Into an old paint can –
Tin fills the air.
Into an old paint can –
Tin fills the air.
Amongst dense yew
On the edge of town
A lonely chapel stands.
You see her face and every wound is torn open
Each memory memory dredged up
Like silt from a stagnant pond,
And through a cloud of settling ash
The odd hot ember jumps out
To scold you for mistakes you never made.
No, you know what, I take that back.
It feels like a man with an iron boot
Is kicking you in your gut
Over and over again.
And you deserve every single blow
For each mistake you chose to make
And each chance you’ll never know.
Nighttime on a cool August day
And the stars above me blink
With lidless eyes.
There is someone watching
Through the windows
I feel them.
Until the sound hits.
A crack or shot
Into my bones
And the curtains open.
I run outside
And hemmed into the alley –
Lying side by side,
A family of strangers smiling.
Their cold corpses washed
By the pale moon.
One Wednesday morning
I found a ball of heroin
Lying on the ground.
I snorted it of course,
I wouldn’t smoke it.
Except I would.
And I did.
By Sunday I was chonging down
Long, broad tokes of the stuff
Like a kid with cotton candy
Rotting out his teeth.
Juts from mud –
Algae blooms on timber.
I relive these pieces of my mind
Over and over again
What could I learn from my mistakes?
That a foolish boy
Is ignorant and weak?
I remember a house
On the high road in Amesbury
Right at the top
By the roundabout.
The house had hollow windows
And no one cut the grass
But someone lived there.
Sometimes musty curtains
Blotted out the sun
And once I glimpsed a pale face
Darting past the drapes.
I wonder now
Whether they glimpsed back.
A funny boy I must have looked
All spiky hair and shiny shoes
Marching on to school.
As we get older we start to lie
To ourselves, that little bit more;
The line between truth and falsehood
A long time ago I remember,
On a rooftop garden in Kensington,
Staring deep into my lover’s eyes.
We’d hook our legs across the edge
And bounce our feet along the brickwork
Picking frail moss from the cracks.
But not anymore.
I left her for the city,
For better or for worse,
But I sometimes still see her
Flitting through the corner of a dream.
Her black hair is wild in the midnight wind
And her face is broken porcelain
Glinting in the moonlight.
I can’t remember the name of the square.
It wasn’t Paternoster, but it was… nearby.
Anyway, I’m sat there smoking a cigarette and this
Woman, I guess, approaches.
Kind of hobbles up to the square, up the steps.
She’s… just… I mean, she’s just a sack.
She’s an old paper sack filled with
Paper sacks. A sack full of sacks.
And her face looks like an old football.
One of those old footballs
Where the plastic bits have come off
So it’s just a worn canvas ball, really
But bleached by the sun
So it’s kind of crispy and wrinkled.
Kind of angular and that.
Like a crusty old football that’s been burnt by the sun
So it’s all tough and leathery.
And her face is just kind of hidden amongst these rags
Like her face is just this tiny… impression.
It’s the impression of a face,
An old, tough, leathery football-face
Hidden amongst a bundle of soggy, shitty, tattered rags
Sticking out of a paper sack.
That’s filled with paper sacks.
Only the paper sacks are all battered and shitty too.
Kind of like they’ve been left on the street too long.
Maybe on the top floor of a multi-storey car park or something
In summer time, like, so the dust from the cars has just…
Coated these bags
And the sun has just
Just burnt the dust right onto them.
Like a sack that’s not made of paper anymore
But is instead made from the vestiges of old rainwater and some dust
That was spat from the undercarriage of a car
Onto the pavement,
And burnt into something that resembles a paper sack.
Anyway, she hobbles over to me
Reaches into the bin which is next to me
And just rummages through it.
Just rifles through it to see if she can find anything useful
Or just anything really
Something, nothing – doesn’t matter
I mean that’s hardly the point, right?
Like, this is her routine.
This is her job, I guess, the way she feeds herself.
This is how she takes her mind off things
So she pulls an empty coke can from the bin,
She drinks it,
And then she leaves.
And I just sit there,
Just watching a paper sack
That’s filled with paper sacks
That’re made from dust and spit
That have been burnt into a crusty shell,
Wander off down Wood Street, or Bread Street
Or some other fucking street.
I just watch this paper sack hobble off down the road,
I finish my cigarette,
I stamp it onto the pavement,
And I leave.