Monday, November 29, 2010

Faces (21-22)

(21) The black stripes on her forehead were not her own natural eyebrows. She had drawn two lines too high above her eyes, in half circles. She looked wildly with a mimicked expression of lamenting surprise, her mouth open, her lips pursed in astonishment, as if a complete stranger had just slapped her in the face in public, while she scurried past me with a cup of coffee in her hand, busy, crazy. (22) Her face was lighted by a white-blue light that elevated her eyes, the same translucent color as the palms of her hand, the brown shadow breaking on her high round cheeks, her large, curling ears freed by a pony-tail in which her long black hair was tied, as if she was being upheld like a puppet by its string, as her fingers tapped gently on the screen of her iPad, which lay on the table before her, her face prostrated over it, pushing her shoulders above her neck.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

20:44 PM

I finally got it! I finally have found it!


'What' she said with an inquisitive tone. I wasn't really listening though. Tom, I said, I finally have it! Tom wasn't here though, he was 5258 miles far away, but I was talking to him. He only looked at me, silent like in dreams. He didn't say anything, but I answered 'the hidden link you had mentioned!' I exclaimed. I wrote down the time, it was 20:44 hours on Tuesday, November twenty third, two thousand and ten.

Maybe I should write it down I thought, which I did. The floor was empty, I noticed this unimportant feature of my room, because I was writing, and that's what Tom did, that's what I had read, the unimportant details of a random impression when he was a child, I think in England. I saw the clouds drift by, the clouds of years, without thinking anything, but the skirts of his mother.

The Long Reach of her Legs At which Ends I Lay

She chuckled with an exotic tick of her teeth, as her elongated legs stretched far under the table, distancing themselves from her firm torso, her bottom well rounded. She gave the briefest replies, she snubbed me, hardly even looked at me at all, she must have been making an effort to not see me in such a small room as we were in together. The infinite length of her legs, the gigantic size of her calves alone, extending her thighs like stilts, and the soft curve of her buttock, washed away her bitter smile and I remained infatuated with her physique, reflecting in her dark mirroring eyes. I still wanted to fall at her feet on my knees before her and started to wildly kiss the inner loins of her crotch, clamping myself to her womb like a desperate maniac. She has a long bush of wildly growing black curly hair, giving her the overpowering impression of a diva, blowing me away by her utter arrogance, not sparing me for the least bit, smashing me to pieces, obliterating me in the corner. She must have totally despised me with a divine fierceness, she was chewing me raw and spit me on the ground like rotten meat, yet I was still undeterred to fly at her like an idolater, throwing my arms in embrace around her brown neck with the love of a child and kiss her full erotic lips, even if she wiped her mouth which breathed the same air which I had just exhausted from my trembling lungs. She lived in New Jersey, but that also did not matter to my veneration. I clamped my thin fingers around the hard bone of her ankle and listened to the numbed drumming of her blood, climbing up her legs the long road to the clouds surrounding her head.

Monday, November 15, 2010


It's Thursday and it's waiting to rain.  Sometimes it waits minutes, sometimes days.  In the meantime there's the grey.  A thick, pressing dirty grey.  An abandoned quilt.

How many words do the Eskimos have for snow?  How many do the English have for grey?  Not enough. It seems absurd to call the air grey although it tastes grey, it smells grey.  It's heavy, every breath sucked slow through teeth like old soup.

The room is still and so silent it seems to buzz.  Once upon a time a clock would tick, embarrassed at the quiet, but they don't bother anymore.  It sits plastically above the door, mounted and mute and showing 4PM.  If grey had a time it would be 4PM.  A desert of time.

Lying on the bed you concentrate on breathing.  Your jumpered stomach lifts and falls back and your breath gets caught up with the wind - not a violent wind, a soft suburban wind - so that it's difficult to tell where one stops and the other begins.  Despite the gentle breeze outside your room is unusually warm.  Just warm enough to be uncomfortable, not enough to make you remove clothing, but sufficient to keep you thinking about it.  If grey had a feeling it would be this.

A sound rises from the street and enters through the small window above your head.  If grey had a voice it would be this: two millstones grinding slowly.  The weight of two worlds pressed close but trying to part from one another.  The sound circles.  Every so often you hear it stop and then the high peel of a child's voice lets you know you're listening to plastic tires running against tarmac.  You picture a tractor.  An orange tractor.  The sound starts up again.   On the clock the largest hand has slipped forward two minutes.  It did this quietly and without emotion or fuss.  It's 4.02PM.

The sound of daytime TV rises from the living room where your father sits slumped on the sofa.  The muffled sound of deep baritone voices chased by canned laughter.  It is strange to hear laughter trying to enter the house, squeezing its young body through the tiny holes of tired speakers.  Late afternoon is no season for laughter.  The bitter-sweet horror of bright summer days that march forcibly into November.  How do they record a laughter like that?

This morning you read online that a building was burning somewhere on the other side of the world, somewhere in China.  The building was having construction work done and the flames had started at its base before climbing the scaffolding and raging toward the sky.  People had left their windows and hung from scaffold rails despite the rising heat and waited to be rescued.

You turn and look out of the window.  The child's mother leads him back into the house.  She has him under one arm and the tractor hangs from the other.  On the far side of the road a man is opening the boot of his car and seeing the mother and child he waves.  She throws him a smile because her hands are full and he shrugs knowingly because he understands what it's like to shepherd children.  You imagine the three of them hanging from scaffolding and you know he would jump first.

The doorbell chimes.  Unexpectedly.  It's 4.17PM.  Who would come out here at this time?  You hear your Father stir but he doesn't get up.  The TV has stilled its voice now, it has leveled to the steady drone of commerce.  Somewhere in an office that will never catch fire a woman approved the hushed noises you now here.  She had listened to them at her computer and felt nothing.  What horror.  The nightmare of feeling nothing and understanding that everything you live for is based upon passion.  Perhaps she took a breath and told someone superior she believed in this 'take'.  It just felt right.  Through boredom or lack of time somebody said ok and here it is now.  A part of your world.  The ad space would have been bought ahead of time and that would have factored into the speed of approval.  But it does feel right doesn't it?  These human noises, these vowels and growls that blur toward nothing couldn't have been said any other way could they?  And now its gone and a second spot rumbles into earshot.  Another life, another held breath.

Your father doesn't move and you can sense the half pressure of a finger wanting to press the plastic-smooth white of the bell again.  You swing your feet off the bed and onto the carpet.  Carpets are suburban fake luxury.  Carpets don't go to cities and they shouldn't enter bathrooms but on the occasions they do, what horror.

Cityscape: All I Really Know About My Neighbor

Les Pensées (23)

Artaud looked outside at the blood red brick facade against the fierce blue sky. A car blew its harsh horn breaking the air that cracked wide open, a second horn follows in canon with an interval, more distant. Artaud listened without a thought to the more distant claxons, sirens, and rumbling engines in absolute silence.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I press flowers he said under his breath. Well, why not. Why not.

It's some time in June. One of those days of lazy heat that breaks through in the moments just before summer, a day loaded with the promise of things to come. He had walked out past the shops and the main road and turned into the lanes; a network of old-world but somehow human tracks. More human than the solidness of the dual lane carriage-ways that bend and twist from city to sea.  You felt someone had carved through rock to make these things, forcing the weight of their body against the earth. The grass is tall and yellow at their edges and bends with each breeze. Patches of shadow thrown by Oak trees at intervals of ten feet or so. The last time you came here was a Saturday in 1997, the weather was about the same and you were on a bike and there were four of you. With four people the road felt crowded, over-populated but cheerfully so. It was over-populated with the right people. But of course, the lanes are empty now, it being mid-day, it being mid-week.

How is everything mathematics and yet the first hint of order causes such hell? The line of the desks, the elevator lights rhythmically counting off floors, the computer keys. No, that wasn't completely true. Somehow, in being a millimeter out of synch, uneven rifts and gullies had been created between the keys that tossed light to places you could call beautiful: Little oblong shadows on mornings when he was alone at the office and would sit bathing in the calm and order and allowed himself to make believe he was in control of everything he saw. No-one calls that early in the morning. A brief glance through emails reveals that of the twelve unread, eleven are either personal messages from friends or spam. That's true beauty. That with the little wave of joy that rises and engulfs your entire body. In the distance a coffee machine snores, squeezing water through all those ground beans.

Being professional requires bending your body to other peoples vision of the world without them ever needing to demonstrate why their vision is right.  Being professional is knowing your place and so not knowing your place leads to a horror you can't describe without wandering into the world of the B-movie slasher.

A tractor passes slowly. The farmer looks down from the high bucket of his seat and frowns. Did he actually  frown? Did he look for a dog? No dog, he would have thought. The woman in the street with a pram and no baby, the man stood outside a bar without cigarettes. Little trip wires. It's the uncanniness of it that sets the alarm bells on edge. What are you doing in an empty road in the middle of the day? What could you possibly want? Other minds begin to process the images.  A man alone on a road in a wax jacket on a Tuesday.  The wind pushing his hair to inhuman places, the eyes half shut against the light. The world needs answers, needs justifications. What do you know that we don't?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Diaries of Arnon Grunberg (10)

Arnon sat at the bar and ordered another Brooklyn lager, supporting his head and leaning with one elbow on the counter. The trivial absurdity dawned on him of only being able to drink Heineken when he still lived in Amsterdam. Although he hated the bourgeois fetish with feeling good, its obsession with consumption and with being entertained, at least a man should be able to choose his own beer, Arnon thought. Heineken controlled what type of beer you drank in Amsterdam. He had escaped that controlled environment of Amsterdam, where life took place under a bell jar, and never took on a scale bigger than individual man, the way it did here in New York. Here, a man felt in control over his destiny in the grid of the city, here you could believe in an illusion still. The scale of reality pushed a man up to the thought to be still physically part of the life around us. Standing on the top of the Rock and looking out over the sky scrapers, seeing their golden domes, the glass facades, rising so high above manhood, that what remained were only dots. The people below look just like ants, and they counted for no more than ants. And yet, looking at the world from the top of this ferry wheel, one felt like a god, not subjected, but in control of the spectacle. How different, to stand on the Wester belfry in the Jordaan and feel the heavy heaven of rainy clouds fall upon the city, every moment capable of washing away the sinful souls, opening up to give way to a Biblical deluge. Here on the island there was no one to look down on Arnon.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Conversations (1-2)

'So when they ask what the survey is about, what will you say?'
He pulled the dog, a chocolate labrador with a glistening coat, along by its burgundy colored leash, while his left hand reached back for his girlfriend's hand. She reached for his with her woolen mitten.

'It is still very much up in the air.'
Her hair waved before her, covering her face. She pressed a cellphone tightly to her hear, and with short decisive steps hurried past me and an archaic chrome colored telephone booth on the side of the pavement.

Les Pensées (22)

Artaud deliberately stepped flat into the puddle of rainwater at the curb's edge on the corner of the street, the water splashed up, breaking into small drops, and splattered onto the dry cotton of his pants. Artaud realized that death did not matter.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Les Pensées (21)

Artaud stepped through the drizzle as if the rain beat on his face like the gentle rays of sunlight, he looked up and admired the modest and gray sky, and felt the wet relief of the water touch his face's skin like a soft brush, like the fingers of a lover rolling down his chest.

Petite Merde (6): The Loving Family of Mr Dirty Hands

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dull Boy Jack (1)

Tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks, frozen at their computers, eyes fixated on screens, hands chained to keyboards and elbows glued to tabletops, lips pressed to taciturn lips, tongs bitten off, teeth ground down, I observed my coworkers at their computers, their eye bulbs and fingers in full concentration, no trace of the Neanderthal instinct of the genes that shaped their eyebrows and yokes, nothing of the evolutionary traits that selected out of the genetic variation these limbs hanging from torsos and heads. I imagined a group of apes in a thick forest gathering fruits, and looked around at the jungle of gray and beige office furniture in which we sat fated for most of the days of our lives.


Clean out refrigerator
Remove washing from line - if it rains
Call Jill
Shopping: we needs basics, eggs, milk, bread etc...

Timothy!  He doesn't hear.  It shouldn't rain I don't think but it has clouded over.  I don't know.  I can't hear myself think with this thing on.  He should come in now I think.

As she opens the door it screams so loud it makes her wince.  He should have fixed it.  Said he was going to take a look.  Timothy!  The child stops peddling and turns to look at her.  Didn't you hear me calling?  What if he didn't?  That's actually something we should talk to Dr. Stevens about.  He doesn't read as well as I thought either.  Come on, inside.  God you're getting heavy.  And you're not to go too far on this thing alright?  Not to go further than mummy can see from the window ok?  He doesn't even scream or cry like other kids.  Hello Roger.  A devout christian out of work.  Why do Christians wave and smile with such pantomime desperation?  As if they need to prove just how much more they're enjoying it.   Drop that there.  David will pick it up on his way in.  Or I'll tell him to.  Inside I said.