Saturday, 18 October 2008


When your number’s up, your number’s up as the saying goes. Or as the going say. For we are pegged by a fixed quota of heartbeats, before the old ticker winds down, packs up and clocks off for the final time. (That is if some other antecedent degeneration hasn’t already carried us off). The power cell runs out of juice, its chemical components sapped and debased. The pump’s tissue, just too pinched and attenuated to drive the blood with sufficient suction. Or otherwise, feebly emaciated, immured behind fistulous fat deposits. In either eventuality, way too pooped to puff. We are counted out.

Builtin obsolescence seems part of our design. For in similar clogged vein, our cellular machinery is also possessed of a limited number of regenerative divisions. Predetermined by the exponential algebra of ACGT, to the power of 3 billion, currently being panhandled into a blueprint by our latest generations of scientific binary processors. This particular numerical tyranny i s forever being pushed up hard against, by the excoriations of malignancy. The Big ‘C’, seeking to cast off its shackles and aspire to unbounded rejuvenation. With many fifth columnists and other carcinogenic collaborators enlisted into the cytoliberation struggle. Among them our own emotions. For many are the covert compacts brokered, exacting full tribute of organocollateral, whereby supressed feeling and emotion avoid conscription.

So, in order to remain all of a healthy piece, we ought not to hold our peace. Express what we feel, in its entirety. All well and good. Yet, is there not a further piece rate winnowing ? The mining out of the mind. The rationing of ratiocination. Neural enervation. The demeaning demanning of dementia. As our words degrade and deconstitute themselves and our identity along with them. We are also condemned to the utteri ng of a preset aggregate of words in our lifetime. Before we dry up. Quietus. Spoken for and about, in the past tense. Claptrapped out. Speechless. But always terminating at the ineffable death rattle. The zipped up mouth, prior to being zipped up in the bodybag. Conscripted to that tomb without echo.

I was a taciturn boy. Perchance I’d intuited this future finity of fate. More likely I wasn’t minded to sharing my thoughts with my parents. I cannot now judge and they are no longer around to testify. Yet this is not to say I am bereft of language. Patently. My instructors weren’t any familiarly fleshy windbags. Full of the nooks, crannies and recesses of suppressed feeling and emotion. No, my models were possessed of smooth, flush, mineral surfaces. Since I rented or leased words from books. The mots, bon and other, of authors. Logos building blocks. Prosaic description and enchanted flights of fancy. Inevitably there was still some vocalisation. Inside my reading mind, no matter how bated, the processessing of literature could not possibly be wordless. Cognates still formed and charged. Catenated into sentences gravid with meaning. Therefore they must still exert their price, of wear and tear on the grey matter. Hotwiring the neurons. Yet, if unburdened by the surplus value of incantation, perhaps I escaped verbiage’s full heft ? It ought to be permissable to offset, say a third against uncapitalised verbal production. That would enable me to shore up my alloted stockpile for future usage in leaner, lonelier times. And the size of said stockpile ? Who on earth (print of index finger taps surface of) nose ? Visual, think visually. A sign language. It’s cutrate. Lower tariff. A steal.

And what did I glean from all this authorial praxis ? That words are duplicitous. Words are treacherous. Well, not word s themselves of course, since they are only man’s instrument. But they are craftily crafted. With maximal pliancy and ellipsis, one can make words say anything one wants. And simultaneously say nothing one elects not to reveal. The vernacular prodded and poked by forked tongues, into whatever choice folds and pens of the utterer’s choosing. Yet, words are also unruly. The mouth can often seemingly outstrip the calculating brain. And so words bolt, hitching a break for freedom clinging to the tongue’s undercarriage. Their little rebellions. Their subversions of intent. Their decortication of truth. The paring of motive. Not unilaterally of course, but prodded and poked by insurgent emotional forces the formulating mind is uncognizant of. Then of course, they further have an ability to take on a life of their own. Not manumission as such, but a transfer of ownership of their indentured ser vice to a new host. For like a virus, a speech long consigned to the discard pile of its originator, can take root in the mind of the receiver, propagating itself over and over. Phlogistic philology. Festering and tumescing. Until it reaches critical mass and outbursts forth in acrimonious distemper should the opportunity arise. Doesn’t the perfidious vitiation of words sicken you ? Deny them the oxygen of expression I say. Er maintain.

Do hyphenated words rate as two or one ? Taking no chances, my idiom scores a line through dashes. Indiscernible in parol, selfevident in letters such as these. Speaking of dashes, I once had an illconceived stroke of genius and tried to formulate my thoughts in morse code to avoid full articulation. But in the shortlived reverie of triumph, (ach, cut out some of these saggy adjectives, they supplement nothing but ruinous interest), I deduced that I was actually inflating the tally of words employed, since Dash-Dash-Dash for the let ter ‘O’, is already three words for the paltry return of just a single letter. On a similar tack, if one conceives numerals rather than constructs their values in words, do you still get penalised the full whack ? Why haven’t research scientists investigated these things ? Never mind your soothsaying 4 letter DNA alphabet, what about the full ramifications of our 26 charactered one ? I wish I was German, then I could formulate really quite complex thought, simply by ramming several composite speech units into a single, new portmanteau word. You know, something like a


Quite tough on both the tongue and ear in English; mere walk in the park in Deutsch ... Unfortunately however, I am Saxon mined from different stock. Of course I could learn said tongue, but rote repetition of the lexicon that is a necessary part of committing to memory, would extort too high an initial investment.

In more paranoid moments, I have tried to prevent these wordy echoes, these chittering morphemes, from reverberating inside my vaulted skull. Meditation helps, but the repetition of the mantra of ingress still racks up the debits. Broadcasting my own white noise helps muffle the inner wavelength, but ultimately can be only of limited duration. One can almost behold the brainwaves retuning to the resonant frequency and that way lies only a series of epileptic episodes. Needless to say, I haven’t pushed it that far. All in all, one is forced to say, that the mindbody diode is a remarkably pertinacious transmitter. The pair forever deeply communing with one another, since we are sensate beings and must respond in kind. To yield feedback. Hunger, pain or tiredness. Lust, or the need to evacuate. Each prompts and goads us for our reaction. Be it sensible or insensible on our part, first we still have to encapsulate it. Make it incarnate. Name it. It is a function of functioning. No matter how quicksilvered our analysis and thought processes appear, we are engaged in prolonged, active conversation with ourselves. Monologuing. On the meter. Doubletime. Since feedback loops back on itself like a Möbius strip, but lame language plods along linearly. Words cannot keep pace.

So, seems we are sentenced to discourse. Since, when all’s (nothing’s) said and done (and written), social interaction is invariably lubricated through the medium of exchange. That clipped currency of concordance. Maintaining verbal parismony, I withdrew myself from such interactions. Given my shyness and selfsufficiency from childhood days, such relationships were not too hard to shuck. And due to the marvels of technology, I can meet the workaday requirements of existence, without actually having to confront too many of my fellow men. I am, after all gainfully employed. Sufficient to clothe, warm, shelter and feed myself. And yes, periodically I’ll own, I do have to make a minimal verbal withdrawal from my cache, in order to render me a stipend. I splatter a few wellchosen gobbets on my subscription based website and provoke what can only be called a loyal band of masochistic baittakers, to part with their money as they hang on to my every keyed laconic pontification. I say wellchosen, but in fact I cull them from other websites. Reasonably randomly. For I cut and paste the musings of other virtual travellers to the wellspring of knowledge and opinion, as I am possessed of neither myself. I scarce even overtax my own ration, by prereading what I purloin, other than cursorily. Nor even peruse it after I have mounted it. I utilise only my peripheral vision, to check that the sentances are full and do not cut off midstream. (Poor grammar is a dissipative incontinence. It will come back and bite you in the hindquarters make no mistake. It must be perennially scanned, lest it renders one prostrate). Although such coinage is the uncoordinated postings of several ravers, I don’t want it to appear unintelligible. Obviously I do register the odd word here and there, the ones adjacent to the period and the like. But I trust these will be attributed at the usual plagiarist pro rata. A dummy address is also listed, where my wouldbe interlocutors/ interrogators can respond. Whispering disdainfully, or screaming reverentially into the ether. They can get things off their chests and vent their spleens til their heart’s contentless, (since little do they realise they are slowly eviscerating themselves in doing so). But as none of it ever reaches me, I am not obliged to part with more of my precious morsels than I have allocated. Is their (des)ire ratcheted up further by my seeming heedlessness of their prating ? Forgoing even the basic courtesy of solicitousness ? I have neither the faintest idea nor concern. They strike me as word junkies, judging by the fact they continue to log on and turn over my click counter. And more significantly, rack up credits in my online bank account.

Ergo, now I have been stripped down to the minimal functioning of argot. Since my words have nowhere to go. I have noone (see, no hyphens) and nothing, not even objects of aesthetic beauty, with which to affix communication. Surmising I must have accumulated by now, a huge surfeit of language. Thus I find myself of an age where I may be well ahead of the game, but really of course I am in deficit of life. A veritable trove of linguistic units stacked up in the teeming closet of my mind. And a whole uplift of them stashed under my mattress of solitude. Miser, hermit and misanthrope. There’s three (3) words to conjure with. A shell game. Find the lady. Or geezer in my case.

Rolling in all this spare capacity, it shouldn’t be too hard to put together an assemblage of who I am. I could even push the boat out and visit a shrink, to expand my sense of self. But I know if I chanced on one who just sat behind me on a sofa staying mum, expecting me to be forthcoming and make all the running, dead air would transpire. Dead air that I would still be charged for. I do not want to expend breath and give exaggerated weight to my words, yet neither do I want to launch them casually, like spiderlings on the breeze and regard them rootlessly just balloon away. Nevertheless, I have concocted a solution. I will iterate them with the leather soles of my shoes. Treading and tramping out their paced directive on the sidewalks of labelled avenues and tagged streets. Utilising the City’s own abecedary. Peeling back the urban rind. Probing the unseen metropolitan mind, through the insertion of my name into its very grain. For I need to trace whom I am and since it was in the foundry of this City in which i was originally formed and cast, now it will help me recover myself. Let this City pronounce my title. Let it christen and baptise me all in one fell swoop.

Now I am not so harebrained to imagine that the uniformities of the City’s grid, can confer unity on the multitude of its denizens within. However, it will contain some, a few, whose aspects conjugate with my own. Then I shall be able to align myself further to them via the grid’s referencing. I do not expect any of this will confer connotation upon myself, nor even vouchsafe me community. But in contradistinction to the grooved aperture of my four walls, with its windowframe of fixed perspective, such fellow travellers will help me attain a third dimension of depth, out on the street. Enabling the casting of a shadow before me. After spans of solitude and contemplation, I know whom I am to myself. But the intruding datum of my death and cessation, complicates this version considerably. The world out there carries on spinning with or without my input. The City prosper s whether I exist within it or otherwise. Whether I am gazing upon it through my window or not. I must necessarily uncoil myself from introspection and regather myself. Like Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, whose rooms now serve as houses, its corridors now functioning as roads. In a town called Split. A place I have combed thoroughly. Albeit virtually. Split, an appropriate appellation, even if it’s actually Splitski or somesuch in SerboCroat. What could be more alienating to a populace, than to have all the excess of a colonial palace erected upon them ? And yet, when the Romans abandoned the land, the locals did not spite it vacant, but adopted it to their own needs. So what if a stone eagle emerged from one’s parlour wall ? A conversation piece. A tourist attraction. Split, the municipality which unswervingly healed its own divisions.

How exactly to proceed with this thing ? From first terms, as the bromidic dope would have it. The empty forethought. The shrivelled gnome. Pawned palaver. Cheap cant. (God ! Now the literary accountant in me has to scratch off an additional 10 words by way of elaboration and embroidery. And these too, further compounding interest). Yet I am no clean slate. I am after appREHending a definition of myself, rather than its enucleated brother. Its spayed sister. Hmm, I seem to be going round the houses with this. Which indeed I shall be, in a most literal sense. Soon I trust. A few finishing touches. Some finickity details to attend to. Like the jumping off point. A mote of memory flits around my consciousness. Only having paid at the toll gate did it pass on to a neural trunk road, frozen in the floodlight of illumination. How, despite the passive attainment of onlybegotten status, I had eschewed the welltrodden path of relating to an imaginary friend. Again I cannot dismiss the possibility of precocious intuition, that its unchecked development might subsequently induce fragmentation of the ego and double the output of wordage in a schizophrenic’s Manichean struggle for selfsupremacy. The doublesided monologue. The unassisted catechism. (Oh dear, I do seem to be spraying words around like they’re going out of fashion). No, the child that was I, plumped for soundtracking my own play, both detached exposition and involved absorption, depending on the context. Commentating on my sporting contests, bouncing balls against walls since there was no one to pass them to me. Miming to rock music, a satisfyingly simple racket. But perhaps my pièces des résistances were the voiceovers from the front. (Sans microphone, sans any actual utterance of course). A putative, omnipresent war correspondent witnessing a loose reenactment of some WWII (one word, not three) battle with model sol diers. I say loose, in that although great diligence was applied to an historically accurate disposition of the contesting hosts, the denouement was more often than not resolved by resorting to a deux ex machina. To wit, the airtoground lightning bolt protective cap of plastic (unneedled) syringes, lanced into the heart of battalions and brigades. My father, a doctor, brought them home on a regular basis. To keep in case of emergencies, or because he had a deal going with the medical supplier, or because he was a closet H addict, I cannot seal. In truth, that third and final possibility has only just, after all these fallow years, crossed my mind. I suppose its cascade of implications would have cost me far too many formative words in the past. Anyway, no more strolls down memory lane. I’ve a ci ty to reticulate. Proceeding from first terms indeed ...

Now, where were we ? I am to plot the map of my name against the grid reference of the city streets. Avenues A to G. An octave. A chromatic scale of full and half steps. Accidentals and a question of degrees. The eight avenues that score the composition of the City. Crisscrossed by the upright, straightbacked notation of Street numbers. Pitching the swing of life within. Yet rather than deploy a recurring transliteration of the 80 odd Street numbers, which would tilt the weight in favour of the letters H to Z, I propose annexing their simple notation of North/South, which would yield me a further two letters, appropriately enough N & S. Appointed with these ten letters, I could comprehensively cover my full chartered name. To this end, I have already drau ghted the characterbuilding route for my peregrinations. I did flirt with a more elaborate scheme of using the city’s grid to transcribe the form of the letters of my name. But the curlicues and rounded arcs of certain letters could only be approximated, like the unsatisfactory LED crystal preformation of numbers. The raw data, the feedback, will therefore consist of what I encounter upon my delineated route. Maybe I would have to traverse it for a week solid in order to filter out the anomalous and the rand om happenings. Since I shall perforce, be recording the impact of my journey. What impressions make inroads upon me. In effect, I would act like a tourist in my own city, in the spirit of the oft encountered epigram, that citizens don’t actually visit the sights of their own surroundings.

However, the question of recording devices poses a quandary. I had imagined wielding a dictaphone and confiding my reckonings into it. But perpending it further, I envisioned pounding the streets, talking into myself and thereby being misconstrued as one of the plethora of mental patients (suffering from an indomitable press of words) released from our superannuated asylums (reputedly). This would indubitably inform the reactions of my fellow passersby and I requ ired them to treat me neutrally, without preconception. If indeed they were to regard me at all. (Of course, with the onset of the very first perambulation, these presentiments were shown to be wellgrounded, given the droves of pavement hikers summarily dismissed as selfaddressing outpatients, when in fact they were merely accosting their cellulars. The legion of proboscilike antennae caulked to human ears was perturbing; like an insectoid version of the murine ‘His Master’s Voice’ science experiment, where a human ear was grafted on to the back of a mouse. When that particular image scuttled across the world’s media screens, we all, gender not withstanding, stood on a table and screamed). Ahem, I had better crack on with the undertaking of who I am, before my DNA is altered, reflexively or otherwise. That’s what this is about after all.

So, reprising the talking commentary is a nonstarter. But what of a digitally preserved log of findings ? My intial reactions in situ would determine when to shoot. While, once back home, the video could serve as a prompt, assisting me in reconstructing the identification behind the concurrence on the street. Moreover, I wouldn’t be so conspicuous, since again I would merely pass as a tourist. No, this is good. Very good. Though this commentary would be mute. An internal one narrated in visual tones. That way I could circumvent words. ‘Eh ?’ I hear you sputter. You believed the leitmotiv was to reembrace, sorry, re-embrace with the oral. After all, is this not what I, your humble tour guide, have been heralding all the way through ? To flex my atrophied descriptive musculature and regain full inflected suppleness ? To shake out my taut semantic sinew and to lubricate the ligaments of connection ? In other words and yes I really mean that, to pilot a dredger through silted up verbal estuaries, in order to attain the open flow ? Well, in part certainly. But I actually demand of words that they fall short. For language to fail me on my passage through the City. I pray (not literally, now that would be a squandering of words), to have my breath taken away. Knocked out of me by what I discover on my outings. So that I will be left teetering in awe, unable to enflesh words. Spellbound. Toothless language champing uselessly at the verbal void, tumbling over the event horizon to meet its reflexively indescribable fate. Leaving my response simply as one of pure, unadultereted, unmediated emotion. And through this I will come to encounter myself. Opening me up to the possibility of unbridled relationship. Initially to a thing. An object. A building maybe. I would probably need a longer apprenticeship for a commensurate response to people.

My migration would commence from the capital letter at the prow of my name. Christian or surname nominated a dilemma, but I reasoned sinc e my father had also been born here and several prior generations of his kin, one ought to honour one’s derived orgination and abide by the surname. So Avenue C it was. Avenue C. A venue, see ? All rounds, appointments, errands and meetings demand a venue. A location in time. A convergence. And I would be there to sample some of them. Precisely where on Avenue C to cast off from also afforded variegation. I resolved to begin each excursion ten blocks further down Avenue C from where the previous day’s had begun. All I had to do now was await my birthday. That day commemorating my mother’s nonlingual labia parting like stage scenery, affording my emergence into the City. Well now was my cue to enter its drama.


Despite scrupulously adhering to the planned itinerary, the offerings had to date, proved skimpy. A series of permutations of his window view, merely te ssellated large. As he perched at home reviewing the video output, he was already beginning to be waylaid by dismay. Creeping demoralisation was riddling his enterprise. The City had yielded him precious few nuggets. And the digital footage was broadly reaffirming this repudiation. Hardly startling, granted that each time he winked an eye through the viewfinder, a surge of textile encased flesh assaulted and rapped on the casements of his contracted perceptionary apparatus and wrenched his focus pull back to his own directional lack. The digs of elbows in his ribs, toecaps raking his achilles and stilettos goading his pinioned feet, all served to impel him forward. This was not how he had pictured things. It required an establishing shot. How he’d dared plant the tripod of his body in place, elbows splayed out to repel rammings. Standing on tiptoe against being speared. To survey a churning cataract of humanity, phalanx after phalanx advancing upon him and coursing past. If the horsepowered traffic on the road were the chariots racing in this Circus Maximus, then the pedestrians were the gladiators slinging themselves towards one another on the arena sidewalks. No, that implied the laps and circuits of an ampitheatre in the round. It was seemingly the crisp rectilinearity of the streets, which dictated the cadence of their human traffic. Hurrying and hustling everyone along. There was no place for serpentine meandering. Impossible to hang an arc or a parabola on to a side street, in order to dip out from the throng. Since the side street too offered no respite, as its commerce was funnelled through the perpendicularity of the intersections. One felt akin to a bowling ball, eating up the boards of the alley towards the skittlelike oncomers, though the mission was to somehow avoid knocking into them. Unfortunately, they too also doubled up as bowls, bearing down on him and his fellow skittles that confronted them in turn.

The city grid didn’t just clicktrack the urban rhythm. It conducted mood too. Flat and even, if tinged by insubstantiality. Such regularity allowed for scant surprise. Nothing to orient himself by. No vanishing point, since the parallelism was constantly maintained. Who would have thought that the founding fathers, those arbiters of terrain and landuse, could wreak such stultifyingly posthumous control ? Wielding planning permission and licensing, until every last circumstance was stipulated. But of course, he should have known. Had not these men had set their theodolites to level all knolls, contours and natural camber, in order to render the primordial draughtsman his blank piece of paper ? So that he in turn could render a city as some giant, numinous honeycomb, smothered in the nectar of commerce. Only as he tastes it now, it is more akin to a giant waffle doused in syrup. Lashes and lashes of the sickly stuff, just to mask the inherent insipidity. As citizen drones try and palpate one another in their futile fidicuary fecundations. Each lining their own allocated station, trying to draw down another topup. Sweettalking lovers. Sugary vendors. Treaclely lawyers. Glucosed sportsmen. Starchy exec utives. Saccharine restaurateurs. All with their regular avenue haunts, more spectral than merely habitual. He even regarded the dextrosed uniformed functionaries of the city, unclogging its blocked arteries, reflating its collapsed capillaries. Induction. A service submesh. God’s earthly kingdom was never intended to be like this.

It amazed him how these original stencil layers, had even managed to demarcate different economic areas so precisely. South Avenue G’s down at heel communities. The ghettoised blocks pockmarked by boardedup or burntout housing; maculated with trashlittered, cracked sidewalks and graffittioed murals; tubercled with pawnshops, launderettes and offlicences, since the commercial minotaur still demanded its scaleddown tithe. Here, the noncommutin g, footsore pedestrians comprised of junkies, prostitutes, pimps, pushers, foragers, fences, pilferers and vagrants. And yet they respectfully observe the block boundaries, as if an invisible forcefield or electrified fence were in place. They do not pullulate into the betteroff districts. A seamless transition from one zone into another. Marked only by a streetsign and the dictum that elsewhere too, still existed analogous urban archetypes, albeit confining themselves to plusher surroundings, rather than exhibiting out on the street. It was as if those City planners had planted each community on concrete trellises and allowed to bud just so as anticipated along the slat, but no further once the economic gradient gets sheer.

He’d cast the spell of his name, summoned the spirit of the City and what did it conjure up ? A mirroring vision of his very own mediocrity. A civic status which had only been conferred by dint of its citizenry’s agglomerated density (as against any manifested destiny). A hive of faux collective activity. A final video image, (which must have been recorded with the camera down by his side as he was crossing the road to retrieve his apartment asylum), for it was a shot of a drainage grille. With eight horizontal ribs, consonant with the eight avenues. A conduit for channelling people to prescribed, preordained places as their lives are sluiced away. Like effluent. The gushing City that had wrung him out so totally. If the City was without pith, then it rendered him a nonentity. The insignificant extra, part of the backdrop. The bombastic parvenu. A mere bagatelle, like the overwhelming majority of faceless citizens incumbent here. Glottal stopped up hard by the bars of the grid. Yet he was certain he was possessed of a soul. So now it was time to tear up his own guidebo ok. No more tramlines according to the characters of his name. So what if the city orchestra was inferior and their sports teams were just middling, each unable to compete in prestige or payroll ? There were still people of standing here. Dare one say it, the beautiful people. The great and the good. Movers and shakers. People who could and would move him and shake him ineffably to his very core. People who had opted against decamping to the Capital, better to bestride their own. The City had put its stamp on each and everyone of them and he should orient himself via its organic fibre. Rather than force upon it his own signal constructs, let the metropolis throw its shapes upon him. Come project on to him like a laser !


He knew precisely where he would initiate his refined flanêuring. He would return to that site of last week’s sole garnered intimation. That establishmen t with its proprietory name above the door. Uniquely marked out by a gap between two of the letters. And in that gap, had been a patch lighter in shade than its proximate masonry. A trace of what ? Surely more void than stain, since it had been shielded from the city grime by whatever had overlain. Moreover, he had discerned a shape. The letter ‘C’ was being adumbrated, in absentia. Presumably a missing character of the soubriquet. At the time, this had discomfited him mightily, given his sorties to spell out the tetragrammaton of his own appellation and had immediately cut short that day’s stump. Now was the opportunity for renewal. For both he and the proprietor, toiling under some imaginary amputation of being. He would donate the ‘C’ inaugurating his name to t he proprietor, in return for harvesting the ley line to unlock the impregnability of the City.

He mentally donned blinkers as he piloted himself back to the denuded storefront. And here he was. Now he could register the milieu. Feasibly, he was in downtown’s upmarket shopping zone. The antithesis to uptown’s downmarket flea circus of earlier sojourns. Where avenue F’s conventionally wide pavements, had been subdivided by stalls and booths, engineering a labyrinth with walls of flimsy textiles and cheap cuts of meat, here was untrammeled vistas and unencumbered sight lines. For people, women mainly but not exclusively, sporting many stringhandled bags. And these bags were etched, nay stencilled, with the name of the emporiums they had patronised. The merchandisers had convinced them to buy from them and subsequently the bags trumpet that succe ss, at least for the duration of their tour. Unless the emporium’s bag happened to have the inside track, shrouded by strata of other totings. He imagined that the science of drawstrings was of strategic import here, since the pilliwinks effect on the wiredrawn fingers of the conveyor, could effect a realignment of the bag carousel. Yet nobody looked pained. Rather everyone he passed looked elated. Smiling abstractedly, or with sharp eyes careering from casement to casement. He wanted to catch their gaze, to see if it might enlighten him as to what exactly they were feeling, but he was too dilatory and unable to anticipate their beeline darting.

What disclosure his scrutiny did intercept however, were secret messages. Or not exactly secret. More like flagrant. For some of them had copiously imbibed from the selfpublicising vessels of the stores. Si nce their Tshirts too, bore mottos, slogans or illustrative pictures. Projected outwards by the aspect of their protruding frontage. “Babe” read one fleshy awning. “Foxy” declaimed another. A rapid straw poll revealed it to be the female who had best mastered (mistressed ?) this pithy selfreportage. For one male’s stressed fabric, barely stretched to cover his rotund abdomen that artlessly selfdiagnosed “Beer Monster”. A second bannered the legend “I’m With Stupid !”, underscored with a cartoonishly sleeved and cuffed arm pointing to the right of him. Where could be found, nothing. Was this the point perhaps, that he was far too superior to hang around with a stupid person ? Or was it more like, that stupid though his absconded partner may have been, he still managed to give his pal the slip ? But for now, these seemed like doodlings. Mere first drafts of bon mots, compared with the delicious proverbials emblazoned across female torsos.

Well no, not their to rsos exactly. More like the prime site on their bodies. For see here approaching was another citation, “No Angel”, with the added flourish of a halo. As this divine mobile hoarding approached him, she slackened her progress in order to juggle with her packages, seeking to locate a distress signal emanating from somewhere deep within her bundle. He too wound his gait down, counterfeiting rifling through jacket pockets with what he took to be casual insouciance, but must have more resembled the flapping arms of an anthropomorphic chicken impression. At least that’s how he gauged the daggers being shot at him by files of pedestrians, as they arced around him, before resuturing their surgical headway. (He remarked a distinct lack of equivalent hostility in the glares from those wayfarers forced to bifurcate around her rooted form; they were all for turning round to confront as they drew up in parallel to her, but then their expressions softened, {in the case of empathic females}, or cracked completely {on the visages of tickled males}). He becalmed his arms and settled for blowing his nose as his excuse for halting. She had by now found the ubiquitous cellular and was mouthing into it. Over his steepled handkerchief and puppeteering fingers, he recouped his focus. Yes, just as he had thought initially ! The geometrical middle of the halo precisely, and he did mean with the utmost exactitude, cradled the protuberance of the lady’s nipple sinister. Or, he supposed you could say, that the nipple transfixed the halo’s epicentre. Either way, the point, as it were, fair took his breath away. He recalled the received wisdom concerning the time taken by some women in applying their cosmetics of a morning, but did they also pose in front of a looking glass in order to line up their clothing with such definitude ? Or does this bespeak of high quality, bespoke tailoring even in the realm of the humble Tshirt ? Further research was mandatory. Only, by now the woman had caught his awed contemplation and whipped around on her heel to continue her confabulation while presenting her back to him. How impertinent he mused to himself. No cameo through the back of her Tshirt, he also descried. Like the majority of this spreeing, strapline sect on this fine summer’s day, bra-less, (dash it all, it was his birthday {belatedly}, have that one on him) !

He had been dabbing at his nose beyond the chafefree threshold and so he desisted. There were plenty more lines abobbing. As was presenting itself to him even as he dithered. Like shooting fish in a barrel he appraised. Not that he’d ever really understood what that maxim betokened. “Forbidden Fruit” admonished one embossed in pink. “No Prisoners” counselled another in lime green. “Out Of Your League” opined a third, bedecked in burgundy. This was le xigraphical heaven ! He had to consider his response to each of these correspondents. And then he cottoned on. Yes of course ! Such pronouncements were both an advice of availability and a promulgation of personality, all wrapped up in one ! What brevity. What economy. A lonely heart that doesn’t charge by the word to classify oneself. A freeranging broadcast. A roving sandwich board, only without the disfiguration of such a ridiculous mantle. And the best asset of all, it only gets seen in those places where it wants to be regarded.

He had a strong inkling to record all this on his video, for later reclamation. But he sensed this was not a sound stratagem. The challenge being that there was insufficient time to interpret the data proffered by his eyes. For example, one kite flyer advertised “Eye Candy” and try as he might, he could not fathom in the slightest as to what that may have been postulating. He had also r efluxed another reflected in a boutique window, imparting just two letters, “T” and “O”. This failed to spark any recognition, so he stopped at the selfsame display as the girl, though he was scanning the glass rather than what lay beyond it. “TO”, “TO”, nope still not ringing any bells. Then, wait a minute, of course ! It’s been reversed by the vitreous effect on light waves. It was “OT”. As in Occupational Therapy ! Though why anyone would want to assert such a fact, even if they dished it out it rather than received it, was beyond him. As the women ceded her vigil and chanced turn in his direction, he noticed an occluded wrinkle worming out from the penumbra of the “O”, converting it to a “Q”. “QT”. “Cutie” and he could not demur, even though her gaze locked on to his and narrowed as she passed in front of him.

This was curious and was beginning to irk him. For he was beginning to detect a pattern on the distaff’s side of the perusal exchange. Some had their smiles dislodged from their countenances, while others merely stared straight through him. Oh well, no time to ruminate, for along came a further sample, bearing no words, but a line drawing (sulci and all) of a brain over each mammary. Its very incongruity forced him once more to stop and reflect as to whether this ought to belong to the subset under consideration, even as she sauntered by. Was she indeed possessed of two brains ? A reference to a twin, or a consort perhaps ? (“I’m With Brilliant” sans directional indicator ?) But then why was it that somebody else’s cerebellum held joint title over her bosom ? And then it struck him, not two brains, but “Brains 2”. “Two.” “Too !”A verbal pun played out visually. That was too much ! Another level altogether. The oracular at one step removed. The notice of availability more daintily veiled. But no less compelling.

Now he fully comprehended the slidi ng scale of the communication engendered. Some, were more up front than others. He about-turned (see how carried away he was ?) To drink in again her sublime communiqué. To feast his eyes on the multifaceted cut diamond. What would he do when he attained proximacy with her once again ? How could he manoeuvre himself so as to be correctly aligned geometrically ? Ach, he would solve these conundrums when he arrived at such a situation. However, he was finding it rather hard to match her stride. As indeed he was finding the near trot of all these jetheeled purchasers, too hot to touch. For they were each seemingly possessed of the missionary’s zeal. He was not so practised as they, on these thoroughfares of commerce. They seemed not to have to surface for air, as they marched on strid ently. He apperceived this was because their surge was purposeful and targetled. They knew where they were heading, whereas he was being swept along unwittingly. No, not unwittingly, since he was all too happy to accede to the impulse, but he was somewhat adrift. A dirigible. And the problem was there were all these crosscurrents, as his navigation was also being clouded by the tow of new flyers, listings and classifieds broadsiding him as he went.

“High Maintenance” endorsed one. “One Size Fits All” promoted another in giant, undulating calligraphy. “Post-Modern Irony” inveigled a third, abutting a roundel target. (Had she of course paid due attention to her grammar, she would have reaped the fact that postmodern does not warrant a hyphen). And was the centre of the bullse ye framing her nipple dexter - oh- (ellipsis, not hyphen) never mind ! His noodle was being scrambled. He felt all stirred and corkscrewed. He eased his clip and gave up the pursuit. He would just have to commit the brain pair relief to memory and reconvene it at his leisure. He stopped and crouched down on his haunches to recover his breath. Passersby were once again, forced to deviate around him and shot him glowers of inconvenieness. He felt the heat of their glares and righted himself. To be immediately dazzled by a shard of light piercing his eye. He averted his concussed rubbernecking and shielded his brow with his hand, before plucking sufficient pique to peek beneath his peak.

What assailed him was a spangle of bouncing light, like the sun reflected off the gentle lap of waves (as some anonymous nov elist had once limned for him). He reacted quickly during the waning period and appointed that he was being scintillated by a sharp reflection off a woman’s posterior. Swerving hither and thither as she walked in advance of him by about fifteen feet. Then it hit him with crystal clarity, except it being on the return swing, he was actually temporarily somewhat blinded. Something embedded, obviously, upon the usually reliably nonreflective black denim her bottom was upholstered in. Studs of some sort. Rhinestones. Sequins. Who knew ? Not him certainly. That was not a canon he’d ever requisitioned. He was about to spurn the whole thrust, when he tumbled to the nonsymmetrical arrangement of the tailmounted cats’ eyes. Now, as far as aesthetically pleasing fa shion principles were concerned, the prevailing orthodoxy stipulated, that this could not possibly be correct. He summoned up the reserves to lengthen his stride and zoom in closer. He had to penetrate the pattern, le chiffre, for he refused to allow himself to be further stymied in his epic quest. He had to synchronise his sway to match hers, in order to efface the parallax that was shaking his vertical hold. And then it coalesced upon his retina. Her stippled rear was speaking to him ! Not literally of course. But the coloured pimples picked out a word all the same. In petite calligraphy, since the word appeared to have four syllables, when she was not exactly trailing a wide load if you catch his drift. “Bootylicious”. ‘Booty’, he knew, referred to treasure, piratical or otherwise. Assuredly the suggestion of illgotten gain. A plundered yield. But ‘licious’ ? As he was later to discover from his online dictionary, no such lexigraphical construction officially existed. It politely inquired as to whether he had mistyped one of the following: ‘luscious’; ‘loci’s’; ‘vicious’; ‘diecious’; ‘delicious’; ‘malicious’; and when it feebly proffered ‘lice’ as his possible erratum, then he shut off further consultation. But since the delineation was located proprietorially above her arse cheeks (apologies now for resorting to such bankrupted linguistic stock), he knew it was a continuation of the Tshirt telescoping trend. Or maybe even its apotheosis. Whichever, it was proceeding in the same direction as him and at not too prohibitive a lick as its predecessors. Perhaps here finally, was one he was fully in step with.


But time and tide wait for no man, as someone eminently quotable once franchised. He was sagging, it being harder and harder to pro 8p up his body into a forward motion. Twilight had descended, he was no longer guided by the emanation of her twinkling beacons, merely their riveted stolidness. Heaven alone knew his immediate inadvertance, since he had long waived his orientation. He was off piste and pissed off. Lost. And hungry. He’d had neither a punctuating food (colon), nor rest (comma) break since midmorning. And now, on top of everything, it started to rain. He ceded the field and reviewed his options. Avenue C, (of course it would be), but the streetsign located him somewhere beyond assimilation. He could board a bus and meekly succumb to its contrived line through the City. Or, he could hail a taxi and put himself at the hands of an anatomist with specialised knowledge, in order to retrace his own steps. Or even to improve on them obvio usly. Had he not travelled the furthest possible distance away from himself today ? From the familiar and the comfortable ? From all that he’d known ? Now he could cut to the chase. Retrace those steps leading back to himself and meet the newly discovered him along the way. There was the minor snag of which side of the street to observe, which window to view from. Left or right. Sinister or dexter. Regardless of the rain, he had little trouble stopping a cab (contra to urban lore) and flopped into its moist, warm leather with a mixture of jubilation and exhaustion. Bouncing eye contact off the satellite of the rearview mirror, he keyed the man in with the destination to plot his slick weave by. He readied the video camera, adjudging the angle for documenting the streetsigns plotting his return.

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed dangling from chains suspended over the mirror’s bracket, a crucifix, a star of David, a crescent moon, a Buddha and a hexobr achial pachyderm. The motion of the cab jostled them, but the chainlengths must have been finely calibrated, since they did not bump and bore into one another. Just like the drawstrings of shopping bags. This spontaneous marionette show, was being presented to him through the lattice of the wiremesh partition between him and the driver. Another mediating grid, albeit this one was slanted on the diagonal. Too many motifs to be just coincidental. Here he was, ensconced within interior walls once again. Only he had been granted vision, albeit refracted through a mesh gauze, through a fourth theatrical wall of the mummery, itself foregrounding the Cityscape through the front windscreen. But just as he was double, triple declutching his brain, the lattice screen was shuttered by a dark drape. The cabbie’s hirsute, pycnic arm was snaking along the top of the front seat, cresting the lower portion of the partition. Now the neck sinews clearly rippled as the man jagged his head back towards his passenger. And from his gash of a mouth spilled word after word. Presumptiously matey in tone. Coarsely urbane. Spewing words. Hurling them at his defenceless mark. This sitting duck in the back seat. A bombardment. Salvo after salvo of uninvited opinion. Conjecture. Supposition. Axioms and dogma. Judgement. Taint.

The metre ticked over ...


And as I sit here, digitally retracing the path of this last trek, the one entirely extemporised by the tug of the City itself, it admonishes me with the simple
dictate -
(ave)C (ave)E (ave)A S (ave)E

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Carbon Dating Agency



Here’s hoping ... A lickety-split inspection to ensure I haven’t tucked the back of my dress into my knicks, or anything classy like that. A sharp intake of freshly minted breath. A crisp confirmatory nod bestowed in the direction of my selfhood -

’My name is ...’ That’s all it says on the tag. Precisely that. Dot, dot, dot. (Dash, dash, dash/ dot, dot, dot, has also, strangely been omitted). No name and no pack drill. Nor have I been awarded the order of the twin purplish hearts that everyone else here seems to sport. Where seemingly, some thoughtful soul has limned two interlocking hearts on the cardboard, (pink tinging purple as the hues dissociate along its ply). Just in case one should look down at one’s adapted, office-soiled, visitor’s pass and momentarily become fuddled as to where one was. A carbon life form dating society. With the emphasis on form. For we, all of us here tonight, are being recycled. A job lot of pre-laminates obviously. The badges I mean. Even though every one in attendance, prays to be bonded and have the past overlaid. First name terms only, rather than those of divorce settlements. Or no terms at all, in my case. A dearth of self-advocacy. For no one at the door had a pen and my eye liner pencil was just too chubby to cut the mustard.

Folded into this sterilised lucky dip, I have been shorn of my cover. In this unsanctified chapel of love, I have been de-christened. All because it was a bit of a rush. At the last minute, some faint-heart ducked out and I, at the head of the reserve list, was requisitioned. Pinned on and hemlined up. Pitter-patter, pitter-patter. Be still my fluttering heart. Leave that to the eyelashes. Oh well, you know what they say. In for a penny, in for a pound. Never has my stock been so low.

Still, it does present somewhat of a problem, as to how I tender myself to these fellow travelling love contractors. How I dovetail with these hawkers of the heart. The natural icebreaker of having my name stamped and barcoded plainly for all to perceive, is in dry dock hock. Champagne aplenty has been flung at this prospective maiden relaunch. Frangible confidence shattered, my bottle long gone. The strangers in this flow, do not pass me like ships in the night. They just proceed to give me, with my nebulous flag of inconvenience, a wide berth.

Save for the ketch with the bottle-thick spectacles. He who heaves to, at each and every bobbing prow, has now sidled into my Chanel wake. Pitching so close into my bosom as to leave a vaporous spume on my nameplate, while he tries to focus his magnified sextant. For my part, I am acquainted with the unmagnificent sex of his balding crown. Unable to pinpoint my heavenly being, he hoists up his specs so that they breast his forehead, in a myopic attempt to pierce my anonymity. Now, even he prepares to cast off, shaking his head foggily, which serves only to bring his glasses scything down on to the bridge of his nose. My escort scuttled before I got out of port.

Scanning the room, I see hands wrapped around tumblers of (cheap) (warm) bubbly, indexing fingers freed up so as to point at the swirls and loops on each other’s badges. I can mark them trying out the sound of one another’s handles. Sipping at them with their lips. Ingesting the consonants and swilling the vowels around inside their cheeks. Showering the palate with the blend, of conjoining the name with that of their own. Contemplating whether to imbibe or expectorate the vintage before them. You begin to see my problem. My unwritten invisibility. My underwritten contract still awaiting its signature. Seems I am to be the undesignated driver for tonight. As they all give rip to their avid ferment, I am reduced to smoothing a crinkle in my bodice, where the badge’s safety pin has rucked up the chiffon beneath.

Okay then, so I’m thrown back on my own resources. I have to be myself. But who am I ? I have no accreditation ... while my compact’s in my bag and I cannot feasibly apply any more emulsion on my face. I feel contrived enough. No wait. Go with it. Use it to my advantage. Here goes nothing. “I know, these badges ! The bubbly in hand is the only indication that this couldn’t be an AA meeting. No, not the breakdown service”. I don’t know though ...

That went well I thought. An icebreaker like the one applied to loosen up Leon Trotsky. This perishing no-name badge will be the dea(r)th of me. If first it can cede me any life amongst these lovelorn wraiths. I fluffed my line, for these could not be recovering alcoholics, since they at least are possessed of some spirit. This lot’s more akin to a convention of call-centre operators. ‘Hello, Archie speaking. What may I ask, is the nature of your inquiry ?’ Maybe I just imagined I heard that for a chat-up line. Or perhaps they could pass for a group of personnel officers on a motivation course. ‘Well, downsizing one’s ambitions, is an occupational hazard at this stage in life’. If only the stakes weren’t so great. How much more personnel could it get, than those two interlaced hearts, lovingly felt-tipped by some romantically deluded secretary from Cupidity Corp ?

Thinking about it, as I was so a late an insertion, had my badge actually been attended to, it would probably have been after the secretary had knocked off for home. In readiness for an evening of pre-packaged ready-meal, Mills and Boon pre-cooked intimacy and a re-corked bottle of Blue Nun. With an imitation carnation in her table vase. No, my heart’s design would indubitably have been coined by the Hostess-Panderer herself. And more than likely it would have resembled a walnut. She’s a busy lady after all. To judge by watching her crossing the room, as she trifles with the most dirigible men here. But she fails to strike me as much of a miracle worker.

Even my posy’s wilted now. It’s not fair. While they’ve all moved on to the getting to know you stage. The apparel beyond the name. The flesh beneath the clothes. Sizing up the genes, imagining the look of mutually engendered babies. They’ve stopped nodding fascinated assent to their partner’s self-justifications. Too distorting of glances slyly thrown towards the calculus of curvature and honedness. My prospects here have been completely stunted by this one scandalous circumstance. Perhaps I should demand a refund. No, more than likely they’ll stake me another bulk permutation date instead. And even appropriately sanctioned, I think I’d rather share an evening round the dinner table of their secretary. Swapping overblown notions about love. I’d bring the wine though.

The only sparks I’m generating in here, are those of static electricity, as my dress buffs up the wall. My mother always told me not to slouch. The agency never should have vouchered appellation for announcing ourselves. Just let us fashion our own. Keep with the heart motif, only not so presumptious of a successful pairing. Dispense with the eight-page questionnaire. Rather, enjoin each of us to encapsulate ourselves, through the depiction of our own tickers. Those hale and hearty. Those achey-breaky. Those pierced through with an arrow. Those by a crossbow bolt. And those wholly riddled. Or those excised all of a piece, bloody and raw, with the brutal finesse of an Aztec sky pilot. Those liberal and those sclerotic. Those bypassed and those entangled, be it merely once, twice or thrice trysted. Those nicotine tarred. And those feathered. Those stout, those oaked and those soaked (and those pickled). Those put upon and those set upon. Those lost and those merely taken. Those strung, those stricken and ... nope, now I’m out of Country and Western songs. But, with identities writ so large, we would assuredly have no need of denomination.

And what arresting cardiac image might I plump for ? Oh hold on a tick. Not exactly what one might deem as breezing over, in this tightly controlled, air-conditioned atmosphere; but does my champers-moistened finger in the air, not discern the zephyred, inching inclination towards me, of a fellow wallflower of the opposite sex ? More wisp than willow. Never mind, who am I to cavil ? No one’s signed my petition all evening. Steady as she goes. Just stay true to yourself. “Of course, I’m not really a lonely heart. Not in the classic sense, if there is such a thing of course. I’ve two gorgeous children who fill my life, of course. Just not my adult long- ... ging”. Off course. Oh. Did someone open a window ? Don’t bring up the kids then. Just stay true to myself. Just stay true.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Baby Buggy Blues

The daily grind of the weekly shopping. Or the weekly grind of the daily shopping. Or perhaps the daily grind of the weakly shopping. But you get the general drift. Pushing Amy along in her buggy. Unfortunately not the grand prix rally special I had for Suzanne. With its beautiful pneumatic purchase and light, responsive suspension, which cushioned and cradled her tiny frame against the impact of each pavement plunge. A streamlined chassis that allowed me to hurtle frictionless back to the car as soon as the rain came down. Suzanne safely encompassed in its plastic bubble (for, light as it was to push, I could not simultaneously wield an umbrella). We’ll pass over the rain’s redoubled frenzied assault on her exposed form, as I struggled to transfer her from the fettered prison of her bubble buggy, into the shackles of a car seat. That I feel, is down to the physical laws of stationary objects, rather than lay the blame at the wheel of my beautiful perambulator.

No, lamentably not that same buggy, for one cracked and sunken paving stone too far and her tubing was buckled irreparably. The rubber tyre no longer palpated the asphalt, but hung uselessly twisted in the air, compulsively dabbing and twitching before a non-existent reflex gavel. I knew it was fatal, but I demanded a second confirmatory opinion. So I took it to a toy shop (!), the only place that offered the requisite buggy repair service. They sat me down and told me in hushed tones, that she had dislocated and wrenched her foreleg and had to be put down for good. We gave the old girl a fitting send off, buried her with full campaign honours. Attached the unused (in two and a half years) sun parasol to her and slipped her beneath the meniscus of the wheely bin, so that the dustmen wouldn’t realise she was in there, until they had slid her beneath the waves of pared matter. We could but fantasise that her metal would temporarily arrest the grinding mechanism of the cart’s crusher. A pertinent temporary hush, that marked her repose in the way that she had lived her service. But the beast’s mighty jaws seemed untroubled by the task, licking its chops with a loud pneumatic sough, as it let out its brakes to saunter on down the road.

Amy’s buggy. Not exactly Suzanne’s mark II, let alone mach 2 like they have now. Scaled down dune buggies or quad bikes, that’s what current pushchair craft resemble. Bloody great pavement tanks, with baby bull bars to move pedestrians out the way. These buggies don’t get repaired in toy shops. It’s blessed garages for them ! Have you not noticed, now the armoured personnel carriers have vacated Ulster's roads, we’ve moved to fill the gash with giant people carriers and land cruisers of our own ? Either we cannot psychologically bear to be without this bellicose asseveration of our security, or we just need larger cars with hulking great boots to fit these new super buggies in even when they’re folded up ! No, this family refuses to fall in with that particularly pernicious line of fashion thank you very much.

We knew we weren’t going to have any more children. The calculation was therefore to get the cheapest, most basic pushchair there was. It may have been primitive, but had four wheels, collapsible metal tubing and some fabric to gather up Amy’s frame. All for twenty-five of your non-Euro pounds. Of course, Suzanne’s rain bubble didn’t fit, so that was another tenner. Still, for a finite two years of pavement pounding, it seemed enough of the real deal. Only, four wheels compared with eight on Suzanne’s, proved to be a false economy of scale. Since they were also fixed, they rotated but did not turn. To execute a change of direction, I had to drag-lift the whole fuselage and repoint it to the required bearing. The bloody thing had the turning circle of a World War One battleship. The sturdy metal tubing had no give in it whatsoever, so that other than for the restraint of the stubby plastic straps, (whose locking mechanism always demanded an offering up of nail and skin before it’s scything thumbscrew), Amy’s small core would have been shucked from the buggy at the first sagging flagstone. As it was, on landing at the behest of her harness, she had to unsettle herself for the nightmarish persecutions of cardboard corner claws and tin rimmed talons of the shopping in the net behind her back. For as substantial as it felt, trhe twill was mysteriously fistulous.

I know for a fact, that this bastard buggy would have chewed up the teeth of the dustcart and spat them out as shrapnel.

Another design triumph spawned by this cross-breeding of Harland & Wolff with Mothercare, was the permanent blindspot at ground level, either side of the two front wheels. We’ll scoot on hurriedly past (or through) the pavement doggydo as a constant source of aggravation and alight on the propensity for contretemps, whether bagatelle or catastrophic. Today’s had been catastrophic, in a slow-puncture sort of way. Of course, since Vulcan himself had annealed the rubber coatings of the buggy’s wheels, they could never actually sustain a puncture, slow or otherwise. I’m talking about a figurative deflation. For, ahead of us, an old man was dragging his wheelie shopping basket behind him. Now we each sported blind sides. I attempted to slow our progress, but we were in danger of being swallowed up by the throng of Saturday shoppers from behind. The push-me, pull-you dynamic was calling for a quick step and we were paired irresistibly together. I tried to slipstream him. Not in the sense of a sucking air turbulence, for he was shuffling along like a slowworm; while there was nothing remotley aerodynamic about my fortified piece of mobile scaffolding. Rather I sought to match every sway and roll of his dumb charge, as it mooched along the buffeting paving. But finessed responses were beyond the parameters of my beast and my forearms soon wearied of trundling curvet for the heavily laden buggy. Dancing round handbag rather than ambage was more my style. I brought the buggy to land on all four of its wheels again and plumped for a plumbline. All our fortunes were now in Fate’s hands and we didn’t have to wait long.

A chariot race in the circus minimus of the High Street and our wheels lock together. His neck slowly turtles round conveying a stooped head from the nuzzle of his chest. The only motion not proceeding in stages, is the glower brandished by the creases of his aged face. I had violently disrupted his creaking progress. I kept my expression neutral, awaiting the cranking of his ill-lubricated facial musculature, until his lower lip finally dropped like the safety curtain at a theatre. He projected yellow teeth at me as if wheeled out on rollers. His eyes admonished me even as his brow knitted together in complete incomprehension, as he tried to fathom. Then he looked down at Amy, beaming up at him from her low vantage point. How dare you impute that it’s her fault old man ! Before I can drape myself in front of her bound form, I trace a flicker of memory snail across his countenance and see he is thrown. His carriage heaves, his challenge now prostrate. The wheels of his upturned shopping basket have stopped spinning. I feel sorry for him now, as he yanks his felled mount and totters off, dragging it along the fabric rather than the axles, such is his hurry to reel away from whatever has crushed him. In that one passing moment, I saw in him what I have come to appreciate. That the seeds of being that lay within my life-giving egg, were also to signal my own dissolution. Decidedly deciduous, some are merely further advanced towards evanescence than others. Soon to be harvested as chaff. The old man hated Amy for her box seat dependence on me. But he loathed her more for daring to be at the start of her life. He would sire no more children. Nor would he have the elastic powers of growth, regeneration and recovery, with which Amy was unconsciously mocking him through her innocent smile.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Snake Charming (A, B & E 11)

Sexology in the open university. And they said I didn’t have the stamina for a phD ! Student didn’t exactly instruct teacher, but the lesson was determinedly reinforced for me once again. Since the candid date ticked all the same multiple-choice boxes as his peers before him. This notion occuring to me, as I lay on the floor, while he thrust in my mouth like he was mounting a pre-dawn police raid. The scaley scrotal sack looming large in my vision, like a buffeted punchbag as it lurched and weaved. I just couldn’t help myself. I had to derive something out of this trip to the well. So I appended my fingertips to the hide and palpated it, as if it were the gourd of a snake charmer’s flute and I was blowing through his shaft. Made him dance alright. However, since serpents lack ears, they are swaying in reflexively defensive response, to the sinuous motion of the pipe player, rather than any sweet music emanating from his lips. Same went for this boy, albeit with his eyes throttled shut.

It’s the way they look at you. On the rare occasions they have their snake eyes exposed. And that’s only if they deign to have you facing them. Most of them like to sit or lie comfortably and have me riding them like a Nautilus rowing machine. That’s why on the limited face to face clinches I’m permitted, I like to manipulate them. To make them lose control and for their orbs to roll back into the sockets, so that I can clearly discern the whites. Then I know I’ve made them respond to me, even if briefly. Nothing gives me grimmer pleasure, than, well fucking with them. If they quicken the rhythm, I like to slow it back down again, to assert my ascendancy. If they are proceeding at a languid pace, I might well speed things up a tad. Make them toil for a change. It’s sheer bloody mindedness I know, but hey ho, that’s how I get my pabulum morsels these days.

Anyway, as I said, it’s how they gaze on you. And I choose my words carefully. They are not reflecting back any sensible response to my deep and meaningfuls. They are using my eyes specularly. For regarding themselves in. There is nothing two-way about this looking glass. Witness too the rictus grin when he espies my hollowed cheeks, sucking in scanty breath while containing his displacing hypertrophy. Oh how they love to take us from behind, or from the side, or our leg up over the shoulder, in order that they can ogle our jiggling pelvis and distending abdomen beneath their thrusts. Conveying to him, that the member lost to sight inside, is giving active demonstration of its still vigorous progress. Burrowing and stretching us visibly. Like some inside out version of the snake expanding its girth, to accomodate the contours of the prey passing through its tract. Even as I dumbly sway from side to side, in time-lagged antiphon to metronomic penile periodicity, I am returned to the world of myth and archetype, here in this land of myth and archetype. “For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents” (Exodus 7:12). Snakes routinely lid their eyes when they lunge to strike their prey.

The fleshy, glistening gateway back to paradise, that gives admittance into the female, also launches into the darkness and unseen grottos of the interior. Wherein might lay a monster, (a snake, a mongoose ?) waiting to strike. Yet surely the sinewy, elongated member that glides inside my orifice, is the one that is truly ophidian ? Does not the penis still emerge, like the man, all of a piece ? Intact. ‘No’, they protest, since it can no longer be seen and, as it is indeed as fragile and vulnerable as a serpent’s body, there are very apparent dreads that once disappeared from sight, it will be horribly mutilated. Why is it that actual teeth, never seem to present an obstacle to their demands to be deep throated, swallowed whole by our tracheas, which cannot disarticulate like a snake’s skeleton ? Moreover, how can they be armed with an image of incisored vaginas, when they hardly ever see our real teeth since they prohibit us from opening our mouths to speak and express our love ? Peradventure they are indeed correct. Maybe the redundant dentistry of the mouth has turned its back on enforced perpetual hibernation and gone south for the summer. At best, his proud flagstaff enters stiff (though not necessarily straight) backed, only to emerge flaccidly macerated. Victim of unseemly dark distaff arts within, that has greedily sapped the essence and life-giving spirit.

Yet I recall the febrilely pounding penii, far from fighting for their longevity (bad word), er endurance (worse, but you know what I mean), actually pursuing a different sort of integrity. Another type of salvation. Acting freely of its own accord. For it batters away as if it was a pneumatic jackhammer, or drilling for deep sea oil. This is not the patient, incremental body-walking consumption as practised by the colubrid devouring its prey. As embraced by our tender organs, maintaining his intactness for him as well as our own. Swelling to meet its bulk. The tell-tale bulge of our abdomens, (cellulite in actuality to both of our shames), until our essential juices complete their seething action and he boils over and rolls over too. Nourished ? Sated ? Whence they play possum prick. All flabby and lifeless, like the snake that feigns death. You toe it, roll it over, flick at it. Nothing. However, worry away at it long enough and it revives and uncoils itself miraculously. The snake that never dies. Uroborus is ready to go again.

What we actually confront here, is an ironic inversion. An imposture. A masquerade of male terror before some ridiculously fabricated female threat. Convulsively mocking us from behind this veil of disguised male cocksureity. This prophylactic against disclosing their true selves. Their true male nature. This is actually penis dentata. With its beady, unblinking eye. Steadfast pathfinder, ushering in offerings to its appetite, relentlessly scouring for sustenance. Bearing a hollow fang for shooting venom, innoculating us against what, I don’t know ? Our being ? Children immunise us from sharing any clout and knowledge in the world. The cock attempts to assert its rise and shine calendar over our lunar one. I give you also, the engorged hood of the cobra, some of which even spit venom like ejaculate. I mean they even have the gall to make it explicit in the name they confer upon one of the the snakes in the New World; ‘fer-de-lance’ - the spearhead. An iron-headed lance that cleaves out our very matter. In the mounted jousts of the bedroom, the lance keeps man at a distance, while he tries to master woman and upend her. A definite reach advantage, before engaging in close quarter combat.

Tracheas and windpipes are not the sole orifices they are forever seeking to seal. They are after consigning us to our own tenebrous depths. Immured in an abyss of inaccessibility. Walled up behind his monolithic custodian. His cyclopean overseer, lolling louchely over its twin smaller boulders, the blinking grin of one smug in the knowledge of his captive treats. And incidentally, with each plunge occluding and reopening the omphalos peephole from which we spun him. He can’t bear to set eyes on what he deems his demeaning origins. Since all he really aspires, is to have restored to him that which they mythically lent out to woman. That which initiated the primal, organic conjoining of male and female. That oh so costly, costal viniculum that binds us each ineluctably together. “Bone of my bone”. So each time he seeks to engage temporary union, he is additionally going excavating. Rummaging for that lost, forsaken shard of himself, offered up as the price of ending his loneliness. To meet his desire. Yet he is to avoid the all-consuming nature of her love and attachement. The internal landscape that engulfed and swallowed up a piece of his quiddity. An occult generation woven from his own very fibre. He desires her, me, she, but he surpassingly desires to snap the ineffable bind to all of us. He penetrates with the intention of turning us inside out. Entering me whole, calculating that he will be too swollen to be swallowed up permanently. To force me to regurgitate his indigestible essence. His indispensible ‘spare’ rib, to retrieve his attenuated substance. This is the only congruity he roots around for. In each and every commerce with his rebirth mother. He will only ever offer up a single sliver of himself and he even wants that back. Never to cede his whole self, to become a single, integrated flesh. But always to reassert disjunction and the preservation of his own solidity.

Okay then, so I have to press on from here. To garner some mastery. Some miss-tery. To salvage a space in which I can sequestrate what I demand from this interaction. It takes a certain leap of the imagination, but is pretty unerring. What I don’t need are the temporality of words butting into the proceedings. I don’t require them to mediate for either of us. “Thanks for the tour love”, or “Sorry darling, I’ve to be up early for the Booze Cruise tomorrow”. To assign and shackle the experience just past and the emotion of wherever we have emerged. The other side of the threshold we careered through, by blindly hurling our bodies together over it. Now I just want us to open our eyes. And move beyond played out carnal passion. I desire to inhabit this appulse. Coeternal for as long as humanly possible.

Yet it is a most precarious state. Balanced upon a hair’s breadth. It can easily veer off in either of two directions. And both represent a selfish involvement with only his own subject. After a brief lull, once he has regained the sense of his own boundaries, either he’ll likely crave more of our fleshy discourse. Or, an abstracted corporeality, that dozy, sated state of one who has both exhausted himself in the hunt and yet also feels both nourished and replete from the feast. I’m after a different sort of abstraction. A shared one. A palpable dislocation from all that we know. A perpetuation of synaesthesia, without the writhing of somatic mass. A genuine disconnection from everything extrinsic and quotidian, leaving pure connection with my partner of the moment. A sweep where together, we can create anything we like. Anything we can imagine. A pre-Fall Garden of Eden, when singularly man and woman existed for each other’s adoration. The Eden when Adam howlingly begged for a mate to end his gaping solitariness. That moment just prior to when the sibilant serpent introduced me to Damon.

For all the (relatively) involuntary sighs, grunts and groans, deep rent from our overloaded and therefore unmediated beings, the flesh cannot transcend its own circumscription.The gravity-laden physical bourn. The anatomical injunctions. Where flesh slops against flesh, with a gulp where the air is expelled between the suction of the twin heaving surfaces. I want, desire, to repose in a realm that is without edges. I yearn to be boundless. I want us to be borne aloft on that vacated air squeezed out, emitted from between us with our commingled stamp on it. In our horizons, we are to be the only two people extant. Without any dis-attractions to sunder us. For tonight at least.

Simon his name was. One of the few pre-coital words tossed beathlessly in my direction. Now, no longer one flesh, our torsos cloven apart. Our legs however were still intertwined. He, head slumped against my shoulder, legs splayed out at the diagonal. Me, stiff backed against the headboard, my left leg threaded under his right and over his left. My right leg bent at the knee, arching over his ankles. Hand propped on it, fingers buttressing a lit cigarette overhanging the sheet beyond my foot. I’ve no intention of bringing it to my lips. It measures out time for him, embers in place of grains of sand. The span of two such kindlings will determine whether he is reignited, or rolls over to sleep. I have found this chronometry unfailingly meters the male metabolism.

I glance over towards him, unable to determine whether the look in his eye expresses confusion as to why I am not putting it to my mouth, or suppressed concern as to the impulse of the hot ash. The modern day version of barefoot and blindfold. He tilts his torpid head as a prelude to inquiry, but I nimbly raise the index finger of my right hand and gently transect his lips. Uh-uh, if we no longer are able to retain the disarticulations of earlier, the reflexively unreflected babble, the sonorous squalls coitally quarried from our deepest seams of self, then better we are held together under silence’s shroud. It is paramount that we become alalial allies. It is the very heart of the matter. I shake my head for added emphasis and already I detect his purpose is lost in the undulations of my tresses against his exposed cheek.

Suffused in my ruminations, I was unaware that my murmuring Medusa’s locks had ceased their stroke. He was unconsciously rubbing his delicately flayed cheek and I ventured some sort of vocalisation would follow. Again I placed my finger across his lips and spiked their unsheathing. Tentatively he edged the tip of his tongue out against my tapered digit and hastily withdrew it again. He had tasted my resolve. Through the conduit of his lips, I felt his whole body flinch as he gathered himself up towards defiance of my circumvention of speech. I unfurled my middle finger and laid it with great deliberation next to her sister, across the crevice of his mouth. The muscles at the corners of his lips, measuredly retracted their charges into a crooked grin. My two fingers now like twin colonnades, bracing open his stupid wide aperture. I lent forward and mutely kissed the extended knuckles of my own fingers. That threw him somewhat. For as his startled lips were about to clamp down reflexively on them, I withdrew my fingers but maintained their sentinel trajectory. He was seemingly transfixed by the sight of two caryatids rigidly posted just beyond his orifice. He was beyond coherence right now. Veritably speechless. He jutted his chin forward and slithered out his tongue to reel my goading digits into his teeming maw. They waggled out of range. He extended further forward. My fingers spun away. He was shaping to cast again, when my left foot snakes across and presses him back down across his chest. He is about to protest verbally, when my twin fingers reassert their superintendence across his portals of locution. His body sags and crumples back to the mattress, though I can tell his mind has been wracked by a bolt of delicious tautness.

After a circumspect period, I detach both my leg and my fingers. He does not stir. I light my second cigarette and resume my vaulting of him. Leadenly, he rolls on to his side and scrabbles for something on the floor. He resurfaces with a burgundy towelling robe, (brought with him from home, since this is not the class of hotel which runs to provisioning them for guests, though the guests would be of the class happily to snaffle them), before reclining back towards the headboard. Half self-pinioned, awkwardly he shrugs himself into the robe. He gropes around his back for something, with clumsy, sightless digits. I surmise that he seeks the belt of the robe, but it is not there. He submits and his head slowly sinks back down the surface of the headboard. His long locks pincered by his crown, momentarily maintain their station like creeping ivy, before they descend to unseam his now less than immaculate coiffure. I fix him there, framed unflatteringly by the knobbly towelling. At the angle he lies, his glorious sixpack is almost completely submerged by the flesh collected under gravity. There is even the hint of a rucking of flabby skin just above his hips. Why on earth has he donned this garment and broken the spell ? I deflect my gaze and peer through the rising cigarette smoke as if for augury. I must have sensed something in the corner of my eye and snapped my focus back, to intercept him about to tumble words into the air. This time it’s my cigarette-cradling fingers that drape themselves over his mouth. His eyes start to water, from the proximity of the smoke, or from more internal fusillades I cannot be sure. I know the prosaic reason for the robe of course. The poor lamb’s cold. His lips are quivering. He manoeuvres them to siphon some superficial heat from my cigarette, his irises scuttling to their extreme margins scanning for any repercussion. Good boy, maybe we’re getting somewhere after all. I cant my face away so that my jagged smokey laughter does not exhale over him.

The sheen of sweat from our earlier endeavours, (which so sublimely varnished his sixpack all throughout) still sits atop his skin. But it has fulfilled its function and cooled him down, to the extent where his follicles currently stood to attention in an attempt to reinsulate him. They no longer glistened like the limbs of an insect dappled with pollen. Now such droplets threaten his tonicity. Indolent, mutinous beads with no sustained interdependence. They subvert him. He trusts to the robe to absorb and dismiss them. To tamp him back down and regather. My perspiration went west long ago. Evaporated, since my temperature’s still rising with the afterglow. I take pity on him and place my two unburdened fingers on his lips again. He is surprised, since he was not attempting to challenge me. But this time they do not crest the vertex, but bow in supplication at the lower ridge. They wait a while, before he hesitantly lifts the labium and gently skims the pads of my fingers. Emboldened, he grazes them with his gums, before eventually, he throws off his shackles and engulfs them. He laps at them with bulbous slurps and satisfied tiny suction pops. So I flick his teeth with one of them as scourge. He responds obediently and laps at them regularly, up and down in a spiral. First one, then his tongue nudges them apart so he can acquire the second. Like he’s chamoising minature mullions. Sure enough, he soon slots into a mechanical, albeit arrhythmic, insipid servicing. His thoughts off elsewhere, because he’s too blunted to assert what he wants. Wordlessly that is.

His problem, like so many of his kind, is he will not just live in the timeless moment. He’s all sweaty, He’s cold. He’s lying in a viscous, cloying pool (of his own making and one in which I am happy to cleave to me, to adhere me to the sheet. To anoint us together). And, he wants to prate about it. Ask asinine questions towards self-aggrandizement. Or to record and log proceedings. To minute them. To compare with the past and to carry forward amendments into the future. Where he has already projected himself. It was as if he was narrating the entire event. The circumstance. An episode. He is keen to march me back into the mundane and I am not at that double quick pace. He wants to return us to the formally structured relations, of speaker and listener. Addresser and addressee. Subject and object. Chatterer up and chatted up. The one inside and the one outside, of intent. He cannot wait for the sperm pellicle to mark out time by receding to a light, dried crust. There’s premature ejaculation and then there’s premature post-ejaculation. Cos intimacy ought not have departed with consummation. Our bodies had spoken, but they were still communing with one another in mute elation. Interwoven, flesh blended with flesh. Who knew or cared where you ended and I began ? So what of your slight edge on me in hirsuiteness, or my darker pigmentation ? It was all awash in the sensual maelstrom, the perceptual overload. Our fallible vessels, cause of so much anxiety in the workaday consciousness, had been temporarily uplifted, so we could quaff of mutual veneration and adoration. And we should seek to prolong those feelings for as long as possible. For eternity. To remain conjoined, even in stillness. Indeterminate and undifferentiated. Equals.

Until that is, you clad yourself in your burgundy fleece. Now our separateness is clear. Our demarcation evident against the hues of the sheet pointing up our contrast. A chasm between us, yawning in your case, yearning in mine. Me beached on dry land, you still shivering in the shallows. Conspicuously other. Another species almost. A reimposition of the way of things. You satisfied. Content. And me ? Trying to hold the moment. The feeling. But now solely dependent on my own creative resources. And yet far too aware of this reliance, so it slips from my grasp all the while. In closing the aperture of his reporting mouth, I have sealed the portal of our connection as if rolling a huge dolmen across the exposed fissure of his self. Occluded any and all light of disclosure from emanating from his hollow being. God damnit ! A role reversal yields the same futile outcome. My eyes hold all the unstinting power that Damon’s held, yet it prospers me in no wany, shape or form.

My cigarette had burned away to nothing. On the stroke of its expunction, he rolled over on to his side and curled into himself slightly. Somehow, his unsecured robe, his vinculum to life, had managed to adhere to him throughout his quarter revolution, his waning crescent, and still mantled his immodesty. I was now fully excised from his being, tossed into his moat of oblivion as the drawbridge of sleep was raised. I took a pinch of the robe between my fingers and lightly peeled it from his skin. I had a clear view of his ribs gently rising and falling with his quieted breath. The upswing seemed to take an eternity, as they manfully bore aloft their own weight against gravity. The downswing seemed to presage a relieving collapse, but each time caught itself from shuddering and instead coursed down in modulated repose. How does he sleep so easily ? I bent down to softly kiss them in salute. My lips left a glistening imprint upon them, which I watched undulate for a couple of cycles. Insufficient moisture to model a tidal effect with his zephyr breath. Then I leant over and smashed my balled fist into the centre of my mark and was rewarded with a satisfying crack. I took my reappropriated rib back from him...

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Tit Bits - A,B & E 10

So that was it. Bottom line, he had the most delicious neck. Well worth putting my own on the chopping block for. You see, for all the reflection, calculation and contemplation, the feelings of hollowness, of being tethered, it all came down to the exquisite mysteries, the delirium engendered by that special neck. I am somewhat of a connoisseur. Don’t tell me you still don’t get it about the neck ? Well Terry’s, for example, is thin and prehensile. Like a vulture’s, crooking his head forward of his ramrod straight shoulders. As he fixes you with his beady eye, disconcertingly staring up into you from below. Or perennially half-turned in the front seat of the car, cleaving me and Damon apart in the back (and craftily scoping Lawrence peripherally). A vulture’s neck is devoid of feathers, since it is habitually projected deep into the bloodied carrion and the bird would be unable to preen itself clean. Being far too rapaciously acquisitive to co-operate with others of its species, thus bare stays the neck. See, I told you the neck was a sound diagnostic resource to the inner workings. Everything passes along it between the brain and the central nervous system. You’d have no beautiful musical strings, were the neck not between the tuning pegs and the body for you to finger. Oh and Damon’s ? Damon’s was like a tree stump, (how had I overlooked that at the outset ?) and ultimately, I was not a hugger of trees. Terry was though. He always cupped his hand round a man’s pycnic neck, rather than round the shoulders. Ever poised to wring it if required.

It's not merely that the neck is the decorative stem of the egg cup that cradles our brains. The end of the trunk road that signposts north to all facial expressway emotions. The neck is a picturesque landscape worth navigating in its own right. Damon’s neck however, was monotonous. Relentlessly undifferentiated. Invulnerable. A stout oaken beam. Without the gnarled cortex of bark. No salient of any Adam’s Apple, as if he’d swallowed apple, serpent and all, and smoothly adsorbed them into his plasma. Yet, he made the adam’s apples of other, lesser men, dance up and down as if he were a fairground try your strength stall owner, but no one ever got close to ringing his bell. Nor did he display evidence of tension- loaded carotid arteries to the side, again uniformly plastered into the all-over integument. Nothing and everything to get hold of. My hands would feed themselves up the broad holds without pause. Merely to grasp his face for kissing, or as he hoisted me up, in order to fold me appropriately to his elevation.

The scraggy scruffs of the youths here also fail to inspire, or ignite me as they ought. No matter what the physique, their fuzzy necks appear scrawny. The boney protuberance at the crest of their spine, seemingly hitching up their precocious bodies to their outsized predatory crowns. Neck as clothes hanger, in a permanent coat-check awaiting collection by matching ticket. They all cast their eyes down, rather than look you in the eye. It’s as if their stalks can’t bear the contemptuous weight. Back home either they cup their heads in a hood, or prop up their stance by ramming hands into trouser pockets as ballast. Here on the beach, bedecked only in shorts and trunks, they are all at sea. The skin only scrubbed by the clumps of downy hair, that breaks up any possible diaphanous vista stretching across their matchstick vertebrae. The ski runs are too brittle for me to trial an excursion. There is nothing giddily vertiginous to elicit my ruttishness. The only black runs present, are perspiration trails.

Homegrown foreplay on these foreign shores bypasses the neck entirely. Not for the want of trying. I turn my back on the youth du jour and run my hands into my hair, gathering it up for them. An open signpost to the top of my spine, but they presume it’s an invitation to reach around for my breasts. It’s so dispiriting. The neck is a de-erogenised zone. An off-the-beaten-track sort of site, bereft of interest or benefit. Outmoded by the one-stop-shopping at the cornucopia of the abdomen’s CBD. Crested by tit and fanny one-stop shops. The boys make straight for these pick and mix romper rooms. In regressive infantland, the neck is supplanted by the breast. A multi-faceted, one-way transaction. Actually, forget the multi-faceted aspect. I list for you below the entire panoply of mammary manouevrings at the cavalier hands of my young corsairs out here. I won’t include those tongue, face and penile impressions, for they are just far too chronic to dismal.

Nipple Clamping:
1) The nipple played as if strumming a guitar. Isn’t it all synthesizers and samplers these days ?

2) The nipple plucked as if plying rosary beads. ‘Forgive me Father for I know not what I’m doing’. Or counting on an abacus, an additional twenty-three more sweeps and he can move on to the next magnitude of landmark flesh

3) The nipple kneaded as though crumbling a lump of hash, rolling it and licking it sealed. All that’s misssing is lighting it up and passing it round.

4) The nipple tweaked as if tuning a radio. Both rapidly becoming a relic. The transistor and the wireless nipple that is. Is that a better reception now ? Usually a precursor to the breast being wielded like that other dinosaur, the manual gearstick

Single Breastwork:
5) Working away at the breast like it’s a scratchcard. You lose again you mug !

6) The pinch and twist, like trying to open a recalcitrant bottletop. I implore you, don’t try and use your teeth !

7) Flicking the breast like you were slicing through a rack of suits. That’s the problem with darned metrosexuals from London !

8) Shooting craps, or at least shaking the dice, eternally. Did he just blow on them for good luck ? Gambler's fallacy. Just roll the damn things already !

9) The executive gripmaster, for the man too busy to work out. Multi-tasking, his other hand is probably doing miniature starbursts on the labia

10) Pint in a straight glass please. He’ll cup it around the rim with reverence, but he won’t sup at it

Double-D Clutch:
11) The mountaineer. Clambering up the abdomen with his tongue, outstretched hands feeling for the next secure hold. He finds them and grips like clampons. Like he’s clinging on for dear life. Eventually he scales the twin peaks and hoves his head over the pinnacle with a stupid, self-satisfied grin. Alternatively is the East/West Face ascent, whereby each hand is a mountaineer coming at either peak from the side and meeting at the top of their respective summits (and waving idiotically at each other into the bargain)

12) The push-me, pull me. As if they’re playing the church organ, like some old spinster

13) The handlebars, as they ride me like a bike. Oops, bit of a dip there, careful, some camber coming up. Have you passed your proficiency test ?

14) The cymbals. Why do boys do this with such glee ? They don’t make much of a noise. Still, marginally preferable to those trying to drive them up into my jawline, like a radical new botox treatment. Cheek by jowl indeed

15) Putting the hands on each cup and just holding them there, like they’re warming up by a fire. Prelude to rubbing them vigorously together like emery paper. Still, this is one up on the hand as shamois leather, working over a particularly ingrained smear perceived somewhere on the breast

16) Punch and Judy without the puppets. That’s definitely not the way to do it

17) You knead me like dough. I need you like a hole in the head. If I knew you were coming, I’d’ve baked you a cake

You get none of this palaver with the nape of the neck I can tell you ... How many was that, sweet seventeen ? Presumably for my own double-page spread in a redtop, I would be required to produce a round score ? Tit Bits - the twenty boob jobs of sex ! Oh, is that a fact ? You may come over all hoity-toity, but bottom line, this is one field where we’re all hewn from the same rock. You can dress it up any whichway. Okay then, we'll tailor it for a Broadsheet. Instead of an Agony Auntie, I'll present myself as a sexologist. I do have a degree you know ! Well no, but I’ve been privy to enough fumbling and bumbling out here to counsel our misguided and lost generations. Try this for size if it's arch theorizing you're after. Between the sheets, I can adapt to any style you may care to solicit.

Adolescent sexual adventuring. Mapping of the other, that terra incognita of the opposite gender. Maiden voyaging towards imagined corporeal landscapes. Setting sail provisioned only with rumours, speculation and riddled nuggets, stitched together into a phantasmagorical, idealised mappamundis. Bearing unknown continents with suspiciously scalloped coastlines. Giving on to unscaled hinterlands, of nooks and crannies, crevices and valleys, grottos and cataracts, all indeterminately disproportionate. The conjectured rivers, crudely resembling biological drawings of the sexual plumbing. The unknown interiority, replaced in the cartography of afflatus, with the grotesques and the monsters of delirium. And their seaborne cousins, the behemoths and hydras, the gogs and magogs of the deep. The watery oceans themselves, framed with gargoyles exhaling the trade winds and jet streams of natural impulse and cherubic trumpeted peer pressure. Hazardously determining negotiation of choppy currents, tempests and swells, as the sexual wayfarers seek to plot their course.

And on to the Odyssey itself. More buckled and less swash. For the coves, the epic hazards of sirens and harpies, the blushing scarlet of female equivocation. On the distaff side, the monomaniacal one-eyed giants, with their cyclopean periscope on the main prize. Then there are the tides treacherously running you aground. Or stilling you in the Doldrums, snagging you with fibrous sargassum. Can you steer your circumnavigator-cum-surveyor to fill in the contours ? With your sextant and compass, can you cincture the whole ? The azimuth and the altitude. The hidden depth of the third dimension. To produce a more realistic lie of the terrain ? To populate the great unknown antipode, dismissively tagged ‘Frigida Inhabitabilis’ ? What chance, when casting off from crude sketches of your own unexplored interior ?

See, they come here, the ignorant, the rudimentary, to a long-established sea-faring nation, much like our own. Additionally, one that has extensively charted both the mental map and the physical geography, with its philosophy, its cosmology, its science and statuary. Yet these greenhorns, these horny toads, these brigands and opportunists, depart these shores with a scurvied treatment of sex and a reedy, featureless atlas for the future. Oh and in all likelihood, also a STD. Judging by the number of prescriptions I’ve had to seek.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Chauffeur Driven - A,B & E 9

Sex is a mental thing and that’s way beyond the province of youth. A bit arse over tit maybe, but with me it’s nearly always the seduction and its delicious sense of anticipation that sets me off, rather than the act itself. What did Lawrence and I have over Damon ? The conspiracy of illicit lovers. That shared secret, that somehow we may have held out lording it over the overlord himself, only by definition, he must never know or realise. Infuriatingly, a withheld secret proffers no mastery over the unaware. And of course, when he did discover our glimmer of autonomy, he effortlessly garotted it into lifelessness. But what about the spice of stealing from the arch robber baron himself ? The prince of thieves ? That ought to foment some exquisite heat. Albeit immediately doused by the coolant that is the terror of discovery. Even then there is rank inequality. Lawrence’s booty was the crime boss’s wife, whereas my ill gotten gain was merely one of the hired hands. The chauffeur with a peaked cap. So no, it wasn’t about any empowerment.

Who am I kidding ? There never was any power to be had. For power is indivisible. Damon vitiates everyone he comes across. Like a King Midas, he petrifies everything he contacts. The car was our designated arena. It was foreseen and logged by the panopticon, that Lawrence and I would be coexisting in that shared space, for the mensurable duration of an excursion. Neither of us dared to flout those parameters, since no such stopover had been pencilled in the itinerary and we both superstitiously, (such is Damon’s abstruse omnipotence), felt that to challenge the phasing would irrevocably tilt our tiny portion of the cosmos from its orbit. Whereby astronomical Damon, or a keen-eyed black-holer like Terry, would surely rein us in with their telescopic reach. So we never got out and did it in a field, or a park, or some occluded public space. The car was our canopy and mantle. Restraint-abandon, abandon-restraint. I don’t know that you can usefully conjoin these two contrary impulses. There was just a single exception. We cavorted on the bonnet on a single happenstance. And do you know what informed this particular expedient ? Lawrence bequeathed it, on the day he knew he was responsible for ensuring that the car was washed and waxed. So the smear of our mutual trespass could be instantly wiped clean. Whither spontaneity ? Whither unprompted passion ? So there’s the epitome of Damon’s clout. How he could contaminate our fantasies and infect them with the coccus of nightmare.

From the first time I clapped eyes on Lawrence, I actually thought him faintly ridiculous donned out in the livery of a chauffeur. Grey was not Lawrence’s colour (is it anyone’s ?). His sturdy fibrousness obviously itched for some more cutting edge action, (sadly for him, Damon never did need the recourse of a ‘getaway’), since it bulged and surged against the fabric in unexpected little places. Offering its own remonstrance that it could not be contained therewith. The trouble was, the overall effect just made him appear crinkled. Like a tyre tread. A skidmark.

So, it is fair to say the attraction, that animal lure, was not eye-poppingly immediate. For some six years, Lawrence had been transporting me on my woman of leisure’s diurnal pilgrimage; shopping congresses, beautician assignations and restaurant rendezvous. All undertaken, without paying the slightest heed of him sat ahead of me. At best, if on the return journey home I ever flitted out of my limbering reverie, or my swooning expenditure, what sight befell me ? An insignificant fleshy mullion, foregrounding my view out on to the world. A dainty isthmus of neck, corrugated between sharp borders of grey jacket rimming white shirt collars and the tight furrow of close cropped hair. If the ventral display was all disorderly, thewy subversion, the dorsal, that view presented to me, was faultlessly bashful. That was intriguing. What could Damon make of this Janus-faced employee ? What could I ?

Gradually on each day’s sojourn, my advertence deserted internal recitation of liturgies from catalogue, brochure, menu and glossy primer. Instead I consecrated a new tierce, as idle distraction fanned into fervent obeisance. Sat re-upholstered at my rear-seated station, my devotion was an engrossed fascination. For across the week, I traced the serial derangement of his jacket collar into atony, until starchy reconditioning from a presumed trip to the dry cleaners of a weekend. I followed the similar, more rapid enervation of each crisp shirt collar, further tracking the advancing tide mark as the day waxed and waned. I stalked the creeping infraction of the descending hairline into the dermal savanna of his endangered neck. I monitored the patches of gauzy down succumbing one by one to the dark, septentrional colonisation. And then I witnessed the monthly incendiary clearing, of both scrub and thicket. How the scarified skin was arrayed with beacon red horripilation. Livid nodes of denudation protesting the lunar cull. Nonetheless, in the night, stratification had been reimposed, stark frontiers redrawn. A flirtation with unkempt chaos, redeemed by asperous ministrations. Daily I was witness to Damon’s grooming and yet it’s familiarity did not engender such goggle-eyed interest. But in one of his minions, the shadowplay of natural louche inclination, contending with regimented ambition, afforded me a squint into what the High Priest demanded of his votaries. With myself as one such. A cult of the contrary. Of partial inversion. Hard men feminised in the catamenial rhythms of their off-duty oscillations. Petticoat me, invigorated when I clocked on of an evening peregrined on Damon's arm. Here was an opportunity advanced to discover who I really had become. Tergiversation was complete. I was no longer a lady who lunched.

Now these recurring transitions across Lawrence’s skin, microscopic changes ranging beyond the quotidian, conceded a glimpse of other dramas being played out. Might this be what it would be like to rear a child ? My erstwhile experience of remote godmothering, (unsurprisingly, Damon was much in demand for covenanting to safeguard many children both within the official Church and the church of Satan), meant I got to see a lot of infants intermittently. “Oh, do you think ?” was the constant refrain of mothers, whose bloodshot wakes burrowing through scleras entrenched deep within orbital skin, still managed to disseminate a weak distress flare against the pallor of the rest of their face. Seemingly, being so close and proximate to your baby, connotes that is very hard to discern minute variations and incremental growth. My immersion in the mutable scruff of Lawrence gainsays this. The devil is in the detail. Desire’s deal-making circuit breaker. A mercurial trip switch.

Growth. Development. Progression. Expansion ... So having dedicated carriaged hours to musing, now it was ordained that I should venture beyond the narrow straits. No longer was it to be a restricted view. The partition glass had coalesced into a new identification suite for me. For his part, Lawrence had always been the consummate orderly. Never looking over his shoulder to engage with me. Our conversation light and borne on the air, as he addressed the windscreen in front of him with full transparency. Yet every occasion of him opening the door for me, or watching my form recede from the car, accomodated him plenty scope to appraise me if he so desired. A rear-view reciprocation. And came the day, that incipient instant of inroaded irruption, when I espied a gash in his freshly threshed stubble. The censure of a cutthroat razor. Nevertheless from its extraneous locus on the back of his neck, an innocent enough imprint. And yet, perhaps not. For here was evidence, that in his private time, his intimate, non-fraternal space, while being shaved (who shaved him, surely no woman would employ a cutthroat ?), he had indeed turned his head to converse with someone and incurred the blade’s scathing. The clock was ticking, the clouds blunting the sun and effacing the sundial. In my mind’s eye, I leaned forward in my seat and through the providential fissure in the partition screen, whispily blew the pappus on his neck. Trying to incise a clearing, to keep any strands of hair from draggling across the riven flesh and flaying it further. I did this day after day, healing without laying on of hands, until the volcanic relief of scar tissue resubmerged from sight. And I knew it was time. I had parted the waves. There was no more balefire red, of whatever source, warning me off.

And maybe Lawrence had also felt me perennially boring through his occiput, leaning lasciviously against the foramen arcades, impressing upon the grey matter within. Until its arrogation finally overrode any friction of fear and imparted him with misconceived momentum of his own. The resistable driving force, meeting the resolutely sedentary object. Convergence. Only there never was really.

That steers us back to the sex then. Well, spacious as the back of a limo is, it is still somewhat confining. We only ever partly undressed, not through impetuous passion, but due to restrictive turning circles given the low ceiling. I tended to plump for the reveal lying beneath bra and chemise, whereas he went for the sloughing of trousers and boxers. Complementary. It might have presaged how well we fitted together. In actuality it pointed up we were both off the meter. The required increased stretch for our limo, would have been widthways more than length. The seats weren’t the right height to access someone on the floor and though they were of a harder consistency than a bed, whoever was installed on them kept sinking further down into their concavity. In the end, we hit upon Lawrence having to stoop, while I squatted precariously on the flip up flunky seats, with every thrust threatening to upend me from my perch. Accordingly, the sex was simultaneously both stilted and vertiginous. My face was pressed up against the glass partition, seeing faint, indistinct impressions of myself veering up and slicing through my head. Half the time, if Lawrence torqued too firmly, or I relaxed my own braced tautness, I ended up kissing these riven me’s. There was enough slurped DNA across the partition, to clone me whole. Which Lawrence had already achieved single-handed. For all the sinewy aches of being bent, folded and manipulated, the sex was lordotic. Untrammelled access to my neck obliged this. But to me, post-coital admission was even better.

Since I could fold my head into a perfect nuchal cradle. My bated breath, barely ruffling the upstanding follicles which palisaded my face with resolute attention. Holding me together, when I smouldered and felt I was going to shrivel up. That feeling of being held, just like a baby in a mother’s arms. A feeling we’re are forever yearning to recapture, but the adult geometry always seems awry. It almost makes you wish to have been born into those cultures, whose matrons employ a papoose. Whereby the newborn unable to bear up its head, can naturally collapse forward to nestle in the curve of the mother’s nape. I always insisted on spooning him.

Lying there I could see the carotid cables pulse and whip with the exhalation of a long-resisted breath. Sinewy snakes, ever alert, sentinels on guard for the both of us while I duck out and dare shield my eyes from the world. As I press my whole ambit into his neck, the cords hoist me like elevator cables to a place of untouchability. It is a smooth ascension, without palpitation or tremor. It is the ultimate limo drive. It is the only pillow I could truly sleep on, without being pummelled and jabbed at by guilty dreams. The post-coital cocktail of hormonal somnolence probably helped, but if your crib fails to lend itself to repose -(sex out here not only effaces nothing of my surroundings, but rather amplifies shameful hotel decor, the mind-boggling clutteredness of transient tourists and their off-putting slovenliness). Lying there with Lawrence, I couldn’t help but fantasise cutting those cords and the two of us plummeting down towards an Icarian fusion. But this pyretic image was ever an improvement on my lonely vigil here, sat staring at the enticing veins in my wrists. Wrists and neck. Locii where I used to spray perfume. When I was formerly a woman, concerned with her feminine allure, not her female buffness.

Then, waxed and waned, the gathering comedown. Keys in the ignition and a turning of the engine. Lights on. At least one us us was itinerised to be someplace. One particular occasion I’d determined to wear lipstick. To spraypaint my manumission on the parted partition’s hoarding. Lawrence was appalled and wiped the crimson smile roughly from my lips with his hand. Oh he claimed that it was because it made me look tarty. But I knew the real reason was forensic. In the same way that the carapace of the car had to remain untainted by evidence, so the interior had to appear sterile too. Our love was doomed. On a road to nowhere.

The back of the neck. Like the arse, a region of the self you cannot catch. More so really, since a strategic looking glass will assist in your posterior viewing. But not the neck. You need two reflecting surfaces working in tandem to project that. And though the libidinous crackle was concentrated in his nape, really I was solely after a peek at my own. To regard what crested my spine. How my central nervous system was capped. What exactly tamped my passions back down among the Stygian darkness of my viscera. A simple neck rub might have sufficed, if I could have watched him operating on me in a mirror. But of course the house stakes were too high to return just a humble massage, so we went for broke. The whole body interaction. All over kneading. Genital focus as raising agent. And though I did arch the bow of my back and fire off fulgurant arrows, (in a manner I scarce did with Damon’s cock feather), I was really straining to ponder my own cervical curve. Lawrence’s lap a gantry, his neck a harness for my arms, as my skeleton tried to pivot so as to round on itself. But no matter how much he cranked his shaft, I was never able to attain full integration of course. I remained refluxed. Earthbound. Or carbound. The eternal pasenger. Passively driven along. Like a coffin on the treadmill that heaves its sedate progress to the crematorial flames.

Our relationship had feet of clay. Which was unfortunate, once we washed up shoeless, together on this sandy beach. With the tide rushing in. Pretty soon we were at each other’s throats, antipodal to the draw of each other’s pretty necks that had soldered us together. What sex there was, was desperate, rough and reproachful. Everything we did was braised in denaturing alcohol. And one stewed row too many, I launched a fusillade of insults, capped off with the leaden shot that “You’re showing your roots”. To which he rejoindered “Yeah, well so are you”. “I’ve never hidden where I’m from”. “No and it’s bleedin’ obvious where you’re heading to an’ all”, patting his head and rubbing his stomach at the same time, before transferring from the head, to mime knocking back shots, or maybe fellatio. It wasn’t exactly clear which. Then the parting depth charge as he stormed off down the beach, “For somebody supposedly brainy, you’ve fucked things up right royally” ringing in my cauliflowered ears. Has to be said, that for a boy with little formal education, he was remarkably prescient. Damon must have mentored him well to read people. For the disenchanted furrow he ploughed through the sand and right off the island, wasn’t too wide of my beaten track. My hair had been bleached to straw and any highlights were long gone. The sun had set on our relationship and left me with no end of split ends. A girl’s gotta eat somehow hasn’t she ?