Occupied City Online - David Peace

The First Candle –

The Testimony of the Victimo Weeping

Because of you. The city is a coffin. In the snow. In the back of a truck. Parked outside the bank. In the sleet. Under the heavy damp tarpaulin. Driven through the streets. In the rain. To the hospital. To the morgue. In the sleet. To the mortuary. To the temple. In the snow. To the crematorium. To the earth and to the sky –

In our twelve cheap wooden coffins –

In these twelve cheap wooden coffins, we lie. But we do not lie still. In these twelve cheap wooden coffins, we are struggling. Not in the dark, not in the light; in the grey, we are struggling; for here is only grey, here we are only struggling –

In this grey place,

that is no place,

we are struggling all the time, always and already –

In this place, of no place, between two places. The places we once were, the places we will be –

The deathly living,

the living death –

Between these two places, between these two cities:

Between the Occupied City and the Dead City, here we dwell, between the Perplexed City and the Posthumous City –

Here we dwell, in the earth, with the worms,

in the sky, with the flies, we who are no longer in the houses of being. Beyond loss, flocks of birds fall from the sky and shower us with their bloody feathers and severed wings. But we still hear you. We who are now in the houses of non-being. Beyond loss, schools of fish leap from the sea and splatter us with their bloody guts and severed heads. We still see you. We want to breathe again, but we can never breathe again. Beyond loss, herds of cattle run from the fields and trample us with their bloody carcasses and severed limbs. We listen to you. We want to return again, but we can never return again. Beyond loss. We watch you still. Through our veils –

The veils which no longer hang before our eyes, these veils which now hang behind our eyes, their threads spun by our tears, their webs woven by our deaths, these veils which replaced our names, which replaced our lives –

Through these veils,

still we see –

Still we watch, we watch you …

Our mouths always open, our mouths already open. But we no longer talk, we can no longer talk, here we can only mouth, mouth:

Do we matter to you? Did we ever matter?

Our mouths always screams,

already screams, screams

that mouth:

Your apathy is our disease; your apathy, a plague…

We dwell beyond sorrow. You close your mouths. We dwell beyond pain. You close your eyes. Beyond grief, beyond despair. You close your ears, for you do not hear us, for you do not listen to us …

And we are tired, we are so tired, so very tired –

But still we dwell, between these two places –

Beyond dereliction, we lie. Drunk, you harangue us. Beyond oblivion, we wait. Sober, you ignore us. Forgotten and untended, buried or burnt, haunted and restless, under the earth and above the sky, without dreams and without sleep. You are Mind to our suffering. We are so tired, so very tired. You are deaf to our supplications. We weep without tears, we scream without sound,

yet still we wait, and still

we watch –

Between the Occupied City and the Dead City, between the Perplexed City and the Posthumous City we wait, we watch and we struggle. Here in this grey place, here where we are waiting,

watching and struggling:

Cursed be you who cast us into this place! Cursed be you who keep us here! Fickle you are, so very fickle –

Fickle are you, fickle the living…

Forgotten are we, forgotten and denied –

Lives forgotten and deaths denied –

For you deny us our deaths …

Deny us and trap us …

In the Perplexed City, the Posthumous City, beyond the Occupied City, before the Dead City, here we are trapped, trapped in the greyness, trapped in this city. In this city that is no city,

this place that is no place –

Here we shuffle, we shuffle around, around in circles, with our boxes. Did you hear our footsteps in your heart? Our own ashes, around our necks, our own bones, in these boxes. Did you feel our fingertips within your flesh? We raise our shoulders, we raise our faces, we raise our eyes. Have you come to lead us back, back towards the light? Back towards the light, we begin to shuffle. Back to the Occupied City? In the Occupied City, we shuffle around, around