Friday, August 13, 2004


With every second sheet the machine jamming, with the machine exhaling a constant, hell-like heat, with sweat flooding out, with empty boxes getting kicked into pieces, with passer-by’s getting scowls, this morning in the photocopying room defined rage. And only a few days back. Friday 13th. Rage.

O (I managed to think, in the odd moment of calm) – to be resting once again in the graveyard, the ancient little graveyard at the end of my street. To be lounging across the faded tomb – the tomb of Joseph Mitchell or Milosz, I have half-guessed-half-decided – and in the spread of summer heat that hint of a breeze – a breeze whispering its shushes in the leaves floating above – the flux of the leaves filtering the sun – the sun a sparkling flow of a patchwork light – woomph, whir, hum – and that stammer of bleeps again. Paper stuck. Section D. Please open...

O (I managed to think, in the odd moment of grace) – but think of the others in that graveyard, the bones of the dead, returned to the earth, think of those under the tombs, not above them, their times of trouble, love, work, family, fun, sex – everything totally gone for eternity. Or, even, think of those above them – the drunks wandering about the grounds, searching for a drink, for a bed, for cash, for a friend, for the soul they somewhere lost, even – as unenviable as the dead.

But try not to think of the kids playing football – whose fashions and speech are a mystery, of all the freedoms they hardly know they have, of all their futures waiting, futures to be half-found by them and half-forged by them, of their relentless energy and hormones, of all the unfucked dots of virgin cunts waiting just for them, pulsing and waiting under the skirts of teenage girls – girls cooing at them from the benches. And no machine to dirty, to darken their innocent hands with its squirt of black ink.

O (I managed to think, in a moment like a dream) – picture the roses, picture the rose beds in the graveyard, the roses fed by the soil and the dead below them, the rose with its layers of red, purple-red folds, perfect fold upon perfect, purple-red fold, spiralling to the minute dot of their centre, the source of their flowering, and the little sigh of their scent. O, to live in a dream of a rose – a symbol of the female genitalia – as mysterious and luscious as no name can capture.

The drunks in the graveyard, living in their alcoholic dreams, still have bodies that need to piss. One, a big guy in his mid-30s and always track-suited, has a favourite spot amongst a bed of roses. Hidden from the road, trees behind it, with a view of the rest of us, there at a rose he adds to the world a stench from himself, a poison.

Someone walking past him, someone trying not to watch him, someone smelling the rose in ignorance after he’s gone – that someone might have felt annoyed, angry, something approaching rage, even. Or, perhaps, they might have sensed the symbol of a sad collision. A collision of the perfect world that can flower eternally only in the forms of a dream, colliding with the world and its moments that march machine-like on – stuttering or not – the space-spun world that is always turning, always tumbling; sensed how ideas alive behind eyelids drown in a flood of cold facts. Then caught between two realms are human hands – hands that are praying, sweating, groping, to make work the tools of this world, to find good use for the tools of this world, perhaps.

(But don’t forget the human feet, that almost kicked the life out of a photocopier, this ordinary morning.)