Dancing About Architecture #18

Posted by in August's Magazine

Today is the day Dad explodes. Not a Jackson Pollock mural of blood n brains n intestines on the wall, or the shrapnel of rib cage and pieces of skull sent scattering like some monstrous off-screen game of Asteroids, but the collective refusal of my component parts to take it any longer.

Melanie Phillips it is who triggers the event, mooing away on Radio 4 about the wonders of independent schooling and the asininity of any dissenting view. And before I can hit the off button…


I am no longer a body. I’ve split up, though not for musical reasons. The kids shrug. Her Outdoors gives me one of those looks or rather she directs it at the corner of the kitchen I’ve so recently vacated. And the cat sneaks away and shits in one of my training shoes.

Being vaporised must have an upside I think but of course I don’t really think it, for no longer am I possessed of a brain or cognitive process or chin to stroke. Sinusitis has quite ceased to be a concern. Here I am, however, in divergence with Rene Descartes: a mist of atoms with a degree of sensibility. As if a can of Lynx has familiarised itself with the works of Simone Du Beauvoir or at least tried to borrow a copy of The Second Sex from MacDonald Road Library.

And as I float out of the window, open at the top just enough to prevent said shoe-fouling feline from absconding, this liberation from the human form sets me off on a journey in search of…what? Truth, happiness, Gogol’s ladder, a sentence to follow this, Zooey Dechanel’s phone number, the dry cleaners from which Jason never got round to collecting the Golden Fleece, an antidote to the verbiage of feckless PR scum, the music of words, Spike Milligan’s tape-recorder, the last page of The Perennial Philosophy. Why not? Loading the dishwasher is hardly the job for a cloud of particles so…

I look.
I look at the flowers left at the graveside of Caleb Ness.
I look in the bottom of a whisky bottle and down I drink the dregs of the moon.
I look through the bars of the Covenanters’ prison.
I look at the last library book, handed to me by the last librarian, knowing it will be for me to pay the last library fine.
I look for a narrative from Darien to Goodwin.
I look for the ghost of Firsat Dag.
I look and I listen 14 seconds from the end of Please Mr Postman for Gloria Horton’s delicious “deliver-dee-letter/dee-sooner-dee-better.”
I look to Edna O’Brien’s counsel: “to defer annihilation.”
I look for the two years of my life expectancy that vanish with every stop of the Jordanhill to Calton bus.
I look into the hearts of those behind Keep the Clause.
I look over the sea to the scamps of Basra pestering a journalist not for money or sweets or fizzy drinks but for pencils.
I look to get jiggy with a genius.
I look inside the Pharaoh-like tombs of the jute barons of Dundee.
I look at the face of a young man in the street who barks at my kids: “Don’t fall in love – it’s a waste of time!”
I look at the bowler-hatted brethren and I hear the terrace songs of blood and famine.
I look at you in that dress and I recall the Cole Porter line: “I’d like to talk her out of it.”
I look to pour away the tartan paint and re-imagine the Declaration of Arbroath from the pen of Edwin Morgan and soprano of Elizabeth Fraser.
I look for Hank Williams in The Tower of Song – lost in morphine n beer and coughing all night long.
I look for brushwork and miracles that would have Michelangelo down tools and Christ applaud – watch the stigmata there, Anointed One.
I look for anyone who isn’t for anyone but England.
I look at a handcuffed woman telling us of the compulsion to pack her son in a suitcase and throw him into the sea.
I look to follow Beryl Bainbridge’s instruction: “It has to go te tum te dum te tum te dum.”
I look for the outré in my in-tray.
I look at a verse I christen: “Tristan Tzara Popcorn Sex Drive Renal Failure Alligator Blues Yeah!”
I look for the Bethlehem Peace Center. I find the Bethlehem Peace Centre. The Bethlehem Peace Centre is closed.
I look for the angels my six-year old cuts out and conceals in the pages of an Umberto Eco book about football and semiotics.
I look for Sly and Robbie in the credits of every LP.
I look for the psychoanalyst to intone: “So, tell your childhood about me.”
I look for answers in the questions of Eric Blair.
I look in the direction of an appeal to the people of the nation on behalf of the junky’s child.
I look.
And I look.

Then I look into your eyes and I know, despite of this – because of this; I know – Voltaire was onto something.

Twitter: @RodgerEvans

One response to “Dancing About Architecture #18”

  1. Cordi says:

    It always surprised me when i pick up a leither, expecting the worst:: dander through the verts, and there in black and white is a perfectly beautiful mess of lines. bless the good ship Leither and all who sail on her.

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