Patrick Zimmermann

Hold on to your Hats




In response to the crippling banality one or two of us must search for a little distraction now and again. It should be common knowledge that for ever there will be those that lie beneath frozen faces lost to beauty and bewilderment and that they are often the most visible people in life. They are always there like heavy, heavy, grave-stones sitting on our chests stopping the gasps. However we must not punish them for this; for it is only due to their darkness that whatever light is there, or possibly could be there, can shine. I know many of these people and at times they make me grit my teeth as I feel their shackles trying to wrap around me, but really I must try to accept them as necessary for me to have some purpose. And that purpose right now I think, is to explore that which they cannot see. At least I hope it is as currently I feel as if my heart is tremendous and soft and that I am being washed over and over again by waves of ecstasy. They, whoever ‘they’, really are, some illusory personification of Straightness in all its definitions, could not handle this exquisite feeling. They could not be so, totally distracted as I currently am. The bastards just ain’t got it in them.

I am sat in a room. I look around it and as I do so my visual comprehension of it stutters along a fraction of a second slower than the movement of my head. As if someone is quickly laying out photos of the room in front of me as I move my head round.

It is fairly big; a low ceiling on one side and at the opposite end to where I am sitting there is a small window. There is a mattress on the floor and some old bound books stacked along the side of it. I am with three other men.

I garble out words to these men, but as for the content of my noise I cannot tell. It is passionate and full of an inhibited sense of love for all. So I do not worry too much about it.

Suddenly again it hits me, that wave, that exotic demolishing of all previously understood ideas of Wellness. I am over the threshold, beyond any notion of Orgasm; I think I’m on the brink of something… I’m not sure what.

There is no Saint Peter or Paul, nor any Tom, Dick or Harry visible, so I know that whatever I feel might be happening, or about to happen is just in my head and therefore no paranoia or fear presents itself. I am completely satisfied, with life and death.

I think I have been bombed by Sergeant Pepper and his colourful troupe of glorious freaks.


“Sit, back and relax” someone says, I am comforted even more so now I know that I am being watched over, let the mask down, I think it’s time.

I roll back and my body tightens, my head rolls further and I close my eyes, I think I murmur some profanity before submitting myself wholly to distraction.

Music starts from somewhere; I am pleased about this as it gives me a metronome to set my reality too. A beat with which I can hold on too and feel every single drop of this pious vice without drowning.

Someone is reading poetry to the music and for once I immediately understand its greatness. There is no effort in comprehension for every image; every nuance appears as a truth that hitherto has not been comprehended, by me or anyone I think. But now it is as clear as crystal and truly pure.

I am building I can feel it, rising slowly to a peak. The music, the words, the waves are all pushing me up. Up, up I go. More profanities are uttered. I am ascending.

Tomorrow will be a drag.


* * *


“Damn my mind if this world is not in fact superb. You and me and you and you, we together,” I point at my friends. “We are what we need right now and no goggle-eyed bobby is going to take us down. Damn the pigs. Damn their rules and damn my mind for not seeking out this pleasantry earlier. Damn it, I feel good.”

Garbage. Utter rubbish. What am I saying? They will mock me forever and a day. They will ridicule me, describe me to women and children as the most pretentious bobble-hatted nincompoop who has ever Henry-the-hoovered up their finest whites, ever.

“Hey, I feel you man, you’re so cool, fuck. Why didn’t we do this before?”

They get it! They get me. Hurrah for the pretentious and prattish. One of the blokes, whose name shall remain unmentioned, is holding me by the arm. With such love. Deeply tentative his hold is. I almost kiss him, even my preferences are being bent by this splendid illusion.

Hours have passed, possibly. My jaw is locked and the words are now imprisoned within it. I can only express my deep newly-discovered passion for these men through hugs and head nuzzles. In many ways a far more intimate act of communication.

That terrible phrase “One Love,” means more to me right now than it has ever done. How could I have ever been so arrogant as to dismiss it as the vacuous, sentimental gibbering’s of the New Age warlocks! It has strength in its definition that transcends any mere verbal description of Togetherness. It holds us now, as we ride uber-happily through this twisting Helter Skelter of Serotonin chardonnay. One Love, brothers. One Love.

I have become ridiculous.

I think my brain has popped.

My skull feels wet… Another wave… hold on.


* * *


It is of paramount importance that I tell you this. I say this in my head to my friend as my jaw is still under lock and key, he of course cannot hear my thoughts s… or can he? He turns and we embrace. Hugging warmly and slowly. This may be a fleeting love, but as Yeats says, “For everything that is lovely is but a brief, dreamy, kind delight.” It is short, but it’s true, and in that state of truthfulness, duration should never be of concern for love that is certain, is wholesome whether for a second or a lifetime.

A little more up the snout, don’t muck about.

We are finished in our catalytic medicines. Damn it. Damn the limited market and damn the urchin pharmacists and their minuscule aspirations for our nocturnal distractions. My only hope now lies with the cigarettes burning my fingers, staining them brown. I giggle, and suck and whispers, grey long hairs of smoke, weed out of my clenched lips, they rise slowly and form webs before dispersing. Long sniffs and long sucks will keep my magic alive.

It rattles us, modern life. With its kills and chills. It keeps banging into me, so to speak. Distracting me from distraction, well no more. No more shall it be the waggling finger in the forefront of my mind, it shall be sent back to its pocket. I am running to paradise, but I think I may fall now, actually, if I stop rambling for a moment and think. Christ, am I now losing to mad, bad, joo-joo? Has my worshipping of all, from trinket to temple been in vain?

The drop is coming with the menace of a hooded hag… I feel it. Or rather feeling is diminishing within me. Stale normality is creeping up – that off-white hellscape is returning.

Church bells ring, it’s seven AM. Where did the time go? I feel as if, for the last six hours I have been removed from its linearity. Taken out of its forward-facing narrative and been placed within a solitary bubble of grace. The bubble is popping, like my brain did. Inside of me a war is beginning, poisons malevolently radicalising my happiness, turning it to sick and deathly pain. Bugger me, my mother would say. Bugger me indeed the bastards are winning.

I need fresh air, the smoke and the heat in this room is roasting me alive. I will surely die if I stay.

“Mmmm-I’m goin’ ‘tside…”

I gurgle trying to keep a venomous soup from rising in my gullet.

Murmurs are returned.

I can stand which is good. My legs though like jelly, have enough oomph I believe to get me to my destination… I walk, stumble… someone helps me up, I gurgle a “thanks” and carry on my not-so-merry way.

I see the door in front of me, its white frame and brown colour is swirling horrendously, I am almost frightened by this. No more happiness for me, someone has emptied my flute and refilled it with acid.

I think about everything I have said this evening… it hits me… it was all twaddle. Fantastical blaring’s. Stupidity leaking from my brain. My head needs a toilet flush and a good vacuuming.

The door is closer, but no less psychedelic.

When I reach for the handle it moves back, dodging out of the way of my leering hand. Finally I grasp it and as my fingers clench around the gold coloured ball, I feel my heart pulsing as my palm presses against the cold metal. It’s so fast. Like an out of time drummer, it seems it soon might get fired. I need to sit and take deep breaths; I need to turn on my eyes. Where’s the switch?


* * *


Hell hath no fury like a pleasant morning. The sun, eurgh… if I were stronger I’d brawl you, you bright bastard. There’s no place for you in my life right now, we’re just not working out. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m outside finally, fresh air rattles me.

I spit, blood is in my phlegm, the insides of my cheeks have been eaten alive.

Somewhere Nirvana’s ‘Jesus doesn’t want me for a sunbeam’ is being played. I stand up straight to feel the cool breeze come at me and the soup in my throat descends; I think I am safe. My eyes feel bloodshot; though I’m not sure how I can tell. I just know it.

Sleep… the thought finally screams out.

I have to sleep now. Sergeant Pepper has lost his trumpet and morning has broken. I am broken.

I can hear the birds singing their boring songs, and the cars tooting their reckless horns. Daytime has shooed away the night, and me, upon this stone porch, with a sinking heart realise; I have reached the other side, alive.

I have to recover; distraction has become too much. It burns you alive if you let it. For now I have exhausted myself down to giving in. I am back to normal; I will allow the flagitious banality that holds all, to hold me. Till Sergeant Pepper again finds his trumpet.



Till next weekend …




Patrick has recently graduated University where he studied English with Creative Writing and has returned to his home of Middlesbrough to enjoy unemployment and pollution. He has only just started his, what will hopefully become, writing career and is known mostly amongst his friends and family, however his popularity in these circles does waver. Mostly Patrick writes poetry and short stories, but has been known to pen a ditty or two.