair on halo fire. Dark puddles reflecting pale light and bronze human statues smoking, waiting for buses and in cars, steaming breath. The smell of diesel. Homeless pile of rags in a corner moves, showing fact of life in a lonely place, uncaring and wanting. Desire is dying lonely and wicked.

Who will miss you? Your mother, ex, the lover who’s heart you broke when you left, leaving behind injustice and loneliness like dust and leaves in a swirl. Your lover’s head filled with fantasy and denial, sniffing back tears. Sleepless nights wandering about the dark streets, the smell of sewer on the edge of everywhere. Get on the bus, lift your bag and go on,  get out of here.

No direction yet.

I am new to the world of blogging. What subjects I will choose? Current affairs, news, opinion, facts, information about sleep disorders, sex and distraction, art, discrimination, all of of it tinged with narcissism. I have some things to express that need to come out. I want to build on this with purpose but don’t know yet, what that is. I am tired of all the negativity and critics on social media and the sense that everyone is an expert. Many of us manipulated by exaggeration and bull and we all want to show how angry we are with the status quo, believing we can change the world in the smallest way by offering an opinion or a tidbit of trite propaganda.

I want to express myself poetically and prosaically. I want to shout loudly across the pages. I want to be an original. I want word combinations yet unimagined.  I want to know the answers and I want to show that I am a civilised man, an experienced man, a fool and a pig.

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