Tuesday, 26 June 2007

the magic of fingers

hey,

i wrote this yesterday morning. it is the first thing ive written in ages, and im not sure it is very good. but hey, im the worst self editor in the world, always posting things that aren't ready.
i think it can be read quite nicely in conjunction with 'i can make you happy' and 'learning curves of acceptance' - maybe like a trilogy? i don't know.
it is a love story of sorts.

The magic of fingers

It seems now to me that all time that came before has reached a synthesis that makes sense. From the moment I came down from the mountains, step by step over grassy ridges and rocky clefts that threatened danger, it was the beginning of the path to this point. I wasn’t to know what lay a stone’s throw away.

My body is stained with fingerprints. Like a child’s painting made with giddy joy, you find the traces of time on my hips and on my legs and on my back. A history book open and read lies on my belly. Fingertips that grabbed and stole shreds of flesh to keep and hide from my possession, losing senses and losing an I, so that, tracing the history of my body, I can’t find pieces of me, can’t find semblances of where I once was. The hurt can be raw sometimes. I was left to sew the remnants back together. Piece by piece I knitted the skin to the muscle to the organ and picked up where I left off. Holes lay bare, hidden under scraps of clothing, gaping through my badly sewn seams, as I moved from the mountain towards what lay beyond it. Pale, I was. Sucked dry. The fingers spun their spell and entranced me in to their motion, so that pulled from side to side; the holes were torn open again.
And I would scream, how many more times can I do this again, how many more times can this happen again, I’m so tired now, can we please be quiet now please.
Until I lay down and accepted it. I let the fingers do their work, until all that was left was a stretch of skin clinging to my fibre, and somewhere amongst it all was a shadow of me, whispering day by day to be heard.

I wandered from city to city, searching for bricks and mortar to stick me back together with glue. Sometimes fingers caress where the stains are and I hope the new prints will wipe out the mess of the old ones before. I’ll take anything, I think. I’ll take anything to blur the marks on my body.

There was a time before I gave the paintbrush to others, when I would mark the boundaries of my body. With skill I traced patterns over canvasses that would not be seen, too shy to reveal, and I wrote my own history there. But I was told over and over to stop, I was told over and over that I was wrong, that what I did was wrong, so I gave up my art and I gave up my autonomy and let others take hold of the ink and let others draw me the way they wanted. I wondered why this was better. I wondered why this was acceptable. Before, painting away, I had the control. I knew where the lines could be drawn and I knew how big how wide how long and far I could go. Yet, worn down, I accepted the wrongness of my actions, and gave up the precious tools to let outsiders take control of my body, and make it with their powders and their prints, greedy and wanting and leaving their mark. Lying alone later, tracing the new pictures on my body, I wondered why this hurt was encouraged. If my art was the thesis, then this was their antithesis. Somewhere, someone was winning. Somewhere, someone was pleased. As the new prints wiped out the meticulous carvings I had devoted so many years to cultivating, I stared hard trying to remember which part of me was mine. Where my independence had gone to. My self drifting from town to town searching for where I had been and where I was hiding. The truth was missing. I couldn’t pin point it anymore.

So onward I wander sleepwalking through towns with my head kept down and my smile ducked under my chin in hope that no one sees for if no one sees then no one can take hold of what is left of me. I nod politely and do my duty and I sell ugly clothes to rich ladies and I speak quietly to people who ignore the advice I give them, and sometimes, sometimes when I’m not looking a part of me that I thought I had left in the past will drink a glass of wine and laugh raucously and flutter her eyelashes and although I tell her to be quiet, to quieten down now, she ignores me and finds herself waking somewhere strange with parts of my body wiped out. Reprimanded and humbled she sneaks back deep inside and I duck my chin and walk head down and tell her to not come back. She folds her bright silks and velvets away and we go back to where we started.

Then I found fingers on the back of my neck and I felt them draw what was once there before. The seams close and are rendered invisible and when I press my fingertips there I can’t feel the cracks, I can’t feel the stretched thread. Light falls from the ends of fingers to close the gaps, and I watch astounded as I notice that no longer is my skin cracking to release my self to fall onto the dirty pavements of these dirty cities. Over my shoulders and over my back and over my breasts and belly, fingers highlight all the paintings that have shaped my body, and I am synthesised, my thesis and my antithesis meeting on my thighs to show off all the facets of my history, written there for all to see, no longer smudged and shamed and dirty. Slowly knitting and slowly mending, and the weight of my head is supported as my hands can lift and hold themselves proudly interlocking with fingers.
My body is a record of all my time and all that has come before this moment. It seems to me now that all the time that has been before has been waiting for a moment that has been caught oh so nicely between fingers.

3 comments:

Rabid Pounder said...

Great stuff.
You should get ill more often! >:o)

I'm off the mountain, but I'm still wandering around looking for bricks and mortar

Chris Heppell said...

There's a lovely symmetry to this. I like the way that you've sustained the tone of the calmer (happier) present and how this informs the biographical journey of the body: "can we please be quiet now please". It works well as an elegiac tribute to the journey you began (in terms of what you've written) with the other two pieces. Nice one!

sian and crooked rib said...

i like the last sentence the best.
cheers you guys!