Friday, 30 May 2008

Sex Tourism (A,B & E5)

All my speculations out here have led me to comb my very own paltry ambition. For now I yearn to devise the ultimate cocktail, one apposite to my sojourn here. A tipple where the constituent parts maintain their integrity, until the catalytic addition of a sheet of ice. Rather than it melting, the chemical properties combine so that all the coloured liquid strata are frozen solid. A sort of inverted tequila sunrise. I’ll call it ‘When Hell Freezes Over’. Well, if Damon can fritter his time in pursuit of a family crest when he has no descendants, then I must also be free to piss away my life in alco-chemical investigation. The barren quest of transmuting gold into base metal. Or my once grand lifestyle into a much shittier one. Needless to say, I have not as yet succeeded in my winnowing of the vital admixtures, (though I am taking great strides in decanting my own vital juices). But I remain faithfully wedded to my task. Same again barman. I didn’t quite lick the specific viscosity of that last combination.

Thank you for your concern kind sir, but I have little place for sentiment. I’m a gangster’s moll remember. Or rather a gangster’s quondam moll to give me my true non-status. No room for sentiment at all. Where would I store it ? I left everything behind when I took flight. With no alternative but to make a go of this and turn native, it was imperative to surrender all of myself on entry at customs. They handed me back my Englishness unstamped, sight unseen. Nothing to declare and yet everything to declare. Stopping on green and going on red. Driving on a different side of the road here. Or being driven, since my fabricated identity didn’t run to a driving license. So I don’t get around much. And unsurprisingly enough, I haven’t been able to restock with souvenirs of a life out here. Boiled down artefacts of ruined temples and straw donkeys/asses/mules/ whatever the local drudge of choice, wearing moth-eaten straw hats. I declined. If you had to go in for this sort of thing, presumably you’d be after a keepsake rather than a memento mori. I merely have to consult a looking glass for one of those.

Such is the way of the world, one man’s laugh lines around the eyes, is another woman’s crow’s feet. And mine used to be more akin to raven talons, plucking out peepers bulged by receding skin. Scorched flesh pulled so tight before terror’s disfiguring tyranny, that the contours of my skull become clearly delineated. Death’s skeletal spectre pounding on me from within. Broadcasting like a malevolent lighthouse, bent on dashing any salvation on the rocks. But now thanks to my ethanol botox, the skin around my eyes is puffy. See, I only drink to reinflate. Did you know, the Arabic word, kohl, is the root of our term ‘alcohol’ ? A cosmetic powder derived from antimony sulphide, for darkening the rims of the eyelids and thickening the eyebrows. Think Egyptian hieroglyphics. Muslims, forbidden to drink, distilled cosmetics instead. We ran with it and went deeper than surface appearances. Inspissation. Or pissation anyway. Antimony itself, means “an enemy of solitude”, (referring to its occurence with other elements in its salts). Never a truer defintion of alcohol either. The alchemical symbol for antimony, is the same as that used in biology for the male. A veritable enemy of solitude indeed ... I could go on for ever unravelling these connective threads, but I’m all tied up with a correspondance course in kabbalah at the moment ...

I have virtually nothing to my name. Least of all my own real name. No brush for hair or teeth. No dentist either for that matter. Health insurance, ha ! No mirror. No wardrobe. I get by on a single bikini for the season, which I rinse out each night in some boy’s hotel room sink, before climbing into his package-deal bed. I don’t even have any shoes, so my seasoned feet have taken on the unforgiving aspect of the land here, being all hard and cracked. Believe me, you don’t want a massage with me walking on your back. As you can see, I do own a pair of sunglasses, also a summer wrap for the evening and for its pockets to carry any money I come by. Things get a bit awkward during my period, since tampons are the one thing I can’t snaffle from any half-board bedmate. I may use my scanty money to purchase them, but then being strapped for a handbag, during the day I have to bundle up the box in my wrap and carry them around concealed. Don't want to tip them the wink now do I ? I spend as much time in the sea as I can at such times. Trusting to the gentle lapping waters for exsanguination, rather than the human sharks back on land.

The only possession of worth I had in this world, was a bottle of duty-free perfume, grabbed as I was spirited through the departures lounge by Terry. A little something of my old life. A promise of what in my new one ? An exotic location ? A reinstatement of classic feminity ? Promulgating the promise of a heroine or temptress ? They know all about them in Hellenic Greece, but theirs neglected to employ fragrances among their arsenal of enchantments. Would they even heard of such designer brands out here ? But my fingers never entwined themselves around it’s bulb. Never insinuated a drop upon my earlobes. Never even extracted it from its packaging. Too unnerved on arrival, wholly concerned with melting away, rather than skywriting my presence. And though eventually landing confidently on terra firma and planting myself a new life here, one finds artificial scents redundant in this land of muggy heat and parched appetities. As even humble deodorant amply demonstrates, any sprayed particles plug your saturated pores. But they get tugged at from the inside, as the sweat droplets heave and writhe in their bid for freedom, eventually dehiscing and abducting the hapless fragrance with them. You may as well smear yourself in olive oil. Ultimately, nothing can subdue the aroma of griddled flesh and poached sex. Sunny side down. I secreted the unopened box into the baggage of a bridegroom-to-be out here on his Stag as I took my leave. My double-edged gift to his Bride. Not only does perfume get mothballed, but make-up is de trop too. Either the strong glare directly blanches out all colour perception, or people take to wearing polarized lenses which filters out all the harmonious wavelengths of your facial Kosmetos. There is no need for subtle enhancement in this environment (augmenting only by two cup sizes would qualify under that banner).

See, the kids here, they’ve been duty-free shopping too. Not the duty-free they buy on their return to Britain, to see them through the autumn, or as stock presents for their parents. Since there’s also the duty-free they buy on the way over. Those gifts for imaginary Greek friends and exchange students they never had. Beware Greeks receiving gifts ? Hardly. Beware Brits embosoming them. Salted away, such retained offerings will stoke their week-long bacchanalia, effectively subsidized by government tax credit. And what I realise, is that pickled in ethanol, they possess no budding vitality to mock me, but rather they are drawn to the stench of my own rank decay. That they themselves are my fuming torment from home, pursuing me here. Greenbottles (and white/transparent/ gold, whatever their brand of choice), this time rather than blue. Each titanium areospace aerosol that lands on the runway, squirts and sprays me with its territorial miasma. Atomisers accelerating already dissolute particles, bombarding and hurling themselves at my corruption. Daily I bathe in their spittled debasement of me. My venality at purchasing a bottled bouquet, in order to intromit some fragrance into my fresh life. I hear the Eurocrats are mobilising to torpedo duty free within the Eurozone. Gets my vote, if I had one.

English Channel jestam, Aegean flotsam. Shipwrecked castaway. Without a friend in the world and a pack of hunting dogs on my tail. I fought eyetooth and hungnail to survive. To get this far. Once I emerged from my pupae of circumspection, I imagined I would gradually reinhabit my life. To foment this, I needed to maintain scrupulous superintendence over my newly regained body. Instead she unclasped herself to the bland blandishments of juvenile palpations. A corpus vile for rathe anatomical dissection. A corporeality therefore, that at a stroke, reassigned me my wraithlike state of dispersion.

As my hearty young cockswains push off back for home, I am left to hug myself hugging the Doric shore. For what else do I have to anticipate but this constant neap tide, that shackles me at anchor, yet carries off my would-be rescuers ? They come to party with this Helen, not repatriate her. My new economy of avaricious, bulimic sex, fillets the previous library regimen of protective, self-nourishment. I am a hollowed out wooden horse, with no surprise gift inside. I am a law of diminishing and diminished returns unto myself. So now I merely dance inattendance upon melanoma (lack of sun block), or AIDS (lack of condom), or cirrhosis (lack of restraint).

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Id Parade (A,B &E 8)

The suit was exclusively his, since I could never figure why he should alight on me, a married, wrung-out, college-suburban housewife. He took my listlessness for disinclination. And a brow pursed by baffled pensiveness, he misconstrued as derisive nonchalance. Early on, we were having a quiet cream tea at some chintzy French café in London. Just the pair of us, necessitating, as I was later to discover, him somehow giving his entourage and confederate cronies the slip. All of a sudden, the police thunder in and arrest him. He stood up and offered his wrists behind him, all the time unperturbably looking me in the eye, so as to allay my terror and confusion. In a soft voice, he told me to return to my hotel suite, wait for Lawrence and the ‘Brief’ to pick me up in the Merc and go with them. This was all too abbreviated for me. As he was frogmarched toward the exit, he turned his head and said also to ensure there was some champagne on ice. These were the first and only orders Damon ever uttered to me (the death sentence currently conferred notwithstanding, since it was never issued to my face). And even though I hadn’t the foggiest idea what was happening (whatever became of the cream tea bill for example ?), I did exactly as I was enjoined.

Sure enough, I was soon sat in the back seat of a large, sleek Mercedes saloon, gazing out at a wet West London afternoon. Tracing the lines of descent of the speckled raindrops on the outside of my window. Dying stars rather than shooting ones. There was only the rubbery suction of windscreen wipers conducting their Sisyphean labours for company, amidst these two complete strangers in the car. The ‘Brief’, a corpulent man named Burrows, breached the bated solemnity, to inform me that we were making for a ‘line-up’. An identity parade, where Damon would be on show with some other men behind glass, so that some deluded witness could pick him out, as tenuous proof ‘apropos nothing’. ‘Plod’ had been trying to nail Damon for ages apparently. They were always at it, pulling some stunt or other in public. The eyewitness was always the potential achilles heel of any case. It was his own task to douse this suckling pig, so that any prizefighter silk, would be able to render him a sow’s ear. In other words to roast him on a spit. Or her for that matter I thought silently.

I’d got about one word in three of the parlance. I’m sure that wasn’t how the Law Lecturers back home went about their instruction. Yet his phrase ‘on show’ rattled around my abstracted ruminations. Dragging my focus away from the rain pointillism of London scenery, as I tried to bore a hole through Burrows’ briefcase to manifest its contents. I fathomed our presence was required there to be Damon’s what - ? His stalwarts, yes indubitably. His defenders, certainly. His friends at court, is that why I had been brought along, for some upstanding suburban respectability ? His accessories, God Forbid (does he?). My mind was deluged with a volley of notions. ‘On show’ he had said. And ‘Plod’, er The Police, have been after him ‘for ages’. (Rusty) nails and crucifixes. Without question, we were about to enter the amphitheatre, with every local bobby craning for a gander at Public Enemy Number One. Before witness-Caesar upends his thumb and sends him, what to Purgatory ? Now my febrile imagination entertained visions of me being hoisted up and over some burly Constable’s shoulder, as I reach out with my hand to touch the glass behind which Damon stood condemned. I had been summoned, not by Damon, but by the Police. Solely in order for the purpose of consummate humiliation. I was being warned away from associating with such a baleful influence. I too, was indeed to be a witness. To a mirror revealing me a path of such tribulation, from which I must make every effort to abscond. This was a premonition of the police standing up in Church, or at whatever equivalent License application hearing and raising their objections.

My mind was in such tumult, that I did not regard the length of our journey. It was only when I clambered out of the car, barely able to swing my tremulous legs out on to the pavement, that I saw a sign announcing Kilburn Police station. Kill and burn ? “Why are we here ?” I asked Burrows. He adumbrated how there were only four stations in London with the necessary identification suite and Kilburn was the cardinal point for our quarter of London. Lawrence remained in the car, as Burrows sagged down toward his window, squelched pudgy knuckles against the glass and waited what seemed like an eternity for the tinted window to be cracked open an inch. “Don’t forget to get Terry on the blower about the champers !” (Who’s Terry ?) Burrows turned and chivalrously gestured me with his arm, to move off towards the door. I cross-hugged my shoulders, as if I was about to be fitted for a straitjacket. Burrows moved to put a shepherding hand against the small of my back, but caught himself and just kept it hovering in adjacent space. We were met by a WPC, whose features are a total blank to me, since I was transfixed by her legwear, which while not exactly sheer, neither were they as dowdy as I had presumed. That may make me sound somewhat shallow, but it wasn’t exactly as if I’d been devoting hours to anticipate the likely apparel of a policewoman, on the off chance I’d get to meet one in her official capacity. In a maelstrom (male-strom ?), a girl has to reorient herself to terra firma, by whatever means she can.

We were ushered into the darkened suite, (politely or offhandedly, again I cannot recall) and stood in the gloom facing a large window that gave way on to nothing. An empty, bare white room, barring the measuring stripes across the far wall, spaced at one inch intervals. For some perverse reason, the notion of it being a piece of modern art insinuated its way into my head. I snorted it back out again, which made both Burrows, and the lone duty officer glance at me. I affected fanning the air at my breast and looked back through the glass. Even a cocksure estate agent would be hard pressed to talk this one up. A room without a view. Unless you were on the outside, looking in. Like prying neighbours, twitching their nets. Like us, stood here. Vacant with possession.

Reflective privacy guaranteed for those this side of the glass. Just the three of us to date. Apparently there was to be no teeming congregation in attendance. So how notorious could Damon have been ? Some of my apprehension exhaled itself like a bled radiator. “I’m not supposed to be in here am I ?” I whispered to Burrows. “True, it is contrary to the normal rules” he snickered back at me. The glass was suddenly displaced and filled with bustle, as nine figures filed in like a ragged floor show taking their under-rehearsed stations. Among the flux, I couldn’t spot Damon, I, his would-be intimate. That was a good portent wasn’t it ? Ah, there he was, stood stock still, the only one of them not fidgeting and preening in the mirror. He was holding a card bearing the number ‘5’. I didn’t know if that was his lucky number or not. Our suit hadn’t yet attained such a level of petty disclosure. I knew it wasn’t mine though. The torsion of his carriage seemed evident beneath the fabric of his suit, though the aspect of his face was set firm. The thick line at 5’ 6” scorched right through his skull and passed out the other side. His head clamped like the jaws of an animal before the vivisectionist’s probe. Others pates either towered or crested the line, their crowns beaded by the narrower plaits of interceding markings. Hey, that’s not fair ! They’ve done that deliberately. It’s like they’ve put an arrow over (or through) him, to point him out. They’ve underlined and overscored him. Now I found myself rooting for him, despite my car-borne misgivings.

And then it began. The witness shuffles his way in on our side of the glass, eyes cast down the whole time at the floor. Damon canted his head, tracking for something. Burrows softly cleared his throat as the poor sap passed in front of us. The escorting plain clothes policeman shot him a glower. Burrows didn’t blink. Corpulent, but not gelatinous. Despite outward appearances, hewn from the same stuff as Damon. Naturally he would be. I returned my attention to Damon, to discover his gaze had locked on to me ! Couldn’t be, it had to be a coincidence. Instinctively I groped behind me, for the feel of the incongruous looking plastic bucket chair (on remand from somebody’s patio ?). I dipped down into it, anything to escape the purview of Damon’s infelicitous line of sight. This time none of our company were distracted by my rupture. I chanced peering up, to descry an almost imperceptible tilting downward of Damon’s irises in their sockets. What the hell was he playing at ? And then it hit me. What a charge ! And all the while they were attempting to press charges against him ?

Assembled, nay on show here, was a beauty pageant. All tenors, hues and heights were represented. In fact, we pretty much had the entire male gene pool clustered within these specimens. And there was Damon, outstanding among all this rank parade of manhood. Observe how he shone like a cynosure alongside these others. While they all blithely beam, safe in the knowledge they couldn’t get picked out, yet still they are unable to quell their edginess. Mark number three there, perspiring like a sow. Since, line any man with his back to this and his mind can’t help but fall prey to working overtime. His lack of conviction, so that anything, anything at all in his whole life, that makes him feel ashamed, out it comes and is displayed here. Guilty by dint of being hard up against this tidemark. First formed and then reinforced, by row upon row of unwashed, sweaty necks. A plimsoll line beneath which they all sink into the mire. But not Damon, head held unabashedly high and proud. His whole body tensed with rippling self-assurance. Now I gleaned why the 5 &1/2 foot stripe, uniquely defined his stature. Human in scale, but his power could barely be contained.

It was incumbent upon me, as witness, as adjudicator, to take a long lingering look. After all, he’d sought and located me behind this dividing wall of invisibility. Made it two-way again. Somehow he’d distilled my superannuated pheromones of desire and condensed them against the glass, so that he could pinpoint me exactly. It was as if we were both putting on a private peep-show for one another. The other punters just didn’t register. Our own exclusive id parade. Teasing one another inscrutably. Playing footsie without flexing a muscle. Come in number 5, your time is up. He could say it with flowers, or how much more exciting to say it with handcuffs. In the guise of Cupid, the Police gave him a pull, in order for him to pull me.

By now, the witness himself had heaved to in front of our number 5. He looked long, but not hard in the field of Damon, (who was staring unseeing at him, but straight at me). It was not so much an examination, more a pause. A rest stop. A caesura. Thinking back on it, I don’t think the poor wretch was weighing up his options, neither any scruple. I think he just felt defeated and was wondering how sufficiently to collect himself, in order to pull off feigning passable diligence toward the last four. He shambled on, acceding me an untrammelled line of vision once again. Damon, all of a piece. Not like viewing in an art gallery, where you gained perspective from afar, but move in closer and you could see all the brushstrokes, or the grain of the worked stone.

Any distinguishing marks that lay beneath the province of clothing, go unnoticed at these surveys. Yet, in my mind, I intuitively roll up Damon’s sleeve, to caress the tiny, undeclared scar on his elbow, from when, I discern, he took a tumble off a childhood bike. A childhood I am aware, standing there behind the screen, I know nothing of in reality. Mentally, I’m now licking the slight pigmentation at the back of his leg, currently enclosed in trousers and pressed against the wall of splinters. There I imbibe a sliver of his toddler-training, trying to impress his mother by demonstrating that he could make her a tea. Dribbling a constant trickle of boiling water down bare flesh exposed by treacherous dungarees, as he drags the hefty kettle over to her. She, wholly unaware of the mishap, since even then, he staunchly refused to cry out with pain.

Now the twinkle in his eyes addresses me directly once again. He is indicating the tram lines behind him. Drawing down my eyeline with that of his own, he is projecting on to my retinas the image of him squatting down lower against the wall. I follow faithfully, but cannot infer his intent. He repeats the process, his eyes shouting voicelessly. Wildly gesticulating without motion. Ah, now I get it, he is supplicating me. For all the power, his power, is now condensed my side of the glass. Crouched at four foot tall now. ‘How low do I want him to go ?’ Why, on one knee of course. ‘Here I am, right off the scale now !’ My obeisant pheromones, reconfigure into the phosphorescent imprint of a kiss on his side of the glass. I frame him in my mind’s eye and start calibrating as to where my head will nuzzle in his throat hair (the at-a glance wall chart does have some application after all). Is he right or left handed ? I hadn’t even noticed up to now. If he leaned his head down against the back of mine, I’ll be able to feel his breath in hot little pants on my neck. Heh. Heh. Heh. My Ex-propriated liked to do that too. Made all the fine hairs of sensation there stand up diatropically. Exposing the nerve endings, which eventually he severed with his sequiturs of disdain. Making me a dead zone. An arid wasteland, where nothing stirred. Until now. Damon, what say we make the desert bloom again ?

Needless to say Damon got off that evening. Like every evening. Damon always got off. On life itself. Discharged from custody, he scooped me up into an enormous bear hug and swung me round. Then he sparred at doing the same with Burrows, whose mutton chops arched with a ‘I’m late for dinner just for that ?’ smirk. We sauntered to the car. The tinted front passenger window buzzed smoothly down, from which emerged a champagne flute held with fingertips barely brushing its stem. “Cheers Tel !” enunciated Damon to anyone in earshot, which seemed to be about half the night shift arriving for duty. An insouciant arm cupped in an expensive silk sleeve, lodged on the vacated passenger window frame and dispensed a regal wave. The car interior was so dark, I couldn’t see anything beyond that. “Yeah, bottoms up Damon !” burred a softly sibilant, lisping voice from within. A leering Damon opened a rear door for me and took my glass. I was about to tunnel in, when (Terry’s ?) barely audible words seared my body, as I realised indeed I would be deporting my upthrusted posterior through such a manoeuvre, presenting red knicks like an oestrus monkey (the female greeting of choice out here in tourist Greece). Act like a lady I steeled myself and demurely curtsied down into the upholstery and slicked along its length. Terry gave me a tight little nod, before beaming at Damon as he barrelled in after me, reacquainting me with my flute. Once we were all ensconced inside, Lawrence started the engine, but he merely let it purr contentedly. Just so the Cops could see that crime did indeed pay. All was right with the world again, including my newfound congruence in it.

On the journey back, I was a bit inebriated what with the unaccustomed sparkling wine and repeatedly turned to whisper-shout in his ear, like an overexcited schoolgirl meeting one of her pop idols. He didn’t flinch. I suggested we might hold our wedding (!) in that selfsame viewing suite. Where I should join him on his side of the reflective glass, staring into the endless mirrors within each other’s eyes. Just the two of us there alone. All the guests would behind the viewing window, acting as the witnesses. The priest could intone his stuff over the intercom and when it came to the moment when anyone can challenge the validity of the marriage - well, let them just try and reveal themselves ! Damon cough-laughed into his bubbly and nearly choked. I had joined the game. Signed on for the ride. Of a lifetime, and for one. I had ineffably cast my lot, Damon having unobtrusively picked the lock of my psyche and sorted out my sortilege. So much for my premonition on the journey down. I was to smash that scolding mirror, but you know what, any bad luck only kicked in after seven blistering years. The Met wrote back a pro faced letter, saying that as they had never applied for a license for their venue to conduct weddings, regretfully they would have to decline my petition. Despite not being a member, Damon then wrote to the Grand Masonic Lodge Temple Guild HQ or whatever it was, with the same request. But he never even obtained the curt-easy of a reply.

Nor, for all the time we spent together was I able to discern any blemishes on his skin. Indeed, I was never able to match s single one of my fanciful speculations on his upbringing, with any tendered episodes. Simply as none were ever forthcoming. Save for that night’s journey back in the car, when he chose to confide, no issue, just a single bulletin from his childhood. That which denoted his inception into the life of crime, (“cards on the table time” as he put it). That which simultaneously battened down all further inspection into his past life. Sealing his childhood in an unmarked tomb, which I was never able to disinter. Securing his parthogenesis. The man which directly issued whole from inside the boy, like the flowing sculpture from the gelid marble. He remarked that he had been overcome with an urge to swap around the nine numbers and take different ones from those the police had determined. For, being lined up against the wall, had bumped him back to his schooldays. Outside the headmaster’s study. “Why were you outside the headmaster’s study ? What had naughty little boy Damon done ?” I interrogated him scabrously. “I’ll get to that. All in good time” he purred easily. He conjoined our flutes with a chiming resonance, that seemed to ignite all the air around us into an oscillation mirroring the sparkling bubbles.

His French class had been assigned a new female teacher. She sat them in alphabetical order, so as to help hasten her recall of their names. Inevitably, boys being boys, when the first opportunity was forthcoming, they all swapped places. Handing back homework according to the name on the cover, yet no book gets back to its rightful owner and each member of the class seems to be demonstrating an alarmingly erratic level of performance from week to week. She’s looking at one kid straight in his face, expecting him to put his hand out to take the book, when some other voice pipes out from behind her and makes her jump out of her skin. (I don’t know why, put it down to the alcohol, but I wasn’t sharing much female solidarity with this benighted teacher). And so it evolved.

One day soon, she appears in class with a riding crop. Proclaiming she knew how to use it and wouldn’t be averse either, demonstrating with a fricative airborne flourish. In response, four boys, Damon pointedly not being one of them, then exhibit commendable alacrity to get to the next day’s lesson early, where they implement covering the floor entirely with centrefolds culled from top shelf magazines. Wall to wall, airbrushed flesh carpeting it was. Damon reported that he was just stupefied as to where they so readily came by such a welter of material. The schoolmistress marches in and realises straight away, but plumps for a strategy of ignoring it. Only, in the course of trying to conduct a normal lesson, she can’t help walking on them wherever she moves. And then it begins. The four likely lads are all knocking things to the floor. ‘Miss, Miss, I think I dropped me rubber’. And ‘Please Miss, can you get my twelve inches up for me ?’ They collapse to the floor hooting and proceed to roll around over the pictures. And she’s in tears, still gripping her crop. “Because they knew see. Knew she was holding it the wrong way up, by the thong, after she’d swore she knew how to use it”. They saw her off alright. Had a nervous breakdown and wheeled away out of teaching. Even I cavilled at this point, but Damon just shrugged. “She weren’t hot like you Babe. Normally a foreign language teacher, you’d expect ...”

Other than as an interested spectator, he’d had no involvement, nor had he precipitated any of the anarchy. He just got swept up in the dragnet. Waiting with the four perpetrators to see the headmaster. Last in line. Though Damon actually was innocent, by the time the Head came to him, he had wearied of the cull and perhaps wanted to show magnanimity (or weakness in Damon’s eyes). Damon was the only one that day of the five, (his lucky number after all ?), not expelled. “Not me Headmaster. I want nothing to do with that bunch of nut jobs ... Too far I agree ... Must have discipline, yes Sir. Maintain authority, couldn’t agree more ... ... No Sir, I have no idea what fate befell all the, er corrupting and depraved material ...” Other than it went on to form the seed merchandise of Damon’s incipient business empire (hallmarked with authentic stiletto heel imprint). Trading in people’s rapacious needs. Damon knows what folk want. Ravenous people. And he certainly grasps one end of a scourge from the other. See, Damon was not only alive to people’s appetites, but he apperceived the sensibilities they coated them in. And me ? I believe my blunted appetites, to have always been thus. Just now I can’t even affect to drape them up in anything resembling judgement.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Gangster Sex (A,B & E 6)

I know just what you’re after. You may come over all learned and respectable, but you’re exactly like my library desk-mates. You want me to lean across the table to lap the dirt directly in your ear. You're after knowing, how in hell I wound up marrying a psychopath ? Oh really ? I’m getting the distinct impression that all this is just not enough. What, insufficiently salacious for you ? I know Damon’s the draw rather than me, but I can’t conjure up the violence for you. The sex however, that’s an altogether different matter. I was present for that at least. How does an indomitable sadist make sweet, gentle love ? Yeah, thought so. I can get you ringside for that. Royal Box even.

I’ll tell you what I’ll do. Since there’s only one way to do this and it demands some props. Yes, we’re in as good a place as any here. Go up to the bar and order me three drinks at once. No, not a treble. Three separate cocktails. Make sure they’re in the correct glasses mind. That barman should know what he’s doing. Now, first one’s called a “Blow Job” - yes really. Second’s an “Earthquake”, no on second thoughts make that a “Black and Blue”. For the last one, a “Gladiator”. You got that ? "Black and Blue", "Gladiator", "Blow Job". Bring them back here and I’ll swivel them around each another, you know like those Oxford Street con artists - “Find the Lady” is it ? How apposite. You just pick one and I’’ll drain it, then tell you what it represents. Yeah, now you’re getting it. They’re aides de memoire, even as they serve to addle de memoire. One for each procedural method. And by all means get three in for yourself ! I don’t like to drink alone. Well, not when I’m in company anyway ... Christ it’s like getting blood out of a stone. If you want to find this lady, best search the bottom of a glass. He wants sex, then I need alcohol. Isn’t that normally how these things work ? Even if the congress isn't actually to be between the two of us ... Ah, now there’s a holy trinity I’ll prostrate myself before. I’ll even remove my shades to appreciate the vision I hold before me. That’s it, just line them up there. Pick and mix. Okay, now shoot. That one ? Down the hatch !

Don’t look at me like that. Not done that way in the Grouchy Club ? I guess all those soaks’ heads don’t come back up again once they hit the table. Anyway, that’s why these drinks are called shooters. As easy as falling off a bike. Look Ma, no hands ! Worth ten Euros of anybody’s expense account I’d say. That curacao liqueur came all the way over the ocean from the Caribbean and I respect that. Honour it accordingly. So, down to business. Damon and the “Black and Blue”. Always after he’d had a touch. A right result. A major score of some kind, out in the parallel universe he inhabited away from me. That was all the slap and tickle he required. Like I’ve already mentioned, he’d arrive home all pumped up, aiguilette-cock in one hand, pillaged palliative trinket jewellry in the other, signalling that no fruit I could offer, forbidden or otherwise, could seduce him back to the tranquility of our Edenic bliss. He’d spend the evening gorging on war stories with his comradely captive audience in the lounge, so I knew I’d have no option but to retire to my chamber and douche all my orifices with liquid anaesthesia. For when he did finally take his leave, he was still primed, and no amount of bayonetting my pendant-stuffed effigy assuaged his lust. So I would just end up sore and dry. Like this smeared empty glass. ‘Why crack the combination, when you can just blow the bloody safe ?’. ‘Safe’, there’s a treacherous word if ever you heard one. At least it is if you’re married to a martinet. Next ?

Aha, good choice. The “Blow Job”. Stand back, give me room now. Chin chin ! There she blows. Got some dribbling down my chin and all ! Look Ma, no hands for real this time. Hence the name. Bailey’s, Amaretto and whipped cream. Better than sex if you ask me. Which I guess you are and you don’t concur, judging by the scowl on your face. What’s the matter ? I didn’t get any on your linen jacket did I ? You really ought to have got three in for yourself and match me drink for drink. Then a soused brain wouldn’t need to ask me ‘Why ?’. Alright, alright. Sex strain number two, was anything but a strain. The thing about Damon was that he was always on the go. He always had something cooking, so that his attention was perpetually parboiled. He maintained a sempiternal alertness to his surroundings, that could forever disgorge a threat. Sex in this phase seemed perfunctory. Damon wasn’t with me, his eyes sweeping beyond me. Servicing my need, while I siphoned his. Keeping one another ticking over rather than purring. Like two getaway cars, tuning up before a proper caper. (Later Lawrence was to opt for my chassis, though the silly bleeder quickly head on pranged us). It was these types of sessions that prompted me to query exactly what need I fulfilled in Damon. I’d just have to catch his darting gaze for an answer.

I’d observed a similar distracted, calculating intelligence before. In some of the academics, though obviously not this close up and intimate. I use the word intimate advisedly, for although seemingly not fully present, Damon was closer to me than any other human being at such moments. Presumably, when he stared into the eyes of other men from a comparable distance, there was only violence and an emasculating humour in his gaze. The fovea centralis’ polygraph needling whether a man was with Damon or against him. Yet to me, was yielded only pure, undiluted love. A unique perspective. No violence, no mockery, just a deadly serious sincerity. Contiguity, not severence. That was a connection I was never prepared to uncouple by shutting my eyes and surrendering to the moment. I’d just have to work for this.

My side of the compact was to maintain our perdurable union. Yes his eyes were skimming all round the room, but sunk inside me, he was free of all competing exigencies. My core was unshakable, so he did not have to fix me head on. His peripheral vision could cut loose. I did not smooth him out. I did not make him feel secure, for these are ridiculous notions. Simply he worked through the solidity of my foundation. He came home to me. His bedrock if not his salvation. I was his Observatory upon the tor, far from the neon tumult of nearby habitation. Upon whom he mounted his telescope, for which I was neither his reflector, nor refractor, in order to monitor the human constellations. Occasionally I liked to try and shake his focal plane, to spring his hair trigger physique, but always fixing him squarely in the eye. Though he acknowledged my strivings with a grin, he never skipped a beat in his cogitations. Affirming me as he did so, for he would never achieve such crystal clarity without my steadfastness. The intensity would ineluctably build. And when we were done, what was spent were his variables. He was left with a distillate of action. A certainty as to how to proceed. And me, my full being was extracted and offered back to me in the palm of his hand. His gift to me. That and the encompassment of his formidable love. That is why he still has my soul. My longing and my desideratum. Leaving me as scuffling around this netherworld like a shade. A no man quite like him, no-man’s land.

Which leaves us last, but not least, “The Gladiator”. Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant. Amaretto again, Southern Comfort, 7-Up and OJ. They call drinks like these a drop shot, cos they mix the liqueurs in one glass and then drop that blend into a larger glass containing the mixers. Hold on to that notion. I’ll take my time with this one. Let it linger. Which brings us to track three. What I took to be the real essential Damon, the one where he was involved and fully engaged. The one I call the baby oil special. I always knew it was coming, since he’d disappear off into the bathroom for an eternity to preen himself ... Spontaneity not being the order of the evening, hence I had some time to kill. I would lie back and luxuriate in the endless expanse of our ‘classical’ stainless steel four-poster. Digits trawling fore and aft through the endless seas of silk, reaching for the edge of the square world but never falling off. Fully extended now, querulous nerve-ends bombarding my mind with SOS’es. Lost at sea, the silky membrane floods over me, dissolving my skin to become my new vessel. Stripped back, I can feel the silkworm grubs spinning me afresh. Stretched sinews scream for air, juiceless. Direct it all to the brain. Shower that rapacious little muscle. Mirror, mirror, on the ceiling, who’s the greediest ... Scorch it, wipe it all clean. Cauterize the mind, so I can bathe in cascading cerebral detritus. That was the liqueurs churned. Now I was ready for the drop shot of the mixers.

In would surge the gladiator himself. Also adorned in flimsy silk armour, we were evenly pitted. His foreplay was to strut out of the bathroom, unfurl the sash of his kimono and slap his pectorals, with rapid percussive beats. Really striking the flesh into life. Then he applied baby oil, before readjusting the belt on his bathrobe and hitching up the hemline of his boxer shorts (made from the same bordello silk as I was draped on). He’d approach the bed, slap himself once more, before launching himself. Poised over me, like an ancient armoured knight being winched on to his mount, his fully extended tree-trunk arms bevelling into the mattress either side of my flanks. Not supporting himself on the tips of his fingers mind, but on the points of his knuckles, both hands having being balled into fists on impact with the silk. His fingers curled up unseen, there they would remain for the duration. He could have sucked both his thumbs for all the good they’d do me. So much for the clean and jerk.

As the mattress cratered beneath me, my head was levered up until embedded in his chest hair. During this phase of phoney war, with Damon stationed overhead while seeking out my logistical provisioning for his assault, my mind exhumed the manner of his bedside build-up. His focus had been like that of a weightlifter, (substitute chalk for baby oil, inject a couple of deep inhalations and you could almost have been at the Olympics). Confronting the deadweight making the bar sag. Arrow-slit eyes fended shut and torso tensed for impregnability, his arms took the strain. The snatch. Then he’d try and impale me through the bed and drive me into the floor. Pounding, pounding. Such ferocity, yet I was transfixed by the frozen image still with me, of him primped by the bed. It hurt too much to laugh, what with him trying to bench press me. But I had honed and polished myself for this trial, so I too dropped my visor. I too had harnessed my body and oh how we writhed.

Despite him being the one on top of me, he was having to try and bear me up for as long as he could. I was those dumbells in his basement gym, poised to defy his gravity. He was no longer god nor emperor in this arena. Beyond foreplay, the rules of physics no longer applied. Though he was pinning me, I was flying high as if on a trapeze. The more he pummeled, the higher I soared. But I took it all, the lot. I’d already secured my equipoise through tearing myself to pieces with silky frottage. Now he had to attain his. His were the muscles in spasm, driving him down, further into me. With the pain of his overbearing body crushing him, etching itself in a panting rictus, I began to climb yet higher. The caged bird of my life outside the bedroom, piloting free of its shackles, while he buckled further aloft me. Finally his eyes were pried open, only to register my total liberation, before he was riven asunder like ruptured dough. I had baked him a cake. Though he was always quick to regarner his grist, the tracer of his tugged open eyes had briefly illuminated a complete surrender of his sense of self. Since it was so fleeting, I never discovered if he even realised the depths of his submission, let alone whether it spurred him on for the next bout. Or whether he actually relished the one realm of defeat ever inflicted upon him. Best rogering I ever had though. So why on earth did I have to go thumb a lift and take a ride with the chauffeur ? Smashing my fist into a mirror and shattering its glass, cos something in my reflection bridled. That one will cost you seven years’ worth of drinks and even then there’s no guarantee. I’m only four years into the process myself and I’m no nearer a resolution.

There. That more to your liking ? Fit the bill of fare ? I know my audience. Course it’s all poppycock. More of a composite picture sown out of some of the worst sex I’ve encountered out here. Why would I let you in on my most private intimacies ? I want to hold on to those. Besides, broadcast them and I would immediately be fingered by Damon. Only he could pierce the intricate veracity and I just can’t afford that to happen. Not for all the tea in China. Or the olives in Greece. Or the maraschino cherries in Corfu. Gangster sex, my weren’t you just lapping it up ? Would it inherently differ from postman sex, plasterer sex or proctologist sex ? The kids’ve got a new lubricious dance that’s one stop short of impregnation ! Bump and grind they call it. I’m getting too old for all this effluvia. Be a doll would you ? Set me up another beverage, say a Stinger or a Rusty Nail. Rather than crucify myself, the least I could do for you is fill you in on wooing with Damon.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

A,B & E (4)

If the sun heats up the sand, to such a level of discomfort you can barely walk on it, why doesn’t it do the same to the metal insertions in people’s bodies out here ? That would really give them something to cavort around for. And do tattoos absorb or diffuse ultra-violet light ? Would it not function like matt paint ? I can’t find anything about it in books. I only ask, since I’m troubled by the ins and outs of whether they apply sun cream to their cuticular respray jobs. Doesn’t seem right somehow. Right in the sense of fitting. They should further immolate for their art. Of course, if the ink provides it’s own sun screen, then the quandary does not arise. There again, it might be rather hard to spot a melanoma against a tattoo canvas. Like pentimento. But if you think about it, and every day out here on the beach, such is the ubiquity of body pictorialism on pallid flesh, I cannot but help chew on the subject, the cell machinery must have already been stirred into mutinous action. To heal the subcutaneous breech of rapier needles. Endlessly knocking its head against a steel curtain. I know how it feels.

Tattoos. In theory, I welcome the urge to own your own body by shaping it to your own design. To draw upon your skin as a canvas. To render yourself-portrait of one’s own devising. But tattoos on girls just doesn’t sit right with me. Call me old fashioned, call them ladettes. (Actually, call them pneumatic hermaphrodites, so all-embracing is their adoption of male tropes). But there again, it isn’t even just the blemishing of feminine flesh that rankles. All of them, male and female alike, exhibit such a paucity of inspiration and verve. Is that really how they envision themselves ? How they elect to daub themselves ? Take the overabundance of Celtic symbols. Alright, some may be genuinely extracted from Caledonian, Irish and Welsh stock and thereby wish to underscore some notional heritage. But the bulk are Anglo-Saxon, basking in constipated extirpation of those very stirps. Therefore I’m convinced no matter where they hail from, all sail in brackish witlessness as to the origins of these geometric interweaves.

Do they identify themselves with the heroic tribal resistors of the Roman Legions, or with the later anchorite Christian scribes ? Smart money’s on the tribal illiterates rather than the illuminati. Yet how ironic, that an artform dripping in twining interdependence, should be adopted by a complexion of youth, so comprehensively alienated from meaning altogether. Symbols too knotty to pierce, only become held as significant, through being accepted by a sufficient clump of adherents. Rubber stamped, so whither individuality ? They hanker after the uniqueness of their personal branding, yet en masse they contrive the selfsame classification palette. A lost panoply of ancient tribes, paid tribute by a modern tribe that does not wish to be bound together at all, but yearns to assert personal virtuosity. To have a secret, special meaning reserved only for their mind, a cribsheet written on their skin. Unfortunately, all the pat answers have flowed into one another and become a tangled mess, leaving them without an inkling.

Spirals that seemingly have no beginning and no end, (depending on the proficiency of the tattoist at concealing them, oh yes I’ve traced this many a night), as representing connection to the cosmos and recycle of life. Yet these non-believers renounce the afterlife totally. Whirling sigils and heraldic beasts, guardian family spirits, when they have pretty much repudiated family also. And what of the warrior caste they align themselves with ? I don’t see them undertaking too many heroic quests, though in fairness they are often to be seen bearing a fallen comrade from the drink-sodden field of battle. If the ink were green rather than black hued, then they would be solemnizing their skin with the exalted vine. Which at least would be more legible.

So yes, I’ll opt for their regressive association with the primitive, rather than scholars and holy men. Superstition over abstruse thought. (To them an everlasting light is a zippo lighter, while most are blessed with the creative spark of wet matches). Each fibril of knotwork, another anodized briar branch of reinforcement. A decorative razor wire they have welted to their skins. Serving as a ‘keep out’ to any warm-blooded trespass beyond the surface and to caulk any seepage of character from within their own metallic prison. Amulets against self. But all of that fades to a most bruised black, compared with the porcupine hide of piercings !

One can accept the sight of antic flesh on a beach. In fact you expect it as the local Olympian pursuit round these parts. Sprinting into or out of the sea; discusing with a plastic frisbee; beach volleyball or playing paddle-bat tennis; Greco-Roman wrestling between lovers on sun beds. These are legitimate ogling wobbling opportunities. 5.9 for artistic impression and all that. I'm here myself with more than half an eye on a gold medal slow-dance partner for tonight. But then it’s anything but a knockout, as your attention is snagged by the detail of a ring or chain, performing its own whipping and pinched version of the dance of exhuberance. Jesus ! A case in point ! Look at the state of that, emerging from the sea like it’s been salvaged. She’s going to have her own eye out if she hits top speed across the burning sand. For on those unfortunate occasions, when due to concupiscence, drunkenness or extreme flashback, I am forced into a canter, well let’s just say it’s no bad happenstance that I forever sport my sunglasses. But she’s got metal extensions that swing like a flail. You see those bolts in her brow there ? Not quite Frankenstein’s Monster, but so long as her mate has some jump leads handy, he ought be able to get her out of bed and started of an afternoon, once she’s flown back home to her life of graphic underemployment. In my day, office workers just used to starve themselves and paint their nails of a lunch hour. Now these fatted calves seemingly go and hand over good money to be skewered.

Maybe it’s not so pronounced at home, I mean given the climate, flesh is nearly always trussed up behind fabric. Out here it's all on show and I’m telling you, it’s absolutely rife. A particular one night only, stand-up comedian of my brief acquaintance, regaled me with an anatomical sketch of his previous night’s mooring. To what end I couldn’t fathom, but I did listen with a certain appalled raptness. Unsure as to which of the two protagonists was more despicable. She with her cloven hoof predilections, or he for telling intimate tales out of school. Was I to be relayed in turn, to schmooze the following night’s selected audience member of participation ? As what, someone more soft and yielding than last night’s human pin cushion ? Soft and yielding ? Uh-uh, he was going to be a mite disappointed on that front. Nevertheless, circumspection was called for, as to what I broached with that loose-lipped lad. Could’t be making a clean breast of things, as had my antecedent. If that's not a contradiction in terms, seeing as according to him, her breast was disfigured by all manner of metal probes.

The estrogen egghunt didn't end there. Apparently, she was also the proud possessor of twin labial piercings, tied off in tiny, white balls as might affix corkboard pins. Memo to herself, or signpost landing strip navigation lights, for any intrepid night pilots ? Gliders rather than dive bombers one might hope. ‘Enamel or ivory ?’ I innocently inquired, for if I have to put up with an imposition of taste, then I insist on going with a full flavoured flow, rather than a drip feed of information. But of course, my dead-eyed witness couldn’t enlighten me further. His insipid sapidity unable to register any new sensation, despite presumably not having orally partaken of either material before. Rather, he informed me his tongue delightedly played with them for a seeming eternity. A ‘wicked’ sensation of licking a woman’s ‘balls’, no matter how shrunken. Freud would have had an orgasm. The target buoys bobbed up and down, among the roiling waves of her sex and he kept losing contact. She seemed pleased enough with his fingertip searches for them anyway, so perhaps there was some design to her self-stapling. I queried whether it wasn’t like having a pair of tiny eyes scrutinising him, or worse, just the whites of lifeless orbs ? Even more accursed than that, he conceded. Once it had gradually dawned on him that in fact, they rather resembled two beads of, well ejaculate. That somehow he was embarked on somebody else’s sloppy seconds, which crash landed him immediately. And yet the sexual metallurgists will protest til they’re blue in the face, that it only heightens sexual pleasure. More like vagina dentura if you ask me !

Behold another one, with wireless bra and wired breast. There with the tray of drinks buttressed against her sternum. Oh, double bubble and squeak ! For I spy a tattoo rippling beneath her costume, where she might cradle a feeding babe. If an infant wants to watch an animated cartoon with its supper, stick it in front of the TV like any normal Mum. This way, he’ll likely get indigestion, motion sickness and a squint all in one. Surprised she needs to utilise her hands to convey the alcohol. Surely she could just run a chain through her evidently pierced nipples and secure the tray across her cleavage ? More than likely, the overpriced drinks will be the most precious issue they’ll ever come into contact with. No, no ! She’s the clincher ! That one fellating an ice cream cone yonder. Also at her site of honeyed suckling, is to be found the bitter aftertaste of mummy’s noxious metal ringlet. The fleshy areola must have been sent packing, for a permanent metallic tenant. So the only possible lability, is not the hormonal brewing of milk, rather the tarnishing of cheap gold. Verdigris. What does it say about their own mothers ? That umbilical tie clamped and snipped at birth, cutting them adrift of their life-giver, how they now spike and padlock their own navels to return the deed with spite. Oh for a giant magnet to hoover them all up and drop them down in say Cephalonia, or Lesbos even.

Ah, who am I to chide anyway ? Or even to ‘scarify’, yes indeed, thank you. Sand gets everywhere don’t you find ? Even in your bloody cocktails ! It’s soft underfoot and to lie on, but when it adheres to you, it’s surprisingly gritty in those unmentionable places it seems to burrow down towards. You cannot escape sand, it perpetually returns you to the current disposition of your body. That’s why I find it surprising that having chosen these idyllic sandy beaches, our Icenic clan opt to recall the sensation of repudiated littoral shale back home, by stabbing their flesh with all sorts of aculeated insertions against their skin. Between a rock and a hard place. As a little girl, I lived in a soft place. A very, very soft universe. Once with Damon, ostensibly I still had around me all the trimmings of a soft world. Silk hangings, cushioning obsedian fortress walls. So in fact it turned out to be a very hard place indeed, attested after we had reciprocally tried boring through one another, only to recoil concussed. And now, out here, among the indeterminate sand, the conundrum is that it is neither quite hard, nor quite soft. And so I am lost for the present constitution of my body. These spikey metalheads give me no pointers either. So hard and unyielding on the surface, yet utterly ductile beyond. Who am I to cavil if they’ve voted with their mammaries ? I’ve pensioned off my womb through my own choices long ago.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Not In My Name (2)

Then they were all gone, as if in puff of enchanted smoke, though of course it were only Mushi’s jerky exhalation of reefer as he flew out laughing his head off. I slammed door behind them and partition walls shook. Mi world were caving in. I sunk into sofa and pressed temples hard gainst mi knuckles. I knew that no matter how brutally I bevelled and no matter the pain, I wouldn’t be able to forestall onslaught. I had kept it at bay fer so long now. But then no one had been callous enough to throw it i’mi face like it were ammonia. Bi time I’d finished sobbing, my eyes would feel like they’d been burned wi’ caustic agents fer real. I prostrated ma’sen before what happy memories I could interpose. Mi sister. My beautiful, bright, sensitive sister. Too sensitive for her own good. Too sensitive for this world that’s fer sure.

There were no sign of trouble in her childhood. She would indulge me, her little ankle-biting, infant brother trailing after her all time, wanting to be part of her wonderfully expanded childhood world of wonder. How she would hoick me up on to her own undersized lap and patiently meet all of my inquiries as to physical world’s workings. It were magical, as she seemed to have all answers I could possibly muster up questions for. Even more than that boardgame, one where model robot would miraculously point at correct answers to quiz questions wi’its wobbling metal pointer, which we could never seem to get to work properly. But there were no faults with Sis. If she weren’t drawing on actual knowledge, she used her free flowing imagination to stitch together seamless universe fer me. Endlessly forebearing, she even saw good in our Father, who never seemed to be around house, as he were off all hours little empire building.

It were only when she reached that developmental stage, of turning out to face wider world beyond domestic one, that things started to unravel. Then lurid expanse of her imagination rounded on her like ebola virus. And devoured her. She would watch TV news and internalise all its horrors. She would replay them endlessly on projector of her memory. Images of the bereaved and the bereft. People in shock, hands clutching sides of their heads, or clamped across their mouths, or clasped over their eyes, as they confront devestation of a bomb blast or military strike. She’d always viewed proverb of three wise monkeys as a quaint, whimsical homily. Now here were this humanity, unwittingly aping them, yet only evil had befallen. They didn’t have first idea what it were all for and neither did she. No longer could she explain these horrors away, to me or to herself. I would just move on elsewhere in house to potter, but she stayed rooted in place, trying to feed her endless craving fer understanding. Much less could she plot her place and future role of assistance in these events. She cracked, whereupon each detonation, each salvo, widened fissure and made her jump out of her skin as if she were experiencing shelling at first hand. All wind knocked out of her, lungs compressed by a grievous weight, barely able to raise themselves and muster breath. No one can tek that amount of punishment and anguish and so she capitulated. Took to her bed, not like John and Yoko fer Peace, but because it were sole safe haven from conflict all around. A rest from all the unrest in world. No lulls, truces, cease-fires or peace accords fer her though. More like hibernation wi’out end. Her firing neurons were decommissioned. Resonating tinnitus coopted her brainwaves. A permanent twilight colonised her grey matter.

Mam tended her. To best a’ her ability, initially lacking diagnosis, then experience from which to operate. When she couldn’t rouse her from bed, she would occasionally lose it big style and yell and scream. Try and lug her out but she were a dead weight, wi’Mam being too tiny to lift much of anything at all. Sis were carted off to psychiatrists. She were put on drug regimes. An external sovereign thrown into ferment, when already subjected to whole host of private tyrannies and feeble insurgencies. Her beautiful dark hair which she had taken to beading before her collapse, turned grey-white i’her twenties. Like she’d seen ghost. Or rather she had become one. Immured. I’d witnessed her turn turtle and her world shrink to diameter a’ her bed. Plain as mi nose that she were ill. But being ill, I told ma’sen, then she could also get better one day soon. Stayed blinkered right to bitter end, some ten year or so down line. Convenient, easy option that let me tek my shot at same developmental stage. Turned out ter face world, nobbut bi’ turning mi back on ‘em all in domestic realm. Like I said, got away from whole house bi burning it down. But only after we’d already interred Sis.

Wi’all mi comings and goings, I were fortunate in only ever once having misfortune of encountering sight of her ultimate zombification. Not outcome of a particularly high dosage of sedatives, rather more blunt form of voodoo. They administered ECT. Imagine that ! Attached electrodes to her temple and fried her brains. Elective torture on NHS. Like neuroscience had acquired no more sophisticated level of analysis, than positing that depression were caused by little black clouds inside her head, which they could blast into oblivion bi'lectrical charge. Her internal fuse box had overloaded and just needed some jump leads to reset her. Yeah, that’ll work. Further bombard someone already under constant siege. Her skin were positively grey when she came round from session. Sympathetically complementing her hair. Both colour a’ ashes.

None of us foresaw end when it came. How could we have anticipated surge of energy and supreme act of will it entailed of her ? In retrospect, maybe we could have gleaned summat were up, that Sunday afternoon before. I had just surfaced ma’sen, after an all-nighter in field near Hebden Bridge. Mam were trying to rouse her as normal, chivvying her that Dad were due back from a weekender himself, albeit of business trip kind. Couldn’t she see her way clear at least to getting up and having bath ? Make herself all spruce for Father’s return. Mam entreated my help to drag her from bed. I had hold a’ shoulders, while Mam tugged at her ankles. Being as she were still lying prone, my sister couldn’t see me behind crown of her head, unless she deliberately flicked her eyes upwards. But from where I were standing poised, I could see they had wholly receded back inside their sockets. They were cowering, as were her whole tremulous body. Expression of a six year old child, a terrified one at that, were firmly furrowed across her features. Her whole body were burrowing down into mattress. She were trying not only to shrink, but wholly to disappear. Mam, who were only filled by love and concern, somehow had taken on semblance of a fierce monster, so far had my sister dissociated into a land of persecutions and living nightmares. Multi-headed, horned, taloned, fire-breathing, we’ll never know. But that’s what were etched all over tension lines in her face. All you, or anyone, can do fer someone who has retreated so far from threshold of reality, is station yourself at that line, hold it still in place and put out your arms to embrace them once they cross back over it. You can’t even help nudge them over the verge, cos there simply is no connection their side of pale. Her Shrink had made me and my mother recognise this truth. We didn’t know it that Sunday afternoon, but she had no intention of converging with that line ever again.

We all took to our beds that night, save my father who had been inexplicably delayed and held up, or holed up overnight. And of course my sister, who had never vacated hers in first place. First we knew anything were up, when Mam took a phone call from Shrink just returned from his holiday, asking why she had not brought my sister in for her first thing Monday morning session. Mam cursed herself for oversleeping, presumably laid at door of emotional drain from previous afternoon’s exertions. She went to rouse my sister but were perplexed to find her bed empty. I were woken by scream from downstairs and hurdled stairs brace at a time, only to run into my mother’s arm outstretched across lintel of hallway that led on to doorless utilities room and kitchen beyond. I rebounded like a pinball. The phone were cordless one and she still had it clutched to her nightdress, when a tiny, but insistent canvassing dragged her out of her low-level maundering. Evidently Shrink were still on line and instructed her to hang up and call ambulance. She told me I were to remain exactly in place and under no circumstances were I to set foot across portal a’ utility room, let alone kitchen it’sen. She lurched off past me, unsteady on her legs and careening into walls. Still fuzzy-headed from not exiting sleep state on mi own terms, I hadn’t really apprehended what had occurred. Think I rather innocently raised my heavy head to stare through the two sets of door frames, just ter fix point in space to clear mi fog. I came to sharpish alreet.

Kitchen chair being out of place were what registered first. Since we never congregated together as family anymore, all four chairs ought to be housed flush at table. I tracked upwards and saw this figure clothed all in white, slumped back against kitchen chair that had been fetched apart from customary cradling. Head were bowed against top one a’ shoulders and just at the confluence here, dull hue had intruded upon scorching whiteness of cloth. I don’t know if it were distancing effect of observing from two rooms away, but whole scene looked unreal. Double doorframe perspective endowed it wi’filmic quality. Nowt colours seemed quite right. The skin, what little was exposed at margins a’ fabric seemed synthetic. Whole arrangement looked like life-sized doll or waxwork, certainly not mi sister. Why had Mam told me to stay here and bear witness to this ? Her white kameez gave me impression I were waiting for ghost to fully emerge. I looked down and saw discarded tie-dyed dupatta rucked up on floor. Wi’its intensity of colours and sinuous contours alternately breasting and arching above dull floor lino, in my teeming mind it took on form of a snake about to devour figure in white perched above it. Fuck, yer really don’t want to be confronting this sort of pother on a come down.

Fortunately Mam returned to barge me out way and back into some lucidity. “The ambulance is coming. I have to ring the good Doctor back to tell him what hospital they’re taking her to.” She looked at her watch. “Oh my God, your Father will be home any time. I’m going in the ambulance. You’ll have to clean the blood up off the floor. He doesn’t know yet ... Don’t look like that at me. Just for once do something to contribute to this family will you ?” I weren’t aware of frowning, even at prospect of pressing mi nose to blood. I were just bemused why she wanted to keep appearances normal for him. How were she planning to disguise fact that their daughter’d seriously lacerated herself ? Maybe she were right and dad wouldn’t notice.

Doorbell rang and though neither of us were exactly thinking straight at this point, we both factored that as dad had keys, it were likely to be ambulance. Mam indicated she were going upstairs to dress and scuttled off. So I went to open up. Two men stood there in civvies, one reaching in to his jacket pocket and flipping agape his warrant card. “We had a report that an ambulance has been called for a knife wound.” Knife wound ? Knife wound ? How had they construed Mam’s faltering words to be that ? Did they imagine Sis to be streetwalker having been slashed by her pimp ? Or casualty of squabble between two addicts over their fix perhaps ? Had she been caught up in affray spilling over from terraces, between Leeds Whites and Sheffield Blade Runners ? 9.00 am, Monday morn, in a residential road ? Nor were it a mere bloody domestic. This weren’t a wound, it were a virtual self-decapitation. A beheading. Wait a tick, how had they got here before bleeding WYMAS ? Where were big white taxi anyroad ? All this, in the smotheringly cacophonous interstice, of a blinking away of his warrant card. “Um what ? Sorry. Yes. Yes, my sister’s tried to top hersen, by cutting her throat. We’re waiting for ambulance now”. They seemed satisfied wi’this and murmured something about “if there were anything further” before trooping off. At that moment, I hated Police more than I’ve hated anything since. How could they have got things so awry ? Why didn’t they seem to care about situation that were confronting them, if they only bothered to put their noses round door ? I closed house on them as Mam came beetling down stairs. I shook my head and she motioned me towards cupboard under stairs, where cleaning gear were kept. “Wait til they’ve moved the body before you start”. “Body ?” It were first material confirmation she’d let slip. My sister had apparently been successful in excising her tortured existence.

In what fashion too. Not far removed from ritual slaughter of animal fer meat. How steady and unflinching must her hand have been ? She tried to fully sever that head so troubled by excruciating tribulation. To snap antennae of impailing broadcasts. No by your leave as she took hers. No suicide note or any message of farewell. No elucidation, from she who used to tek utmost pains to find it fer me. No words at all, hurtful or otherwise. Self-explanatory why she had to snuff out sen. When her Shrink later called round house to offer us his professional condolences, he had temerity to advance angle that since deed took place in home, it could be interpreted as explosive rejection of her family. I didn’t think of it at time, but mere fact she chose to wait til his return from holiday and were due for an appointment, might equally have been repudiation of his methods. Words carelessly cast out, by a so-called bleedin’ clinical word specialist. Hurtful words. Words that could bring you to yer knees, as images had felled the stout cypress that were my sister. Now it’s all been stirred up again by those three cocks also dabbling cheaply wi’words, ignorant of their true magnitude. Have they ever scrubbed family member’s blood off kitchen lino ? Have they fuck ! Only way I could manage it, were to dissociate reality of what it were, plasma and pith of my sister. Same stuff as I’m made from. Now doused in a gritty rag that were once shirt off dad’s back. Then wrung back out, into plastic bucket smeared wi’god knows what household dregs, shade and consistency of factory chimney. Wha’ever grimey shit were in it and no matter how diluted bi’bilge water, couldn’t disguise carmine hue a’ her blood. Lustrous, but no longer vibrant.

Once I’d scoured away main pool, I had to peer awfully hard to detect stray drops. Fer lino were a geometric pattern, constructed of thousands of small hexagonals of reds, browns and oranges. Beads of blood, once they’d been impacted pon floor, also resembled hexagons, wi’in that same spectrum of colour. I could only spur ma’sen on, by looking for the perfect superimposition of a blood speckle wholly contained wi’in a lino hexagon. I wouldn’t purge it clean, but rather let it be, so it might serve as a talismanic protection. Analgous to finding a four leaf clover, or apotropaic Hand of Fatima. But needless to say I didn’t locate one. All speckles overlay hexagonal boundaries. Six is more a Jewish significance than the five in Islam.

And I’ve had it wi’words.

A,B & E (3)

That’s one thing I could never fathom in Damon. His pornography of violence. How he could be both inside the brutality and also outside preserving it for posterity ? I used to think that you just had to have yourself think like a man to unravel that stumper. But unfolding before my very eyes, I am presented with empirical evidence to the contrary. Every day I am compressed behind the cordon sanitaire, transfused directly into the heart of the contagion that is my people abroad and away from home. An epidemic that used to be just about held in check back in Blighty by flimsy anti-rabidity restrictions, but now unleashed here under grant of charter holidays. Disposable income, disposable attitude to other people. Across the Square from me, right over there, is the sort of cut glass they don’t show in the tour brochures.

Normally about this time they catch the sun’s rays and put on a spangling floor show. But not today. The lustre has probably been dulled by the vermillion glaze lining it. Boys and girls making out from here and straight into Casualty. And for what ? A bonk ? A shag ? What the hell is a bonk ? A bank that’s gone wrong ? Like a liquidity crisis or something ? A bonk. Sounds like a gentle prang at two miles per hour, rather than a full head-on collision. I’ve heard of a bunk up, when space was at a premium. Where there was no privacy. When there was no alternative but to do it on a street bed of glass, but no one should need recourse to it anymore. Especially in this flush neck of the woods. And I thought shag, was either a type of pile, or pipe tobacco. As in carpet burns or pubic hair getting caught in the teeth like, well, pipe tobacco.

Rumpy-pumpy, there’s another one. What on earth is one of those - or a pair - when it’s at home ? These words mean nothing to me. I am only acquainted with them, since nightly they are trumpeted at the top of screeching lungs along the Strip (large ‘S’, yet mean spirited), by the girls ! Gaggles of female press gangs, impressively transacting non-pecuniary pledges. And then I realise, these terms have been instituted by my fairer sex. Softer, gentler words to replace the workaday terms like nailed, banged, laid, screwed, drilled, pumped, balled, or poked. The doing words. Grindstone honed, that building site of our bodies, upon which was erected the bailiwick that our manual trades-men built. Work and play, mutual and reciprocal, to the exclusion of their spouses. So I am moved to silently applaud. Admiring the reflexive litheness of our language. Cheerleading the wresting back of a vestige of control. Since before you can put yourself in the position of a man, you have to have some conception of being a woman.

But as I peer closer at the clinches, they are just girls, or girlies after all. At play, or playing at it. Judging by the preponderance of faux bridal veils. While caricature devil horns and angel wings, further undermines any cogency they might credit they possess. Though they may brazenly take to the street in crop tops and bikinis, still as they walk they hug their own elbows or shoulders. Forearms threaded across their midriffs, as if to reconceal all exposed flesh. As if they are trying to hold themselves together entirely. Their self-esteem is all shot. Their salty swagger peppered with the shrapnel of anxiety. They are not laying any foundations of conscious change. Not ladette so much as laddered. Tight. With their demure paunches and their chary beer-bellies. Binge drinking is just bulimia for those too squeamish to put their own fingers down their throats. Hanky-panky, now we had that one back in my day (as I’m saying it, is ‘my day’ finally over ?) Only now, hanky panky is a willowy white slip, raised in utter submission. A wispy cotton-brief lowered in abject capitulation. Bonk must stand for bonkers, a boozey out-of-their-mindedness, bankable sure thing. While the only fibre that is shagged, is their resistance. The bars of their inhibitions jemmied apart by Jim Beam or Jack Daniels. Or a baby-fucking-sham (the very designation of empty sex) ! No jiggery, just pokery entailed. The boys are back in town and I’m old enough to be their mother.

They can’t quite carry it off. Not like me. Back home, I was more self-possessed and more blokeish than any of these prim whims. I’d lived it for real. Rode the bucking bronco, steered the raging bull, muzzled the untamed mustang. Bareback, not sidesaddle like these prissy missys. I’d broken bread with the Minotaur and demanded my slice of tribute too. But it was cos part of me was feminine and weak, hankering after some true emotionality back in the real world, that it all unravelled. And it took a bent-as-a-nine-bob-note Theseus to come and pull me out of there. Pre-fall Eden is mind-crushingly humdrum and graceless, be it lording over terrified toadies in London. Or being serenaded by wastrel wraiths out here in paradise. Each entails a paucity of feeling.

See, I certainly know about alcohol and I know all about making dangerous love too. Christ I’ve spent a good chunk of my life being boned on the edge of a knife. And over there, broken glass and all, that’s not it. That’s sex for sale so cheap, they’re giving it away. The bottom’s dropped out the market. A perfect knicker-elasticity of supply and demand. So much so that when it’s served up on a plate, ungarnished, it mocks me with its bilious mouldering. See Tantalus, since it was in front of you every day, you should have just abstained. Then you would have observed through its decay, that it just wasn’t worth it in the first place.

This kid, one May it was, early in my season, late in his. In fact some football showpiece final. He couldn’t believe he’d got his dates wrong and flown out on holiday before the FA Cup had been played out at Wembley. Never missed one yet he claimed. Still, neither was he coy at all about the chance to get all coital. And here I was offering him the chance to make the beast with two backs, rather than watch a couple of flat-back fours. He protested that the match was more like a tradition with him, so if I could just see my way to sitting on the love bench for ninety odd minutes plus extra time if necessary. Sure why not, the pace of life out here was slow enough, (Greece’d lightning it is not), that you're always waiting for something. Even if it was only one’s own expiration. I held out for what seemed like an eternity, but was in fact only til just after half-time, before deciding to spring his off-to-one-side trap with some defence-splitting ball control and some keepy-uppy.

But as we fought each other into a bore-draw stalemate, our post-match analysis concluded that it had only served to detach him from the experience of the game. While in turn, the game had detached him from the blow by blow sensations of the blow-by-blow job. He could remember the result but not the goals. And while he could recall peaking, he could not recollect whether he’d Jackson Pollocked my face or Jasper Johns-ed the back of my throat, (my phraseology rather than his, which was somewhat less decorous). The real condemnation lay however, in that since he was committed to neither team, nor as to me, he scarcely registered irritation at forfeiting the passions of any kind of partisanship. For as he postulated, chips are beezer and bread can’t be bettered, but a chip butty was a monstrous sacrilege of both (again I paraphrase, for though certainly abstracted, he lacked the means of even rudimentary expression). But what really relegated him to a notch below a notch, was when he said the whole thing could have been worse. He could have Jackson Pollocked that nice David Beckham on the telly. In your dreams mate, when we’re talking about his focus being glued to a giant-sized screen mounted above head-height. Even if a portable had been strapped to the end of his flaccid prick, he couldn’t have pushed the on button.

So, I’ve had my fill of glacé eyed, maraschino cherry pickings. Under-ripe I might have expected, but I was appalled to discover that, despite the callowness of their youth, necrosis has already set in. The wormwood gall of woodwormed aspirations, it colo(g)n-ises my perspiration every day out here. I blend in perfectly. That’s why I languish on their side of the cordon insanitaire. Besides, I know it’s for my own protection. Never mind eh, nil desperandum. But moreover, definitely not nil by mouth. Rather, omnis ver mouth, a salute to omnia vincit amor. A ver-mouth drink, therefore, must now be apposite. English Rose or a Creeping Death. Which is it to be ?