When I last saw you is when I came alive, is where I come from. It was grey granite and marble there in large cuts solid and square, façades of red clinker sable brown tile; terra-cotta sienna stucco classical balconies; composition. Tall windows grey blue painted clean-mannered iron grills on glass, proportion. Lines were sharp, streets were canyons, shadows lean, voices and eyes seduced. Bread. Hidden courtyards, enclaves of light. It was light pink and dark pink nerium on balconies that nobody used. Do they only ever use these balconies when no one is watching? Where do they take their morning coffee?
We are algorithms of topology, moving to the rhythm of habit at the speed of the lightest thought, mapping star charts, notating probabilities and prospecting for favourable geometries in chance. Explorers of the explicit, cartographers of networks of need, want, convenience, desire. We strategise nearness risking minimal openness. Our fingertips glide on skin in search of clues to the terrain beneath, lingering on contours of hopes of connection of fingers on keyboards on phones to make sense of the façade; to allow ourselves be haunted by echoes by coaxing neurons into grooves that grasp the moment wishing for its abyss to last forever.
There will be a tomato. It will be slightly rotting, there must be a green black fissure on its skin. It will sit on a tabletop with no table cloth. No, have a table cloth handy you never know. Make it a rose and poppy one. The tabletop is to be wood, unpolished cypress. There will be a dead hornet. Go outside to find one if you have to, I don’t care, but there will be a dead hornet.
Angle the tomato against the light. Wait, as the sun slants, to show off its rotten side. Mark spaces on the wood with chains of cherry pits. Place the hornet an inch away from the tomato, not upside down but with dignity, it is dead show it some respect. It must not face any portion that is not yet rotten. Watch the sun sink.
Now hear my story
Gesture remains on desire paths by force of habit in muscle memory.
When motor memory turns autonomous, there’s nowhere left to drift, delve, dérive.
No drive, only driven — roots float, seas have risen, they have drowned us.
Memories constructed, distance an exponentially expanding shift, but history always alive.
These bells are two minutes late. They will always be a minute here or there as I discover through yet another day of counting hours backwards.
The bells repeat four notes at indefinite intervals. Four pullers of ropes in lively conversation that distracts them from their job, ropes coming in the way of gesturing animatedly. There is a kind of coherence through the sounds because of how few the notes are and how pleasant their timbre. It is mid-day, so we will be treated to a ragged quartet piece in four voices. I wait for the finale. They must come together, my ear begs for it and they must tell us the time. They seem to be coming together in unison now. But they inexplicably fade away as though the church steeple were a passing ambulance. I never get to hear the end of piece — a garbage lorry obscures it — whether they stay together to tell us the time, whether they tell us the time. The bell rope-pullers have tired and they have decided today that this time will be ten o’clock. They couldn’t be bothered to finish their piece or no I am wrong, they have much to say and they are saying it — the piece is entitled “unfinished”. How stuck up am I that I need an exact number of chimes in perfect unison? Loosen up, live a little. I will have a tense twenty-four hours in anticipation of the next concert.
A single thin bell chimes twelve times at exactly half past noon. The thermostat says that it is half past eleven.
Published in hākārā Journal