When you go
I grow hollow.
Mummified or jellified
My future in a cage I can’t unlock.
Each breath a challenge
Every heartbeat breaks
Colour to sepia
Today to yesterday
Nostalgia the only light.
When you return
The sun bursts heat
The air fills with heavenly scent
The world spins faster
A dizziness of euphoria.
In your arms I rest
Stopping the clocks for a moment of perfection.
Skin against skin
Love caressing love
It’s two souls made one.
It’s a pool of satisfaction
Well this shouldn’t work. A sequel to Bret Easton Ellis’ debut novel? Your initial response is that he’s run out of ideas/steam and is falling back on something to get attention. Then you read it and realise he’s still a fucking genius and ‘Imperial Bedrooms’ is as much of a masterwork as ‘Less Than Zero’ was.
The genius of the novel is that the voices are all the same as you remember them. The images you carry in your mind of Blair, Rip, Julian and Clay come back to life speaking exactly as themselves, this isn’t a Xeroxing of the first book, in fact if it wasn’t for references to Pixar, iPhone and IMDB then you could imagine he sat down the day after finishing ‘Less Than Zero’ and created this. By page two you’re back in the muddy waters of love, desire, loss, confusion, depression, aloneness and friction. As Clay describes it “A mosaic of youth, a place you don’t really belong anymore.” Things have changed on the outside, Clay is a successful writer, Julian is clean, Rip is botoxed to high heaven and Blair is married. To none of them.
References to U2 and Hungry Like The Wolf might drag you back but soon Clay is listening to The Fray (The Fray!) as a girl he likes has them on her MySpace. We’re not in the eighties anymore, Toto.
What is it about? Like the original, it’s about people. It’s about change and staying the same. It’s about protecting yourself whilst simultaneously laying yourself open to hurt. There’s less drugs, less sex, more exercise and a couple of disturbing incidents which see Ellis juggling a mix of nausea and voyeurism not seen since American Psycho.
It’s beautiful. It’s shocking. It’s Bret Easton Ellis at the top of his game. Amazing.
“The ghosts swarming everywhere whispering ‘you need to be careful who you let into your life’”
There’s a hole in his heart where the love should go.
Empty, beating, a life longing to live.
Homogenised with drink
Blur life into a glass
Forget your faults
Forget the girl.
Head on the bar,
Hit the road
Walking into the dark
The moon shows its face
It’s jeering Cheddar face.
Stars laughing at your fragility
Rain sneers at your stupidity.
Home alone again.
Hit the bottle one last time
Clock tick-tick-ticks on
The hands mocking you
The only thing not going forward.
The alarm is the bell of the final round
The dog brushes your head
Sniffing waiting for you to wake.
He’s still there three days later
When the flies are breeding.
I woke up dreaming of a paper sun
Origami shade for the world.
With my paper heart beating fast
I stride into the rays.
Walk half an hour in the wrong direction to stroll past your house by accident.
Dog barks and I scurry away
Sure I saw the curtains twitch…
Sit alone on a paper sidewalk
Drawing faces on the street
Two souls colliding
A car splashes and they disappear.
The sun’s going down
Walk back in the wrong direction, past your house again.
See a coupled shadow in the window
And puke on the driveway.
Brush my gasping mouth with my sleeve
A Mountain Dew rinse
And then the emptiness comes.
The paper moon arrives
I pick up the phone to call
But the shadow pulls my hands down and I go under.
Paper razor clears the air
Paper sleep, without a care.