“What about you Dave, what’s the worst thing you’ve done?”
Here son, Haggis Supper.
“I want a kebab.”
Well fuck off to the kebab shop, I’ve told you, we only do suppers.
“Some fucking shop this is.”
Do you want anything else?
“Give me a packet of Gypsy Creams.”
I’ve ran out.
“Fuck this I’m going for a Chinky!”
Well off you fuck!
He often walked in the place where it ended. Thoughtlessly. Invariably without point or purpose. He felt like a ghost reflecting on a past life each time he retraced his steps, divorced from all sense of who he was.
The coffee boat wasn’t a boat. It was a small building which sat harbour side and sold fast food. From Thursday through to Sunday it was bouncing from around midnight.
The tip of the shovel had talked to him with a dull thud, not just through his ears, but totally. It came into his hands and up the stiffness of his arms, through the quick riot of nerves on red alert, through all passageways of recognition. It was wood! At its tip was wood, a cavernous wood, a chesty wood, an enclosing wood. Promise poised itself, much like awards’ night and names to be named. Light leaped at his back, behind his head. Down through the awesome sky of darkness he could feel a star draining, down through thirty-five years of a hole.
He found her sitting in a tree. Her legs dangled over the edge, her dusty feet kicking back and forth. It had taken him a while to find her. It wasn’t as simple as it usually was. Each hourglass of life came with coordinates, of course. The tiny numbers ascribed on the bottom gave approximate locations. It wasn’t a perfect system. Humans weren’t as predictable as, say, ants. Things had gotten tricky when they domesticated the horse, for example. It had gotten worse with the engine. Obviously airplanes had kicked things into gear. But the hourglass makers, those bright-eyed creatures, were quick to adjust. They usually got it in the ballpark.
The river here heaves up on the bank like an old man getting into bed.
Birds cry downstream. A gull perfects a theft, executes drastic turn in air that could break bones. I do my duty walks like perimeter guard, shoulder walking cudgel the way I carried my carbine back there at 23, know the pound of it to an ounce; knowledge of the scabbard hangs on.
I’d rather the river and the tired water’s run as 86 years weigh a heavy canteen. Nothing is like a river’s to and fro against this sea, tide-wash, catch of kelp, air sting full of briny sea’s salad smells, perpetual anger, always earth-dig, sand-flush and rock-wear, drag on the moon, where a ship’s ghost and canvas call.