L I t T e R

Back to Leafe home

Back to Litter home

Ian Seed


You have one thought above all others, still an air of cheekiness about you, perhaps your only saving grace at this midpoint in your life. Easy to lose, persuaded of the importance of oneís role. The hotel was not what I expected. There were shouts from one room to another in a language I couldnít understand. It was too late to go anywhere else. At first light, I met the American in the lobby as arranged. The money he offered for the job was good. He told me he trusted me, assured me no one would come to any harm. I was transfixed by the red glow of his cigarette. When I shook hands with him, it was like being penetrated. Never had I felt so alone.


Eri andato via, only years later to understand its true value, always searching for another voyage to return from, coming out of the plot into the wilderness. A nonsense defined you. In different cities, you followed her up never-ending stairways, later to emerge no wiser, but older and changed. Wrapped like a parcel, you were sent on your way for a few pennies. The laughter of Italian children reached you sitting on a broken wall, your face raised to winter, a prayer whispered in your bones.


Trees still dead. Gulls looking for pickings in fields of frozen mud. Just before she went to sleep she thought of the buses gathered in the station across the street, "resting for the night". That was eighteen years ago when the roads were covered by a different skin. Nothing came of touching you. Those at a distance could see the picture being built. A hand settled on your wrist and squeezed. It was your voice, but someone else speaking from the side of your mouth.


From a handful of bones we created a story. Thereís a constant sense of alarm, swirling faces, jeans tight around fat bottoms. Promoted within a year. Thatís a career with prospects while the song remains unheard. Drink coffee from a paper cup, sitting in a smaller and smaller corner, still the childlike searching in your eyes for something beyond proximal and distal powers, no pattern discerned, though occasionally scattered words begin a new language, a nudge in the right direction. Inside the plastic bag at the counter, a live heart is beating. There is nothing you need to understand. Shake hands and surrender to another vision. Ashes were born from less. A man digs into his back pocket to see if he can find the right coins.


It was curiosity brought me to the garden wall. You are not here to greet me. There are shouts from the house about an intruder, not for the first time a danger of never entering the scene, only the merest of glimpses, as you climb steep steps in the dark to where music is playing. What do you hope to find there? This is a death which is new to us.

Copyright © Ian Seed, 2006