paradise bird, by eadbhard mcgowan

It was drizzling and the sky was as grey as my thoughts. The train spit me out at the main station in Amsterdam. The sun was setting. I strolled through the streets, leaving the Centraalstation behind me, passed canals and went over bridges like a wolf in search of worse sin and the ultimate kick. The coffee shops with the sweetish fumes appealed to me.

I banged into drug addicts, was jostled by drunks, inhaled the scent of Asian grocery stores and made my rounds looking for the evil, the evil in me, the evil in the others. Wolf-like with the nose on the trail to find the prey.

Opposite the Oude Kerk were the illuminated windows and doors of the numerous brothels that drape around the Oudezijds Vorburgswal like enticing playing cards.

Women showed their splendour to the men, lifted their breasts and let them sway auspiciously. On the other side of the lane women like out of a picture book, beautiful, but sterile, bloodless, which turned me off and, bored, I entered a bar. There were people who looked for rest from the hustle and bustle of a big town, mostly women of all ages were sitting there in groups, a few pleasant Amsterdam citizens enjoyed their food, tourists planned their sightseeing.

When I entered the bar, I saw the discomfort on their faces, an uncertainty in their eyes. Well, I was a man of 1.86 m with a black leather jacket and trousers, chains around my neck with a silver skull dangling from it. I took an empty seat opposite the bar and ordered a Grolsch. After some minutes, all turned away and continued their conversation, but now and again they looked at me with covert glances though I did nothing particular to make them look back at me.

I took the newspaper Volkskrant, which somebody left behind and flicked through it to distract my mind. In vain. I was restless and agitated.

The women in the bar were bland. Not really a place where you might suspect or seek the evil. Grey desolation began to spread in me.

However, in the corner, in the semidarkness I saw a person that attracted me magically. She wore remarkably heavy makeup, like a paradise bird, steel dark blue hair, the eye area in bright colours with sharply outlined black, a slightly curved nose like a parrot’s beak, full lips. An exotic appearance, not vulgar, but artistic, colourful. Her figure was vigorous and contoured. I sipped the cold beer and stared at her provocatively. She stared back. I made a gesture to signal her to come over to me. She showed a cheeky malicious grin and shook her head. I walked over to her, she continued to grin at me. “Why do you not come to me?” I asked. “You should come to me, black man”.

I noticed the overlong fingernails, which looked like raptor claws on strong and almost masculine hands. She looked into my eyes and scratched over my chest. Her skirt was nothing more than a sash around her loins. Muscular physique. Something about her was what attracted me like a magnet. I could not figure out what it was. Something in my subconscious.

“Are you looking for the abyss that you know, but you do not dare to jump into it?”

I looked at her: “You’re not Dutch, what are you doing in Amsterdam?”

“I’m from Latin America and I collect moments.”

“Maybe I do the same.”

“Are you alone, do you feel alone?” she asked.

“I am on my own. I do not need company”, I responded.

“We all need company. Don’t talk rubbish. Should we go somewhere where we are alone?” she proposed.

“Look, paradise bird, I’m not a charmer, I’m actually a bad case and I’m just in Amsterdam to look for evil” I responded.

An even more malicious expression crossed her face, she touched me with her fingernails.

I paid and turned towards the exit in expectation that she would follow me. I did not want to give her the satisfaction or impression that I followed her.

Rain fell and ran like mercury over the cobblestones into the gutter. The street lanterns reflected on the wet ground. Boats passed by on the waterways.

After fifty meters I turned around and saw her. She walked elegantly across the cobblestones in high-heeled shoes. After a while I looked back again, she was waiting in front of a house and looked at me wildly and pointed to the door. Until I caught up with her, she had entered the house, left the door ajar.

It was one of those old merchant houses with a staircase to the main door. At the gable the lifting device for the cargo, which the Dutch merchants formerly stored on their premises.

I followed her up a steep staircase, through a dark hallway, everything looked a bit run down. The musty smell was overwhelming. A scent mixture of hash, speed and poppers stood over the steep staircase. I stumbled over a violin case which somebody had dropped. She opened the door to her apartment. The heat took my breath and in the dim light I saw black catafalques, skulls, terrifying sculptures, obscene pictures on the walls, an ambience which would give rise to horror, anxiety and fear among everyday contemporaries.

However, it did not scare me a bit. Here I was kind of at home. In my own environment, it looked even more morbid, albeit without the erotic tension which aired this room.

My senses whispered: How will this end, what do I intend to do? How could I bring her to a point of surrendering lust? What had she in mind?

“And now”? I asked. A mocking smile was the reaction. I closed the door and turned the key and put it in my pocket. Her eyes flickered and she tried to take the key from me but did not get into the tight pocket.

She went over to a cupboard and pulled out an aluminium foil, put some particles on it, put the aluminium foil into a strainer and held it over a candle flame and inhaled the fumes. She let herself fall on the bed.

I gasped: “You have something attractive that I cannot describe, which arouses the desire in me. Why have you taken me with you, knowing that I am bad, that I have a negative streak”.

She nodded. ” You are different, not bad, I like it.”

To intensify the cycle of darkness, I took off my leather jacket. She stared at the chain arrangement, in which a lot of imagination had been put by me and she shivered despite the tropical heat in the room.

She shuddered again noticeably when I got rid of my trousers and dropped the leather thong. I saw the fear on her face, the fear of a bird.

“Do you want a drink?” “Yes”. She had old Genever and we drank excessively. We kissed one another, I bit her, she bit me. Do you have stronger stuff? I sprinkled two lines of snow, which we shared. She scratched me and blood ran. I tied her despite her resistance to the bed, she hissed and spat and screamed.

“I’ll finish you and offer you to Satan.”

She screamed: “Satan does not want me. You want me as your victim, you are Satan.”

A cold shower ran down my back. Was I this evil, did I stand on the edge of a precipice? Did I provoke my fate?

Lights of passing cars threw a bow of light through the curtains into the room. She removed her skirt and when another beam of light brushed the walls, I noticed that she was a man.

During that night I leafed through a book with thousand pages.

The abysmal evil gurgles in the ravines of my soul

Demons and witches bellow and shout, sitting on a stele

and force me to look into the mirror

And I do not recognize me

Sweat and smoke take my vision

Lemurs drag me to the high women

who, heavy breasted and saliva dripping,

shout threats and laugh

and kindle the fire of sin in me

Bring blight to burn up and makes the

night sink on my soul.


When then in matutinal sudden awakening

I look into the mirror again to see

and nothing do I understand

still not recognizing myself …

Where am I, where have I been, where I am going to?

What is the sense of sin?

So bad, so sinful I want to be,

sink deep without a sheen,

into the glow of lascivious fire

and dive into the swath of my madness and desire.


Oh, nail me to the cross and turn the innermost to the outside!

To surrender to evil and be reborn clean again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s