Such extraordinary outfits and cackling, smiles and flaking heels, beer and freshly lost knickers, the stale smells of a lived in bed. Walking carefully over the rust, listening for the creaks and snaps, the ship is planted precarious in the mud, watched over with wildlife by day and echoes at night. A cracked smile, a moment of euphoria when the music lifts. The hugs, the squeezes, the fingerprints left on your back, scars from nails indented, perfume stains on your discoloured chest.
Looking for home fruitlessly, twisting on the same spot under your feet. She bounces down the stairs with yellow and green hair declaring that she’s feeling “all Aquarius today”, and then expects us to understand. Strange girl. Everyone nods, but doesn’t make eye contact. Looks at their shoes. I used to recognise people by their shoes, a legacy of always keeping my head down. Now I see over their shoulders. I recognise the straggles of hair or the patch of missed whiskers pressed against the skin by a dull razor. Or I see them from behind and examine their mood by their walk, looking at the shoulder blades and imagining the fixed stare from a stone head.
Mezzanines and pot pourris and other things that vaguely rhyme just to kickstart another sentence. It’s not my job to be content – not anymore. So many people I know are now settling down. Making the best of what they have. Allowing the dust to settle. They seek the pockets of magic and are content to explore them like advent calendar windows. A weekend here. A day there. Paddling in memories of freedom they regress, dry themselves off and then snap back. A keyhole existence. I’m not sure if I feel pity or envy. I can’t do that. I want magic every day. I want freedom. Poetry. Sin.
Putting on my old boots, ignoring the clouds. Rain does what rain does. I’m smiling as I stand on a high place and observe a sea reflecting the retreating sun back like so much seething, boiling liquid mercury.
(Originally published 2015)