Sunday, 1 June 2014

Dark Materials

"I like it in the dark. It stays dark for long periods, now the power has been cut, now the candles are burning low and petering out. Here I am, in a misty, musty gloom, fed up with politicians and people saying one thing and thinking another, doing one thing and believing another, voting for things they neither understand nor believe and stuck in systems and set ups that have been proven to fail time and time again. So now I'm here, where I've always been, in a grey place. I look down at my hands, rough and dirty, fingernails broken, grim and dirt in them, pitted and grained. I rub the dry palms together, wearing through the skin, the hard working skin, the tough and worn skin. The hands of a worker. Now I'm at rest, sitting on a wooden box, staring into the dark and thinking dark thoughts with clear edges. It's the clear edges that define the problem, finding and setting limits. Mine are moving, I'm on a journey, I'm an explorer.

My eyes have become accustomed to the light, I see further but not far. My horizon is limited, I pace around the interior of the house, now the world is bigger but never big. I never wanted a big world. All I wanted was enough of a world to explore. One without people and disturbance and those mas of ideas that come through the letterbox on flyers, pamphlets, propaganda, news sheets and circular letters. I see them and the complex systems they purport to represent, the ideas they push, the interaction they call for but these things I ignore. I ignore then like the knocks on the door, the silent pushes on the dumb doorbell, the voices, pointed and filtered through the letterbox. That split little portal into daylight, bright stabs that lead outside to cash machines and buses, trampled leaves and rainy conversations. The occasional twilight run to the corner shop, foraging supplies and holding up activity. Maybe searching  further afield to replenish tools and materials, skip diving or picking things up. I need the memory the outside to dig out the inside. Digging out the inside and putting it outside. I always found places, places are everywhere if you only look.

Then there's my downward trajectory. My return to the swamp and the evolutionary source, into the black and crawling, crawling through the chambers and constructions. Deconstructing and breaking through. I have this idea of where I'm going, this ideal that forms in my head, my progression down into the bowels and the source. Chasing drips and rivers, breathing bad air, foul and reeking, hot and sticky like some escaping prisoner, unsure of the root to some final freedom. That was what I wanted, that's what I'm still trying to find down there. 

Now I'm in a rest period. My note book and pencil lines define the day. Tear up the time into manageable bundles, into pieces of work and pieces of rest, pieces of reflection and pieces of sleep. I defy the world in this with my energy and hygiene, with my grand design and my scheme, my solitude and silence and my grim determination. You could say that I was living the dream, my dream, perhaps your nightmare, perhaps your curious indulgence. In this project my superiority is clear, my attack is to the underbelly, the bottom to the top, sailing in my muddy sea, caked in the hard waves and beyond the fickle weather. I am no slave but I work as if enslaved. That's all part of the twist and the pleasure. 

So you have me, you see me, but you don't. One day they'll bring me out in a coffin, or dirty like a dead dog from the gutter on an ambulance stretcher. Glenn Miller or Count Basie will play in the background as the neighbours look on, nodding and saying “well I never”, or just whispering, hands across their treacherous mouths. That was always what they did. My body, now dead with dirty nails and blood dried across my forehead covered in a sheet or zipped in a bag like a blitz victim or a battlefield casualty. It will all be seen as as some kind of unexplained, inexplicable mystery. One for the files and the college courses and a para or two in the Daily Mail. Then whisked away down the damp streets for the autonomy and ambiguity of the morgue and the final fire. Where might they scatter me or bury me deep? I should write down my wishes. Of course I wont care and I don’t care, my soul has passed on, ranging back and forth but mostly down, down in those tunnels. Care is for the weak and the living.

Your houses will slowly crumble, your streets they crack and subside. Doors no longer fit and windows wont close. The gutters leak and there are cracks, slim and unnoticed then great and yawning. Then the masonry starts to fall, trees bend and old people trip on the pavement cracks and the distorted kerbs. I did it all. I built my empire, my tunnel kingdom, under your home, your English castles. I tore away God's good earth with my bare hands and stolen shovels. I propped it up with rotten timber and broken furniture. An earthquake sitting inside a time bomb. A challenge for all the fine engineers with their degrees and their concrete pouring techniques. We'll see how quickly and how costly it is to fill my underground honeycomb. There will be blood and money, for miles in all directions. North, south, east and west. You see I am that thing...

I am that modern phenomenon, recognised, the weirdo, that thing you dread. You up there, paying your stupid mortgage every month, struggling to cope, keeping the faith and walking in the light. I was there, under your very feet, under your kitchen and living room, digging away beneath your possessions, your investments and all you hold dear. The subliminal secret warrior and terrorist staring up through the cracks in the floorboard. The dirty old bogeyman looking up your wife's skirt and giggling at your stupid little conversations. I was so inferior I just had to explore and travel the full spectrum to turn out so superior. As you shall all see. Meet me, see my handiwork, fifty years effort, sweat and hard labour for  the Mole Man of De Beauvoir Town."

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