My friends and I sometimes travel to primrose hill
in the springtime. To feel the matted grass beneath
our bare feet as dried mud congeals under our
toenails. To see the drunks ramble on benches,
blissful in their misery.
Take me to a place where dogged days do not
discard beer bottles, wafer wrappers and coca cola
cans, and the omnipresent stench of marijuana does
not choke my nasal cavity.
Take me to a place where bodies do not stack atop
bodies, and I do not stand surveying the pincushion
cityscape, aware that just meters below lies the
reason for its existence.
I like to use past tense. It reminds me all that
occurred here was fleeting. “Was” versus “is”.
“Suffering” versus “suffered”. Or perhaps “were” to
denote a plural. To denote that Londinium winters
used to be perpetual. And when white thawed, it
stepped aside for an inky black proboscis to inject
oozing toxins into bedraggled streets.
I am pulled into those streets – pulled where a
grittier sediment cuts my toes in red infectious
gashes, and a hobbling cart bearer cries “bring out
your dead!” I choke on the stench, potent and
heavy, dripping with the rich tar of history. Fathers,
grandparents and children amalgamate in stiff piles,
final shivers long emitted from frozen pores.
I sense the tip of a jagged scythe as it rests on my
shoulder, dissolves this projection of misery and
re-grounds my feet where the grass still grows
– regrounds me in that itch, the swirl of
unterminated lifelines as they writhe atop one
There is a fork in this road where one path falls
away to look upon the other. Picnickers do not
notice this shadowy figure, nor the millions it
dumped in unceremonious piles – steadfast
onlookers as empires oscillate indifferent to past
Here this hill is progress and, its composition,
sacrifice. We play atop that hill – take for granted
the stolid asphalt pathways until flesh, breath and
soul dissipate into soil, six turns to negative six, and
it is our turn to doze under the granules of mistake.
Arthur Sadrian has been an avid writer and novelist since his crayon days. He has written over a dozen novels, novellas, novelettes and poetry books by his own initiative and has been published in literary magazines such as Beltway Quarterly, Down in the Dirt and Teen Ink. He has also served as a Junior Editor on Polyphony Lit, Chief Content Officer at a startup, Copy Editor of his school’s yearbook committee and is alumni of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio.