Saturday, November 09, 2013

Here to there


Artist: Aurel Schmidt

My favourite part of the day is walking to work. Everyday, I take the same route.

Everyday, my work heels rub and my bag carves into my shoulder, heavy with laptop and books and clutter. So while others march past, I wander. 

Past dark, closed shops with mannequins pinned into loud frocks, expensive price tags hidden. Past sleeping nightclubs, men in overalls hosing off the pavement (probably vomit from the night before). Down past the market, yawning and stretching in the throes of waking up. The familiar stomach-turning smells from the fishmongers, bloody carcasses swinging from great hooks, shop workers unlocking padlocks and rolling up screens. 

Sometimes I stand in line for a coffee, the barista young and awkward, tall with shaggy dark hair and fumbling hands. If I was 17, I'd be in love. Then past the entrance to a tiny, hidden park, just a patch of grass really. It feels old. The way graveyards feel. I pass the same old man with a young boy, the same kid overtakes me on his skateboard. We run to a routine. 

This used to be the poor part of town. Now it's one of the most expensive parts of the country. Most of the houses aren't big, but they have character. Wooden villas all versions of each other, lovingly detailed by builders who used to care. Most are picture perfect, but there are still some with peeling paint and rusty fences. 

You can tell a lot about someone from their garden. Most are trimmed green handkerchiefs of grass. One has an old car on cinderblocks; their curtains are always closed. One has sculpted trees like bobble heads, everything in that garden is creepily symmetrical and immaculate. My favourites have flowers winding through the fences, overgrown gardens and big leafy trees. It's the flowers that slow me down. 

Blood red, velvety roses the size of saucers, delicate creamy orbs, sprays of small fragrant petals, gentle purple and geometric ones, pure white lilies as soft as skin, with stamen so large and erect and luridly yellow they seem faintly obscene. I stop for each of them. Mostly, I don't know the names. That doesn't
matter.

Everyday, they remind me there's beauty all around me, I just have to look.




Stil kicking


I see your comments and I read them. It makes me feel like I should keep telling my story, even if I wish I had a better one to tell. Thanks.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welcome home

Damp like you wish your wife's panties were. Damp like the cave between a fatty's rolls. Damp like the towel on the end of your bed. Damp. Damp. Damp.

The jackets in my closet, leather heels, cowboy boots, the cushions on the couch, the curtains, mould like black lace is creeping between them, all over them. Invading my house from the inside. Black splotches are stretching over the ceiling. Like storm clouds heavy with rain.

Or the black billow that streams from the smokestack at the hospital. That's where they burn the diseased body parts, the amputated limbs, cancerous growths, cysts with teeth and tufts of hair in them, the unwanted fetuses and the beloved ones gone bad. It's like the hospital's flag, flying high over the city, so even in the park where life should be picturesque, you can see it.

I chase the mould with an armful of cleaning products and a bucket of hot water that quickly turns textured and blackened. I can smell it.

We've moved out of our bedroom and into the lounge. The mould is still there, but the air isn't thick with it. Our bedroom is unusable.

It's a beautiful old bungalow. But what can you do? Legally, the landlords don't have to do a damn thing.

The walls are thin. Our next door neighbour is in his 30s, tall and spindly, a crop of orange hair, he lives alone, slams his door, stomps around the house. I hear him yelling into the phone at night. He's perpetually angry. His anger seeps through the walls.

One time he screamed through the wall "shut up you fucking cunt" because I went to the bathroom. I think he might be mad. His mother pays his rent, cooks for him and cleans his house. She doesn't live with him, but she spends several hours there each day. She is angry too. She stands on the front porch and glares at me.

Two months ago, I awoke to a blood-chilling scream. It was coming from the flat through the wall. My boyfriend leapt out of bed, grabbed a baseball bat and ran underpant-clad next door.

The angry neighbour had woken up to a man dressed in black and wearing a balaclava, standing in his bedroom beside his bed, watching him as he slept. Like an ominous shadow. When he woke, the man turned and walked out of his room. Thinking maybe he was dreaming, he followed him, down the hall, towards the back door, through the kitchen. The man stopped, and turned. When he screamed, the man took a step towards him.

That was when my boyfriend came crashing around the corner and the man took off. They chased him down the street. But the man had a bicycle hidden in the long grass at the corner. He jumped on it, and was gone.

The street was quiet. Despite the yells, no one else had come to help. The police didn't even turn up.

After that, the next door neighbour stopped shouting abuse through the wall. But he still lies about us to the landlords. He still listens with his ear to the wall.

The 6 month lease is almost up. I can't wait to move.

I'm looking for sunshine.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Not quite dead







I'm not slashed of throat, formaldahyded, or scattered to the howling winds. 

I'm still out there, here, somewhere, my legs climbing stairs, hands typing inane ad copy for brand giants. Still smoking cigs on the balcony on level 11. Still waiting for him to deliver my "lunch". 

As soon as I see his car, I'm triple pressing the elevator button, willing the doors to open. Hands trembling, forehead wet. Stomach being gnawed by rats. Skidding through the foyer in heels. I lean through his car window, he gives me a banana, a nectarine, and a syringe full of drugs.

Sometimes, in the elevator on the way up, eyes on the lights as they ding though the floors, I'll rest my stupid head on the cool aluminum walls with relief, sometimes I'll do a mental little wriggly alone-dance. I hate myself for this happiness. This compulsive need. But I just can't seem to stop, it's in me now, it's got me, this need that means enough to lie for. To live a double life for. 

Truer than any true love. My very cells are love-sick until their daily kiss. My selfish, parasitic lover is oblivious. The only lover you know for certain will never leave you. Til death do us part as they say. That is his break up routine. So very fucking loyal.


Once in the office bathroom, by the bulb that doesn't shine bright enough, when I see that glorious rosy plume of blood, that is the moment I work until 8pm for. The reason I give my dealer more than my landlord. The reason the dealer always gets paid, the landlord, if he's lucky. Bowed head, bloody wrists. Another droplet hits the floor. The colour sweeps back through my cheeks, my eyes are clearer, like make-up on a mannequin. A polished apple, rotten and dead inside. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mr Anonymous & friends


Mostly, I delete them. Sometimes I leave them. But the comments are clear, although he has never met me, Mr Anonymous loathes me. Wants me to overdose and die. In fact, a few years back, he even left a comment pretending I HAD died.

Let clear something up. I am pathetic, I suck, being a junky sucks, it is a waste of life. I agree.

I don't think anyone plans on becoming an addict, let alone dreams of being one as a child. It is scary, lonely. Something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

And I'm sure I dislike myself much more than you, Mr Anonymous, ever could.

Still, I don't understand why you care so much about someone you find so pathetic. So, please fill up the comments and let me know. I'm interested.



PS
I know I'm not special, everywhere on the internet, anywhere you can post anonymously, there are hellishly mean comments. That is the internet. What people do when anonymous is a real reflection of humanity. It's eye-opening and actually pretty fucking depressing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Notes from above a shop window



It was 8am and I was in the shower when the girl was hit.

My boyfriend saw it all from the window. The day was dark and grey, roads slippery with rain.

The little girl was walking to school, the same as every morning. Neat in her school uniform, she waited until the traffic had slowed and stepped onto the crosswalk. A scooter stopped to let her pass.

What caught my boyfriend's eye was the car coming up behind the scooter.

It didn't seem to be slowing. The woman driving it had her head bent down, texting, or fiddling with her phone. By the time she looked up, it was too late.

She hit the brakes, but it didn't do much good. She rear-ended the scooter, and the scooter flew into the child.

These moments always seem to happen in slow motion. The sickening thud of contact, the small body spinning into the air, a messy twisted heap of child, backpack and scattered belongings. The scooter a mangled wreck.

I grabbed a woolen blanket, and ran down the stairs in my bathrobe and bare feet.

They had her lying on the wet concrete, dragged just off the road, to the curb. My first aid knowledge is pathetic, but I knew we had to keep her warm.

Her small pale face was smudged with blood. Big brave eyes, she was conscious. It was hard to tell where the blood was coming from. A panicky crowd had encircled her. Telling her not to move. I retreated.

The tow trucks got there first. The ambulance seemed to take eternity. They loaded her in on a stretcher much too big for that small body. The street resumed normal activity.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This one's for you Matt


Funny
Kind
Generous
Thoughtful

I met Matt through this blog. He read from the very beginning. I don't think he ever once commented, but he sent me emails. Many, many emails. He believed so much in this fucked up junky. I knew that if I ever needed him, he was there. I found out today he's not there any more.


Matt, I'm going to miss you forever. RIP.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

READ

Nuffing much



So I owe you guys an update.

Work either has me traversing town at top speed between freelancing gigs, or sleeping until midday and mooching around in pajamas. It's erratic, but at least it's there (at last). Yes, the economy seems to be perking its nipples.

Even so, more and more beggars and buskers fight for space in the city centre. The music they produce clashes and overlaps as they just crank the volume louder. Even the Hari Krishnas now dance around carrying speakers.

Sometimes I sneak a glance at the proffered hats and see more coins and notes than I have in my wallet.

I asked a group of men killing time in a bus shelter if they had a spare cig. Too late I smelled the giveaway, they belonged to the halfway house across the street. "Can you roll" one asked. He handed me his pouch of tobacco. I was touched. Inside were butts that he had collected off the street. His stinking, filthy treasure. With much respect, I had to decline.

So often it's the people with nothing who are the most willing to share.