Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Poem: Hollow Hymns

This is our final destination:

No Man's Land terminal,

terminating at the end of the lane Cain paved.

An airport slowly murdering us with boredom

with nothing but dim, echoed muzak

and our haggard,

baggy-eyed reflection in shop windows for company.

This is where we roam:

for anything to hunt and gather

on the barren litter-beaten streets,

for any semblance of what came before

we were choked by our own futures.

Futures bought and sold

without our permission.

And no, we don't have the time

because it's all run out.

This place was skinned

leaving nothing but smooth bone.

No tombstones to gather moss.

No 'We wuz ere' scrawled hopelessly on the wall.

Just gaudy, bright, buy-one-get-one-free signposts

directing the way to the rest of our lives.

A psychogeographer's nightmare:

nothing to feel out,

no energies to imbibe,

no tide of memories,

nothing blooms,

nothing dies,

and everything's too fucking clean

to glean any feeling.

Bloodless brains switch off their beams

because there's nothing to search for anymore,

no flecks of meta-historical compost

to breathe thick into your lungs,

just glimpsed postcards funnelled through

a sheeny amnesiac vacuum.

This place is a scattered, billion piece jigsaw

and occasionally there's a little reflection of

joy or remorse

but these never last long,

feeling them most

in the brief warm haze of shower masturbation

and when the fuzzy shudder gives in

with a self loathing edge

the blank tanoy intones in our heads:

Thankyou, please come again

as we step out into the smokey cold.

We're all stillborn tabla rasas,

meandering identikit pubs where

hermaphroditic bar staff

robotically offer the mantra:

Foster's, Kronenberg or Stella?

The jukeboxes only play songs

that're part of the furniture.

Foster's, Kronenberg or Stella?

And the only furniture there is

part of the wallpaper.

Foster's, Kronenberg or Stella?

And the wallpaper is peeled and cracked.

I peel back and hand over another fiver,

drinking only to lose

all the reasons why I'm drinking

with half-remembered friends

and half-forgotten fucks.

By chucking out time

we either end up in fights,

pointlessly thudding knuckles on chipped teeth,

or stagger into alleyways with strings of vomit

hanging out of our burning mouths

or drive home,

blearily watching the endless cinema road,

the repetitive, dimly illuminated black and white strobe

praying for a crash through the screen.

Unfortunately, we all arrive home safely,

drunken, undamaged, undead.

And then we don't even sleep -

our heads just go black,

and it's only in the black

where swirling shadow eyes

of Londoninium overspillers

with bomb blasts and a collective funerals

still ringing in their ears

mingle with tattered punks

and shards of basement gigs

and familiar faces

and just when these dreams

begin to gestate and co-ordinate

they're crushed by the

waking the cutting pains

of underhydration.

On star starven nights

(lit only by floating orbish streetlights

and soundtracked solely by distant glass tinkling)

I climb through a broken window

of my old school,

and wander across old horizons.

Blurs on neverending energy legs

shoot past me,

distant lost virginities glimmer.

Sober scuffles like flickering 8mm film

are screened on the edges of recollection.

Everything looks so fragile,

like an empty spider's web,

and I tread - a delicate tyrant -

scared that if I breathe too hard

everything I control will decay into

floating, windtaken ashes.

But there's no control here,

just the illusion of choice,

and slowly the crumpling begins,

and ashes fill my eyes and throat.

Helpless, I leave,

heading to what I think is still home,

or at least shelter.

I look for a way out of this town,

but the train and bus timetables have become

faded cryptic essays,

The orbital noose tightens

and I stand at the border of everything,

screaming hysterics at electric fences.

This place is a never exploding bomb threat,

a burnt out church

with scorched parchment floating in the breeze.

I strain for hollow hymns

but hear nothing,

nothing except

the slick automatic sliding doors click

and the ghosts whimpering

as they barely hang on by their fingertips.