the autogeography of a no/body

Jul 8

funky toilet boxter trickster rich man poor man beggar man thief

I was thinking today, right after I passed the drunk guy lying unconscious in the park, I was thinking about ownership, being owned, what I own.


And sometimes the inside of my body feels like it’s water, or I’m going to turn to water.

She said “Perhaps it’s your OWN internal counsellor”. We were waiting in a queue to get on a boat. “Have you thought it might be your OWN internal counsellor?” No, I hadn’t thought that.

The old lady in front of me was penguin walking, weight planted heavily with each footstep. If I could just tap you on the shoulder, dear, because I need to know exactly what that colour of pale lilac is called, surely it has its OWN name?



I would say coarse haired, a touch of Irish Wolfhound. Well you would, wouldn’t you, because you try to classify everything. Not everything. Yes, you need those boxes. I hate boxes. You hate them because you need them. I don’t need them. So fucking rigid, big, bad show of gymnastic flexibility but at your core … Your core? No, MY core. OUR core, that’s what gets you. It doesn’t get me, totally false construct. I know the arguments. Argue this bitch.

Everyone wears their death mask. Occasionally they get a glimpse, out of the corner of their eye, as they pass a window reflection, when they stare at the stranger in the mirror, at the point they realise the person in the photograph is them but SOMETHING is missing. Less frequent are breaks in memory.

Tips of tongues.

The man in the park will wake up in a few hours and he will remember nothing. What a luxury. Imagine remembering EVERYTHING.

Enough, both of you, sit down.

Give me some thread, any thread, word thread, silk thread, because I’m feeling ropey tonight.

Here is the issue. “Silk milk.” That’s not the issue. Funky toilet boxter trickster rich man poor man beggar man thief. I can hear the clouds moving.

Unbidden, the stuff that OWNS you.

It had been a late one, bed at dawn, never a good idea, if my sleep gets disrupted it adds to the scramble. “How do you feel?” he asked the following morning. “Discombobulated,” I said. I can’t stand silence. It reminds me of waiting. Always the radio.

1989, Spain, standing in my parents’ sitting room, bare feet, stone floor, whitewashed walls, evening, faded heat, mother in the kitchen, metal-metal-water-pan-pong, my father’s hand in the small of my back, smiling, I can smell brandy and cigars, I have my hand on his arm, just above his elbow, half my palm against his skin and half resting on his shirt, cotton, an open weave. “Follow me,” he says, and we begin to dance. Hand in the small of my back. My body matches his. Sweet sweat, a slight grease sheen on his forehead, hair combed back. The steps, and feigned steps, are quick. We dance with our hips. I flick my head from side to side. Holding his other hand, rough, big, such big hands my father had, thick, muscular. Mother joins us. She is standing in the doorway clapping Arab style, ringing her tongue against the roof of her mouth. We are in perfect rhythm. He can lift me. He can spin me and pull me back to him. I am completely weightless, entirely subject to this wild lubrication, and I am laughing and laughing and my whole body is on hinges. The music finishes.


“I dreamt about my father, about the time we danced.”

I went to the beach and collected peebles.

A force ten gale blew in off the sea. At the top of the steps it was so windy I had to secure myself to the stair railings with the dog lead. He is bomb proof. Low centre of gravity. Funny animal. Onto the roaring beach. Horizontal rain like needles. Rock pools. He swam in the deeper sections. I watched the sea plants clinging onto their hosts for dear life, dear, dear life, costly and salty, piquant right through to salinated. And I thought about him, the time he told me how they had to chain themselves to the railings to avoid being washed overboard. Seventeen years old. He loved the sea, all his dear, dear life, that cost him, that cost me. He loved the beautiful, wild sea. Oceans of guilt and regret. But I never did remember the dancing before. Like everything with him, it was a crazy, energetic and alive. With my father you never felt you were just treading water. He was the sea.

I stood on the beach, wind lashed, soaked to the skin, blown away by it all.


“Yes, I’m done.”

“Can you see his death mask?”


The last thing I did was hold his still warm hand.