Sunday, March 27, 2005
The heterogeneous is ...
resolutely placed outside the reach of scientific knowledge, which by
definition is only applicable to homogeneous elements. Above all,
heterology is opposed to any homogeneous representation of the world,
in other words, to any philosophical system. The goal of such representations
is always the deprivation of our universe's sources of excitation and the
development of a servile human species, fit only for the fabrication, rational
consumption, and conservation of products.
Bataille, ‘The Use Value of D.A.F de Sade’
Cave systems allow secrets to be kept. Broken cliffs afford shelter in their crevices,
arches, ravines and cutaways. A natural slit in the cliff face, walled off,
occupied by smugglers. Relics of the Pleistocene era, trapped beneath earth and
rock, petrified: cave bear, hyena, ox, bison, woolly rhinoceros, mammoth and
reindeer. Mats of grass, fescue, and lichen spread across distressed limestone.
Lizards scuttle over beds of thyme and rock rose. Jackdaws drive out choughs.
Linnets and yellowhammers weave through wind-shorn shrub. Kingfishers make
their way down tributaries; ring ouzels navigate inland. Snow buntings spotted on
Three Cliffs in late October. The hunt of fox and vole. Hard winds full of ice
and sleet. Sea plantation and rock samphire seek out sea-spray. Flowers stretch
for the sun. Sharp bursts of thrift and squill. Rock plants of sub-aerial scree.
Limestone cliffs rise into channel gales. Crowned by a navigational beacon, the
plateau curves down from its summit. Life hums and simmers on the exposed tidal
channel. Brittle stars lose arms among the rolling pebbles. Starfish stranded
on the high shore after storms. Hermit crabs scuttle among the wrack. Gulls
pick their way through smashed sea shells and disembowelled shore crabs. The
sky near Burryholms blackened with birds. A mass of whirling starlings.
Weeds flourish in the turbulence of
wind speed and wave action. Ice-crusts form in shallow waters. Carrion crows
scour the shoreline and scratch at unexploded bombshells. A wartime artillery
observation post that punctuates the North point. An Atlantic seal stranded at
the cove. Exhausted auks blown inshore by winter weather. Lasso cells catch
prey in the sea rush zone. The milky latex of sea spurge. Clotted seaweed: red
algae, oar weed, kelp. Fragments of razor and mussel. Sea drift, scattered artefacts:
lobster cages, rubber gloves, plastic bottles, knotted rope and Tupperware.
Tides provide broken biros, cigarette filters, plastic straws, gull feathers. A
crab corpse covered in sand-flies. Scatter of delicate urchin exoskeletons.
Clandestine creep of limpets. Hybrid swarm of parasites and scavengers. The
crackle, spit and splutter of rock pools, tide receding. Refracted roar of RAF
jets across the horizon. Monkfish thrown back overboard and washed ashore. Whistle
of oystercatchers in rain. Cormorants perched on the balcony and lantern
balustrade of the last cast-iron lighthouse in Wales. Piles of cockleshells.
Stranded false killer whales. Sawbills and scoter tackle rip-tides and
currents. Seals swirl through a strong swell. Pintail arrive from breeding
grounds in the Baltic. Airborne raptor, dropping, arcing, cutting, ascending.
Looking back through debris on the high tide line.
A school of dolphins play off-shore mid-June. A ghost-grey basking shark glides
through gloomy water. Blue lobsters and red crabs scuttle across the sea-bed.
Hoverflies, bluebottles, and wasps swarm in with summer. Also: drone flies,
bees and green bottles; small coppers and orange tip butterflies; red admirals
skimming the sea surface. Groups of free range ponies wander along cliff-tops.
Bracken, bramble, gorse and rushes web over moors, invade meadows. Bared soil
knotted with delicate flower-trails melts into wheat and barley fields and corn
crops. Trace of stream and ditch absorbed by rock. Pasture reverts to
scrubland, overrun by gorse, hawthorn and rose. Tussocks of moor-grass and rushes
and mossy mounds. Store cattle, wild horse and branded sheep. A stoat atop a
telegraph pole. A mob of ravens. Velvety blankets of rare grass and smooth lids
of algae. Cuckoo flower and silver weed. Freshwater swamps, ravenous bogs. Sand
hills sprinkled with birch spinneys and willow slacks. Oscillation of
wind-combed dunes. Rusted barbed wire and bonfire remains like sacrificial
residue. Arid sandy slopes. Dry dune meadow. Misty skyline. A medieval sea wall
colonized by thistles. A village lost inside dense woodland. A house that was a
hotel. An abandoned quarry. Barrows, dolmens, menhirs and castles. A calamitous
Norman stronghold on a cliff: the castle that is haunted and cursed, and its
story. Lost links and folds of time eclipsed by flora, wood and sand. Crumbling
walls, leafy lanes, coils of road and hedgerow. Farmland that ends at a cliff
face. Caravan sites, villages and hamlets. Bare paths and car parks. Land
Rovers, Range Rovers, a bottle green Jaguar, a red Alfa Romeo. White sails, anchored
yachts, fishing trawlers, and a handsome ferry. A tidal island, a sweep of
sand, a range of dunes. Expanse of mudflats and estuary. Wooded cliffs on the
North shore merge into coal fields and hills. Across a stile, down a muddy
path, between gorse and nettle, dancing past adders and grass snakes. Very
smooth pebbles; a brook full of ferns. Cut drainage channel and a sluice gate.
A sheltered bridge quite high above a stream. A small church hidden in woodland
by the side of a loud, open bay of jet-skis, speedboats and windsurfers. Light
showers and dewfall. Transparent slats of sunlight through crowding cloud. The
escape of dappled spots. These turn to shafts. These turn to bursts. Then
sheets. Still until the incoming tide laps your toes. A gull perched on ragged
rocks. There's a music of
thrushes cracking snail shells open on tarmac paths and discarded bottles.
There's the art and order of erosion and accretion, for example, the succession
and balance of deconstructional and constructional waves, dragging and
depositing material, wearing down the angles, displacing and replacing, with no
total loss or gain of material. There is the sea eating away at limestone
shelves with random appetite and unpredictable attack. There is the crenellations
this creates; the refuge, nests and hideaways. This is the living space between
creation and waste; of birth, death, folklore, legend, tragedy and shipwreck,
holiday and labour, migration and passage.
Not surprisingly, there are a number of legends associated with the
monument, the most popular being that the capstone was once a pebble flung away
by King Arthur, who found it in his shoe while walking in Llanelli. The stone
is also claimed to have been split by a blow from Excalibur, Arthur's sword (or
according to a later variation, by St David to prove it was not sacred), and
that on Midsummer Eve the stone goes down to the Burry stream, to drink.
Paul R. Davies, ‘Historic Gower’
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Homage to a Pirelli Calendar (1974)
Kindling expired with a crackle on the sand. You discarded your sandals
and cut a toe. The blood was the same color as your lips and nail
varnish. Which was a bit ridiculous!
Catfish spine; crabs legs; mermaid's purse. Sifting fine shells and
other oceanic matter through fingers: a lot of life to toss away and toy
with. I wanted to say something to un-knot the tension in your clenched
tendons, but failed to.
A vizard over your eyes and bracelets wrapped around your slender,
tanned wrists: crimson gauze and dusk and other excellent effects.
Climbing over rocks studded with barnacles; leaving blood trails, bits
of sole, broken heal.
I swam in subzero temperatures. Passenger jets flew overhead. Contempt
kept my pulse steady. I am nasty enough to record this. The style is
admirable, I assure you.
You looked fantastic over breakfast: wet hair tossed over bare
shoulders; buttery fingers clutching a china coffee cup; lipstick-smears
beneath hollow, kohl-color eye sockets. You picked up your high heels,
tossed into a corner at 2 AM, and left, leaving a mess of crumbs and
cream, and a very stained table cloth.
I wanted, actually, to write something to make your toes curl with
delight and disgust. A billet doux, packed with detail, and written in
cold blood. I wanted to keep a promise for once. Or even think of one.
Tried to recall some horrendous censure or atrocity. So.
Sat down with a packet of Consulate in a bid to smoke less, and South
Eastern Australian Merlot, in an attempt to drink less (although I'm
informed that Australian wine is fine: like I'd even notice in the
middle of this nervous, vicious binge) and I came up with nothing but a
fast flash of F_____, with blood between her legs and hounds howling
over hills; the last train pulling out of the station, a pathetic
attempt at telepathy, and a big sign that read
oh, it flickered. In a hammock, sunlight pulsing through tall trees,
spat out pine cones, feathers, porcupine spines. A lot of spittle on the
grass and dirt and moss and a sizzling headache splitting wine, spirits
and menthol cigarettes with white filters, through delicate bone and
synapse, response and tremor. Do you remember? We had a day of hell
together. "Quixotic, so called," you said, to spark swear words and
produce mature bruises, purple and septic. You flimsy, sour foxlet.
It had been good, otherwise. Until, that is, something or other, like a
dream: in a desert, with shabby Egyptian vultures circling our skulls,
resplendent under radioactive waves, wisps of hair still attached. On
the horizon we saw a billboard dictator touch the sky with his index
finger; we spat Sufi slang like rugged gold-smelters. It got a bit
bawdy. We failed to communicate from then on. Your fine white complexion
went quiet which just about put a full stop
on it. The Russians sent their best baladines. We danced without relish
or discretion and then let each other go. A fine thing to do. Such
slovenly bullies! We went from wanton kindness to malice, indiscretion,
misfortune; the modes and intrigues of the day. But, in equal measure,
we would, indeed, have it no other way.