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Get Back On It

Luke Kennard
After Jean Genie / Jean Genet

                 There are worse fates than falling in love with a tightrope walker

                  but I don’t wanna hear em. My third wish was that I wanted 

                  to be really, really stupid. And hideously ugly? And hideously ugly, yes.


Like statues offered to the dead, statues of chimneys, dreams nursed in the limited world, dreams

slapped out of our mouths like cigarettes in a dressing down –Hold on that expression, cut to the

window. Back to the bed. Arm draped across the balustrade. Deep in the gulf of vice and woe –I

dropped you off an hour ago. 


                  We’re very concerned and amused by your actions,

                  a waiter eating our orders in the houses of illusion.


Let’s say you’re so lonely you hire a professional friend for £28 an hour. After several hours driving

around with him in a van, selling limited edition denim from industrial estate carparks to queues of

worried looking men, it occurs to you that you are paying £28 an hour to work. Worse yet he’s not

even particularly friendly – when you try to start a conversation he makes a little talking mouth signal

with his hand and shakes his head. So you ride in the back with the rare jackets and jeans, some of

which retail at thousands to the right buyer. They smell of oil, they smell embalmed. They have names

like Lost Circus and Instant Princess and Sore Afraid and Sufficient Boyfriend. At the end of the rail: a

pair of dark grey jeans with rusty studs and a patina of red dirt. The price tag says £15,800. They were

buried in the Colorado Mesas. You ask your professional friend why people pay so much and he says

They just want something real and slides up the divider.


                The first thing a narcissist will tell you is that you’re such a good judge of character.

                The best protection is total silence.

                The difference between a smile and a grin.


The van has been motionless for some time. Your friend has fallen asleep at the wheel. You open the

back doors of the van and you start sliding the racks of denim onto the road, over the verge and into

the river below. You watch a bleach-washed jacket float away then collapse on itself like an ice shelf.


                 You must go and meet some real people – it was your second wish;

                 The first was to be lonely. An establishment folk hero

                 in the advert before the advert. But I do love life, I do.


It is possible, with a little discipline, to replace suicidal ideation with a long-term inner life as a space 

pirate. Picture instead pulling back on the thrusters, the ship wobbling as it leaves the bay, leaning into

your massive chair as you cruise past Neptune, jettisoning eight hundred tonnes of nuclear waste near

the Kuiper Belt and then being gunned down by police ships. You ruined it.


                  It doesn’t matter. We’re all a little torn

                  between the sermon and the ode,

                  hagiography and reprimand,


It’s the same whenever we have the microphone, as if there were a record to set straight; let me tell

you about what he tells you about, what pleasures he shall ever find, his brands and sorrows. When he

wakes up he will scream, My jeans! My jeans! What have you done? And you will say, I had to get the

jump on you, I thought I did, I knew I did, I had to get the jump on you – besides, betrayal is so


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