I thought about how many people I crossed paths with On the way to work And how amazing it was that no one ever attacks me They tended to blur into meaty scenery But if you squinted you could see sentience glisten A wry smile at a meme Or a sincere sounding apology I think there's a German word for that moment Of sudden and profound realisation That the endless hordes of fabric and phone Are the centre of a world as complex as yours Qualia to the power of n A million eyes laid on an oyster reader by 9 Seething at a platform display Over and over and over
Memories of a commute
Rushing to make "art" I choose a haiku of course And apologise
20 second art
Resistance is futile Existence is futile The path is well-trodden Circular A hedge maze We stumble along Picking fruits Left, right, right, left The nagging voice Compelling you To crash through the brambles Is disregarded You glance behind And continue forward
The path of least resistance
A specific plot in space and time Enclosed and numbered Allocated, sacrosanct, functional Everything inside was once purchased By someone The permeating radio waves The rarely used printer The creamy paint lining the walls It's topographic complexity, revealed by close inspection, has no significance Despite my best efforts
He plunged his head into the pot of dal makhani, opened his eyes and inhaled deeply. The spices stung his eyes and he immediately regretted his decision, but he would look like even more of a fool if he pulled out now. He felt the lentils push through his nostrils and down into the back of his throat, and began to see some memories from his childhood flash before him as the buttery sauce began to tickle his trachea. "Mother!" he bellowed. The survival of the fittest was now the name of the game, as the door closed and the light, extinguished. Guided by a raw sense of preservation and the echoing noises directing their intermittently sharp movements, he fought wildly for what seemed to him only a brief moment. In fact, an hour had already gone by, and he was on the verge of exhaustion. It began to dawn on him that this torment defied logic, he had been submerged in curry for days now. Like a modern day Sisyphus, he remained indefinitely; hunched over, lentils filling his fragrant lungs.
Cadavre Exquis #2: Dal Makhani
Cadavre Exquis: The bulging Matador quickly defies the harrowing hen
Estuary air Salty, smokey, decaying The creeping tide Conceals the sludge Oil refineries twinkle Orange and warm Across the muted blackness A sea of absence The sight alone Emits an embryonic hum Eternal, maternal droning
There it is That unmistakable surging In my stomach, limbs And formless space The lizard brain Substituting, magnifying Spooling endlessly Frantically A black box Opaque Fundamentally other Fundamentally enmeshed In/out This email It's obvious! Decline, frailty, banishment A thousand centuries Of delirious thirst, Ripped flesh Course my veins I peel an orange
Leaving the cave
The Lost Gnossienne
At the very least there will be something… anything… to say. Why is every single conversation a few steps away from a depressing conclusion about how he’s old, how he will die soon, how his life is miserable and how the past was infinitely preferable? You can’t talk to someone like him, uncomfortable silence is better. No conclusions at all. Twenty thousand pounds. On a scratchcard. Why does he even gamble? There usually has to be some kind of stake; he has nothing to lose, and nothing to really gain either. I mean, what does someone like that spend money on? A normal old man would just put it in his bank and wait diligently to die and have it divided among his grandchildren. The kind of old man that plays scratchcards would buy alcohol. But as far as I can tell he has no family and doesn’t drink. Maybe he’ll be in a good mood. What would that even look like? I knock on the door and wait the forty-five seconds or so for him to get out of his chair and make the two metre journey to the front door. His barely audible grunt immediately dispels me of that notion. Maybe it wasn’t audible at all, just some kind of subtle head movement. Some kind of audiovisual illusion, like imagining a hoot at the sight of an owl you imagine a grunting noise at the sight of an uninterested old man acknowledging your presence. “Morning.” The usual silence, a 3 second silence that has, by now, taken the form of a placeholder for a response. “I heard from Sue you won big on a scratchcard…” “Yeah, twenty thousand.” “That’s amazing, congratulations!” Silence. Fucking hell. I wasn’t expecting much, but I thought it would at least take up at least 2 minutes of conversation. That was, what, 15 seconds? I still have another 14 minutes, 45 seconds. 15 seconds is what percentage of 15 minutes? 60 seconds in a minute obviously… So I would need to do 60 more of what I had just done. That is… god I don’t know… 1.something%. No, fuck it. I’ll never get another opportunity this good to have an actual conversation with him. “Is it not amazing then?” “Not really.” “I mean, it is amazing. It’s a very unlikely thing to have happened.” “Somebody had to win it.” “It’s not amazing that somebody won it, it is pretty amazing that that somebody was you.” Silence again. “What will you spend it on?” He looks almost surprised for a moment. He gently shakes his head and expels air through his lips, as if to say he hadn’t even thought about it. And he probably hadn’t. People don’t buy scratchcards for the possibility of winning money. You buy scratchcards for the possibility of winning money. For those 30 seconds where normal life, with its certainties and it’s closed paths, is suspended, and you exist in a state of possibility. The dopamine hit of actually winning is just a bonus. The money itself is largely irrelevant. “What would you spend it on?” he asks abruptly, taking me completely off guard. That’s probably the first non-accusatory question he’s ever asked me. The earnestness of the question sounds awkward coming from him, and he feels it too. “Erm, well I would probably put it towards the deposit on a flat. But…” I was going to say something to the effect of, ‘but I wouldn’t bother with that if I were your age’, but thought better of it. “But I wouldn’t bother with that if I was you.” I added, suddenly. “Yeah, what would be the fucking point in that?” he agreed. “Well, if I just wanted to have fun with it I would probably go travelli-” He begins to shake his head before I even finish the word. Fair enough. I’m struck with sudden inspiration. I will straight up ask him for money. I don’t even feel slightly ashamed. Why is that? It’s not like the money will be put to better use. Some piece of shit student doing some part-time care work getting on the property ladder a few years sooner. He’d probably barely spend any of it, and then when he’s gone it would probably go to the state; schools, hospitals, all that good stuff. It would make the world a slightly worse place, no question. And yet it just feels right. I’m not a psychopath, at least I don’t think I am. I cry at films, reality TV. The average person must just be like this. They just haven’t ever considered something so deliciously simple. I’ll keep it vague, vague is good. If he's not receptive, I can say I just meant change for the bus, if he is receptive, I could even get it all. Worst case scenario, I say it’s a joke. In the five weeks I’ve been assigned to him he hasn’t done anything more than the most basic of human courtesies; opening the door, generally acknowledging my existence, responding to direct questions. But for some reason, I feel overwhelmingly confident about this. “Can I have it?” I spell out slowly and deliberately, making direct eye contact. The expression of dismissiveness, confusion and mild disgust says no.
Very intentionally I peel away and stare at the wall Just long enough to remember I used to actually get bored There was space Now my mind drowns in ketchup And the incessant everything Both cause and remedies The dull aching in the sides of my head Dusty artificial heat, High pitched droning, Compelling and needy white light Grabbing my face roughly And holding it close As if to say something significant But like a sad drunk It’s all repetition, Vindictive gossip, Doubtful anecdotes Now the rattling of my window is too quiet The intricate condensation too monochrome A tender moment drowned By colours screamed in my ear As I gently rock back and forth, My leg bouncing, My mouth tutting