Thursday 5 July 2018

when you write (wip)

you write
when you’re angry
When you’re sad
When the sun falls down
Behind the pretty concrete landscape of your horizon
When you’re walking on the street
When you dream.
When you can’t help but gawp in wonder
at every other beautiful stranger that crosses your path,
like you’re stuck in the endless revolving door to paradise
At life.
When you’re eating your lunch
And drinking this afternoon’s second glass of red
When you’re opening a page on Chrome
And realise that this is the site that you’re already on
When you dream
When you’re mean, and kind
When you’re standing on a rooftop, 
Fighting not to faint,
L’appel du vide,
Fearful not of the height
But the more fatal impulsion to measure it in free fall.
When you’re listening to music
When you’re so drunk and whatever that it’s not even you anymore
When you’re talking to your friend in Kyoto about crypto market moves and getting rich
When you’re Integral
When you’re afraid and alone and wish crying was not such a far-fetched possibility
When you scream
When you’re making mistakes
In Manhattan,
And then somewhere else,
Like Salt Point
Or maybe that one came first.
When you dream that the dream just stopped.
When you’re on a plane, train, bus, or motorbike
And you’re crashing.
When you love people but don’t know how to tell them
When you love people and you do know to tell them, but you don’t
And that’s worse
When you say too much and demean yourself
When you’re making money
When you really, really, really don’t give a fuck
When you miss your friends and you know you won’t ever see them again
When you’re beautiful and make people laugh and smile out of the deepest part of their hearts
When you can’t help but hurt yourself
And you’re sorry
When you wish it was…
Or you’d just done that then
Or this.
When you just want to be normal and swap all of this fucking bullshit
For something safe, solid, and uneventful
When you’re proud of yourself
When you are one,
and you have been.
When the lights go out on la rambla and the liceu theatre is lit up all alone in red
When a dog barks
And the smell of frying garlic drifts up from the kitchen of the restaurant on the corner to your balcony
And you remember the dream is this one that you’re having now.
yes, you write all of this down
Your fingers bleed the proof

And, yet, the page is blank

Friday 30 March 2018

Chapter 14

DC disappeared.

I hadn’t seen him since the explosion that was the night of ket and tears. We had a spoken a lot on the phone after that but he hadn’t wanted to meet up. He said that he needed to spend some time alone. He wanted to go cold turkey; to plot out a new path into the future.
After around a week of getting sent straight to his voicemail, there was a click on the line and I knew that I was being transferred to a different number.
A girl with an English accent answered the phone.
“Can I speak with DC, please?”
“I’m sorry, SeƱor Caruso is no longer with us. If you give me your name and number, and explain the nature of your call, I’ll make sure that the appropriate person calls you back within the next twenty-four hours.”
“This is a personal call. I’m his friend. Do you have another number that I can get him on?”
“Oh. I’m sorry, could you just bear with me a moment?” The voice asked.
The line became muffled. I heard the dull drone of office life, doors opened and closed, and then the sharp click of heels walking across tile. Another door closed and I knew that she had gone outside. A bird sang.
“Sorry about that. Is this Sam?”
“Yes. How did you know that?”
“I could tell by your accent. DC told me about you. I used to live in Manchester.”
“Cool. Where abouts?”
“I’m really sorry, but DC has gone. He’s dead, Sam.”

I met Angela, the girl who I had spoken to on the phone, on the terrace of Santa Marta beside the beach in La Barceloneta. It was early September. Summer should have relented but the sun didn’t seem to have been told. Torrents of rain flash flooded the streets, bolts of lightning danced and duelled above Tibidabo, and thunder cracked often and wild through the night, but still the heat refused to leave and follow the course of the season.
Angela had come to explain to me the protocol of DC’s passing; how the old lady who lived in the building on the opposite side of the street to DC had witnessed the whole show that was his final moments.
The lady was an invalid, a housebound old woman, sitting on the edges of the shadows in her apartment, waiting for her daughter to call round and prepare breakfast for her as she did every morning. She had recounted how DC performed some kind of ritual, a final futile protest for the world to see. The old lady told Angela that there had been something beautiful in what he had done; that even when she had understood what it was that he was going to do that she had been unable to turn away from him. She said that his dignity had deserved an audience.
“It was graceful”, she had told the police in her statement. “The poor man was ready and very sure that it was time for him to leave this world.”
He fastened rope around one of the exposed beams of the ceiling and placed a chair in the entrance of the open doors that gave onto his small balcony and the street below. He walked to the table in the centre of the room and neatly wrote out notes and small messages for those he was sorry to be leaving. He laid out the papers and objects that accompanied the notes, and walked back to the chair. He removed all of his clothes, leaving them folded on the black leather sofa, climbed up onto the chair, tightened the noose around his neck, closed his eyes, and smartly kicked the chair out from under him. 
The old lady rose early and the light from the new day was low in the sky. The morning sun was coming up from behind the back of DC’s expensive, open plan apartment, casting his shadow, long and skinny, down onto the street below. The old lady sat vigil over him for an hour before he was noticed by the manager of the bakery on the ground floor of her building.
By the time the police had broken down the door and entered DC’s apartment, a large crowd had assembled in the street. A group of women from the barrio on their way to the church of Santa Maria del Mar scurried off to inform the priest of what had happened. The priest returned with them, mass was delayed, and together they stood, holding hands and with heads bowed, praying for the lost soul of the naked stranger.

Angela reached across to the chair beside her and took out a book from her bag.
“He left this for you.”
A folded piece of plain white paper obscured the Italian title of the book. The author: Bukowski. In fine, black lettering, the only words on the folded piece of paper:
 For Sam
I felt an emptiness in my chest and stomach. A shrill deafening ring pierced my ears. My eyes closed and then moved to the sea and the spume of small breaking waves dissipating on the ugly shore of man-made beach.
I grew up with death in my living room. From upon the mantelpiece above the electric fire I was watched down on by ghosts. Ghosts I had no memories of beyond the photos that held them frozen in time behind dust speckled plastic covers. A black and white wedding day photo, taken from too far away, of a smiling happy couple: he with long dark hair and a scruffy beard; she not much older than a child, stern faced but relaxed, her head resting on his shoulder. A colour photo. A long blonde haired toddler in a blue baby grow stared past the camera. A motorbike helmet in his hands. Behind him a flared white trouser leg and an outstretched black shirted arm holding a cigarette; face and body out of shot. A pretty young lady with black bobbed hair crouched beside the toddler, smiling and clapping, encouraging him to try on the helmet that would soon not be sufficient to prevent her death.
Daily doses of death. No surprises. All part of the morning routine. The ghosts in the photos no different or harder to believe in than the open armed more famous ghost that rested in the centre of the altar in the corner of the living room, and who heard my prayer before school; “Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord.” The cold kiss of holy water marked across my forehead as I went out the door, my protection and promise to not follow them.
This was death to me. Something that happened to the old, the careless, and the mythical. It had surrounded me for all of my life. I accepted its presence and felt no fear under its gaze. It had never whispered in my ear or threatened to take away anybody else who was close to me before their time. We had a mutual respect for each other: an unwritten code.
DC had broken the rules. Death wasn’t handed out on a slip of paper that had been folded into a book of poems in Italian.

Angela paid for our coffees and left for work. I ordered a beer and whisky cola, “Jack Daniels, por favor,” and sat alone on the terrace, screwing up my eyes to find the exact point on the horizon where the sea met the sky.
I wanted to see DC. I wanted to punch him hard in the face and ask him to tell me how he could be so sure that in the place where he was going that he wasn’t going to find an infinite world of pain a million times worse than that of my punch. Before I had finished the thought, I understood what his answer would have been; “I already live there, Sam.”
A girl on rollerblades slinked by backwards, being pulled by a dog. The waves ebbed and flowed some more. A gypsy band tuned up their instruments for the afternoon serenade of tourists on the expensive fish restaurant terraces.
DC had tried to tell me of how he felt; I just hadn’t listened or wanted to understand. He had tried to explain his pain to me. I had seen and heard it, but I had been unable and unwilling to help relieve it.
“Alone at night all I feel is pain and regret. The world is so wrong, but so am I. The bastards I see and hate, I also know as my brothers. Berlusconi, Bush, Blair: murderous criminals covered in the blood of innocents. I hate them with passion. Conspiracy. Destruction. Cruelty. The world is debased and dominated by such men. I know this and what do I do? Niente, Sam. Nada. I do nothing apart from make money and help to keep it all spinning.”
“So, stop complaining and do something. Join a group. Join Al Qaeda, or the FARC,” I told him.
“You’re making fun, but I have joined groups. I read Howard Zinn. I saw Zeitgeist. And que? I got involved and it only helped me to see that I am just a dog chasing the tail of a rabid dog that is chasing the reflection of its own tail in a dirty mirror. There is no end game. There is no point.”
“So just enjoy yourself.”
“Sam, I have danced a million dances with the devil. I get high. And higher. And higher again. In those moments when I fly, I forget. But more and more the fall is too hard, the come down too long. I can’t hide anymore. And in the deepness of it all, my rage gets bigger and I want to hurt somebody. To make it all right. But I can’t hurt anybody. And it’s not going to be right. I’m trapped and I’m fucking tired.”
“Fuck it.”
“There you go, Sam. That is the curse. I’m not like you for that. We are the same but there is a clear and crucial difference: you can easily not care for the world around you. I am too human. You don’t know compassion. You are the devil, an angel, and everything else in between, and it is always the same for you. I see that you are at heart a good man, but you have no conscience, and so nothing can hurt you. You are empty. Empty and perfect. I envy you, Sam.”
“DC, I hear you, but I don’t know what to say. I have to meet Maya. Please, man, just calm down. Take it easy. Let’s get a beer this week, tomorrow if you want”

“Ok, Sam. Sure. Take it easy, hermano.”

Wednesday 21 March 2018

i promise


Wednesday 28 February 2018

Life choices


Monday 26 February 2018

I will see you again, one day


Thursday 21 December 2017

Party at the Met


Monday 11 December 2017

Canal Street, New York