I enter the Crash Zone as if it's some sort of garden party, which is to say uninvited but accepted nonetheless----the whole process very democratic in nature. Quotas have become difficult to maintain and they are willing to spill anyone they can into their wastebasket.
It's a siren night and the sky is as ever endless pitch black yawning over downtown like doom. Neon wails hell in pink, blue, yellow and red, most of all red, and I hear my mother's voice.....
It's all nightscream manic beating delirium as usual on the weekend and the sights and sounds ring immortal...the Stagnant Brothers are on their day in day out shit the overalls rage in the punies' faces bender having raised their routine hell by the Soup Kitchen for supper and now they pursue their bully act by the railroad tracks—I saw them bashing---they had Johnny the Owl Boy trapped in their brutal circle and now he's screwed because he has no friends at his back----the Stags kick the piss out of him and once he's a ragged, unconscious moppet he's just no damn fun to 'em anymore and so they leave him there as if he were naught but discarded furniture---Old Ben and the Preach come along and hoist him vomiting and spitting teeth he is carried his poor sorry beaten carcass home and at one point they're literally having to peel his face away from the pavement-----
The bell in the faraway tower factory industrial clock bongs ten ominously the bloody scenes segue in and out an off-duty traffic cop appears, admonishes the lot of them drunkenly and then vanishes; I feel my wretched hands cramp up and icy pain inches up my wrists. The wigged-out Mariah in her funeral lace her hair flung wildly as she shrieks in terror---I watch her face redden, burn, then crumble like an overcooked, failed ceramic object----
Misbegotten and used up on the corner of Main and Atrocity there is a sexually abused childrens' choir all bruised and in mourning---they weep spring showers and a random co will pause every rotation to shake his club at them...their tears shower and river into the gutter into the sewer and tiny streams traverse the complex body-work of pipes around the underside of the city....the tears spill out amongst the piss and shit and bleach and waste of the whole population, curse the waste, damn the waste---tears flow down the solemn, violated river intermingle with the sewage and out east toward forever...
Meanwhile, topside, all lights blazing in storefronts flicker a tiny second and my eyes and my nerves explode. Broken glass flies and dances—my hair instantaneously goes gray and peels exitedly from my scalp and temples like porcupine quills of fable and all is a careening negative lightning image----
A child is running sideways and reckless up the street, pointing, “the angels are dying,” she yells, “the angels are dying!” I believe her. She and several hundred little friends charge up the street in careless flocks.
The whole street seems to tip diagonally and tons of garbage and paper and debris sail off along the axis to oblivion----cars smash left, right and sideways----
The huge crystal angel sculpture in the center of town explodes and sends itself everywhere in fragments---some several green bystanders are decapitated. Couples and stray dogs fuck and defecate wildly on park benches---quote one witness to the action, “it got real hard to tell the humans from the animals. All had shit all over 'em, but that was, like, beside the point.”
The great titanic angel figure shatters with a great noise and rains its silvery, ragged spore all a kaleidoscopic apocalypse where is my angel? Where is the cataclysm blizzard from whence it came? There is snow in the gutter and the cripple sleeps crutches by his side in an eerie, singing brick and snow revelation wonderland dream silent yet wailing out in the towering, menacing black----
I hear the choirs singing and buzzing off into nothing like transistorized flies emitting telepathic deathscreams. I can't stop any of it. Worlds, entire worlds snuff out under my eyelids and it is all too crowded too much-----in the oriental bazaar rope bridges collapse sending hundreds of hapless consumers plunging to their deaths the flimsy, ornate paper pagoda lamps floating down the ugly stream dampening and shorting out, the only sign that anyone had ever been there to begin with.
Everything's dying in a mournful, contorted collision---my head involuntarily draws on an old playground rhyme cartoon fairytale slice of imagery the stately loving angel I kneel before reaches over and draws a circle on my forehead....
Neon blasts and sparks and the black claims another mechanical victim and the fairytale sprites follow the angels all exploding into falling crystalline ash----
The bald woman yelps like a dog and tears down the street Olympic and hypermotivated because her ass is on fire. Her pillbox hat flies off and tumbles in the opposite direction.
Cletus storms past looking hatefully through everything. He kicks a child and spits at nothing in particular—up the street towards certain oblivion he goes surly in his muscle shirt and looking for a war. Good luck, Cletus---I'm sure you'll find a few.
I'm crawling the sidewalk, now, so low I can taste the ghosts of the whole town's shoes. If there's anything Christ alive in this place where is it? Can I touch something that won't draw blood? I grasp and clutch at singed air...I think my thumb is broken and there's a sharp pain in my stomach that makes me frightened to look down there. I gotta puke....
Ambulances and fire engines and cruisers scream by in a blaring cacophony—I can see the woman over there doubled over grieving---she's belting gospel lugubrious agony like a tortured Mahalia Jackson black armband shatter mercy poster child of woe----she screams in synchronization with every siren shrilling in this shit city---my mother often told me the sound of sirens distressed her; she said it always reminded her of the pain someone somewhere was going through and I know what she meant---the shrill makes me shiver in the strange, dark warmcold and I wish I could hide. My mother said, “God, how those sirens disturb me. They sound like people crying.”
Published 1993 in FAIRY TALES FROM THE URBAN UNDERGROUND (Yorkville Press)