Death Industria

An essay by Darren Knott.

Disillusioned, disparate. Songs come and go, sailing with the tide. They hang like dead leaves in autumn, clinging to skeletal trees. Anonymous but united. Forgotten like the victim of the gibbet once his face has become a meal for crow and wind. Creation; a marvellous toy. Commotion in the hive. There's no-one to dance for. Sticks and stones are all a beggar can expect to see in this town. maybe in another he'd be a king. Another fool in a beat-up crown. Ever been so hungry you can't eat? Thirst is a magic and strong part of yearning. Write me up as I would be written, I will sing you as you should be sung. I'm a novice with not so much to learn. Empty rooms, hallowed places. I'm the knock on the door. I crack with the static on the screen or snap like a bone over a knee. Disappear doubting all. Shine a torch, carve a monument, crave a moment, then sell it. This will be written to rid me of the chains this evening has delivered. Jacob Marley would be so proud.

Rattle boys:- bones, sticks, stones, cans. make a noise to shatter the ears of the dead. Grab a corpse and make it breathe. Boreholes, brittle teeth, beeswax, bakelite switches. I still bite my nails. A demon hatrack all right - one crazy after another. Iron-clad arms, chrome vanadium marrow. Nonoxynol 9 should become a part of our culture (a warped culture). Clap along to the memories or the old days when things were easy. Just bloody knees and eating toothpaste. I never crawled into the gold mine, just watched the walls shine from a distance. Me all over. Knock in nails, kiss the gypsy. Fill trenches with broken machinery and the ghosts of a thousand workers. Chant along to the Death Industria. Some people have made foolishness a science. Some times science makes a fool out of people. A song is a machine. Don't let it be broken. Roll like thunder across crowded skies and dry creek beds. Victimise The Heatleakers. Words can empty a soul. the axe does not equal wisdom. Burn like a score of sons. A short life but a merry one. Bullet holes in the side of a car. Blood on a raincoat. A shout to the wind. Travel like tumbleweed. Master and self servant alike. Let things break down of their own accord but always carry the spanner to fix them. Page turned up all white. Sons of shopkeepers. Sellers of body parts and a false economy. A slab stealer in the woods. Mud on my boots, cuts on my hands, dust in my hair - but such a clear view in my mind. All I need is the way to get there. If it hurts, then it works. I look up - there's a light, you look up and what do you see? Chimney sweeps, stairwells, torch bearers, the Pied Piper, rats et al. A traveller's grief. We could stand on the platform but button up your coat when the train flies through. The driver's still sleeping and going thirty seconds for the mile. Sparks on the wheels. Death of a picture book princess. Make her clean glass and dust the shelves. Shackle a queen and humiliate her king.. Make it a national sport for all walks of life. Blood is mixed with milk for the weakest of stomachs. Starched collars and multi-vitamin eyesight. Saturated but not so sugary sweet. Let me make a poison in your honour. Count the victims on your fingers. I once heard a soldier say: `I wonder how many women have I made widows?' Another medal for bravery. Pin-up stars and pin stripe leeches. Parasitic sex leads to viral intercourse. Clear as mud. Derail the gravy train. Fuel for the fires of Hell and more. Let's burn the playboy, the charming young sophisticate. Narrow margin of error. Let's kill innovation. A hatchet for the bride. The wind bends the trees and rain falls with a genuine vengeance, leaving nothing but a clutch of carcass car-shells. Nuts and bolts of the world. WELD PEACE - ha - maybe that's a line I could use. maybe I'll sell it to you for a cigarette and a matchbook. Stand, pack what's left on the floor. Mind the wet paint. An ocean liner trapped in an estuary. Giant egos and good tailors. Acid drops for the tongue. Bird song and the breath of angels. Angels with tattoos. Terminal reluctance.

Spent a night on an empty quayside. Double barrelled loneliness. Scarred with compasses and Indian ink. Let's ride on the footplate. Double crossing on command. Septic and distressed. January through March were washed down storm drains. No porch lights, no kings in the pack, and only two red sevens between us. Punch drunk boxers on parade. We're nailed on the side of an outsize Colorado. I turn things on their heads. Turn a whole country to another language. Wind down the clock. Murder traffic lights and a battered white wall. We're day old flowers in cloudy water. A dog whines, a drunk sings. It's night time in Anytown but not here. Bubble filled, pine-fresh and wax finished. A bundle of badgers teeth shoved into a water butt or drainpipe. Shadows on a moss covered wall, just below the vine. Garland, Garland - such a shame. I keep a cue ball in my coat pocket and I'm swinging like a blind man's cane at the kerbside. We can tie songs to the horns of bulls, to the tails of 'gators, place them into the mouths of lions but give them the protection of the bear's claw. There's no cocktail pianos or drag artists here. It's strippers and blood `n' teeth enough to write your name. All night petrol stations, burger bars, everything goes all out for a pocketful of guilt ridden cash. Ever found that there's not enough days in the week? Let's just speed things up, cram it all in or die trying. The American way is becoming ours. This is a world where shop dummies become art or artists. Peeling wallpaper, razor lined mouths, radiator caps, extension leads, bottle lids, shoulder pads, fizzy drinks, full moons, dustcarts, nail guns, paint trays, acne creams, keyrings, leather shoes, stuffed pillows, two-way mirrors. Spin the wheel, win Chinese radios and skull and crossbone rings. It's 3am and the city shuts down. The streets spill out their guts and there's a drunken sailor filling every park bench. Their ship left the port an hour ago. A blind steamer. There's the stench of cheap perfume in the air. Make this a song - see it as a challenge. I can hear it now, clinging like a rag in the fingers of a tree. A song full of cheap make-up and the stains of an all-night bar. Magpies and jackdaws swoop and dive. Shine on silver things. A fake thousand dollar bill. Tag along for the bitter-sweet ride in ermine and cardboard. What else has become en vogue? Minerals and acne. Dust down the shattered shells of countless yesterdays. A mirror full of excuses, a bottle full of dreams. A hollow but essential kingdom. Home and Hell for so many. Runaway boys at Tobacco Road, lust out at Cross-your-heart Junction. Working for peanuts in the iron mongers. Spit in your eye. Paper in the rain. I'll show you my heart if I can steal a beat from yours. Touchpaper slain. Battered romance. Let's light a new fire on the remains of the old. A world lazy but paid for. Crux of the cross, voltage food. A room full of button-faced boys and loose laced girls comparing their chicken-wire dreams. Theirs, a fence to hide behind, mine a see-through prison. Heavy-rimmed glasses and the knock-kneed, toothless old parents of the empty vessel generation. Zip-up modernism built on Picasso's leftovers. Scrag ends for the eternally hungry. Venetian blinds and postcards, plastic pails and daffodils. Dolls are now sold with their own designer bodybags. The ultimate realism. Even Barbie must get old some day. Let's smile and work. Pink is a lucky colour. Drop from the sky to the next platform a day too late. The waiting room's locked but the wall's got a hole in it. A room crammed with old women talking about yucca plants and hearing aids. Kids throw coins at the wall. There's meat lovers and old-time dancers discussing prophylactics and the dead beat dance. Cotton candy cream puff wasters in a jar full o'jiminys. When talent has edge it cuts muscle and bone in one clean swipe. Circus tents and coconuts, petrol caps for earrings. Crowds of people copying the swarm of insects. Polished souls but directionless minds. All the good girls love a sailor - a pity for the brickmaker. Death of another years-ago-blonde. Buying a ticket on the bandwagon but missing it, picking up instead on some moonstruck, wide-wheeled coupe de ville with flickering dashlights and straight up seats. The driver's an old timer who coughs and laughs at the same time. He laughs again and man-handles the steering wheel. Cigarette ash in his lap. A engine stutter that rips the night apart. Dead donkeys on the roadside. Pillows for travellers and roustabouts. A clay pot stuffed with old coins and empty cotton reels. Move flowers from one grave to another. Soaking wet from dusk thru dawn. Eyes like broken headlight lenses. Gimme a general's medal for a litre of that. Inspired by a willingness of auger. Coiled like suspension springs or the rattlesnake. Let's paint on house sides and the gaoler's door. A pigeon with its neck wrung. Its wings torn off and stuck to the back of another fraudulent angel. Kiss me while I'm still warm and place a coin on both of my eyes. Sweat for eight hours solid. Granite arms but a broken back. Whistle into the wind. Blindman, maniac, leper, messiah, bellringer, banker, driver, warder, liar. Snow in March - the ashes of winter. Suck in, blow out, blow in, suck out. On we go to where wind up dolls hand out candy bars and rolling tobacco. There's popcorn for the kids but they ain't around. Tinsel on the corridors, hanging from door frames and picture rails. Picking blisters and catching falling stars. There's plenty of rainy days to spend 'em in. Corn in the silos. Brass filings in country houses, gold coins in country houses. Enter the gaming rooms, cards up sleeves, loaded dice in pockets, drinks fixed and tempers flared. Punch drunk croupiers. 6am 'til the end of Tuesday. A mule and lucky charms exchanged for one last lucky chip. Strange handshakes and knowing winks. Telltale signs for those who know, curious twitches to those who don't. Bitter as lemons. Sharp as frozen rose petals. Handcuffs and beltbuckles. Steep hills and Viking graves. TS46 lovehearts and dandruff, catfish and sleeping pills let the old man hake and scrape, just make sure he keeps his eyes on the road or at very least inside his head. I'd listen to the radio but the speakers got split like a lizard in a bird's beak. Silence shuns.

Rat's breath and arrowheads. Fast food and anorexia, the quicker things get, the sicker the world becomes. Wrap a message in ribbons and bows like a schoolgirl's hair. Pulse flows in quick time. I bounce like a flat stone across the surface of the water. My conscience sinks like lead and laughs out bubbles. An army of lathe-turned limbs. The hinged joints come free. Empty cups and ball joints. Scoff sweets and cut stems. Drawing pins stuck in the soles of hardened feet or the palms of callused hands. Pierces noses and scarred bellies. Pull down the shades and turn off the TV when you hear a knock on the back door. Texaco, Vaseline, Benson and Hedges, Tate and liar - stand to attention in a trademark vision. Press this button, point a gun. Parole officers place bets on the feelings of offenders. `He just can't live on the outside.' Success is measures by numerous failings. Roller-long-cast-wheel-death-cars Ltd. Son of a splatter glue generation. A prophet for the future - prediction/perdition. Future's got a lost chance. She stands over there in the smoke and shadows. Quiet but ready. Statuesque preview. The next night's mother. Her eyes are dark as bat's wings or moleskin. Above or below - a creature for any environment. Flora and fauna not so distant cousins. Some will fight to make future a whore. Strive to find her dead - choked on the chain of her St Christopher's medallion. Make-up smudged and cheap jewellery stolen. A disused warehouse or brickyard, her grave. Bubblewrap sensibility - fun to play with - easily burst. Jay's wings, fox tails, mink pelts sold on stalls. Flutter by absence. Poison presence. Acetylene dreams padded with kapok. Don't lie on my side. For too long. Angle grinder amnesia. Put us all back together behind glass like the ship in the bottle - individuality refracted, disorientated and finally denied. Sister to turn coat queen. Ashes in the park, blood on the gravel. Nervous solitude in a new dark night. Let captains of industry dispose on the corpses. Corporate grave filled to hymn to 87 `Death Industria'.

Return to The Splanchnic Verses

This page © Darren Knott, 1998.