Hedonism

By Emily Black

They want parties and they want them now. The bugs of the metropolis glean blue in the daytime. Shake hands, rub wings, leap in flight from skyscraper to skyscraper. 

Fill plastic bags with belongings, once theirs, now mine: leather shoes, slinky handbags, velvet dresses and dark suede. Fur coats trimmed with snow scarves turn to chiffon and liquorice jackets come spring. They use terms like, ‘summer wardrobe’ and warble about ski seasons and active wear. Models overtake models, on catwalks and in rehab. They trawl from retailer to retailer as hands bump, and cards read: Transaction Authorised. Sunglasses meets Black Eyeliner’s gaze across the counter.

They cram their mouths full of cheese, pastries, sun-dried tomatoes, passion fruit and tequila; the nectar of The Every-Day because they are bored and they are hungry. Signs instruct: buy one get one free, two for the price of one, free gift, free gifts. Burn fast like a lighter, glow red as the halo of a cigarette. 

Small fortunes amalgamate in feverish palms where each penny is a postcard from Bordeaux, Sweden or Milan. Catching planes from South to West, as coins roll down the generations, through hands and through storms. 

Politicians stand on TV with black suits and hexagon eyes. They rub antennae together behind the mic to encourage hashtags to materialise: left, right, not centre. Low humming and skittish stings delivered with choreographed execution, where individuality is frayed and humility is staunched. The anonymity of closed blinds and closed doors means egos stay untouched. They won’t speak until they must. 

The bugs of the metropolis that smudge black into the night shake their wings to extend them into the evening. The hot consumption of the work day is done, forcing them to crawl to nightclubs and between bars, where they swathe the buildings. Swaying, drunk they are in love: with themselves, with each other, with all they can touch. These sweet liaisons and midnight meetings are built by feverish diction, as nothing can exist without the nebulous buzz which surrounds it. They won’t sleep until they must. 

The hive engorges and feasts, contracting at night and expanding through the day, beseeched in their pleas for gluttony, for stimuli and rude awakenings. Eyes won’t open until they must. 

Globules of sweat form like water upon wax leaves. Squat in the sooty corners and damp alcoves, riddled with heightened senses and double vision. Dizzy on fragrant sweet vodka lemonades, jäger, cider. Tequila sunrise, piña coladas, and body odour. The musk of the chase, closing in for the capture as eyes open bulbous, seeing fractured figures for the first time. Yellow flashes green, flashes blue, flashes red. Light deflects as though on metal; molten on hot skin.

The gluttony is broken by that morning alarm. They nurse blue hangovers, under cotton skies, parted like their bedsheets. Limbs reach for water in the ink of morning. Parched beetles in the dirt, green bodies under the duvet that outstretch their feelers for a saccharine substitute to nurse their throbbing heads. Glass bottles clink in the bins. Empty hours are usually outlawed, condemned to float in the jelly of their idleness. 

Borders shut down, colonies close, and the fresh water streams trickle slow and dry. They rest on their backs, wire arms to the sky. 

Today, the morning is long, and we can no longer gather in swarms. There’s sanctimony in the silence. Abdomens which mobbed amidst allotments, pharmacies and friend’s houses are now bodies broken apart. Worms continue to crawl in the cool earth below and sparrows reclaim their flight paths. Badgers nose through the soil, road-bound.