an excerpt from Richard Makin‘s novel Mourning, forthcoming from Equus, May 2015.
I can’t remember. We’re just below the hospitality hoax at the riverend. By then I was sold: low ebb of gravity, hence had already the vision. The things that hatched out of the eggs resembled lizards.
Valley of Bells. Behaviour. Cognition. A vitrine of moths. Requiem. Glossy plate on primary lung. First lesion: splinters of quartz, feldspar, slate in a hard matrix, partly translated, partly adopted. Every word lacks consequence. There’s an inexplicable clouding of the clarity, followed by a long period of quietude. . . . ‘You do not answer me. . . . Just look at me. . . . Is there anything about myself to frighten you? . . .’ All sorts of intuitions and intimations reside here. I cannot recall a single detail. There are characters, then the dilemma forms its own solution. I’m wearied of fear, the irresolute. I cannot wake, rise up. I shall resort. I shall resort to the only course possible.
She resorted to self-slaughter (not what you’re thinking). It’s always there as crackling undercurrent, a numbness—background radiation: the impulse near-silent and growing incrementally each day, until it congeals to murmur: slay thyself, be done with this being of being.
I’ve been crowned, convulsed. I crowned myself. I’m sovereign, your comeuppance. I hear voice. (Who doesn’t.) I upstart, follow through. The other slumbers beside me on the beach.
It was a warm night in July. Picture me. There was a depression over the Atlantic. I once was named, now I go about the earth uncalled for; I’m one of the thirty-six. No one seems to care or notice. I’m the past dug up and lost again, forbidden archaeology. (I bet you sat watching, doing nothing.) I face front. I face backward. Whoever must know, let them. It was a sense of grey I desired, a grey of beauty, the neutral, as if all spark of animus had bleached from the world, leaving it fallow, at peace. She pronounced the word to rhyme.
Adjective alone, originally in dramatic direction—of poster, death notice, in memoria. It is but a small step. (We’re a bit tense down here, what with your detonator.) I had not bathed and wore the same clothes. And whose atoms were oriented in parallel planes? Consider the arrangement of vowels and consonants that compose any random sequence.
Corrosive along body quick with saltpetre.
ESP to an excessive degree, of far-fetched etymologies. It will not end. It will not kick off: fetish, totem, animism, acephalic god—to walk in the footsteps, far into the forest. (I argue it was always farce.) He dare not dream of identifying himself, quite the contrary: that word may well not exist. Nine point eight metres per second per second is the official velocity. He plummets to earth.
You make interventions; I am the intervention.
What does mean Icarus she asks. Did you see me when I passed the house he replies. (Yes.) Rang to say we are booking, shall post deposits to unthank. Our natives did not see the galleon—for them it could not exist. A community is imminent. Conversely, you could hear these flames rising up, the window.
I began my philosophical career under the influence. I am contemporary of the other, though younger. A remarkable priority of seeing has been noticed. The image shown depicts an unknown man rising up from the depths of the sea. He found rootstock and placed a jewelled box within its limbs. It’s remarkably dramatic. It may always fail, fall flat.
Twister at horizon under haemorrhage. Have you collected here everyone who had anything to do with the body? These are his interludes, scratched out in code—chinagraph sigils that crosscut the skin, an uncharted career—strange meeting of razor and torso: part-time carnage. Speech arrest the therapist said.
She adds you fear separation, schism. It was like a great rift across my sphere of vision. This situation is becoming less and less favourable. I am pursuing such proclivities. Today’s instruction is ‘to turn or rise in disgust, with or without loathing’.
Unfallow. Salt sea birds. The day’s work is not quite over. Wings are plucked by the light of a tilly lamp, past midnight. (We should grant one of these men a great favour et cetera.)
Boats on the ocean: physiological need balanced by psychological rupture—from a little room, held out by a pier, leaving all conditions blind. Nausea has returned, every vein, every syllable, each and every molecule. I floated along, dazed by the luminous mist: a howl somewhere an animal.
Impossibility of communication: to bring one’s partner across a dangerous situation, i.e. a creeper bridge. The former had moved back and awaited instructions—risk of greenstick fracture, dissolving hull integrity. If I lift anything the radius will snap he says. We are at choke. It’s his integument, really.
Neutrons. The drifting continents: breathless drug, altered states, a crossing and a recrossing, hence a loss.
Siphonage: the lock-keeper’s tale (no connection with his misinterpretation). Memories are making a comeback. I was analyzing images of the central gland when it happened; there were no casualties: back-to-back ashes as they embrace, sea covered with a powder-green bloom. I drift on the current and cannot respond: the sudden shock of an electric ray.
He thought I was someone else. He thought I was somewhere else. Without realizing it, we were learning the observances that would mark out our days for the rest of our lives.
Other insignificance: chronicles of wasted time, lost seasons. (You were lucky you didn’t lose your finger.) He could no longer sign. Totals have been approximated, suture granted. Cautionary intervention occurs hourly; grab a notebook. I cancelled the day. I cancelled the hour. There is evidence of damaged magic, precious ulcers—the first book of image, the eidolon: anti-nature. A man recurs internally.
I can’t use that word. Of course, the rose, in antiquity, it belonged. That harbour stunk of sea-wrack. Says he I build my death as I go along, day by day. I’ve been traversed. Before making the decision to seduce the astrologer, I. . . .
A backward glance. She checks his pulse, the sick one, then covers him with hay, squatting beside. Ignition was feminine, spasmatic. There was literally nothing to write about.
I just found this abandoned chair in a dusty car park, its cushion propped a few feet from the body. Scrolling down it were Egyptian hieroglyphs, which of course I can no longer read. This encounter reminds me of that time on the train: hallucinations, second spouse, the silence. See what it says (same pills). . . . The dead of the book: the deceased holding a staff in his left hand. This chapter has no vignette.
They behave like bright blues then merge into shades of black, clusters of bruised air. I felt so sorry. It’s not about belief. The low tide made rivulets of quicksilver. Stars shot across: Perseids. Such chaos does descend from time to time. There were mirrors everywhere. I hadn’t realized I existed to such a degree: I was too much body in that room, and besides, a life was once taken here (the ceiling tells me as much). Strange, that suppurating finger, blood aerosol dappled across the bathroom tiles.
Once hatched they promptly chewed their way through every volume of the dictionary.
Turning full circle: my prick crammed inside her, until it had nowhere else to go. I believe a part of me thrives on it, sheer havoc deferring time. Chaos is a dying art. It needs reviving. The other big cinema hit of the year was suburban hooligan losers, the lady with the woad-stained hands. Deep scratches cover my chest and scalp. Time not spent in solitude is wasted. Fate has to be an admixture.
Brief notes on how to convert oneself to a visionary state.
Step one: stop eating. Waste of time. I am reclaiming, back from the dead. . . . In the midst of fresh ruins, again. . . . Pause and movement three. . . . He let them have the first storey of the house to themselves, on one condition.
The cast could not be seen, would not be identified. The door of the apartment opens and he hurries in. O to press your hand, as upon wax et cetera.
And an unpredictability: from the south, the red tiger-headed one, claws crossed frontward, glittering, baring the fangs and looking out to sea with groundling eyes. This relates to extent (quantity) and severity (degree). I encompass the need for your discontinuance. Vectors are drawn from each abduction site: a sunken well, deep within gleaming curtains of steel. I could see figures moving in, shadows. She carries a tray upon which numerous fungi and eyes have been artfully arranged—take this, she offers, who tastes of sperm when so kindled.
Each guest held an invasion card which, measuring eight inches by five, had been too large to rest in their pockets. This clearly describes the degree to which things fluctuate. She positions the millionth sphere at the dead centre of his brain. Then suddenly the portal closed.
One who holds the theory of solar myths. . . . Seeing belongs properly to the eyes. Severe level of need is behaviour. Severe level of need is aporia, a professed doubt of what to say or to choose—a sudden breaking off in the midst of a sentence (e.g. if we should fail, from off, and silence). Have you ever read thus she asks.
How can one know? Has everyone been tried, every man and woman in every possible future? What is the house that you will build for me? Or, what is the place of my rest?
This is why I cannot let you pass, the doorkeep said.
So one is expected to remain faithful as long as that, I replied.
Then she remembers: the image of a winged man plunging into the sea, ploughman at harrow in the foreground. An advocate helps her perform the breach (I refer you to inventory 617). Test the first shortfall: you did not recognize our reed gatherers and so on. Whisper not they died, but that they probably died.
A level of intensity rises from the deterioration (ground mental, his aggressive et cetera). One split his neighbour’s skull with a claw hammer. Another has a moderate level in skin. I have a moderate level in drug, the residue (viz submarine manned by aliens made of white ash). Mental health is impacting on the last of our domains. Inside, there is a hearing-voices network. There is evidence. Is this writing. Timely interventions are required (lithium, which is used). And whose salts, especially? An alkaloid is obtained from animal bone and coal-tar products. A bell was recovered from the frigate and rung before certain impotent announcements. The sky rolled up like a scroll. Objects and events were entering me from all directions at once. A steel door slams shut in the wind.
Contraction from vinca and leucoblast. (What.)
Anterior trunk of tenth cranial.
Pulp of hashish adhered to lower molar, left.
Origin is a kind of fatality.
These items frequently communicate with branches of a neighbouring nerve: the great tooth bleed, see.
There is this protracted note, heard of several tongues—that rising howl. He glimpses in the darkness a radiance. And when the artificial neurons fire, it takes those fragments, it retriggers them.
Reproduction technology (which is an ore of zinc). We shall distinguish them by the name of their illustrious inventor—the damned are calling out the differentials: a deliberately misleading and upbeat opening. One bone is supposed by writers to be indestructible.
Unease of connective tissue. He slid three fingers into the anus, then the tongue—ecstatic melancholy, stunned immobile.
A yellow powder composed of glands from hop—the sedative, often afflicting the nose. Strictly, a constellation in the southern hemisphere. (See his essay, untitled.) During the night there was another cloudburst. It’s day one, an untitled sheet. He was conqueror. (Check this.) He and I, together we searched for mother’s pineal. Quick! Give me the code he barks. I was made of thorns. We are crystallizing an Armageddon, the colour of true ruby. I want to return to panegyric, eulogy. I improvised, hapless before those assembled. I’m a quotation attributed to an ancient author. Everyone has forgot the name (I don’t care what things do, only what they’re called, and why). Culled from a typewriter, she wears a letter M on her leech finger; a nerve runs through it, straight to the spleen.
It was like the membrane in which cowers the head at birth: no booster, no brains (there’s hope), a collapsing erotic threshold. The greater part of the soul dwells outside the body.
I’m a member of the rare-earth group, named in honour of he-who-first-quartered. One must not be too discriminating; I bet I’ve missed things. The homunculus known as pissing manikin is an allusion (the sun-god or hero who submits). But I take the hint. There is evidence of time, and probability.
‘I see,’ he says.
We’re year-round the young man echoed. What people really love is that they hear their own sound being scored, within these already familiar patterns.
Then the woman interjects.
‘I am Mars-K, no less. And this is my evil daughter.’
We had come to a place where a single stone beckons with luminous, occult power. All we’re left with is matter, the mistiming of things.
No text: the chapter of coming forth. I once had no beginning; we are stymied enough by language. What should I retain, the world or myself? The projectile is named from the feathers of an extinct.
The region has been declared semi-autonomous—a historical relationship is being shaken up; a man has been resurrected. His cells were mute yet immortal, rotting on the seabed. She finds herself unable to hold him back any longer. In their sleep she dreams (anything to defer the client). Self-loathing gets you everywhere.
I was looking for a new translation. The words being recounted by the analysand contain elements which deny any narrative consistency. She stood on the dais and said I have no idea. She says I came. I went. I reclaimed. I came back again. Hold the page open just a little longer: they are not living, they are doing things, one after the other. They have gods. They just don’t like the outcome so they’re threatening suicide. It’s classic. I can no longer see. There were events; I could smell the residue: a steaming mound of paper pulp at the dead centre of the study floor.
One falls asleep on the bare earth, back pressed against a tree, limbs above a wedge of mud, apple resting in palm. Sex erect. I too have read. I too have forgotten. This is our stranger—the siren, a festival of mourning (still leaving, fearful how to live). However fast you ride, you will always find that we arrive before: you cannot beat the tide in these parts. There was this noise below the summit. Questions came.
Can all you need to know ever be enough for me?
What is that thing before mine eyes?
That is a mountain of salt beneath a tarpaulin, ballast by slabs of granite. I would have liked to see her address the criticism: don’t blame me for your failure of will et cetera.
Rendezvous at the lee-shore. I shall bring wire—look, many-coloured rope lines to guide us back! One of the flying ships actually touched the ground. Having no other divertissement, I. . . .
Make up your own mind up, the benefits of slow motion.
He has imbibed the enthusiasm. Whose efficacy did he accept unconditionally? (I.e. a planet ruled by the living dead). He must have travelled thirty yards on his knees.
Into the corridor she flung the following list: rose quartz and lapis lazuli, a tin badge, a blow up postcard, a tiny yellow flower, streaks of iron oxide, a white feather, a black feather, a scrap of the east, a ring of magnetism, collapsed. An interesting choice, given the lateness of the hour. It’s spilling out and she cannot recognize.
Individual thoughts were worked out in a new way. There’s some sort of story associated with the third movement; the music is trying hard to speak intelligibly of events outside itself.
She must know: we can’t do anything for one another, neither of us with a working memory. I am repairing the novel. One day you’ll betray me. I am trying to bring to recognition. I am standing beside myself. The dialectic found within is a motivating conception: I am possible.
She scores a high level of foreboding. Something ineluctable is approaching.
On a field, sable. Of uncertainty. And one could say that she already knows what such-and-such is called. It was nightfall when we parted. The angle between the plane of a fault was measured. Some of those found belong to levels of the ocean deeper than six thousand metres.
That’s all, and it isn’t even an event. She wears a tiny crown on her ring finger, glowing inextinguishably.
The thumb we give to Venus.
The index we give to Jupiter.
The mid we give to Saturn.
The leech we give to Sol.
The oracular we give to Mercury.
It is not. It is a change of circumstances, a missed opportunity.
We stopped at a little wayside café-bar. There was sunlight, hard shadow. Cicalas clicked in the darkness and the damp heat; it was screamingly funny, in its own way. One must not be too disarming.
Been awake a short while, coming round. . . . Moth requiem on the wireless. He always chooses the extinct.
Through a small window with a gable, projecting from the sloping roof of a garret. On the shakedown, metronome marks all over the body in question. Without, a felled statue, broad vista bisected by a tortuous river, occurrence falling in winding veins and masses.
Scryne is a box or chest in which written records are kept, a shrine. The official carried with him everywhere a bowl of offal. You were there, guiding me blindfold through a dark maze; unpeopled, we got lost. But I have seen them alighting. They want to hang on. Sulphur is the soul of all living things. We used to get forty days a year.
Not without mercy, but I’m hired to decapitate. I assassin. It’s impossible. The throat is adamantine. You have to forget. From whence do I know you? Do you need the light on? She handed me over, wordless, before their gaze. Wax spatters onto the floor beside the bed, congealing to a rink of pristine whiteness. We stand. And who is the one who sleeps in clay, in grief?
Folk always had a genius for simulating revoltees. The one who reaches is endorsed by great silence, the blank rhythms of insomnia.
He will ascend, and with a corded ladder fetch her down. It’s the moment of an illumination: the sharp folds of a napkin on the starched tablecloth. The native tourist has retreated from our economic horrors.
Coveted substance. (To which stone he is likened?) There’s an unstable stack of change about these parts. I have seen them alighting. They want to hang on: total blockade of the city. There are no longer any checks and balances the voice said. You have to forget. I am ungrace. From where do I know you? I have emerged without noticing; I mistook myself. I sit waiting. Nobody appears (tender melancholy as only Mozart knew). Heads are shorn. I have enlarged upon nothing, mister.
The main thing that made her different from me was her grey eyes—calm, brave eyes in which there lived on. Whose name everyone has forgot?
Vivisection gets more menacing as the structure unfolds. And I was carried hence with an hundred or two of coaches, nothing along the valley to the town of W, and there buried. As I gazed upward from my grave I saw Cassiopeia directly overhead.
That night he took the mountain path above the coast and slew himself. (I had mistaken myself for another.) This figure is stunned in a rectangle of white light, but such withdrawing does not conjure a futile void—
To gather and to heap up.
A striving after.
Burning sensation by vast body of water, unchecked.
Yes, the mildew of order.
Tang of lubricant and rectal mucus.
Cancer & form.
Presage of hypertension.
(Ignore.) An alarm. He is lying in a different key.
Lack of co-ordination of organs normally acting in harmony.
Uncertain muscle spasm, perhaps secondary to some minor facet.
Glandiform, with delusion.
No loss of vertebral space or other structural anomaly. On one hip she wore a device that reined in her nerves; no abnormal gas shadows, exit roots intact. Believe me, I would rather not be here.
I have never backed away from the living force in question. Feed me your pain she says. (Of another, or myself, it’s unclear.)
She forewent. There is news, breaking on the sagittal view. (Noah was right about the graphic indicators: not too quickly, however, not too slowly.) But it looks a nice building. She was all carpel, total threshold. In desperate times I feared nothing: here is our microbody, and here is our corroded face. A very high signal aspect has been observed. She’s sometimes seen riding a chariot drawn by horses or dragons, sometimes walking. Every separation is a link (viz cell wall). She is yes-filterless.