Limited Face Paint


This sullen English heart tastes the spray and instantly remembers the clammy sweat and milky breath of knee socks and roars. Standing adrift and apart, looking over a sleepy town, observing the rusty arc of steel sweeping past at my feet. I stand on a bench and scream into the wind, fists clenched, trying to summon up a visage of clarity. Too much grey and not enough black. Not enough white.

Not enough to simply remember, not when ones fingertips are still coated in chalk and flint. Not enough when one still sees the grass stains or smells the bark of that illicit forest fuck, bare skin on brown leaves, rhythmic crunching as we fucked and moaned the nesting birds out of the trees with so much pomp and circumstance. It’s the glue or you, he said, and she knew his true choice was the easy way out. I close my eyes and I am everywhere. I open my eyes and I press my forehead against cold bars.

Empty but not unloved. Stirred but not shaken. Looking for footprints in the sand after the tide has departed. Some of my coats still contain scents that I do not ever want to wash out or forget. The muscle memory remains of so many fingertips, and always that hope that the fingers will clench and tighten and attempt to grab a small amount of flesh. In a world of free sex, there is nothing more erotic than an embrace that grows tight. The hug that clings. The fingertips that dig in, looking for holds like rock climbers, searching for anchor points.

Let me hide under the sheets. Let me feel the cold wallpaper on my naked back again. Remembering my dreams of being in a submarine, remembering the feel of loose gravel under bare feet, remembering hot metal action as a boy climbs a tree to shit and another furiously rubs at his ankle with leaves to relieve the sting. Let me hide under the sheets and feel like something can be deliciously illicit again. There is no innocence without sin. In this instance, and in this one only, I look for the grey. Just enough innocence and sin to get by. Just enough innosin to live.

It is not enough to simply live. You need to feel your heartbeat. If it means running away from imaginary dinosaurs through a busy shopping centre. If it means approaching a stranger and telling them that they are beautiful. If it means wading into a river to see how deep it is. That moment when your heart tries to escape and your pupils grow like dark suns…

There is so much power in an eye. Ignored for three days, one look turns me into melted wax. One bright spark. One snapshot. As Chris Marker says in Sans Soleil, is there anything more stupid than the film school instruction not to look into the camera. 1/45th of a second. And I’m there. I want to be there. I want to be a part of you.

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