Wednesday, 10 September 2014

EPHEMEROPOLIS [CITY OF IMPERMANENCE]


You teased her about her accent, strange RP-Cumbrian hybrid, she admitted she was posh. It was a dance, of course: contrived and spontaneous, utterly affected yet entirely uninhibited. So you allowed yourself a smirk, pleased at producing something passably insightful at this late hour, in these unfamiliar arms, beneath an alien sky.

The details of the dance are never the same but the theme is constant. As in the city, you were empowered by your own insignificance. You felt small and unimportant and it made you feel sublime. A pixel in the bigger picture. Lurking, always, was the terror- part of you clung to itself. Part of you was unwilling to be swallowed by the glorious whole. This quiet yet persistent voice was the ghost of you, trapped in meat and bones, trying to find itself. It searched for its own reflection in the eyes of others, and in reaching to embrace its own echo, became entangled in flesh. Only then did it realise its purpose. Only then was it truly you and you truly yourself... or some idea of yourself with which you were comfortable.

You could tell she liked horses, it went with the accent. You had a piece prepared, something about a song and something being lost in translation... about the primitive instinct of all children to cover their cavern walls with animals. It wasn't necessary, you'd both got what you wanted. Maybe you wanted something more. Maybe you were asking too much.

You were asking too much. Distantly, a plaintiff cry of "Terrible presence! Eat me or perish!"

Her arms were wrapped around your neck, you stared up at a canopy of man-made fibres. Suddenly everything became very real: outside, dawn broken, no stars but one shining down on the city of mud and ketamine. You didn't want to leave, did you? You wanted to remain entwined within her, long and lithe, a heaven of flesh and black curls, but the world was seeping in, slow and insidious, mud and ketamine. Then the alarm, something out of sync. Though it wasn't meant to be so the exchange of numbers felt cursory, and with disappointment you entered the new world.

Stretching into an improbable infinity an ocean of poorly erected tents buckled and writhed beneath hammer-and-nails rain. Man-made fibres in gaudy colours, flapping in the south westerly, monuments to haste, their crooked poles creaking, filling the silence of muddied youth face-planted in the sodden ground. One foot falls in front of the other, clumsily edging around the quagmire, a dance too, of sorts.

Men in luminous jackets guide the way. Don't climb on trees. Don't enter where it says exit. The Lord of Misrule ordains that the misfits now set the boundaries. Toothless meth grin and a walkie-talkie. The marginalised becoming the respected; the respected the marginalised. Inversion, carnivalesque. Bakhtin.

Bakhtin? Bullshit.

Just one of several visions of the same thing, invisible city inside every city, endlessly repeated kaleidoscope li[v]es... you are lonely. You think predetermined, pre-packaged thoughts. You are xerox, simulacra, you are nothing.

You are nothing without someone else.

I followed your breadcrumbs into the woods.

"We're in the woods?"

"You dropped these."

"Where have we just been?"

"Where are we now?"

"That won't be important until later."

When everything became realistic again, you called her number. It was not recognised, predictably. 
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