Monday, 2 April 2012

How's Annie?

Water, finding a crack, and in its wake a spinning top of flame. The furor of sun is victory immemorial. (This is what it looks like.) The boy whose voice is breaking - we are in an American diner - drinks down helium from an unknotted balloon, sheds a skin of embarrassment, and no one sees biology. We prefer natural laughter, cohesion. Outside under the billowing stars and stripes a student isn't wearing a shirt, there is hair on his chest; at this time of year the glow from his lighter is untraceable. I am one person in this dream, I cannot find a reflection to confirm this existence. There are several other people I have known, some making strong promises, others conspiring trauma. Inside, a beach ball floats and bounces off windows, studding the dry air with raindrop sounds. Because we are by Brighton beach. Because this is a strange time and place: a year, a book, a malice. I am drinking a vanilla milkshake and it tastes of recycled saliva and soap, and my eyes lift and I say: Evet. A helicopter flies over, transporting a friend ready to see action in the Middle East. A couple of teachers, managing a school trip, stop on the paving and plan their hands over their eyes as they look skywards. Someone is swimming in the sea, close to a buoy. I know the fish are beautiful. A leg twitches, but the dread of a working day has not yet manifested. I have wasted years not sleeping, not loving enough real people. Blue fluid and orange fury weep and war. The cracks multiply, as though a wooden door is being slammed shut over and over, and I can't see whose face the shadow of violent anger closes over. The student - what else could he be on a Wednesday afternoon? - ashes for the last time, puts out. He has moved closer to the sea. He reads a book about memories that are captured and undressed for the world. A tap on a bare, muscular shoulder. Turn a turn. Her face is cruel and gentle. She panics and swallows. Out of her mouth comes more than Brighton; comes the Earth, the hospital in which my mother gave birth. I'm sitting there, in folds of shame. Aporia. And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time. A woman takes me in her acid arms and I watch my leg erode. I wake up with cramp and breathe in, remembering that knowing the difference between the reality of dreams and the reality of consciousness is not straightforward. I have remembered less than I had wanted to remember, and I have seen more than I had hoped to see.