I turn my head away from the direction of the paper and look through the glass I'm pressed against. A man is sitting on a seat with his little son. The man has gelled blonde hair and wears a yellow checked shirt. He's covered in tattoos, some of which look hand-drawn, which makes me think perhaps he did them in prison. All the tattoos are black outlines, faded to green. On his kneecap is written, 'SEX + DRUGS' with a wonky star underneath it and beneath that is written, 'BEER.' There is a nasty scar on the side of his knee that looks like the result of an accident which has taken some of the muscle there away. I move my eyes to look at his arms, which also have deep, long scars on them. They create spaces between tattoos of skulls and the name 'Maria.' I move my eyes to his neck and spot an England flag. 'Here we go,' I think. There is a large N next to the flag and just as I'm thinking perhaps it stands for 'Nazi,' I spot some writing on his wrist with a symbol which looks as if derived from the Christian fish symbol. 'White power,' it says. I look as his beautiful son, whose skin is untainted and hope that the tattoos on his father are from a past he cannot erase, but has forgotten.
Monday, 25 July 2011
I'm standing in the crush of people on the central line tube train toward Bond Street. Someone is holding a newspaper in front of them. The headline reads, 'Better to kill too many than not enough.' It relates to the horrific massacre in Norway in which a far-right extremist shot almost 100 people he accused of being 'multiculturalist traitors.' They were teenagers on a Labour Party summer camp.
Friday, 17 June 2011
It rains. What could have been the wind through trees is not. There's no movement and leaves droop with the weight of water. An oversized mac and impractical shoes, leaking onto semi-socks trudge. Trudge, trudge, trudge. Underground with wet knees and toes, umbrellas folded pass. Drips fall from lips and noses. Sit. Each person after falls heavily into empty space and sighs. Rain in June again. Wet through again.
Saturday, 7 May 2011
I'm a bubble. Held in the air in a place with no atmosphere, spinning on an axis, tripping on the stars, occasionally I fall, and rest on rivers, borrowing more than a cliche. I'm an instrument. I feel like a projector. An aged projector which pulls up the wrong images in a presentation which has taken many hours to put together. I'm a flutter. I'm the wings of a moth beating and beating and beating. Coated in camomile, hair done up and I'm bent around my words. I'm a thesaurus not alphabetised. I'm a forcefield. Shattering metaphorical glasses with my fingertips. I'm a pianist with a keyboard instead of a piano. Making letters not notes. Building with them. Putting letters into words, tap, tap, tap. Sliding words into sentences, tap, tap tap. I float on paragraphs on seas of pages, a solid hull to safe-glide through the emptiness. An oil lamp in my hand. A blanket of belief around my shoulders, soft.
Sunday, 20 March 2011
The bus stop crowd sighs as an empty 31 rattles past on the Camden High Road. When the next arrives, the people-mass is twice as large as it would've otherwise been. I wait for everyone to board before eying up the top deck and taking my own chances. At the last minute upstairs a seat up-front becomes available. I sit down. How privileged I am to get this view of the throng of red car lights illuminated against the black night. To see the the people outside the clubs having a good time from this height.
Then the guy across from me pipes up. A big, bald Jamaican guy with a leather jacket and fingerless biker gloves.
"Artificial intelligence. All of you young people with your internet and your mobile phones. You're not human, you're artificial intelligence," he repeats over and over again to the window in front of him.
The man beside him widens his eyes and shrinks against the window.
The bus slowly progresses to the end of the High Road, at which point our biker says, "come out, come out, wherever you are. Who stole my youth? Who stole my youth? Be it on tube, bus, plane or train, come out, come out." He repeats this line over and over before a few more choruses about artificial intelligence.
The shrunken man catches my eye in the window reflection. He looks a bit scared. I shoot him a sympathetic glance.
At last we pull into a bus stop and with the entire top deck now watching, the biker stands up and, as he turns to leave, mutters, "Fucking two-legged wankers."