Bus Story 1

2020 — Written between Battersea Bridge and Solon Road bus stops.

An Ode To Compost

I suppose, it isn’t uncommon to gnarl one’s self-perception into an ugly, dehydrated twig with no roots to grow, so that it stays small and shrivelled, battered and beaten by wind, snapped to pieces and withers until it is compost — the most useful kind of nothing.

All considered, being compost is an enticing proposition: cozily scooped in with the generic mass of rotting peel, dung and old leaves, cyclically rolled and flattened by muddy hooves and boot soles into a body of mushy, odorous soil, this trodden existence relinquishes need for action. I’d lay there lifeless with my withering pals, cacaphonically reeking and swarming with tangles of wriggling worms, each burrowing canals whilst making tombs of corridors below, until a ravenous pecker rips them out, while we reek quietly. Worms wriggle for their lives, while we are indifferent and still, until rain would pound our dusty cheeks and flush out the worms, paving escape for our sunken odour, it, too, out with the worms and free to waft through the field with a fresh pungency — being nothing short of the season’s unbrushed morning breath.

Admittedly, a composting nothingness can be strangely lively. In being nothing you are entitled to receive a regular forking, a routinely scratching and an occasional brutal severing, dividing and grouping in sacks, piles, heaps, sprinkles and shovel-fulls to find new compositions to sound out and fill your hollowed purpose in service of nothing at all you intended to serve.

Sometimes, after hugging a spicy onion, or maybe a juicy beetroot months on end, to feel nothing at all is a convenient condition for withstanding wrenching separation. No-one is better acquainted with the cruel conditions of absence of living and dying than nothing. To be crept on by greens without feeling creeped out; to drown in rainfall without gasping for breath; to choke on drought without temptation to beg for a drink; to be poisoned slowly without need to avenge; to be lumped in with the bad lot without care to retort; to be reduced to nothing without desire to protest — is to be nothing, but compost.

All considered, on the brighter side of nothingness, they grow sunflowers.