Textling #39

When M. and I dipped into (mentally skipped into) Hilma af Klint’s Painting the Unseen we found work created a hundred years ago, modern, radical, mysterious; rooted in the artist’s day, and, via the sixties (science and séances meet flower power), easily at home in ours. Time turns, throws slings around ideas, ever restless, ever green.

My impulse is to stop, look closely; sorrow tugs at fleeting glances. In my favourite room I lay on a bench, brimful with the potency of art. Eyes binged, as if they’d been shut in the box with rings I never wear. In poured the cycles of life, rendered in radiant colour. A polyphony of cells dividing, merging, multiplying, of blossoms, spirals, hieroglyphs. Vitality’s groundwork visualised, this side of strife, greed, power over. Whatever we may call it, life force, biology, mysticism, af Klint conjures boundless joy: life is.

When limbs, sight, mind are overwhelmed by tiredness, when I cannot do, I sometimes wonder: is being enough? No answers at the Serpentine, but a sense of fluid processes, continuous unfolding, and a realisation how much this wondrous bottom line needs tending.


Textling #38

If it weren’t for the piercing pains that plague my skull, today would pass in a blur. The purpose of limbs, throat, eyes, is clumsily drawn. Pain’s location is precise though, bull-eyed, electrified, and I, limp litter, fritter my life away.

Something is pushing through, perhaps a Zeusian creature? Let her be a juggler of words and worlds, a cosmonaut, a poet, a crocheteer, time-traveller, dawn reveler, purveyor of truth, rude, raucous, rowdy, proud fool, doubtful philosopher, dreamer of wild and dappled things, of ruckus, touch and ecstasy, courtship adviser, turncoat despiser, cloud racer, tracer of ancient mores, bread for guns-inciter, roses for knives, sybil, seeker, memory keeper, grace dispenser, falsehood sensor, kind heart to all souls, translator, vindicator, sharer, mapper, reader, connector, rebel rouser, boundary browser, maker of peace. One who speaks to all and sundry, declaims in tongues I have never heard, from rooftops, molehills, underpasses, and straight into my ear.

Textling #37

Tucked away in a side-pocket I found a small furry creature, half bird, half rodent, and clearly expired – a snug fit for a cupped hand and galvanising nudges, if you are so inclined. Coo coo, coo coo. A leg, or limb, or spike, protruded from its tapered end. The bag’s lining bore a blush of powder, beige, with a hint of mouse. Closer inspection (no touching!) revealed a pear, feral past its prime. With a mixture of thrill and disgust, and wary of inhaling, I placed the little poser on a sheet of white and brought my camera close.

I wonder how many live tucked away in airless folds, stretch time unseen, unheard, unheeded, set apart, the mark of ashes on collected brows disclaiming worth, need, diversity. I waver, say us, say them, and us again.

Textling #36

A certain kind of brown envelope crushes alacrity. You half expect a puff of wheezing powder to waft out. You will hold your breath. And sit down. Or up, if you are lying. You think, perhaps you are too sensitive, too easily anxious. It will be o.k.! Or not, but you will know. Waiting is the worst. What if it isn’t? You take a deep heaving breath and tear the flap.

That morning you were moved by the poetry in a bird’s name. You threw your voice in the air like a catcher’s net: black – browed – alba – tross, observed how lips, throat, tip of tongue made shapes, made sounds, pushed gravel around in mouth and mind. Made room for flight, traced, measured, cackled, curled.

Now your notes sift rough from raucous: flesh, feathers, talons, beaks. Whites, yellows, ochres blare; a spur of red. Eyes dowsed in night. A crowd of soot-brushed wings. A hungry squawk. A rush, a choke, a cry, and out it hurls.

But all you see is: no.