Slave market with invisible bust of Voltaire

Prologue

Who could’ve imagined from the meeting’s moment, its very spinning but its stopping also, that everything would be lost and therefore, shortly afterwards, found also. How strange, really. Because they’d met, or more properly because they’d agreed to meet, all that had gone before became changed. Well, altered anyway. It certainly can’t be said that the past was wasted, just that it merely became, in the lazy historian’s phrase, prologue.

*

It is a strange thing for me, almost a painful mirror, to be properly woken in the middle of the night. If I can be made to come fully awake after having slept heavily for around two hours, I find myself (and this has always been the case) to be -in the normal human sense- completely bitter and without the usual tools of polite survival. The worst of it is that I am the most like my true self (or what I suspect that to be). Raw, completely undressed, and, somehow, incapable of suffering. By contrast, I recognize my daily nature as being sedated by the needs of politeness, or the ways of supposed simple decency, literally politesse, and I am shocked at the difference between these two apparent truths; the invisible scarab and the unknown, almost mute (laughably), who mostly is allowed to have control of me. It is impossible to be this awake. I cannot bear it, which is, presumably, precisely why I do not allow myself to be so. There is no hope.

*

To separate beasts: To take one and cleave it from another. To break things, a couple. To divorce.

Two separate beasts: A pair perhaps, but awkwardly alone. Apparently similar, but otherwise.

*

Writing is like crime, you need the time, motive and opportunity to get the job done. Many criminals who end up caught have at least two of these three by way of their incarceration, but many also lack the motive, perhaps understandably, although many famous books have been written in jail (Mein Kampf perhaps being the least of them).

*

Unasked for advice from an elderly unmet Scottish school mistress

Away and up the stairs but swallow no whistles
never kiss the bear who wears the ugly bristles
mind your pretty manners and always carry cake
play with every fish when you walk across the lake
enjoy the sound of barking so silent in your throat
keep your lips together but never be remote
collect the fallen grains of rice then count them just like money
and when you have enough trade them in for something funny
wonder to yourself if you’ll ever catch a cold
you can keep safe in your pocket `til your hankie’s very old
say “Good Morning to you Vicar charmed I’m sure
I trust you’re making progress with the children of the poor,”
be aware that bombs are falling made of pollen and seawater
regret the fact each day that you’re still without a daughter
promise your lonely grandma to be better than you are
wish for boys at Christmas you can drive home in your car
be certain that your willfulness is just a passing phase
be sure to spend your time in a bliss of happy praise for
We are out here watching and They are watching too
our eyes so clear upon the prize of the best that will be you.

We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilization. ~Voltaire

 

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