Sunday, 21 November 2010

First Sleep

The first sleep of her life was in a milk crate. She was born to nomads who only ever travelled the same twenty miles up and down the path way left by the defunct railway line. Her family had a wooden caravan, something akin to Professor Marvel’s caravan in the Wizard of Oz. Her father was a professor, mad with schizophrenia which he claimed was the result of living in a totalitarian country. Her mother said “Don’t be stupid, this is Sweden” and her father said “Exactly”. Her mother had given up on the idea of medicine for him and dutifully copied his rants at night in a spiral notebook.

The first time she saw the Wizard of Oz was in a basement of a church that was showing old movies. If her family presented a sight, no Lutheran eye betrayed it. They were served coffee and sweets. She liked the hymns before the movie very much. At the part when the witch entered, she was seized by such a fright that she climbed under her chair and watched the rest of the movie with her head poking out, as if from bars of a prison. She discovered that she liked prison.

After the movie, she spent many days in a row turning the radio dial, trying to find the theme music of the witch somewhere between all the admonishing news reports and the tired sounding pop songs. Her mother threatened her with a wooden spoon if she kept it up, so she put the radio to her ear with the volume almost inaudible. She heard a lady singing like a bird and it thrilled her. Later she sang it while doing dishes with the next to last jug of water. Her father told her it was the song of a mechanical doll. Shortly after that she found an old Victrola and half a corset in the woods near the stagnant pool. She didn’t bring them home because she didn’t want her parents to try to sell them. She instead visited the spot daily on the pretense of looking for firewood. She slipped the corset on and cranked the broken handle of the Victrola while singing the doll song.

If you are out walking, notice the rubbish. It often arranges itself artfully in the environment so that you would almost think that it was a rubbish offering left by a rubbish tribe, which actually it often is. A green milk crate floats in a stagnant pool, made by rancid rainwater, and becomes an accidental shrine in the Shinto tradition. Or consider some iron bars lying on a hillside in a handsome formation that some idiot might spend months of time rearranging in a gallery under the auspices of a government grant and rename “Revolution by Iron Horse” Think about cars sunk deeply and criminally into swamp land that immerge later magnificently covered in barnacles. There will come a time when this is all you have, just as it was all you had when young when other people had all the possessions. You possessed rubbish and floating voices and you seized onto them fiercely for a day or two as they took a looming importance in your childhood prison. Then, you forgot them or rather they became part of your memory compost from which grew nothing in particular, if you are to be honest. In the beginning, there is always the end and the end isn't up to much. Or at least that's according to you.

What do you travel with a sentence like it gets dark at unusual times. This is an old notebook from the day you were in love with nature. A short woman from Győr with trendy glasses. No one answers the telephone. Sublime flares of heavenly light from burning luxury cars. A tall man with a scar above his right eye visits the moon with money he stole from his father. Unreal life.

The short woman from Győr with trendy glasses kissed the tall man visiting the moon with money stolen from his father above the left eye. She squinted at the scar above his right eye & danced to the alarms of the burning luxury cars. He says I wanted to give you all my money I wanted to abuse prescription drugs. It was getting dark at unusual times he says she puts her clothes on the weather in London is windy & cold with further showers.

Literature is inexperience mediated & unsung. A short woman from Győr with trendy glasses stands in a small room with creased & dusty curtains & presses her pale blue cotton blouse. A CD player in a cage plays a recording of a linnet singing in a small room with creased & dusty curtains. Real unlife. Economically inactive. Clouds

blew the wind across the moon, an empty wardrobe floated on the water swam across the meadow to the slaughterhouse & the dance academy.

Do you remember how to say goodbye. A short man with a scar above his left eye tries on a tall woman from Győr’s trendy glasses for fun. The moon swims on the water floats across the motorway to the opera house & the slaughter academy. Experience is economic activity for the dead. The short woman from Győr buttons up her crisply pressed blue blouse. She puts on a grey skirt & carpet slippers she wears a coat of brightest night she walks out on to the moon. The song of a linnet the song of police sirens the smell of burning luxury cars. She’s happy. She takes illegal drugs. The weather in London is windy & cold with unrelenting rain.

Do you remember the room where we slept together 1 afternoon. You’d found a rug in a skip & had put it in the middle of the room to cover the bare boards. I could hear the railway but you said you were so used to it all you heard was birdsong & your radio. I said that’s beautiful but was lying. I was always telling lies. You said I’m always telling lies. But that’s true about the railway & birdsong & my radio. I want you to go now. I said it’s getting dark. You said that’s usual it’s the usual time. The streets aren’t safe you must go now. So I said goodbye. When I went you weren’t listening to your radio. I might as well have been dead but wasn’t. We must remain the party of extreme revolutionary opposition.


thousands flee across the borders of your crossed legs.

we converse by sticky notes.

there it is an hour gone. between us.

It has returned. we recognise it at once as being exactly the same. well not quite exact

but as a fake town
signs and wonders
the desert at night.

when the party was left we stopped at the crossroads

quando quando quando.

voices as if
a radio was still turned on
something hadn't been turned off
in the distance
the light still on in the study

you licked your lips

you are driving us crazy.

and we don't worry about the elms
and the leaking roof staining
the ceiling coffee coloured blood

and we are getting better someways

I read about Hadrian's wall
in the foyer of your hotel
at the foot of your tower block
surrounded by birdsong
the like I have
never heard before.

The earth is in a state of alarm

everywhere is a tourist destination

and so we wait in the motel
for our phones to alert us
to getting up time.

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