I can feel the heat closing in as I reach out. She was cold and bony to touch, white strips like frosted chips, nails and surrounding skin savaged by time and teeth, absolute ruin. And that was just the fingers. Her face looked like the face a shovel had slapped in an open grave. It was flat, devoid of life, any humanity. Dark insect eyes sung of an empty pointlessness while her hair hung like burnt rope down the bone-face of her small head. A blistered lizard surface clung to a shrunken skull sat upon a collapsing bony body. Pathetic and vulnerable. Her song of the last twenty years. There was coughing. I was deafened by so much fucking coughing. The choking dead. All around me the choking dead. It made me sick just to be there. So near to it all. She offered me a cigarette. I pushed her diseased ghost hand away. I’ll fucking well smoke my own bitch, if you don’t fucking mind – I would have screamed all of that. But there were these others present. These others. Ten now I count, no, eleven, twelve including me. Others, who would have felt the need to engage, invade my space because I said something upsetting, that they didn’t want to hear. Spitting in my face and telling me how that was no way to speak to my mother. She wouldn’t’ve minded. She knows me and my trends. Of course she wouldn’t’ve minded. But they would. Wouldn’t they just. You see I know the type. Always ready to lecture without a lesson learned themselves. Spectacular bores. The world is crammed with these unfunny jokers. I don’t need advice. Their advice. Like I’d ever take guidance from the living dead and their visiting spawn of scum. They might as well all be put out of their misery. In one foul swoop. Look at the lot of them gathered here. In this pit of misery. Is this what our whole existence really points towards? Brittle, piss and shit stinking versions of former selves? It makes me sick. All of it. Life, death. It makes me sick. And then one of them is sick. I check my shoes for specks of yellow and red. Although I am spared I remain fixed in disgust. We are all held in the wilderness of our disgust for one another. As we wait. Wait for the end to come and smother the last breath of life so that there is no longer anything worth bothering about. Definitely now time for a fag. Are you sure you don’t want one of mine? Repetition, repetition. I exit without moving my lips. Glad that I can still make vital decisions for myself, stick to my own brand.
An extract from 'Nothing Poetic', a forthcoming collection of new poems and short fiction.