Sonny’s Blues – James Baldwin

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It’s hard to remember quite who you are. All the air has been forced out of you, and somehow you can’t quite fill your lungs again. The first thing you properly feel, other than confusion and panic, is the particular weird pain of a grazed chin. Its strange that this is the first thing to wonder through the mists of your head, as you try to work out what you’re looking at, is it grey bread? But then, other things start to become clear, you know, for instance, movement is not your friend right now, but that if you don’t move, you might not ever again. There’s a feeling of being drained, as if you knees are shitting. Its your blood seeping out. You can still feel, like the cliché goes, your feet, but then, they still exist. You can see them, over there.

But whatever, you’ll soon realize there’s no getting over this one, and if you survive it, you’re fucked for life anyway. You’re into one of those ’sipping Sheppards Pie through a straw’ gigs. You knew what you were doing, too. You walked out there, between to the two earth banks and listened to the quiet squeal of the metal planks that pass either side of you. You know that the light in the distance is some sort of terrible doom, but you have to bare witness to it as well. Perhaps it was worth it. You won’t write again anyway. But thats ok, because you’ve seen and felt just about the best there is.

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