21st April, 2013
Flash Started 11-44, end 12-06. Changed two words after reading.
I am one of those, the people in their dark houses you wonder about as you walk home after the fair. I am the unimagined man you think of deep underground who cries out to see the lamps but only hears the cries of dying boys.
I am the man who every day wears a grey suit, but not today. Today I am naked, lying in a bath, listening to the cracks in the pavement, your whispered breathing sticky with candy-floss, the monkey-less organ far off, who smells the hot breath of boys, the musk of girls as the caterpillar clatters, the big-wheel turns.
I am old songs, impossible dreams, the things you should have carried but let fall away; I am the invisible tourist with misted spectacles, waiting in my yellow plastic jacket to be taken to the falls. I am a face, staring from a train, a face you see that makes you think of camps and wire and a girl called Frank.
I am the one you remember before the quake, who said, "Feel that? Did you feel that? The world is shifting." We are moving sideways, people are dying somewhere, the sea rolls over us.
I am the one who should have warned you that what is beautiful often kills, and I am the one who looked the other way as you were dragged under.
I am the man who set of for Cannes but stopped in Nice, cut a throat, fell sick in a brothel, died in a tunnel.
I am the nigger with hope, the woman who forgives, the man who knows that there is never help, just the removal of some discomfort.
I am old, old, I will keep my trousers rolled, and paddle in a reservoir of angst and remember dead lovers and slaves and rape and Mai Lai and drones and satchel bombs and anthrax.
I will be the man who says, "It’s a shame, yes, but he has brown skin. I believe he may be queer, and the girl is a slut."
I am the man who honours Aeschylus, for without tragedy what would there be? And I will note how the oil-lamps sweat like the brow of the doomed slave.
And I will admit to being worn out and that my country is dying, and as I fade away, less red in more red, I will remember, anger, beer, the stink of a father's aftershave, intent.
And as it goes I will suddenly wish, but drunken now so it's too late, that I should have called on other suicides and said, "Let’s do it in honour of someone, let's."
But it's too late now, the water is cold, the cracks in the pavement do not care, and soon I will be nothing more than dust beneath your shoes.