The Green in Black

I look for the green tinge in the black paint. When it isn’t there, I know my eyes have adjusted, finally. I feel my hind legs straighten almost all the way, which is supposed to be a sign of something. Then there is the fur that comes out in clumps whenever she touches the skin underneath. Could the energy of it rupture something as sibling as these quick moments woven into one another?

*

The bonds between cells, which the plant material releases are wet paint, never had a chance to harden, crushed beneath a stride.

*

There is no healing. Not for anyone in this world. The work of healing is distraction, an occupation like any other, towards an empty eventual fall, a failing, there is no healing, not from anything. There is the moment of being passed through by life, and there is chemistry, and there is the no-longer.

*

I reach into your solar plexus all the way up to my elbow, and I hear the gushing, when my arm comes out it is coated with mud, and the touch of the world dries the mud so quickly it pinches my skin like tiny slaps before it crackles and flakes off, dusting my feet.

*

So little in the grain of the table is free from association with the things I own as a girl, these thighs, the striation in the skin goes both ways, up-down-left-right, and then some associative, diagonal nonsense.

*

My teapot is somewhat green, my cup is black. There are other colours and tints in all of this, like silver and white, but those don’t blend in with previously written words.

*

I think of the fact that I’ve never liked drinking from straws, or sucking at those water bottles that come with nubs. I’ve not been fed by breasts that way, I’ve been fed by rubber, and I’ve had enough, I think, of all this sucking.

I’m hungry, not for the difficult pull that constricts the throat and makes eyes bulge, but for the wide gulp of liquid tumbling in, the flow inward, unconstricted, a fall the size of an apple, into the mouth open as a well.

*

I don’t close my eyes during daylight hours. There is too much that could be missed, and I still haven’t earned my passport to life, after all I have spent years not really partaking, feeling so separate that I was convinced I would never die. Now every beam is something to be soaked up, something to be put aside for later use. As you can tell, I still postpone, but at least I consider the world something to be partaken in, in whatever way I can.

*

Money can be thrown at objects and it places them into your hand, it’s like magic. Food can be put into the mouth, then ferried into the stomach, and from there into the blood. It’s amazing. I can drink and speak and hear and see. I don’t know what to do with any of what I take on, but I’ll take it, who am I to say no?

*

I leave the day with armfuls of objects and words and pictures and thoughts, and I arrange them around my body every night in bed just in case I don’t wake up, and this is my way of saving my family and friends the effort to decide what to put in my grave.

*

We are Egyptian still, never got over that side of ourselves, and we still surround our dead with things, and I surround myself to pretend I live, just like the dead wear sheets and makeup, because it is spooky to look at them with their bones so slack in their faces, looking loose like the earth that calls them home to it.

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1987

Reminded of this piece by a friend who’s currently studying Beckett’s Words and Music for a seminar.

This is the Morton Feldman version of the radio play, his second collaboration with Beckett after 1977’s Neither. 

[This particular gem of a recording features the brilliant ensemble recherche as ‘Music’]

One

Let’s assume it is a myth that in order to start expressing yourself through any medium you first need something to say.

Let’s assume that content preceding form, identity preceding genesis, is bullshit. Let’s assume you think this way because what good is a myth to you now when you have never thought you had anything to say.

Not that you’ve spent 28 years not saying things, of course. You’ve spoken, and even written, plenty. Speaking and writing have been a vital part of many of those 28 years, most of which have been spent institutionalised – not in the madhouse sense, not in the clinical sense, but rather meaning your parents, both teachers in the 80s, got as much as three months to haul you from uterus to hospital room and from hospital room to their flat, after which they were expected to return to work, so your mother found
a lovely and convenient day-care centre where, from the age of three months, you spent five to six hours every day while your parents were at work, and you pretty much have been in school ever since.

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