Monday, June 27, 2011

On a tree where the doves go to die

Now in Vienna there's ten pretty women
There's a shoulder where Death comes to cry
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows
There's a tree where the doves go to die
There's a piece that was torn from the morning
And it hangs in the Gallery of Frost

This early summer the endless shades of green haven't enchanted me; I have not felt the allure of life that fills the balcony and windowsills with basils, oreganos, lavenders, dill, parsley, physalis, blossoming little trees and perky vines. I did not wander away in order to revel in the faint shadows of pristine apple blossoms, even if the overwhelming scent of lilacs and bird cherries passingly intoxicated me as I drifted past them in the lingering stream of summer air. There's a lurking translucency to all that is green, a dry sensation of death. Where does the lurking premonition emanate from?  a gray, cold and damp stone too close to the surface, now dominated by warm sands and urine dust. The birches outside my windows are like wispy grey drapes, bashfully trying to cover the cavernous stone walls of the tomb that marks the world outside.

Oh I want you, I want you, I want you
On a chair with a dead magazine
In the cave at the tip of the lily
In some hallways where love's never been
On a bed where the moon has been sweating
In a cry filled with footsteps and sand

My pet god or goddess, that is my love of human beings, is not reliably present. I sense the ascending tremor. I mean this highly figuratively, of course  I entertain little Theism –, but the frigid eye lens through which I occasionally observe the stumbling life around me is as close to sacrilegeous disinterestedness as I get. The lovelike animal inside me is vague, troubled. Its dim gem struggles, developing a smoky hue that normally comes with seasonal darkness only. It's not that I haven't previously professed cynicism come to flesh, or all the available dark varieties of ill humour. It's the nonchalant danse macabre that's gone. Does a vampire realise its existential condition? Something reminiscent of a plastic doll underneath my gem kicks and tumbles over. It does not know whether birth is a variable here, where such processes are so closely bound to organic cycles. So foreign to us.

There's an attic where children are playing
Where I've got to lie down with you soon
In a dream of Hungarian lanterns
In the mist of some sweet afternoon
And I'll see what you've chained to your sorrow
All your sheep and your lilies of snow

A book in the mail falls on the floor with a hollow, rattling clunk  or I imagine one will. An artefact of sunburnt, pale, Derridan trace. It comes packed with a lot of inevitably delayed memory, another human being, badly preserved, ghastly, reminiscent enough to evoke a treacherous hope of mutual presence.

And I'll dance with you in Vienna
I'll be wearing a river's disguise
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder,
My mouth on the dew of your thighs
And I'll bury my soul in a scrapbook,
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I'll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross
And you'll carry me down on your dancing
To the pools that you lift on your wrist

Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take its broken waist in your hand

I feel so incredibly hungry.

(image: an unknown doll by an unknown photographer; the poem: excerpts from Take This Waltz by Leonard Cohen, based on Little Viennese Waltz by Federico García Lorca)

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