Three Degrees of Loss

Three pieces about loss following the death of The Man I Called "Dad."

The nightmares began the day my father died. Harrowing, torturous things which come to me as soon as my eyes find sleep and leave my body contorted and struggling to wake. Sometimes they toss me around and leave me fighting all night and at other times I manage to pull myself from their grip almost before they begin. But they do always begin, and it's been so long now that it feels like they've been plaguing me forever.

The dreams are always different and the dreams are always the same: My father, dying, stretching out for me and pleading for help. Sometimes he is in a hospital gown in a hospital bed. The bed is in a room and the room is white. It is all that exists in the universe. There are no windows, but it is dark outside. You can feel it, an infinity of black nothingness stretching out into forever. We are deep into dreamscope.

I am standing either just inside or just outside of that room. I have a profile view of my father from the left. He is on his back, slightly propped up in the bed. A sheet covers his body up to his neck. He looks smaller than I remember, weaker. He looks dead. His face is drained of all tones but grey. Over to his right is a machine. A calm green ripple runs across its screen. It's the only real colour in the room. My father opens his eyes. The skin around his cheekbones stretches a little tighter. Without moving his head he shifts his eyes across so that they are looking at me. Like that he speaks, his mouth talking to the space above his chest. He always starts by using my name. His voice is normal but quivers with fear.
“Shane, is that you? Shane???”
“I'm here Dad,” I say. He becomes agitated. Not at my presence but because someone is there and not ignoring him.
“Shane, where's the doctors? Shane, why are there no doctors? Shane, it hurts. I think this is it. I can't believe it. Two hours ago I was fine and now I'm dying. Death's here. Shane, this is it. Shane, do I look bad. Shaaane?”
By now his upper body is uncovered. His face is stained in hard and ugly ways as he tries in desperation to reach an arm out towards me. He looks like an old religious painting. His eyes are straining so far in the corners to keep fixed on me that they're almost looking back in on themselves. He starts saying my name over and over....
“Shane... Shane.... Shane. Shane, I'm dying. Can't you do anything? Can no-one do anything? Shane, it hurts. I'm hurting. Living hurts.”
I want to tell him he'll be OK but it seems useless to say that, and I don't want to admit nothing can be done because that seems even more hopeless. And so I say nothing. I stand there and I want to run. He is reaching out to me with ever more desperation. I'm not sure if he wants help or human contact. Whatever, it scares me. I want to cry and I don't want to cry. I need to cry. But I don't cry. He's never seen me cry and to see my tears now will only terrify him further. I want to tell him I love him and have always loved him and that HE is my father, but I know if I tell him that now, here, like this, it will surely kill him. And so I do and say nothing. I stand either just inside or just outside of the room, watching the strain of his reach and the strain in his eyes. And though he doesn't know it, that look he is wearing, that perverse, twisted face of desperation, is the first manifestation of death in hs body, making it  pull strange and ugly shapes. It's a real nightmare. And as my father struggles to live, I struggle to wake – we struggle together. I am somewhere between two worlds and for once I want the waking world.

In another dream my father appears out of a smoky distance. He's limping and in pain and looks like he's come home from a long hard war. His head is bandaged and there is blood, red on white, as he limps out of the dust of time. He's not old but more as I remember him as a child, as my father, invincible, The Man with Tattooed Hands, a gold tooth, and a square and solid jaw. There are tubes up his nose, black sensors on his body and a drip in the tender region of his wrist. He limps on in pain and he tells me it hurts and that I'm good with needles and could I remove the drip. He is deteriorating by the second and his lips have a faint blue/grey tint. He looks awful, kinda braindead, but he isn't – he's just scared. His eyes and cheeks are sucked in. It's like his body is eating him up. He's heaving and spluttering and a constant groaning is rising up from his chest. “Yesterday you was a boy and I was your age,” he moans. “Yesterday.” He says other stuff. I can't make it out but I know it's sad. He groans in pain but never stops to allow me to help him. He staggers right on past like he can't stop even if he wanted to. To stop is to die and to carry on is to die too – just a longer way about it. I don't fight his wishes, there's nothing I can do. He's not dying in a way which can be helped, and it's not his physical pain which is my nightmare. I watch him walk on. Trailing behind him are tubes, a leaking drip bag and wires torn from a machine. He is heading towards a shed, a shed which is an airing cupboard, the same airing cupboard that my mother's cat crawled into to die.

There are other dreams, a thousand different variations of the same theme. And in all these dreams, no matter how bad or ill my father looks, the worst thing is that he's always fully conscious of his condition. He is living through his death, aware that it is in him and taking a hold. That what only yesterday was an abstract thought is now here, conquering him. But my father is never conquered in the dreams - he never dies, just suffers on. And that is the real, real nightmare.

Each night, at the peak of my father's pain, my eyes shoot open and I wake exhausted sat up boltright in the  bed. And in the dark of the night, with the aura of the dream still fresh, I light a cigarette and lay back down, blowing out smoke as warm tears run free and curl up behind my ears. And some nights I let out a squeak of pain and sob “Dad... Dad”, but mostly I don't. I just lay there in the dark, on my back, in silence, not wanting to sleep any more. So agitated I'm awake and up, writing or mopping the tiles or doing the dishes or arranging my bookshelf. When the sun comes up I'll bed down, I say, it's much more peaceful that way, and cooler. I tell myself it's the summer and that the heat is unbearable and that when winter comes I'll sleep much better and at normal hours. And I will. I believe that. It's just been a long hot summer.

60 Rosaline Road, Fulham, London, SW6

The house doesn't look the same any more. The door's been painted, the crumbling front wall fixed, the missing windows replaced and the weeds from the front yard pulled up by the roots. But the house is still there, and no matter what repairs it has taken it still faces the east, still takes the best part of the sun on summer days, and no doubt the back rooms are still dark and suffer from damp. I think often of that place. It's a good memory, even the bad times. We were all there, all young, all alive, and it was home, as tragic as it was. But a new family lives there now, maybe a happier family – I don't know.

When my father died early on this year he was no longer living in the old house. He'd moved out years earlier after my best friend had succumbed to a slow and suffocating death up in one of the top rooms. He said he couldn't bare living there after that, that death seemed to have a permanent presence in the place and was always on the prowl. He said he could feel it in the rooms at night, creeping in on him as he sat watching TV alone. By the end he'd moved everything down into the small front room that looked out onto the street, living there without visiting the other rooms in the house. Then he moved out, into a property opposite.

In a way, my father living across the road was even better. While visiting him I could then look out his window and stare over at the old ghost and reminisce of all the comings and goings, the tragedies, the fights and all the broken people and lives which had staggered to and from it over the years. Somehow, like that, it took on an even greater significance in my life. I suppose because I could no longer enter inside that it felt more like an encased chapter which could no longer be meddled with, or meddle with me. From my father's new place I could watch the old house and fantasize about getting back inside, taking a walk through the rooms and seeing how the new family had arranged them and if they'd discovered the loose floorboards under which I'd hid many young secrets. And while my father was still alive it remained like that, a presence across the road and something which housed an era of memories which seemed to grow dearer each year.

But my father is dead now and the council has taken back the property he died in. The name Levene has no residence or business on that road any more. To see the old house now I must specifically go there for that reason, and even then I could only pass by as slow as I can to try and savour the moment and remember how things happened and how we all used to be. If I go there now I'll be a wanderer; at home and with no place to go. When my father vacated his space something else went with him, but it's not quite clear what. That's when I started searching

60, Rosaline Road, Fulham, London, SW6. That's what I'd type into Google Maps. The address. I'd zoom right in and visit the street, walk down to the house and turn into the yard. It felt real. Other times I'd zoom in 400% on the house and look through the windows, examine the brickwork and guttering, searching for some trace of our old existence there – a name scrawled somewhere or a piece of brick I remembered knocking out. After I'd make my way up the street and think of how we'd play football out in the road all summer long and how we'd peddle our bikes to freedom around those streets. I'd go down to the opposite end of the road, the place where Josh's garage used to be, and imagine how my father used to look coming around the corner after losing all his money in the betting shop and with only twenty paces left to figure out how he'd raise money to feed us that night. Other times I'd follow the route I used to take to school and observe all the things that have changed just as much as all the things which have stayed the same. It seems like a different time now. Just invisible footprints and dead skin in a street I still think of as mine. And the weird thing is, after all that happened, after all the blood and years of life that was spilled in that house, if it came on the market tomorrow, and if I had the money, I'd buy it. I'd prise open that encased chapter and risk more tragedy. I'd move in, alone or with a lover or a dog, amongst all the old ghosts, visiting the little corners of the house where mighty things had once happened.

Sometimes, just for tears, I wish I could go back.

The Snail Bank

I think it's only normal. After the passing of my father I've been preoccupied with death: His, my own, and everything from bugs to plant life. Somehow death and dying seems more real, and at the same time, more mystical than before.

I pull a petal off a flower and look at it. “That's death right there,” I think. “It's in my hand... gone for all eternity.” At the bushes, across from the bench where I sometimes sit and smoke and read, I look at the symmetry of the leaves and try to work out what birth and life and family and death really is. I try to understand why the death and rebirth of leaves and flowers seem so natural and acceptable, and yet the same birth, growth and death in humans seems tragic and flawed. At home I stare at the dead flies and moths on the window sill and it seems impossible to believe that they can never be re-animated. That even given infinite time these things will never again Be. A fly – It's hardly made of anything. Why can't such a little thing be fixed? It's hard to understand. There is no understanding. One moment things have a conscious existence the size of their known universe, and the next, the lights are out are we exist no more.

From my bed, as I write, there is a bug making its way nimbly across the floor. It's a small black rain beetle. They get in here all the time, crawling in from out the cold and wet of the plant beds just outside. My instinct is to jump up and squash it flat. But I've given up killing bugs, instead I drive them into a glass and then rattle them to freedom out the window. The other night I even went outside and picked up all the snails which had slithered out after the evening rain. I carefully unstuck them from the concrete and moved them out of harms way so as they didn't get crushed by the evening crowds. Why? I don't fully understand, but I know it's because my father's dead.

- - -

Thoughts and Wishes to All, Shane. X

For The Drunks Among Us

I'm not sure if it's the booze which turns me psycho or if it just brings it to the fore. In any case it mattered little: It was a freezing December evening and I was nineteen and hanging off Leatherby's balcony -  fourteen floors up, above a spiked metal railing with gravity and the weight of a gallon of beer and whisky conspiring to pull me down. And while hanging there like that, with the muscles and tendons in my arms stretched to snapping point, I realized I had gone out too far, that I was no where near strong enough to heave myself back up and over.
“So this is how it's gonna go down,” I thought, that I'll hang here until I can hang no more and then drop down to a useless, messy death below. So when they somehow managed to pull me up, a man wound tight around each wrist and tugging my arms out of their sockets, I collapsed back over the safe side of the balcony wall, clean cut sober, and promised: “I'll never drink again!”

They had no choice but to arrest me. Even if I hadn't have refused to come on out. An opportunistic play of sheer idiotic drunken lunacy: crawling under a police van as it sat quietly at the lights on Wardour Street. They at first must have thought I'd stooped low to pick something up, and when I hadn't resurfaced by the change of lights had sent one of the officers out to find out what the hell I was up to down there. He must have spied the back sole of my shoe or something, disappearing under the van, as next I heard his astonished voice: “Guv, you'll never believe what this fucking idiot has done! Fuck, we've got ourselves a right one 'ere!!”And then I heard the back doors of the Sherpa van push open, and looking out under the back axle I saw at least six black booted feet drop to the ground, and then four eyes were peering in at me and demanding that I come out. I refused. "I'm never giving myself up!" I screamed, “Fuck the Brits!” Over across the road I could now see an assortment of various other ankles and shoes, and further back down the road a man was down on his stomach, pointing my way and saying, “I can see him... I can see him!!!” Of the gathering crowd, brought together to watch my drunken 'non-protest', there seemed to be quite a healthy split of opinion: Some were urging me on, and others were a little less sympathetic, advising the police to run over me and invert my spine. They didn't. There was a much easier solution than that. Two of the officers knelt down, grabbed a hold of a foot a piece and tugged me on out of there – me trying desperately to claw into the tarmac and screaming all the while. When they finally had me out they cuffed me straight and then rolled me over for the big unveiling: an imbecilic young face, red and smiling with the drink and saying: "Go on then you bastards, beat me up!" They didn't. And I swore: I'd never drink again.

So it seemed like a dream when I found myself that Christmas Eve swaying on the edge of the underground platform, staring off with contempt into the pitch dark of the tunnel and praying for a tube train to come along so as I could chuck myself out in front of its thunderous rage. And as I stood there rocking like that, and sucking in the smell of carbon dust and electric current, the double rows of white fluorescents above seemed to glare and fade and glare and fade, pushing and pulling me in and out of some cynical world of self-hatred and bitterness. And I thought: "Fuck you!" to the sickly couple petting on the seats behind me, and “Fuck YOU!” to the young boys just over there smelling of Stella Artois and kebab and Xmas joy, and “FUCK YOU!!” to the sober Underground worker standing at the far end of the platform and looking down at me (or maybe just looking down). And sometimes the place seemed upside down and topsy turvy, and other times other worldly; the large pasted advertisements appearing ultra bright and ultra real and ultra evil like they'd been put there just for me. So then I'm laughing bitterly at some deranged thought which has passed through my head and before I'm even finished with that craziness I'm then dreaming of bed and imagining trying to stub out my last cigarette so I don't set the place up.

And then I felt a breeze. And somewhere far off into the black of the tunnel a spark shot out like a sharp elbow. Then came more cool black air and with it a low constant rumbling and I edged myself a little closer to the platform's edge. The rats scurried for safety well before the first bolt of electricity bandied down the tracks, and for a moment I wasn't sure if it was the drink playing tricks on my eyes or if the tunnel really was alive with blaring light and noise. But there was no mistake about it: a tube train was hurtling down the tracks and headed my way.

Since I didn't much fancy flinging myself out onto live rail, being electrocuted first and then decapitated, I knew I had to time this to perfection. I thought of toppling off the platform, not really jumping but kinda just relaxing and falling into the trains path. I reckoned that with the drink in me and the speed these things blast through at I probably wouldn't feel a thing. And barely was it decided that that was how I was going to enter history than my face was being blown back and I was growling and laughing at compartments full of people in their Christmas merry as they flashed by all blurred, the train inches from my nose. And I thought: "Fuck it, next year!" and then swore I'd never drink again.

And so I'm in a house in Chelsea with my brother and some weird girl who we'd met as we left a bar. We'd followed on behind as she danced off in front, bare-footed, screaming over and over: "I'm late, I'm late! The rabbits late! Follow Me.... " An upper-class, schizophrenic, problem child, left alone by her father and so she'd ventured out searching for bad boys like my brother and I. Well, she had found us. And the house, OH THE HOUSE, Jesus! Antiques and paintings and silverware and cameras and jewellery and now the trash of my brother and I acting as a counterweight against all that opulence. And with no talking, no discussion, not a single word at all, we'd been led in and straight up to her bedroom. And this crazy, unwell-bred girl, with a protruding forehead, pushed out by a deformed frontal lobe, was then showing us her forearms and tops of her breasts boasting how she cuts herself up with broken glass and sees a psychiatrist twice weekly. On hearing that I said to my brother: “We could be in here... I'll fuck her first!" And the girl heard. And now she was no dumb rabbit but Alice, on the bed, washing down a handful of psycho pills with red wine before pushing her trousers and panties down and laying there with her legs crossed but her muff out. And as planned I went first, though not as planned Madcap Alice was suddenly up on her knees, waving around a huge real psycho knife and warning me to stay back and not to rape her (all the while screaming that I HAD raped her). And then, when she felt she'd done enough to prevent me from violating her, she asked: “Are you boys hungry?” Said she'd fix us up a full Sunday Roast (from scratch) but after that we'd have to leave. Then just as quickly as she'd lost it, she lost it even more, saying that she needed DRUGS. Any DRUGS. So I said that this was Chelsea and that The Kings Road was packed six to a doorway with the homeless and that we could easily score DRUGS there. My brother found a bottle of Scotch, named it his, and we left.

Back outside and the night air was frosty and cut through with ice, but we were warm with booze and excitement and I had a hard-on and maybe my brother did too. And because I had mentioned the homeless and drugs and how easy it was Madcap Alice had then gone skipping and dancing up to a pair of beggars dressed in sleeping bags.
“Can you get me DRUGS!" she asked. And she wasn't even sane enough to know that there are different drugs, and that no-one in the entire history of scoring has ever tried to score just 'DRUGS'. So I pulled one of the beggars aside and said: “Look, the girl's completely cracked! My brother and I just wanted to fuck her a bit but she turned all mental and threatened to kill me. But tell her you can get 'DRUGS' and come on back. She's alone in her father's three storey house and it is packed to the top ceiling with every kind of shit that could probably help you guys out!"

And so Alice is once again out in front, leading us all back to hers, having started up with the rabbit nonsense again. My brother hands me the bottle of scotch like it's a relay baton and then goes dancing away too, trying to catch up with Alice and fuck her before I or the beggars do. I hang behind with the beggars, still dressed in sleeping bags and looking like winter caterpillars up on their hind legs. The beggars are either merry with the prospect of getting out the cold or they have realised that this is for real. As I stagger along sipping at the whisky, each one is at either of my ears asking again about the house and drooling and rubbing their hands together as I describe it over and over again.

We're in the Hallway of Madcap Alice's house. The beggars are staring up in astonishment at the low hanging chandelier.
“It's a reproduction,” says Alice, “everything's a fucking reproduction!” The beggars don't seem to mind though, and Me, I think: At least there'll be no trouble replacing everything then! Once again we're led up into the bedroom, only this time there's five of us. Alice is the only one who sits. The pills she'd swallowed earlier seem to be coming on strong as she's rolling her head around and laughing and saying weird things as if she's tripping. But she's not tripping. She just thinks that's how DRUGS make you behave. She's seriously whacked. Getting down to business one of the beggars asks: "OK, so how much DRUGS do you want?" Madcap Alice pulls out some notes from her jeans and says: “This much!” She's not got a single clue as to how much cash she's even produced. Still, as crazy as she is, she is not crazy enough to  give the money to the beggars. Instead she gives it to me, maybe as payment for raping her, and that's even worse. I stuff the notes in my pocket, my brother now diving in and trying to take his half. I fight his drunken hand out my pocket and tell him: “Later!”

The beggars say that to get the DRUGS they have to make a phone call. Madcap Alice, really out of it now, flings a hand towards the door, as if to say: “It's somewhere through there.. I don't know!” With the Beggars now roaming the house (casing the joint), my brother and I collect a few select things ourselves. I take a fake Ming vase, a brass fire poker and a Toby Jug while my brother fills his pockets with Silverware. Now resigned to our fate – a wank in the dark before sleep – we decide to call it a night and tell Alice that we're leaving, and that the two beggars are ordering her DRUGS, but to be very careful as I think they're planning to rob her. But Alice isn't as stupid as she is crazy, and she realises that I've told her that but am preparing to leave with a body load of stuff myself. She says that my brother and I can keep what we've taken and just to go, that EVERYONE MUST GO! My brother and I agree, and so drunk to hell we head off, now with Alice firmly behind us making sure we go. As we make our way down the stairs and off through the open plan living room we pass the beggars who are on the phone. But it doesn't sound much like DRUGS they're ordering: "Yeah, bring the fucking van, mate... I'm tellin' Ya, we can empty this fuckin place!" And then I wake up on a night bus and I'm kicking to rouse my brother as it's pitch black outside and I think we've overshot our stop. And we have. And it's raining and it's freezing and we're walking the five miles back home, weighed further down with the odd and useless bits of antiques we have. And my head seriously hurts, and my ears and the base of my skull are frozen. And not only am I trying to hold myself up but my brother too, and if this walk doesn't kill us I promise: I'll never drink again.

So I'm trying to light a cigarette but I keep missing the tip and it looks like the flame and tip are aligned but they're not and people around are pointing and laughing. And then the cigarette is lit, but I still can't get a drag off the thing, and it's there I realize I've kinda lit it in the centre and it just gives up the game and falls apart. I fumble another one out the pack and try again. And that's when the thick end of a pool cue cracks me a good'un right around the side of my head, and the fat loud-mouth guy in the QPR football top who'd been my best friend all evening is now accusing me of having made moves towards his old lady. I hear the wrap of the pool cue off my knuckles as I raise my hands to defend myself.

And it's a black wet night and I can see the moon and a fist keeps punching me in the face. I don't even try to stop it, just walk on into it, undefended, telling the fist I'm sorry and to calm down for just a minute. And then the police are there, blue swirling lights and radios in the night, and I'm saying: “Nah, he's my mate... he was tryin' t'help. It was someone else altogether who did this.” And then the police are gone and My Loudmouth Friend has his arm around my shoulder, shouting a drunks' whisper into my ear : "Nice one for that mate! They would've 'ad me back in The Scrubbs! Fuuuuck!” And then I'm back inside, being paraded around the bar as some kinda “Stand-up Guy”, and that's really amusing as without my friend holding me up I'd be a dribbling drunken pile on the floor. And I'm smiling, a huge wide affectionate idiotic thing, as My Loudmouth Friend shows me off to each table: “Look how I fucked his face up and he STILL didn't rat me out!” And everyone is patting my back and shaking my hand and somewhere in the haze I take a drag of a cigarette and it's strong! So now my head is spinning and the room is spinning and sounds are far away and then real loud and every thing and everyone  has this blurry halo of light around them and I feel detached and heavy-headed. And then I'm falling back down into my seat, across from HER, and I'm not sure what is real and what is not or what has happened or what has not. Then my friend is back, crashing a pint down on the table in front of me, an inch of beer jumping up and out over the lip of the glass, and it's the last thing I ever want to see. And I think I'm sliding down off my chair, like a piece of meat or a dogs exhausted tongue, flopped out  and struggling to see and so I'm squinting or peering or doing something, over across to the girl who started all this trouble. I put a cigarette in my lips and let it dangle. I'm thinking of fucking her and I imagine I look pretty smoky and sexy and cool, but now, I'm not so sure I did. And certainly the beating was real. I can feel it in my face, a swelling numbness that normally only dentists dish out. But maybe it helped? Maybe my friend's punches saned or sobered me up, as his woman now looks quite different too: Older, fatter, stupider, more vulgar, less leggy, less sexy, less fuckable, unfuckable, unanythingable, and God. is that hair on her face? And I swear: I'll never drink again.

And then it's broad daylight, around eleven o'clock (maybe), and I'm staggering down the centre of the road of Kensington High Street and I've got my cock out and I'm pissing along the white centre divide line. Cars and buses and taxis are hooting me but I carry on regardless and I think I put my dick back inside my pants while it's still pissing. And I did. So I scream: “ROCK N' ROLL!!!” and swear, I'll never drink again!

And then I'm in France, and I'm at a companies Christmas do, and I'm not sure how I got there but I recognize three people and so suppose they must have invited me. And before we've even finished our starters I've started: throwing food about and having a great time. And I go to the toilet and return with the handle off the door, and we're all laughing except one boy who I don't know and who seems to have taken a passionate dislike to me. And as a drunk the most annoying, boring fuckers are the sober, and no matter how blind drunk you are you can always see a sober man: and this man was SOBER. So now my attentions are on him and I start up with clever quips and subtle insults until the entire table is laughing him down. And I'm knocking back the wine and peering at this shit through two scrunched up eyes, and someone is obviously enjoying my insanity as they keep topping up my gtlass – and every time it's topped up I empty it again. And it's soon that I straighten up after my latest throatful of Beaujolais to realize, once again, that I'm floating on a different plane to everyone else, and I'm suddenly not sure if the table are laughing at Him or Me. Then I realize it's ME! I'm being ignored, pacified, my insults waved away and HIM opposite is being told to ignore me. He's won! Even my automatic refill has stopped. So now I'm seething, staring at him through a haze of drunken hatred and planning his murder to the chip of cutlery on plate. And then the entire fucking table jumps and everyone is pushing back, except Him, who's now leaning right across with a fork to my eye and screaming something about me pouring wine and candle wax over his Foie Gras and that he's going to kill me! And then I'm being dragged crashing through the restaurant, over tables and through romantic meals, towards the exit where he's gonna beat the crap outta me. And I don't know if he does or not because the next thing he is over the other side of the road, at a bus-stop, crying and being comforted by his girlfriend. And now I'm crossing over to apologize, staggering around in the oncoming traffic, halting cars and apologizing to them too. All the while his girlfriend is warning me off, shouting at me to “Just leave it!!" and “FUCK OFF!” So I do. Home. But the walk is a turbulent one and I'm making it with my eyes closed. I've a vague feeling of having lost my jacket, keys and money. And then I realize: I have lost my jacket, keys and money. And I'm laughing about it, a caustic bitter laugh ringing out in the shrill night. Staggering forward is hard enough, so going back would be impossible. “Fuck You Jacket, keys and money... FUCK YOU!”

And then I'm on the floor and the back wheel of a moped is spinning somewhere near my face and a boy who looks about ten is besides me in a helmet. And he doesn't hit me or anything, just rises and gets back on his motorcycle and scoots off. And the city lights are a blur above me and I'm not sure what are lights and what are stars or what is the moon. I try to rise but can't. I'm eating French pavement, and French pavement tastes the same as any pavement in the world. I feel sick. My leg hurts. I've lost my jacket, keys and money and home seems centuries away. And now my head is spinning, a vortex or noise and light and pain and liquid, all swirling around and pulling down and coming up. And as the vomit shoots and splutters out my nose and mouth I feel as if I'm dying. And I am dying. And every time I think I'm done another part of the evening comes rising up and spewing out. And now my eyes are open and once again I can see. The sick is all upon me and has collected in a sticky pool around the side of my head and in my ear. And it's bad, but it's better than before. And soon I'll pick myself up and drag myself on home, but before I do, and while I'm here, and once more just for fun: I swear, I'll never drink again!


A Song for The Drunks.  Love to all  the Dogs, Shane. X