We are bound by ribbon, gently so, but I feel the tug when I wander too far and would be rid of it and your Kerouac nonsense. Hedonism blows great smoke rings but doesn’t pay bills. Everyone’s a forgotten genius, why are you special? We all had a dream crushed under cowskin boots at one time or other, so what? Dreams are plenty, all great things are borne of dreams. So chase a new one. Some heady mix of possible and improbable and metaphysical and unthinkable. Gritted teeth and too much realness disguised as theatre. Society laps up the illusion cause it’s so pretty. Don’t we love the psyche unravelling when it looks pretty? What about the bad, what about the ugly?
And then there are smells, oh, so many smells. Not always peachy girl-sweet Pear’s soap smells, but metallic blood smells, earthy animal smells, rotten fruit smells. What are you going to do about the smells, damn it? The traces left in history’s streets and Victorian by-gonism. The drunken louts, men’s territorial markings. Viennese streets wear it all. Sometimes everything looks the same backwards and forwards. The sumptuous and macabre residing as neighbours in the annals of time and spiral staircases. The photo-negatives of what was, what still is.
And now I’ve wandered too far again and the ribbon has pulled me back. I came from this place, went to that one, found myself other than sought to scrabble out again. Out into the light. The bleaching blinding light.
Give me a shard of glass to cut the cord, so delicate but so finely wrought. Give me a midday sun, a phoenix wing beating thing, burning clean my tea-coloured skin. Give me a newness of moon and long-forgotten ashes, crumbling in the wilding wind.
© N Nazir 2023
Written for Shay’s Word Garden, where Shay brings us inspiration with a word list from the works of poet and musician, Janis Ian. Words used: ribbon, Kerouac, smoke, genius, boots, mix, society, soap. The word list is still up for anyone who wishes to take part.
Written also for Poets and Storytellers United, where Magaly inspires us to write a piece based on a book we’re reading, or have read, or love. I always have my nose in any number of books at any one time, so am currently reading a combination of poetry, supernatural horror, mystical and arthouse, by the likes of Margaret Atwood, Ben Okri, Stephen King and Mohsin Hamid, all of whom I recommend.
Written also for The Sunday Muse, image as shown.