Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Word of the Day

Main Entry: frot·teur·ism
Pronunciation: -"iz-&m
Function: noun
: the paraphiliac practice of achieving sexual stimulation or orgasm by touching and rubbing against a person without the person's consent and usually in a public place called also frottage

Thank you Candice, I love you kitten!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Car-Wrecked Poem

Her face is bruised, she keeps touching her nose because it feels strange, it is in the wrong place.
A tooth is untethered and she spits it to the ground.
She looks at it on the hot asphalt and thinks it looks aborted.
The sun is hot as she shambles onwards towards the shade of an overpass.
The asphalt burns through her plimsoles.
She's on the shoulder of a highway that reaches from her to the horizon in each direction, and is dissected by other highways and overpasses,
like blood vessels of a greater organism.

She feels small.

There is no room here for anything other than asphalt and concrete, nowhere to get away from the threat of engines.
Among so much metal and speed and rough concrete
she feels vulnerable in her fleshy soft pink body.
Traffic booms around her in every direction, and out of the drone she discerns a pulse.
It starts in her chest.
A broad man lumbers toward her along the shoulder of the highway, he's sweaty and covered in grease
like a mechanic.
He's wearing a peak cap with a Ferrari symbol on the front and a louche smile. She thinks
I've seen that fucking cap before.

Behind him in the shade of the overpass is a pile of limbs and a pile of car crash fuselage.
There is a sign post next to each displaying prices for every item; legs are worth five, steering columns are worth 10, arms are worth only two and so on. Gear sticks, feet, exhausts, fenders.
She thinks the car parts are worth more.
She hears a screech as a Volvo slides past her colliding with the concrete barrier almost instantaneously, carrying with it a gust of wind that touches her face and spits up dirt that stings.
She rubs her eyes. The air is thick and choking,
it burns when she draws it into her lungs, as if the pain and terror of the wrecking was sublimated by the intense heat of collision, now filling her atmosphere.
The mechanic ambles past her towards the crash scene, glass crunching underfoot.
He begins working, efficiently dismantling the wreck as though it were stage scenery. He's making two piles. He's like a spider in a web;

There's nothing left under that cap but instinct.

She feels sick. He smiles and sweats. The traffic flows on. Her nose bleeds.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Square Holes

I like this little digression in the beginning of Brave New World

(Round pegs in square holes tend to have dangerous thoughts about the social system and to infect others with their discontents.)

The whole sentences is a parentheses. I like that. When I got home last night my cat came running through the cat flap after me, out of the veil of rain and gothic gloom outside. She ran up to me with tail upright and face upturned, beads of water clinging to her kitty fur. Feed me. I did and after she ate she sat on the floor and licked and watched me. I often think she seems part owl, part snake and to a lesser degree, part cat. I went to pick her up and her little face looked stricken. In my arms I could feel her small body tense up. She gripped me with her pin-cushion paws and her jaw dropped open in a rictus of feline rage, her ears went back and her eyes yellowed and soured and she lunged at my arm like a viper. She is an insolent little thing. She is a round peg.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Natalie the Mute

A childhood friend found me on facebook today. We were friends during the pre-school years, when we were left to run and play and finger paint and make cards for old people out of macaroni and pipe cleaners. Old people and children are two sides of the same coin. Natalie was a profoundly neurotic child. She couldn't speak to strangers, and was thus surrounded by strangers. She had gotten to know me because our fathers were involved in business together and our mothers got along ok, so we were thrown together a lot, both relegated to the children's table at dinner parties, our legs swinging under the table-top where food lay scattered amongst crayons. When she was not cowed into silence by the dreadful presence of strangers, she would rage against her family. She would insist I stay over, when I wanted to go home, she would kick and scream and wail and hide until my mother and her mother agreed. When we started "big" school she would speak to me in my ear and I would have to translate for whoever she was vicariously addressing while her saucer eyes stared and her little fingers twisted together. This included teachers. Even being 5 years old I felt embarrassed. One day Natalie had the misfortune of falling foul of a particularly disgruntled teacher who was notorious for beating bad children with a little child-sized cricket bat, or at least threatening to. Her name was Miss Truter, an old, obese spinster and a grotesque Dahl-esque sort of character. Miss Truter insisted that Natalie answer back. She kept insisting until her voice boomed in her 40-a-day drawl and her massive bosom trembled. Her face turned crimson which offset her purple-shadowed eyes in a terribly menacing way. Natalie stared back mutely and pissed herself.

Shortly after that incident Natalie disappeared. She was reportedly transferred to a school for kids with learning disabilities and thus was set off on a divergent path that would cause her to be much maligned and ostracized right into beginnings of adulthood. Shortly after she left school her father made off with money from my fathers business which sent our family into a financial shit storm the details of which are hazy to me.When she showed up at high school for orientation many years later I barely recognized her from the pretty blond blue-eyed girl who whispered in public and screamed in private. She was fat; thick all over, thick limbed, thick necked, thick lipped. She still lisped and spoke almost inaudibly. We said hello on that first awkward day and avoided one another for the next five years, partly due to a tacit understanding between us and partly due to the her being grouped as a "special requirements" pupil and thus bundled in with the slow witted, socially dysfunctional kids with muddy backgrounds. There were rumours I'm not sure how I came by that she was abused by her father who was a terrible drunk. If it wasn't outright abuse there was certainly something psychologically amiss in that family. Natalie had a little sister called Jessica, who could just about speak enough swear words to curse her father. "Fuck you" has never sounded quite so terrifying as when spoken by a four year old to her father with all the withering hate of a fully-fledged, scorned woman. Poor Natalie and her fiery little sister, I wonder if they still rage, privately. They seemed so muted and hunched when I last saw them, I couldn't imagine them having anything more to say.

Chapter One

John Glanton had felt tethered to a life that no longer held any meaning. He sensed he was in his decline, and as time carried him towards the grave instead of being afraid he was losing his fear, fear was being replaced by constant morbid fixations with death. Thoughts of grand scale destruction loomed large in his mind. While eating dinner, brushing his teeth, fucking his girlfriend, he thought of the last moments before a nuclear strike, the feel of his skin boiling and his head expanding into nothing.

It was accepted that John Glanton was a successful man, a face people knew. He was familiar to every household because he was the national evening news reader. He had always been lucky, nothing had been much of an effort for him. Talented and good-looking, opportunities and women fell at his feet ever since he passed puberty. Even now, as he approached his 50th birthday, people admired how well he aged, how his thick, greying hair made him look sophisticated and wise and how elegantly he could turn a phrase. All the qualities needed for a newsreader, a stern and authoritarian televisual entity.

Arriving at the studio that evening, John wiped a cold sweat from his brow. His hands shook and he braced himself for the barrage of attention, the make-up girl Suzie, the ever-changing runners with cups of coffee like buckets of mud, the set manager Anne, with her lonely eyes, briskly briefing him on the job that lay ahead. As he stepped through a small door at the back of the studio he could feel the sweat down his back. He felt a mild panic. Suzie approached him in her naturally good-natured way, and called "There you are John! Let's get you done and dusted, no delay!"
"Evening Suzie" whispered John, hearing doom in his own voice.
Suzie pulled a rack from across the room, hung with suits and shirts like wasted bodies. She picked one out and hung it next to the chair where John now sat. She looked over at him, for the first time she felt pity for him - for the first time she noticed his age.
"John you haven't shaved! We'll have to sort that out first."
"Sorry Suzie, I'm not myself today."
"Well let's see what we can do to make you feel more...yourself!"

Suzie, always professional, asked no questions and did a good job of smoothing his features and colouring the death away from he eyes and cheeks. Soon John was propped up behind the desk, in a fresh suit and a new face. Sad Anne whispered in his ear piece;
"Ready on three, John".
John felt confused.
His heart thumped out the words jesus creeping shit.
"...three and...."
His face mechanically arranged itself and his eyes focused on the auto cue, he was a seasoned professional, even with his own mind AWOL. He read the digital scrolling letters, dipping his voice and pausing between perfectly executed sentences. Anne bares her teeth behind her clipbook as John reads "At least 13 Afghan civilians have been killed in a Nato air strike near Kabul".

John reads, his heart pounds, he begins to feel enraged at the hollow words of terror that fall from his lips like sombre goodbyes to something that was once familiar, but had since become strange and grotesque. He thinks what the hell does it mean. John stops reading.
The auto cue continues to scroll, Anne frowns as the anxiety rises in her throat like bile. John massages his forehead with one large hand as if trying to coax sense from it. Everyone is waiting, somewhere between curiosity and panic. Anne sees the deranged uncertainty in John's face and begins gesturing emphatically, like a concerned parent waving from the shore as their child swims away from them into deep, shark filled waters. John looks straight at her and she stops and waits. He straightens his tie and carefully straightens the papers on his desk, and begins:
"Dear, faithful audience, I can't...I can't."
John pauses and runs a bear-like hand through his thick greying hair.
John raises one fist and spits the words "this world is SHIT. TV is SHIT. And you are all morons for letting this thing enter your conscious with no fucking thought! You just CONSUME like fucking ANIMALS! Like meat tied to a pair of eyes! Dull, vacant, all-consuming..." Here Johns voice cracked and trailed off. He coughed quietly. A incongruous feeble little cough from a large angry bear of a man.
Everyone watches for his next move. John stands up and tears his papers, they are blank apart from a doodle of a cat drawn by some bored runner, its' leering face now cleaved in two. he turns and punches a hole clean through the beige set wall sending a sound man fleeing, and the three clocks labeled London, New York and Tokyo dislodged and nudged off their axis, New York crashing to the ground. He grabs his fist back as blood seeps from the knuckles and wails "YOU DUMB FUCKS". He tears his blazer off and flings it at scattering runners. Two set hands run on and grab his arms, he takes a swing at one and knocks him to the floor as transmission cuts to a commercial for tampons; a young woman in a striking red evening gown ,with an unreasonably perfect smile giggles while saying "I feel more...myself!" before turning away and floundering off on the arm of a homosexual-looking man.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

walking on wet leaves lately feels like walking on thousands of small dead frogs.

It's autumn. I felt sick earlier and went to the loo and just sat in the cubicle with my forehead between my knees and my pants around my ankles. I felt ill and thought I might die, I thought this would be a pretty ridiculous way to do die, it would be stupid and meaningless to die with my lower body exposed so obscenely. Then the ill feeling subsided and I noticed my fringe is too long and thought about feeling fat and got up and let myself out of the cubicle and washed my hands. Walking back to my desk I thought that death never shuts up in my head. I watched Gunter Van Hagan or whatever his name is - Dr Death would be more appropriate than any conceivable name of this earthly world - he has a show with the inspired title "Autopsy". It takes on an investigative and educational tone, but is blatantly there to satisfy our collective morbid fascinations. And whats so wrong with that? If anyone found an eviscerated body slumped over the hood of a crumpled car on a highway they would stare, trying to glean from that lifeless gore something of the abyss beyond. Theres a brilliant mexican photographer, Enrique Metinedes , who took photographs of accident scenes, often before emergency services had arrived. Nothing could be more mesmerizing than the concept of death offered up on a weekday afternoon. But back to Dr Death. I do love anatomy, although I could not name the muscles and bones and could not explain the functions of them. He had a body of an old man with his face covered for anonymity. This body had not been through the usual plastination process, because it was wet looking. His skin was marbled grey and blue and his old mouth gaped open. They put an endoscope down his throat and displayed images of the dead tissue on large flat screens behind him. They then filled his leg with fake blood and cut a big vain with a knife so that the gloopy, plasticy red stuff flowed and then spurted in a clean arc. This was to demonstrate where to stab someone if you intend to kill them or something. Apparently it would kill you in three minutes. We are very close to death indeed walking around with veins in our legs that could destroy us within three minutes. They also cut a body clean in half from crotch to head in order to demonstrate how small our wind pipes are and how close to death we are when eating or putting "foreign objects" in our mouths. They showed pictures of swollen lips still smeared with lipstick, faces punched up so bad they couldn't breath. Anyway, I'm too tired to think but I'm pretty happy today. I've been listening to thee more shallows. I like them. I like blood meridian.