Recalling London

Recalling London

Glimpses from the London diaries. 

06:00 | I am waiting for the bus, standing in the frigid morning still. All is quiet; but for the silence, the faint humming clatter of teeth and the rhythmic plumes of passing breaths. A crowd is slowly forming around me, but nobody speaks. Solemnly they stand as though in prayer, slowly turning the world over in their heads. And with nothing but the magic of their minds, the churning chaos again takes form. Pieces of a puzzle falling faster into place, as the anticipation builds—in that infinitum before the first note is struck—the bus arrives! The clock is reset, another day is born anew.

08:00 | Under the old oaks, through […] winding mossy ways’, where crows go on long walks; and there, high above the last fluttering leaf, beauty rides on the wingtips of a hundred pigeons that cloud the brilliant blue. Find Grace atoned, by the dancing swans and flawless landing of ducks upon the Serpentine. And as a spark to tinder, the Hyde is ablaze, with the last of the Autumn hues: stark orange and yellow all aglow. The only real warmth to the raspy air; and the lonesome forever falling… hurdling, always in their place. The passage of time—personified; set to the poetry of a solitary leaf, cast down to a canvass immemorial.

“But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.”
John Keats, Ode to a Nightingale

10:00 | He is sweet like the flora of the coming spring. I search his body for another taste; of him, I am never full. I pin his arms up above his head and I drink. This, only a memory now, but for the phantom that yet lingers at the base of my tongue. Although effervescent as a passing thought, I can still recall, and with such vivid realism—that taste! It feels so inextricably real, but also, admittedly entirely not. And every time I get to hold it there, I try to fight back the dreaded day—now long come and gone—when I would no longer recall this sweet, sweet taste of spring.

12:00 |

14:00 | At an intersection in downtown Chicago. He looks up at the street signs, but he can no longer read them. The names are all lost to the eye of his mind, yet the feelings still remain. (He was later told it read: Randolph & State.)


beyond the colours and plumes.

Look, around the ringing and ranting, budding blooms.

Look beneath the pleasure of touch, and lust, and fucking—look.

Above the crowds, the cars, buildings and roofs;

high, high up in clouds, passed skies, in the space amid space…

Now look…

I see the lines we drew to guide the Way.

Through mounting frames, held up for us to stay;

peering from behind walls we built—ever rising—to keep us at bay.

16:00 |

18:00 | I returned from Manchester on a whim, and found London all but full. Some concert—a fucking boyband—was in town and I was on the streets. Although destitute, I did not despair; I was in London and that was the fulfilment of an oath. And despite it being only November, Christmas was already in full swing. The merriment of Christmas markets under the Eye; the aromas of chocolate, sausage, tea and fudge. The people—with rose pedals on their cheeks—that endless parade of faces, clothes and voices; set to pace under the ever present gradations of cold. The street performers and the art; the majesty of old buildings, statues and the countless windows—with their glimpses of untold lives cast under the warm hues of home. The dazzling fairy lights and brilliant neon bright of Piccadilly square, and of Bond. It lulled me, and I was content.

20:00 | I walked and walked, until my cold feet would carry me no further; so I dragged them to a well known alley. Down the steep stairs, meters away from the most everyday; it’s quiet there, too quiet I would say—expecting almost. Like the stage before the next act. Down there, under the red light, a weary actor stumbles into place. Finally somewhere warm—a literal labyrinth of steam, heat and of flesh. 

22:00 | I try to sleep, but I cannot.

00:00 | It is hard to sleep in an atmosphere so utterly charged. Music blaring, muffling the rhythmic grunts and groans of men sporadically fucking all around me. I give up for now, leave the private cabin and venture back out in nothing but my towel. Round and round the maze, the endless carousel of wanting; which abruptly stops as I stumble into a conversation with The Greek.

02:00 | The Greek: a middle aged man, utterly mediocre, with a skinny-fat belly and a far too confident disposition. He mostly annoyed me, until he led me to Toby—the Swede. Toby had this youthful face, a boy trapped in a man’s body: tall, broad—but soft. Rosy cheeks, a bright pair of eyes and the most beautiful smile; so innocent, almost adolescent in the stupor of his extreme drunkenness. He stole my heart. He could barely speak, but I surrendered myself to him—‘like a lute’. I do not quite know why, but I did everything he told me to. He pointed to The Greek, and I kissed him. He told me to fuck The Greek, and so I did. Harder he said, and I complied—to his every whim. Not once did I touch him, he was simply the director.

“You’re crying. You say you’ve burned yourself.
But can you think of anyone who’s not hazy with smoke?

I want to hold you close like a lute,
so we can cry out with loving.

You would rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror, and here are the stones. ”
Rumi, Quatrains

I am not one to be subjugated, I rarely take pleasure in it. Perhaps, because I was homeless, perhaps it was my fatigue, or perhaps it was simply the child-like sparkle in his eye. I remember laughing like someone possessed after a young Indian man, who had asked me if he could join the orgy that had started to envelope me, came after a single kiss. It was all too much for him. And with my laughter, like a sounding bell, I had broken the spell. Toby who had remained on the periphery of it all, completely fascinated by his slave, was now satisfied. I could see the sudden change perfectly in his eyes—he was mine. He ask if I wanted to get out of here. I did. I pulled out and we left The Greek, despondent and literally on all fours. Out in the street, he whispered into my ear: I am going to fuck you tonight. I smiled coyly and said: then you will be the first.

04:00 | He passed out, while in my mouth—snoring. And still I could not sleep, but at least I was warm.

06:00 |

08:00 | He woke up the next morning—hard. He pissed, and mounted me. There was something he whispered—before he took my last virginity—I wish I could recall.


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