On stepping from the doorway to the street it’s as though nothing’s really changed. The breeze strokes your face and a glimpse of sunshine
passes through the clouds to shed light on the pavement, damp from the night’s rain. Around you there are people, walking as they always do from A to B, maybe even to C, carrying bags of their mornings’ purchases.
But something’s not right.
Originally published by The Plague and the Fire.
And then it hits you. The imprisonment you momentarily forgot as you descended the stairwell returns to knock you square in the face. The
pallid faces of those that pass you stink of weeks in the absence of natural light. You can smell the rickets as their weakened bones grind pass whilst desperately trying not to attract attention. A glance too long is suspicious intent. A kiss of greeting is criminal.
We stand up straight, compose ourselves and prepare the excuses. From queue to line to orderly fucking mess we go, basking in the UV rays as though enjoying the beaches of southern Spain. You cough and someone crosses the road. A laugh and heads turn.
This is not happening. It is being done. This is not a natural disaster: a culmination of environmental forces that level an area, wreak havoc on normal lives and leave nothing behind but a legacy to be consumed into the laboratories, although the latter is, in part, true. It is a process – planned and executed – within a framework of processes, both complementing and competing. Fluctuating, exacerbating, suffocating.
Isolation is becoming a positive term. To separate and withdraw is to do your duty. It is to protect those around you: the damaged, dying, done, because in a world where there’s only one saviour, everyone can be a victim. As always, our beings are cut in half. Protect the body and the mind will endure, yet this stimulation deprivation is ripping us apart from the inside. Slowly. It’s the opposite of a media blackout. It’s a landslide. A cascade of numbers, facts and proportions that, as incomprehensible and contradictory as they might be, have become the newspeak of 2020.
And yet we have no choice but to believe. Science sold out to capital long ago and, as such, without entering its stadium we are disarmed for the tournament. We are the pieces, not the players. The stories of those hospitals that plod along, business as usual, are censored, cast-off and mocked. Our throats are sore from trying to articulate what we see as happening. Reduced to a dialogue that merely condemns police brutality, as though it were something surprising, we find ourselves occupied by providing services to those that everyone had forgotten about before, and will again after.
If there are any questions left, don’t let them be said, scream, for the silence of criticism is deafening.
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