Antxnia

Wake

Every day, it wakes

It feels, it waits, it expects

Every day, it wakes

Forced from sweet slumber

Seize the day! Make it yours! Make it count!

Yet every day, it wakes

It knows that it too, must survive today

Blinding sun, or its reflection on grey clouds

Movement, sound, sensation

And flickers of hope

It must survive it all

So every. single. day. it wakes.

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Antxnia

Wave

The water approaches slowly

Barely daring to wet the sand

A little foam at the edge

Where the friction creates its own element

…and out again; and in again; and out again…

The water gets bolder

Washing up on the shore

Wetting sand, rocks and tentative toes

It’s about the right temperature – you can get used to it

You’ll probably adjust (quite quickly)

You just don’t control the waves.

…and out again; and in again; and out again…

There’s nothing unpredictable about being at sea

One cannot expect the tide to chill

It’s controlled by the moon, it’s lunacy!

Eventually the waves are all that’s left

 

…over and over and over it all…

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Meursault

October

October

October is an attempt to write consistently for a month – an attempt to challenge myself. October may give way to November, or October may close naturally with October 31st.

October may be a month but its referential frame is much wider – this body of work seeks to explore that.

October will signify my thinking born out of this month, my feelings felt during this month and how they translate into print, and images I perceive (in the loosest possible sense, mental and visual – distinction to be had) in October.

October I

Thatch roofs bow with the weight of winters passed. Lead gutters filled with copper leaves gurgle out – an ode to another era. Scythes doomed to fall silent; reeds felled, bundled and tied no more. Old weathered hands rendered superfluous.

Dilapidated farmsteads, dishevelled windmills and grain stores stripped bare vulnerable to the biting cold. Pained moaning – ice born wounds that will never close up. Falling splinters of anonymous stone swallowed whole.

October II

I can look out into the garden and still see only green. If I crane my neck and arch my back I can see the odd brown leaf lying on the purple shingle. Really my periphery is clear of burning oranges, deep crimsons, muddy browns and other more rotten shades – unbent neck, locked gaze, body rooted.

Yet, for every day that I can remember as soon as I slope off down the street I encounter, conkers, fallen leaves, and eternal damp – in short autumn, in length b-e-a-u-t-y.

Two pronged, three forked, and five fingered leaves. Bloated moss. Neglected conkers – too small or too late for those seeking them. Little rain and yet there’s a perpetual gurgling, collective run-off making for an omnipresent pulse that matches my own.

October III

Spluttering coughs, runny noses – at lunch the local pharmacies are doing a lightening trade. The tea and coffee list has been revisited at work – tastes as well as seasons have changed. Figures to watch, people to please, personas to uphold.

Walk away from home. Return home. Perpetual dawn. Perpetual dusk. 9-5 is really 7.30-6 – sun barely risen, sun already set. Half cast shadows spilling over cobbles, concrete and asphalt. Tap and drag of tired feet – zombie walk.

Dinner is in the oven, butternut-squash baked and shared between five. Books to be read under the brightest light of the day. No need to find the cold side of the pillow it’s already kissing your cheek.

 October IV

14.20: A car as inconsequential as a black Toyota Prius becomes a warhead. Another smashing of the peace – or so we expected.

14.30: Searing red headline with more details to follow. Another area in lockdown. Whispers of terror in terror.

The Natural History Museum, South Kensington. People poised and ready for what could have been.

A friend lives nearby, I reach out to her. She doesn’t reply. By the time she gets back to me the red mist has quelled – eye contact broken with the abyss. She was with Hades at the time.

Big Reds story is straight, far less sensational, yet overnight the hero image remains as a man in a forensic smock – fingertips clasping onto the coat-tails of terror.

By mid morning he is released with only the suspicion of dangerous driving hanging over his head. Yesterday was Saturday, today is Sunday, tomorrow will be Monday and  people are worried past worrying.

October V

Autumn leaves are slow burning fires lit absolutely everywhere – an elemental path along which to walk hand in hand with the incremental shortening of days.

Blazing orange gives way to smouldering brown. Smouldering brown gives way to black ash. Black ash gives way to the pale white light of winter solstice – now building can begin again.

October VI

Through the open three paned-frosted glass the post-box red doors draw my eye. After contemplating the depth of the red for a while I rake my gaze back across the churchyard.

The grass is pearled with beads of dew. Damp hems spring to mind despite the stillness of the churchyard – the time of anonymous mourners long since elapsed.

I go to turn away but the apse of the church captures my gaze. Wet sand. Bulging growth. Unsightly scar. The accumulation of pigeon shit or a botched repair? A sole bedraggled blackbird cradling itself.

At this time in September a man had been scrubbing the tombstones, memorials and obelisks. He started early, before I arrived at work. When I sidled out for lunch he was gone.

I remember the steaming water, the ash of his cigarette and his muddy blonde hair – all offset by the motion of his brush over the russet stained stone.

How does one begin to undertake such a task? How does one look past the futility of fighting lichen and moss – the stain that won’t wash off?

I don’t know, but one does…

October VII

The water sits still; many boats are moored up one after the other. Kettles whistle. A woman sits alone, half shrouded by a net curtain – a slight twist to her lips.

An old boy with white hair and rough hands wolfs down his cigarette. He wipes at the condensation on his boats windows with a blue cloth. His head ducks in close to the glass. The ash nearly meets the pane, its own subtle attempt to help things along. As he finishes up he chucks his cloth to his friend. The ash remains sitting atop its mount stoically.

Leaves and twigs ride on the slow moving water, roaches skit below these vast continents. A sign warning of restricted access to pleasure boats marks the base of one arch of the bridge. Across the road sits a pub where beyond the old city walls of Norwich suspected witches were hung and burnt alive.

I walk onto the bridge its flagged in two different patterns as well as cobbled – a mismatch tapestry of stone. Two men, one old, one haggard, mutter together on the other side. As I swing close by I can hear them discussing crack cocaine. One pulls out a pouch, the other looks unsure, they both peer inside.

I press on past rows of pretty houses, converted outbuildings and the back of a school field before emerging into the cathedral grounds. Endless limestone. Pines with fingers stretched to the floor. A women walks towards a corner with an air of ofference, palms facing outwards, arms straight – a banana skin chucked into a black bin.

October VIII

Warmer days, August rekindled out of smouldering leaves. Sun cascading down, curtains swiped open and then drawn shut – too little light, and yet too much for eyes accustomed to grey.

Daytime damp waning, no need to wipe your feet. Mass graves of mulching leaves offered a shot at redemption, reanimated they begin to flutter, like burning butterflies in mid July.

Mowers steered by the bleary eyed gnash at the freckled grass – the last cut of the year. Perhaps one more than last? Memories of insignificant events long since elapsed.

The mercury stretches its back and tips its toes – a high of 20° is achieved. In disbelief the brave quickly light BBQ’s. For them the shortness of days is a mere memory, the impracticality of which lies on another plane. Burning charcoal wisps up into the atmosphere, the toasted smell of the evening as it draws in will enriched by it.

October VIIII

Two days ago, the sky burned orange, sulphur and then grey – apocalypse now. A cosmic harpy flipping through atmospheric filters.

The craning of necks skyward,

The twitching of office blinds,

The countless images taken,

The jokes about the end.

Today the warmth is all but gone but the wind remains and old grey is back. I nip out of the office, I find it hard to focus, where does one look now?

Down. Down at the wet ground and shuffling feet.

Down. At the mushed-up paper and the destitute in doorways.

Walking home back past the cathedral. A woman crouching on the ground between two cars, a phone in the palm of her hand, a sports bag behind her – deadly still except for a single finger scrolling ad-infinitum. A modern-day sphinx.

The cathedral plane is lit up, two burning lights mounted onto two adjacent cobble fronted buildings – one light sits slightly higher than the other. A burning, pulsating hew of water particles dancing in the lamplight. The buildings are too far apart to be Victorian London, or 1900’s Prague, although they give off that illusion. Yet Dickens nor Kafka scurries past.

A limestone monolith, an unthinkable amount of time, skill, weight. Spires like spears with which to kill the gods of old. Inside a choir has started up, loud, clear, beautiful, but hidden from sight. These invisible voices affect me, a sense of knowing which cannot be relayed accompanies me on my drudged walk home.

October X

The vampiric cold nibbles away at my nape. Blood rushes out to my capillaries – rose petal skin. Fingertips soldered to my plastic phone case. Scrolling, clicking, tapping, stretching – the trappings of a modern day acrobat doomed to arthritis and wavering vision.

It is the weekend. A man sits across the aisle on a train, he pants and heaves as he declares to his lover that he has made it on time. He asks her about her lunch and they exchange goodbyes. Five minutes later he is at the bottle – screw top white, one third guzzled down.

The train punctuates the flats which conjoin Norfolk and Suffolk with a juddering purposiveness. Leaves rip by the windows like slithers of starlings. Besides me four cans of own brand larger are cracked and tossed into a bag with haste. All it takes is forty minutes. I depart, he remains – another drink in hand.

Saturday quickly turns to Sunday – an hour gained without any discernible gain. ‘Turning back the clocks’ a phrase sentenced to death, these days clocks turn back themselves – those which don’t are forgotten about. Grandfather calls out at all the wrong times in mothers hallway.

It is four days since we gained an hour and my wristwatch still isn’t up to speed. Who looks at their wrist for the time? Timepiece? Or the creation of another border between thin wrist and plaid sleeve. My desktop clock and the faltering light frame temporality well enough for me.

 

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Storm.

The wild winds sharp fingers claw at the dully tiled roofs. A thatch house would be preferable, as there would be no piercing sounds. The only reminder of current storm would be the physical wound of the next day – damp bald patches exposing the covering below – bedraggled thatch on the grass. Unfortunately, the suburban setting does not dictate such rural niceties – roof tile, cinderblock, clay brick, asphalt and concrete are the suffocating norm.

The questions asked about the immediate consequences of this storm, due to the surrounding demographic atmosphere, are resultantly rather unwholesome – Will the ‘power’ go out? Will the ‘transmission’ be disrupted? Will the ‘connection’ drop? Will I have ‘service’? Questions asked as if ‘connection’ and ‘service’ where some wondrous wanderers who have unceasingly trudged the earth since time immemorial – another mindless addition to the aggregate of ‘this’ inauthentic life.

Another reason to stubbornly read on…

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Observations II

A new year and already the days draw out, although in sum they’re still usually dull. Three runners pass, each equidistant from the other. Each one trying to lap up the mud and water raised in their competitors’ footfalls like thirst-crazed dogs. I play the role of the indifferent forth in this brief tirade, of nylon garments, polyurethane soles, and perspiration. They tail off into the distance, I return to my walk. My eyes meet three angelic figures sitting on the water of the estuary to the west. Swans sheaved in white, adorned with gilded beaks through which they sift the silt, tempting death from hazardous pollutants or hidden plastics at every gulp. Gulls fly above in the grey light mocking all that they see. Anxiety washes over me despite our difference in kind. Who am I? Hesitantly, I walk on.

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Fly you hopeful souls.

The lively green tips of the now flourishing summertime branches offer me hope. For since before anyone could notice, until no one will care to consider the earth, will push forwards its soul in everything instance of this godless and yet mesmerising divinity. It is sacred land upon which we physically walk and yet unconsciously step, and yet despite these mechanical movements that frame our lives some tender minds still find hope. This hope is a conscious hope for something more than this, and yet I suppose really it is always less. Perhaps however I talk of a place beyond comparison, a place of marginal existence, which is only heard in the echo of this always to be imperfect tense. This hope is carried on feathers born of infinity’s edge, upon these wings shaded with moonlight cream and tipped with quartz we shall sail towards this soulful horizon. But one must wonder who will dare to fly?

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Literary Suicide

Boundaries are traversed, a celestial flicker, a singular instance of transcendence. The hand ebbs across the page, a pleasant stream of ink streaks behind the now slightly moist extremity. The hand is detached, it assumes its own autonomous qualities. It quivers, flickers, dances, and stutters and then it steps back with bemusement, these fallen words are an instance of triple decapitation. Tongue, mind and world all now muse over the scene below. An experiential triad of suspicion attempting to gain entry into this temporarily gated estate. The hand hesitates, suspicion overflows the hand, the pen, the page. Crossing and blotting follow shallowly burying this literary suicide.

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A post for Primo

Although I had been spared the chamber and the furnace I was still ashen in form. A composite substance, forced, twisted and fragmented, still easily erased or replaced. My position upon the periodic table had been blotted out, I was but a small remaining outcrop of rock that had been spared the pickaxe by sheer luck. What had seemed such an elementary dilemma now stretched far beyond the realms of my own comprehension. The return to a free consciousness only heightened my sense of misery. The many pains of differing forms I had endured were replaced with the acute ache of interminable thought. In these days I was quite literally neither here, nor there, for ‘I’ was nowhere.

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But one glimpse

I walked the town during the summer gazing zealously into mirrors, puddles and windowpanes barely asking a question yet always expecting a definitive answer. I often remained in bed until late, rarely rousing myself before midday. During these mornings I partook in barely conscious musings of immediate yet vague importance, indifferently seeking divinity from within, whilst fooling myself into believing that such an end was of an internal nature.

The leaves turned brown and left the trees without me leaving my abode for more than a few minutes at a time to purchase meagre food supplies, all of which were chewed but never tasted. I desired no guests and no guests came, unsurprisingly so for who would of wished to visit a young man who snobbishly severed his social ties in favour of his own company. For a while the flies and spiders played cat and mouse in the dusty corners of my room but soon even they grew bored of my morose quarters, somehow escaping through unknown passages. My appearance became shabby, poorly kept hair obtusely sat upon my head, ground coffee coloured stubble mottled my face but still I glanced into my smeared mirror, hoping for just one pure glimpse. But a glimpse of what? I possessed no vantage point above any other. Alas my misguided path had already culminated in my sacrifice upon Mount Moriah, and so in trying to place my existence I tragically misplaced all else.

The first songbird of spring tipped me it’s hat in welcoming as I sprinted into the bright morning. I dived into the streets, uttering greetings to strangers with stony faces as I continually hummed along to the universal chorus that had been awakened within the thawing chasms of my glacial self.

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Leaves

The people involved within this retelling of one of the most harrowing ordeals of my life shall remain completely anonymous. At the time of this particular event I did consider these people to be my friends, evidently they were not.

I admit I was probably a particularly annoying child, a strange figure in this group of very ‘normal boys’. I was always asking questions, daydreaming or failing at the particular activity we were currently engrossed within. Essentially then one could say I didn’t exactly fit into this group but my Grandma always encouraged me to play with these ‘lovely boys’ as even she couldn’t stand my company for a sustained period of time. Naturally she was a busy women, filled with her own sense of self importance, she had plants to water, phone calls to make and afternoon tea to host. As a result of my Grandmas activities I was cast out into the adjacent park where I was quickly placed in the stock and pelted with metaphoric fruit. Generally I was able to deal with the juvenile insults thrown my way although at times they were particularly upsetting, especially when they fell in a continual barrage upon my searing face. They would pick wholes in every part of my appearance, laughing in my face about my teeth, glasses and hair. I was but a small stone on the beach, they were the relentless tide continually washing over my eroding form.

This process continued for months until one day the vultures wanted to become lions. Picking at my carcass was no longer enough, they needed the bitter taste of raw flesh to tinge their pallets. Huddling together briefly they hatched their devious yet simplistic plot. They smirked and giggled as they all in turn briefly glanced towards me. The circle broke and I was told that I must be initiated into the group, indifferently I yielded, I neither wanted to be alone nor apart of this collective yet being alone was still a distinctively more troubling prospect. For a while longer we played by the trees, my coming initiation had slipped from my mind. I became absentmindedly involved with whichever game we were playing at the time. Suddenly I was clutched from behind, they quickly dove upon me, pushing my face hard into the damp ground. Once they had me placed upon the floor two of the older children held my arms and legs in place, another cackled as he gave orders whilst the others quickly collected leaves. My executioner quickly stepped and stood astride me as I was buried beneath the waxy green leaves. He spoke slyly, evidently his pulse was elevated as the words rushed to escape his mouth. He explained that this was all a game of trust and that I was not to worry. Above my head I could hear the other boys chortling as he lied to my back as I lay in the dirt. Their mischievous little minds were alive with the oncoming cruelty, fever pitch had been reached.

A few seconds passed a silent signal was given, a blow struck my side, I had been kicked, I squirmed but the two individuals holding my arms and legs reduced my movements, a dull whimper escaped through my clenched teeth. More blows rained down upon my back, sides and legs. The more I squirmed the more their limbs hammered down against my defenseless torso. They danced around me like crazed dogs, snarling and barking, enticing each other to lash my flesh. Eventually the beating reached its climax, the intensity of the strikes reduced and then stopped. Tears reached my eyes but I felt relieved nonetheless, I tried to brake free of my captors grip but still they held me in place. I wondered what more they could want with me, was I not humiliated enough already? As these thoughts crossed my mind I felt a warm liquid falling upon my back, my hair and then my legs. I quickly realised with great horror that I had been urinated upon. I kicked and I screamed with all the venom I could muster, this only exited them more. They pulled me up and forced me straight, some of the urine soaked leaves clung to my back as they all gapped with glee at their creation. A few members of the group cackled in my face once more, mocking my sorry state of existence. After a few seconds I was told to run home or suffer worse still. I obeyed and fled the seen of my torture.

I could do little to console myself that day. The overwhelming cruelty inflicted upon my person prevented me from emotionally engaging with the horrendously efficient actions of a gang of prepubescent adolescents for quite some time. It has only been in recent times that I’ve openly discussed such episodes and even then I feel that I do them no justice. The sheer cruelty inflicted upon me in this particular instance and other similar incidents made me resent those around me so strongly that I continually sought to create an artificial distance between myself and those I consider or have considered to be my friends.

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