Portrait by my friend Sofy, waiting for food in a bar, August 2016
I walked home from work today in the pissing rain, my shirt clinging to my wiry body, rain gathering and dripping from my brow to my nose and lips. I could feel steam from my overworked arms as I strolled past the sea on a long road home. It was nice to feel. It was nice to be felt, a foreign skin being pelted by cloudy water.
I lay in bed now under my skylight, half open to receive a cool breeze. The rain is still hammering down, now creating a gentle mist between the cracks, that falls down over me. If empty vessels make the most noise, I feel empty and yet remain silent. Too many songs, too many sights, too many memories contain such exquisite pain. I remember when my lips would go dry and cracked in winter and I would douse them in whiskey to create a seething followed by a numbness. I’d press my lips together, folding them inside my mouth to allow the smoky golden liquid to press deep into my chapped flesh, and as I held it there resisting the urge to soak them in water, my spine would flare up like a petrol drenched tree.
I barely sleep these days, between the heat, the birds outside and perhaps something else. Three or four hours on a good night. Most of the time I’m awake around 2 or 3am. I’ll lay there in bed, the covers coiled around my body like wreckage, my body twisted into a broken crucifix and I’ll close my eyes to try and sleep. Maybe I should stay awake. Maybe there is a purpose behind all this, and I’m being deliberately blind to it.
The answers could be creeping up my staircase before dawn, and I’m too narrow minded to accept.
It has been a long summer. September should herald a journey somewhere. Where I can be totally anonymous and open faced. A big city beckons – I miss London and the crowds, the sooty and greasy Underground, the icons and the sacred cows, the streets where my footprints can still be heard by the right pair of ears, where my ghost can still be seen with the correct eyes. Dancing down Camden High Street, lying on a couch in Shepherd’s Bush, sucking and inhaling desperate breath in Covent Garden, being spellbound by a pair of eyes on the Northern Line, cowering under the majesty of a Rothko.
In the meantime I will wait; sleepless, silent and misted by barely registered echoes.