Thursday, March 24, 2005


Concrete Jungle

God it’s muggy! I keep the window open and have to suffer the odd wasp wandering in. I think back, I don’t want to write anything that could be titled memoirs or anything. But I did go through an interesting patch a while ago. Something I should put down here should it loose itself in time as I grow older and out of reach. I hear a bird or animal or something making an odd noise outside, like I’m in the tropics or something. I can hear cars roaming around the house on all sides. Somebody clipping a hedge. Not ours, you can’t get out of the front garden now; The hedge has now covered the entrance and is poking into next doors garden. If the neighbours knock I’ll just give them the landlord’s phone number, let him sort it out.
I live here in a house left to its own; all of the bushes and trees in the garden mingle into clumps and the grass has started growing its own assortment of weeds and dandelions. The cats flatten deep paths in it and you find little nests hidden in corners where a feline has curled up. Neighbours hate it of course. I don’t pay it much attention; all shared houses are like this I find. Ann’s is the same. Nobody really wants to bother, least of all the Landlord. I have no utensils to mow it, no shears to clip the hedge. I just have to breathe in to squeeze past the narrow gap in the hedge every time I want to leave the house. It’s a bind. I look at everything around me as if it is somehow distant and unreal. I just exist and these things happen around me of their own accord. I have no power over them.

You can’t help but develop a kind of morbid curiosity for it all though. It’s like an adventure when you’re a child and you take over a derelict house and make it into a den, a secret place. You put up with hardships, lack of certain luxuries. It’s all part of the spartan existence that you lead when you’re an outcast, on forbidden territory, hiding out from the police. Making maximum usage of the interior space, watching out for the other side. You go out occasionally hunting for food, suss out the locals, blend in to the environment. You could be an outcast of the avenues, a true introspective voyager into the tribal territories. The battered wall outside seems to have had things done to it that no other wall has had done to it; Concrete spread over it so that it can be chipped away. Bricks of different shapes lodged in at various angles with thick pastes of concrete spread over in selected areas. Somebody at some point has had the exiting idea of making the house into a sculptured shape using concrete and then had second thoughts.

The paint stops on the edges of the window frames as if applied with one stroke all the way round.

The paved part of the garden looks like it’s been used in one of those disaster movies where earthquakes up heave large segments of motorways. It is crumbling away with large fractures defining the angled shapes, broken earth underneath swelling up like welts of molten lava.

The bin bag sits patiently awaiting its removal. Cold rainwater dripping in spots from the harsh sheen of its surface, creating a strange kind of order, or lived in quality amongst the catastrophe of the garden. The actual bin which stands close by is frozen solid with concrete for some unknown reason. It merely exists to amuse visitors and is too heavy to move. This is a non wheelie bin area so I have to shift the bin bags on a Thursday to the outside of the back garden where everybody else lines theirs up. I have to wade through the grass to do this. Thick grass with unwieldy knots you have to pull yourself out of.

Large exotic looking weeds thrive happily and seem to have been around before the concrete was laid. The builder has left convenient spaces for those octopus type things to prosper and little channels for the ants to run along. It is an environment made to measure for wild overgrown plant life and all kinds of insects and small reptiles. Not for humans at all. A safe-house for all battered plants and unwanted carnivores. A small haven in a cruel world and I am its warden, flailing my arms around to fend off the bands of flies. I throw the odd bowl of dirty water in the general direction of the garden feeding several plants at once. Stroking cats who guard the fences.

The shed in the corner looks as though it was used in the same film as the concrete patio. Squares of orange fluorescent paint mark the areas on its moss green wood ridges where I’ve been spraying my work. A great place for hamsters to live in but I’m afraid not much use for anything else. It looks as though it fell from the sky to this exact spot, plus everything in it. A thousand miles up and it came down spinning and with luck hit the ground on it’s base. Nothing inside of any use whatsoever, regardless of what the Landlord says, it’s all a load of junk. They must have been flying batches of sheds full of useless garbage over-head and one fell out. I’d better report it to the lost and founds. It looks like a boxy shaped jumble of nothing specific, with shed looking bits leaning against four sides.

Something inside my stomach is rebelling. It's creating all sorts of problems for my system and I feel pains building up as if vital fluid is squeezing itself past an obstruction and then bubbling into a vacuum. In my mind I’m running through my daily diet. I’ll spare you the details. My dinner plate lays before me; burnt bits of dinner lie in a group on a section of my plate where I have moved them, unconsciously nudging them to this particular spot as I shovel and slice through my meal at the centre, leaving at the end a fascinating complexity of marks with the left over source that went with the space shapes. Left on the side like industrial waste discarded on the edge of a network of motorways. My knife and fork lie regimentally across the middle forming a kind of bridge structure.

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