Weaving in and out, falling back against soft walls. Warm night, orange curtains shimmering in tattered strips. Little tiles, yellow and purple, making patterns all round the lifts like arcade games or little faces laughing. This floor, the 23rd, my paradise.
Falak al aflak.
One night I stood on the balcony and the sky was red. All the sky and even the buildings seemed on fire, everything dying and everything raging for one last time.
I lay back and my body felt light and beautiful. I was lifted up, slowly by gentle hands, my whole body tingling, a euphoric levitation.
I lived on the 23rd floor , never beyond E14, watching the river looping round, sometimes white gold or slate grey and mercury. The Island, small from up here, you could hold out your hand and let it settle in your palm then blow it like a dandelion clock and it would always land like it was meant to be, with all the roads and houses back in the same place.
My walls were painted black, I wrote on them with chalk. All over names appeared out of the blackness, shimmering glyphs floating out. I waited for the names but they didn’t appear. Sometimes fragments of equations would come shining from the shadows alabaster skinned and elegant. There were codes and characters I could not d4ecipher. For days the chalk compelled me to write until one day I woke up and the walls were white and there was no space left. The light was brilliant but I couldn’t read the signs.
The whole Island shrunk and I soared above and I wasn’t on the Island anymore but in a faraway place alone and the more I reached out my hands to the island the further back it recoiled until it was just a blot. The lifts were broken and I was forced to the other zone, the staircase where the windows were narrow and lovely like a fortress and they rained down the block like arrows. They were fractured and if you leant your body against them y7ou could tilt the block and push it down to the beach below.
Excerpt from Savage Messiah issue 1 'Welcome to the Isle of Dogs' June 2005.