These lampposts — Johannes Punkt

There is a street in this city where, at night, the light from the lampposts is wrong. You can feel drunk in this light without a drop of alcohol in your blood. If you shine a torch into these yellow cones, you will observe the light you cast cut into the light of the lamppost, as if they were two different substances. Your light will spill into the lamplight as oil into water, and you can observe the lamp’s light bending, becoming thicker around the edges of your light.

This is a sparsely populated street, and there are more people living in the windows than there are living in the houses. You can see their silhouettes move about and you can imagine hearing their pleased and muffled chuckles. If you attempt to gauge their hospitality and knock on their doors, someone else will greet you complaining that you’ve woken them up, and they will shut the door again when they find out what you want. You return to the lampposts.

If you leave something small at the foot of a lamppost and go away, come next morning the light will have eaten it and someone will be able to observe, years in the past or in the future, a person like you walking into the light to put the object down, and someone else picking it up, turning it over in their hand, smiling at it.

It will snow in the light from these lampposts although there are only stars in the sky. And there are people in this light, too: people who do not, cannot, see you. But you can fall in love with such a shard of a person, half of them seen sitting on a bench on the pavement, although when seen from the other side there’s no-one there. It will snow in the light from these lampposts, although your hands will be warm and it is the season for thin coats. It is just the lights. It is just the light.

Burn a copper-green flame under a lamppost and you will see creatures like broken mirror fragments swimming around in the lamplight. You are invisible in the light they swim in, and they are invisible in your light.

You are drunk in this light without a drop of alcohol in your blood. You see cars swerve out of the night and at you like their drivers are avoiding something much bigger than you, and you see cars drive through you and it is hard to tell at this point, out of you and the car, which one is the ghost. You fall in love with someone in this light, and if you leave yourself at the foot of a lamppost long enough, you will become visible.


Johannes Punkt is a hiss of static and the larval stages of regret and can be talked at/with/to on twitter, @johannespunkt. You can find more of his writing at http://zombiesintelligently.com