Archive for August, 2011


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I see the last of the true men fighting for the last scrap of anything truly worth fighting for. The heart and soul, the love we cannot define. It all comes down to rot in the end. It all sets in and grabs a hold so tight the only thing left to do it breathe it in and smile. The question is not whether you can survive, it is whether you want to survive. If you’re in the gutter looking up or in the penthouse looking down, the truth is, you’re in the same place, the scenery is just different.

Ask my man Slow about all these things. He’s as likely to give you the truth as any man; though he will shroud it in a cloak of half-truths, meandering trails and deep, dark and dank corners. Oh yes, he will tie you up and twist you round and you will know that you have been told the answer but you will not know what it is. He will bend his crooked little neck, look up at you from under his trucker cap and he’ll give you that wink. Just to let you know, you know. That wink is the same he gives everyone just before he does what needs to be done. I’ve seen him give it to a whore; I’ve seen him give it to a preacher man. And I have seen him give it to me. Ah, sublime and sweet destruction of life. Our paths forever twisting out of our control and then coming back under rein for long enough for us to think we are in control before stretching out again. I have seen Slow slash a dealer, from ear to ear before moving onto his wife, whose last vision was that of her husband vomiting blood out of his throat. And I seen him cry when he had to drown one of his bitches puppies cause it wasn’t born quite right. But Slow is a man of his own. On his own. And he’s been to the top of the top and the bottom of the bottom and now he is quite happy to sit in the middle and catch the trash as it falls and tag on the tail of the stars as they rise. He’s that kind of man. A leech I think is the word, though I wouldn’t say it to him. I know he wouldn’t mind too much what with me saying it but you can never be sure about these people can you now? Hell I’m not half sure on myself, how am I going to be too sure on anyone else?

Take Smithy. Man, the guy was the craziest as the end of days. Trouble was, he was quiet as a dead cat his whole life through. Never said a word to no one and no one said a word to him. Then one day, he up and carved up half the street with a home-made sword. Damn near the most disgusting thing I ever saw in my life. There was blood everywhere down our street, running rivers of it. Was like something out of a slasher movie. If you look real careful you can actually follow the trial over half a block. Old Smithy, he just walked along hacking up any fucking body that he crossed. He even took a German Shepherd out on one corner. They finally stopped him when some skinny black fella, about ninety or so, high as a kite, stuck a gun to the back of his head and spread his brains so wide not even the crows were interested in picking it up. Hell’s teeth there was a mess that day.

Funny thing is, I loved it. All of it. Old Smithy had been so quiet all his life and then going out with a bang; and Kinkers, the black fella, the one who killed him in the end. Only cause it is kind of crazy cause Kinkers was the last person who you would of thought would be sorting the shit out. All this big tough ‘gang’ kids hanging about, all them Muscle Marys posing on the corner. They all ran like all the hounds of hell were after them. But old Kinkers, he just stood from his usual twenty-four by seven resting place. Calm as mutha fucking Xanax, he just strolls over to Smithy, all pimp like in his bright purple suit, twirling his cane in the other, and pops a cap into the back of his head. I spoke to Drex the day after and Drex says he swears he saw Kinker doff his trilby to Smithy just before he smoked him. And when old Smithy’s head was no more, Drex said old Kinker lifted his head to the sky and howled. Drex said it was the most scary fucking sound he ever heard in his life. That along with the trilby thing freaked Drex out.

I reckon it must have freaked a lot of folk out cause when the police came no one saw nothing. Kinker is sitting not ten feet from Smithy’s corpse, smiling like a Cheshire cat and no one bats an eyelid. I was there by then and it was the funniest thing. At one point Kinker even told the police he reckons it was a white boy. Skinny mutha fucker with a high voice is what Kinker said. We were all laughing and the police knew something was up but they weren’t going to push it. They were out of their depth and they knew when to just accept they were beaten. Kinker was a hero after that. Man could live to be two hundred and sixty-nine and he wouldn’t spend a dime again or want for anything. That day, Kinker made sure he would never be forgotten about in our neighbourhood ever again. I reckon when he drops down one day they going to build him a statue, right where he used to sit all day and every day. Hell the people round his way already call the street he sits on, and where he killed Smithy, Kinker Street. You can tell an outsider now if they ask where Rainey Street is. People will just laugh in your face and tell you to go and ask Kinker. Reckon the city council is going to have to change the name soon.
Ah, Kinker. And he still sits out there like nothing has changed in the whole wide world. Still looks the ladies up and down when they walk by, taps his trilby, smacks his lips and gets back to his dreaming. And the ladies love it man. Oh yeah, they get all giggly and coy and flash their eyelashes at him. I’m betting old Kinker gets it every night of the week. I have asked a few girls and they’re not saying anything but you can see that little glint in their eyes that speaks of passions spent and juices shared. Half the knee high kids round here are probably Kinkers. Wouldn’t surprise me, no not at all. I am certain one of them is, JJ. Since he was young enough to move on his own he would seek out Kinker and want to sit on his knee. You would see him crawling down the pavement, right up to Kinker and then sit in front of the old man until he would bend down and pick him up. JJ was the only one I ever did see Kinker talk to proper. The two of them, JJ about one, Kinker about eighty, would sit in that chair out on the street and talk for hours. JJ’s mother gave up trying to break them up. She would just yell at the both of them a lot. Call them all sorts of cuss words but they would just laugh and carry on. Now he is older, JJ, he just sits with Kinker and they chat and watch the world go by. Most time they don’t say much, maybe just give each other a look and a smile and sometimes a laugh and then other times they will be whispering all day long in each other’s ears. Sometimes I get to wondering if JJ isn’t Kinker already reincarnated, like he has spilt off a bit of him for when he dies.

It is all a bit fucking creepy but then this neighbourhood is I guess. When you stay put in a neighbourhood for a certain amount of time you start to see all the walls melting away and you get to look at what goes on behind the masks. And I can tell you, it aint a pretty thing to see.

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All images the copyright of REN Photography. Please visit Kayla’s site for high res images and special edition prints of this photo shoot.

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