Femme Fatale: Till the end of the line
She takes the car down into the dark night
of celestial terrors and sordid delights
An unspoken intent
The loser has fallen under her spell
a web of intrigue and too-late regret
Broken and under control she has her surrogate
a dismal avatar
Terrible purpose for promises of bliss
keep him focused
the cold hard steels burns his shaking hand
No way out
all the way
till the end of the line
Ray Milland in Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend (1945)
The floor is strewn with empty bourbon bottles. You’re shaking. You stare at the bottom of the empty glass and see only a vision of hell – your face. Your insides are aching and your throat is burning. You need a drink. Water won’t put out this fire.
Tarantulas tip-toe on the ceiling and red-eyed rats scurry across the wall.
An insane voice screams inside your head. It won’t stop until you get a drink. The same voice at other times is smooth almost dulcet: “just one more”. But it never is just one more, and then there is no more. The hidden bottle is lost – smashed against the wall by a demon you know and don’t know.
Stumbling and crashing against the furniture, you struggle to put on the fetid pair of pants lying on the bed or once was. Now it is a stinking stained crumpled mess that would make you retch if you could.
You careen down dark sordid stairs, the grime-ridden banister holding you upright. You’re short of breath and the remaining stairs are a dizzying spiral you want to shut your eyes against. Raving mad eyes that have only a single purpose – same as your legs – get you to the bar downstairs.
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
Electric stars on main street
A desert wilderness of concrete and steel
Sphinx cars abandoned relics
of broken dreams
gravestones for lost souls
Siren for a delicious purgatory
a wanton butterfly she flutters wings that beckon
to a bed of lurid bliss
She mopes she languishes she swoons
she formulates a trajectory to the stars
from the milky way of her bosom to the glistening ivory of her ice cold thighs
A gambit for a gentle trap so you can fall into a warm moist grotto
and shut her doe eyes with kisses four
She does not leave you by a cold hill side
but caresses your tongue in her luscious mouth
her lips labia that clasp a deep penetration
and hold you transfixed
She leaves you a broken wreck
panting for more
You beg for
just a glimpse
An insolent glare has you shuddering
you want her to incinerate you with those eyes
incendiary transports to a cosmic nirvana
Her anger and petulant pout
a narcotic –
you will expire for a fix
Until she graces her enfolding embrace over you
and sighs deep ecstatic sighs
Until she turns you to her
and you drown in a dark languid pool
Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there
– Bob Dylan – Copyright © 1997 by Special Rider Music
It was getting dark. I turned on the bed-side lamp and hit the bed a dead weight. Closed my tired desparate eyes. Or that’s how they looked in the fly-specked-mirror in the fetid washroom down the hall. I had splashed water on my face, but I was still bothered by the heat, which hung over me like a sordid blanket. Is this what death is like, or a cold clammy fog in which you are forever lost?
I must have slept or did I? The slatted light from the flashing red neon sign outside was making crazy patterns on the ceiling. Discordant jazz notes drifted in through the open window from a bar down in the street. A woman was wailing now. Somewhere in this flophouse. Her no-doubt bloated weeping eyes blackened by fear and habitual abuse. A door slammed and not long after heavy footfalls lumbered down the stairs outside. She stopped her lament. The band was no longer playing. It got quiet. The silence broken occasionally by car-tyres swishing on the wet asphalt.
The bed was stale and hard, but it was kind of bracing, a distraction from the heat. It was dark now and the room flashed in and out of a red glow adrift in some parallel universe. Where was I? Who was I? Who cared? I switched on the radio. A long dead Jim Morrison was singing. “When the music’s over, turn out the light”. Dead 40 long years? How old was I then? How alive? How real? Don’t ask where the years have gone.
I was scared. Always had been. What’s it like to be comfortable in your skin? To never see the chaos and the terror just beyond. As empty and lost as I feel? Who cares? Another futility to add to the deck.
I had drifted somewhere and woke with a start. The pillow was soaked and my shirt collar awash with a cold sweat. I needed a drink. I grabbed the half-empty Tequila bottle and took a shot. It burned with a fragrance sweet as my mother’s smile. I was tired of waiting. Why didn’t they come now and put an end to it. My hands shook as I lit a cigarette. My last? I watched the lingering smoke snake towards the window. Is this how your soul finally escapes? Slowly and reluctantly before it dissolves into the big night? I turned off the lamp. “Cancel my subscription to the resurrection.”
“The night was all around, soft and quiet.
The white moonlight was cold and clear,
like the justice we dream of but don’t find.”
Another hard luck story
Everyone’s heard them
Not many know them
Stories trodden deep down in the cracks of pavements filled with humanity’s grime
Along with the indifference and neglect that clog the dark arteries of the city’s lost soul
Dark streets cursed havens for ghostly apparitions in the shadows cast by baleful stars
High atop lamp-posts
“more die of heartache”
We had a life – once
Before they took it and sold it for a quick buck
Those who own the day and make the night hell
Those who make the “hard” decisions – hard for us not for them
Those who hold all life cheap but their own
Like death – thieves in the night they steal your dreams and hock them for a fountain pen
All that glitters is gold
Down city streets at night looking for love, or something like it. A squalid chance for momentary bliss.
Love or something like it.
Under the lurid glow of neon planets, in a firmament of gasolean fumes and hard luck. The pavement meets my empty gaze and tiny stars of mica shine in an inverted gray sky. My shoes shuffle and drag me on to nowhere. This is my universe. All the shadows are mine. Not strangers nor intimate friends, but sordid extensions of my damned to hell soul.
The soft laughter of a woman somewhere off in another universe a stab to the heart. Whispers and intimacy I ache for and never have. For others. Not for me the easy familiarity of a life worth living. Somewhere not alone, not broken, not sad beyond sadness.
My shoes sill shuffle dragging me nowhere.
Those dames on the Avenue. Wrapped and decorated exotic empresses. Ice-cold blondes and raven-haired goddesses loping from privileged canopies to long black limousines purring at the road-side. Glimpses of the dream. Full breasts dark hidden valleys of lush abandon. Ivory skin and golden tans. Long languid legs. Heaven between their thighs and a come-on swank to their hips. Curves sublime sheathed in gossamer. Perfumed gardens of blissful delight. Soft caresses and sweet moans. Eyes deep as emeralds and as hard.
The dreams are theirs. Those with the easy laughter and healthy complexions. They are comfortable in their designer skins. Making the ‘hard’ decisions for us. You have your anger. You hold it tight lest they take that too. Easy to nurture and never absent, it goes where you go – “uptown, downtown, all around”. You know anger, you know pain, like Jack knew time. Dead now, his sodden soul awash in the lees of a bottle of rye glistening in the gutter, the peeling label his epitaph. The night is cool and the streets of perdition are sweetly rank with rotting garbage and dead hopes. You grew up in these streets by the light of day, and the street-lamp. Streets alive with palpable energy and unbounded love. The old man with his beer on the stoop on a balmy summer night. Your mother old before her time holding your angelic little sister by the hand recalling faded dreams of a new start and a better life. The cacophony of kids playing mad games on the pavement and the idle gossip of adults that had you enthralled. Day by day it all slipped away into that dark place where time and happiness go, along with your dreams. Gone forever.
“These city streets are poison. You walk and walk and they take you down. Down and out, a scrap of yesterday’s news swept into and out of the gutter by malevolent fate a dirty wind. You had all the angles tight. All settled. But that suitcase breaks open and those pretty dreams are strewn on the pavement just rags defiled by the grime under your shoes. She said she was with you. When was it? Yesterday or a thousand dead years gone? Stilettos as sharp as a flick-knife and as dangerous. Those eyes were not mysterious only jade cunning. She lied as she connived as she made love. You sap! You bought it and retail! My last cigarette. Inhale the smoke and numb the pain. Prove that you are still breathing. It’s dark and it’s cold, the streets slick with the last shower. Pull down your hat, turn up your coat collar, no-one knows you behind a week’s growth of beard. The concrete is jarring, every sorry bone in your body aches, your stomach growls, and your head spins. I need a shot. Down to my last dollar. The fur in your mouth is choking you. Bad times. Old times. Is it now or yesterday, or is it forever? A dead man walking.”