Sunday, 29 June 2008

on couche toujours avec les morts...

On my way to work, after I alight at the corner of ladbroke grove and begin walking towards Golborne Road, there are many things that greet me day to day. The pigeons on the side of Best Buy that crowd around discarded bread and rice and doughnuts, the TimeOut ad on the side of the black box that houses all the wires of the area, the Dub Shack with its yellow sign and lion head in the middle, roaring the availability of hip hop, soul, and RnB vinyls, and the funeral sevice "shop". I say shop because it has a window front like any other shop, framed in black painted walls, crowned with wilting funeral wreaths that are changed rarely, and holding a shiny coffin staff that brings it all together as an intert morbid surrealist painting amid the hustle bustle of the living that walk up and down and go in and out of its neighbouring "Best Buy" with their sandwiches or bottle of juice or fresh krispy kreme. I give it my glance as I pass, noting its classical serif-ed sign, and neutral marketing of death, and stagnant existence. My heart sinks ever so slightly nearly every time, more like a blink underwater than a sinking. Never changing, always paused in a purgatory of inanimation.

Except that day.

I pass the pigeons, note this week's theme of TimeOut, contemplate a croisant from the lamp warmed cupboard posing as Best Buy's "bakery" and then before I have a chance to look ahead of me and walk my course, I pass 3 men standing in a row, in matching light pink shirts, and black trousers in front of the window queen of death.
They all are looking at a black car parked right across the funeral shop, and suddenly things happen really fast and I realise its a hearse and my eyes stroke its abdomen and I see it's blooming with fresh lillies and small pink roses hidden in green blankets of leaves and if thats not enough to make me quiver, 2 men are pushing a white coffin to fill the void and the coffin is glowing in the diffused light and it is a small one. A small coffin. Tiny in fact. And then I feel it hit me. My insides twirling and turning and pulsing and twisting and a gag a little and it goes very slow. very slow.
my eyes are no longer in my head but in the head of a bird on a low branch of the tree above me and I see myself in slow motion, my head still turned at this scene and switching to the 3 men in pink (its a girl) and my body follow my head and twists round and I see myself pause slightly before falling to my knees with tears streaming down my cheeks as my head is playing home videos of a baby girl coming home from the hospital in her mothers arms, her first birthday, her blue dress and her red shows as she runs in the grass of the garden smiling and shining, her favourite teddy bear that she could not sleep without, her thumb in her mouth... I see it all. And I see the coffin as it darkens, shielded from the sun by the gaping mouth of wheeled black. and its all in slow motion as the bird from the tree swoops down and passes me turning its head to keep my face in view and its all turning and my stomach is turning, and then SLAM. i hear the jaws of the car shut and I realise my eyes are in my head and I'm not on my knees, or in slow motion, in fact I'm just a few metres further on my route, and the sceen is all in my head. But the tears are there, and my wringing insides are there and I take cover into the side street and stand as hidden as I can by nearby bushes and gag and spit bile and poison and horrid horrid feelings and images.
The terrible glass visage of the queen of death has proven her point. She reigns my path with an iron fist. I will not make the mistake of looking her in the eye again. I do not want that burden. I cannot carry that burden more than I have.

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