Out of Sight

When you’re down, you’re down,
When you’re out, you’re out,
Out of sight.

When you’re beaten, you’re beat,
When you’re bludgeoned, you’re bloody,
and down,
Down.

When you’re down, you’re down,
When you’re out, you’re out,
– Out of mind.

Down and out.

But you bleed,
like train tracks,

Running,

Down, down
Down and down
Down and out
Under and under
Further and further

Out of sight.

Till the dams burst
Till it ruptures
And the crash comes.

And the world above sees you
surface, for a second.

Glittering,

In sweaty, blood-speckled, tear-
stained flesh.

For a glimmer.

They see.

Will they see you tomorrow?
Will they still sweep you under-

The rug

Where all those others lie

Festering.

Running,
Like train tracks,

Down and down,

Out of Sight.

 

Strong and Stable she tells me

Strong and stable she tells me.

Oh really I say, that sounds nice.

Strong and stable she tells me.

Interesting, I say.

Strong and stable she tells me.

Not very specific though, you know what I mean?

Strong and stable she tells me.

Like are you saying ‘strong’ in terms of defence and ‘stable’ in terms of horses?

Horses aren’t part of policy.

Although fox-hunting is. Does it refer to looking for a manger, you know that parable about the Christian saviour?

Overt religious affiliations aren’t part of policy.

I don’t think Boris would have been let in anyway. So, no room at any inn whatsoever then? (To be honest I can’t imagine Lenny’s a fan.) Could stable refer to our economy?

Strong and stable and exactly the way we’ve been doing things for the last 7 years.

So, stable means that we continue to grind people into the ground till there’s no joy, and we cut all the fat from the ‘back-office’ and the ‘waste’ that we don’t have, so that we can create greater problems in the long-run in policing, healthcare, housing, prisons, education and people’s wellbeing?

Strong and stable she tells me.

Does the strong refer to iron grip, like you have on your ministers and the press?

No comment.

Could it refer to your ‘Brexit’?

Strong and stable she tells me, not soft and poached.

A hard-boiled Brexit. Are you referring to some sort of Raymond Chandler novel that I’m not familiar with? Or are we actually discussing breakfast? (I’m very confused.)

Brexit means Brexit.

Right, Britain’s exit from the EU, which we have established is going ahead, we’re wondering more how you’re going to negotiate that and what it will involve…

A red, white and blue Brexit.

Ah so it’s going to be French then. That does make sense.

 

Alchemist: Fingerprints (Part Three)

He holds the card in his hand, while she hadn’t dared. She left it where it landed, as if tampering with it might illicit some complex chain of events, or leave fingerprints.

His are now all over it.

Behind them she spies the piece of bread, peppered with Hara’s blood.

He hadn’t thrown the bread across the room, or screamed at her so close spit flecks hit her face. He hadn’t grasped her wrist and twisted her to a kneeling position on the floor.

Instead he had swatted it to the ground.

She dislikes the waste of it, and something in her boils at the sight of bread on the floor, it’s more than wasteful, it’s a superstition, she’s sure.

She can see how he can be easily wound, like clockwork. She still held the knife.

He flips the card over, there’s no further information on the back.

“Who do you think it’s from?”

“I didn’t think anyone knew I was here.”

He smirks, “You’re kidding?”

She’s not kidding. The two of them stew in their own little worlds for a moment.

Hara confused by the woman he thought he knew, who he thought he shared common knowledge with, who he thought knew him.

He pulls the card up and put it in her eyeline, she glances at it carelessly.

He stands transfixed, and repeats the action as if he’s swiping something across a self-service checkout, and the barcode won’t ring up. He stares deep into his eyes, like a doctor might, to indicate the seriousness of their revelation, and to see if there’s anything there to stare back at them with understanding.

She blinks and draws herself back, her eyes dry. The knife is still in her hands, which are almost wooden; deaden. Hara’s no longer in her sightline. The card is back beside the mat on the floor, she takes a great shudder of breath, and realises she hadn’t been breathing.

She’d been paused.

“It’s some sort of cloaking device.” Hara calls from behind her.

He’s munching a sandwich, the silent observer, where she once had been.

“You stood there for a minute, maybe longer. Without moving, your breathing slowed, your heart-rate slowed, and you didn’t blink.”

He rubs his temple as if he’s scrolling through a series of images, which she realises he is. There’s a swirl of memory that takes over.

She’s in another place, a dilapidated building in another country, her mind is soaked in detail, a floorplan of the room pings direct to her eye, spreading out green in front of her. Voices whisper and distil within her cortex, filtering into key information, a target. She’s to go left, then right, then meet the man who she can hear in her mind, but first she needs to remember the code word.

She taps her temple, and rewinds through the bloody memories, to the man yelping in front of her.

“The Alchemist.”

Blind Cut

Tabernas-2011

Hyper-reality of the 2am insomniac

Out stalking in halogen-lit highways.

Cars zoom past, their lights narrow and fade

Close-up/splice–

Cowboy hat askew

Catching a nicotine burst:

Paper fizzles, heat buzzes,

At fingertips

An instant. A flash.

Piercing through the pinhole –

The dance of the light lantern

Inked onto eyelids

Carved into retinas

Stained into dreams

Fades like a puff of smoke.

 

Part of the 26Prints project with Eames Fine Art, based on Sophie Layton’s piece ‘Tabernas.’

 

Vermin

IMG_0010

There are flies everywhere.

They’re not swarming, or humming, or moving. They might be rippling if there were any air in here. The floor is crisp with them and crunchy; a carpet of flies, while overhead hang paper-strips thick with bodies.

One small new soul drones on with an intense whine, as he flails against the stick of flypaper, taking an obnoxiously long time to die.

Through the abnormally thick windows, like some poor kid’s milk-bottle glasses, the sun stumbles into the gloom hitting, who knows how many, years of grime. If you swiped those windows with a finger, you’d never get clean, but stepping into that room itself; would never leave you either.

I walk a carefully constructed passage-way, across this carpet of death, carcasses crackling to dust under my heel. The room itself isn’t a crime scene. It’s as clean and white as any good exhibition space. There is not a hint of blood to be found. There are no bodies marauding around the corner, although there is a sense that there could be. Unlike some cheap carnival ride, it wouldn’t be a man in a skeleton costume jumping out at you, it could be untold horrors. Horrors you couldn’t grasp.

Horrors you didn’t want to see.

If you sneezed tiny fly carcasses, or what was left of them, would scatter in some grandiose and disturbing ripple effect, coating everything with their remains.

It wasn’t just the windows daubed with grime, or the outpost that was this ‘gallery’, or the fresh fly dying; a soundtrack played underneath that, something cinematic; tense. There was a general sense of unease, like you were a voyeur on something tragic, but unknown. You’d walked in on a scene after it had been cleared of nearly all the remnants of despair, save the flies, and even they were dead.

You had missed it all.

Was it due to negligence, ignorance or fear that you hadn’t seen what had happened here?

This was the artist playing tricks with your mind. You hadn’t missed anything. She had constructed this scene. She’d daubed the floors and ceiling with bloody flesh and left it to fester with flies.

All these tiny creatures had suffered for the artist’s vision.

She was the cruel one, not you.

This was only the first room, there were many. It played on your mind that it wasn’t so hard that she would graduate from flies to something larger. The fruit fly itself has roughly 75% DNA equivalence to humans. In terms of genetics; the previous room was a human massacre; a genocide.

In the next space, I found myself walking past endless freezers on either side of this narrow corridor-like room. Clean, clinical – they almost blended into the white of the exhibition space. They were all waist height, save for two large American-style freezers at the end of the room, near the doors.

Half-way through one door was left ajar. A small glow of light rippled from its interior, a slight puddle at its feet, a soft drip against the tiled floor.

At some point it would spread across the room, fade into corners and crevices, coat the floor, while whatever was hidden within slowly leaked out.

Everything else was uniform.

This single open door was something I could easily walk past.

No need to question it or probe further, I could walk on and leave it there, hanging like a question mark. If I were someone else I might open every freezer door, delve into everything available in this room.

It was just the one door that bothered me. I tried to leave the room, but instead hovered at the doorway.

I’d made myself come this far, and I was certain I would never visit this place again.

Once I left it would be final.

I edged back the way I came and bent down to look at the drawers. There were four, iced over and stiff. I had to wrestle to get them to open. Within were multiple plastic bags, packed tight. I wriggled one free and pulled it up to the light.

I gasped at what I saw.

A silly theatrical gasp. The thing was frozen and couldn’t harm me.

A rat, packaged in a freezer bag and stored in there for perpetuity.  Having pulled it free from multiple others, I grew uneasy.

Only one freezer door had been left open.  I stood and looked around at the sea of white-goods around me.

Was this the only sight that was meant to make me stumble, to question what might be hidden in here?

Or was this a careful ruse, so that I with a frozen rat in my hand didn’t question what might be hidden in every other freezer in this room.