The word speaks of limpets, steadfast brickwork, implacable against sea currents, against storms, against file and hammer, against knife, against boot. As I first heard it I felt my hands against grain, cheese grater jagged and rough. The word sounded in my palm, forced it open and grazed me.
She said it by the shop front, reflecting in the mirror of the glass, as the ribbons of meat hung down from their hooks. Her whole name. She’d told me it all in one, as frank as the brushing down of an apron, smoothing it down against the wind, flattening the white, pushing away the wrinkles.
And then she turned back to look at the sky, at the black birds flying across the blue and then again across the windows, refracted and scattered among the painted letters. All the colours of the world seemed very fine, bright reds and whites and blues and gold all sun bleached and certain.
The world set upon a slope, down to the sea front, tumbling. And I, king of the pavement, scanned the horizon and laughed and took her hand. The air was gelid and tanged at my nose hairs, bitter and potent. The salt and the red flesh, the rabbits newly hung.
As she tipped her head back to laugh I could see the blackness of her nostrils, and the stretch of her neck. As white and freckled as a pebble. I imagined my hands were creeping upon it as the scrape of tide along the shore, forward and back again, rapid wet black and creeping drying tan.
We walked with the concrete under our black clod feet and talked without looking at one another. I was glad to watch the steadying shops and street signs go past, holding onto them as firmly as I could as she laughed again and again and slipped occasionally in her uneven heels.
If I could just catch the billow of one her skirts, purple narcissi against the sky, inky sprout, parachute. If I could fall into the pail of that inside out umbrella, would I be closer to her than I am now? Would I furrow with my hands to the blind veins of the bulb? Would I find her there?
Or would I be swept under water as the boat capsizes, churned and choked, guttered. Would I gulp to the surface to find a pair of clean hands sawing at the surface in earnest, prizing away with bloody hands one and then another barnacle, and throwing them all to the sea.
When you break the bread - or it breaks itself, splitting like stones in the sun, overfilling, erupting, core pouring, out spilling, wrecking the calm surface, upsetting the tray or shelf, you make a good break, a happy tragedy. It is rendered new, miraculous and cannot be unmade, un-baked, re-doughed.
My mind is the same, a constant schism, out out damn spot, damn speck, damn seed, out blood, out brains, out guts, out greed.
You come from me like mould or maggots, the tubor reek of Keats' fruit, swolen, heavy, pregnant. You come from me like mushrooms, Little steadfast atomic clouds Nightly exploding themselves making pleasure havoc casting pearly spells.
I fell asleep in your lap, in your hands, on your knee. You folded me like paper, like napkins, like cutlery. You wiped me down on bread, lifted me to your lips, Then placed me back carefully As if to say, Thank-you. As if to say, I’m done.
It’s just past midnight on a Sunday evening in the middle of the countryside. 2009’s Secret Garden Party is coming to a bleary, rainbow fairy-lit, slightly damp and decidedly quiet end. Party-goers (or ‘gardeners’ as they prefer to be known) are wandering from tent to tent, past idyllic lake and snake-head stage, hoping for more musical mayhem. Those who were lucky enough to find their way to the dilapidated Officer’s Mess will not have been disappointed. Through a tiny tilted wooden door you escaped the rain and the cold and found yourself in a scene straight from MASH, skull and cross bones flag, peeling posters of pin up girls and one or two sawn-off muskets. As four men in lion masks prowled about the DJ booth it looked as though Kate Bush through sodden speakers was all we were going to get. Then an unassuming man in horn rimmed spectacles, a tail coat and wet look leggings took to the stage as ‘King of the Swingers’ from The Jungle Book began blasting out behind him. What happened next was without a doubt everyone presents’ highpoint of the festival. The man could skat, and how! Mr. Bruce of the Correspondents kept the Officer’s Mess jumping for the next hour, literally splitting the sides of the tent at one point as more and more gardeners tried to squeeze their way in. Grimey beats, squelchy bass lines, all from a man with a cravat who calls you ‘Old Bean’ and wouldn’t look out of place in a P.G.Wodehouse novel. The Correspondents make Jay Z look like the guy who sang ‘zipadeedooda’, get a life Grandpa! We’re dancing to beaten-up swing skat!. If you’ve ever dreamt of getting down and dirty with Fred Astaire or shaking your money maker with King Louis then these are the men for you. Like tap dancing on a tea cup spiked by Ugly Duckling, we are pulling up our spats and dusting off our top hats in anticipation for the next gig.
Yes, it's true, I love Jacques Derrida. Second (or third) in my affections only to Ryan Atwood and Dara O' Briain. He makes sense out of non-sense and does things to grammar that make my toes curl and pupils dilate simultaneously. He is gloriously obtuse and disarmingly simple. He is the reason I can write things like this in my dissertation.
"Seth’s conception of the experience of mechanically reproduced music can therefore be seen to subscribe to Derrida’s theory of ‘hauntology’."
He sees her face in punctuation. Seeks it never for it follows him in the pigeons wing, muffled against sky and pavement. In the comma’s hesitant black, in the irredeemable blot of the stop, I crush your ears in my hand and throw them away, Touch your knee cap fleetingly, I like to hook my toes in the hollow under your knee And kick As hard as I can. I tick your freckles off on betting slips, darking out white squares, Pressing down the point. I pierce the paper.
"In my room, hanging on the icy wall, there's a set of rules where all the brackets have the same shape as your upper lip: it's the only objet d'art which adorns the bareness of the place. My child, as I said, leave your old husband within the four walls of this refrigerator. It's the only way to treat fish that have lost their freshness."
Line my eyes with kohl. Zip me into a sailor suit. I shall walk with my feet on the pavement and rub my back along the walls of each sky scraper. My tipped toe finger stretch cannot even begin to scrape! There is the smell of popcorn in the air. And heat which meats me like mince.
Vendors slide their sausages my way, but so politely! You are black and dark and oh so very Italian Jewish Turkish Brooklyn skinned. I could lick your sweaty chin. I can see Jack leaning out of a window, throwing down pillow case of clothes and books. And Neil or Dean catching it in his grubby hands. Such spans.
I smoke a cigarette on steps on Bleeker. I eavesdrop twangs. And when a leaf falls into my hair I keep it carefully in my bag.
I fall in love with the women in the Guggenheim and chant to myself, “Guggenheim, Guggenheim, why are your circle filled floors so fine?” And think myself immeasurably clever. The sounding line tries but no ruler can even begin to fathom the strange perfect width depth and pitch of that shell interior.
I hover across the road from so many songs. Smell the air and hum along. At night the freeway mumbles as if it does not know the words, and I stretch under a single sheet, to let the air reach my feet.
The heat grasps its stomach and laughs (unkindly) and with gusto in the morning. I must hold my own body and walk onwards to the promise of something frozen, chilled or cool. Perhaps a visit to the zoo? I shake my head with peanut breath and we walk through the greeny dream of Central Park.
The park is folded up, tucked away, nipped and frocked by loving paths. It rolls so, I suspect we are already in our boat, rowing through the trees. I lie on my back and try trapeze shapes with my legs in the air. We are children, we don’t care. We have discovered terrapins by the dozen and peered through our faces in the water green with awe. And now I am lying on the ground.
Don’t get me wrong, I got lost. I couldn’t get the hang of blocks. But my mind grinned when resting on those words, blocks, the L, side walk and sub way. My mouth is smug to say them. And retracing your steps is not so bad when you’re stepping on Lexington.
Over brunch which is so obviously eggs, a man with blood on his shirt asks me for a match. We sit outside, table, railing, road. The sun is here, on the table, making colours of our ham and spinach.
And every morning I walk past Sparacino’s bakery where they sell French and Italian and Sicilian breads and comic booklets. How is that so? I am a booklet made of dough. Rising and falling in eddies of flour which stay white on my nose tip and little lips. My pages get folded down, leafed through, my edges are browsed. Warmed too.
I would happily be tipped back in the road, held between you and the ground, kissed by gravity, subway vent and time simultaneously. I don’t mind you turning me over. So let me stay.
With swallow lips and darkening pips at the meet of hair to face, skin makes dark little nips of loving and loved and spilt. The switch of brush through ink, the lub of spill and freckle fill Follows each reasoned inch, dogs each scissor snip.
Blinking marks a dark tattoo, beating like my heart. In each and every dotted point, in each and every part. There are loves which stutter like tooth bites into red and plumping arms And ones which bubble like blisters under silent grasping palms. Mine is beating wings, Cages made to fit, Dipping, lowing branches And happy, milky trips. I care all of me, I crowd my kneecaps blue, I drop to elbows, chins and cheeks, I cradle all I know.
Pour me as you will Out of mermaid tail and swallow swoop Cry me briney teardrops Catch me in those static hoops For I am centuries, years ago, cooking with a ladle, Caught lonely in the light line Caught still in pouring moment.
The parasol opens out into sky Dipped like nib or pen Blue purges white and fans out papered shade. On my shoulder, over pebbles, from a crows nest far away Its bobbing marker Dribs and drags its ragged line, blots and jogs along the way.
Underneath, the Katakana curdles like ink in rancid milk. Like the origami newspapers wrapped round fatty fish Seeping new with oil, Spelling all the while. Eyelid, coverlet, lets sun spill through Lying on the beach, writing letters, letters to you.
Can you spell kingyo? Seven layers of golden fish? Buttered like marmalade on ear and over tongue, Knifed one dancing shard after darting orange shred, Hazarded with silent signs, made through frosted glass Silent rapid white clean hands making rapid white clean shapes Swimming oiling rolling curling in a world of weightless weights?
Can you spell at all my love, holding moon in rigid place? Whiting out the night time with strong and sturdy grace.
I just scrolled onto the blog next to mine and it is about a canibalistic restaurant in South Korea. There is a group of giggling students sitting around a partially peeled corpse. Its insides are the colour of jam.
The sky is rabid with stars, A sick, blue stew Curdling with salt rocks, A squirm of counterpane Tickled with rips, A puncture full Crunching spill Pucker of pips. The stars annihilate the dark sweep. No Artemis, no arrow poised, No subtle scythe or fattened pie. Just a rabble, A ricochet, rocketed and raucous A shining, whining Many eyed chorus.