If you love, adore the moon. If you rob, steal a camel.

Stories for the Long Silk Road

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dominic Ward: Trial of an Aesthete

The warm water of the bath eased the pain that had infected my meat, the grave worms that had been gnawing at me temporarily stilled, their business with my earth momentarily halted.  But the fever was still on me.  I could feel it.  It was all over me, the water that washed me boiling in small bubbles against the goosebumps of my summer skin.  My body shook gently, creating delicate patterns in the water, ripples that went up and down the tub.  The itch that ran right through me – emanating as it was from the deepest of my fibres – was quiet, for the moment, but only just.  I knew that as soon as I took my body from the sedation of the warm water, I’d be forced back into motion.  Aimless motion.  Motion from which there was no relief.  The itch would kick my body to every corner and nook and cranny.

Another ten minutes of fevered daydreaming passed.  I saw my life as it truly was – a mess of pain, anxiety and despair comingled with the irrational hope of my longings.  I had places to be, things to do.  

I decided to finally leave the comfort of the bath.  I couldn’t hide from the pain forever; I knew sooner or later I’d have to face it down.  But before I left the tub, I made a note to describe the sunlight as it streamed in through the solitary window, large though it was.  This light was soft, winter yellow, warming and heartfelt.  It had a soothing presence, slowing down the traffic along my nerve fibres to a lazy one hundredth their normal speed.

I got out of the bath, got dry and got dressed.

As I walked by the kitchen, I saw through its large bay windows the neighbour’s Japanese homestay girl sunbathing in their backyard, only just an arm’s reach.  She was just turned twenty, a decent age for a girl, and she was all alone, set out along a blue beach towel, headphones piping her whatever music it was she liked.  She was tastefully arranged in a delicate bikini with tie-side bottoms and an asymmetrical top that gathered over her left shoulder.  She was beautiful.  Of course she was.

When we finished later, I made her promise me that she would be waiting in my bed for me when I returned from my night out.  I told her it might be a long wait but that that didn’t mean I wasn’t coming.  She should definitely wait for me, I reiterated.  Sometimes you just had to be straight out with it.

Brisbane was a horrid place in 2014.  The city itself was a total snooze and the speed and E that had fuelled us in the 90s were now long gone, replaced by bath salts and other ridiculous novelty items.  Hell, even the dealers had all been in and out of jail and had long since started families and settled down in suburbia with steady work in sales.

Fuck me!

That’s all there was to say as I looked up and down the street as it bled with battery acid and cheap wine.  My neighbours were cluck cluck clucking like battery hens and I knew they all wanted me dead.  It was just that sort of day.

My good friend Ben was an octopus, or at least he was in the process of becoming one.  Ben was my best friend, how dare you suggest otherwise.

Memories floated down onto me like a heavy February rain.  We get our weather here in February, March and even into April.  The Pleiades is in Taurus.

Islands of granite had formed where volcanoes used to be.  That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it.  Like night is dark and day is bright.

I saw this little creep walking up the street.  He was with his boyfriend.  I did my best to belittle them, coming at them hard like a soldier.  I rubbed my dick and balls as a gesture of peace.  They didn’t seem to understand this however.  Oh well, you just can’t please all the people all the time.

Should I buy a packet of cigarettes?  I didn’t smoke but it could be fun.

Which is worse – a man slapping his wife; or a man slapping another man’s child?  What happens when the evergreen forests all dry up and the lakes and the oceans are all cut down?

Asthma is a drug you can buy over the counter.  Asthma is much worse when the patient has bad breath.  Can you imagine that: you’re a nurse just entering the final hour of your third consecutive night shift and some little peckerhead comes in with asthma and breathes his foul stink all over you…sometimes life just ain’t all that fair.

I have friends who read the bible and not ironically.  I don’t get irony.  I just don’t get it.  That makes me kinda dumb.  Well, I have been robotripping every day for five years now.

The widower beat his grandson with a copy of the DSM.  Bipolar, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety rained down on this poor kid as his grandad whipped himself into a faggot-hating rage.  The child wasn’t gay – the old man simply had secrets to hide.  Bury them deep, he had.  I ain’t no faggot, he would say to himself each night as he brushed his teeth in the bathroom mirror.

Nonsense aside, it was Ben that I was meeting this night. He’d already called to confirm a time and now I had nothing to do but grab something out of the fridge and lock the door on my way out. I lived alone; that’s the way it had to be. I couldn’t stand to be in the same space as anyone else for longer than a few hours at most. I needed a lot of space and time to myself, time to go slow, waste on nothing or spend on everything.

Ben and I were going to meet in the valley.  He knew a crazy little side-alley bar just off the main drag.  It was the kind of place you could have a rum and coke, get stabbed, then order another round.  But first I had to walk my withdrawal down to the bus stop.

Dominic Ward lives and writes in Esk, Australia.  He is married with four children.

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Silk Road Mantra

by Suchoon Mo

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road

I go and go

from west to east

I go and go

from east to west

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road


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