Crash barriers laying prostrate on the grass submit to the septic waxy light. We nestle in the pliable dark blots in the little streets away from the harsh street lamps of Uttoxeter New Road. Stumbling onto the road in a torrent of blaring car horns we rebound from underneath smashed bottles, cigarette ends and torn up ATM receipts. The dawn lingers still rough around the edges a sheen of cold sweat on its pallid skin. We begin again. Let us loiter under the stale eaves of another boarded up hotel. We turn around and we are engulfed swallowed whole by the last of the sunrise then spat out into the jarring grinding morning commotion. There is a film of static sheathing our eyeballs and it is multiplying in the ugly orange sky. The frowning police woman hunches over a curled silhouette pulls up his blanket. We have crawled into the mead hall but we are on our way out. We’re on our way out officer let newspaper hawkers stand in their old spots. Let demented preachers adjust their coats and cough into the microphone. Let us swish past vacant retail spaces a mobile police station another pop up casino. We’ll be trudging towards the Cathedral winding through the amorphous dispersed mass of people with impeccable cranial CT results. We’ll be almost able to feel the invigorating cool exhale of old stone the freshness of ringing silence on a winter evening back when and where winters seized swathes of land in their clutches for months on end. Let our socked feet trod into the soft dampness of Becket well’s old theatre before its porous walls merge and fuse with slippery flagstone tiles. The sense of urgency is gnawing at the base of our skulls all the time now. We scratch our scalps and crouch heavily tiredly at the feet of the Old Silk Mill. Let us fixate on the little dumb creatures we’ll soon be equally dumb. We’ll be taken downstream suspended in water lighter than the finest silt. We would let ourselves grow like lichens obliterate our cumbersome faces but somebody’s got to do the rest of the crawling and cowering and chewing on scraps and slim pickings. We’re squirming writhing the white sun prickling our stomachs. Short day ahead before they let us out where it rains and snows and storms all the same.
Note from the author: the mead hall is a reference to St Bede’s description of life.