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“Night. He looks up at the sky, a mesh retreating at the speed of light.” – Richard Makin, WORK (Chapter VIII)

As Iain Sinclair has observed, Makin’s “writing is that it is. This is prose you must learn to experience before you begin to interpret […] the pages in their beautiful and delirious abstraction are ordered poetry.”

Richard Makin’s Work continues the “work” of Mourning by taking stock of “the minutiae of the view, the dissenting details,” and dealing with the processes of passing, disappearance, & death. As David Vichnar has pointed out (see here), Makin’s is writing born out of “the obsession of the I that wants to die without ceasing to be I.” In the excerpt published below, one finds the similar pressing, disconcerting and richly bewildering tone that fills the pages of Mourning, and also something more.

Work is forthcoming with Equus Press in 2020.

VIII

And of course the notion of the palimpsest is always seductive, those untimely traces. Here, the outline of a journey is introduced: bolts of sunlight, liquid cells sprayed over the top to fill in the gaps — once more, a vast stretch of years. (Replace with moths?) Both the celestial equator and the ecliptic pass through a thirteenth sign, but this is not counted among the houses.

            An elegant couple on a launch at sea (our sea). Origin is late six, denoting temporary rule between reigns, or during the suspension.

*

She’s a carrier. An object falls from the sky, something like a huge hat pin with spherical head; slowly she is drawn out from the body. You actually don’t need to move your hips, he says — if you touch the iliac belt the whole sacrum quivers. 

            I am one famously discomposed. Origin is miasmic plus would-if-he-had-a-mind-to.

            I have a feel for this. On one of her index cards she refers to a man for whom violence begins wherever the maintenance of law is at stake. 

*

A poem of retraction, backsong: dead-centre noon, bursting of the sinus cavity, the first photograph. I went to register mother’s death and then got married. The jaw clicks, geiger count, the brain pan hums — our ascent is decayed, an erosion of code. Briefly, we discussed the problem: I need a continuum.

            Ice cliffs and sump oil, mass gravedigging sappers — with two assassinations under her belt, she’s a new creed of underminer. Whatever it was (and I wasn’t sure), I wanted it back. 

            The technique used was a species of strappado. A sign read nucleic acid is present in all living cells, its principal role being to act as a messenger. Please feel at liberty to remove uncertainty of meaning from any ambiguous sentence, phrase or other linguistic unit.

*

Antarctic whaler, father in profile head — the peculiar other-world feeling of the region is due to perpetual daylight. He carries the found object coiled up in his pocket; it will not go away. I will not go away — floored upon the sword-mat, braced for an additional lashing, fabric beaten near death. . . . Years later, in a letter, he described the onset of his illness. 

            He bellows as he advances, on and then off. When there’s a moment, try to detect the presence of a few odd or unfamiliar words; string these together into a few phrases — hence, above the man’s head, a watery fluid, sustenance. . . . Your inside is out: the trick is to wrest free of the body in one piece. 

            The narrow end of the clausilium slides into a groove formed by spiral folds on the inside of your skull; a small leather box containing text on vellum must be worn on the forehead in the mornings — a minute, sharp-pointed object is typically present in large numbers, such as a fine particle of ice. Origin is flint, on the pattern of words such as alumina.

            The tiny beads of her jacket hung on the door grazed the surface as if murmur when she brushed against.

*

He is little altered, this excremental god — word torn from its cladding, salt in every wound. Leeches are making a comeback. He is the last but one, spoken out and suffused in the light of a final morning, with magnificent clouds, a light breeze, the great celestial bruise et cetera. Night forms as a multitude of small droplets spread out along the blade. 

            A medium shot of a figure generally includes the body from the knees or waist up. I have lost connexion. Origin is replica plus ant, first used in the film. All the saints of this family have a spoon-shaped door which can slide down to close the aperture. Time is no aftermath. 

            Mass noun: the continental lithosphere has a lower mean density than the oceanic, of course. I paid three ninety-nine for the two. Many victims suffered atrophy of the nerve fibres in the eye.

*

The orbital muscles around his lips do their duty and he whistles a random tune. He’s just one of the wasted people I work; he is no match. It occurs to me that he’s the very thing — bearded then, tanned on the outstretching boom, but not tonight and not tomorrow. Rig now to get some sleep, while the sea is calm and steady. It spreads the skin of its neck into a hood when disturbed.

            Compare with cyme, compare with spike. The other flowers in the cluster developed as terminal buds of lateral stems. Origin denotes the unopened head, from literal summit, a popular form of vagrant.

            On the island, no more than a raft of congealed lava, I found a cluster formed of many heads attached to one long stem. (Clatter of a child dragging across the road a wooden toy on a string.) My bandage has been folded into a spiral arrangement, resembling. 

            Origin is late seven from literally spike, ear in relation to spine; the current sense is inflamed by ‘star-house’. Origin is an ear in the hand. 

Erectile hairs along the animal’s back rise when it is angry or alarmed. Thrown into prison for a crime he has not committed, this self-styled Monte Cristo is confined to a grim fortress of his own making.

            ‘Causal bastard,’ the turnkey mutters, mouthing a spell as he tosses away the key. Origin is a cord because of its string-like appearance, clotted with rancid animal grease — a lobe of the ear, the liver et cetera. 

            This requires silence, a stratagem of speechlessness. You lose a certain sharpness while waiting for things to become something else, dwelling here in the world, chock full of names. I here refer to the dorsal part of the organism, the cord from which it develops, something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

            Origin befell us. In the month of May there are many ferries on the river. (I am dreaming.) A man with a lute passes their farm. He thought music would ruin his verses.

            Compare with usage at enthuse.

*

There’s activity across the distance at the horizon line. There is yesterday and there is yesterday, a purple birthmark resembling a map on her passing face. . . . She peels. Current sense dates from your lost century: rootstock, a branch of the cerebellum — a reliquary of signals, glaucous bloom a residue.

            Then you think, ‘Aviation, I’ve made it!’ 

            Origin is an abbreviation of delta.

Decrease or fade gradually before coming to a close: e.g. the storm had petered out. Origin is the given name, another term for echo. Origin is transferred. Either of two books contain epistles ascribed to the patron saint (crime, madness). Our parents are here to show us how to die, all memory shifting to realign. 

            This seems like a bit of an infinity pull; I am no longer possessed of a body.

A medium shot is a relatively close shot revealing a moderate amount of detail, such as mass burnings and martyrdom, leading to an inevitable reduction in the populace. (But note the sense of calm today.) I love and I must. I’m destined to a short life of fiction and occasional domestic insurrection. 

            I have aged these years; the supposed significance of the movements of the sun, moon and planets within the zodiacal band is the basis of my defence.

            Note the directions and placement of vowel signs (see chapter two). Where were you when we needed a champion, Coeurdelion? 

            Somehow, the lab has preserved your density. I spent a very pleasant afternoon: we did a pen portrait, I had no skill or anything — I’m getting ahead of myself. It had wings and a head, skull slid down to abdomen. I read to forget.

            ‘I don’t see it like that. I’m a bit calmer now.’

            Who was the first to see the risen? Note the representation of the operator as an inverted capital delta; the gh-spelling is by association with ghost. Strike her deaf.

            ‘This aerial’s quite useful, listen.’

            In combination, quite labile, yes. In some viruses, RNA rather than DNA carries the genetic mandate. And there are always autobiographic reasons, the necessary apprentice in the service of a master. Then comes a lonely scene — crows screeching et cetera — but first, that memory on the bridge, Trieste.

*

Let reason govern thy lament and so on. . . . Is that the way that you want to be loved, for eternity, until hell freezes over doomsday?

            Look, an uncertain inflorescence is stalked in acropetal succession on an unbranched stem; ours is a not dissimilar group, that which embodies a gleaning or gathering. A satellite of Neptune has been discovered by the space probe and has a diameter, lighting up the lung, unearthing disease. Let me not become a remnant of my own memory. Amen.

Horsehead nebula. 

Across a field strewn with thorns, scattered logic. All these incomplete distractions serve as a torture — distant pulsing lights, compressed sleep — the lengthening shadows of trees that seem to carry our shape. Above all, book, I no longer trust you: the flat end of the clausilium can close the aperture and thus protect the mucous membrane from predators. Furthermore, the chromosphere is a red gaseous layer immediately above the face of the sun (any star) which together with the corona constitutes its outer atmosphere; this phenomenon was set in the heavens as a daily reminder to transgress the law.

            My fragile trust in language was always at stake; I have no desire to be reassured. It’s the horse’s head you must fear. (Rolling skies have so many upgrades on so many levels.) You are literally filling in the squares: visions are future-focussed. The door was open; I have stuck to my boundaries. But, I interjected, I’m actually trying to write silence, a feeling so singular that if you have once been there the thought of it would haunt you all your life.

            It’s all down to the number of mercurial people in the room, that sense of disbelief, fire on the horizon. An iron-age fort had been built on the ridge, high ground enclosed by a system of defensive banks and ditches; predation is by animals such as carnivorous larvae. A rainbow spectrum spreads out across the film covering the surface.

            There now follows the once famous list.

            i)          I can’t.

            ii)        Nowhere can he find the key. 

            iii)       Origin is an ear of corn (see spine). 

            iv)        No, origin is a wheel, the coil of a snake.

            v)         On the island, no more than a raft of congealed lava, I found a cluster attacked by short stalks at an equal distance.

            vi)        The flowers at the base of the central nerve develop first.

            vii)      Test the articulation. 

            viii)     Identify the outer layer of tissue immediately below a radical sign.

            ix)        And he lay there in the night thinking it equals which. 

            x)         A cluster with a central stem bearing a single terminal flower developed first.

            xi)        However, the modern constellations do not represent equal divisions of the zodiac and the ecliptic now passes through a thirteenth house, which is no longer recognized in bingo.

            xii)      The fleshy external flap is the brightest star in our constellation.

            xiii)     Behaviour of: forehead on ground / foreground on head. (Which?)

            xiv)      Behaviour of: rushes about.

            xv)       Behaviour of: sits with back to fire, viz. dorsal part of organism or structure.

            xvi)     Behaviour of: washing equals rain (compare with ‘grey-green bloom upon bunch of grapes’). 

            xvii)    Behaviour of: washing inside ear equals stranger. 

            xviii)   I was once famous for my autofluorescence. 

            xix)      The whole structure can be retracted inside the shell.

            xx)       Black equals desperate search for a solution.

            xxi)      Green equals lucky to possess.

            xxii)    Red equals think yourself lucky to touch.

            xxiii)   Blue equals meeting.

            xxiv)    White equals glad to see the back of you.

            xv)       Yellow equals a visit from your nemesis next door.

            ‘Sometimes, if you are foreshadowed.’ 

            Word senses can be disambiguated by examining the context; my knees aren’t the best now. The diagnosis was clear: bit by bit, I was eating my own head. (There is no mention of your influence.) The hero of the family in the film had little choice but to perform a human sacrifice. And who grants him the ability to solve the sorcerer’s riddle? He steps forward to face this task, and with some divine assistance manages to answer all thirty-three questions, after which he asks three of his own. (Twat.) Unable to fathom these, the evil sorcerer seeks help from the angry man — the hypostasis of a destructive spirit — who refuses to reveal the answers. The evil necromancer then admits defeat and is ritually slain. This story is unlikely to have an origin as there are broad parallels, particularly in the wisdom contest between You and The Giant Hiding In The Room, as well as the contest described in chapter ten of this endless fucking saga. 

            I once saw this man who was a really strong swimmer in the sea and he got to the concrete breaker and it was a seal. If it had been me, I’d have panicked and dropped the ball.

            We must be the most labile culture in all history. Origin lies in the sense to err, i.e. the sixth closest to our planet in terms of hearsay.

            ‘But you’ll want to get in your best shot as well.’ 

            By this is meant an organ such as a kidney, the cerebellum or even a hare. 

            ‘Yep, we’re on phase one — we’ve all been sent back into the shadows.’ 

            ‘Except, I’m never going to talk to you again.’

*

Peak of the outcrop under mist, a herd of black cattle steep across one flank — a bruised thunderhead beyond illuminates green, white. Origin is an unlikely union. We must create some unexpected special effects which would outwit the complacency of the jury. I exist from inter, between rain.
            Do you ever stop. No. I will lose my jaw. You will lose your jaw. He will lose his jaw. She will lose her jaw. It will lose its jaw. We will lose our jaw. You (pl.) will lose your jaw. They will lose their jaw. 

            Now he’s drowning at sea. Now he endangers health by sucking out all our breath. (Thank you.) There’s an issue to do with those cracks opening up across the ceiling. 

            He is isolate. Do you not feel. He is mutual love personified: thine head upon thee is like the cardinal quarters, and the head of thine hair like purple et cetera. . . . In fact this meant ‘beyond these things’, which was a nice coincidence: at least it doesn’t mean I’m going into town to buy a cow or something. All this talk pierces the heart.

            Seems the old king is held fast at his own galleys, sandbagged in, pacing the solemn marble floor. Syncope, anyone?

A scene in which the final rescue takes place.

I keep seeing in my mind vivid fragments of dreams I have never dreamt, assuming the quality of lived memories: a cutting short, a sudden fall of pressure to the brain, extremities on fire. The body is tougher than we can possess. (No, I said keep an eye out.) So forms the imago, the last or perfect state; now I am proudly nothing. Place, you will never again be loved as I love you now.

            ‘Good, I am a boy of few words — sleep well, misters.’

            The presence of a clausilium is the reason for the common name bequeathed. Thus are dreams played out, drawn from under my skin. She dreamt repeatedly that she dived to the bottom of the lake to retrieve a small sphere — vital documents had been tampered with, their contents hidden, and what is more the others knew all along.

            I actually never scrutinize beforehand anything that I eat. That man in my compartment, he was blind, his wife had a miscarriage. Come home when you need to.         

*

We’ve heard rumour of seance, digits gently linked across the square table — we being four, stationed each to a side — rumour of a high throne, where the tracings contract and withdraw. I believe we’re reluctant, to a degree.

            The beginning is like the close, highly off-beat — the harness, electrified razor wire et cetera. Two combatants were stranded on the same remote island and had to make the best of it. But that’s a good photo, that’s an amazing photo: an interstellar ganglion. 

            It was a terribly limited canvas. It broke down the structure of English. (A kind of madness, an aggravated form of nostalgia.) 

            Null is a dummy letter in the cipher, the direction in which no electromagnetic radiation is detected. Nonsense is a condition of no signal. Origin is lapwing. Origin is slap-bang in the middle. 

            As a final gesture, the brotherhood offered him autonomy, or a course in delinquent economics. 

*

On-off. Pharos, lighthouse on the north side of a deep natural harbour. Off now. I am busy. I am busy killing off one of my nine, stretching my arms across a baize green table. . . . Silence is taboo (certain names must never be mentioned). And that’s the vaticinal rumble of an approaching train. Keep ’em coming, scrape that tongue: shell-tooth, Thoth.

            Yes, here he comes, dragging his hapax legomenon. That day, awakening to find two suns in the sky — the ‘alembic firmament’ et cetera — oxen-drawn against the headwind, with low ceiling, sloping floor: a prison cell, a fireproof cabinet with complex locking mechanism, the empty sea chest in the loft, an out-of-date penis. I never expected to recover.

A major role in life.

Combine quicklime with water to produce calcium hydroxide, slaking the lime within a day or two of purchase. I think we’ve been very fortunate with the weather. The agonic line is an imaginary line around the earth passing through both the north pole and the magnetic.

            Here they come again, this time for an encore: counterfeits and sculpture in lost wax. Are you all right going in on your own? Do you want me to leave? I never before noticed those distant blue hills. (Canada’s notwithstanding clause). The empirical realities do not match this metaphorical picture.

            And who’s your favourite dinosaur: that man, yes, ghost-blind, ancestral. Who’s your favourite big fish or mammal. Do you like whales. O yes, we do like sharks now, yes.

            That was concrete for three days, he told me it was concrete — it has to be concrete, or failing that a hard translucent fossilized resin originating from extinct coniferous trees of the Tertiary period, typically yellowish in colour. Blow your trumpets to the new moon. What do you call a dinosaur that’s hiding around the corner.

            A vast stage reaches up almost to the ceiling. I am arranged for many voices; if there’s a PR issue, phone me.

            Praise the Lord it will never happen: the floor collapses, a child falls through. It can happen, you just never know who’s going to come through a ceiling. 

            In a sick part of my mind, this is voyeurism: gouging, probing, scraping. West started by cashing two top diamonds, on which East petered. 

            Don’t worry yourself about this, don’t worry.           

*

Some drowned downriver, others were found floating upriver. Fever-head, I stole everything I could lay my hands on: the telephone never stopped. Just observe and listen to the results. (I think I do know what you mean.) It’s amazing. One minute into your watch and a jet of fluid is discharged from the tiny orifice, accompanied by tympana and bells. (How do you know all these things.) At the front of the stage is a curtain, a proscenium arch evoking the dome of the foreskull or a strongbox — any ark-like shell with transient high voltage. 

            Dig in, dig deep to the visionary model: we’re all but buried, up to the thorax. (Excuse me, it’s here.) But in the film no one could leave town until the tetrahedron was destroyed. . . . Let’s get away from all this, it’s an unforgiving field — I shall endeavour to keep my narrative diplomatic, but radiant nonetheless. For example, a chipper is a person or thing that turns something into chips.

            Whom has he not afflicted with his ridiculous libel? . . . It is mercifully still and dark outside, and mercifully, no chains. I will keep this very useful: that roiling sound, tongue lolling, the drip of a nerve, even when married — dying ice, the sound of meltwater flooding the gravel fen. Maybe we had them with us all along, close to our side, without knowing. 

            How does his hand make that shape.

*

Now I am proudly nothing, a typical null self. It’s just a piece of time you will serve, she adds. The street lamps are lit, bending the horizon: alignment is east-west (or west-east, depending). I am trying to reconstruct a picture of that studio, build a pietà of my own. I wonder what a bone spur is: there’s an object here and I do not know how it has been named. Desiccated spore cases are strewn across the hillside beneath dense foliage — spent shells, cartridges, a quarrel of headless grouse. One tube leads to the tympanum. 

            Creeping blood rhizome: he will bark like hell when he sees those black pods on the tree. This does sound like a serious operation — check the soil content you were raised upon. All I need is something to aim myself at, to unwittingly misquote; there’s nothing like sending out false ideas — but this isn’t the time: a code of honour demands silence. There are not many short novels capable of accommodating such bewildering antinomies.   

Godsent imbalance returning, a sense of opprobrium in the aftermath of those court proceedings which are no doubt fresh in the listener’s mind. I am composing; I am replacing the missing segments, the body of evidence. One single act can change everything: the key event took place between two piers. A face appeared at the door ajar.

            The survivors’ food ran out and they became beggars, more crow than human. Then the raft sank. All the witnesses are long dead, and besides, informing equals disgrace. Isochronous means occurring at the same time. 

A line on the map connects points with the same average temperature in winter; it is out of such a mood that the orator speaks. His overall navy blue, insouciant he enters a bar to conjure a brawl. 

            ‘Our innovative multi-colour fluorescence endoscopy unit will help in the scramble to locate your bygone lung.’

            Where did he say. (If wishes were horses, beggars would ride et cetera.) We have arrived at somewhen island, with its fifty million migrating crabs and pyroclastic cloud. I am purposiveness without purpose.

            He made his name, a black comedy set at war. It is reported. She said who does he think he is God. (Whoever hears me is not ashamed and so forth.) Then I hit something on the road.

            What happened to you. What happened to him. What happened to her. What happened to me: nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. What happened. 

            A paradox could be a contradiction between two beliefs or conclusions that are in themselves reasonable. Origin is late six, a conflict between laws, from anti plus the given name. But he argues that the best missions are guided by a vision: at any point on this imaginary line a compass needle points true north.

            i) Eastward.

            ii) Assuage.

            iii) Sealing-wax.

            iv) Tweak.

            v) Terminal moraine.

            This approach is not flawless: W and Y are diphthongal (i.e. shortbread). And Rosin the Bow has lost her other eye, such that she can no longer read her notes. But we know we can introspect: that was where I once would walk around the woods and see the amazing ruins from a distance of years.

            That’s odd, at most other surgeries, he began. . . . How would you characterize the sudden changes in style? And he was spending a hell of a lot of times on trains, was living quite cavalier. I myself am walking the length of the track as we speak. (Jupiter looks interesting tonight.) Those are container ships, silently rusting, out on the sleeve. 

            Well, in terms of the choral work, this signals a move away from the secular to the sacred. Maggots were once used as a curative. I was a schoolboy when I first met Elgar.

The clockworks. 

You are like a jewel she says, sapphire or topaz (see above). Then she talks of pointed arches, rib vault and flying buttress, together with stained-glass windows and elaborate tracery — a horrifyingly angular style of handwriting with broad vertical downstrokes — and remember, this is way before the gothic, whether early, decorated or perpendicular. Another played the reed-groan, while others cannot speak, cease to communicate. There is no airlock granting entry or egress from this chamber, but I am also cutting things out as I go along.

            Jupiter looks down upon me, overseer for the day. You have muted. Who stepped into the dead man’s shoes at the last moment? Temporary loss of consciousness was caused by a fall in blood pressure, the omission of sounds or letters from within a word, for example when a library is announced and origin cut off.  

            Just as well: keep out of the moonlight, it may turn your head or even blind you. In the centre of that hole is a blue carrier bag, plump with coarse black hair. Our will shall not be broken; remain always close at hand, please. He felt as though the whole world had suddenly fled his senses, for its codes had grown increasingly complex.

            It occurs to me that the proprietor may wish to close up for the night — at least we have a direction now. We’re going to make a start, a new beginning. (How do you conjure ambidextrous.) Never gaze upon the satellite through a glass. 

We’re minted. There are bits of narrative you can’t do without, and some bits you can’t do before other bits — for example, this feels like an incurable aspect. On the front lawn, a mass of rocks and sediment have been carried down and deposited by a glacier during the night.

            It’s a lovely idea though, being in here with the old selfhood, scratching at the sides of my tank with sharpened fingernails. Non sequiturs tend to multiply (they take some struggle, believe me). Somebody’s lost their head. 

            Consider all this, then examine us both, the sea and the land: strange analogy, strange meeting, turning to face something alien within yourself — contre-jour — a silhouette against the day, by the window where the light is. Then one evening we sat together and watched the nearest star swallowed by a distant headland.

            Elongated shadows outline the position of the man; no blood reaches here from the upper ground. (I know, I know, this all looks way too easy.) Later on we have some music on the subject of dystopia — we’re not going anywhere until then, are we. 

*

A really light rain, named mizzle. You’re simply making a virtue of your own habits, which I’m at liberty not to share. There’s money in the bank today. 

Next comes a series of nasty shocks. They enter my bones — I have been bound with ropes about the wrists and surviving ankle and am trying to fax through a rapid-access heart failure (viz. urgent in the extreme). A strong wall surrounds me, within which is set a magnificent wooden gate dating from the era of twelve, intermeshed with iron bars which can never be prised open. She reacts as if this were a normal occurrence; my prison is reckoned within the keep.

            The emperor is with child, rumours the gathered populace. I have purchased today a large tub of lubricant. See, everything is proximal.

*

He is pinned beneath a boulder, the so-called logan stone; nonetheless, he must deliver. This is a great inconvenience, for we have not the time to devote research into all these subjects. The aliens lived in giant tripods from which vantage they reduced the fleeing humans to ash where they stood. I have never before mentioned this to a living soul.

            Spelling arose, perhaps, influenced by the old variants; it could be said that the public is becoming tired of such events. Never much of a midwife, I would have made a better job of the delivery if I’d had a bag of sequins and a kitchen knife about my person. When it comes to dreams, it’s not a question of interpretation, it’s about joining in.

            We made several botched attempts to slay our adversary, before deciding to cram his entire body up the drawing-room chimney and set a fire beneath him. Like a heretic or witch in the olden days, he would no doubt choke on the rising smoke before the flames could sear his flesh, which I have always held to be a small mercy in such circumstances. Even Jung once wanted to be an archaeologist, then changed his mind. (But why him she asks, again and again.) When do they come for me? I think there is room, indeed, I am sure there is room for something more on the subject. There was little room in the steel cages slung beneath the giant tripod, where humans harvested from the surface of the earth were kept before liquidation. Wherefrom do they come for me? . . . A tragic error of flawed science has taken place — when I say paranoiac, I mean a seeker hell-bent on the truth. My own soul is lost. The fake humans contained fake memories and identities — we beat a retreat, sounded the mort.

            To seaboard. . . . Beat the flames, beat the sea — our sea. (The writer obviously loves water.) And we all gathered up on deck in a shivering mass, a somatic cloister at the dead centre of a storm. . . . Captain’s on the bridge, glass eye out as his body shudders, pinned down beneath the star field to mimic its design.

            I could identify objects written into the sky — there’s even evidence of the civilisation that gave its word, that undertook, that bound itself, that indicated, that gave every indication, that lead one to expect, that gave good grounds for expecting, that pointed, that hinted, that suggested, that foreshadowed. . . . The one standing beside me glanced upward.

            ‘It survives out there, glimmering porous, about to disappear forever. . . .’

            He turns to face the Dog Star — he’s following his family tree across the heavens, the characters who see. The other hands have cut short their song and crane over the bulwarks, balanced on pipelines of liquid mercury, rusting culverts that lead directly into nowhere: the first humans are coming, a horde from the surf storming the reef, riding four abreast, climbing closer and closer. 

            Insect life, or its optical counterpart, persists in the unconscious as influence, foundered on a parent or whatnot: child clutching canister of indigo dyestuff, madder.

            I am becoming more decisive about my pathological indecision. When she died, she rejected the family mausoleum and insisted on a grave apart. 

*

This is a great inconvenience to most of us, for we have not the time to devote research into all these topics. But I think there is room, indeed I am sure, there is room for something more on the subject. I have mentioned before that the public is tired of such spectacles. I am repeat.

            I have. . . . I have their. . . . I think. . . .  I think there will be. . . . I see. . . I see there is. . . . I wish. . . . I wish there were. . . . I am sure. . . . I am sure there is. . . . I know. . . . I know there is (or has). . . . I know there is not. . . . I know there will be. . . . We have their. . . . Before there (or their). . . . For there. . . . For their own. . . . For their sake. . . . From their. . . .

            Hopefully it won’t be much longer. If there. If there is. If there is to be. In their. In their opinion.

            There’s obviously a certain temperature. Maybe they need to invest some of their human assets. . . . In their case. . . . In their statement of intent. . . . Thought there is, there once was.

            Safety in numbers grants us riches. Whenever there (or their). As soon as. As soon as possible. As soon as we can. As soon as they. On this subject. As we can. As we cannot. As we have. As well as can be. As well as possible. As well as usual. As well. 

*

As a child, I played a solitary game that involved repeating aloud an everyday word over and over until it became detached from what it signified. (See Advanced Phraseology, Section 2.) Expressions arrive elongated from the southwest: have you seen what’s on the blackboard this morning et cetera.

            I’m trembling: it’s the rising smell of scorched flesh, feeding the howling ruts, the body within which sparks of light are imprisoned. Nothing’s very clear, is it — just as one misperceives in the real.

            Now all present must pay. (Margery Kempe I said, I’ve just destroyed Adrian’s imaginary crisis.) I took a step backwards; there is no one to show myself to any longer on the outside, which has vanished.

            All that remains is a fluid-filled labyrinth where vibrations are converted into nerve impulses. An oblique sun illuminates a red omnibus, ultraviolet within, lichen on the bough beneath a coronet of scarlet thorns.

Sinkage.

Sinkapace, i.e. five steps and three faces, a sort of ancient dance. From the name, it’s inferred that all my stratagems are regulated by the number five. Temporary loss of consciousness was caused by a sudden fall in blood pressure, the omission of sounds or letters from within a word, for example your library. (There she is, sneaking out.) I’m going to ask you a question, and this time I need you to answer.

            Some of them stick to you for a reason. I’ll see if I can’t find a calliper splint: terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks have been found in your bloodline. 

            Upon the solemn checkerboard floor, both requests are refused by His Impressiveness — meanwhile, the gnostics strove desperately for a convincing theodicy. The chief problem with this apocalypse is the question which puzzled.

            We can’t take him anywhere at the moment, not as he is. (Are you analytical.) He wants to inverse, back into the revisible — nothing lives under it, or within it, see. But I’m getting a bit behind, wearied now, hands firmly bound as they are, as they always were.

He had tied both side ropes to the hackamore (a single length of rope with a loop for breaking in). You all set he says. . . . He lets go of the head; I rise up and step away. In at the foaming street they come, hell-cast horsemen flung down from thunderhead et cetera. Sir had numerous papers to examine after breakfast, thus the time was propitious for my excursion: plumes of volcanic smoke poured from the magma chamber.

*

Contaminated bags of saline drip and insulin were found while working the wards in the summer of nineteen. Any measures had to include action to propel people into leaving their bones behind in shallow graves.

            The moon flooded the landscape with UV light. Our isotope decays unpredictably, and as a result these numbers will change over time. 

Antennae dowse above a desert of red sand — cranes hang rusting, sand-blown corrosion — random transitions to glass or plastic (that meteorite). Father clings to the top of a swaying radio mast; he is still dead. A risen anchor passes, unbearably slow — no one knows what’s going on, and that’s the whole idea. I came up with indeterminate readings. One sequence runs. 

            ‘We communicate across this vast swarm of creatures who care nothing for our future.’

            Swaying radio mast, aerial dowser. A stray map on the pavement — we’re surveying the local signage — random topologies, ex-empirical. No one could claim we have a surfeit of faith (spooks démarche). But I’m getting sidetracked: origin is without an angle, origin is late from cobalt blue, the invitation to one’s partner to play a further lead in the suit. I am twinned with the hoisting of your cerecloth flag.

            (1) Pins, spoons, bounced, brains, tuns, trains, grains.  

            We’re just being held at a signal red. He’s speaking — the other, the listener — the monster with the trumpets, flutes and drums. Occasional discord strikes to sling tension between the counterparts: memories of someone else’s father, ever-absent. No work tomorrow, ever. 

            Apropos the last point: with radio glare, with monologic utterance, mafia-occultism, insular abstraction — fugitive glazes of madder and orpiment. Come back. 

            Where.

            Other notables include the player (algorithmic suffrage et cetera).  

One sequence runs.

At each new mile the horizon was a mile further off. Flash-cutting is the editing of a sequence such that the duration of your life becomes very brief indeed (e.g. ‘so long as fading light, still but the cloud’). . . . At each mile the horizon was a mile further off.

            I never gave working for a living a moment’s thought. Now, tongue her name off the toil sheet.      

Flint. 

Paralysed in his stovepipe hat, he sits and reads till dawn, then vanishes without a trace. There’s no possible sign for this. I think, indeed it must be admitted, that fogs and clouds do not add to the pleasures of such a trip, and the risk, as well as the graft, is magnified.

            It’s astonishing how much time there is now, provoked by the lifting of air at the advancing front of another downdraft. Overnight, a weird terminal moraine was deposited at the furthest advance of the ice sheet. Contre-jour emphasizes the outline of the man at the entrance to the tunnel.

            (2) Is it not so, and has not the guide spoken correctly? (Of good family too, would one pause to think of it.) O, and lest we forget: without a word being wasted. Then there was the sound of spring appearing after a long winter, typically as a ridge forming at your extremities. Now I have a frozen bone in my ear, who is called otolith. 

            Night. He looks up at the sky, a mesh retreating at the speed of light.

*

I just think he has this incredible self-belief. He is silhouetted against the window, a white radiance, back turned on an emptiness — a giant shadow moves, numberless triangles; he is recasting his mind.

            Aerials dowse over red dust, struggling to breathe in the sway of a censer bell. He takes himself off alone into the desert and lies naked on the burning sand. At the imperceptible flicker of his eyelids, a shadow races out and slithers over his body. 

            Or list, with all sentences beginning lower case, no full-stops.

Terrestrial gastropod mollusks have been recorded in our family tree, the notorious door snail on the distaff. He turns to Sirius — Venus through the houses — while a diamanté lizard and other small reptiles clung to her fur. We are about to make the vital detachment.

            A man approaches bearing arms, a bandoleer  — dissolving phantasm, vector of a disease beneath our disfiguring star. 

            Close by atop a column in the desert, the other dare not move. The chamber of his head is a boxlike bivalve.

            Let me know when you’re back in town. I’ve had enough. All that remains are the three semicircular canals that form the organ of balance.

*

Salvator seems to regard women as life-bearing vessels. His landscapes, often peopled with bandits and containing scenes of violence in wild natural settings, were an important influence throughout my childhood — and indeed, there were bullet holes in the ceiling of my hotel room when I woke the following morning.

            We are cherry-picking the highlights. (Where, Bedřich Smetana?) And there it was, a sort of twisted sinew floating in the air before my eyes. He approaches and points a finger to sketch muscle and fibrous connective tissue, the veins and arteries at the wounded hollow of my left thigh. No one need know.

            The sparks are held captive in very low spheres and need to be lifted up. A unique calcareous anatomical structure is found in one sector.

Dim sense of foreboding, the approach of something strange and ineluctable — question yourself once more about all these misreadings. The signals would arrive at the receiving room three hours after they had been sent from a morse transmitter in the faraway east.

            Why does he wait until the end to reach a decision.

            Well, there are some from whom screaming pours, but change has been dispatched from an unlikely source. . . . He saunters in under his Latin quarter hat. . . . An oil tanker passes, unbearably slow, and looks like one of those paintings in close up.
            

            Dear Gauleiter

            I just don’t care what things mean; it’s probably an illness. I simply want to be left alone to savour nothing — but you, you have a mind that is set; I sense you have a head congealed. It is quicker to say what you have to say, and then leave. 

            I’m sure it was a species of comet that we saw. Someone had a crow on a stick — Corvus once more, a pair this time, on either fence flanking as we passed through, soaring above a sea crushed flat.

            Your savant

*

Infinitely yielding, and one among us is unseamed at the edges. A huge rent opened up in the public spectacle — compensation neurosis, junk bonds — the kind of escape route a person invents in desperate circumstances: nerve-blind, all the instruments buried alive. A full shot is a type of long shot which includes the human body in full, with the head near the bottom of the frame and the feet near the top. 

            Who was flayed alive when he lost at hazard? You have to wait a moment or two for the voices to slither back in, but I promise you they shall, they will.   

            He sways to and fro. Analysis of the star-gate project leads to further dowsing: autumn mist and leaves underfoot, a low-growing plant which typically has a rosette of sepals and a luminescent green spike. Origin is the sole of the foot.

            Not a single offer for his head has yet been made, and I am beginning to see why. What, who, has fathered thousands.

© Richard Makin

About Equus Press

EQUUS was established in 2011 with the objective of publishing innovative & translocal writing.

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"Modernity today is not in the hands of the poets, but in the hands of the cops" // Louis Aragon
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“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?…we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us” // Franz Kafka, letter to Oskar Pollack, 27 January 1904
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