Matthew Conrad

May 15, 1986 - Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski
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on the edge

i'm on the edge, second day counting -
i'm not comfortable on the windowsill -
i am irritated -
new neighbours...
don't ask me why -
i already know why -
my previous neighbours were a problem...
it was problematic to cook meat
on a bbq when i heard a voice over
the fence yell in my direction:
'you should have let us know!'
only because he had his washing on the washing
line and he "thought" the bbq smoke
from the grilled labour of love would
behave like cigarette smoke when you
would: once upon a time go to a night club
and didn't smoke, and you had to air the clothes
from all the condensed tar...
when working as a roofer?
there was nothing more pleasant than
the scent of industrial tar imported from
canada: permaquic / permatec...
then the oddity of my neighbour telling
me i couldn't smoke a cigarette outside of my window...
i told both of them: you do what the hell
you want on your property - i do what i want
on my property...
you'd think i was living under the neighbouring
tyranny of charles the 1st!
i was just living next to a really obnoxious
englishman... your typical anglo-saxon
with a stick shoved up his ass!
he really did take the whole:
i'm the king of the castle, very, very, seriously...
i even started a running joke...
next time i'm about to take a shit...
i'll go over to his house and ask him:
oi! boss! is it okay if i take a shit?
that's why i'm irritated by the new neighbours...
irritated in the vein of: curious...
thank god they are black!
i could swear that last night i heard
someone summon a shaman to drive
the devil from this house,
my neighbour's newly painted bedroom to hide
all the painted letters on the wall from
the previous occupants had to be aired...
i on my ledge sipping smoking...
saw a shy afro head poke its presence
then suddenly disappear...
today? the old african heavy loaded accents...
god: h. p. lovecraft wasn't wrong...
they are loud...
from an eerie of a prayer to bless
the house from evil spirits to today's reality...
a bit like living with my father,
oh no, he wasn't an orphan in the classical sense...
he was raised by his grandparents...
his parents divorced...
his father was a semi-permanent presence
in his life: that drunk that used to sleep on benches...
who was also a hard worker...
who was also part of the haniebnik (omowiec)
(moral police of communist poland)...
i hear who's living next to me...
but i don't see the faces...
i'm guessing a young version of my father
and his grandparents...
i tried to play the music on my earphones
really loud... but there's always that interlude
when a song finishes and a new song begins...
and i can just catch the odd words from
a lecture the young man is being given:
because... you... weren't "born" without a father...
oh i'm sure the boy has a father...
but the grandparents also said:
like hell, this boy isn't going to be raised
by a single mother, either!
this is what society looks like in england...
being trapped with a neighbour from hell...
i'm starting to be trapped in my own hell of curiosity...
i've become feral...
suspicious... not in a malignant way...
i'm just wondering if i'm going to get
a confrontation for smoking out of my bedroom
window cigarette smoke into the night air...
which is becoming considerably cooler...
i swear there was a shaman last night...
i swear i could hear a prayer to rule out foul spirits
from the house...
and i'm pretty sure i've heard the young one
being given a lecture about:
not being fathered by a father or not being
mothered by a mother...
i can relate... from the age of 4 until 8?
i was fathered by my alcoholic grandfather...
i still visit him... i owe my library of philosophy books
and free cigarettes to him...
i offer him humour and indian curries
and poached eggs and a rubber ear
(he pretends half of the time that he's deaf...
but i amuse him, he amuses me...
it's not that his dementia is riddle with a memory
erosion... he just tends to repeat himself)...
from the age of 6 until 8? by my grandmother...
i had a sister that came in the form
of an alsatian bitch and a brother in the form
of a dobberman...
what time is it? oh... good... my new neighbours
have gone to bed, i can at least pretend to
exfoliate for whatever night remains for me...
i still can't posit who was here last night...
i'm guessing his father and his mother...
today i'm pretty damn sure the heavy
accents gave the grandfather away...
ghanian? kenyan? i don't know...
they have such a language that makes deciphering
them unlike what one might hear
upon the first encounter with english or french
or deutsche...
new neighbours...
imagine... as is the per usual in england:
you'd think: no man is an island...
unless you live in england....
the only time i ever talked to my confrontational
neighbours... 10 years or so we lived side by side...
the first time we talked was when
the "problems" began...
and the english authorities boast about
clinging to diagnosing me as a schizophrenic!
i'm pretty sure i lived next to a nut-job...
and no... no manner of squirrel!
did life have to become so petty...
lately? the claim that an englishman's
house is his castle? well...
if that's so... he's hardly the benevolent king...
he's still a fucking sordid pleb...
and that castle of his?
more like a fucking asylum sketch...
imagine living next to someone for over 10 years...
and the first time you talk...
you talk about... the problem of smoking
a cigarette out of your window...
or having a bbq when they have their washing out
to dry...
oh sure... an englishman's house is his castle...
he's a delusional impersonation of Lear...
the mad king... oh sure sure... (please humour him)...
yes my liege! of course mein herr...
pst... he thinks it's a castle...
without seeing it's a fucking wing in a mental
asylum! as far as i know...
england is not a society: it's a mental asylum...
i've become used to have to call it:
an asylum piece... rather than a sociological
study of a people most intune in the anglosphere
of lingo of: looking elsewhere...
but never seeing what they managed
to construct in the immediacy of their efforts
elsewhere!
on the edge... new neighbours...
voices without faces...
i thank the god or the humour
of happenstance that they're africans...
i couldn't stomach living to another
anglo-saxon who thought he was both king
and the rightful owner of two properties:
his... and his neighbour's!
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