Posts Tagged ‘notebook’

An evening run

Posted: September 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Past the flights and flights of early autumn leaf-littered concrete steps

beside the overpass

past the tennis racket shop signs,

the exhaust pipe window displays,

and the back-handed glamour of neon;

past the police bending over the intercom

in the shadows of a block of flats

(such as must have known more

in the way of arguments, as those not half an hour’s walk

back towards the city)

I, slowing to a walk on cobblestones, see first

a poster behind an open window

– that is all –

that says I might like to know who lays down their head

and, groping still more,

trying to feel that this way I learn something,

become something,

of this city;

I come upon an open garage

behind an old wire fence

And see first a hand on a table,

think this may be a poker game,

and then a glass of beer,

four men sat around a cluttered garage cum workshop

one, on the left, dimly lit, both in and out in the evening air

sat still in his red boiler suit.

It’s not where I want to be. It’s who.

Thinking, I kill the thought dead.

I stop my audio book and break back into a run,

not now knowing, if I am trying to catch my shadow,

or run away from it,

as now one, now two, now four such

come at me from all angles,

stamping on my feet.

I walked to the restaurant on the corner. I couldn’t be sat in my flat staring at the dried up flower dangling down the sideboard.

I had come to some realisation and no amount of YouTube and Facebook was going to change it. It wasn’t working. I wasn’t going to own my own flat soon. I wasn’t going to rent my own flat soon. I wasn’t going to be in the position not to be watched over by a bunch of miscellaneous oddballs as I screw up my life in that way I know, the lot of them coming and going, making you feel like some kind of reject by their perfunctory salutations or their small talk you can’t quite ever muster the energy to respond to.

I was never going to be a part of this place. Maybe I was never going to be a part of any place. It would never be my language, however often I forgot words in my mother tongue, dreamt in this one.

I counted my money onto the table as I went, keeping count as I ordering one wine after another, and moving onto vodka. I had the book I had picked up from the hostel on my first night. I had read it for a few days until I had bought a book of my own and then left it on a shelf in the corner for months.

I intended to get drunk and not think about anything until morning. I intended to spend all the money I had. There wasn’t much of it.

I had booked a flight before leaving the house; for the morning. I would go back, turn up unnannounced, knock on doors. Perhaps I could crash on somebody’s floor for a while.

I can honestly say I’ve never been happier than when I shook the change out of my wallet, slid a couple of coins to the side for the bus fare, scooped up the remainder with the notes I had crumpled under the desk lamp, and handed it to the sulky waitress with that slutty mouth piercing I’ve never been able to get a smile out of.

The still tepid air hit me as I stepped outside and I looked up and arranged my legs beside each other for a moment as two clusters of stars came together, my eyes focusing, as they had for the last hour or so, like an old television set drifting in and out of tune with a ghost of a picture shifting in and out of phase. I won’t say it was spectacular. It wasn’t. Not since I was five or six and looking up at the stars in the sky, millions of them back then, have I ever looked up to see anything approaching mindblowing. It was a handful of stars. I won’t say it was a powerful moment. I was drunk. But what there was, I was content with. I walked on and saw a man on his knees on the pavement, his back to a police car a policeman beside him, another a few metres down the road, looking through what must have been the man’s car. The guy with the bomber jacket was irritably calling his dog, kicking up grass from the swatch of greenery out the front of the flats. A bus went by and I heard it pulling in to run over the rumble strip of sunken cobble stones by the bus stop, water splashing over the pavement.

I had been nodding asleep in the restaurant. People had been looking over. They had stopped that when I had done the rounds staggering back from the toilet to buy a couple of cigarettes off somebody. I knew I would get back home, take a piss, fall forward onto my mattress on the floor and be out like a light. I had set my alarm, and would wake in time to eat a couple of things, throw some stuff in a bag and be gone.

On that walk home, I had decided something. I didn’t know things were going to turn out ok. But I didn’t know they were going to turn out bad. Most of all, I had decided, there was no point trying, day after day, trying to make it turn out the way I wanted.

I opened the door, greeted one of my housemates with a slap on his bare shoulder as he walked out of the bathroom with his toothbrush in hand, took a piss, and collapsed ceremonially onto my bed.