text by linda marie walker. images by andrew petrusevics.

Chair Music

Part One: The coming and going of rhythms, left to right, back to front (words in time & space & memory), it's all very well, still, & then: how will I speak to you, how will you speak to me. Today, tomorrow, and eventually.

Hesitating (I don't know), the thrill of delay, makes the elements, & their breaking, throughout, (hence) very much, excessively painful, and the map or chart or graph unlikely: a spectacle: the oldest vocation, or, guardian of sleep.

We read. The cool light, gaze turns E then W. Late night call, inevitable. Nothing else, pressure, little by little. The mud voice.

No-one knows who called, or laughed, but some-one wished some-one dead. What, with one thing and another.

When pain is voiced, it tells: 1. its difficult passage, 2. the resulting political and perceptual complications, and 3. the mutual inf(l)ection of material and verbal expression. Once, in the quiet day, the surprise opinion, the delicious lethargy, the reluctant return, finally, sun sets, too late again.

SHOT 23 (in fact, a continuation of shot 21) Anne-Marie Stretter in front of the photograph. From a distance, she looks at it, her back to the piano. We see the two of them: the photograph (of the dead woman, and the profile of the living woman). Then she leaves the shot. The camera remains on the photograph without moving. Silence. Then, Voices. Then a long silence. (Margurite Duras, India Song (shooting script), in Duras by Duras, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1987, p. 24)

In the afternoon I set up a little exhibition of my books in the display windows at the entrance to the library. Of course I'm sorry that I couldn't bring more with me. Then MS took me to the city centre where I began to find my bearings. Virtually everything that's a little old, 50 years or more, is very English in style, but always painted in very bright colours; there are also some old colonial-style buildings, surrounded by balconies on every floor with wrought-iron balustrades, then there is a layer of American skyscraper. Lots of covered arcades leading from one street to another with a mass of little shops. I looked for the department stores and only found them just before they closed at five o'clock; I returned by bus, which took a good half-hour. The city is traversed by the very winding Brisbane River, which is only crossed by a few bridges so that you sometimes have to make enormously roundabout journeys to get from one point to another. I was after a little radio and a pair of boots because of the danger of leeches on some of my explorations. So far I haven't been able to buy either ... (Michel Butor, Letters from the Antipodes, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1981, p. 19)

When one hears about another's physical pain, the events inside that body are subterranean fact, invisible geography, & however (ominous), are unreal, not on the earth's surface: Finally, he was quartered ... this last operation was very long, because the horses used were not accustomed to drawing; consequently, instead of four, six were needed; and when that did not suffice, they were forced, in order to cut off the wretch's thighs, to sever the sinews and hack at the joints ... The sulphur was lit, but the flame was so poor that only the top skin of the hand was burnt, and that only slightly. Then the executioner, his sleeves rolled up ... and what he took away formed at each part a wound about the size of a six-pound crown piece. (M. Foucault, Discipline and Punish, The Birth of the Prison, Penguin Books, London, 1987, p. 3/4)

Low down nausea, rock: distant footsteps, who comes. Not worth trouble. Vain refusal, shyness, need for key, even though the opposite is true, if not truer, if not overwhelming, preventing one desire exacting the other.

Or alternatively, it may seem as distant as the interstellar events of not yet detectable screams or of a class of objects within which violent events of unknown nature occur from time to time. Take tradition ...

Gain improvise (in reading) apart seen (or perhaps in writing) cause record shape (make short work) lowers change to start (if put thus) in sequence remains zero (of play) & alone against constance (on falling) & copy grace (shows off) & to & so.

But then, in order, we read/write. Alarming, laden, objects, pains, in bodies, flicker, then disappear.

There is influence, which supports - too magical to welcome analysis - facts of (trans)mission. Which refers to resemblance. Which links at distance and in time such defined/divined unities as oeuvres.

We shuttle (shuffle) past, she has come. Physical pain happens in bodies who live where we are each day, separated from us by millimetres.There are developments: it is possible to group events, to link them to the same organizing principle, to subject them to exemplary power (with its adaptations, its capacity for innovation, the incessant correlation of its different elements, its systems of assimilation and exchange), to discover, already at work in each beginning, a principle of coherence, to master time. Big old boots.

This will not last long, this weariness, this weather, this shock. Nothing else, for a moment, till you leave. And yet a sentence. Oh, stop. When one speaks about 'one's own physical pain' and about 'another's physical pain', one might be speaking about two distinct orders of events.

Wez! mus stu (and) que tho rea mad syn, tho gro tha wep nor acc bli (ong) ank exa, tho lin who val iid rec ogn ize fro the ooo (wil), wec mus ous tho for anr obs cur for eby whi hwe usl ink the dis cof ont man wit hat oan, the mus tbl (ong) dri vej out fro the dar imy whi the rei ...

A fine kettle of fish. All you want to write down, straight.

The person in pain grasps it 'effortlessly' (that is, even with the most heroic effort it cannot not be grasped); while for the person not in pain, not grasping it is 'effortless' (it is easy to remain wholly unaware of its existence; even with effort, one may be doubtful, or may retain the astonishing freedom of denying its existence. And, finally, if with sustained attention one does apprehend it, the aversiveness of the 'it' will only be a shadowy fraction of the actual 'it')

.So, for the person in pain, so incontestably and unnegotiably present is it that 'having pain' may come to be thought of as the most vibrant example of what it is to 'have certainty', while for the other person it is so elusive that 'hearing about pain' may exist as the primary model of what it is 'to have doubt'.

Each time, there is a scene, in the yard, forever, out the door. And other things, for instance video.

English, writes Virginia Woolf, which can express the thoughts of Hamlet and the tragedy of Lear has no words for the shiver or the headache ... The merest schoolgirl when she falls in love has Shakespeare or Keats to speak her mind for her, but let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.

True of the headache, Woolf's account is true of the severe and prolonged pain of cancers or burns or phantom limbs or strokes, as well as of the severe and prolonged pain that may occur without nameable disease.

Sorry, but all this does is turn, in turn, away. Can't answer, yes or no. It started earlier, when I remembered that soon I would get up and turn on the radio, but then forgot, because I was reading, and it was cold, and in the end I couldn't be bothered, but then I remembered again and got up and turned on a tape instead, that I selected, carefully, so there was nothing to gauge the point at which I thought about music, and why I turned away, then turned back, as by then minutes had passed, and now hours later I just recall some of the variations, while of course still in the dark about most, and it's nothing, not yes or no. Mainly it was cold.This is not to say there are no variations in pain, across languages: there are, and they are registers, sort of round things, like globes, and globules, of pus and blood, gathered dense stuff, glueing spaces, and mucking-up pleasure sense(s).

Part One compiled, in part, & unless otherwise indicated, from these sources: M. Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge; H. Cixous, Reading with Clarice Lispector; E. Scarry, The Body in Pain; E. Said, The World, The Text, and the Critic; G. de bord, The Society of the Spectacle.

Part Two: A body groundwork, nothing wayward outside (or in).

Later and later, sometimes at night when she'd returned, beginning, as if a sound, called finger, for a moment, a most pale fear, curled under as expected, and this is how bit by bit each detail, a unit: thank you I was deep in humming and raking which brings an end in June especially.

Are you alright, in addition, the fragment, openly: already done, in the reading whence sequence mellow(s)-dramatic, numerous and termly, true word, or termagant, or terminus, fails, & I pretend to send my limbs elsewhere, I could really place a single thing inside another, a group even, I could do it, rationally, as a black vertical line, and then as street, re-frain. It is almost dark.

Inside, mutter of measures, a shape, clear through the plates/planes (a rendezvous), down bends the sky, all appearance below, say forty, or even fifty, not a film, say six or seven murders, something has to give, surely (not), as smoke, several minutes long, mouth wide enough to flick, voice tilts, tilting, sing song, caught up and things tied together (not tilted, great relief, was morning): beautiful, maybe, the verdict: I guess: a few minutes more and darker still: face it, it's dark. Drop, hard and silver.

From now on, and at the fourth intersection, turn right & (you) will soon arrive, be assured.

A dead end, a door, not green or red. I'll step out, and head for the stairs, amongst the what's-it-name, folds.

I rest, having missed the train, whatever the reason, light glow glows glowing, beams & bolts, March entry floating around this & that, a million mites, trace unders, devoted to the single playing of the composition, sometimes narrow sometimes wide, same as stars, blue or green, red or orange, violet or yellow, in that amount of time, transfers even, at last, pressing sweetness in mouth, tissue from waist to knee, call: hello.

The syllables rising, say what I do (here), inside, on a frame like so to enjoy & you tell me of dust, whatever, no matter which way or which whenever well well well, along the water, the bucket pulled to the surface and the stammer in white, already late, and it gives her staggers, and stutters, no swirl in sight, feet off the ground, swelling, on knees, head crashing, shaking and follow(s), who cares, fruitless on film, as inferred (over there: H, for instance), & the execution (of it, as stranger) will be easier: Blue 3 is another instance of the very same time, Blue 4 is after of course, to go against (a lot, many times, grateful) the offer, & your trouble & further up the road attitude (and goody goody smile, prepared strings, otherwise smells), & careless start with sure and even hand, same as 'a' voice, & earlier, for that (to) matter(s), as if one day (andnodeathwillhaveoccurred) we escape precisely.

You can see, the grille there (knotted through the screen, plastered), actually stamped, as they might (well) be, very very warm, like, yep, a record, a recording. Road wet yellow light close room clothes about cases packed.

No sleep to this minute, joints, rims, cords, row of dots, cold out there, the air above burning in the smaller place hours ago, heat nevertheless & something else, duration, and then rain, small bullet through head clear as summit, green green, talking softly and doors open/close, but saying no, suddenly, from nowhere, the lounge probably, bursting out and breaking, all the way, snow on slope and house, wooden sunk, to the sea, to the edge, way down, soaking, and 'landscapey', building up bones for a last word: introduction.

This is a sentence, cover job, and red sleek metal pegs, & comes to nought, comes to speaking glass style, the nearly final words, simple, deliver, today. The worst sheer material effort the size the scale. With a few barges rotting along the banks. Towns one after the other, in the dusk, a certain boredom, of withdrawal, and fences, and then wow, the ray from black cloud: for awhile, all signs go. And the burning wood, slowly misting. And blue.

Back home the flat sea the sea the scrape of the spade (cuhtwhay cuhtwhay) whereas I want shooshing as a single note: note. The night is cool, cool night, before hot nights and the shout of sh, of the shout, hot the boiling air nothing else on the street the cool now street and this is what comes & comes next.

A grey bird, grey Monday, a bit of tree at window, the wind do-in, yet shut in tight box and a circle do-in do-in & wind leaf bloom.

Linda Marie Walker