2010-0404 Freewriting

“I can’t get to sleep… I think about the implications…”

It’s the smell that hits me first, it always does in my dreams. It usually signals the hemorrhaging migraine of remembrance.

The smell of char, dust and age… aged wood and rusted metal, battered plastic and old blood. I remember when these smells were new, vivid… now just faded in my nose, like the aftermarket perfume of a way-too-old-for-her-skin whore on the higher end of the Pike. It something I still think about, even though she’s long gone. I like to think I’m the only one that made her laugh those days… after all, I never paid for it, the room, and the burgers… and the nights of safe sleep she gave me. The only thing there wasn’t was sex…. not that it mattered. It was never about it anyway.

Just a match and a flare and her troubles burned away like the bridges I left in my damned bloody wake.

My tools are scattered about right where I left them. The hammers are heavy and short gripped and the chisels still hold a bit of an edge, even after all the neglect. The leather knives and punches, the rolls of dimes, and a forest of broken bats and shattered bones. Things from blacksmith days and warehouse nights, hidden under the comic books and toys, behind the costumes and the lies and the smile of a grandmother that probably knew way more than she ever let on… the boxes with the money and ace bandages and bullets and the incense that covered the iodine, the cigarettes, the scotch and the occasional joint. The tools of the trades, right out in the open obscured by a bit of porn or a questionable hobby.

Creativity knew no bounds back then. The forge burned bright and the metal ran hot. The first few minutes the object already had a form, and as the minutes and hours passed, it became reality, hissing and sparking as it’s dropped into the cold water and held up to the light without a single imperfection. It was a talent… this gift of creation, of design, of construction… sculpting realities to make them different then they were. Like a magician, the coin never actually left my hand. it just danced and spun and glittered for whoever was in the audience. All the time, the rabbit was already in the hat.

Or was it the cat in the box with the cyanide, ticking atoms calling the coin toss… I could never remember.

But with every bruised knuckle came the firing of a neuron, the rewire of synapses. And one day I shoved my hands into the fire-box and proved I was “human.” and not and animal. Gods, what creations I forged then… worlds of fire and blood and hope and song, the atom and the rune. Stories of the lowest levels of Night City’s streets and the highest thrones of Olympus Mons. We were titans then, the Horsemen… lords of this realm and beyond. We took what we wanted and damned what we couldn’t… we spit on the sand, shook fist to the wind and pried torcs from neck and arm. and laughed and drank and danced through the night, daring the demons and angels from within and without ls to interrupt our mad tea party. And I was mother fucking Hephaestus, I stole the damn fire from the forges on the heavens, I hammered with it and melted and built and carved and… and we burned in that titan’s flame so very very brightly.

But as Roy Batty’s synthetic candle, we burned out one by one, “… moments in time, like tears in the rain.” And I wonder now, am I Roy… or am I Deckard? Do electric sheep really dream of androids?

The tales grew long and more complex and the home-shore drifted from view and I realized, there’s no need for a horseman in the mountains. So I drop the gasoline and watched the bridges burn again, the axe went to the hanger above the hearth and the forge closed. I didn’t even see the first knife come, or the second, or the tenth. Al at once I was Caesar on the floor, Brutus on the steps and Polonius behind an arras, waiting for the sword. In my rush to be human I had forgotten that with mortality comes fragility. It’s amazing how clear that becomes when your chest is open, and the obsidian scalpel of a modern-day Tenochca priest makes the decision if it’s your time to honor Huitzilopotchli or not.

And through all this, I watched as the fires of the forge slowly dimmed. The tales became more shallow, the listeners less interested in tales of star-fire and salvation and more of bawdy-girls and one-a-penny jokes. The Globe became Vaudeville, then HBO, then Basic Cable, till all that was left was network infomercials. The audience often drifting around with no drive, no expectancy. Just sad little Carrolian mirror caricatures of what they used to be… no fire or passion… just shades dancing in a dusty ballroom to any old thing being played.

And the worst of it, I shuffle around the cold dead ashes in the forge, trying desperately to find a last little ember I can hold and coddle and bring back to life. I crawl my way back to the tools and dust them off, sharped the best that I can with cracked whetstone and spoiled water. Just one good item, one for the auction block and I can fix everything. And when all that finally comes and I put hammer to metal… the audience get’s stolen by some jackass with bells on a stick and a painted pig. And the shame of it, the very joke of it all…the fuckers can’t even tell the difference. The fires gone so low that this little fallow candle seems like a goddam torch.

And they can’t figure out why I don’t try any-fucking-more… I hate them, and their stale blood and false faces and pantomimes. Digital deadwood, lobotomized dolls with syphilitic sawdust for brains, sheep shit for stomachs, and piss water for backbones. And I know that. without them… I can’t do a goddam thing. What fucking use is it to paint the chapel if no one prays,,, play the 5th when know one hears it.

And in all, it’s all my fucking fault. All I have to to is pick up and move,… pack the tools, strike the forge, find a new audience and leave this leper-riven town behind for bright eyes and open minds. Take the few shining gems and leave the dross for the crows.

All I have to do is drop the match again.

“But now the days are short… I’m in the Autumn of the year…”

And my goddam hand shakes…

And I can smell flesh burning…

And I’m still holding the match…

Somewhere in the distance, I know Jerry Cornelius is laughing his stone-cold cool multiversal ass off at me saying “I gave you the needle-gun, the grass, and the best scotch I had… not my fault if you wont smoke up, drink up, grow a set and pull the bloody trigger on the poor bastard.”

I really hate that smug bastard sometimes.
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Published in: on 04/04/2010 at 07:42  Comments (1)