A defence against all sabotage

I shake out the creases from my coat, and climb the hundred steps leading to the feet of a bronze giant, its right hand raised, welcoming. I’m meant to lift my eyes, to take in its magnificence, to be stirred up into believing a myth— I tell it, No. It finds nothing to say.

In the early morning, the city feels large and spacious. I watch the few people I encounter. I am training my mind to perceive, not the flash and bang of a pistol, not the white gold in a jeweller’s window, not a man’s taut muscled arm or a woman’s long neck, but to imagine in their place the myths that pull these things into my thoughts: myths of masculinity and femininity, money guns and ownership— I tell them, I cancel all myths. And then I laugh to myself, thinking that complete freedom is just another myth.

Leafy branches wave above my head while I read a magazine, turning the flimsy pages with fingers stained and sticky with butter and honey. I see through the inventions of other hearts: they want that I should be afraid or feel guilty, or to be filled with unappeasable need. I am not overtaken by any of it. I speak my thoughts aloud, and that is my defence against all sabotage.




David Belcher lives in North Wales, and his most recent work has appeared in The Ekphrasic Review, Ink Sweat and Tears and Right Hand Pointing.