Friday, September 30, 2011

nocturne (4:16am)

untitled by lauren treece

for the third time this week i've missed out on bon iver tickets.


i can't sleep. __or won't.

wait (ing) for the rest of it.

any morning now i'll wake up to myself.


the 4ams are too existential. ___quite contrived really.

i have no deep answers though. _am not even that concerned.

my energy i invest in forgetting._ avoiding.

i wish i could walk into snow.

___(when i went out to run the moon was red.

___till half an hour ago i could hear people howling at friday night)


my energy i invest in being eroded.

any morning now i'll be smoothed-over.

lost again and founder than ever at the same time (depending on where you look from).


it occurs to me i'm drained. __maybe.

no motivation. __no interest. __not much happy or sad.

quite inert really.

it's a funny feeling - approximated by dizziness , floating with nothing to hold.


wherever i land i must remember to grow roots.

what i have failed as a man i can remedy as a sunflower.


for two years i never stumbled across flowers to bring you, and never sunflowers.

now every corner is sunflowered._ in the grass. __there are stalls selling them everywhere.

i feel emasculated when i see them. __they scratch.


this must be the final chapter of my youth.

it's about time now , there are too many pages already.

all our patience has dwindled.


any morning now.

a knee mourning gnaw.

(these sounds make no sense anymore)


madam, excuse me. i am lost. can you help me escape the sunflowers?

girl with a pearl earing

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer

From time to time, when you enter a room, your eyes immediately settle on a particular individual. For whatever reason, they're fascinating, or beautiful - whatever. The point is they are arresting. Art is much the same. When you enter certain gallery-rooms, there'll be one painting out of all the others that immediately calls you. Not necessarily the most 'famous' image, but... an image that speaks directly to you. It's like there's nothing else in the room. Often I'm surprised by the images that manage it. (eg Soutine's le groom beat a bunch of Picasso's recently.)

Today I spent a good hour with this young lady. In all honesty I hadn't gone to see her. I'd gone to see Rembrandt, but I knew she'd be there. I walked into the last room, and there she was, sitting besides a very impressive Dali that I barely noticed was there.

In lots of ways she's comparable to the Mona Lisa. They're about the same size. They're both quite detailed and completely vague. Both their eyes follow you around the room. But there's something about her because of her look. It might be a masculine thing that the look resonates so strongly. The slightly open, moist lips, the vulnerable eyes - something that straddles the erotic/submissive/paternal divide. Indeed it's hard to estimate her age. But it's not a take-your-eyes-off-me-if-you-can morality exercise (eg almost any of Balthus's images). You don't feel guilty looking at her, because you love her. She looks (at me at least) the way women who love(d) me have looked at me. At least... I think so. It's hard to remember. Maybe it's a look i hope women who love me will use. It's hard to say, but it's a look that registers simultaneously on several octaves (erotic through to paternal).

It's like that when you love someone though. Completely blacked out - there's nothing but them. That I remember. You don't notice others around you, you don't notice streetlights and wallpaper. It's just a face etched into your memory. It's a glorious thing actually. I have a few such images tucked into my ventricles that I cherish. If you split me down to my atoms they'd still remember those few moments where the world disappeared and all i saw was your lips in the motionless car I couldn't get out of. (for example).

There's a lot to it I guess.

A group of American high-school children came through. None of them recognised the image. The tourguide was shocked. You've never seen the movie? They hadn't. I felt a little old. He was a wonderful guide. Taking their (almost shocking ignorance) and trying to stimulate the way they looked at the image. Yes, but every image in this room has shadows, why is this image so valuable? One student offered: cause she's pretty. He nodded, and tried another approach. Maybe they're too young still to have given/received this look. I've known the painting a long while and never really... connected with it.

Some of the children lingered on, while others moved off to look at other things. Eventually they all left and I was alone in staring at her.

When I walked down the stairs to leave I felt like I'd broken someone's heart. That's been happening a bit lately so I'm a bit hyper-sensitive to it.

Here, maybe my friend can explain it better:

___For hearts so touch'd, so pierc'd, so lost as mine.
___Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
___How often must it love, how often hate!
___How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
___Conceal, disdain — do all things but forget.
___But let Heav'n seize it, all at once 'tis fir'd;
___Not touch'd, but rapt; not waken'd, but inspir'd!
___Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue,
___Renounce my love, my life, myself — and you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

thoughts (fragments)

untitled by helen korpak

who is this man who isn't this man without you.


it's sunny and we sit and i don't want to leave so i order another coffee and people walk to and fro. and the people besides me, friends as of 4 hours ago (who will disappear again in 20 more), talk about music and television. my feet are bruised beyond recognition so i'm thankful to be sitting. (other things are bruised too, so i'm thankful to be partially distracted by the discursive conversation).


the music i am listening to you gave to me. my toothbrush too. look at her, her dress, we spoke about that colour once remember? and here, this store, you'd like this one, but not the other. [ad nauseum].


this man is too old. when we are not in love we are always too old. when we are most recently out of love we are oldest.
___it's the active disengagement that does it. the conscious need to be distant from caring for another person and lust and hopes and dreams that once were shared and now must be redefined. all this is unnatural. inhuman. and so we grow old while we do it. later, when we've polished the memory of it all into a beautiful, distant dream that was perfect beyond recognition we return again, with the full force of youth and wanting and desire and so we are young without restraint.

(she always said to me: remember, promise me you'll remember: you are young. you are soo young).


and for the third time this decade i found myself wandering around europe, broken-hearted and lost and loster and getting no closer to being anything but. ___watching films in strange cinemas to pass the time and walking till i lost count of bricks.

i asked matisse for help, and he had some things to say.

he said: when it's real the brush-strokes are soo perfectly placed. the colours so much more alive. but you must see it for real, in the flesh. you must stand face to face with me and then you understand. (and i nodded)


one day i will pay for who i was, who i am. what i decided.

i wonder if i can afford it.

no one thinks they're a bad person. i wonder if i actually am.


i come out of the shower and think f&ck it and play an old song that used to make me dance. i play it louder than i should and i play it thus defiantly. then lost for a moment, dizzy from the effects of my pills taking effect i shake from the hips and then from the shoulders and i dance. drop my towel and in my underwear dance like i did 8 years ago when i first heard it.

and for a few moments... maybe my body overtook my mind in youth. (rather than the reverse).


my next-room-neighbour is inclined to show me around town. i don't have the spirit to keep up conversation, but i go because it's useful to learn what i can. also it's important to keep active. (activity is life. activity is life. activity is life). and we walk around. and he points out supermarkets. the better electronic shop. the better 'lunch places'. ( he calls the cafes the 'lunch places').

i'm between doses so by the end of our walk i'm a little dizzy and i hear her voice behind every sunstreak and i want to talk to her and i promised her i wouldn't and so i ask my tour guide more questions as enthusiastically as i can: what's that building? what's one? what's this thing about? where do you park your bike? oh really. that's interesting.


at the supermarket. i have my cereal, some yogurt. a frozen pizza. about all i need. i take a can of dr pepper just because i deserve a treat. i see the alcohol and i stand in front of it. take about 8 minutes to stare at a bottle of rum and think whether it's a good idea. i can't decide. so i walk away. i'm committed to doing this thing the right way, for once. for once being graceful in my sadness. the way sick people want to show their loved ones how hard they're trying, how hard they're fighting to get well. and how students with poor grades want to show their teachers and parents how hard they're trying to do better. look, friends, loved ones, look how much better i am this time than the last! look at how functional i am! look at how centred and active and nice i am being!

i really am trying.

but for two years i knew happiness in your shadow. with your shadow as my blanket. for two years every memory i have is a tangent to you. such beautiful memories, the most wonderful years i've ever had.

i am, really trying.


i didn't know what sort of clothes i'd need here. so i've brought a little bit of everything. very formal. less formal, but still in the shirt/khaki range. some gym clothes. some sleep clothes. and a few more casual things. in sum: i don't have enough clothes for any sort of 'look'. it seems i'm endlessly rummaging through my bag trying to make an outfit work and none of them do. i can't understand why, they should work. but they don't.

where's ash when you need a stylist / shopping buddy. since the hipsters have totally appropriated my look, i've been trying to re-assert myself. it's been difficult. i've spent countless hours in paris trying to work out how they did what they did. in conclusion: i'm still not sure.

(if you know of any decent style blogs let me know. don't send anything i'd already know about - but if you have some gems stashed away for a fashion-crises, now's the time to bring it forth m'friends).


a sunday smile by beirut is still the perfect song i think at mixing the happiness of life with the sadness. the little miss sunshine soundtrack (and film) manages to perfect it for a whole soundtrack (film) but... if you only have 3 minutes to spare... then this is the song.

one day i'll ask god why even in my happiest moments, my most triumphant moments i still had such a reserve of residual sadness that i could never surmount.

but there you go. i have a stock answer for when my mom asks me how i'm doing: good days and bad days mama. she seems to understand that.

it's nice to feel understood. a sunday smile understands me perfectly.


i got an email today from the Court of Appeal. do you know how cool it is to receive emails from the Court of Appeal (or its President directly in your gmail?).

anyway. i better find me a wednesday smile and a scanner so i can get this thing signed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

no-pill day

'running up that hill' by my iphone

i don't know why it feels like home, i haven't even slept a single night there but i'm more happy to see it than i've been happy to see anything. just the silence of it. the hostel bunk-beds and bed-mites and cramped showers were starting to get to me. the swell of social interaction.


i barely make it in the door. i've spent nearly 30Eur on band-aids and associated goods this week. i've been stumbling around for days, wincing with each step.


no-pill days are never a good idea. but they are a necessary evil. i've listened to Hospice about 4 times and Bon Iver about 3. when i'm not listening i mumble to myself:

___But we'll make only quick decisions
___And you'll just keep me in the waiting room
___And all the while I'll know we're f&cked
___And not getting unf&cked soon

Which for once isn't actually how i feel. (though this comes close, especially the little story in the introduction <-- g'damn this girl can sing) (i love a little story). (love is always a little story. sometimes a big story, but it's always reducible to some... little essence you can carry around with you in the wrinkles of your face).


as i get older i come to appreciate more and more that delicious 'entanglement' that love brings. having someone weaved throughout your entire life - one memory leading into another, reminder text-messages, little gifts, quiet sundays, everything being somehow related back to one person (and them to you). it's not a constant presence, that's what i like about it. it's (literally) an entanglement. it's just streaks of their colour here and there throughout your day. when you're alone it's like a silent companion. and then you come home and argue about mixed-berry muffins and she likes to watch television in bed and you like to read but you both know you'll be asleep in her lap in 3 minutes flat and still every morning you see she bothered to put the bookmark back to the right spot.


(but love is a dangerous pass-time. best left to the young. i won't last another of these)


the Matisse almost made me cry. i don't know why, paintings don't often do that to me. i'm always very moved by the virgin on the rocks, and i can never explain why. maybe it's the ambiguity in it that does it. but, Matisse. in person it makes such perfect sense when you see them. the colours and the shapes.

and just when my breathing returned to normal, i turned a corner and saw Alice. Balthus is very dear to me. when i was younger i felt close to him because of his risque, mischievous streak. his pictures always made you feel guilty for feeling aroused. that's basically what he does: he arouses you with things that you (morally) feel you shouldn't be aroused by (see eg). but they are electric. i mean it. quite unlike anything you'll see. they rush through you and make you feel wild and young and perverted and old and amazing and so completely alive. i spent 30 minutes with Alice.


while i eat (yet another) baguette with 'jambon' (ham) i watch two junkies at play. one is wearing an unbuttoned puffy-vest with his hairless chest exposed. the other is shirtless altogether. one is in yellow, the other blue. they hug and hold each other close. then, they slide their arms together ('entanglement') and begin dancing in circles - kicking out their legs every so often. they erupt into laughter and run together from trash can to trash can howling and throwing things out and laughing outrageously. shoppers pass them quickly as possible. the people sitting out the front of the gallery stare at them exclusively.

hours later when i come out i find them, having grown tired, asleep in each others' arms on the stone-paved courtyard of the centre pompidou. amongst 16 year old girls tanning their legs and a young busker playing (appropriately) Brahms's Hungarian dances.


mom reminds me this is actually the best time of my life, and that i should not forget that.

i thank her for her reminder.


but the myth has started to take shape. all women leave a mythology behind them. in their shadow my memories of them grow and bleed and live and little scraps take on new(est) meanings. anessVa it was: cats, green eyes, escape into the desert. _ _ _ _ _ was: autumn, silhouetted shapes against white skies, gold eyes, creased hands.

the new myths are forming. i sense them. there's a gravity to certain memories. they're provoked too often.


As the song goes

___You know how time flies
___Only yesterday was the time of our lives

(like i said, she really sing). ___

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

why i have not / can not write

i can't remember the last time i got on a plane and didn't feel sad. makes sense though - the other side of every 'coming' is a 'going' or a 'leaving'.


formally, i'm not permitted to write think indulge reminisce... (but because you asked, it being an anniversary of sorts and all)

pills and walk. i'm on a strict diet: pills and walks.


i dropped a bag in an attic somewhere in Den Haag (the Hague).

Bruges was exactly what you expect it to be. lifted out of a fairytale and magic.

Anwerp was trendy and i slept in a strange room in a hostel full of shady characters from a methamphetamine script in a dark back-alley of the orthodox jewish district. two days later i'm covered in red dots but that could be from anything.


a fortnight before i left it occured to her i didn't have a chance in hell of looking after myself and she set about putting together a toiletry bag. for me. it was a gift but it was too sweet and now every time i shower or brush my teeth or need a band aid i get very sad , or feel guilty , or ... in any case, it's a something.


they tell me it's an hour away. great i respond, i'll walk. they think i've misunderstood - an hour each way they clarify. i nod. that's two hours i don't need to worry about.

i'm covered in sweat and goad myself to walk faster, faster, i don't know why though. i pant and stop occasionally to check the map. i don't care where i am / going, but it's better to have some vague conception of where you are on the map.

every step i notice a black ink stain on my jeans from where my pen leaked on the flight to sydney. you calmed me down, kept me calm before my interviews. i bought you flowers.


and when we get home, you said it's been a really wonderful three weeks, q. thanks for staying with me. i turn to stone every time i hear you say it.


i get back to my room, shower, and find myself having a conversation. my first in about 8 days. it sounds weird to hear my voice out loud.

the next day my feet hurt soo much i have to sit in each gallery of the musee d'orsay and look by twisting my neck.


i'm not allowed to be sad. q. Q!, you're not allowed to be sad. you have everything, every thing. you never even thought you could be where you are today. didn't dare to hope for it. now you're there. you made it, you're not a loser - for the first time in a decade there's a tangible future that exists.

i'm not excited. i feel guilty about that.

i'm not allowed to not be excited - i have to be gracious, and humble. i'm not allowed to be sad.


they asked Shostakovich why the end of his 5th symphony ends on such a victorious note. he said to them it's irony. they asked what he meant. he said it's like someone beating you with a stick saying be happy! be happy! and you get up from the dust and mumble to yourself i'm happy, i'm happy as you limp away.


i take my pills immediately when i wake up. before i have time to think anything.

then i walk. and walk.
__________________(and try to walk out of your shadow where i was happy

__________________but had to leave

__________________but i can't remember why. )

but it's ok. ___these are the things we don't talk think write about.