The World that was Ours
There was a ghastly silence. I see… Bovines raising their heads to the unsubtle treading of a Topshop tribe, armed with B&Q value rakes and machetes. I see famine, drought and our 80 year old Jungian trickster R. Brand clenching the title of Leviathan over the embattled Thames Archipelago. I see Mandarin as a lingua franca, where Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is seldom uttered, much less understood, disintegrating in a heap beneath the broth of tonight’s supper.
The shrieking phantom trail of cigarette smoke rolled and recoiled in graceful defiance of gravity, and of a ‘Strictly No Smoking’ sticker. He thought more about the train tracks and the commuting that had come to dominate so much of his day. How the train tracks belonged to no one fixed geographic point. They were just passing through, as the designer of the obvious authorial serving might have us believe. What good was it fret about stagnating, about neglecting the arts, about mots jutes and suos cultores scientia coronat when Syrian children shivered? He, like so many, others didn’t much care. Although, when the time would come, they would all need more than Unicef blankets doled out by celebrities with insignia-breasted t-shirts.
What good was it suggest, to implement, to contribute, when the vast and cumbrous machinery of industrial progress, debt, GDP and every fiscal instrument would march on its own restless inertia, sealing its own finitude in the name of utility? “Oh, well everything has a expiry date” they would say, “We can innovate”, they would say, “The worst case scenario isn’t so bad” they would said. To de-industrialise whether we liked it or not.
What good was it to self-pity when his Philosophy grades were mediocre at best? What good was it to agonise that he couldn’t hold a conversation about the examined life when survival, the brutally systematic raison d’etre of applying oneself to a law degree, to fund the mortgage on a flood-plained, precariously bubbled hovel was key? To anxiously fret about the next tactical posting of a selfie? To pass unceremoniously, resented is not what he wanted but the food riots, the cholera, the precariousness of it were evident. They had been for some time but not to perceptions of eternal philistines or ignorami like him. ‘We could’ve had the stars’ as the epoch of the age could have been summarised. Yet, “Everything left to the extraordinary”, would pass through a few lips, but only a few. And they would leave the world behind with the promise of starting anew from scratch, with only their mutual suspicions of one another to rely on, on the other side of the sky.
And the words ‘Sisyphean struggle’ or ‘Pyrrhic victory’ would never be spoken again, not least in a food bank or a Tesco.