Urban fables carry a certain kind of power all of their own. We know the archetypes as well as deities: cat-ladies, swan-ladies, bag-ladies and their countless, nameless, reeking consorts. Cosmopolitan sewer queens. Behind the many ersatz buskers, runaways, dealers, you will find a true cult which owes its livelihood and more to these icky ideals, these trashy tropes, these more-than-less-than humans who bathe in shit and speak in tongues.
It is a religion of foetor; pallid, diseased and filthy. It is as real as rats. Its mythologies are thick with phlegmy words, its commandments lost to fast-food slogans. Most are unaware of their involvement, barely aware of existence. Homelessness is its own nirvana – when you forget to live, you open yourself up to death.
There are no stars in the gutters. There is no glamour in belief.
The priests all wear fingerless gloves and sing hymns of halitosis. Ceremonial knives are blunt from use. They drink the blood of Christ. They bleed in turn. It is beautiful.
Seasons mean nothing because it is always cold at night and their bodies will not stop producing sweat, hot from the effort of existing. Their pilgrimage is constant and pointless. They circle the same streets without impact, pitiful as seagulls; pathetic as rabies.
They light fires. They murmur, babble, squeal. They are babies: pink and faceless and endlessly reviled. They are a landmass in another city, and they become born out of their own parables. These hobos do not have belief. They carry the connotations of the goddesses in their skin, for others to extract.
Through the fog of their unenlightenment, they forget what they are mimicking.
All cat-ladies are imitations of the True Cat-Lady. All bag-ladies are shadows of the True Bag-Lady. All swan-ladies are echoes of the True Swan-Lady. These divine dames, these sultanas of squalor convene in grimy alleys; in the houses of the lonely and dying; in dumps and in public toilets. They receive prayers in piss and blood. They dish out half-lives and deaths with propriety. They are royalty. They are gods. They are dying. This is their Bible.
Like all good Bibles, it ends with the apocalypse.