Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Economy Of Time (4th Extract)

 That night, it took us three and a half hours of walking to get to Clichy. We walked along the Boulevard du Montparnasse, and I let her lead the way, using the Tower as a guide.

As we meandered I thought about my arrival in Paris, and how determined I had been to ignore the Eiffel Tower. It was a symbol of tourism and bourgeois sightseeing that held no interest for me in my quest to be a native.

All that changed though when I first began to explore the city. It was like a vast electro-magnet, pulling me towards it, and arrogantly looking down at me, knowing I had no resistance to it. I remember the shivers running down my spine when I first stood at the foot of it and looked skywards, a feeling that this mass of iron had taken on something much bigger than its structure disclosed.

It had lived longer than any man, and it had bore aloft the dreams of vast generations, from a time before World Wars had hardened us, spanning to the years after globalisation had softened us. When I was in it’s presence it became the antennae for my thoughts, and it became my intimate ally and confidante. It didn’t belong to Hollywood, or to cheap magazines and game show prize reels, nor was it a symbol of power or governance, or spirituality and religion. If nothing else, it served as a reminder that I was in Paris, and that was where I wanted to be.

 In a perverse way it also reminded me of England, and of Blackpool Tower, the more authentic and original tower as far as my childheart was concerned. Even though it was a poor mans replica, Blackpool Tower always struck me as the more beautiful structure. A symbol of a crumbling working class dreamland, the funfair graveyard in which recreation surpassed creation. The visible corrosion was reflected across the whole town, but still it survived.

“You know, when they built Blackpool Tower, they engineered it so that should it ever collapse, most of it would fall into the sea. The French don’t possess that kind of humility. Only an Englishman could attempt such a grandiose project with that much pessimism.”

“You think one day that might happen?” she enquired with mock horror.

“I hope so. I think that would be a fitting tribute, if it just collapsed into the sea the way its master intended. Better that than they scrap it and sell it as souvenirs” I responded.

©2011 Copyright Daniel J. Fiasco

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Economy Of Time (3rd Extract)

Society is cyclical, like most patterns within life. Sometimes you have to get down into the boiler room and fight like a dog. You have to swim upstream and lash against the prevailing wind to find your peace. Then other times you must be carried by the tide, and you must find your peace amongst those who offer you the least.

I spoke to this great prophet, this raging seer of the kitchen table. He was like a wounded general, able to plan and command, but too hurt to go on, too weak to lead the way. He dispensed his mercurial wisdom to me, and it dripped like sweet berry wine into my ears. I absorbed and archived his wise words, alongside those lessons I had learned for myself via this most bittersweet curriculum.

“People, when all is said and done, they are just the same as plants, or wooden cabinets. An obscenely beautiful collection of chemicals, and substance....  A bunch of atoms arranged in some fortunate or unfortunate way. You are you, and I am I, but even our concept of identity is reduced to the mathematics of neurons firing in our brains a certain way, memories scarring or inflating our persona, but ultimately, all just wild and wonderful atoms going on their journey. It’s all predetermined you know? When you see your women, your voracious and beautiful women, then all that’s going on is one part of your brain firing shells at another and triggering responses. But even that does so because in the random mechanics of the universe, a bunch of stuff got together inside your head and told that part of your brain to do that thing. And even then, you can’t take any credit, because it also told your parents to do a certain thing, and they did it, and you were born of that great crucible that is your mother’s womb. But none of it is because of US! They are all just doing their jobs, even if you think that you can control them, and tell them to do otherwise, then your flawed. The part of your brain that understands the logic is being told to stand aside and let the romantic part have its way."

  "Do you realise, that even when you rebel, your just doing what was planned for you, because your brain can never have a capacity that nature didn’t intend it to. You can rebel against society, or authority, or even rebellion itself, but your only ever following the path. The ancients called it destiny, but that’s a euphemism for a much wilder concept. Don’t you know that, even us sitting here, having this conversation, is just a part of the great tide, the atoms going where they have to go? Nature doesn’t make mistakes Sebastien. Zappfe thought it did, but he thought too much of us all. Doesn’t that just blow your mind?”

It didn’t blow my mind. It was what I expected. His words had a familiarity, despite them being the most infernal conflagration of wildfire madness I’d ever heard anybody string together. But he had not finished...

“How do you imagine your ‘mind’? I bet you think of it like the wind, an invisible spirit encased in your skull? Some mystical vacuum that cannot be detected, but exists, somewhere behind your eyes? But think about it...”

All I could think about was how I imagined a little red heart shaped organ to be aching inside my chest, crying out for Hannah. Not even to touch her, or speak to her, but just to meet her eyes in a room somewhere and confirm that beside the slack caricatures of us as lovers, was something that was tangible, or physical, or spiritual or just AUTHENTIC. I couldn’t stand to think that my heart wasn’t really the shape it was when carved into a tree, supplemented by the words Hannah and Sebastien in rigid swiss army knife scroll.

“Your mind is just your brain, an organ, like your bowels or your liver. IT just processes things in the most efficient way it can. It’s physical, like a tiny yet sprawling subway system of pipes and wires. Your ‘mind’ isn’t anymore invisible than your kidneys. You just can’t see it. “

He had stepped up his speech, into some maniacal oratory that had been welling up for years. I understood him, and appreciated how he was trying to help, but knowing that my pain was just a bunch of atoms prodding another collection of atoms, prompting yet more atoms to react was in no way lessening the burden. I felt he was touching the very boundaries of humanity, and that his logic gave him an air of the mad professor.  That I was being lectured on something that one day people would take for granted. Yet as intelligent and analytical as I found him to be, I couldn’t help but feel that I was on the verge of grasping an even higher concept. I could feel her unique vibrations. For a second I could almost taste her scent pirouetting into the kitchen through the open door, shaking her head at Sam’s explanation, reminding me that all I need to know and understand is her. But she is so far away...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Gods Envy The Mortal

Blessed with blissful punctuating death,
I am the Emperor in Exile.
Forever is not forever long for me,
So wail and beat upon my reckless heart,
And watch me defy you, until one day I fall,
Grinning to my knees as I kiss the earth.
For who are you who stopped the infinitely mortal,
Who murdered the man who murder makes?
Turn around sweet Gods and let your tears fall like rain,
As you see the martyr you have made.

Even now, I breath amongst the peach groves,
Where they will bury my bones,
And lust at the scent of ripened fruit.
Noble senses, exhausted and dull,
Blind the eyes that once stared upon my beloved Empress,
And cursed with memories of the face I shall never see,
But still, I am more man than you will ever be.

I have been in exile from my blog for a while now, but I hope to be back to regular updating, as I've missed it terribly. I become a monster when I don't express, and I fold myself up like a napkin until I get smaller and smaller. I almost disappeared, but  I now intend to unravel into a large tablecloth and see how much I can find.

©2011 Copyright Daniel J. Fiasco

Monday, 15 February 2010

The Porcelain Doll

He was preparing some monstrously indulgent breakfast as I sat picking at a slice of dry ginger cake, whilst my feverish mind recounted the night before. 

“It’s valentine’s day” he eagerly reminded me, perhaps hoping to provoke a reaction.

I couldn’t react even if I wanted to. I was paralyzed and poisoned, my throat swelling and starving my lungs of air, as I thought of The Porcelain Doll. Every synapse seemed to be under siege by luscious portraits of her. This was not a feeling that made me inclined to buy roses, or perfume, but to slip out into the night and search every inch of the Earth to find her, and collide with her in some nuclear reaction, in which we fused into a writhing and pulsating ball of energy and flame. Each second that our flesh wasn’t entwined was like an insult, an unnecessary dilution of my life, and one in which I considered death as a preferable alternative to existing without that ghostly ceramic skin at my fingertips. 

“ I’ve bought Michelle some chocolates, you know? A card too. And I’ve got to cook for her later, so can you make yourself scarce for a few hours?” he chimed.

What I wouldn’t give to be so easily pleased. If only I could operate on some uber-functional level in which I just celebrated love on one day a year and took it for granted the rest, instead of being pursued and terrorised at every moment, knowing she is somewhere where I am not, and that a minute I could have spent worshipping at her vivacious altar had been wasted on merely imagining it.
Still, at least I never found myself panic buying confectionary from a petrol station...

I found this short piece last week, and toyed with the idea of adapting it into a topical St Valentines Day post after seeing a man angrily stomping around the local convenience shop, trying to find a cheap box of chocolates. I had originally written it about 9 months ago, and like a little baby it seemed ripe for the world. 

Sometimes you struggle for inspiration, and you chase shadows looking for something to express. I heard that the actor Harry Dean Stanton has the words "Be Still and know..." written above his fireplace, and that is something I'm beginning to understand more and more in terms of why we often have the desire to express, but only sometimes the clarity to do it.

©2010 Copyright Daniel J. Fiasco

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Lonely Hearts - Man Seeks Woman

   Indecisive man (full of conviction) seeks woman ( or girl, depending on which you consider most flattering) who is not necessarily ‘the one’ but who is open to wondering if there really is ‘one’, or if it’s more important to give everything now, and hold nothing back, just in case there are many others, and  life wouldn’t be defined by failed relationships and maybe a lengthy successful one, but more a catalogue of beautiful memories of people you deeply admire and respect but had to move on from (like houses, or cities). I would be willing to spend the rest of my life with you, if it turns out that is better, but never because it would be too painful to end, or because we got stuck in a rut, only ever because our lives had become entwined to the point that we enjoy sharing them more than keeping them separate. Maybe we’d have dinner once and feel awkward and never speak again, but that’s fine, because we tried, rather than being paralyzed by fear and what ifs.

Appearance is not that important, but sometimes I think it’s ok to find certain things attractive despite the complete lack of rationality. I mean, if you have gorgeous eyes, it’s not because of anything you did, it’s just lucky genetics (except for when people get older, and the shape of their face can seem to reflect inner warmth, or evil etc, although maybe that is just a lottery too, because I once saw an old man who looked cold and bitter, and he was the most generous spirited man you could imagine). But when we find features to be pretty I often think it’s like nature tapping us on the shoulder saying “hey, your genes might want to get to know those genes better”.

Must have good sense of humour (although, I understand that some people’s sense of humour is like a hidden treasure, and it takes time to find). If you don’t have a good sense of humour, then I know it’s not really your fault, and there might be deep rooted reasons why you can’t let go and laugh, but I just don’t think I’m the right person for you (although I’m sure there is somebody who can either make you comfortable or is equally uncomfortable), and if I’m honest, I’m too hung up on this idea that we don’t know how long we have left to be investing in you for the long-term.

I don’t really mind what you’re interested in, so long as you’re interested in something and passionate about something (even if it’s a thing you think would be off putting on a first date, like antique birdcages or collecting newspaper clippings about strangers – I won’t be put off!).

If you have definite plans, like children, or marriage, or swingers parties, then please understand that I’m not AGAINST your plans, but I don’t have any and I’m not open to being sideswiped into yours, although that’s not to say I wouldn’t come around to them in time (it always kind of offends me when people decide they are going to get married before they have even met or consulted with a potential partner...)
Please call if your interested, or write (not that I’m old fashioned, but I am a romantic, and I’m not sure that any good story could start via email).

People who write lonely hearts ads are great poets. You have such a brief space to make your impact on somebody who you hope will become one of the most important people in your life. 

For the record,  I'm not a sociopathic Lonely Hearts scourer  or a genuine Lonely Heart (?) but this was inspired by a brief conversation with a friend, and I couldn't resist. I'd like to imagine this ad placed between these two real examples from a local source...*

30 year old female, looking for a caring and lasting relationship with a good man age 30-40 anywhere in the UK. There is no ideal man for me but I like an old fashioned gentleman who opens doors for me, well I am 5ft 2 I do have trouble reaching them door handles.

A single guy, 31,  looking for chat and who knows what else, easy going, looking for similar qualities in a woman.

* Humour aside, I hope these two people find eternal happiness (maybe with each other? )

©2010 Copyright Daniel J. Fiasco

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

(Please) Send Word

I sit on the porch, a mute satin wind sliding across the sky with a sinister discretion.
My ears are on stalks, grasping for distant harmonious voices,
In vain so far, but I can feel vanguard vibrations, 

Echoing forth in reconnaissance, excited, ill disciplined.

I can hear neither sound...

...nor silence

Words wander across plains of shattered glass in my imagination, hopeful,
Perhaps she whispered into a vacuum,
Or sent hushed messengers, 

Struck dumb by the vast journey.

I can hear neither sound...

...nor silence

Maybe crackling on the line... ?
Or a voice sad stricken, out of breath.
A faint hum, or a dull rumbling that could be external or internal,
The cogs of ill reason grinding?

Whenever you talk to people about horror movies, somebody is almost guaranteed to explain that "the ones where they don't show the monster are the scariest", and it's often true that our imagination is much better at building something that we are afraid of than any screenwriter. And really it makes perfect sense, as we have all the ammunition in our minds to tailor a creature perfectly geared towards our own unique fears and insecurities. 

 But it's not just fear. Helen of Troy was described as having "a face that launched a thousand ships", and that vague description is probably responsible for igniting perfect imaginary faces, all unique, in the minds of generations. A photograph of Helen would disappoint all but a few.

And so in a roundabout way, I'm trying to explain that this poem is about the imagination, and how the silence between two people is never really silent at all. When your anxiously waiting  to hear from somebody, their voice, inside your minds says the cruelest or the kindest things. 

©2010 Copyright Daniel J. Fiasco

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Restless Ones

I want to wear your flaws like trophy furs,
To endure your temper,
And fall prey to it’s cruelty.
Don’t punish me with an easy life,
Exile me with the restless ones.

I must be amongst those who weep, or bellow in joy,
And those who burn brightly, or not at all.
The brothers, the sisters,
That find such mothers and fathers,
Who shelter those who they recognise as restless ones.

The perverse, the pained or the punctured,
The circus clowns, the leading ladies,
Those who can’t go on, but go on.
Leave me in their company,
And our time will be glorious,
Though before long it will come for us,
Because my dear, it always comes for us,
For if it did not,
Would we be such restless ones?

I was working on this poem on Friday night, and on Saturday after I had finished it, I heard the sad news that Daul Kim had passed away. I'd read her blog I Like To Fork Myself * several months ago, but I hadn't checked back for a while, until I heard about her death . Now it was just coincidence, if such thing exists,  that I was working on a piece about restless souls, and people who struggle to find peace in this world, but it seemed fitting to dedicate this to her.  Daul was open and at times painfully honest about her problems, and her constant search for meaning, but she was also humorous, generous and unassuming.  A little something she said about the transient nature of life...

"beautiful to be remembered and to capture and to display and to be forgotten to be remembered and then forgotten then remembered…

* I think Blogger might have blocked the original version of her blog now, but it is mirrored here.

 ©2009 Copyright Daniel J. Fiasco