Mixtape: Sleeping With Ghosts

The sea’s evaporating
Though it comes as no surprise
These clouds we’re seeing
They’re explosions in the sky

It’s ok
Dry your eyes
Soulmate dry your eyes
Cause soulmates never die

Placebo – Sleeping with Ghosts – 1st April 2003

I stare at my reflection in the window as the train pulls out of its station. With my face broken up by artificial lighting and forward motion, I look like an incomplete memory of a person.

The last time I rode a long distance train at night was when I was visiting you. 15 whole years ago, can you believe it? Electric nights in a small dark flat in North London. It wasn’t much to look at, but it was where our souls became one; where cuts and bruised egos evaporated, and nothing but the moment was relevant.

There were other girls for you, and other guys for me. You liked to make them yours, and I was too scared to commit to just one because they couldn’t all leave. But when it was you and me, it was just us. Lock the door, and no one else came close.

You always greeted me with a nervousness you never showed to anyone else, as though it mattered when it was me. We would indulge in awkward conversation as our trembling fingers entwined, though we knew it only served to delay the euphoria of total embrace.

Later, when we gave in to chemistry, there would be patchouli and tobacco, torn fishnets and hammering hearts. There would be mutual infatuation that writhed in twisted sheets. There would be tingling sweat and hot breath. And I could swear there would be something bigger than both of us swallowing us right up, using the intensity of our fusion to create new worlds.

For days at a time we would indulge in one another, letting out unbridled laughter at the noises our lips made against various parts of skin; eating pizza, supping vodka from the bottle, and shouting along to our favourite songs. And all the while wishing somewhere deep inside for it never to end, though end it always must. And end it did, my love, albeit with an ellipsis…

I could just call you. Even now I have your number stored as ‘Broken Casanova’ on my phone. But I never do. Maybe I’m scared that it is no longer your number, and what that might mean. Or maybe it’s because I know that you would come to me, and together we would force everything that matters in both of our worlds to come crashing down. Because in the cold light of day we were no good for one another, not really. That is what my rational mind tells me every time I get stuck in this loop of craving. All we did was tear out one another’s stitches with our teeth, leaving deeper and deeper scars every time.

But for as long as you stay in the realms of memory and fantasy and potential, you drive me onwards to create wonderful things. I pull out my notebook and I write the insatiable pain of separation away. You take your camera to remote, dilapidated locations and photograph your heart. And in our own ways, we remember, and live on.

So I suppose, in the end, we did find a way to make it work.


Days Between Stations

We are the lovers

Tumbling out of a nightclub

Searching for one another

Buried deep in the sands of time

But no matter how wild the storm

We always return to zero

Like soulmates

That never die

A narcotic lullaby

Will sing us off to sleep.

9 thoughts on “Mixtape: Sleeping With Ghosts

  1. Just when I think I’ve got you pegged, I find I haven’t even breached the surface. Does your genius know no bounds?? This is fantastic, and is (from what I’ve read of your other work, at least) an expertly executed approach to a new style and genre. Very Neil Gaiman-esque indeed, but still irrefutably Orchid’s Lantern. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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