Countered

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I’m so tired.  I shamble over the ridge, looking down at the town below – faded pink and yellow lights, and the distant shrieks and cries of people passing through an hour’s worth of inebriated contentment with the world.  Heels, frocks and stockings.  I knew them all once, threw them aside with abandon, fishnets simmering and smoking over a naked lamp.  I knew cherry lipstick, greasy hair and morning breath that tasted so sweet to a loser.  Now, the words weigh heavy on my eyelids.  There’s too many to say and not enough to write.  So I turn my back on the town and stumble under a black sea.

I sit down on a lump of stone and look across at a sepia photograph of a landscape I once knew, where wingless birds flitted and buzzed over our heads and you got grass stains on the knees of your tights.  My suit is in tatters – holes in the thighs and fraying at the ankles, the shoulder straps tied into knots to compensate my shrinking waist.  The soles of my boots flap like gossip.  My face doesn’t feel water anymore and any kind of emotion cracks the skin like underfired clay.

I haven’t slept since 1991 and I refuse to as long as your face keeps appearing.  Sometimes you approach me in a street where the pavement is lit from below; the road is covered in glass over deep pits that cars carefully drive over.  Sometimes I am standing in a park playing with my daughter as my love takes pictures of us both smiling and giggling and I see you standing in between two trees; silent and faintly reverberating so the trunks shimmer like in a heat mirage.  Sometimes you’re on a billboard as I’m driving along the highway as a rancid little seventeen year old with slicked back hair and a leather jacket twelve years too big for me, usually adveristing chewing gum or hairspray.  Sometimes you’re just a rumour –  a pair of familiar initials carved into a tree that bleeds red, and a forest that suddenly erases all the paths and leaves me suffocated under a dark canopy, easy prey for the wolves.

Let he who casts the first stone…. well, fuck it.  I have nothing to lose.  I’m casting it.  So I pick up a fragment of the lump I’m sitting on and I hurl it into the black landscape, hoping to shatter the pane that stands between me and my freedom.  I want to see the light beyond.  I throw it so hard I feel my back click out of place.  I throw it so hard a nerve pinches from the back of my head down to my knee.  I throw it and let out a scream that rips the dry skin at the corners of my mouth as the invisible crowd below me in their soft, candy floss ocean, let’s out a roar in tandem with an event they will never see…. never understand.

The rock falls unseen into the void below.  As if in response a brisk wind whips around my legs and I stretch my arms out waiting to fly.  But nothing happens.  Something is trickling onto my jawbone.

Time to try and sleep again.  The grass looks soft here and the night is warm.  No one will disturb me so I don’t bother trying to find shelter.  Eventually the lights of the town will go out.  The wailing voices will go silent one by one like hypothermia victims after a shipwreck.

I sit back down; just a silly man in a bad suit.

20 comments on “Countered

  1. S_MW says:

    “My face doesn’t feel water anymore and any kind of emotion cracks the skin like underfired clay.” There’s no chance that you’re old enough to experience this, but that you can describe it in such a way, makes me smile and leaves me awestruck.

    • jimmicampkin says:

      Thank you 🙂 ❤ I am older than I look though… 😛

      • S_MW says:

        Well I’m pretty sure I’m older than you…and I still have skin like a baby’s arse (mostly). Seriously though, your descriptive writing is sublime.

      • jimmicampkin says:

        I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 This piece literally came out of nowhere. I’ve been really struggling for words and pictures lately, and everything I’ve tried to write/snap has come out rubbish…. was starting to get me down… this just started with that opening line “I feel tired” and then grew legs and took off by itself.

      • S_MW says:

        Well…I think it’s brilliant. But I know exactly how this is. I think the best blogs are often borne from this kind of creative block and I want you to know that you have often inspired 😄me when I’ve been in exactly the same position. Creepy as fuck as that may sound… sorry! 😊

      • jimmicampkin says:

        I’m beyond delighted to hear that I can be an inspiration to you! Not creepy at all – probably the greatest compliment a writer can receive. Your words and photos have inspired me too, as you know from my attempts at blurred photography (which I still have an eye on to follow up in more depth…)

      • S_MW says:

        I genuinely look forward to seeing them! I’m so touched that you feel inspired by my stuff. That means such a lot to me. x

  2. Sometimes, we find ourselves, strangers, to who we used to be, drifted too far from where we were before, and, there’s, just, no way, of getting back to those days we were so young and so happy…

  3. Damn Jimmi. THIS is what we mean by the secret language. Thank you.

    “I haven’t slept since 1991 and I refuse to as long as your face keeps appearing.”

    “Let he who casts the first stone…. well, fuck it. I have nothing to lose. I’m casting it. So I pick up a fragment of the lump I’m sitting on and I hurl it into the black landscape, hoping to shatter the pane that stands between me and my freedom. I want to see the light beyond.”

  4. Reblogged this on A Global Divergent Literary Collective and commented:
    Jimmi Campkin

  5. Reblogged this on Brave & Reckless and commented:
    Jimmi Campkin transports me

  6. “I haven’t slept since 1991 and I refuse to as long as your face keeps appearing.”

    Gaaaahhh! ❤

  7. Reblogged this on erichmichaels and commented:
    Countered by Jimmi Campkin. This is a memorized photo, folded and hidden in a wallet…wishing desperately to forget, but unable to let it go.

  8. Short fiction is close to my heart, and you are one of the best. This reminds me of why I was smitten with your wordcraft from the first time I read your writing.

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