Figs, Figures and Figureheads

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    The world is pyrotechnic. The clouds are being looted. We stare at wallace’s blue cuticles. police car’s bonnet emits steam. Black figs are the rain. Black figures walk through the rain. Black figureheads are the rain. Figs, figures and figureheads. white avatars."I’ve never seen those before," Ilie.The officer slugs on her haemorrhaging water, it spills down on to the starched synthetics of her uniform. it soaks as quickly as it shrinks. she throws me a glance with her riddling eyes, her face covered in stripes of bone char and mud and lipstick. spits at me. beautiful snake with flat fangs and a cold. as she marches past me the metal of her police badge catches my sleeve. doesn’t care. ache. backs the car out, it sags like an accordion. The green putty, in the shape of a wet star, rolls down my shirt and flops to the ground. can’t tell from her eyes if am going to be arrested for murder or not. she’s a good mother. she drives away. Iremember watching a space shuttle launch on TV once with my dad, they all died on the launch pad: "…shakespearean tragedy…" he had said. see the figs suspended there. a reluctant rain, so like me. know my dad lies."You can see moss grow at night son."Mary is standing there. don’t see her. smile. heaven will burn my retinas out; when see it. everyone in heaven is blind. they join hands. Mary takes my hand. she doesn’t speak. i am surprised no one’s bombed heaven. will. prime target.suddenly notice the air between the raindrops closing. i remember watching the windscreen of my father’s car on the way to town willing all the water to merge, frustrated by its division. that song is playing ‘Raindrops keep falling on my head’ but i can’t remember any of the other words. the drops begin to untie, tighten, unite. water is solid. water is incompressible. (idea of purity.) comes down – someone is pouring a sea away, down a drain. i am pushed to the ground by its force. was sick once on a merry-go-round, it flayed out like the blade on a propeller, i soaked all the grown-ups, my dad. he laughs.iopen my eyes. they are streaming like always wanted the windscreen to. i can see my father in front of me. clearly. set against the unclear.He speaks in the loudest whisper of my life."If I’ve learnt anything son, learnt it from you. i realise that now. that’s what i tried to do for you. realise."Bullets fly like locusts. Bible in the house is wet through. wooden Jesus on the crucifix in the local church cries with his father’s tears, the roof caving in with damp. No miracles. No metaphors. No more rain. No God, please, no God.Asilence carves through my brain like a warm knife through tender chicken. am an advert. The loam of the meat peeling away on either side into deliciously crisp slices. stainless steel glints with brilliance. a cooked chicken is about the same size as a brain, with wings. Featherless.i open my eyes. grass is dry. i pinch myself till bleed to make sure am not dreaming. single red blob blobs onto the brittle straw of the grass and is leached by the thirsty blades. how are they so dry? look up. sky swills. black gnarling branches of the fig trees look like the metal railings of a balcony used to press my face against in sri Lanka. sun looks different. Like am looking at it from the bottom of a swimming pool. see it as a madman sees a genius, as a genius sees a face. streaming bolts between the bars a cage, brightness, unstable, atavistic.i squint. can see the trees perfectly, their twigs are lucid with new buds. i realise that i, the house, the trees and Mary are in an air pocket, an empty pocket, protected by an invisible skin that is holding up the world’s water. we are in a womb kept dry from the amniotic fluid outside. The silence is punctuated by the occasional re-emergence of birds from the soup. some flap before they hit the ground, some don’t. We are in a parted sea in a parted garden. a red eden. an island in an upside down ocean. the world was buried at sea while we slept. trace the line, this is literal. are being kept dry by water. We are the nucleus of a ubiquitous cell. we?Mary? grab her pink hand with mine. it is lifeless. her lips are open and she is closed. Afountain of ice around my eyes. permafrost crystals on my larynx. the harpoon is by her side on the parched grass. why? don’t know. pick it up. feels right. aim it at the sun and pull the tight trigger tighter. it flies through the water towards the sun. a comet. noise like an atom bomb going off inside an eardrum. the sun goes out. i feel the rope collecting on my feet in figures of eight. something is coming. the rope is piping hot. figs darken with anticipation. This is the moment whenFigs, Figures and Figureheads concludes next week.ARCHIVE: 6th week MT 2005

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