We sit in the room. Other objects materialise but they have no voice. Shapes in the corner of my field. There’s a window where washing flaps. It’s floral. A virtual budgie perches perfectly smooth and rendered. It’s animated. The budgie is mute or so I thought. I was taken by surprise. I hear something murmur and reach for my pen but I’m too late. I was expecting repetition. Everything incurs a cost and if you give agency to inanimate objects in lieu of bodies then the drama works nothing out and we only keep moulding the same precarities. A cucumber appears from behind a radiator and jumps out of the door etc etc and then it disappears.
The window is closed but the door is just a void with soft corners. Friends appear that are probably other parts of me and probably have variations on your faces. It’s nice. Feels warm. All agree this is a good room to sit in. All agree we enjoy each others company to some degree. I worry whether they’ll scare away the oracle with sly jokes and canned applause. I clutch pen and paper very tight. My clothes feel very tight. A explained the idea of time sickness to us. Feels diagnostic but there’s no cure. Clutching the pen then picking, scratching. What do I need here? There’s a little crack. I’ve got to be getting back soon like a broken record etc etc and then it disappears.
I watch the soft architecture and I start to talk and then someone, one of you probably, says ‘Who’s that?’ and I turn and the oracle is a shape shifter it’s a slime it’s a best selling book it’s an angle grinder it’s a bee hive it’s a jar it’s a niece or a nephew. I sit in the room and listen. I lay casually, stress makes it harder to take in information. Can’t consume whilst being consumed, after all. I’ve been following your instructions, see. The oracle is quiet and the chatter is loud. I work hard to block out the noise of all my love and lay casually and tune in. Then, some turning the dial with abandon, not great with left and right or where I started. I scrawl and keep the paper clutched tightly etc. etc. and then it disappears
Who’s That? I can see the letters and lines and that’s all the message is. A clear idea becomes swamp water. Like a broken record. My house smells of puke from when I stole that bit of tree on that nice day. Plop plop plop like skimming a concrete block. Did it say - you could always reference simultaneity. Did it say - you can bulk buy practically anything. Did it say - watch out for the final peach. Did it say - everything incurs a cost. Did it say - awkward pause, give it a name. Did it say - paperclips unwind in time etc etc and then it disappears
I remember the writing but I don’t remember the shapes, there are lines and dashes etc etc and then it disappears
Mould the same old precarities from contingencies then repeat. Clutch the paper tight and learn to tune the dial etc etc and then they’ll disappear.
She’d been to see the oracle but wasn’t satisfied with what she heard. This happened some weeks ago and some weeks before that. Once lucid then flaccid. A clear idea becomes swamp water. The mirror pool strikes minor. Stark clear oasis in desert storm. Some lint glints. Horizon lines expand contrary to the compass. The dark corridor, you know that song well. The one that ran away. The thing you set alight etc etc and then it disappeared.
She’d been to see the oracle but didn’t get the whole story. So I went, again, to see it again. She had work to do. Sitting, thinking, thinking things like that. Tapping away the drama of contingencies. And on my side of the swamp, I’d been travelling a lot and dropping things along the way and my limbs were heavy and hard to move. Carrying delicates and pith in a bag. Bag’s a belly. Over time the swaddles soil and jumble. Then time is up and they swap out, borrow the time back. Refreshed and sat thick against the drawer etc etc and then it disappeared.
She’d wanted more from the oracle and there wasn’t the time to go. She didn’t have the time so I made tracks in reality in repetition. Hands feel bigger than they really are and objects appear closer. I carried breeze blocks on hitching twigs. Pf pf pf. We walked when there was work to do because walking is better than working unless walking is your working. I don’t like the idea of working outside unless it’s a choice. A long way through some wilderness and something said I’ve got to be getting back soon like a broken record. Was it wild or was it roadside. The ground was loose and a small stone routes easily into my shoes etc etc and then it disappeared.
There wasn’t the time and then we found a room with sand walls. Warm but not too hot. Not cold. There was wire suspended in a square about my height not yours. We sit in the room and make idle chatter. I don’t feel cool in the rain and I don’t lie on the beach very often. The we was me and the other part of me probably with his face, it’s the one I know best but this all happened some weeks ago but it feels like it felt like him. A scorpion appeared but we were making idle chat and you were trying to say something to me or I was trying to say something to myself and so I only heard ‘The Rain is Coming’ etc etc and then it disappeared.
I couldn’t hear the scorpion apart from the words the rain is coming etc etc and then it disappeared
To check reality repeat it again. Make a large square from wire and suspend scorpions. Build a room from sand etc etc and then it disappears.
What’s that? There will be a van outside. Whats that? When you finally appear, you will find a getaway car but it’ll seem preoccupied. There will be two people in the front or maybe one leaning at the window, now brothers, now mothers, now grandchild and grandparent. There will be the sound of the radio emanating from a duffle bag. Familiar but also probably you. There will still be people around for the walk back and they’ll be roughly by your side or a little behind, familiar but also probably you. There will still be sly jokes and canned applause and from where you’re standing the loose road will be an echo. The motor home will make a gateway etc etc and then it’ll disappear
Then grandparent who might also be yourself will explain that they have to work very hard because we I you they are all so easily distracted. Someone will say ‘your van feels suburban at home’ which will make sense at the time, and then you’ll hear get delphic! until the record breaks. You might remember that you’ve got to be getting back soon and the future tense is not a stark clear oasis. While you’ve been thinking, there will be less people around and the paper will be in your pocket etc etc and then it’ll disappear
You will have to work very hard to find out what the story was even though the suburban was ready and waiting but the gateway will not be a getaway rather a guard and that older and or younger person will be a keeper who’ll say I need to quit too and a lip will curl and eyes will feel heavy in their sockets like sight is a dead weight etc etc and then it’ll disappear
You might have work to do for some weeks yet and she’ll remember that the oracle told her to go to a night class which seems to make sense now she’s got the time. You’ll find pennies in a secret spot which will remind you of a certain echo in a certain shaded corridor and out of the window the rain is coming etc etc and then it’ll disappear.
Nick Lynch's Beach Show, Barrassie Beach, September 2018
MLitt Art Writing / MLitt Creative Writing's, Soft Shell, The Poetry Club, November 2018