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