And there squats on a river next to a swamp a bloated ugly creature. It was once beautiful but time has punished it for its corruption of eating the flesh of the young and the innocent and the desperate traveler. It’s size has deformed and disfigured it and it is now unrecognisable from its former stoic beauty. It has grown many arms and reaches out across the land grasping unceasingly to feed itself tearing flesh from bone, root from land and child from mother. It’s body is dirty and rotting save from those parts it locks clean to satisfy a memory of a dignity it once had.
Along the length of its arms or beauty spots interspersed with skin lesions and warts. Should you be so minded you could follow the length of its arm part licked clean beauty spots and red raw lesions all the way to it’s armpits of which it has many. For want of any free space on the rest of its body the parasites which have colonised the hulking beast have begun to crowd into its already heaving armpits. Dark, dank and rotting. Foul, full and overflowing.
Yet the suitors of the beast fetishise them, flattering the beast telling her how beautiful they are, raw and natural they are. Begging her to allow them access to please her as they please themselves. The despicable, dirty, fethised armpit I’m heading to is called Southwark. Of all London’s armpits it is particularly undistinguished notable only for being close to places of worth. The buildings crawl with parasites.
Sometimes rats and mice skittering, sometimes pigeons cooing mostly estate agents yammering on about light and space stepping over the dark, restricted spaces where children play with garbage. The buildings are being painted, regenerated, rebuilt. The people are left rotting, abused, crumbling. We sit in our offices drinking our lattes, passing around muffins, celebrating birthdays. We are not unmindful of our neighbours. We draw the blinds down so our office lights do not disturb them when darkness falls.