1 June 2015

Only the sorry picker

At last night tempers the day’s offensive heat, foil boxes tower greasily stacked high with fun along the ordinary chaos of a pavement, utensils plastic fleshed hearts smear from park to home beating each other raw phlegm gobs constellate the outside and are moonlit. Against its limits grass groans relieved to be alone again – it is a collective noun its blades torn between singularity and wanting to belong, wanting to be with others tragic at the gates. Some homeless had a cidered inlet jovial shaded terrible it was alleviated with the widening of the road so many things broke here. One side the city you live in and me miles away in this place we once believed in as a gift we were grateful for small morsels but growth and shrinkage became malignant in wrong directions and now bedrooms are quieter and cankerous and places only to collect yourself that scattering of rags, the self only the sorry picker. Yours is not as visible from the hilltop as the city’s grim icons are, I can barely take that walk now without falling kneeling at the trough idiot pig snuffling for scraps of a thing that used to be full as hearts were true. Possibility, gradient, managing expectations. Cooled and desperate then we scale the gates, sneak through holes in the mesh like dogs dogged and privately sometimes desperate to be leashed for freedom and told when to run and told not to have a soul or read saintly texts on what space the negative offers. Here is emptiness so it is easy to see each other. I don’t dance I fight. I fight to end the speaking of one word after another at tables in windowless rooms. The only way to sleep is to admit writing is compulsion not politics. I just want a slim desire to to widen into a fat one to live with some solidity. Does 50 of your goony friends count? Tonight this is a corpulent space and ours. But I know now not to live in another’s body. The earth swallows the new skyline as it capsizes under what we did. Stumbling I am expected to be moved but being told to feel on cue is a special kind of violence. A reaction is waited for and in that waiting is the realisation that only a lie is possible. I become a liar. No one wants to be responsible for the breaking of a line of sentimental hearts, for the overflowing of a glassy eye into a tearful one. I try to feel what I’m told to feel. Noises come in strangely because windows are opened in awkward locations where usually it is too cold to open windows. Enclosed, a barrier falls. So much that even my insides are being narrated by those around me as I narrate theirs in an experiment of empathy so visceral that we cannot tell if it is happening to all of us because if it is then this at last is a thing being shared and felt at once by finally not just one. Knees jut boys crouched hands busy with food illuminated bluely by telephones in daylight they are fey and amorous but here they are able to focus on their own hunger. Squatting at the mouth a harried body relaxes, is nourished, nourishes others exhausted from holding themselves up, bones are a myth it is not them that uphold, it is our private citizening. In these visions anchorlessness is freedom and not the possibility of drowning alone at sea hallucinating cruelly. You wouldn’t know freedom if it shat in your mouth. Oh the air is cool and on us oh your skin is the edge of my skin oh it is happening it is happening. Rangers circulate checking for strays headlights sweep searching for or for us to warn or warn us a threat a threat. And then it is ours again we know the long grass and the willow we know the boughs to swing from we know nothing is ours. Is today an official special day because the air is torn with colours. Was something named or born or did it die? A season a princess a stadium. A cylindrical metallic feeling, a sheer chemical feeling, a new track through familiarity. In the grass her black cape billows behind her while she sings a part remembered song which in its part rememberedness becomes other to itself and only to her the singer. Here there is swift and nimble dancing a skirt flows a foot lands. Then the light comes the mosquitos come the joggers come the dog walkers come the sun comes the men come the children come the birds come the mealtimes come and the seams are straightened and the hair is combed and there is the thing we call a shift which is really a jolt and there is the thing we call return which is really exile and there are the men on logs which are really corpses on logs and there is the thing we call patience which is really denial and there is the thing we call friendship which is really consolation - but still - a heart that was lifted is still a heart that was lifted. If this were an ode it would be one.


  1. I love the image, 'tragic at the gates.' I could see this piece working well as a narrator/voice-over for a film - or probably needs to be spoken aloud for full effect. Somehow, it reminds me of something you tweeted: 'oh the soft line between flexibility & weakness,' an endless cycling problematic for me. All being is a sort of violence which either struggles with or against conditions. Violence is always an attempt to gain control either over self or others but (as seems to happen in your piece) there is still the piling up of evidence, of 'placement' and 'history' where context constrains the struggle to live and sets it in motion along another path. Either I adapt, go with it, laugh and find myself transformed into something else, or I refuse, make a stand and am broken. We cannot fight the build up of our surroundings within us, at best we hope to live in the spaces where power over-reaches... we are weak and brittle then, not 'flexible' and longlasting or strong and shortlived. Maybe weakness in th end is also a virtue in that it does away with certain lies.

  2. editor! i'm so sorry it's taken me this long to reply. your engagement means a great deal to me, thank you. this was a very old piece which i salvaged and added to from where i am now. flexibility/weakness - a cycling problematic for me too. i hadn't thought of it in relation to this piece but yes - i think your description of violence and being is apt and yes perhaps that is what is happening in this piece. living in the spaces where power over reaches seems always temporary, but still...

  3. weakness as virtue...i think about this a lot, but perhaps more weakness as strength. you can see from the bottom up?