Under a Certain Old Streetlamp…

by Timothy J Jarvis

I came across the following, very short, antic text when I was doing some temporary work at a London psychiatric hospital in 2001. While helping out with an office move, I pulled out a filing cabinet, found it scrawled on the wall behind. It was the first weird, disconcertingly real text I ever found, and it got me seeking others of its ilk.

Soundtrack: Parhelion, ‘The Transmission

...under a certain old streetlamp...

An elderly man, committed several years ago for delusions and raving, told me yesterday that, during the hours of darkness, under a certain old streetlamp, on a quiet street in [here a word, possibly a place name, had been blotted out by thick hatching], pebble-dash and Mock Tudor and net curtains and a film of boredom and frustration and prurience over everything, it was sometimes possible to hear faint yowling and scent the salt tang of blood or brine and the cloying perfume of bindweed flowers. Then, standing in the sallow cone of light, if you looked up, the bulb would sputter out, and you’d see a sky, perhaps clear on an overcast night, or lowering on a cloudless, and, if clear, a bloated green smear of a moon, an awry spatter of stars, clustered not into the wonted ragtag menagerie, but a writhen horde. Last night, feeling bound to go there myself, I found he’d spoken only the truth.