On Pynchon in China Town


The moon shone cold on the tarmac, cobble, pavement streets.
I had wandered into China Town to try and avoid the crowds of the Square,
and after stumbling into an even larger hubbub,
I thought I saw the sight, of something rare like unicorns, or a full packet of crisps. Though, I’m quite sure it could have been, maybe, you. A strange paranoia inserted itself within me.
There were no V-2 rockets, marching bands of monkeys and strippers looking for money, no guiding pigs, aggressive adenoids destroying cities, no crowds of people dancing, singing grandiose choruses and limericks, or whole chapters, vignettes and sentences wafting over me.

Was that you? In the black trainers, the black jeans, dirty, not washed for weeks, the denim jacket, the red hunting hat, and the thick sunglasses, haggling over a Tamagotchi, on that cold December evening?
Was that you, sitting on a stone step, eating, watching, and willing people to walk past you?
Was that you, in the bowler shoes, the green suit, pea green trousers, pea green blazer and a pea green hat, buying bootleg Beijing DVDs?
Was that you, in the poncho, with a thick moustache, smoking a hand rolled cigarette?
In the alleyway, sitting, feet outstretched across the cobbles, rolling a joint?
Back turned, pants down, crack showing, pissing into a bin?
In the mask, visage like a veil, a vestige of villain and victim?
Or should I look for a yellow man, paper bagged, question marked, with slits for sight?

Then out of the corner of my eye,
The mute horn, Trystero, graffiti’d onto a bollard.
Where is the nearest post box? Where is the nearest theatre?
Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
I felt the venereal overflow of every facet of human experience;
thought and sound, craft and machine, every creed, every migration and generation, colours, pastel and neon, sounds of thousands of voices mumbling,
murmuring, every single inflection and dialect, succinct, every element and atom of every cell, every bond, moving, praying
for their stories to be heard, to be written.
Fantastic tales,
weird, wiry, tales of disturbance from the norm,
from what things are supposed to be, to what
they might, really, be.
On the ball of your pen,
On the ribbon of your typewriter
On the keys of your keyboard,
Ruggles, I feel alive.

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