The wheels of Madrid

I wake to the sound of birdsong, in a marshmallow bed, feather pillows foaming around my head.  What was I dreaming? The Incredible Ponce melting before my eyes, vaporizing into his own puddle of clothes, hissing, ‘Help me, help me….’ He was dressed as Brundle-Ponce, a half-man, half-fly, his skinny legs sticking out of leather shorts, an obscene stuffed leather fly’s abdomen hanging between his legs. Doc Martens, and wired fairy wings sprouting around his ears. He had his hair teased up in a frightwig, and two globular ‘eyes’ on his forehead, glitter stuck to his face. And beneath the make-up, his ‘cara de muerte’ (Face of Death).  What was the other thing he said?

‘Estoy arruinado! Me voy de Madrid mañana mismo.’ (That’s it, I’m ruined! I’m out of here, I’m leaving Madrid tomorrow.) Except it wasn’t him who left. I must have tapped my little red shoes together, and screwed my eyes up really hard, and finally the hurricane stopped.  There was another phrase from the dream, but I can’t remember it now.

Was that my little house spiralling past the window in the gale? My plants in their pots spinning off, out of the patio into the tiny oblong of sky, the Four Horsedogs of the Apocalypse (now three) yapping and yipping as they are blown away, and Carmen the tattoed woman, glorious with her henna’ed hair streaming behind her, shouting into the wind? And at the eye of the hurricane a dust-storm that was Lavapies, a centrifugal whirl of indian restaurants, Bangladeshi grocers, chinese corner-shops, arab tea-houses, urban hippies, drug-addled, half-arsed punks, chicks with dicks, strolling elderly ladies linking arms, dog turds and nightclub posters, theatre-luvvies and buskers, ‘La Farola’ vendors, cigarette butts, hanging gardens on postage-stamp balconies, teenage hash-sellers, Egyptian bazaars, Lebanese sweets, kebabs and tapas, coffee cups and cockroaches, dreadlocked junkies, secret tokers, a thousand terrazas, stealthy police vans, bristling surveillance cameras, poster-blitzed banks, salsa-dancing alcoholics, late nights and love in dimly-lit doorways, scruffy trainers with ‘paz’ and ‘peace’ stamped on each sole, slung over telephone lines, and graffiti everywhere you look.

I shuffle downstairs and make a cup of tea. Out of the kitchen window I see the garden, trees, fields, and the gentle quack of ducks reminds me there is a lake beyond. As I sit and drink it I can hear a strange clucking noise from the lawn, and when I look out I realise it’s the semi-tame pheasant that comes for food, and shelter, when they are hunting on the estate. It’s calling for its breakfast. I take some birdseed out for it and it comes running up the lawn, its gait a comical mix between urban pigeon and road runner. A cabbage white butterly takes off from the step by the door, and a bee veers round my head. A lorry roars past on the main road and when I look up I see it’s stacked with hay bales.

That was it, that was the other phrase from the dream:

‘I will not die by throwing myself under the wheels of Madrid.’

I don’t know what it means either. Not yet.

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