I am lying in the foetal position on a beach in
the east of England. Give me strength, I say
to myself, absolutely literally. England does
not exist. My enemies consider me a hard,
angry and indispensable spirit and I do not
blame them. How easy it is to do nothing,
like a spider that has crawled up a wall and
sits there on the ceiling. In late afternoon
light I am counting your favours slowly like
receipts. Imagination, morality, performance,
farewells, spending, travel, war, needs,
business, concession, feelings of entrapment
and aloneness, no rescue. Please! Melancholic
people are repugnant. I say to my detractors.
The only way you will get any answers at all is
by revealing something. And the air clings to
me like a thick layer of menthol balm, trying
to draw something out, some sickness. Who
am I to claim a spider does nothing. I can’t
help noticing that my body appals you. Or
is it my mind. Some combination of the two.
And the tasks are mounting. When I regard a
person with utter contempt, when I permit the
disgust his lechery inspires to come to power
inside me I know I will never allow him to see
such a precious spectacle. May his weakness
take hold of him like a suffocating vine. My
country engulfs me. It is in a very bad state
of repair, crowded with old furniture. The
smell of refuse in the stairwell. Bad odours
make me curious, but I am a tired woman.
There is another shore, but it will never get
here. Tell me how I should love you! They are
rioting in the streets, they are feverish with
injustice while my neck aches from studying
a number of compelling thoughts. I am being
observed, it transpires, from a distance by a
huge coral-coloured bird. I may be paranoid,
but I feel like it’s mimicking my movements.
How to escape. I told you don’t come back,
I said, and try to go to sleep. The only way
to fall asleep is to forget about being awake,
but I remember everything. I had noticed
the vigour and enthusiasm with which the
damned were depicted being drawn down
into hell. And the choir of schoolgirls singing
in the background, judgemental. Your stupid,
beautiful face. I kept seeing these signs that
warned of ‘deep excavations’. And I do not
even know what it is you do to me. There
is a bad thing in the mind which has not
been digested; understand? This is why I
have pain. My neck aches. And I am a very
proud nation. The future like an insectile leg
creeping over the rim of something – the horizon.



Artwork © Molly Dilworth

Between Great Fires
Vinyl Road Trip