genius loci

Ive been away from home. I return from walking the dog. An artist tries to force himself into my flat. While I’ve been away, it’s been an arts festival for squatters. I throw him out and bolt the door. He has a key. I throw his stuff down to him from the window. My flat is trashed. Food in cupboards painted. I find an invitation to the festival. I realise who organised it in my absence. 
I’m in London. In an office. But it’s also a shop. I’ve been transferred here. I’m not sure what my role is. People interrupt me while I try to work, they want to look busy, rather than actually work. I explain the difference. I explain false perception. 
I leave the office, walking with friends. I keep on forgetting my bag and coat when I sit down. We leave a shopping centre, and talk to policemen dressed as clowns, with sharp, flat, metal shoes, that remind me of an old cigarette case. I left my bag inside. I rush back, to see a man running away with it, my coat inside. 
I try to remain positive. Maybe he’s handed it in. I ask unhelpful shop staff for directions. I’m vaguely directed down. I follow a curving ramp down to the lowest level. A network of confusing corridors, seemingly constructed in the 1930s. I get lost. A middle aged lady gives me better directions. I find the office. No one is there. 
Stressed and alone, I walk outside into the rain. I try to call the police, but can’t remember the non emergency number. I have a flip phone I can’t operate. The battery is dying. I guess the number and try to speak. My mother is sat on a wall nearby. She’s black, with a red coat. She keeps talking to me, so I can’t hear the automated message and make the right choice. My eldest brother joins her, drunk, wearing only one shoe. I walk away so I can hear, but everywhere there is external noise. I miss the message, and can’t recall the number I dialled. My brother drives past, the ruin of an old brown car inside the back of a van. 
I walk in the rain. Lost and frustrated. My path is blocked by a huge beanbag, with 99 people on it, celebrating a child’s birthday. I climb around. Over stacks of sofas, where middle aged women sit drinking wine and discussing the arts. I clamber onto a road. I ask a tramp for directions to the west end, where my hotel is. He points to a break in the clouds. I walk that way. The road becomes a dirt track, water flowing down it, shale scree blown danger close by the storm. I curve a hill. An Escher building greets me. As I walk towards it, the path becomes a wall, I slide down, laughed at by a young employee from a high window. He taunts me as I struggle to find a way in. I curse him, swearing a violent revenge if this is my hotel. 
I worry about my dog. I realise that I’m not in London for a day, but two months, that I have to move here for my job. I look at a twisted tower in the river. I can’t afford to live here. It’s too busy, full of people. I hate it. There’s culture, and diversity, but no real soul, no community, no genius loci. 


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