FTMT's Favourite Five Top Tenets

Monday, February 06, 2006





The magic months have gone and left this husk in their wake. The deadest time of year, when the bleakest outlooks and weather patterns combine to tire you in a daily queue of the stickiest traffic jam.

Cold as ice sings the killer bee. Tub-thumping is tiresome and I wish you’d do the decent thing and turn down the microphone and shorten your songs. Tedium and opportunity make strange bedfellows and the whole wide world seems to think that it has something to say today but none of it is coherent or credible.

Last person to the bar buys you nothing good to drink or look at. Dirty, rusty taps pour more beer into scratched glasses that you drink from with your chipped lips and sandpaper tongue. Who are you?

A thousand lights flicker away to the North, the people pour out of manicured houses onto short driveways and go forth. To do jobs in warehouses and offices, at desks that are veneered and plastic, flat screens and phones, keyboards full of biscuit crumbs and coffee rings beside penholders. Read and hear the daily threats to life, love and liberty, cartoons that offend, religions that offend, politicians that offend, children and adults that are out of control. Sweat at the madness of frenzied extremists who sadly cherish their one-eyed view of nothing because it’s all they can clearly see. They say they love a God, one who tramples them regularly whether it’s in the chapel, the cathedral, the mosque or the ashram. Sow some more seeds and see just what it is your anger manages to grow for you. It may not be the happy children you dreamt of or the ones that the holy book promised.

Streetlights pick holes in the dark like small boys attacking their dirty noses with index fingers erect. Fog and smoke from the hell of the curfew bonfires sizzles and circles in deadly pockets. Old men fall from bicycles as if hit by snipers fire from some charcoal tree stump hiding place. Blasted blood pours onto the cobbles grey glaze.

Girls giggle some more and suck thumbs; eyeballs reflect the room light and the occasional camera flash to capture the moment and then drop it into the bucket of obscurity. This is a sub human zoo. Full to the lapping top with quirks and passers by, disconnected and uneven as a tightrope walk in the wee small hours. People sidle in, dropped and flopped into some austere common purpose of misunderstanding. Try to find a voice that doesn’t sound like a riveter’s gun and be noble as you can for those few moments of exposure.

Boy with tinfoil in his hair, thought he looked good when he left his house, but that was earlier.

People drown and lose themselves in this peaceful warfare, anywhere where the struggle is visible, most likely in your head only.

Down in the basement the rats crack their whips, the sailors dance hornpipes with cabin cats and blind companions. The city inspires this nighttime revelry, to creep towards and celebrate a dawn that breaks only in the sleepiest of chunks and filtered signs.

One strange day the sun shone through this invaluable, exhausted and choking mist and we wrote more songs. I got drunk on your writing and singing. My fingers became cold and hard on these hardwood fingerboards, the strings dug in and hurt, the old fingers ached even in following the most familiar patterns that this music dictated. I struggle with this geometry in my head, I try to combine the shapes and sounds and rhythms to match the patter of the tiny feet as the baby’s song spins up from his cradle. You smile a hundred times a day with twenty-five muscles exercising and kissing at the fresh air. If we could we’d cycle and whistle and perhaps have a pillow fight. The potholes in these roads make you take care but the roads will still take you out on this careless journey. How can we navigate when the leaves cover the track, there but never back?

We are all on the road to success and it all began with a simple push.

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