Tuesday, 6 October 2009

I pointed with my forefinger

In the mess of everything one thing is certain. That is that the building is coming down. It is behind a wall that cordons off the market and I am drawn to it I don't know why. I have always been drawn to falling and crumbling buildings. They remind me of this one point in time that has already gone. It is a manageable disruption that speaks in that body coming undone. You either go with it or go against the flow. I decide this time to go with it. There's that fascination in the slanted colliding scales of a punctured roof, like a hole in the top of the scalp, irrigating everything. There's that sense of a breeze even on the muggiest of days. Something building up even before it is amongst us. Some kind of brew that has yet to ferment. But we know it takes patience even to become intoxicated. We have to put ourselves into a certain atmosphere for starters. Which is why even the most vacant drunk is filled with ideas and plans; expectations and hopes for the future even if it is only how to place themselves between a bottle and it's emptying contents. There is a mastery of the forefinger. How it exerts pressure and lessons it. That state is one of perpetual movement-constant improvisation. A shift in scale - of up/down, left/right and in that swerve something begins to spin. They remain as ever on the green by the side of the road but the everyday actions of getting the bottle to the lips is staggered, off-set, contained or leaked out to a wider environment which momentarily may share in that special kind of intimacy; between lip and bottle. There is a transferance before that batch of on-lookers is shuttled away on the top of a double-decker bus. Or not. Because some get out and disapear below the surface of the earth, shuttled further afield on the underground with only the snap-second image of the bottle, the hand , the lip to play out through endless tunnels. That moment captured- impossible to disengage from-in the very instance that they looked away.

I`m making my way to the moss-covered fraying surface that is a patch-work of plastic stapled together on to corners and sides, shoved up by scaffolding- that too already rusting- barely glinting in the sun, when I too am shoved up as figures scruff past me, banging me, scraping my breast. My eye follows the running figure that is now up ahead where the crowd is even thicker the stalls with tumbling goods stacked one on top of the other.
A voice behind me says, "I see what  happen, I see it". He overtakes; a tall thin man who drifts over to a stall up ahead. I stop, ponder over things on a table and he filters back through to stand for a moment closely behind me before moving off again now in counter-flow. Everything stops in that moment before I continue. A man lifts up an old coffee maker, runs his fingers over the curved surfaces of that alluminium container with the transparent glass moulding for a lid. I watch as he gages through the finger-tips it's worth; the passing of life. I become immersed in his movements. I leaf through a book on runes- strange shapes that are meant to mean one thing or another and that were once carved on top of stones in order to attract various tendencies and dispositons both  in the human emotion and in the natural tendencies of how things move, come together and affect one another. Two women who own the stall talk about a woman who bought an old second-hand camera, took pictures and got back a whole load of pictures of her eye because she was pointing it the wrong way. One of the women has just been given a bag full of empty used plastic bags that she hooks on the end of the stall right next to me on my right. They do not expect me to buy the book which I continue to brows as if in a library. We are in the shadow of that building which I have forgotten in the mess of objects, which conjures up meanings as we touch them. A woman strokes a bag with a furry surface striped like a tiger. The man with her says, you do that every time we come here. I`m sure it was that bag you looked at last week. No it wasn't this one the woman says. Well it was one like it. We all linger around one another, touching objects and then making room for another person to touch it or to touch a nearby one. Nobody ever buys anything- the clutter remains. It is a kind of veneration, not for the objects but for one another and the objects pass through our hands like a chain reaction that the warmth of our flesh powers. We give to it that because anything else without that kind of intermediary is an afront.

I am in a shop underneath an arch like a cave with stuff everywhere. Chairs with punched out rafia seats strung up like meat at a butchers, trinkets and chains, buckets of spoons and tarnished vessels. Some people up a head say, we don't have anything to sit on. There are absolutely no chairs in the house. We need some chairs to sit on. A woman whose movements jolt so there is a leap between objects where the body seems to enter amnesia, before honing in on another item that takes it a little further like a stepping stone, suddenly drops something. I pick it up and hand it to her. It is an ebony figure- very smooth and quite heavy though it is small. Her eyes seem to part like hands splayed apart but in that hesitation there is the jolt like a clap that is both her hope and her coming undone.  Her eyes are a mass of sparks piercing through grey skin. A carved ebony head is passed between us.

I see a mobile hanging up that arrests me. It is a series of metal hexagonals that are linked together by wooden painted red and blue beads. It hangs down on the end of a dirty piece of fraying string. I reach up and spin it. The way it moves compels me to do it again. The man comes up and says, Mind the string doesn't break. Later,  making my way through the furniture and junk I get to the the front of the arch. I locate another man whom I think is also involved in the circulaton of goods in the shop and, pointing with my forefinger, through the length of that tunnel shrunk by the number of goods coming in from every surface- dark now and very busy, I ask, how much is it? He says it's not for sale. I say, no I mean that mobile hanging up. He says, yes I know, nothing that is hanging up is for sale. I say but most things are hanging  up off the ceiling in some way or other even if they are only attached to something else that is hanging up. He says yes I know, but then they`re not for sale. He is not unpleasant about it, just matter of fact. The light is incredibly bright outside and even has a washed out affect as I stand  amidst the alluminium counters and panels of industrial catering units. I stop to buy a packet of coffee from a stall just to have something to touch.  As I approach, a man behind the stall cautions another man. Take it out your pocket, I saw you do it. How could you do that when I know you and you come around here every sunday?
Later in a coffee shop where I sit in the window seat facing the continuous stream of people slowed by the number of bagel shops at this end of the market, an Ethiopean man is dancing silently and drunkenly to a CD of Ethiopean world music that is playing on a stall outside and proving to be really popular with the public. Inside the cafe I cannot hear this music. I see the man moving in slow motion at the side of the street where rows and rows of desks and school chairs have been put on display. A woman dressed in a black tight short skirt with a black bomber jacket has the zip half undone. A second head pokes out- that of a small poodle like an alien with tightly cropped jet back hair and pin staring eyes. It mirrors the hair of the woman which is cut short and savagely along the contours of her thin mature face. A small child looks up at the poodle, guided by the hand of her mother, who hesitates there, sensing the child's interest, as the child cranes upwards, then steers the child on.

A woman sits at a table outside with the open switched on screen of her lap-top flipped open She is scanning and selecting, itemising and saving, with the skill of a surgeon making an exploratory diagnosis. There are choices to be made from moment to moment about this window or that text operated through incredibly sensitized finger-tips placed very lightly on the white flourescent panel under the keyboard so that the fingers almost hover there, alternating between the panel and the key board,  each key seeming to be hit almost instantaneously with a kind of rocking motion levered and energised by the trunk and torso that is learning to become the torsion of indian rubber- through minute levels of give, distortion, hesitation and retraction.
She sails into the depth of moving and stopping one display panel after another that cascades in upon one another in and out of view. As she does this her little finger on the right hand is stretched out  far beyond the flourescent panel, floating in counter-balance like the winged arm of a tight-rope walker hundreds of feet above the ground.
       We are all involved in these various activities, creating out of our own endings guy-ropes that delve into areas far away from where we are now. No one ever goes in a straight line. We just veer one way and then the other and in the self-correcting, providing the speed is up, we cobble together the semblance of the straight line, out of all these little splinters. We mostly steer in fact with the little stuck out bone on the outer end of each wrist which we tilt and  re-orientate in a completely different dimension from where we are set to be,  in order to steer the remainder. Actually the whole little finger is just a trailer; a flag really that you might find at the end of a kite blowing freely and mostly untethered. Sometimes, we in total, seem to become that trailer for limited excursions that maybe seem to be or actually are, pointless. Now she has brought up a map and I can see clearly the land and the coast line; the different demarcations of coloured patches of light pink, light yellow,  ligtht blue and green on the body surface of that map that may indicate land mass, depth or territorial rights. No way can I read the writing on the surface ofthe screen from the other side of the glass where I sit. Though I follow the intricate wavering coastline -the slants and falls of where sea meets land and changes it, I do not know the name or earthly location of that place.

Outside amidst the bric a brac a man with a long beard and a colourful jacket aged around the fifty mark shakes the hand of another man over the rubble of his saleable items. Two women with Ostrich feathers and foreign accents enter the coffee shop from the street outside and ask about a nearby popular English cafe where you can get a big fry-up. They are given directions but come back later having failed to locate it and are given directions all over again.

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