This is a small collection of seven prose poems written during the MA period. I think that some work better than others but I have posted them all because they have in common the fact that they have their origins in reflections during work or thinking about those things that motivate it.
One I idea is for them some to accompany an eventual show, either in printed form or as recorded narrations. As scripts, they may need some work and their function would be to add another layer without explicating: to prise open a way for the viewer to enter, participate and add their own story.
Close my eyes, and I see my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so it goes on with the people that came before me. As time goes back they become strangers. What lives they led, what thoughts they held, and the world they saw is as much a part of me as it is not. Much the same and so very different, time tracks back tracing humanity to earlier times when there were no wheels and horses had yet to be ridden. The dawn of our time is still an unimaginable distance away from now and yet I go back further. As I think of ancestral forms on hot plains and cool dangerous places, the primitive becomes me, what I am now. Polar jungles and salty seas grow around me where I swim and swelter under an unfaltering sun. Yet I am still there, a small part of me survives the odds of existing. An unimaginable self that still dwells in me, that single creature twisting against its fate, giving birth again and again. I cannot any longer think but feel the cold water against my outer surface as my existence becomes slender. The slight trace of what I would become fading in the darkness, diluted in those moonlit nights when the tide throws me against the furrowed rocks and yet, I am still here. My possibility becomes lessened with every turning of the sun and each generation sheds a part of me as time recedes and me with it and still, I am present. I no longer feel but my instinct is still to move with the light and smell the water for traces that are unknown to me. The silt is the dread I cannot know and now all sense of life slowly sloughs off and still the insensate part of me is here. The dim light of life is gently, slowly snuffed out in my thoughts.
The worn graphite pencil glides to and fro searching form, trying to enter the flat surface bounded by the small parcel of paper. Changing faces, it deftly leaves a trace that grows careful not to mark the paper indelibly with a false word. Thought is suspended in the uncertainty of emergence, I keep quiet and let the form tell me what to do. I am in its embrace, as the pewter carbon slates off the point until, it asks me, what shall I do next? We are now partners in shaping this tiny world. For now it must be all the world, no distraction except for breath. Time does not count in this place, movement reckons change: too much and life is extinguished, too little and we are left wondering what if. Imperfections must be left behind; corrections will unravel all that has been done as lines coalesce into form, light and shade becoming sensible with words of recognition. And so the meaning passes onto me as I hear the other’s voice grow faint in this world. My hope is that it waits for me in the next.
The moon broke free last night. Leaving the earth she hurtled towards the sun leaving pieces of her behind as trees reached out to pull her back by her wake and got their fingers scorched by the sun who gloated and slunk behind a blackened horizon.
Finding herself free of all things, the moon lost interest and decided to drift, like a lover, content with her waxing belly, as men sent shiny rockets full of tiny people vertically, past the trees and past the moon, their roars swallowed by the immense distance, turned to comets. The earth in its shyness turned over and waited for the grubs to wake the soil.
You divide me, so that I might know which way is light and when to face away. You give me one side and so another that I might know which way to turn and with this gift: a centre for the back and forth, a dim picture of the world so smell and distance no longer the only place where I am and I am hollow: forced to follow hunger for the other and that drives and bestows dull fear that moves me to and fro along the edge. I pierce the horizon and still must eat and hide but as a growing pain that weighs on my breath, pushes from outside my skin, I leave my mother’s liquid, sprout and walk about, deeper into different worlds and lift above and shovel earth yet this journey that has no end; always changing and with this change a distant sense of wanting always with me takes another’s shape, now warm, with me rejoining that which cleaved before me long ago and as it does so my sight turns inwards. Inside the world shapes new forms, and places I cannot see or touch but know that they are there. I feel the cold and heat and sweat and become knowing of a fear that no longer makes me run but ask for reason. Yet I continue, tear and gnaw, be ripped apart in turn until I grasp that stone or stick or clench my fist and strike with all my life imbued over countless ages, countless times, and scream and shout. And in that moment call and word is formed together with the why as I see my neighbour die. And now I make, and history with it on walls and rocks and trees to tell of my death and how my birth was done, and the reason why, we all must die.
I am what I was. And with each generation follows the shedding of some part unable to survive so that I become again and again. The smell, the tides, night and day I crawl and sleep and rise and fall in the silt. I am what they once were, a forgotten memory. They lie under the skin, waiting for a time when what I was might become what I will be. For in all that is contained within my self, is a constant dying and rebirth each time unknowing of the other. Each time I become what I was and a little bit more.
The word is shaped as I work
Action and thought flow into one another and take form transcending the word as it approaches its own making. Speaking it dissects its anatomy but only once the task is completed, exposed to close scrutiny. Then, mind and eye, memory and knowing become its making and fill the sentient void.
The rigid form from fluid matter is hard to coax as a single moment; the process slow and deliberate, tricks and turns. A morsel of the conscious mind passes through and changes, as change must come from passing. Observed, there will be no certainty.
An umbilical to the most distant cousins came as a gossamer sack. I could not move with food just floating about inside me, subject to the vagaries of diffusion, how could I. A second opening appeared, like an eye on the world, the sac stretched and narrowed bathing food in acids and enzymes squirted into a sphinctered environment. Enough energy was assured so I could cease my sessile existence and developing kinetic strategies left behind the ceaseless rocking of the waves. Hunter, prey, grazer, became the hidden rules of day and night in a circadian rhythm of fear. This is what I am in its most fundamental form, keeping entropy at bay.
The nervous system, servant to this messy kitchen, reached round its synaptic fingers, holding the tactics of feeding in its grasp and throwing open a blind race towards sentience. Sight, sound, smell, taste, touch conjured constellations of qualia igniting engines of thought. The self became inevitable. Traversing the threshold of knowledge I left behind the crawling and slavering of my infancy on slimy slopes where hope and fear could not be understood, and produced a soul self built, a DIY god that lives within me, another symbiont sharing a body with countless others, keeping at bay the chaos of imagining.