I remember you all.
Nicola Jane in Hyde Park summer, all in white, long blonde mane and pale blue eyes, every inch reflecting light, laughing at me dressed all in black. We didn’t look right together, but we were. Waiting for you at night outside the stage door. I think that’s when I started living at night. You got brighter and I got darker.
The world got darker.
Guitars clanging like fire alarms inside the club as Tara B and I clung to each other in the back doorway, the night no bigger than me and she. My hand on her dancer’s thigh in the dark, all wrapped in nylon. Her eyes on me as she sang in working-men’s clubs. Bending her over the dressing-room table while they were still applauding in the bar. Running my fingertips over the scars on her wrists at five in the morning.
Alice the taxi driver gasping as I licked her tattoo, the first time anyone had done that. The menagerie of rats in her tiny room watching from their cages as she arched and spasmed against my lips.
Darker and darker. Time passing in a million little breaths.
I remember you all, I really do. I remember Ann-Marie’s dirtily infectious giggle as I went down on my knees in front of her and told her it was her turn to be sucked off. I remember Jenny’s wild pealing laughter as I got down on my knees at the taxi rank and asked her to marry me, to mad cheering from the bar full of people behind us.
The same taxi rank I met Alice at. Love makes you stupid. Love kills us all.
They found Alice in the back of her taxi not long after. I had a friend in the police service who said the look on her face was one of total surprise.
After a while, it was like I never saw the sun at all.
Tara B, floating in the canal like a junkyard Ophelia, burger boxes and used condoms drifting around her. Nicola Jane, slumped outside the stage door, hands over her crimson heart like she was trying to stop it breaking.
I went west, chased by permanent night. Porcelain Larissa in New York hotel rooms. Sex was a psychedelic for her. It took her places no-one else ever saw. Convulsing like an electroshock patient as I held her throat with one hand and spanked her with the other. She’d say “thank you” after each apocalyptic sequence of orgasms, looking up at me with complete devotion. Hotels would complain about the screaming.
I think perhaps they were relieved when the screaming stopped, and I sat there alone again, with night coming hard.
I ran from it. For a while, there was sun on my skin in San Francisco. And at night there was Augusta, still in her leather corset and black Victorian cape, taking control of me, telling me it would be like this forever.
But it wasn’t. The one thing I have learned in all this time is that nothing is forever. Everybody leaves.
Larissa left me in a ghetto park. From a little distance, it looked like she was wearing a red choker, and that her hands were tied by red ribbons.
People called me vain because the first thing I always bought for every new home was a mirror. But it was only so I could see another face when the night got too dark for everyone else to stand.
And here I lay now, in a country whose name I don’t even know, and night is falling, my darlings. Night is falling and I can’t run away this time.
I remember you all. And I lay here dying now. I can see it coming, feel the shape of it. All my strength is falling from me like October leaves. I have in me just enough to be able to hold your hands.
But none of you are here.
Love Will Kill Us All
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