PASSENGERS dale brett

Alight at the exchange. Exchange after exchange. Shotgun images of foot soldiers holding sweat-ridden hand towels. Disseminated visions of cheap polyester suits. Shuddering carriages impregnate my mind. Any cogent thought annihilated by the rabid hiss of hydraulic brakes. My transmigration to destination one complete. Slip into the elevator before it closes. Revel amid a sea of pockmarked skin and dead fish lips. Occupants decked out in downtrodden trousers from the local emporium. Prizes claimed from the city’s myriad pockets of null zone pits. 

Yellow fingers under lengthy nails. No one available to give them a clip. Literal torrents of cigarette mountains. Shovelling curry rice with bare hands result in permanent stains. Legions of translucent umbrellas imperceptibly undulate as the elevator ascends. History of what the tea leaves show exposed. Opalescent discs of fellow passengers flicker wide. My appearance belies I’m one of the tribe. Breathe in the fumes of the enclosed cabin. Cheap alcohol emitted from Asian skin. Suck in the particles of reeking air. I can smell all sixty years.

Extract the coins from my pockets. Creased flesh of exposed eponychium encrusted in grime. Shower the ticket machines with my lust. Defer command to the transportation overlords. We all need to get from A to B. Sometimes even to C. Let’s not even fucking talk about D. Exclaim to the others that I can see what they see. I am not an apparition. I am not at all so different. From near or far, we are all forced to show our respect for the system. Play the game or be ordained to the confines of a cardboard box. Submit or die.

Knowing half-smiles under floppy 100 Yen hats. Key chains of worn-out anime characters under artificial light. Cockroaches lapping up sake in dark concrete corners. Fibrous sclera become our shared open admission. Faint insinuations of laughter permeate the troposphere. Not the Japan you know, they say silently. I know, I know, I know my eyes echo. When they get to the Go parlour or Pachinko monoliths to meet with their buddies, their voices mired in a lurid cacophony, I hope they say it. I hope they tell the truth. That they looked into the eyes of a lost gaijin at the station today and he knew. That the history of this country is just the same as everywhere else. No different. Not special. Full of people trying to hold the snow globe of existence together in the face of a listless tsunami. So sick and tired that no one is shaking it. 

Let’s suck our collective discoloured teeth in unison. 
Let’s talk about the weather because there isn’t anything else to say.
Let’s exclaim loudly how good food tastes while obnoxiously shoving it down our expectant throats.
Let’s stare into the commercialised void of our television sets and collectively give in.
Let’s pay a visit to the convenience store and buy the cheapest bottle of liquor we can afford.
Because what else do we have to believe in?

Dale Brett is a writer and artist from Melbourne, Australia. He is interested in exploring the melancholic malaise and technological ennui of the 21st century. His work has been featured on Burning House Press, Back Patio Press, Surfaces and Silent Auctions among many others. Hypertextual artifacts found @_blackzodiac.