CLAUSTRO

Still from Decasia ©Bill Morrison, 2002

It’s a grey day – a Sunday.
A worn advert has left its pornographic lilt. Its promises of transcendental raspberry sorbet. Trumpet.
They have the same books out every time I come in here. Orange and professional covers, self help, dust jackets, size twelve. Excess – stretched to the thousandth leaf. How depressing, I think, it would be to exclusively buy up hardbacks. Their straight spines. Sequences of great ideas. Neat. Embossed. I could never be so on top of things.
Still – I think the same things.
It would be nice, but I can’t be bothered. Not now, anyway.

The sky is greyer against the supermarket linoleum. Lucky I don’t need much – fresher grapes; butter.
At home, the sky is kept out by a steadfast, tightly wound rail. Summer clothes I should place away stand guard. The room is closed. Donald Byrd wails, unsatisfyingly because the last unnecessary espresso has knotted every nerve, every synapse sent firing, building point from nothing. Bedrock.
The corners aren’t closing in. That doesn’t happen. They stay, above, fixed, not laughing or touching. Anything resembling Rabelais’ carnival. The birdcage light, humming and doubled in the mirror. Relic, from where, “I worry about you, in that room, on your own,” is said and I only lie. Despite missing the thrum of the washing machine, or the landline bell I never remember until it’s there, I’ll stay away and still think of the absent surfaces, too heavily governed by clean clothes. Mirrors. Overripe fruit. Things like that.
In the kitchen, though, the light is less harsh.

I also keep the sombre greyscale portrait there, on the brochure, in the same place, where it can draw relative peace to the invisible literary revue, alongside others widely regarded. Urizen, presented for the nonplussed en masse, and decaying. Heaven. And Hell. You can trace the ache, from the collar around the blade, and rest on the small of the back. Fine.
Something similar washed over in the tomb of the Basilique de Saint-Denis – heaped stone caskets, crushed together, gouged out. Completely devoid of Gothic concentricity. Indistinguishable, from the bricks. Defined in the ground is the cross, as if shone from above.
Above, the prayer candles still have barcodes. The ticket office and the pulpits are open.
What’s Benedictine?

I remember asking – are you going to the service station?
Yes, if this —– doesn’t kill me first.
As I’m walking back, the traffic lights align, which never happens. In the glazed eyes of motorists, a trance entered while travelling. Unaware of any place but from where you have left, any place but where you will arrive. Any time. The heady warmth, too, produced by poor air conditioning. Unlike the localised heat from the sun on your arm. This goes straight to the dizzy head. To the grotesque motorway, its clockwork. Smooth. Sequential.
There’s the same familiarity, the softness exclusive to older eyes, aware and unwillingly adrift.

I got a girlfriend that’s better than that
She has the smoke in her eyes
She’s comin’ up, goin’ right thru my heart
She’s gonna give me surprise

Coffee. Wine. Vegan chilli (more beans, less beef). Mug of tea you could drown in. European cake, vivisected by bare hands. Lemon water, one vase. He kicked hard as he could, watched it leave the atmosphere, and somewhere dies to meet those trailing behind.

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