Thursday, February 7, 2008

Standing on the outside looking in [REDUX]

[Last Year, maybe September, October…]

You got a smoke?

Sure mate.

I reach in to my pocket and open the package, hand one over. I’ve had a rough time brother, he says. I’m not going to make it. I know I’m not going to make it. Too many charges, I’m going inside, and I won’t come out. I’m not doing so good man. I’m not going to make it. I’ve been taking it out on the dog, I don’t know what to do. I’m not going to make it. The dog, small, white, sits obediently beside his terrified master and reflects the sadness and horror in his eyes. Another victim, two victims. Scars still scabbing brown and black blood form a relief map across the curves – the ridges and ravines – of his face, the map of his past and the route ahead. It’s fear and resignation and death, a horrible fight against death, that light, the spark behind the off milk eyes and he spews curdled and panicked words at me in the hope of one last show of kindness, or more importantly – brotherhood. Proof of existence. Proof of humanity. Who writes this man’s story? Who stops to mark his passage as he becomes a shadow? I don’t know what to say, so I speak the truth for what greater crime than to lie to a doomed man, I say, I can’t help you brother – but don’t be hard on that little one – the dog – he doesn’t know, and he’s your mate. I’m not going to make it, I’m not going to make it. I shake his hand, give him that, and keep walking. I flick my cigarette aside and it’s forgotten, swept far away, out of sight.

[Today, about three hours ago]

I’m standing on the crossroads, having a smoke and I’m just staring and I’m thinking and I’m tasting that sweet fucking poison and it’s my escape from the day to day / escape from the grey / escape from the fucking non stop decay, and there’s a road in front of me, I don’t doubt that, but I need time, I need time and I need the money so I have to stay, that’s in my head, the trap, the trap of today and tomorrow and each day dies a slow death when all you do is stop and stare and smoke and think.

But I have a plan and that’s okay.

I’m not even present when his shoulder hits me, I mean, I still don’t get it even as he starts to spittle and spite and the menace is dulled by the instant insanity -

YOU CALLING ME A FAGGOT YOU FUCK?

The spider right there, dead ahead and closing fast, and me trapped in a web of daydream and confusion and I just look weak, I look..

I look like prey.

I’m sorry what?

And he charges and that’s when I recognise him, when it’s too late and he pushes me, the fucker pushes me, and I’m thinking of how much it’s going to hurt and I’m thinking stupid things like, FUCK OFF I’m having a bad day already, and I’m thinking, where’s your dog? Where’s the little fucking dog that must have been on the receiving end of this fucking shit so many times and what am I? The replacement, the poodle, the fear in my eyes and the yes master, no master, just stop it, just stop it master, and then I’m back in time I am the dog and it’s too close to the bone I remember this at home and there’s no words to stop the hate, there’s no poem that can block a punch, there’s no place for the daydreamer, in a world ruled by brutes – violence – fear.

You fucking faggot,
he says,
and off he goes,
down the street,
surrounded by a wall,
cemented by despair,
and fortified by hate.

I’m shaking when I think,

If I just had a pen,
I could’ve poked him in the eye.

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