Vague

Behind the facemask of my mind there isn’t a lot happening. The dullness of disaster has arrested complex thoughts with its neutralising swarm, experienced as a blank mass descending over everything like snow, or asbestos over an old factory. Which isnt to say I’m having a particularly bad time. After all kids would play in it like snow, and were presumably happy for those moments, even as the traces of later pain knitted themselves into the depths of the lung. Although I do have chronic pain of a kind, it’s really not anything to send letters home about – I can still enjoy the bubbling steam of the coffee machine that cost me £4 in a charity shop. These cheap, or at least notionally cheap pleasures help us in the mornings as they grow darker, colder, here in the north. For the best skill in life is to hold on whilst letting go, and knowing when. The chances of death are still certain etc. etc.

Stranded on the immensity of the ocean, I am treading water. The giant fish-object silhouette hovers in the deep, just on the edge of the dysphotic zone. My eyes are sliding off its almost-imperceptibility as the water laps around my ears, as the waves pull me up and down. My stomach is turning and turning to try find a way out, but of course there is none. Dread is with me in the cold water, amongst the water, invisible. My eyes are wide, and cold and I am in constant tension waiting for the attack.

Then something changes. I relax, see the surface rise away from me in its liquid glass transformations of the grey clouds. I take a mouthful of water and taste its saltiness before I open my lungs and breathe it in. It is light and cool inside me and I now hover, buoyant as the water, breathing the ocean in the dark. And moods are like this, aren’t they? I suppose.

V.67 Fainting at the Supermarket Clinic

When I was lying amongst them –
the tubs of biochemical
waste – I had a thought, on the floor
there, under the bright yellow tubs

I cried later, the self-service
checkout beeped and I cried weakly
Julian of Norwich touched me
On the shoulder. She hugged me and

I cried at the gap. The quiet
where visions should have poured outward
was a small cracked rock in the dark.
The Wu tang Clan sung me back with

C.R.E.A.M. as my selfhood rebooted.
My heartbeat was slow, I was born
again, from a song I can’t know.
I thought: what has happened? I know

Nothing anymore, just this face
and the other, staring back down
As I lay on the smooth cold floor.
The lady passed by, I sat up

And stood up, slowly. I wandered
from here to there, bought frozen food
and went to the checkout. She had
hollow eyes and she hugged me close