Leaving Babylon

It's curious how phases in your life bring you back to certain things and places for a period and then leave them behind again.  This year has been filled with the hard physical reality of concrete, lost time in Hammersmith and the roads and rails through it, and a curious sequence of high hotel rooms in Babylon. This pattern has emerged across my life, from all aspects: work and pleasure which are only related by some strange abstract pattern that I cannot fathom. 

I think that what I see now is the beginning and end of my trajectory through Babylon. My hotel room looks out at the distant runway, where motes of light make curves above the hard lines of glowing stitches in the face of this most Frankensteinian of long dead Earths. I stand at my hotel window, glass of beer in hand because I am not the Man Who Drinks Alone in Hotel Bars. The night is not black anywhere, it has a deep rust to it as thought it is bleeding under its skin. Drops of Lucozaide spill down the street. The black beetle of a taxi crawls past. A bus like a lumbering caterpillar creeps along. Squares of blue-white light punctuate the buildings. Minicab offices glow inside barred cages. A kebaberie like a clinic houses a man delivering an argument. He is a conductor for the orchestra of eaters: allegrissimo, allegrissimo, molto basso, punch. A man watches me from his kitchen. A girl watches him from a doorway. The taxi slips past again, slowing. The girl looks up at me, but I am not the Man Who Hunts on the Street, so I shake my head. She sneers and notices the taxi, now on its third orbit but the taxi has noticed the men spilling from the kebab shop and their stocatto fists. He slinks away.

There are cliches in songs and fiction. I am the travelling man. I wander over the Earth above the constellations of towns and galaxies of cities. These lights are my universe and I would as readily select a streetlight and go to see what is there than I would select a distant star and travel there for the same reason. I am a comet, often dark and lonely, travelling in far distant spaces, but I always return to my sun for a moment of warmth, even if that means crossing Babylon to do it.

The girl has lured the angry man over and is unwrapping his cleft fists in the dark of the alley. A little more blood bleeds into the night.


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