It is darktime.
Smoke and tears cloud my albion eyes.
The People are asleep, or feel that they ought so to be.
I mount my mechanical steed. Slightly broken, it trundles over rutted roads and slides cross slim slopes to the shining scene.
Slow but short, I cycle blithely through the spite of rudely rueful countryside. Countless specks array my eyes as nothing shines out but everything counts; indigo-teak-pink-orange-black of the pastel painted sky is subimposed on the monochrome cutout of tangled plants and banks.
The slope pulls me down playfully, joyfully, I am delighted and content. Then the uphill rant to the Road. Houselights blare at me in painful disdain. Nightair screeches in my weeded lungspace. Gasping, I resort to the crest of the slope, a place between planes, a jazz piano of crushed grass, ill-kept tarmacadam, cracked paint, irregular stars. Treetops frame a hopeful amber-sulphur gaze a mile (perhaps) ahead--
It is upon me, and no longer hopeful, but Hopeful. Turning into the empty downhill slide of the amber-sulphur corner, I exult in muscular atrophy and whistling airjoy, acceleration, the sky ignoring me in streetlight-engulfed blindness and sulk, cycling without pedalling, screaming in my head as the turning point occurs, the joy flattens, the freewheel degenerates to pedalpush, the haughty aloofness of the sulhpur burns like a chain, a bending, curling chain. A pathway. A giants' causeway. The blackgrey nonlight is no blackgrey tonight. It is rose. It is sepia. It bleeds, it nearly speaks
. Mind's eye of mine envisions the dripping sulphurspots dipping and bending and bobbing back under the footsteps of giants and gods making their way Anywhere. This is a linear eternity, a way to anywhere I want if I just pedal long enough. Just round that next bend, is out of Albion: Utah, Cedar City, is everything I loved and lived and left there; a little further down the contrasting blend of redbrown and amberglow is Oxford, home of the brave and the sweet and beautiful and the caustically imperfect; beyond that--no, the bend has bent around my wheels, my breath returned but rapidly expiring, I encounter trees of green, not sepia. I see byways and turns and brightlights and--
Chinatown. Like the weirdest excesses of foreign incomprehensibility, my "hometown" spreads before me. The previously middle-classish slatted woooden fence is curved now, peaked, pointed and Oriental. The amberchain to Anywhere has near dissolved into a suspension of multihued gashes and blots of white, steel, straw, tulip-grey, green, all different sizes, all garishly pretty and illuminating an ugly utiltarian commercial functionality that luckily sleeps when I view it, it sleeps so that I can laugh or piss or appreciate. Smudges of other folk fly past on more wheels than I. Pushing past the "No Dogs, Negroes, Mexicans, or Lower Class" invisibly barricading Waitrose and the town hall, I lose steam briefly on a railroad bridge. Tiny lights, treacherous gravel walkways, I know them well. I cry at the scratchy recollection, a sotten night, cold and weaving, walking surely away through sharp, quicksand gravel, tripping on maliciously concealed sleepers and crossbars, sparks of dim-seen civilisation noticed miles ahead at great expense, which upon encroachment are nout but signal lamps, buzzing amorally in disinterested vacuum. Torn and wracked I scream and sob as I remember love and safety, and I
Shoving me past the uphill backroad of shoddy flats and supermarket backparks, I enter a special route open only to the emotional and observant. Sulphurspots still disapprove at me from above. The prior monochrome remains a silencing sepia and rose. Running a little still from my eyes; my memories; every love that was and wasn't and could have been and should have been.
Turn the corner, and the visions begin. They are here. I am bored, you appear.
In the distance ahead, I regard a diffuse glow. A lamp behind slush. On the right of the road. Other sulphur lamps imitate and echo, but fail to emulate the stunning individuality of this frozen, broken, amber blow. I pull closer. It is the face of a beautiful maiden, virginal, afraid, chaste by choice, it--changes, it is a fire, a flaming bush suspended twenty feet above travel, it--is a hag, a repugnant old crone burning in sulphurous hatred and spitting angelflames of reflected hatred--an angel, if ever I saw one, an angel exuding benignly at all and all and all and--crystallised lava, glowing in just-solidified pride, burning into--a streetlight in a network of branches in a tree. And on the left, not the right.
A mystic drizzle encounters me. I am ignored all the same.
A disembodied orange private dick tips his gunmetal trilby to me from behing an oak. I salute him as he passes and becomes a faulty streelight, bent and curved, a replacement directly next to him, not functioning.
A momentarily shattered sulphurous streetlamp suggests an old superstition: I tug a forelock to a brandy-filled, brightly burnished bower filled with pixies, pucks, and elderly gentlemen suspended ironly from an oaken bower...
Floating unconcernedly through the subtly suggested minor chord of outer Holtspur, I subconsciously navigate the labyrinthine subways of suburbia with unerring and subconscious suaveté. Speeding through the quiet subroads, I notice the Moon.
Tonight our sattelite is in mild mauve and greenish power. I have seen her before. I have seen the Moon in giant, bloody, sneering scarlet, arrogating her giant form to smoke-skied daylight. I have seen the Moon in garish harvest yellow. I have seen the Moon in distant navy. Always reminded me of somehwhere, something, or someone. And every time, she has made me cry. Large or small, light or dark, blue, gold, white, or red. Every time I see thee is in my mind's mind and spinning and spitting and cycling and hiking.
I think of my first love. I think of my first real
love. I think of every love thereafter, admitted or secret, bathed in the inconstant glow of the Moon. Luxuriating. Complicitating.
Getting closer to home, I approach madness in fear: tired legs, a mild uphill, a DOG, a GIANT DOG, made entirely of wooden framework, poses in predatory wait above a pewter fence, panting, drooling, looking at me--I must face it, I must confront, I am a Man, that is what I do, oh Gods let me go!--
It's a "For Sale" sign protruding over a white chipboard wall.
Utterly useless trees yawn at me as I approach the familial abode. Arm out, sulphur inconstancy blazing in my head and eyes and cock and soul and--but here is Mayflower Way.
All put away now. I go for a minor wander.
The back of my house.
It is a prosaic municipal park. "Prosaic"? Yes and no.
From where I am I can see twelve colours of lights. I can see the multishaded broken texture of flat architecture. I can see a vast, ruined expance of green and municipality and night and inexplicable clouds like tendrils of my mind unfurling toward us, baby, from an ineffable, misty, orange-white-grey glow from the East, from the past, from the future, for good or for ill, for glowgasm and bright and sharp, for Albion, for my eyes, for us!