After Bloodworks, a series of paintings mixing blood with ink & acrylics that resulted often in a loss of consciousness due to blood loss & starvation, I come to a more extreme method of forcing myself into altered states in order to make paintings. This consists of depriving myself of food & living on extreme stress until the black dog grips my every thought & I can focus on almost nothing but death. After nine & a half days without food I tucked a fresh razor into my top pocket & stepped out into the grim morning & took the shortest route to the canal to search for death.
The canals of SoHo are a filthy mixture of desolate & barely functioning metalworking units backing onto blackened, stagnant water populated only by discarded trash & the detritus of one hundred years of toil & misery on the part of millions of ignorant & unfortunate working poor. Their anger & frustration is tangible in those neglected black waters where I walked in exhaustion absorbing every minute aspect in an attempt to find the strength to quietly & permanently destroy myself.
Every rustle of tiny, coarse earthworm hairs as they creep through the poisoned soil, every dart of every greedy black eyed sparrow who feasts on those unlucky enough to catch their attention, every woodlouse rubbing against the underside of a plastic wrapper, years old & covered with a semi toxic coating of diseased dust, every putrefying, bloated corpse of drowned dogs with their exposed backs pecked raw to the bone like an inverted puddle of stinking soft caustic air as we breathe here had stripped its beautiful brown fur of all its lustre & playfulness & innocence to reveal the morbid obscenity of all life without the aid of those huge & fearless brown rats that crawled from the pit of its stomach cavity & sploshed almost silently into the cadaverous pool where brightly painted narrowboats once carried goods & provided a pittance for those who long ago toiled these waters.
Mile after mile I walked in soreness, the blisters on my feet bursting from time to time inside my sodden shoes. I came upon a section where a footbridge bent its malformed spine near the tracks of the railway & an exposed area allowed me to position myself precariously upon a concrete pillar where I might sit until the rails began to hum with an approaching intercity juggernaut, all 120mph of appalling weight with a shiny aluminium shell emblazoned with a shiny corporate logo raced toward where I had leaned forward to catch its full force & weight with the quarter inch of bone in my temple so that it might liquidate my brain on impact & throw the remains of my worthless body spinning hundreds of yards into the canal to join the dogs, sacks of drowned kittens & other filth.
At that moment, my every fibre fighting the urge to pull back & my thoughts accelerated to a superhuman speed, my attention was caught by a tent beneath the bridge with regimental flags on the guy ropes along with some waterproof clothing, underpants & a single sock, all hanging out to dry. Some poor veteran squaddie with one leg had obviously been living there for some time & scratching a meagre existence amongst all of this in the country he had sacrificed his limb for. I dreamed of rudely waking him so that he would slit my throat in a post traumatic, sleepy panic & of talking to him over a breakfast of freshly caught & horribly ugly fish from the canal & then realised that he would despise me for my weakness as I did myself. In that instant, waiting for the train to strike & distracted by the imagined disdain of the one legged soldier & the face of the train driver & his hundred passengers & of the delays caused by my worthless corpse, the force of the air in front of the speeding train pushed me off the pillar & I slipped from the post & landed heavily on my hands & face on the gravel as the train pushed gallons of air & noise over the top of my head as it brushed me aside & I lay there for a second shocked & embarrassed & angry & thinking that I didn’t land so easily as I had when a child & scraped all the skin from myself. I rolled away in pain & sat up to pick the gravel & dirt from under the flaps of skin on my hands, my face beginning to swell already when the horn of the passing train sounded so loudly & so close that I involuntarily jumped out of my reverie & shocked that I may be reported as a suicide & institutionalised on arrest I scrambled rather messily up onto the embankment & away from the track, the bridge & the tent of the still sleeping soldiers protracted washing.
That was earlier.
After all this time……
Now the burning is here again.
It begins in my brain & continues along every nerve fibre taking its sickening numbness into my fingertips, lips, mouth.
It hurts so much.
There was never any poetry for me.
No one ever really cared that much, still don’t.
I am jealous & angry that it was never that way for me.
I was never anyones ideal.
It comes so easy to those who don’t care & I will be forever passed over for anything else.
Don’t ask, don’t pretend out of pity or obligation to make a gesture of concern.
I know. That you hardly cared at all & all I ever amounted to was a momentary distraction.
I can feel it spreading, that burning. It is harder to write now………taking much longer.
To die this way is awful. Burned through every nerve & sick at the knowledge of it.
I could have saved us both if you had only believed in me.
Now it is almost done
Come death, come violence.
Take my pain
Why won't it stop & just let me die?
This hurts so much........................