Walk to Work
This looks like the mattress I photographed a couple of weeks ago in the back field when I was picking blackberries amongst plastic bags, used condoms and dog shit. I wonder why anyone would want to lug a mattress half a mile through the park up onto the main road only to dump it at the intersection of Cecil and King Street. Not an altogether unrealistic notion given the number of strange events I observe on my walk to work. A walk that takes me through a neighbourhood marked by an urban desperation that on occasion leads its inhabitants to slide out from under the thin cover of reality.
The sight of the familiar mattress dumped so unceremoniously on the street prompts a peculiar vision of a lone mattress thief who slinks out at the dead of night to move old beds around the city. The more probable and mundane scenario points to it being 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 on my morning walk to work, past the pharmacy on the corner, where familiar faces line patiently for a spoonful of state sedative served only to take the edge off circumstance.
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 tweed and neatly pressed silk blouse 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 a while 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 away from this place to the next, I hear her 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 walk to work.