Monday, 25 January 2010

VR: How to break a Home

How do we continue to live in the houses where someone has been Possessed? How do we trust the words safely sandwiched in the books neatly ranked on the shelf not to be replaced with your own name, when you idly open the book, and a hundred thousand others, in the Directory of Those Lost to Mediocrity and Missed Opportunity (Vol. I: Ab – Al)? What was it the Little One said, tugging at your sleeve? When will the mirrors start to bleed? Look closely – can you be sure the ceiling isn’t crawling with white spiders and millipedes; all those jittering pointillist pixels that superimpose themselves on any blank space we permit ourselves to examine? The knives in the drawer have already started to sing, to chorus, to be used. Yes, there is the ticking, ticking madness of the world we learn to fill from birth, but no-one sells greetings-cards consoling you for the madness of inviting strangers into your home, barely old enough to Trick or Treat, who want you to Sign Here, and Initial the 2nd page and 3rd through 9th pages Here, to drain your television’s grey-glassed fishtank – drain it of the tangerine-skinned people with moonstone smiles, and their lemon-yellow sofa, and replace it with a view of the sallow-skinned child in the second bedroom, upstairs right now, turning the television from an instrument for Seeing-Afar into an instrument for constant self-surveillance, and this, then, is the new madness: that you can never now un-imagine the time when the television ceased to take us far away, making all its bleatings and twitterings about the Beauty or Tragedy or enviable Normality of “There & Elsewhere” into Lies, damned Lies, when what it shows us (beneath cheap set-dressing, the Older One could have knocked up in Drama Class) is the same old room with the same old carriage-clock / porcelain birds / magazine rack / sofa paid-for by instalments – an irregular oblong carved out of space that has an Outside and an Inside, but neither is meaningful except as the antithesis of the other, making you question what you really paid for, what the mortgage is for, why you persist in these payments by instalments that by their very nature are a bridge from youth to balding / spreading middle-age. When will the child’s muteness break, and name the Unnameable thing? When will you stop seeing them on the landing, frozen, un-answering, and observe how their eyes follow you, as you move from side-to-side (choosing which way to pass), but observing also how their eyes seem to draw back in the sockets, retreating in fear from – You? Or is it the long and spreading shadow that merely attached itself to you, and now climbs the walls of the corridor behind your back? When will the trances stop, and why that time – that one time; one time only; really, please believe me – why did you slap him so hard across the face, to Stop Playing? This, then, is how a home is broken.

[After reading Marguerite Young; not so much a new influence, as a reminder of an old voice, it's almost reassuring to re-visit.]

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