A Dreamscape Of Purgatory (1)
Smokestack spires broke the horizon.
Zara climbed down the golden mountain crowned with mist. A barn rose out of the earth. It had no effulgent stone, only childhood sacraments under wooden vaults. He crossed the footbridge and stood in the mouth of the barn. The door sighed. Consecrated straw whispered to him the prayers of past longings. Stolen kisses and naive promises. Only impressions remained of nature’s music, of imagined hooves dancing in playful light. The air was crisp and rested over wooden barrels. Stillness unbroken by life. All life had flown leaving only vestiges and tokens in its stead. Dusty feathers replaced the morning song. A place where memories linger as ghosts with no one to remember them. Imprints of a thousand anonymous lives, of hurried footsteps and illicit laughter. Mothers washing clothes in copper pots, watching over young courtship with silent wisdom. A scythe and a spade lay on an alter of hay. Both dusted with the memories of some ghostly harvest. The blades still sharp and the metal cold to touch. Can there be joy in pesticides? Or joy in the combine harvester? Or joy in post-industrial fields of telephones and cubicles?
Beyond the altar, a window; beyond the window, a blue void. Boundless and limitless space, eternal and renewing. The sublimity of that unbroken sky — what awful power it possesses in its quietude. Hollow light illuminated the altar and a punctured bicycle. Its leather reins were rotten. Scraped knees, childhood wounds, and the *clack* *clack* *clack* of the chain were only a prelude of nature’s struggle. Bicycle chains fed maxims on the Verdun wasteland. The buckled wheel and faded paint transubstantiated. The relic was too sacred to touch.
Stiff fingers interlocked in rigamortis, weathered by successive seasons, years, and centuries. Solemn eyes gazed out of the wood and met his own. He heard the howl of a mother in the barn door. Their contorted faces could offer no consolation.
Away, shadows! The calf has been cut from ear to ear!
Eros and Entropy / A Beggar’s Guignol (2)
Awaking in darkness and then illuminating a room littered with used things: cans, wrappers, clothes, and a jar saved from oblivion by its utility as an ashtray. Fuel spent to sustain human fuel (staggering to the sofa). He lives in a world running like a sinew, moving with the world (we all tend towards the same fate) while totally self-encapsulated.
His room is in a state of degeneration. The socks rot in the basin, the basin rots in the room, the room rots in the tower of rooms, the tower of rooms rots in the global city. The tower! How was this tarot card lain between Zara and his girlfriend? A symbol of dynamic change, perhaps in Zara’s instance, transfiguration? He ponders this on a tattered Edwardian couch a la Freud. The sofa stained with late night bacchanals of wine and fornication. The stitching still held after all these decades (they don’t make ’em like they used to). He lights a cigarette and observes the smoke pierce the damp room, reaching turbulence, then dancing in a plumage befitting cabaret. Cue images of attractors supplied by Messes Lorenz and Rossler. Society of cigarette smoke. Technocrats begin with man to subsequently extrapolate into mankind though, Marshall’s and Helvetius’ man is man-machine, man in stagnant equilibrium. We don’t sit on frozen ponds, we flail about in Heraclitus’ river. The economy is dynamic, complex and in continual disequilibrium. It is an untamed (untameable?) power that eviscerates social and religious order (but from that alchemist’s crucible what new forms are born?)
Subtle turbulence causes the line of smoke to wobble erratically (such is his sight of himself). One turbulence in Zara’s life is his girlfriend, Ivy. She watches Zara laze on the sofa while playing with her powder blue hair. She was intent on living the bohemian lifestyle: black t-shirt: worn, The Second Sex: read, Undergraduate Degree: useless. She was Zara’s lymphoma.
He dives into her Egyptian eyes. Coals buried beneath white porcelain. How can such a subtle affect produce such an intense effect? Each second bleeds into the next. He’s carried on a spring breeze. The terraces and trees dance with him in joyous procession. Two masks distorted by intoxication, but is the smile carved onto her face the same beneath the wood? The rush of summer gives way to an autumn of doubt. Frost creeps onto the windows, and the trees are fixed and gnarled, and the shadow of complacency overwhelms him.
“Surely not!” Zara protests. “You said that you weren’t like other girls.” Otto! Otto! Is that your laughter I hear? Don’t so quickly mock your student, Professor Weininger!
Ivy runs her toes through the carpet. It’s the colour of mud and teems with microscopic Lovecraftian monsters. The television runs on in the newscaster’s ritual — all in received pronunciation — never in the Queen’s English (BBC English is always a little rough around the edges, if you know what I mean).
Zara rolls off the sofa and gropes toward the record player. Bruckner’s 9th Symphony (Furtwangler — 1944) lies on the turntable. He drops the needle on the scherzo.
“Turn that off!” Ivy demands. “I want to watch MTV.” The horns brood. “Anyway don’t you have to go to work?”
He works as barman in the basement of neojungle. Who pays six hundred and twenty four pounds and ninety nine pence for a black beanie to be permanently implanted into their skull? Zara wades through the glow while robotic scavengers and cruisers work around him. Scampering Industria. Zara leant behind the bar as he watched smoking VIPs and zaftig women. Smoke creeps along metal walls. The room envelops him in comfort and he succumbs to the spices of the smoke. Velvet milk soothes his throat and lungs. The anonymous murmur of voices is a mother’s lullaby. Another drink sir? A forty quid cocktail none for me and another for the lady oh Freddie you’re a dog! Cynthia I was meaning to ask you when we were in Milan we treat all our business associates well here try a cigar yes this is finest Jura whisky no I think you’ve had too much to drink sir listen here you little shit I’ll knock the shit out of you unless you pour me another right now I’m a big shit in the city and you’re just a little shit cross me and you’ll get a bullet in the face guy come round the back with me Cynthia you’ve got a nice ass.
That’s quite enough of that.
A sweating man is on the stage, fronting the house band. He dresses like a beetle and sways on Cuban heels. Sweat stings his beady eyes and he twitches his face like a rat (wir danken dir, rat, wir danken dir). He diligently fondles the turning pegs (ignoring the jeers and squealing microphone). A few sharp hops up the scale and then a leap as he detunes. His usually obsessive precision dulled by Czarny-Szczur, a Polish cider popular with alcoholics. Subtle notes of paint stripper adding complexity to elegant and distinguished autolytic tones. Similar (in fact one could even indulge in the possibility of an homage) to Windex 2013. That was an excellent year for bleach based products.
“A guitar must always be tuned from a flat up,” sweaty man explains. A small crowd had gathered around the stage expectantly, his old friend regret among the faces, “once you tune a string slightly sharp–“
“GET ON WITH IT!” He jolts the tuning peg and the string collapses. Dull strings covered in grime and green powder are a bad omen for the noises to come. In the sound cell, hidden behind black bars, reads: EKO — 1965.
“A classic… An antique,” sweaty man murmurs. His father had once told him that a guitar was like a woman, with the gestures of hourglass curves and an uncomfortable stroking motion included.
“GET ON WITH IT!” His father had had as many guitars as wives. Do more wives mean more experience with women? A zero sum gain he supposed, when accounting for divorces.
“The story goes like this,”
“GET ON WITH IT!” The guitar wails. Years of neglect had made her pettish. The band breaks into a polka to a jaunty 2/2 rhythm:
“When the Turing police try to take us all away,
This is what we’ll say to them, this is what we’ll say:
Me mammy she died of a retro disease,
Can ye find it in yer heart not to trample over me?”
“Play me that grand old Shakespearean rag,
I’ll wiggle like a nanospasm, O don’t let it drag.”
“Or play that ironic Pynchonian rag,
O O O, just don’t let the music drag!”
They found his body stuffed in a bin.