End of January 2011 – pub writing

I’m drinking myself to death. I hope it’s something I can do quickly – I’ve got neither the finances nor the stamina to commit to this for any longer than a few days. Living down on no hope street where life is sour and the drinks are sweet, there’s no-one here you’d like to meet, just the dragging shuffle of the dead on their feet. Everything now’s smeared and melted into a seamless, hallucinatory jumble – it’s hard to pick the bones of sanity from this mangled chunk of rotting meat. Sat in a pub window, watching the world drift by. It’s not pretty. Bowels and brains in disarray. My life fell away from me, now I’m in a loop outside, beyond earth orbit, out of radio contact, off the radar. It’s cold out here and dark, even in the day. Trying to sleep in the streets, on the freezing floor of the bus shelter at 2am, the nutters and the drunk and the lost souls howling and hooting and clattering around me, the icy wind finding its way through my clothing no matter how I struggled to arrange it, giving up and traipsing back into town, pools of vomit and staggering hordes of under dressed, intoxicated youths trailing cheap aftershave and obscenities in their wake. I am fearless – don’t fuck with me, you’ll come unstuck, I’ve got nothing left to lose. A rather improbable boast – I do indeed have nothing left to lose but I’m also an emaciated middle aged man lugging two incredibly heavy bags round with me and about half-dead with exhaustion and alcohol poisoning. But that can kind of make you believe you CAN take on a gang of teenagers and come out bloodied and victorious rather than just kicked to death in the gutter. In the club – a middle aged drag queen, a hugely fat girl with a faint moustache on stage, quavering her way through Gabrielle’s ‘Out of Reach’ and not hitting a single right note throughout, not even by accident, a bloke called Steven who had soft, limpid eyes and the distinct air of the mentally subnormal about him who kept saying, “I like you, will you fuck my arse?” and tried getting me to put my hands down his tracky bottoms to touch his pierced cock. It was like a Soft Cell video directed by David Lynch, me rattling through it like a shed wheel from a derailed locomotive, a rogue star hurtling through an alien cosmic neighbourhood on a random, plunging downwards trajectory. Standing at the doorway with a bloke called Mark, cadging Rizlas from him, telling him “Watch Crimewatch this month, Mark. I’m going to be on it. That fucking Steven’s going to spike me with Rohypnol, fuck me to death and bury me under the floorboards in his flat.” But he didn’t, and I trekked down to the beach, thinking how beautiful it looked, the sea like melting black glass beneath a frosty moon, thinking how I wished I was standing here looking at it with my wife and that she wasn’t at home alone, crying, like on so many nights before, thinking how, at this present time, in this current climate, it seemed more beautiful still as a potential means of death, of peace, rest, cessation. Can I get some heroin, will that give me what I need, what drunkenness fails to deliver, an observed oblivion, not an absolute removal, just a quiet room off life’s main corridor, just a place, a warm, safe place to hide, ‘to hide in death awhile’. Sitting here writing – does that mean I can tell anyone who asks I’m a writer? It sounds so much more impressive than explaining that I’m a humble civil servant on extended sick leave – why can’t I make a living from this? Because this is actually all I can do, just jot down random fragments, little pieces of mental disintegration plucked from the seething ether and pinned on the board like drab, wilted butterflies, a vain and futile mental masturbation, divine what you can from the jumbled entrails. The things I’ve done and the things I’ve seen amount to nothing, all turned to dust like the pointless inconsequentia of everybody else’s generic lives, by necessity narrowly defined by the stifling, inarguable parameters of our condition, our limited reaches, the pathetically small possibilities of the flesh. We can’t help but define ourselves by other people, a lover’s face is our most cherished mirror, and once we are alone for any length of time, our reality, without external reinforcement, begins to fall apart. I’m not looking for a cure any more, I’m learning to embrace my sickness. Will I ever eat again, I wonder? The idea of food is utterly repellent to me. On Thursday I ate nothing, just drank. On Friday, at about 1am I bought a bacon and brie baguette from a street vendor and ate it on the move, then had three cheeseburger which I ate in the street at about 7pm. Other than that, just alcohol and cigarettes. I am on a journey now into, or through, or maybe more accurately WITHIN degradation, the mortification of the flesh, the loss of ego. At the moment I am curious – where to next? But I suppose given time even that will pass too, and I will allow this dark tide to take me where it will, in a state of perfect passivity, mindless, will-less flotsam, spindrift whirling in the breaking surf…

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