I began my lament in the customary fashion, as is my custom. It is my custom always to begin in my customary fashion. Everyone has to have customs after all – I’d be a fine idiot if I tried to pretend that I didn’t have any customs. A fine idiot I’d be. It is my custom to always begin my lament in my customary way, as I have just said, and I make no apologies for it.
Lying frenziedly like a bastard I ended up in the Kingdom of Lies with little more than the shirt on my back, a pair of stained jeans, and a pair of worn out old trainers. I didn’t know where I was or what I was doing. Everything was strangely ugly – wherever I looked I saw ugliness. Men’s faces were ugly; women’s faces were coarse and sullen in their expression. Even the dogs in the street were ugly. Malice hung in the air like incense. I couldn’t find a mirror to look in but I have no doubt that I would have been ugly too. I’ve been made ugly by my lies, after all. I have been made ugly by all the lies I have told…
There is a terrible stubborn part of us that always seeks out suffering wherever it goes. It stubbornly pulls down the thick veil of ignorance upon itself, even though this veil of ignorance is horror itself. What horror could be worse than this? To be swathed as we are swathed with the rough and foul-smelling blanket of ignorance is the only horror, when it comes down to it. This is the root of all horror; no horror other than this truly exists – it is like a deeply disturbed dream that never comes to an end.
What a wretched dream this is! We moan and writhe and strike out wildly in our delirium. I wish I were a master of words so that I could convey something of this horror to you. Men and women of this age lack the imagination to know of such frightful things. They are bland, insightless creatures, unacquainted with the netherworld that underlies our comfortable consensus reality. It has not been disclosed to them and therefore they are without fear. The horror of the netherworld has been disclosed to me however; it has been disclosed most fully to me and yet I have not the ability to communicate it to others. Is this not always the way?
Men and women, the well and the unwell, the strong and the weak, all mixed up together in the same soup. People chaotically intertwined, limbs appearing here and there as if disconnected from the bodies they belong to. Each person lost in a private dream, mumbling and muttering nonsensical talk. Every now and again someone utters a cry and kicks out in their pain and confusion, causing pain to someone else, causing pain to whatever dreamer the kick connects with. All of these slumbering yet restless people crammed in together like sardines in a tin, each one oblivious to all the others, each one lost in the incommunicable horrors of his or her own personalised nightmare, each one walking or stumbling or crawling down their very own garden path. Please – just take a look at this unconscious mass of humanity thrown together in the very same soup, and yet at the same time so very far apart, so very far apart.
Men used to know my name once – in another age, at another time. They used to know my name but now they do not. Now they do not. My name is Steve, for what it’s worth, for whatever difference that makes. If it helps you at all to know that. In this age, when people see me coming, they don’t say “Here comes Steve!” They don’t even see me, they don’t even notice me. They don’t realise that I’m here. I’m not the sort of person that anyone particularly notices it’s true. There is something about my personality that makes me instantly forgettable. Or maybe it’s my face. It’s as if I don’t exist. When I say something everyone ignores me. Whenever I make a point it is invariably lost. I persist however – not particularly enthusiastically perhaps, but I persist.