Hitching to Dundee on a Friday, I couldn’t get up
I read for a while then set off from the previous night’s party
Bright sunny day I was grabbed by the idea to travel, to seek freedom
Collected my bicycle, said goodbye to my friend
Said I had to fetch a jumper from a party last week
See some friends, a new acquaintance I had made
The Faeries Isle lay close at hand,
I went with another friend on a bus out of town,
Who gave me another place to pass by
I set down my studies, collected by sleeping bag,
Left my bike in a hedge and stuck out my thumb.
After a dodgy start in the rapidly evaporating heat
I was taken seven miles, so I walked through a village
That sat alongside the roaring highway, saw angry crows
Fighting the gulls for a night’s roost in a break of pine
Stockaded, benested flying above in clouds. I walked on
To a service station, befriended a tartan-clan keyring salesman
Bound for Perth, speeding past snow-driven hills, watching the sun
Colours cascading over our heads in vaporised mist
The Golden Gateway of Perth, nicely crisped chips
Walking to Dundee junction near the Heavy Horse centre
A fast-tangled slip road sliding into darkness, following
Darkness on my tail, hitched with a freaked-out druggie
Wasted ten years on hashish and high thrills
Wished he had travelled, yet it’s all the same, inside or out
So, I tell him, don’t worry, I’ll fix your head too.
Then aptly climes, Dundee in the distance, bridges span the bay
Imagine the threads of neon strung across
Pale impeded by streetlights their ghostly dew touchingly feverish brow?
Brusqueness and charity, marks me my route, the road I must take
I repeat my name, fence again, he seems deathly in awe
English workmen tromp through in’ worn workboots forgetting their manners
They jangle their keys, shout abuse at the manager, flaunting their take-away
Their bosses have all gone home, ensconced in board-rooms and cosy suburbs
Leaving them with the stale anathema of construction inverted
Weary of all, this I crave, a pint, a seat, a shower, a bed, some tea.
So retracing my steps I awaken poor Doug, still in the shower I pour out my tale of woe, of fateful holidays outside of semesters
He asks me in at last, I am grateful but slightly surprised
He says, “Go make some tea,”
We glide ahead stall in conversation, turn arid drift and fall,
Faces like blank cushions of air- I see you clearly but
Do you see me? This mist… hard to see through
What? Can you repeat that? He seems as spaced as I am
I can’t understand- yet he hoofs and foots clumsily about the kitchen
Uuum.. yeah, what’s her name, you know, I can’t even remember now
Who was it that I knew that lived here then? Oh yeah, Liz (AK).
Doug has been up all night, he’s so vague,
And now we are almost on par, levelled out we talk
That’s better, I’m alive now, I’ve left Stirling
Been in someone else’s house talking to someone I don’t know
I go to see Rita, working late at her laboratory
With samples of soil from a peat bog. Look at all that expensive gear! Paranoia, a game played on me, however, now the tables have turned I use that emotional energy to feed my intelligence
I feel active, effectual, delimited, Rita is alert, only a little tired
Doug drifts off; farewell, gentle guide! Now, my beesum,
Let us talk, spin drifted shape shifted
I watch you as you work- this is good
Shall we go to a pub? That would be nice!
What is this meaning, this gleam in your eye?
Emotions that stir I haven’t had for a while,
All frozen inside, just as Merlin is shuttered up in his dusky hearth
Unscathed and unmarred by the ages, seeds of love planted
In sacred earth we reside, the holy libations poured over
The heart will protected from disturbances of the surface soil
Growth, abundance and plenty, sung from the foreshore
Though in times past I fed the fat indulgence of idle greed,
Now my need is real, it cries out of me so strong, to me
It seems equal to a physical force, too blunt and heavy
To wield, it say, “Yield!” in my ear, too strong. Too much energy,
Can’t be bottled up, twice and thrice no. So, it was frittered away in dusky oblivion, biting in the cold abyss
Turned inward to eat away at the heart’s promise which lay
Fragile and littered on the floor, bits and pieces here and there
I can tell no more of this, for fear that my heart will tear.
The picture is split
By myriad mirror frames
Imprints dull shadows
As turns tracks across your brain
Won’t you come out to play?
This day is really not so grey.
(C) Christopher Julian Hudson (1991)