Something hidden in the woods.
In January the ferry marsh is spare. Nearby there are godwits, little egrets, cormorants and, present in their sorrowful call, redshanks.
It is dark at mid-afternoon, especially on the days when the sky starts charcoal and lightens to battleship grey – but no more.
At the writing desk the blinds are up and the silver birch is peeling; blue tits flit through it on their way to the woods. The train horns are reminder of the city; the concrete; the glass.
I have an old notebook with new writing – words, at least, nothing solid, though it is condensing, slowly. And I have a new diary pocked with ink-marks and scribbles.
Before the noise of new writing, though, there is something else. Something coming. Something that has been here for a while. A book.
It was the week she discovered Bob Kaufman and read a poem of his (now forgotten) while the rain streaked across the window of her suburban flat. It was the week the cancer first looked ineluctably fatal.
The news streamed in dolefully: news of supporters and opponents, the disaffected and the quietly optimistic, as if they were some covert vigilante force, untrustworthy renegades all, double agents plenty.
The news was totemic, untouchable. The language was all wrong. The words she was hearing, the words that remained despite visits to the hospital – they were words beyond the window, beyond the rain.
NB: Geographies are distorted by culture, politics, capitalism etc. Spatial relations are always relative / in flux.
Wikipedia entry says the shrine is located next to the (more significant landmark?) Grand Hyatt hotel – also the Skytrain station (tourist advice).
ALSO: ‘The hotel’s construction was delayed by a series of mishaps, including cost overruns, injuries to laborers, and the loss of a shipload of Italian marble intended for the building. Furthermore, the Ratchaprasong intersection had once been used to put criminals on public display.’ ?
A cloth-wrapped pipe. Worshippers. A street full of tourists. Anti-government. Blood and chaos. Hospitals overburdened.
I am looking at the sky despite the clouds. I will not miss these moments. It is just me and my eyes. I have no telescope, no binoculars. I am looking at the sky, the night sky, through a mist of light pollution, into the occluded dark, here, so late and so early, standing alone for this fleeting chance. I am gazing into the stars to see fractured pieces of rock and ice as small as grains of sand. I am waiting for them to flare, to illuminate the ghost of a speeding comet. I am waiting for the gods.
The waiting is worst. He can feel the tension beneath his fingernails, his throat parched, dry with dust. There are maybe twenty of them loitering, shuffling off the attention of security, trying not to look as if they are eyeing the trucks and trains.
Night is soon.
Some of the jostling is for distraction. Four guys run as a decoy. There are only seconds to spare. Sprinting, leaping, hiding in one swift, planned move – executed to enter the tunnel. The trick is to keep clinging; the trick is to not fall; the trick is to not run out of breath.
I like you. I like you because you unnerve me sometimes with your unpredictability. I like you because when I consider your unpredictability I realise that you were unswerving, straight. It was me who hadn’t seen the pattern; hadn’t quite understood. I like that you know when to stand up and when to sit down; how you’re quick to speak and quick to stop speaking – how you speak clearly. I like that everyone thinks you’re the boss because you have that air, but that you always know your place. You are never the boss. Everyone is the boss. The people.
// INCOMING/SUPPRESSED: the commander of ****’s Battalion ******** Militia, announced that scores of fighters have returned to *****, Western ****, from ****** to join the fight against the **** terrorists.“180 **** ****** are now back in **** to help the popular forces in their fight against the **** and defend the city of ****,” **-**** Press news website quoted the commander as saying on Tuesday. He underlined that most of the fighters of the Battalion are also present in some regions of ******** and ***** provinces. The ******* are planning for a major battle against the **** in *****. The **** has links with ***** intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the ****** regime. // ENDS
A giant flag draped behind the nation’s leaders. A faded flag hanging limply in an antique shop in a small town. A book of ensigns on a shelf next to tea sets and cracked crockery, medals and vinyl records and gas masks.
A woman standing proudly in front of a house. A family on the beach. An old motor car. The car of a man and woman. The house and family of a man and woman. A woman standing proudly in an old photograph in a tatty album, on a dusty shelf, forgotten beside the flags, in an antiques shop.
After they tore open the skies there was little left to protect. No more checkpoints. No more sanctions. No more barriers. No more disputes. There had been nowhere left to go on sovereign land. No way through the impasse of government and state. There was nowhere left to grow. They looked upwards instead, above the law. The sky was empty. Half of the wealth of the world down below could be lifted up there, into the light, above any regulations. Everything of value could rise into this untethered new world. The word ‘corporation’ could finally be divested of its meaning.