This looks like the mattress I photographed five weeks ago in the back field, when I was picking for scrawny blackberries amongst the plastic bags, used condoms and dog shit. I wonder why anyone would want to drag a mattress half a mile through the park, onto the main road, only to dump it at the intersection of Cecil and King Street. Given the number of strange events I have observed on my #walktowork it is not entirely unimaginable. A walk that takes me through a neighbourhood marked by an urban desperation that, on occasion, leads its inhabitants to slip from the chains of reality.The sight of the familiar bedding dumped so unceremoniously on the street prompts a peculiar vision of a lone mattress desperado, who works at the dead of night to shift old beds around the city. Though I consider that the more logical conclusion is that it was heaved from the surrounding social housing estate, known notoriously in the area as the 'crack flats'. Some of the residents of which I have come to recognise, as I stride on past each morning on my #walktowork I see them queueing at the pharmacy on the corner, waiting for a spoonful of state sedative to dull and blur away the harsher edges of this reality.
On this morning, so incongruous do I find the mattress blocking my path that I fancy the need to take a lie down on its wet flaccid cover. Wearing my finest pinstripes and neatly pressed silk blouson, I settle onto the sodden-through surface and press my pink ear into its dirty skin. To hear it wheeze the final confessions of a mattress well lived. A violent tale, one of amorous lovers, late night TV, biscuit crumbs, fag ash, a yellowing stain, a smear of menstruation, a billion flaking skin cells feeding microscopic beings.I lie there for awhile in its wet embrace, listening to the memory of carnal desires impressed into the worn out springs. I hear it speak of the work of the mattress thief who comes at the dead of night. She, who softly steals the air from out under your carriage, silently taking you from this place to next. I hear the final sigh, ‘for here lies the coffin of both Cecil and King at the intersection of a different way’.More than a strange sight of a professional woman weeping into a discarded mattress, in the middle of the street, on a wet Monday morning. I pick myself up, brush myself down and continue on my #walktowork