At Tom’s. A sense of the drift of mores — of a culture at odds with one’s assumptions. Trying to remember the difference between stalagmites and stalactites. Kagemusha — the shadow warrior. A film about acting. Peter’s tragedy. Defeat in the stirring of coffee, the way the spoon is laid with a measured, clicking finality on the saucer; cataclysm in a blink.

Looking away: like the movement of a tide, the retreat or onset of an ice age. The actor who spends too long in her role — like a swimmer too far from land to get back. No self there, waiting. Just the shore, as after a great naval engagement, the beach littered with the bodies of drowned sailors, debris. Sarah still talking about the Cadillac.

We follow the seductive implication of our routine lives that there will be continuity, that the days have a certain architecture, like a building with a regular series of arches.

I realise I have spent too long at the angels’ tea party, and that I find it difficult to return to mortal company. The gravity seems heavy, my bones have adapted to weightlessness. The grossness of the vocabulary shocks me. The imprecision of the concepts is depressing. And the constant hurry — the desperate, avaricious, mortal hurry. Even the torpor is avaricious. The angels are self-satisfied, it’s true, and their levity unfathomable, given what is going on here. Scarab beetles, but human beings labour not with balls of dung but with slow-rolling boulders of hatred. Not to care is hard. Caring is easy. What mortals fear most, they also crave most: oblivion. What else drives every sentence? This one, and the next? The hurry, the hurry…

 

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

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