Sunday, 5 March 2017

Negative Space

The light’s different again. It’s away with that thread it has in March, the one being pulled by hares. The horizon sits higher, like the ache of its spine is torturous, like the very bones of it need a realignment. The seasons of a body, they know it too. Winter is dying the way love is dying. It clings on with its claws, but they’re split. They’re ragged in their uselessness, still too afraid in the giving up, so you give them a push. Something learned in Cruelty 101. 

In a faraway bedroom, Pre-Raphaelite paintings are committing suicide on a windowsill giving in to a rotting. Rossetti’s ‘Day Dream’ has hagged itself horrid. The book on Morris’ knee has turned into a harpy that screams and screams until the room dreams of running away. Millais’ ‘Ophelia’ is chopping down fabric trees that are unthreading from the curtains spun from the spindle of Siddal’s depiction of ‘The Lady of Shalott’. They’re too damp of course, too almost done in their drowning. So the trees stick, and Ophelia just laughs.

The bathroom of your head, it's haunted. Bits of broken moths blend themselves insane along the skirting boards, dredging up dust, dredging up dread. Sometimes everything feels halfway dead. Halfway gone to not giving a fuck, if only there was a surety in that. But not giving one, it’s a lot like love. Numinous, ethereal, wispy - a bit of a pussy. Weak. Like sunlight through mist on a morning in November. Like sunlight in a bathtub, being drowned for the arsehattery of artistry.

Once, there was a leaf that imagined itself a whale. A humpback whale in a shoal of books. A battalion of books, all waterproof and ready to battle with the army of apathy. But the books couldn’t swim, and the humpback wasn’t a whale, but a leaf. A leaf on the wind, imagining itself in that other world. A world where it believed it could fit, the poor delusional leaf that was already dead. Dead and gone with its future of decay, calling and calling, a siren on the wind.

No-one listens. No-one cares. People are velcro discarding their hooks. Trying and trying to commit to this grabbing, this sticking. This futile way of mattering to something, anything. And the ghosts, they gather. Like dandelions gather. Like midges do, in the haze. Like love - fuck you, you prick, go away! And all the little matchstick girls, all the little sisters, all the Briar Roses in the garden, all the little Gerdas, all these lost children with the weight of their broken tales with no map back into Neverland. No map to unchain them free. And no-one listens, no-one cares, not to these lost little lasses trying to grow into wearing their misfitting fur.

It’s the negative spaces you see, they way they have of remaining hidden. The way they have of tripping your eyes until you’re not really sure if you’ve seen what’s really in them. A hobbled fox, a three-legged hare, two witch sisters covered in velvet. The head of a stag singing from above a mantelpiece, its mouth stuffed with lost Socks, with regret. A ship in the distance, made out of eggshells and lollipop sticks, sinking into a horizon of longing you refuse to acknowledge, because you’re scared of what it will mean. Scared of where the paint strokes will take you if you allow yourself to believe these things are real.