This seat is hard, my shins are cold, my socks are low & black with grime, my shoes are stiff, my knees ache with the weight of my worn corduroys — the night is warm & noisy, so dark it is, that abstract & absolute light which is darkness — it is so dark tonight . . . Wait! There is light, a shimmering speck, by Jehovah! & Then cans twang bottles clang & smash, paper blows its rustled way wrapping around my lower leg like a flaky piece of skin or the slap of a bird’s flapping wing & then it’s taken by another breeze in the black city night — that light small speck I saw is extinguished now by the black hulk of a looming tower block — frail barks flounder in darkness, speech silent for a still savage moment . . .
My neck is sore I crane it skyward searching the churning ether for that noisy light . . .
A shock of burning white light — the infinite brightness violently broke through into vision — the corneas ripped from their lethargic slumber — the howling light turns blue, bouncing off the geometric multiplicity of the chainlink fence I clutch at, frantically gasping at the light on the other side — arcing shadows dance beneath the light’s accusing glare . . . lingering — I am shaking I am fear I am death I am insane I am paralysed I can’t move I can’t see I am dead I am about to be killed. . .
PLEASE!!! Please . . .?
I’m still on the bench seat in the trash-blown park, my legs nailed to my seat to the concrete thru right to burning hell . . . — STAY WHERE YOU ARE — DO NOT MOVE — IF YOU DO SO YOUR LIFE WILL BE TERMINATED — I REPEAT DO NOT MOVE —footsteps shuffling then a broken run, boots slapping asphalt louder, quite, yes there they are a stampede, ground rumbles thunderclaps hammer on steel, bombs drop resound — No, nononononono . . .
The light goes off. I am released. The sound breaks like a truck passing — a distant rumble then the noise of the dead man’s bones return to their creaking — halfalive halfalive halfalive — my breath is smoke, my eyes throb, my brain burns, my heart tries to saw its way out through my crumbling ribcage — I release a sigh, exhale, to end all sighs.
I close my eyes & feel & smell the dirty hot warm air of hell caressing my face, my hair, creeping up my trouser leg, crawling across my heaving gut & across my bruised bare chest — a massive hole now gaping blackly just above the left nipple, the icon of Mary grinning in the growing light — I lay back on the hard bench — the smog flavored morning bleeds light across the bay, a tugboat blares its horn through the fog, the trash barge shunts its bulk through the mist across the harbor to refuse island, car lights cut across the motorway invading the sleeping city, a silver-snake of train thunders past on the stilt-tracks, police sirens blare in the distance & a cold wind wipes my face.
A gull floating in on the light & breeze, eyes me suspiciously, dips its wings & turns circles above me looking down with malice & a perceptible hunger as it stretches its sharp red beak screaming at me — CAWCAWCAWCAWCAW . . . all black & white — Babylon fading . . .