Six Months Away
(After Robert Lowell)
Discharged as ‘homeless’, then to a room that felt wilfully hostile (lurid curtains and bristling carpet squares), I was permanently provisional. The whole city became a hospital, a seeping infiltration. Outside was fleetingly better than a condemning four-walled stare. My fat fire door would shut on my shaky frame, as if to make a point: I was an obstruction in the world’s gut, and though forward-oriented, stuck. No breezing through here (and how I craved a vital breeze). It was the heat wave of 2013; I went to bed with ice cubes round my neck. Murray had finally won Wimbledon, and the Crown another layer of heir. It seemed a summer of broken records and ground. And it cracked like a sonic boom that only I could hear: I was utterly alone. I didn’t know beyond ‘rock bottom’, there was a molten mantle, and a core of hell… I had joined a wreck of society. My future was all behind me, I had no place of rest. I was terrified, fresh and hopeless.
Traces of each age, in certain lights or moods or states of erosion, show through your surface. Time is the preserving, revisionary artist. We don’t know when each layer has ended until we find ourselves concealed by the next. We look out helpless, with original eyes.