Monday, 26 October 2009


Two voices are bantering I think over at the other side of the lake. But no they are actually coming from high up above the lake. This I know because I see the orange reflector jacket high up above at the very top of the pylon that the man is very gradually descending. Towards the bottom of the pylon it seperates out into four splayed legs set far apart and sunk deep into the mud spanning right across a wide stretch of water.
I lose sight of the man where the trunk of the pylon seperates out. Even where he flickers in and out of view I miss him and his bit by bit progress and in the end I never locate which leg he is coming down. I continue to hear the voices for some time.

Later, on the train there's a girl in a light grey rain-coat. Her hands are plunged into her pockets at either side of her as she sits with legs crossed and raised up onto the seat opposite. She flaps open and closed the grey folds of the coat she is wearing to reveal a polka dotted T.shirt of many colours. She is talking across to her father who sits silently over on the other side facing the direction that the train is going in and glancing out the window. She is talking in searing crescendos that break apart into laughter which suddenly cut short. There is very little response, the man appearing monosylable and retreating further into himself as his daughter rises in tone. She is talking about where she sleeps on a metal-framed bed in a dormitary style room. About being marked down and only getting one merit unstead of five because she missed one day even though she is a good girl in class. She says, "One day, dad. I only missed one day". She is anxious as she lounges casually letting the grey coat flap open then drawing it around her body tightly and shivering. Her face is open, plastic, maleable and startled. Her father admonishes her for missing a day of school. She seizes at the response, draws it out, tests it until it too fades and retreats. She had wanted to leave the train one stop earlier to meet someone her father knew whom she hadn't yet met. His voice quickens when she mentions that name so that she knows the power of that word and uses it again and again. Until in the end the power fades and that dies.

In the end they didn't get off. The train rolled on. They leave the carriage and go onto the platform at the next stop. I notice as they go up the steps that the girl is leaning heavily on one side so that she needs to hold on to the railing. Her shoulder and upper back are rigid raised towards her ear as if caught and flattened in a vice. Her father walks next to her on her good side.

Later at another platform where I wait endlessly through anouncements and lists of train destinations which do not apply to me, amidst the crowd that spills out of the train but immediately seperates out, is a young man that many people rinse through before parting.

He is staking out the ground far ahead with a stick that is always planted at an angle. He leans into the stick and then releases one leg at a time rolling his hips through a circuit in order to meet with it. One hand alone wraps around the top-most curve of this stick so that his entire palm is in close contact with its` uneven wood. With the forefinger pressed so hard against the wood that it actually bends backwards his little finger strays outwards entirely on it`s own, tracing the air in parallel excursion that adds further breadth to his claimed passage. His other arm is loose and rolls inwards and outwards at the joint of the shoulder in free motion. In doing so it is continuously opening the chest, increasing his breathing capacity. That compensates for the compromised breathing on the other side. Everything is contained and under pressure here because of his need to create a rigid traction between hand and stick and along the length of his arm, down the outer perimeter of the body to the foot that plants firmly into the ground then pulls up as if from mud before locking down once again.

The man wears a luminous blue jumper over his upper body. It is leant forward so that the centre of gravity is in an intended space just past the blue. Between a falling and a catching of that step the body runs towards the planted stick up ahead forcing an automatic swing and jump out of every placement. There is the staked out area for his manoevre which is entirely that of action. Every perterbation is thrown into play drifting beyond all seperate remittance in any one step. Unstead it becomes a hesitant severance. As something already escaped from itself it is only then recollected in a retrieval that is found in the bounce back up. The brightness grows. The play is there entirely in the jolts and stoppages of timed catchments that are almost always on the verge of being too late. There is spectacular travel in that timing and the man knows it.  He is no longer caught in each moment of self-containement but stretches out between various instances swerving into what he is not yet at, wrenching out of what he once was, in a slurr that possesses him.

He crosses the raised foot bridge over the tracks. A woman on the opposite platform holds a small table upside down to her chest as the train pulls in. Once the train pulls out most of the figures on the platform have been swept away and so has she. I am startled by her absence. Some time later I catch sight of the man in the luminous jumper who has just descended the stairs and is making his way in a circular motion, in the opposite direction against a crowd already forming across the tracks.

Many days later I have the rhythm of his movement playing out still in my body and thoughts.It seems to organise my own journey and the on-off premise between aggravation and loss of consciousness that I veer in and out of.

Earlier at the lake across the wooden make-shift bridge and past the notice pinned on the tree that read "Warning, Private Fishery. No Tresspassing by order of the Metropolitan Police" I stood for some time at the furthest extreme of the mud bank looking out across the water in the line of the sun interupted by thin clouds and the bright streaks across the water where a duck too far away to be visible carves a trail. I moved my arms around  trying to loosen my shoulder, relieve the tight sinews in my neck and face. Feeling like I was getting ill in any case and trying to ward off the inevitable in the soft light of the afternoon sun. Then just before darkness I made my way back across the wooden bridge and to the train station where I waited for a train to take me back towards London.

A flock of birds fly past against the flow of the train as it pulls out just after we have boarded.

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