A small section of a chapter as a stand alone bit of prose.
The landscape provides the rhythm for a mind relaxed into hearing its inner drum. A smashed window – a parking lot – people parking a lot the old jumper on the railing over the city bypass and we pass by. It’s all there with unmistakable clarity a typical ugliness pungent enough to kick the nerves into a steady pulsing sweating frenzy. The car with the parcel-taped headlight is a flavour digested and absorbed into words an aspirin thrown into a waterfall. Steel shutters with graffiti on them are truly harder than the lines of text into which the writer writes – yet they are the same basis for poetry – a presence that goes beyond the comfort of a page to the real heat of life.
An immediate and heady brew of neglect and downtrodden strife that Austin Metro does proclaim. And here stands a bouncer outside a liqueur store at 4 pm. There is certain beautiful brutality in these things – embossed with jobseekers allowances and squeezed by malignant segregation but the beauty is that is possible to also see softness in the scheme of things. The general busybodies who busy their bodies as if to some higher requirement like bees working the hive say something of it – the groups of youths pressing faces one into the other to sprout this or that remark in the give and take of sparring conversations about anything but polite content – full of everything of being young and striving to be. Retain a decency.
Odd details detach themselves and fix in the mind – particularly looking out from the bad light of this tawdry bus interior – the holy warmth of living rooms draws you in. Lace curtains delicate membranes drawn from without to within reminding of the fragile preservation of family life. When such soft things touch you – you are reminded that despite a History where people have killed other people – there is the gentleness – perhaps not recorded in words of those wanting to protect and nursing those they love.
Death comes to everyone and when you realise your own mortality it’s then the passion for life hits you. Sometimes there’s an unbearable sense of missing those you love. Life is fast and furious and fleeting – it often seems like forever but nothing is forever and understanding THAT is the only thing that might bring about a greater altruism – an altruism that cannot to be held ransom.
As the sky darkens and we watch as from a height the small figures walking dreamily around a large expanse of water under the watchful gaze of crazy old Cave Hill – the hill that some say inspired Swift to write about Gulliver because it looks like a giant head – a final thought comes to mind. All we leave behind is a foot print. But many foot prints wear pathways and set up more permanent tracks and avenues that thereon influences where others tread. That’s the kind of pressure the dead place on the living – the tread of millions is a groove that then repeats on those who live and stumble down the same good and bad tracks. It’s hard to know what change can be brought about – other than a kind of slow gradual meandering or change given by some general incline or sudden – natural obstacle. But it should be remembered at least, that a footprint is at best the absence of a foot.