Wednesday, February 22

A Pair of Irons

OCCASIONALLY I AM in awe of how closely my labours wrap me up. Just a day of work, of hard work, grafting; hours spent sweating into my ironed shirt; trips to the toilet to clean up; I even snort water to moisten my nasal passages that get dried up by the air conditioning; I speak through sandwich mouthfuls; I curse printers and inseminate them with stacks of paper.
The sky is wimping out of winter yet again. Every year I try to write a letter to Spring. There is no well-scripted reply but there are three or four months of bliss, of timely and warm blossom. The hours of daylight extend each side of me like opening arms. Oh, hello. How do you do? In the morning the sky is the colour of blue but not real blue, just as a baby is not a real human (just a human minus time). The daytime is fragile blue—it is uncertain blue and it stays pretty high up on its booster seat. The evenings are heavy, like thick milk vomited by a baby, but they are blue as you.
I would like to thank work for offering me reprieve from this fiasco of misery I otherwise occupy. I should buy its wife some flowers or take it for a drink.
Miraculous, really, that I should forget women when I work so hard! That’s a real miracle. I might just surrender to this shit full-time: aim for the top, screw people over, be serious, abandon any and all artistic pursuits. I lost my imagination last week. I may have sold it to the attendant at the City ice rink in exchange for not wearing any skates. I thought it was a fair price.
Who is L—y? I can’t even remember what her eyes look like. She ignores me now. I have bored her and she caught on quick to how boring I was. That is why I am going to focus on my career now. There’s more money in that.
I touched an iron once when I was a kid. I touched an iron and a lightbulb. Separate occasions. When I touched them, I howled and cried and sucked my finger and my eyes ran. The skin swelled up into a bubble. After touching an iron for that split second I knew forever how hot irons were and would never forget them again. You only need that split-second to realize. Her eyes are an iron. That is the truth. Her eyes are an iron or a lightbulb. They have imprinted themselves upon my tenderness so quickly that I had not time to recoil. Her eyes are an iron or a lightbulb.
Five-and-a-half years I have worked in that damn City and Friday was the first time I nearly got run over. (It was only a bicycle but these things start off small.) I thought he would go wide but he cut in at the last moment and he was going at a fair whack. I tried to scamper but he caught me, just on my heel. “Sorry, man,” I said. He probably swore at me—many of them are on steroids and work in the insurance game, drugged up to the eyeballs and vicious to boot. I could not hear him. I am very flustered coming out of the station in the morning: trying to light a cigarette, negotiating the crowd, sick of the scum around me, avoiding beggars and people with fast food breakfasts, looking out for buses, dodging newspaper vendors.
My body was sick of me. It was trying to end me. I have always suspected the bastard would finish me off in the most humiliating way, but a bicycle! I’m embarrassed. It tried to throw me in front of that cyclist so that I’d break a limb or dislodge a vertebrae or something!
Chagrinned, I moved along faster and straight to my office. I started to sweat profusely from my shame. The people on the pavement walked too slow for me so I jumped into the road and ran headlong into the traffic. There was a great rush in that.

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