Chores of life
tightly wound letters
squeezed in together swept into a corner
locked door behind there
I'd be coiled above the rooftops looking
down at the rabble
miniatures exposed on open ground
remote from tigers claws
evenly spaced shark teeth
in service to a beauty
any way you please
in service to The Controlling
,would you like a cup of tea?'
bringing the word to its resting place
you win the day
Oh just replay it as I am numb dumbstruck
over boiling water
in a lopsided out
was it again
breathing in slow motion
I built a palace
in the clear blue sky of my mind
for you and i to reside
All wanton and whimsy
whither a mountain
falls back into itself
with no faces
for the prying mirror
nothing dug up or hidden
in the shallows of the river
should low pressures gather round
threatening us from above
should the sea rise up
taking me back to where i belong
should you find your solace
in the broad horizon
I shall forever send
the coveted dove
come fire, come drought, come flood
Your worn eyes
year after year
touch blink oceanic territory
it's not a force
to fence restrictions
around, the elemental
fission and fusion
of cloaked loyalties,
that you knew about
that i never spoke of
but you saw what the marks on her body were saying
and you kept your eyes set
as one and the same
Is the only path left to follow. The only path there ever was. Cry because it feels so good. Cry because it feels so good to stop. I felt the rocking, the rolling the swelling grief of the Pieta.
Now there is only calm.
The sea is never still. The sky is forever still.
All the love that I have is drawn towards the harbour. It floats from me at night, across a throat blue sky and while the sea becomes stronger I only become weaker, but these waters do not care.
It will take all until I am forever its child, weak of my own will. My host, tethering me to stray not into the great wild of the land and fighting for the sky with my life.
A wrist is limp, sprawled over the edge of the bed, table, chair at all hours, but especially the mornings when rest has softened me in the night and the sea has taken her full. The breath is weakest then. The face is like a marble carving, only an impression of the sleeping soul.
Weakened from this rest as from the nights a hundred, a thousand nights previous, a slightly quieter expression around the mouth than yesterday is the only sign that the sea has come again while sleeping.
How long? How long before that ocean dissolves all, how long until it no longer comes creeping, calling in the night finally taking me forever.
The sun sets. Then rises again.
These mornings are bright now. Brighter than the midday, the midday that is so much more frightening than midnight.
Because the midday sees all. Illuminates every frailty and every ebb of the night before. It is midday when the sea is at her weakest and the sky might beckon with some success. But always, always on dusk she comes calling again, Beatrice, in a white robe and golden red hair flaming in the sunset.
When she does, the stillness quakes and all resolve of steadiness is forgotten as I am torn from my nest with force.
Forces that swell and turn. Turns that force a questioning of hope halt the bliss of constant, unchanging loss. Swells that cleanse and draw out the shame from midday. So, just like Prometheus on the cliff, I am prepared for the ensuing evening where those waters can once again to draw me closer, closer in with every last breath and riding on my calm that was so hard won.
The sea does not resist her hold and tonight’s current will be no different.
So if those waters take me by force or take me with sub mission she will see it as irrelevant and the expression on my face will only be a little more wan then yesterday. Just one step closer to the Pieta, and the anguish in her eyes.
The sun did not set tonight. The sun did not rise this morning.
The midday and the midnight are no longer separate. The full moon is powerful in this climate and the ocean is strong, pulling on all seaweed and stones and fish, drawing them from the base of my skull dumping them on the rocky shore for all to see.
Those big fat novels and their obese meaningless words.
Do they really have something so important to say because they are 600 pages long? What’s so grand about them sitting on the shelf taking up too much space in the world that is now warping at the edges, bursting at the seams, bulging at the shore with excess. Their precise covers should be ashamed and hide their idealistic faces.
The tabula rasa. The holy list of exorcism
Pinter, Laxness, Miller, Steinbeck, White, Keruoac, Burroughs, Sartre, Borges, Marquez, Rushdie, Poe, Anderson, De Maupassant, Strindberg, Dickinson, Banville, Cummings, Joyce, Beckett, De Sade, Carey, Tagore, Pinter, Oe. There is more, so many more. Three cheap blue lined paper schoolbooks full of names, lists of writers whom I rated and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 starred and documented. A cornucopia of children’s writers who do not rate a mention and have no influence.
Bullshit, that’s a lie they are only ones that I read.
An ode to influence in one line.
Big Fucking Deal.
No, I’m not sorry, they have to go.
Rotting in the midnight sun, with flies and the coital smell of fish, filling the mornings with stench as they lay on the shore for all to see. For all to judge. Entangled around red gelatinous seaweed, whalebones, fish eyes along with the napalm memories. They have to go.
Only stillness may stay.
The sun. The sun. The sun
Walking home again like every 3am before in the light of a land bathed in a constant glow where the air is cool and soft and there is a liquid void from traffic that appears to never cease. I stride with a solid step, with steady hips and high chest.
On the ground is a card. A children’s playing card, on one side a garish pink and acid yellow cartoon figure leering with grotesquely disproportioned features and on the other, the queen of diamonds. If there had happened to be such a person as you behind me you would have seen me bend my knees to pick it from the ground in the early morning glow, take a step, glance at it and flick it away with a sudden twist of the wrist twirling to the ground.
You did see it.
I heard your footstep on the pavement, a stone rolling from your step ever so quietly ever so softly. Audible.
I continued home wondering what you thought of that quiet moment. An intimate moment, where two solitary strangers on a street circumstantially share each others most unmasked vulnerability. When the poise and expression drops and the revealing nature of all is so visible. The questioning, innocent, slightly searching and completely trusting moment of a child. That moment two people share when there is complete recognition of one another.
Ah! Yes, I know you.
So the sun sets. Then rises again.
It is 1956, we stand on a roadside outside a coffeehouse with a big sky above and the land disappearing behind at dry, mountainous angles. Pouting as children in a black and white photo. It was then you told me and did those things.
Now, we drive around the city in dusty wagons, under glamorous streetlights glowing into the cafes squashed with shadowy figures occasionally shooting forth a diamond sparkle from a ring, a sequin or a silver coin from inside the bars.
We are not looking for something that we had not found. We are looking, looking for something that was lost
We survey the carnage on the street as the stars disappear and the light just gets lighter. We postulate, bet, theorize on who got lucky tonight.
It certainly wasn’t us.
We were more interested in one another’s expression. Drawing looks out of the frowns etching their telling sign on our faces. We knew if one of us could make the other smile at least the wolf inside would rest for a little moment and the sea would seek us without success finding only an invisible space where it could have once immersed.
It would be impossible to drown tonight.
The sun. The moon. The stars.
In some lands the wind blows 307 days of the year, scourging creation at the zenith of reverse rotation, spinning planets involuntarily and revolving universes.
A land where dust grains are positioned with the precision of destiny only to be sucked into the cyclical disorder and chaos.
In places like this, you never know what’s going to arrive on the updraft.
Given to me, waiting in the eaves of a psychic slipstream to be born in me. My son never hurries and tomorrow or the next or the next or whenever he will come, then he will come. Striding across the waters with a staff in his hand stilling the sea to glass.
But for now.
I felt the rocking, the rolling the swelling grief of the Pieta.
The sea is never still. The sky is forever still.
Marisa Allen c. 2006
Reflections of the Creator
The surgeon’s craft, that most precise pruning of wounds, of carving, the slipping in and out of a blade transforms a single body into a montage of limbs, parts, organ’s. The surgeon’s art is sculpture. Restructuring. Replacement. Transplanting.
The pigs heart in the boys chest
Swapping one for another. New for old until the singularised function emerges victorious, unity obsolete. How smoothly the blood you are then born with flows? Just as freely a continent away through another’s, no doubt compatible, sinewy complex of veins, as it would through your own.
How much then, is given in a simple transfusion from the vein of one, to the bladder of holding cell, to the cells of another.
More than blood I am sure but a beautiful exchange of life to life nevertheless.
Life to life around and inside out, twists overland, skims through water, through mindsets, it is given, it is owned, it is passed along, along, along. It passes. Q has your blood, the liver from a brutally filleted butcher resides in X and the adept surfer who rides all waves hides, underneath the slick rubber of a wetsuit, underneath a shock of blue hair, a tightly drilled metal plate resting gently on her cracking skull.
A rat’s back becomes the soil in which to grow the budding curlicues of a little boy’s ear.
Organism. Organ. Organic.
Prosthesis. Rejuvenation is only as real as those who develop it.
Reflections of the creator.
And so, flesh for plastic, a mere transparency to make you believe in function as unity. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth……Yours ……..Mine………Yours……
But we shall never talk about it. Ever.
They had grafted a part of him, to parts of her.
They had grafted a part of her, to parts of him.
They took from him to give to her, sections of his skin, cultured them, grew them organically and stitched it scarlessly over the imperfections of her body. They opened his torso and gently scraped off shards of his spine, collected in a silver bowl and curled like wood shavings to mold into the nicks of her frame. They also made a mistake.
Accidentally lopping the nerve and muscle that chased up the neck controlling the movement of his jaw.
They said to him, within the cool indifference of the operating theatre,
- All is well. Not to worry. An extra finger will hold you in good stead.
All he could do was sit and blink as his bleeding jaw fell slack, spraying the wall a livid shade of red.
So, in return, to compensate they gave him her finger. Left hand, beautifully tapered, white and delicate against his own.
And so the cycle went, she noted, for all whose abnormalities threatened to consume, apparently corrupt the perfect and pure function of the body.
They did not notice him at first. They never did. Perfection masks imperfection, like the wearing of creamy skin soft and supple as a cloak, majestically draped over hollow organs and bones.
As a mask
Perfect mouths speaking the most eloquent and beautifully prepared lies. Perfect feet treading the ground as if it were molten glass, cooling, hardening and binding them to what smothered surface cracks vainly tried to reveal. Perfect poise, the prop commanding attention. Perfect knowledge and step by step instruction of the game.
They had fooled him; Perfection has an air of certainty that is unquestionable, a subtle contrast that places imperfection as a mere shadow in its presence. They had made his stoop a mockery, made his mouth, visibly scarred, a mere black hole, gagged by it’s own depth. They noticed the long pointed welt running from jaw to collarbone. They noticed him then. His imperfections, worn as an endoskeleton, barrier and shield against the decomposing center of the Perfect.
The external creates a sack and scab for the internal, a hollow in which to grow and heal. The more transparent the greater the chance of breathing.
Their Perfection was a strangler fig that each and every moment fed from the host, once unable to sustain it and it self any longer, the host is consumed. He had seen it before, leaping blindly and recklessly away from its grip.
There is no transfer of life to life in this, only suckage.
Friction between the two, Perfect and imperfect, silences. He knew this. They did not.
Perhaps they never would.
Even so the skeletal covering he wore, bound as he was, sensed this heat and his wounds, his hand were healing, functioning as disunity acquired it’s own perfection through use. The body, it’s own force, adapting and accommodating the unspeakable gift from another.
The Perfect however, swarming in masses, so pleased with themselves and so unknowingly caught between filmy blankets of Concept, Opinion and Thought fluidlike, thick and messy as honey were muffled as they spoke of freedom, spoke of truth’s, and cast judgement on those who according to them could not.
He spoke also. Not of the wonder of his perfect imperfection, not of the imperfect Perfect, but of the strangler that had tried to take him and had not succeeded.
He would speak in the only way he could to the only one who would be able to hear it.
They had fixed at the nape of his neck, a sharp round screw. It held his jaw, jamming it in place, pushing his mouth tightly together. Unscrewed it hung slack, just as useless as it had been closed.
The body is known to overcompensate for losses incurred. The blind have the most sensitively tuned hearing. Their sense of touch forms detailed and colourful pictures within the minds eye.
His body, although manipulated, was no exception.
The finger helped. Function became unity, six fingers, lockjaw and doll parts.
He had surrounded himself with objects. Bits and pieces of things that he had pulled apart to look inside of, transplanted their mechanisms and made the inanimate animate, miniature houses that spun around and shot needles out the of the chimney like the cuckoo in a cuckoo clock, mirrors with moving pictures behind the glass. Inflicting himself on those things, he grasped at unity through a discordant function.
As they had done with him.
For an organism to be hailed alive it must conform to these properties: growth, respiration, reproduction, synthesis, excretion, sensation.
The doll was infused with none of these but to him it lived, it breathed it’s own, riveted porcelain cheeks cracking into a smile, cloth and clay broken limbed body as malleable as any flesh. To him it lived within it’s own static moment, perpetually caught in the vacuum between sublimity and the ridiculous.
To feel akin to another is the base instinct that drives. To find your own is the road that leads home.
He had taken care to form it like him. Made sure the jaw the jaw was controllable and carved enough holes in the head to use his gift. His sixth sense. His sixth finger.
Left hand white and delicate as the day it was thrust upon him.
He spoke then, slid his forearm under the cloak, hand brushing against the shaved and puttied spine through the gaping hole between neck and head, tenderly arranging the fingers.
Both his and the dolls.
Within the mind of the reader all was silent except for the dumb smacking of bottom lip against top, then with a wheezing and splutteringthe entireskeletonin the adultconsists of200bonesThe spinalcolumnformed by theJunctionof the Vertebraeis situatedin the medianlineAt the POSterior part of thetrunk veiwdlaterallythe spinal column presentsSeveralcurveswhich corresspondtodifferent regions of the columnandare cAlled Cervical Dorsal lUMbarandpelVic these curvesare partly due totheinvertebral SUBstancesas will be explained in the ARTICULATIONS of thespIne PHALANGES Arethebonesof thefingers the shaft tapers downwardsis coveex posteriorly and larked latterally by the roughridges wgich give attachmenttothe fibrous sheathsofthe flexortendons TheCarpal bones are each developed by a single center atBIRTH theYareall CARTiliginous ossification proceeds inthefollowingorder after the INFERIOR MAXILLARYbone the largestandstrongest bone oftheface servesforthereceptionofthelowerteeth the orbicular oris is a sphinctermuscleellipticalinformcomposedof Concentric Fibrewhich surround the orificeof the mouthBeneath the Superficial cervicalfascia is found the PLATYSMA-MYOIDES muscle theexternaljugular vein and some of thesuperficialbranches of nerves thePLATYSMA-MYOIDES produces slightewrinklingon the surface oftheskin oftheneckin the vertical direction whenthe entire muscle is broughtintoActiom The thickestpart of the muscle depresses thelower jaw italso serves topull down the lower lip and angle of the mouth on eachside being one of the cheifagentsinthe Expression of Melancholy the uneven voice echoed around in his head filling the chamber, whilst the stitching of the dolls leg rudely unravelling itself let it drop to the floor, mocking him a s silence politely waited it’s turn.
Wearied, he grappled for the door and headed for the stairs.
Reader, he had spoken in the only way he could, to the only one who would be able to hear it.
-…………melancholy! Melancholy! She called over the din of traffic, out to the steaming street after a mid summers sunshower. Her arms spread wide reaching out to the universe. In her left fist she held needle and cotton accidentally pricking the webbing between thumb and where her forefinger should have been.
Her hands white and delicate against the flaking paint of the shopfront.
She sauntered back inside, a few customers peering at her as she followed the trail of material into the back room and began stitching the gloves into the seam of the garment.
Reflections of the creator.
The dress had been cut from scraps of material, leftovers of a suit she had patterned and reconstructed to fit the owner. It had turned out he was a surgeon. She had laughed to herself about that, innocently saying aloud,
-The surgeon’s art is a precise pruning of wounds, is it not? I suppose you would carve and cut the body with the care of a sculptor, almost with the same care that I must take when fitting and stitching you into this suit.
She became agitated then, accidentally piercing his skin
-Terribly sorry. Yes to you and me the body is armor, all those little parts to be molded and perfectly fitted.. So nothing falls off and nothing falls out. I would guess though that you would not like too much or too less of the functional bits, just a beautiful unified piece.
He had looked shocked when he saw her hand she mused, but passed it off as admiration for her ability to craft her garments regardless. He did ask if she would be interested in prosthesis, had said that he knew someone. She just laughed and continued her seamless stitching
Gathering up all her bits and pieces she locked the shop and left for home. Impatient with abstracts she took her dress with her to finish, a new covering for her perfectly grafted body.
She entered the building through a side gate, making sure to close it behind her and climbed onto the first step of the narrow fire escape, almost two flights up before she saw the stooped figure through the gaps between structure and space coming towards her. His feet landed in rhythm on each step, echoing off the walls as she paused to let him pass, pushing her back against the wall stretching her left hand out on the railing, steadying herself.
He lowered his eyes when he saw her and as he passed his body caught on hers and he stumbled, tripping over his own feet. To steady himself he thrust his hand out to the railing falling heavily against her arm , his hand landing on hers.
The ten fingers mingled and slid together fitting like nothing less than a glove.
To feel akin to another is the base instinct that drives. To find your own is the road that leads home.
Only instinctively slipping apart.
A clean grafting of polarity pulls towards a single scarless unity as life to life………….round……….inside out………..twisting overland……………through water………mindsets……..is given…..owned and passed along…….along…..along…….
Copyright 2004 Robin Banks
Medical references on pp. 4-5
Leonard, C. H. (1983). The Concise Gray’s Anatomy. Omega Books. United Kingdom.