Life had become violence and sex: ‘Climbing Trees Backwards’

August 12, 2014 by in Blog


Life had become violence and sex. With cast iron certainty I buried myself in ideas: power comes from the barrel of a gun, so I came loaded with blinded frustrations and anger. I become a pistol without pity, killing class enemies with words and slogans memorised like earlier catechisms, baptised in brine and city phlegm. I began shooting off the negation of my emasculation, wanting to kill by any means possible. All I would kill was myself, slowly and painfully. Peasants thinking science and science playing religion. Half a brigade, half a brigade, half a brigade to the Costa del Sol and the order of the day became lager, lager on the Costa Brava. Back in port magnificent shipping line offices fronted the world with grandeur, dotting the Pier Head. Flags greeted sea breezes and gulls, bright colours and patterns. Office boys shifted cargoes of tons, Gold Coast to Southampton, New York to Port Said, with pens poised, at the ready, filled with black ink, awaiting further instructions.

Thieving, violence, piss in tenements called gardens built of bricks. Girls on the game with their mothers’, undeclared tax free income. Social on Thursday and shopping in the city on Saturday. Peacocks in the park, long gone. Display cased model ships adorned the pier bridges: long gone too. Smoke dirty city, hazy moon at night, sea birds magically carried aloft, and I bent double, struggled against Atlantic gales. Church schools, sandstone memorials to Victorian beneficence, sternness pressed into darkly dressed nuns, edged in sparkling white, shimmering above their heads like starched halos. My poor city ringing to the sounds of ships bells and horns, speaking through grime skies. Churches calling the faithful flocking to rid their guilt, fearing confessing their mortality.


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