Poetry

Urban Breakdown

I’m wasted.
So utterly wankered that there are a number of pavements
And I don’t know which one I’m standing on.
Dank street lights look like watered art as I squint, desperate to see straight, to keep safe.
The road is quiet, set in those secret hours where everyone sleeps,
Existence ceases.

I walk alone, bumbling, mumbling self decorated sweet nothings
And pray that I don’t wake up at a bus stop again.
The walk trundles on up this slope that swipes my balance
And with it, control and all rationality.

I’m on the floor now and there’s this chaotic calm rushing
Life before my eyes. But it’s always the bad stuff.
The bad flashes that the sober me banished long ago,
Like an intricate domino effect, one slapping on top of the other.

The gang of lads on the other pavement have noticed, one struts over.
‘You alright, love? Want a hand?’
But I’ve seen enough of these TV warnings,
He’s a stranger and the smell of cheap aftershave screams Danger! Danger!
‘No, I’m fine.’ I insist. This is my vulnerable moment and you’re not invited.
It’s snappy and defensive but I don’t need his help or his comfort.
I’m gone again, around the corner and I can hear the shouts of judgement.

My sinus itch, sting, mouth contorted, wobbling like I’ve eaten sherbet,
And now I can’t stop crying,
And crying
And crying.

For one moment, I give up, get lost, don’t care, desperate to disappear.

The real me resounds god-like in my head, bad cop, tough love:
‘Get up off the floor, wipe your tears and move on.’
It repeats:
‘Get up off the floor, wipe your tears and move on.’
It repeats until my body begrudgingly agrees and helps up my heavy head.

We go home together, body and mind to sleep off the weakness drink initiates.

Tomorrow is another day.

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