“Fringe Wars… Same-Sex Affections… Conclusion”
The last night in Dublin, lyin in the hotel room starin at the stale smoke still clingin to the curtains, Sir Fleming in the midst a some drunk dream or other, folks roarin fuck-words on the street outside, others cursing the wombs what spawned them in dialects I ain’t ever gonna understand.
Occasionally, a coherent threat;
“I’ll fuck your kidney rotten!”
“And fuck your grampa also, I’ll eat the bastard’s eyes he sets foot cross the threshold ever again!”
And, oh, yeah;
“By Lorca’s balls, I’ll cut the ears off a your firstborn for that kinda chat!”
Under the sheets, trousers still on case maybe the duvet flies off in the midst a some nightmare ’bout rabid Alsatians, ain’t nothing a fella as cultured as Sir Fleming needs to be greeted with ‘pon wakenin.
The dark illuminated by the blue glow of the mobile phone, struggling to explain the fire in the skull to Sinéad, and the countdown at the top right a the screen, you got 100 digits left, fucker, best you make your damn point.
And impossible, it is, cause who can relate anything of the sort wi these kinda rations imposed on the language, so screaming at the phone “Hell’s bells, we won the bastard war, we didn’t crawl through trenches seethin wi Nazi torment for a hundred bastard digits!”
But no use, and so “My heads on fire, you must help me, I think”, it’s all I can get away with, least without the aid of six or seven rambling essays loosely connected via the Savage Purple stained-glass chards in the gut.
Making do with the notepad paper flung round the four corners a the mattress, and the pen shakin in the fist;
“Maybe it’s better never to know, never to be in these positions, cause an abstract ideal, easy to ignore, but the Savage Purple straight ahead, the eyes like Miles Davis’ sax risin out the stew a bass and cymbal 49 and a half seconds into ‘Miles Runs The Voodoo Down’, there’s no science I know of could explain how a man might look away.”
Because for a time, earlier in the eve, stood midst a throng a chemically-enhanced emo-fringed erections in the courtyard out back a Eamon Dorans, for a moment that’s all I could see, that note tearing through the soundscape, and what it looked like, what it felt like and sounded like was Sinéad sat in the corner of a bar and the faces round about meltin into one inconsequential hiccup in the geometry of Dublin.
And pie-charts, graphs, statistical analysis;
Is Dublin the cymbals? Or the bass? Or the fevered burps of the 6-string?
Evidence suggests – Dublin, it’s the vinyl, and on its own t’is a thing of great seductive beauty, least till the sax starts risin, and then no, it’s just that, it’s black plastic, and all a man can find room for in the space between the soul and the brain is that streak a blindin intensity shreddin the topography, that sigh out the lungs of a thousand-foot Seraphim.
Dawn startin to bleed cross the streets, and the notes;
“No luck with rent-boys on Liffey Bridge.”
The bridge, sometimes around half seven in the evening, what happens is 57% of the folks wandering across it never reach the other side, all of them lined up gainst the white railings, all of them wi eyes alive wi perversion, provided you got the green, provided you got the price of that quick one off the wrist an no kiss, stood with the trousers at the knees in the alley beside The Olympia, coughin into a stranger’s ear on account of it’s easier when you can’t recognize them in the morning.
So I’m told, so they say, these entrepreneurs with the Master Card round the neck and the tattooed fist down the strides.
Throwing pillows cross the floor, and then no, turns out I want them back, and the headphones on, The Pogues, Shane spittin those beautiful odes to grime an abandon an cities painted wi the puke from a fella high on Behan;
“A man’s ambition must indeed be small
To write his name upon a shithouse wall
But before I die I’ll add my regal scrawl
To show the world I left with sweet fuck all
And when all of us bold shithouse poets do die
A monument grand they will raise to the sky
A monument made just to mark our great wit
A monument of solid shit now me boys”
Us bold shithouse poets.
Half-truths and unreliable recollections;
Stood at a bar few years ago, gut soaked in gin, hollerin to any and all;
“I’ll be fucked if I leave this establishment ‘thout a verse a ‘The Auld Triangle’!”
And the gnashin an the sneers, the owner grabbin a fella by the arm, “Think it best you leave now, think you’ve maybe had enough”, and The Duke hissin back “Fuck this barbarity, I pay your bastard wages!”
“A few pints a cheap stout at dinner-time every day! Thank fuck I’m not relying on your patronage for the mortgage!”
Because that’s what you did, a few mouthfuls a Proper Stuff before headin in the direction a three liters a molten shite-paste for one-fifty at the off-licence cross the road.
Lain under these sheets, what a fella gets to thinking is “Thank you”, because for a long time memories of that sort, what they’d result in was three weeks in the corner of a bedroom with Rubber Soul on repeat praying the melodies might counter the guilt and the shame and the self-loathing.
And another note;
“Gratitude – Keep it in mind.”
And keeping it in mind.
The iPod, having trouble competing with the other sounds in the head, specifically the sound of “Break On Through” being hollered by Sinéad and Anna, the two of them runnin up ahead, Bruxelles being swallowed by the black behind us, Eamon Dorans lullin us towards it, promises of music fit to mend and fringes fit to inspire, the reek a isobutyl nitrite bein shoved eyeball-deep into the nostrils a teenagers every direction.
True, the last thing a man wants in the skull at five in the AM is the words a Jim Morrison, but risin from Sinéad’s tongue, a fella realizes it might be the best performance ever given, a fella realizes this is how every song ever written should be heard, with the sentiments ridin the shimmerin purple path strechin ahead a that aura, aye.
Myself an Sir Fleming discussin the intricacies of hooker-spottin’ and homosexual night-spots with a chap goes by the name of Dec, and Sir Fleming still shattered round the vision-glands on account of a lady in geek-glasses a few streets back asking directions, and for sure, he didn’t know, but still, it’s this way right here, should be easy to find, and then cursing, “Why in fuck’s name didn’t I ask if I could walk with her?”
And the answer, to be found somewhere in the middle of a fable concerning a fella gets a craving for the first Whiskeytown record, walks four miles to the house of a lawyer, said legal professional being in possession of just such an item.
And the road bein treacherous and trying, the fella gets to thinking; What the hell will this solicitor say, anyroad? What if he says no, the last thing I’ll do is lend you Faithless Street, fucker, get the hell offa my lawn fore I carve you raw with a rake! What if he makes up some shit along the lines of “Oh, sorry, I lent it to my sister”, even though everyone knows his sister ain’t ever existed outside of a form concerning Disability Living Allowance for a fabricated woman lives in the cow-shed.
What if he tells me to buy my own copy?
And by the time the knuckles touch wood, the fella’s already mapped out the conversation every which way, every possibility assessed, none of them anything less than cripplingly humiliating.
The lawyer answers the door. The fella spits on the carpet. “Stick your fuckin record up your arse!”
Because we can’t ever let anything happen without first obsessing and assuming and Doing Folks Thinkin For ‘Em, and so yeah, the girl in the geek glasses, she wanders on up the street, on past the bar with the red light pourin onto the pavement, with the folks outside mutterin, “We’ll never get in there, that’s the fuckin Viper Room.”
And they never do approach the bouncers.
And he never does walk with the lady in the geek glasses.
And The Duke never will kiss the lass with the freestyle in the smile and the Savage Purple in the eyes.
In the hotel room, under the sheets, flicking through the couple photos stored on the memory of the digital camera, three in total, two of them being pictorial representations of Dec, taken whilst stood outside Eamon Dorans and The Duke and Sir Fleming being propositioned along the lines of;
“Listen, we’re all gonna head back to mine, gonna be great, all sortsa partying to be done, what with it only bein 5 in the AM.”
And a no, my God I would adore nothing more in this world, but we can’t, on account of the train tickets forbid it, on account of being There pretty much guarantees we won’t ever wind up Here, being right beside the train station, more or less, and yeah, fuck, it’s a costly business, the old train travel, ain’t the kinda thing a man can pay for an discard willy nilly.
‘Specially not when the bank account bleeds out the ATM every time I go near the fucker, screamin an hollerin, “Leave me! I have nothing more to give!”
But what I can do, is I can ask about whether a photograph might be taken, for the article, like. For posterity.
And so the flash a white and the whirr of the camera in the grip.
Sir Fleming looking unsure, what the hell’s goin on here, what with all this photo taking?
“Shit, could I take another one, man?”
“Um, yeah. Sure.”
And again with the flash and the whirr, suspicious glances from Sir Fleming, what you playin at, The Duke, what kinda madness is this?
But it all makes sense.
Because the reason is the camera, it’s been in the room this whole time, until tonight, and what it’s been doin is softly weepin in the corner of the bag, all sortsa lonesome sighs, all kindsa talk about how it can feel the Savage Purple, it knows she’s nearby, for certain, and if it doesn’t get to make some sort of attempt at capturing least some semblance of it all, then most likely it’ll blow the back of its skull apart with a AK fore the night’s out.
And so I’m saying to Sinéad, you have to let me take a photo, and she’s saying no, no way, what kinda voodoo you tryin to lay down here anyroad, I can’t have a photo taken, not for a second.
“But you have to, because we got ones of everyone else, you can ask Dec, we did his just a second ago.”
And the nose and the miscellaneous stretchin out the confines of the anatomy.
And thus the reason for the two photos, see, because the first one didn’t come out, and whilst, with all due respect, it hardly mattered, the last thing a man needs is Sinéad asking to see and bein greeted wi an image the likes a which you find on websites offerin Pictures Of Dead Ghosts Caught On Pictures. Loads a streaks a blue an red an white an yellow and fuck all anyone could ever mistake for a human.
“Seriously, it’s only for the article, no other reason, God forbid, that’d be madness.”
And so ok, for a second, and so the camera flashes and a split-second later an Italian fella has grabbed Sinéad by the arm and kissed her right there on Temple Bar Square.
And I’m thinking you scoundrel, that’s how to go about it all!
And not the first kiss Sinéad’s enjoyed in the last two hours, neither, on account of a wee while back, stood in the aforementioned yard out back of Eamon Dorans, myself and Sir Fleming spyin Oberst Fringes left and right, and Anna, she’s joining in, going so far as to congratulate one especially extravagant fucker up top of the stairs.
And then, next thing anyone knows, Sinéad taps Anna on the shoulder and the two of them, lips locked and eyes closed and I’m looking round about, perplexed about how no-one much seems to notice, or if they do, they process the image with the kinda detached cool ain’t ever gonna light on the shoulders of a man as fried on Sinéad and her every gesture as himself, over there, fella with the daft blue velvet jacket and the Clerks t-shirt.
Him with the legs weakenin on account of the blood headed north for a time, and then it’s over, and aye, a fella tryin to blink, and no, no chance of the eyelids meetin for a split-half-nanosecond anytime between now and Christmas.
Few days later, Sinéad, she’s saying “By the way, about the Anna thing, I kiss girls.”
And The Duke shruggin. “S’ok. So do I. Don’t tell no-one.”
On account of God forbid folks might assume I get some sometimes.
Following Anna and Sinéad’s “moment”, group a lads appear around us, few faces materializing in the mass, one of them fiddling with a tiny bottle a poppers, and passed amongst them, The Duke abstaining, five or six folks indulging in a sniff an a cough and the eyes left an right red as oxen arseholes, giggling, sweat risin on their foreheads, and then, it would appear, the high dissipates, the brains sink back into the waves a vodka and the Jägermeister.
Because a popper high doesn’t last long, this much I remember from days spent wandering high school corridors, the thumping in the temple reaching a grotesque crescendo just as the doors are opened and the seats taken and Mrs McCallister banterin bout Pythagoras as the nose starts runnin and the sickness swells in the groin.
(Occasionally, just to see what happens, the pill at the bottom of the bottle is swallowed, and then a hilarious series of paranoid ravings, oh my god, what if it’s poisonous, what if it isn’t, what if I die and ‘thout ever once getting tween the legs of the lass I started smoking to impress.
And later in life, sober and clean, the realization that probably I will die without ever doing any such thing, suddenly it don’t seem so terrible, really.)
Here on the street, with the photo stored on the camera memory, with a woman with a head-scarf sellin plastic roses on the street, with talk of buses to catch and infamies to exploit, a cry to the left a me, “Go fuck yourself you fuckin asshole!”, and it’s a girl, she’s screamin at one a the emo-fringes, he’s runnin up the street, arms out at the side, “Aw yeah, fuckin fuck me, that’s right, I didn’t fuckin do anything, but go ahead”, and next thing anyone knows three of the fringes are tryin to hold back another, he’s got the fist frozen three inches from the face of a jock the size a thirteen factories, the two a them spittin at each other, “Come the fuck on then!” and “I’ll kick your fringe half-way to Kansas!” and any manner a violent prophecies, and then it’s done with, the fringes and the jocks, they reassess the situation, realize that whatever started it all, probably it ain’t got nothing to do with the shockin absence a any blow, and so let’s go hunt the white-lines and forget all about this crazy fisticuff mania.
And myself and Sir Fleming, baffled by it all, how come no-one tried to bite someone’s ear off, how come no flick-knives done got flicked, how come nobody ended up crucified an tied to the back of a Vauxhall Nova?
Still, ain’t no sense in tryin to figure it out in this frame a skull.
Curious melancholy – Wandering in the direction of the hotel, Sinéad and her wonderful friends still with us, and catching sight of the alley leads to Forbidden Planet corner, and it’s a sigh, and it’s a weary glance at Sinéad and talk of, “We’re gonna have to go, this is our stop, right here.”
Weeks, months later, sat in the light a Microsoft Word, and considering;
Whatever happened back then, for sure, it was only 72 hours, but I left Dublin a different sorta fucker than when I arrived.
When the depression subsided, bout a fortnight after flingin the bag down on the bed and collapsing ‘side the wardrobe, what happened was the black behind the eyes started bleedin, navy blood pourin from every inch a that oppressive mass, and the navy gradually twistin in the direction of a light blue.
Before long a fella notes how the mind’s in a far sharper state, like that old thing about when something’s fucked up enough, best to batter the bastard to the dirt and build it up afresh.
Starin into the mirror by the TV, and for a second there ain’t no hint of a reflection, for a second there’s just three folks stood in front a purple sheet’s been hung over the walls of a tomb.
The three individuals, what they are – ciphers. Representations of people I used to be, people I wanna be, people I am, and I know this, yet I got a lotta trouble figuring out how I know.
Like when a dream takes a turn in the direction of a building a fella walks past every day, and it’s instantly recognizable as a whole, yet the individual elements make no sense, the dream-fella baffled by the conundrums arranged as furniture an paintings an décor.
The fella on the left, talking into a phone held between the shoulder and the ear, mumbling, half-sentences, reek a cheap whiskey, and the phone falls to the ground, the fella doubles over, pukin a weeks-wortha regret cross the tiles.
The fella on the right, faceless, yet burnin wi contentment, wi’ fulfilled ambition, and a lass appearin from the dark behind him, kisses him on the cheek and says “Thank you for the songs. I gave Kenny your number.”
And the two of them, the fella and the lass, they’re laughin, happiness and fulfillment solidified and risin up around them.
And in the middle… In the middle the reflection that was supposed to be there in the first place, it slowly forms against the purple, whispers rising from the fellas either side headed towards this notion in-between.
And a fella’s own face looking back, and it’s Oasis on the stereo, Liam Gallagher fresh off that debut, the veins risen on the neck an cross the forehead, he’s sayin;
“I’m older than I wish to be,
This town holds no more for me”
Sinéad puts her arm around me, and I’m sayin “Thank you.”
And I’m sayin “You’re special.”
And then lowerin the head, and looking at the feet on account of I don’t wanna see.
And the blue risin from the black.
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