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Presenting: Nightsmoke Snapper

The first spring

Skinpinking Marchdusk stretches towards a lamp-navy night, the falsely mild one that inches away to open up the upcoming segment, which finally melts the chaos that choked the GMT-curtained months. They formed a deep hole. Blizzard followed snowdrift, the docks were perma-clogged. The bus lanes ice-jammed. Now there is a hero arriving into tangerine SW2; pink-wafer streetlights getting ready for it all, vendors packing up at the peripheries of the day-mess, busglow a gentle torch through mid-evening freshness. Life budding. A taste on Thames wind of hopeful real-light and flowering second chances. There is a hero, ready to become entangled in it, to transform into a bit of that entanglement. Bathsalt air and moon embers. Whatever a hero is, whatever he isnít; a mixture if wild fantasies and classic winter-dank depression. And that hero is me. In some ways. And in other ways it could never be me. Itís definitely not me totally, at that precise moment. Do you know which bits are me and which arenít me? A few are both. Iím sure, though, that the hero is me when he senses the old-lust crawling out his skin, scuttling out and being replaced by a sparkling new fever, and some sensation that I think I know from a classic adventure and soulful hope that blossomed in a faraway youthful spring; it is more than that too, it is the feeling of an oncoming unknown lamp that generates glows on to things approaching the horizon. That irrepressible halo. And what a marvellous hero I feel! Seminal skyshade further kicks this warmish setting towards its gathering night Ė the extras, the wanderers, the people of this place are welded to it and they keep up their routine despite the circumstances of their micro-dramas and the status of their dreams. In that sense, they too are statuesque. Anyone alien to these suburbs would shrug their shoulders at such workmanship, oblivious to such stoic commitment and ordered chaos. From the outside it might even seem foolish. It would appear futile exhaustion-baiting, but it all commands an unclipped respect. How could anyone fail to admire that unrelenting blindness? It was done without a second thought. The hero watched it, analysed the intricacies and felt within it and totally out of it at the same time. This dual effect would go on to bother the hero in the packed timeframes ahead, including some thought-beefy frozen day-prologue moments pre-bus, with edited bits of cloudless or cloud-chocka skies as a hairpiece, and before any additional stress uppercuts had knackered him even further. In classic hero strong-style, he met them (honestly? Most of them) with statue-tough resistance. Thatís why he - and very modestly, me - is this sectorís hero. And he remembered this double-edged feeling from yet another crumbling memory of the placeís former days, remembered that he was in the middle ground between outsider and member, and that this was his chance to chip away at the distance between the two points. Push away, with that floaty feeling in his belly arriving at the peak of the hill, the sky a fairytale evening-silver and some place - a dwelling - awaiting the heroís dewy body. There is a bed for me (ok, at this point it has to be me) there, in a candle-lit room beyond the orange hallways with the charming cracks and peeling paint around the edges Ė and, in quite a lot of places, not just around the edges. I made the journey hundreds of times, in brilliant copper light and when, later on, the outside coldness could be felt in my bones even in the confines of the top-deck. A cosy future, as yet unrealised. At this moment, those identikit trips were like unseen fortresses that were probably touched on in the imagination, forming a dream-melding routine of robust things embracing the mundane. They were touched on but not expanded or confirmed in palpable images Ė all that was to be magicked into reality past the clocks-forward phase. Now: that sunset of dribbles almost rivering me back to base. Those aching echoes, those flimsy lustful needs being channelled out into oblivion, with each freeze frame of the marigold dying of day in the infant summer. Right where no one expected it. There is no recorded music Ė it is not needed, all of the melodies here are forged by Oysters on card-readers, androgynous wails across bus-clogged tarmac and popcorn-store live-radio blasts. Then they are altered in pitch and fluency, and then romanticised and stored in the soul; even the GBH on car horns and ominous big clink of cycle bells. The threatening tension here, a near-far humming (is it buzzing? Itís so familiar that it canít be described, without getting an element of it wrong) is an alien sound but a reassuring reminder, that life ticks over Ė even when itís only average, when itís just someone leaving the station to tiredly crumble along the backlanes and slink into the mattress once home, when itís voices rising and amputated to leave semi-words shaking through the buswindows, when itís a secret, impromptu walk around the block just before night descends. Iíd missed that, too. And realised it was the memory of it, which Iíd forgotten, that made it a heart-scorching piece of audio. All of the time now Iím manufacturing better, brighter, hours, basking in those teaspoon-silver late-days that had appeared out of nowhere, that had made me WOW in gloryface mode, that had defeated the moon-crater staticcrackle deep solstice at last, taken out the snowed-in driveways, burned off the oil-lamp navydark, and flattened the vision of glassy vans smoothing the land on the outer-radius postcodes, as the moving-off rear-light red eyes became hostage to the midnight blizzard.

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© Copyright 2016 John Maher