Tyres on Wings

Sitting indoors listening to my friend snoring while a video about war blares in the background. I have some drugs though, so the night should be okay. Bodies everywhere; frozen in violence across a snowy landscape and sunken into the sofa. Above the house, the stars burn and blink like a million small chips in a windscreen. The storm is silent. And then I remember her. She was the most beautiful woman I could remember seeing in a long time. And between there was this effortless intellectual compatibility. Her eyes shined so brightly that they could easily have been made of crystal and it seemed as though there was another world in them. One unlike the world outside. Her body was perfect. And she carried it unpretentiously; graceful as a snake and easy with her movements. I wondered whether I was falling in love. I wondered if I might, too, be going mad. Why not? The feelings coursing through my body (yes, body) were so light and alien that I might as well have been full of pills, like a jar of sweets on a shelf during an earthquake. And soon, with her looking at me like that, saying those words, angling her body in that way, the tremors would shake the jar off the shelf, spilling me all over the grubby floor.

In the end, there was no way for me to make a pass at this woman. I walked away after a handshake. A handshake. We both let go slower than normal.

And as I drove away, feeling my life curl up like a dead man’s toes, I shook my head. Then the laughter came. And I laughed so ecclesiastically that I barely kept the car on the road. That’s it, I thought, instead of choosing love, or even the possibility of love, the chance, I have chosen madness.

I watched a bird disappear underneath the tyres of a car, which spewed its feathers and insides all over the road.

My friends mouth gapes open. There is war everywhere. Though none, it seems, like the one inside.

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Bowl of Noodles

Cabinets filled with dead foetuses. A gigantic skeleton watching over the chipper congregation. The living spectators to the devastated dead. And yours truly counted amongst their vital number. The cathedral like building, surrounded by clouds of genius, standing still through the lifetimes of our grandparents and great-grandparents, is a chamber of human antiquity. Old. Serious. Dimly lit, inside and out.

The walls dripped with endeavour. Oil paintings of old heads hung upon the walls. One depicted twins joined at the hip. Never separated, through choice, until they died, within hours of each other. Sections of organs, sliced open to show the growth of some disease or cancer. With colour rinsed out, these chunks of fleshy mechanics lie eerily still in their chemical coffins.

In another room was a video. It demonstrated the astonishing dexterity and skill of the surgeon. The fingers so still it was as though everything else in the world moved around them. The floor, for a minute, seemed to shift underneath my feet.

The film continued.

Bore-holes were made in a skull. An oval section was cut away and removed.  A bony bowl. The brain beneath pulsated with the dreams of the patient.

Then a gorgeous girl stood next to me. But I didn’t exist. She simply wanted to watch the film. Inevitably, my attention was soon drawn away from the miracle of modern medicine and, instead, fixed upon the smoothness and incredible symmetry of her face; her dark, mysterious and utterly beautiful eyes. Now preoccupied with ideas of making an introduction, the video was reduced to a background arrangement of colours and sounds. More of an annoyance. A wall separating us. Indeed, it was getting all the attention.

Eventually, surrounded by such beauty, horror and gore, I lost my nerve and strode off purposefully.

And, anyway, what sort of man flirts with a woman in a place filled with tumours, dead babies and drilled heads? Surely, some kind of psychopath.

But before I knew it, I was outside, hating myself with some of the last, remaining calories in my tank.

And, feeling a fresh surge of hunger, made my way to Chinatown for a bowl of noodles.

Under the Spark Machine

Sticks in piles. Did you see that? Wine drips from sleeves and shelves laden with pickled things: books, limbs, vegetables, badges, certificates, eyes. Yes, indeed. I imitate and burn. Flay off the skin, there is nothing underneath maybe. Who knows? If you pick up a lighter, no, let’s make sure, a blowtorch. Like so. And turn on the gas. A simple spark. Aiming the bright end at the flesh. Yow, it pops and fizzles. I’ll try it out. See how I get on. Fly it upon the next warm eddy. Catch a bird of prey on a Sunday. Trap it in a room made of mirrors. Create the perfect weapon. A spiritual scream through decades. Three. A dead church surrounded by a cloud of birds. Speakers poking through clouds. Piped music from the ionosphere. Sounds reflections of good and vile dreams. When I didn’t want to wake. The chill ram-rodding the temples, cooling the blood. Brain frozen and unable to leap at the thought of the morning.

But the night. All blood-red and weeping eyes. Fascination rumbles in the balls. She has you. That faceless, formless bitch. Light the stove. We’ll eat then head to bed.

What Kind of Creature

Neon swirls upon the black water in the sink. Soon to be obliterated, archipelago’s of shaving foam circle around the final vortex.

No need to click on the mirror light; no need to alert the three shadowy figures in the alley, one of them, certainly with a blade, as to my whereabouts. All our ears, though, saturated with noise; haemoglobin hued, evil syrup running through the arteries of a dead, relentless heart; thudding, as if some rusty factory machine, abandoned after a split-second war, from the fairground, for who knows what kind of creatures enjoyment.

And I spin, spin, spin out. Yack up an additional, jabbering extensile jaw; rictus, grabbing from the flicker book of the subconscious. A split second; through the ages of my youth, to groundings, to first cigarettes (the aroma left on the fingers), to the smells of girls where I never knew before (the aroma left on the fingers), to the feel of my blood pumping, to the first sign of my blood in my shattered room; upturned and free-floating for three years, seven months, 1 week, six days, twenty-three hours and fuck knows how many seconds.

The photo of her on my cracked and creaked wall still smiles like a dried rose through neon spills and swirls; now cyan, now blue, now magenta; in my black, back room. The footsteps quicken, or is that the vibration of my heart, clacking in my ears?

I smell the blood before realising that I’ve cut myself.

The Revenge of the Customer Service Attendants

The big woman yapped on at her colleague in the petrol station and reached out for my items. It was lunch. Then she burped and, under her breath, said sorry; not directly to me but to someone, or something else; perhaps as a force of habit. It was lunchtime. I had been hungry.
* * *
Have lunch in my car again. On the menu was reformed foam is the shape of crisps, sushi and apple juice. And it all tasted the same just looked different. And when it was eaten there was neither the feeling of contentment or satisfaction. Rather, that my body was part of a larger experiment. Maybe the experiment could be called, ‘What Can we Pass as Food?’
* * *
All the time we spend in queues at petrol stations is less time in nature, more in hell.
* * *
I’ve never seen anyone smile in these. Not, at least, the customers anyway.
In my mind the day has already arrived; we each of us have our heads clamped between to iron bars in long rows. We kneel on all fours and are grazed and our own shit stings, and infects, the gashes. And here they come; the customer services attendants, grinning, with slop buckets in hand. And they are burping and enormous, waddling towards us. They eat chocolate bars and dump a pinkish porridge on the floor in front of us.
And though we know the contents, we are hopelessly programmed to eat it anyway.
Our necks strain at the bars to finish every last morsel.

On Sundays

It was just a packet of crisps. And it didn’t even have the crisps in it any more. Its function served, it lay in the gutter after it had been thrown there by a careless creature. The crisps chewed and made into a sluggy pulp not yet in the stomach and here it was, in the gutter, now in the road, now whipped into the air. It was just a packet of crisps. In time to be jabbed by gull beak and eventually buried forever. Maybe uncovered by an alien race when the other creatures die out (which, it seemed, they were well overdue for) who would treat the packet of crisps like a precious thing. Perhaps found a religion on it. And it would be the image of the God Head. The new creatures, the aliens, would wear small versions of it around their necks and each eat a crisp on Sundays. But then, it was just a packet of crisps, without even the crisps.

The Pinch Test

He smelt of washing powder and sick. He drank from a crystal glass and talked about nothing but himself. It was as though the world owed him something.

I don’t know. The way he was…a kind of rat…in formaldehyde.

He dressed for cold weather.

‘Cause he expected it?

It’s Alive

She stood before the children. She wrung her hands continually. Her heart fluttered with fear, not of the children but of God. She was afraid of God. Her children never knew what it was she wrung her hands about so much. Sometimes it was as though she’d been crying for hours, her glasses seemed to be made of tears. We watched her and were afraid ourselves. Afraid of what would terrorise us as adults, of what was waiting for us. At least, that’s how it seems looking back.
And of those that are still around the old town, those that did not escape, are postmen, butchers, builders, grocers, single mothers, check out girls, convicts.
And of those who shone like supernovae, there was a terror. A terror big enough to put out the brightness. And it come in the form of television, newspapers, alcohol, women, men, the ‘real’ world, stepfathers, operations, accidents, medication, breakdowns, muddy scars in the front lawn where the daughters boyfriend parks his saxo, a ‘quick’ bottle of wine before breakfast and the doctor who couldn’t; save you, save me, save anyone, the damp walls, the cold shoulder, the clattering fencepost, the dead grey days, the season of murder garnished with tinsel.
What we saw in her eyes was perhaps a fear of the truth. The realisation of deception. An uncaring, all powerful being.
Looking back now it’s easy. It’s easy to see what was going on. Back then we were just children. They made us sing their funny songs about God and how great He was and how lucky we are that He loved us.
We were too fragile to be told the truth. But we would, all of us, find out sooner than we expected.
None of us were astronauts, firemen, prime ministers, doctors.
And none of us had a chance in the beginning anyway.

N+

He has this funny way about him. I don’t know. And what is going on between them anyway? You always see them together. I mean, there must be something going on between them, you know? I don’t know.

He ‘d been having problems with the phone for  three weeks now. He knew all about the neighbours vaginal discharge, that the husband stayed out too late and always came home drunk, that the neighbour, that was me, had funny ways and must have been having an affair with this woman she kept seeing him, or me, with.

His tee-shirt had ridden over his belly and he pulled at one of the hairs there while he listened to the neighbours. Better the devil you know, he thought.

Fried  up some eggs and took his tablets and looked out at the street, the garage, road signs, men, women, dogs and thought ‘fuck this’. He was desperate for a piece but feared that it might fall off. Some people have irrational fears about tsunamis, his was about spontaneously detaching genitals. The thought horrified him enough not to pursue the urge.

*    *    *

“What do you do without a teevee?” Someone at work once asked him and he felt the need to scream. It was as though the world had really turned into the hell feared by some it might become. Somehow, he thought, the ad men have convinced us – by using sinister techniques – to buy things we don’t need, in order to convince us that the world had not died. We were all mourning, alcoholic widows clutching the ad men’s bottle of gin; popping pills and wearing strained, awful smiles.

He imagined these men as a little mournful themselves. But it was their job to lie and make-believe everything was fine. What was the alternative?

The war of despair…a return to street massacre for no other reason than boredom and frustration…anarchy on a level to turn the stomachs of the anarchists…lawlessness…disease…malice…

So, instead, we gaze a our dream-boxes and pray to a god with fake tan and tippex white teeth for a fresh trinket to distract the brain from setting the sky alight with madness, sheer ‘I know that one day I shall die’ madness…

*    *    *

He checked his watch; two hours later; he popped another pill, sighed and went back to bed.