Sunday, 31 August 2014
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
A mud bath, the wash, sea-sand. A sleeping dog is folded inside a small box made of stiff hessian as sludgy seawater flows over its’ body and gradually, over an achingly unfolding period of time, before my very eyes, submerging it entirely: an immersive nap or else a watery grave. Zerry – a woman of uncommon mercy and a kindness that verges on the self-less (a suspect condition of self-bondage) – she rocks the stiff hessian casket/Moses basket back and forth in the shallows, watching as waves lap across the contours of the dog’s body, the water reconstituted as fingers that once stroked it, conscious in their (the fingers, the waves) negotiation of shape, variations in hardness and softness and the commune between flesh, fur and bone. “His time has come,” she utters beneath her steady breath, turning to face me, and I face her with incredulity, entranced, and by way of this entrancement, unstable “in my self.” I feel stupid and dedicated to nothing, no-one through witnessing this ritual of submersion, this gentle articulation of a sleep that exists in the tension between life and death. Shutting-down, as opposed to ending, it is his time to retire and not to expire.
This beach occupies the periphery of the school grounds, to which I have returned to complete my education (as all must do). So many a year of procrastination have kept me from this place and I find myself here again, inevitably, for this return is inescapable, at the age of “nearly 40”. Standing at the school gate, which never was locked or functioned as a border between inside and out – a most permeable membrane – I plead with the Mathematics teacher, a stocky man in a shirt and tie, who I realize is approximately my age. He iterates: “EVERYBODY must complete their education”, which I know to be true, and this minor horror thus magnified by necessity and gravitational return must be relived.
I make my unsteady way through familiar corridors, they are etched onto my deep memory like tattoos: burned there indelibly, but the rawness and soreness reducing as years pass. The deep memory – encrusted with scabs. I make my way with extreme caution – one never knows who one may encounter on these unyielding passageways lined with doors like mouths that store bodies until a separate wave of hunger passes over, parting the lips to expel and to ingest: a continuum of consumption and regurgitation. One never knows whom one may encounter on spiral staircases with their blind-spots and the hierarchisation of bodies by virtue of their position on the staircase; with their multiple, invisible entry points. I proceed from the ground upwards. I reach the halfway-point of the spiral, imbibing through mouth nose and pores the sickly stench of cleaning fluid, this aroma seeming to congeal in my throat, a sticky mass, producing a gag reflex that is in spite of itself rather pleasant – body and environment synchronised in the arena of the repellent. I consider the appeal of an artificial floral display whose perfection draws one into collusion with ones own deception: a vision of self-deception. I detect the scent of toast through the fug and make my way (I had paused) down the staircase to the ground floor (again), glimpsing the image of Deanna through the exterior motion of my descent (the interior and exterior steadiness has reversed). I detect the tight blonde curls, the concave thighs and the complexion deliberately masked with a velveteen patina of liberally daubed foundation and compressed powder that fully suffocates the skin; a mask of flawlessness behind which she (afraid, aggrieved, bereft) dissimulates. I detect this girl, and the very awareness of her presence in the scene, magnifying for my perception the power of the CASUAL GESTURE coagulates into an erupting pustule of impotent rage that remains imprisoned, for to manifest this as an eruption that is detectable by her would only close the gestural circle, and render my imprisonment external, or in the real. To echo the casual gesture, to correlate myself, to remake myself in this constellation would unlock lesser-mediated emotional boundaries. Opposition thus reconstructed as alignment, I swallow the key. I did it then as I do it now, “almost 40,” I swallow myself and in doing so reinforce the organic conglomeration cell.
Moving alongside a river, apparently still, the current imperceptible to the naked eye. Abstracted ‘moving’ as opposed to ‘being moved’ via a specific mode of transportation, as if being carried along, or else set in motion through artificial means that are supplemental to the body. Prosthetics – perhaps cyclical – though detached from vehicular frame, render my body as vehicle, its propulsion synthesized from without. The dream state of flowing: the scene and the subject interpenetrating over and under – entire body and entire scene undulating in mutual encapsulation: in ‘infinite reflexivity.’
Still passing by, I am compelled by the view to focus my attention upon the opposing bank and a dense conglomeration of fir trees, many of the firs heavily loaded with snow. Illuminated magnificently by the low early evening sun that reflects onto them in dissipating amber orbs, the vision manufactures a wrench in my guts that twists deeply: both engorging and excavating, producing melancholia that bleeds through me like an embrace.
Where are we now and what place are we going to? Up ahead is the small fishing village that my dreams have shown me for months; the place with the fish restaurant in which I wait tables and my father cooks. A rustic, affable people populate the village and I am welcomed as opposed to held there in perpetual tension (the mark of other ‘homes’ I have attempted to ‘construct’). Holding my entrails in my two cupped hands, coagulating blood and incomprehensibly vital pieces of me escape through the gaps in my fingers that can never close around this conception of self adequately. Loss marks every attempt at apprehension.
Snow now falls; the last time I encountered you (home) was in Spring. I move, again, with a sense of disarticulation, ever closer to the center of the village and pass by a huddle of shirtless men with smooth tanned abdomens, full-figured with limbs like sausages (interior-meat chaffing against the translucent case in which it strains), and stiffly rounded bellies that demonstrate their comforts. It’s snowing and the last time I was here – it was Spring – they were there, too, enjoying a break from manual labour; they are mimetic totems of the world outside and the temporal rupture of the unconscious. ‘Life’, synthesized by my unconscious, has continued without ‘me’, and yet ‘I’ am always ‘here’, this I ‘feel’ wherever my momentary state of consciousness manifests itself on the spectrum.
Katie (a friend from school-days) disturbs me at my temporary abode (a rented room?) at the precise moment of clarity that precedes a shift into the auto-erotic. This programme of disintegration has a tool: a mains-powered phallus whose ergonomic shape belies my desire and my method. The meaning of the penetrating object is thus stripped away in the gestural mimicry of a living body, reconfigured as gestural excess. Penetration is far from the objective, for fucking myself is a fully disempowered activity, serving by its disembodied imitation of copulation only to accentuate absence. The possibility of self-penetration occupies a distant point on the trajectory of sexual desire. Too distant to reach, its performance exposes a detour, a denouement – engagement reconstituted as premature unraveling. Instead of penetration I yearn for apprehension – fleeting yet stabilizing touch, touch that configures the body as embodied matter, an interrogation of inner-space, a pressure that acts like an anchor. The clarity foregrounds an application of pressure that moves and yet doesn’t diminish its hold, so that the movement abandons the touched body in a state of bondage by invisible ties. Pushing against the opening of the body with its knots of clitoral nerve-endings, rather than passing into it and the miasma of lubricating mucosity secreted there, I maintain an urgent bilateral tension between inside and out.
There are bedsheets suspended from the ceiling, bisecting the domestic scene of my masturbatory hovel. So it is from this state that I am transported to the previously described theatres of melancholic return induced by incandescence and a sense of belonging induced by the scene of an unreachable anchoring. I think: if fucking serves to consolidate the multiple threads of ones emotional and physical pull towards the other, notwithstanding the multiple (emotional) withdrawals and (physical) disappearances, does auto-erotic sexuality function, reflectively, to reintegrate multiple performances and obfuscatory gestures that constitute the generative ‘self’?
“LAUREN, LOOK AT IT!”
An electric storm illuminates the black sky in incandescent bursts, seeming to bruise it, tracing purple smudges in its wake. The lightning tears gashes into the night, producing within me magical fascination at first, which by fractions transforms into apocalyptic dread. The boundary between these states is in tatters: fascination and dread exist in eternal collaboration, hovering around entry points into my body, which is paralysed and my eyes are flooded.
On a train hurtling across a bridge that intersects a chasm below, towards a city that doesn’t exist, vulnerability is ramped up. The tin cage in which my body is held articulates the exposure to risk by virtue of ITS vulnerability. A machine magnetized by the multiple sources of stimulation, inside and out. Electricity seeking a passageway to multiply itself, a channel in which it’s current, like blood coursing through a pulmonary system, links up with and absorbs into its other/itself. The train clatters over the bridge, its motion echoed and amplified within the carriage by the acoustic possibilities of the limited space in which the sound careers chaotically, reverberating violently, this violence demonstrated by the escalating cacophony. Still traversing the narrow bridge, the train swerves to the left and the city that doesn’t exist shifts into view. Then lightning strikes the train and the train stops. This seizure is unceremonious. “IS THAT IT?” We must disembark. Find shelter for the night.
The security system is elaborate; a cassette deck constitutes the locking mechanism. The ‘correct’ cassette must be inserted. I select Julian Bradley music (to which R utters, “oh, Julian…” I resist the urge to pass comment, lapsing into a state of pure utility). The magnetic tape is torn and I know what to do – muscle memory articulates my hands and fingers – I place selotape across the exposed tape and plastic receptacle inside which the tapes’ axes are encased, thereby encasing, again, the entire unit. This is the secret: tape up everything. Reject the possibility of reconstruction. I live next-door with Luke Younger, I say: “You know that, right?” Everyone passive and distant as if emptied out: slumped. I have revealed myself to be, beneath it all, a real stranger.