Cliff Radiator

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Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. Even a disused World War 2 gun battery can turn into a sundial, with the right angles and a little flight of imagination.

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Facing away from momentum.

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Dappled sunlight strobes against my face. The car feels unsettled and skittish, almost nervous, so I’ve dropped it down by ten miles per hour to something a bit more *legal*. The inbuilt electronics have been flashing wildly at me like blinking rabbit eyes, telling me that the wheels are losing grip but I can feel the steering go light, and the engine revs rise unexpectedly… I know these things and I’m dealing with it. The car is just adding to the drama in a very unneccesary fashion. So I slow down – this isn’t a suicide missile strike launching a piece of German/Brazilian engineering into moorland – and turn my head to the right to reflect on a rising sun that looks more like a direct hit further down the coast by a nuclear strike. A ball of shimmering, deforming gold, like mercury, rising above a low cloud line and anchored by a shaft of thick light. Gravity all nonsense now.

Plump idiosyncratic, the corridors warp and dislocate. I walk on a marble floor, disconnected from the four faces. I can smell everything; perfumes and fecal matter, sex and vomit, food and smegma. I still find it strange that hotel rooms don’t echo. Any room that is new to a person echoes, the walls not yet coated with a fine gloss of memory. If the walls could speak, what would they say? He wears his wife’s underwear, she needs a breathing apparatus, they use dildos on each other, he has to pace the room twice before showering in a superstitious rite. I’ve learned very quickly, very recently, that the key to winning people isn’t to make them happy but to shield them from chaos. I’m realising now how much I have been protected. It is almost a compliment to be invited.

My worst fear isn’t spiders, they only come third the scuttling crazy bastards. Second place is owned by being burned to death. My worst fear is knowing that the peak has been passed. That moment, be it creatively or just emotionally, when you realise that you are cresting the wave and it is about to gently let you go, to slowly run out of water and grind to a halt against the sand. The heartbeat drops, the breathing eases. And you look behind you and the wave has already gone. It’s why I feel sad for bands who were famous ten years ago and now play reunion tours in toilet venues. Why I feel sad for authors who churn out rubbish that sells well but never recaptures the bottled magic of That One Novel. It’s kept me awake sometimes, wondering if I’ve already experienced the greatest periods of my life already. And I know, during some of my emotional zeitgeists, that in the back of my mind has been the nagging reality that any one time frame is as good as any others will ever be.

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