Friday, June 7, 2013

text || Lawrence Upton


"Look up, is that the moon we see?
Can't be, looks like the sun to me"
It's late, Rick Nelson. 1959 Lyric D Burnette

a drawing in pen and ink; a single hair on a white sheet; a tree in an otherwise grass valley; mast sticking out of a still cove; an L.E.D. display; a pattern of leaves in a white wall; a barrier made by the beginning of a forest; a rood screen; shadows
trains go by; it's a matter of recording events; a matter of making steps; of opening the door; it's a matter of passing time
a little, line, like onyx, line, a little like, line, onyx, line, a little like, line, onyx a little, line, like, line, onyx a little
some kind of pole; half-light; follow it up; we move our camera faster and faster over the serrated face; still not at the top; and it's remarkably tall; a filled escalator, moving downwards; a train entering a tunnel; a painted tunnel, pillars either side, sunlight coming from two directions, which a painter can effect but not most worlds; through the tunnel closing the space available tightening till we see light and are out in it; but not daylight, rather a video of bright colours; some huge white piece of cloth flapping, possibly a large sheet; and a polychromatic teddy bear with black ears, fixed expression of things I take to be toys, but they are moving animatedly, like people; there is an immensity of them; and our point of view is high; and the whole of some huge space with an obelisk in the middle is filling – it's very clear, sharp, very bright and coloured; fixed expression beings; and we are rising as if in a balloon, each movement upwards, which is not a steady acceleration, following a curve; one can feel the drag against a constant acceleration; it is uneven; cannot look away from direction of interest, beyond the crowd to a park, misty; zooming into the roots of trees; a blank fence in front of a large tree trunk which grass grows right up to, and the fence isn't in focus; it's there, but with a sort of cobweb substance to it
a cyclist wobbling in the middle of the street, carrying a table lamp which he passes with some difficulty to another wobbling cyclist as cars push past and the second cyclist heads off towards St Paul's, carrying the table lamp, which comes alight now and then with no apparent input; but the first cyclist, perhaps fifty metres ahead now, has another lamp which he seeks to pass to passersby, but they aren't interested; and it too is alight; about two o'clock in the afternoon, a mid-December day, so the lamps show up quite well
reflections of a large building in the windscreen of a car which is moving towards us early evening; and so it stands out, much darker than the sky, against the sky, lights on in many spots across its bulk -- and the street down which we're travelling is poor, two, maybe three, stories, no more than that --
it's some kind of church, possibly derelict; so dark it is almost impossible to say much more; and, swinging in the centre from a chain, where one might expect a light in a high church, is a heart beating; picture of the forest projected across walls and floor into the upper air, across pews, rood screen and so on; image laid upon image and someone gesturing with an optical fibre, like writing upon wet paint; dawn makes the polished silver splendid; light from the organ loft pales, a red eye from a black cape as a policeman figure comes down a narrow back yard, rain or gutter water drips, arches, pre-Victorian, the face of the police-figure bandaged and in great shadow, the red light of his torch intense -- Evening, says a voice projected from somewhere behind him – but the bandages cover even the eye sockets; an alligator looks over the top of a wall; in the mist, a radio mast is visible in the valley below; a church; a cow is eating mats of grass suspended from its jaws; it looks at us; ripped up floor; towered walls; an indoor fountain; echoes; an alabaster statue, white reflected, nothing direct; plastic pots of herbs, the supermarket tags still hanging from them, placed on odd saucers
a woman with black hair staring fiercely as in some frieze depicting victory in battle, wearing idealised clothing, in a sketch of a simplified car with details of the world drawn in vaguely; the dress design sketch, circa 1925, merges into an advertisement for face flannels or is it soap? a piece of wood, caught in a strong current, going down stream
a face twisted half round in agony, a bright light over a shiny surface, a squeal of terror over a dark surface, shadow across the road; a crane on a boat, a car swinging from the crane, a man swinging from a tree by one hand, a noose around his neck, a barrier across a broken mountain road, hazard warning light flashing amongst the bushes; a rat pulls itself up from the river to its hole, a man crouching down so that he looks like a box; tracer bullets fill the street towards Mitcham; a man pissing through the letterbox of a solicitor's office, bright lights illuminating the public house opposite; a champion in a smock flexes his muscles; the brakes on the tank fail, a hazard warning light flashing in the middle of the street, bodies of human beings and bodies of armoured vehicles twisted together; new road layout ahead says the sign; traffic has been kept out of the centre of the village, riot barriers concreted in -- the siege will be a long one; only the powerful will be victorious – and a man in a woolly hat runs across the dangerous road, carrying possessions in a plastic bag but by the time the guns have been turned towards him he has disappeared; all my life I have been travelling that bypass, says a woman on her way to work, all my life, that bypass; it's difficult when you're bringing the children back from school now that they've built tank traps on the side of the road; how are we supposed to get through? never think of mothers with children, never think of us at all; and I hear the vibrations of the machine being used to torture him and become somewhat fascinated to know exactly what causes the sounds, metal on metal, even as the mechanism producing the sound tears him to pieces; his eyes put out with a biro; a large white sheet of plastic, very bright; lights down the motorway towards journey's end; lights spread out from where we have come; I am shaking in the back of a car; a murder in a local pub, the one by the roundabout; the building is on fire; lights in my head, I can't help talking; the police come and the man with a rucksack over one shoulder waves to a vehicle which doesn't quite run him down, zigzag lines across the sky – the pub is almost burned out; embers like a sunset in the roadside grass; they'll build a supermarket or a car park there, not a pub, says the old man, walking off quietly, shaking his head, acting even to himself; that old man's falling apart, I say; or does someone else say it? I don't know, an area of darkness, a wood, cinema seats spread out between the trees, spotlights on the condemned men running, guns at the ready, scaffolding round the prison walls; massage by Lena, mature, no rush, ring any time, open late, rent or hire, patrons only, thank you, bye now, see you; a man running on the spot, wearing white trousers, waiting for a taxi; we almost don't make it to the top of the hill; keep clear; lift a spoon every morning; focus hearing aid centre
a bird table, a street lamp, an unintelligible memorandum, an insect's head, Man incorporated into a turbine; eyes stalk tasting prey; car lights in an unlit street - a pyramid, a step ladder, letter A built out of an absence of light - a stretcher collapsed, letter M, a bridge fallen into a river
and the moon sets in a desert place; an elephant approaches with video camera eyes, traffic moving slowly, one vehicle on top of another; “machines have learned how to fuck”; a  red and green wooden cat looks at me with love, trying to give me a big kiss, calling for its own personification, I suppose; inanimate objects bounce with pseudo-animation
the examining magistrate's hand runs through my hair; white noise from my radio; an old eye or a tunnel, I step inside
so his desire mounted and I do mean mounted, ladies and gentlemen, he says, running through his fullest pretence; and the audience is apparently quite happy with the impersonation and the material; an iris and retina collapse; barbed wire crushed by a crowd
field patterns seen from the air, reflections of a window or a wall at night; hollow of a tree trunk; mike connection; electrical input; leaf mould on the floor
tree line, skips of the windscreen wipers, skid marks in the snow; point of entry from the road; tyre marks in the grass cut through to the underlying mud – no question of rigging figures -- I have my megaphone and protective glasses – his face lit up by a light just out of vision and all around him it's dark as he comes towards us, covered in light bulbs, a gantry walking
shadows form faces in the empty night; many lights make faces in the empty sky; a rose folds itself closed into a bright fluorescence; which becomes a volcano; snails' eyes come out of the glowing cold fiery mountain; there are no stars
the men from Mars hang on to women like clothes upon hangers, taking their shape from that which holds them up but not participating in being held, hiding that which gives them strength, displaying themselves in an orderly row, waiting
a film-portrayed Red Indian, dressed as a cowboy, playing Country & Western; behind him a trellis climbs up the wall, though no flowers grow from it, becoming the side of a Viking longboat; the longboat is part of a filmset; and the whole thing has been built for a television documentary aimed at children: Boudicaa throwing the spear which penetrates the eyes of a Saxon king – we follow the spear through a series of stages meant to show us the developmental nature of modern finance in order that we may wish to buy insurance; and a man with a beard and a reassuring suit is smiling as he speaks sincerely using an autocue; so we are comfortably off our heads, able to enjoy our music and our documentaries and our theme parks till that speech finished, the audience clapping, although they are not sure whether or not to take it entirely seriously
a transparent cigarette lighter on a shiny desk, a cigarette lighter in relief on a shiny desk, its separateness exacerbated visually by shadow, shining, though the desk is comparatively dull, the cigarette lighter silver – and just now it was plastic – but it is a separate cigarette lighter, a chameleon object, or separate ideas of one idea -- MJQ on the radio
coming into land, a parachutist, or a bomb, point of view turning, seeming acceleration, just the image of that, which I approach, enlarges, detail changes it; a human form valleyed and enclosed in sheets becomes a piece of clay, features hollows,  dead or never born? angels on a steel disk, teeth on a circular saw, ducks in a fairground stall, wickerwork shadows, flame from a stylised sun, chairbacks, wrought iron, an old house clicking to itself, clock, glasses on an occasional table, stained surface, mountain stream, light through curved glass, net curtains catching moonlight, a photograph of a man with a greying beard, a medley of faces, view from the kitchen window of fields, view from the kitchen window of fields
specks of blood, a daffodil, xray of a broken open chest; sunset over a flat landscape; carvings in an underground passage, dry water stoops, complex representations glowing in fluorescent light, a misshapen parrot stirring, a man who has been in agony dead; dust falling as the roof begins to move; an arm around each other, clutching; junction box glowing; a jet engine firing in a vacuum; a cotter pin falling; a gun pointed at my head; a pool of motor oil; a gun pointing at my head; a cine camera; a gun
a baby crying deliriously, seen from above by a hidden camera; the whole night through; two babies grown together, heads opposing; your cheatin' heart; like the globes of an egg timer; like falling rain; strip of film negative held up to the light; a placenta on a plate, brown sauce running towards it; a fire alarm disconnfected; a pile of artificial stone; will tell on you
god speaking out of sunlight behind a cloud in Westmoreland; a red car driving offroad; an image of an eagle; purple sky; a face of evil drawn on to cel; a white milk jug in full moonlight, timber stained chestnut
two bright lines over dark earth; lights of a city far away, turning; dark line of a river between trees, blinds in the river, coloured like old blood, turning; dark lines of a house between the trees upon an island in the river, turning
steel pipes glowing in a shed, light from a bright room out the back; heads hanging down from shelves, the words they speak being written up in ledgers; fingers clenched in pain, the world turned upside down, contents of drains falling from above, stock spilling over the ceiling in every shop; but, to those who walk outside, no difference at all
a sudden light comes on in the tower, the beginning of an explosion; walls fly out and then hang down like broken wings
green light; ivy; insects in the grass at my ear, ignoring the monstrosity beside them; a spore upon the wind; and, come the evening, the brilliance of the lighthouse; sound of an aircraft too high to hear; a goose threatening; ducks going down the street seriously; a boat in the middle of a tidy lawn; man falling over, keeping \his beer straight; a bag of cement; a monkey on the television  advertising tea; dog eating another dog's shit; a horse standing still in the middle of a field, its groom contemplating Euclid; a car comes round the corner like a dropdown menu and I stand aside; a vortex of a cloud, an eye within it
vomit, shit, spunk, blood, sweat, hair, skin, mud, paint, portrayed in cartoon animation, mashed together, moulded into an image of a tangle of naked human beings, contemplative, turning, upon a display ramp, lit from above in a semi-dark silent room
a cat with the mouth of a dog, its tail up, its teeth showing, ready to spring, twisting its back impossibly; a crown of candles; a hawk in the air above us; a hole in the floor
white berries on a tree surrounded by bare branches; delta wing bomber; a man in a diving suit, the helmet filling with his own blood; headlamps through mist; someone puking up undigested food; the sky is turning red; charcoal black cliffs down to a bright blue ravine; those are not stars in the sky but specks on the windscreen, glissening
a tower block striding down the street in blue denims; closeup I see you are much younger than I thought; your glasses sit well on your nose; your eyes are bright; carrion birds descend; an avalanche; a piece of sausage

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