(monologues for a new world map)
By Caridad Svich
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning."
"Little Gidding," Four Quartets (1943)
There are islands within islands
in which we live.
One island consists of a mobile phone, laptop, and suitcase.
Another island is the heart island we all carry inside us,
the one where longing and memory resides.
There are physical islands: New York, Cuba, the British Isles…
I have lived in all of them at one time or another and they live inside
There are the islands we dream about, too.
The ones where we rest and are at peace and see ourselves enveloped
by natural wonder looking at the limitless horizon away from everything,
everyone and truest to ourselves--the imagined version of ourselves
which exists in our minds.
There are story islands. They live in a box we call a TV or trapped
They are acts of performance isolated in islands of light and shadow.
The following are lost postcards from all these various islands: cyber
messages for the electro-clash age.
Kids with pierced noses and lips
and magenta hair standing, sitting, leaning against shop windows, vending
machines, parking meters,
asking for a quarter, a dollar, a bit of change.
Tattoo parlors, thrift shops, and computer software supply stores crammed
the other, fighting for deep pockets made slim by the economy.
I get myself tarted up in the toilet mirror.
I think about sex. I think about soft porn on channel five. I think
There's a boy with red sneakers,
and a mobile, and a Teletubbie backpack cursing the state he's in.
He's got blue hair, and looks like a weeping figure in an Italian painting.
I want to make him in the back of the ice cream stand on Mitchell Street.
I want to feel his hair, and eat pizza and cocaine.
I don't love anybody. I don't trust anyone. I'm dreaming.
Lick it, slam it, suck it. I'm not scared.
I got a camera so I can record everything. Want a crime scene?
I can do blood like nobody.
There's a church on the corner.
It's got a yellow sign down its front:
"Free music for God."
I turn away from it. The boy follows me.
He's stuffed his face with chocolate and crisps and sweets.
His blue hair is unreal. It's a dye. The chocolate smears his perfect
We hold hands. We pass by the doors cut up with marker-pen graffiti.
He's got a lovely smile. Just lovely. He could be my angel-baby.
Here's a word for my heart: ardent.
You won't hear it again. Cause I know not to rely on anyone
because they will always let me down.
We pass by alleys, graveyards, car
The city turns in sleep. We're in the rems now.
Seven boys are slain on the midnight news. I hear it.
The boy with the blue hair looks for me. He's lost my hands. He's lost
I take my super 8 and aim it on him. "Right here, love. Look."
I want him inside me. I want this to be a senseless act of beauty.
Are you game, love? Are you game?
He looks. His name is hiding in
an ink-scrawl on his shirt.
His mouth is contorted between a smile and a snarl.
The only way out of this place is to touch my body.
His hands rest... I think about getting old and dying.
I think about not being scared.
Out of this, out of this, out of this world…
this is how I measure myself:
against the ultra-violet light where the fluorescent on my face and
arms can be seen.
Against you, boy. Against me.
I dream I'm in a city that was a dream.
I'm in a tailspin. Catch me.
I wake up in London. I go to bed in New York.
Glasgow is at the other end of the train, at the other end of Aberdeen,
and the northern country: Caledonia.
Los Angeles is the layover of a layover that never ends. Mexico finds
me in sleep.
Berlin… Berlin steals my dreams.
Voices call out on invisible speakers in languages I cannot understand:
"Aspekten der Hypnose, Aspekten der Hypnose…"
This is the suitcase of never ending cities that merge in my brain.
Everything is the same.
We are on a piece of cardboard. Points equidistant from each other.
The infant universe is flat.
Draw a line from one city to the other. Aberdeen lies near Seattle.
The kids with magenta hair follow
me from one end of the planet to the other.
Words from one country fall into the other: "Aspekten der… slow
There is the forward click of a camera as the shutter shutters, and
I see my lover leaving,
Walk on, boy. Lose me.
No rescue, no return
I walk down one street. I walk down
another. I memorize directions.
Nothing means anything.
We're a trans-global accident passing each other, going through each
through vaginas and cocks…furious, rapid, not knowing what…
Seven boys are killed, thrown into a ditch, sacrificed for the well-being
of this city, so that people can become concerned, feel connected for
so that they are distracted momentarily from their petty lives, but
it doesn't mean anything. The boys are dead. Someone else will be sacrificed.
Someone else will be killed. Our accident, this accident we live in,
is a dream.
We go from city to city pretending we're the same, pretending everything
is all right, but we're substituting real feeling for something else.
Virtual pleasure, virtual pain.
Under the duvet, I dream of Caledonia
way up north,
I dream of Catalan boys and street singers,
scabs on twins in the middle of a square,
a black sleeveless T on a body, and an ambient muse.
That's what I see, what I listen to, as I turn on my camera and dream.
My lover's left me. He's stolen
away. They all do.
He's looking for another dream.
He's looking out for me. Even though I don't need it. I don't need anything.
I've got money, cold fritters, and a bag of chips.
I've got chocolate, too. Kit-Kat bars in my pocket in case he comes
back to me.
I know he likes sweets. Not all the time. But to have…to stick between
It's raining smoke. The shops are
closed and I turn the other way.
Past another street. There's another boy with a bottle of Becks in his
hand and a bouquet of wildflowers. He doesn't know where he is. He doesn't
He's got a distracted smile and a hint of contempt on his lips.
I'd like to have him under a little tartan blanket,
put mirrors on his nipples, so he can reflect everything.
I want to make everything private in my life public, including my love,
even though it's misplaced, displaced, gone from view.
I don't care. Love is a labyrinth. It doesn't know silence.
It questions everything.
There is a voice on the loudspeaker. All flights have been cancelled.
Barcelona will have to wait for another day, so will Caledonia,
and everywhere else on this cardboard map.
I'm on the lip: a place of landing where all facades are dropped.
My suitcase holds the future as I stand across from a midnight car park
"Get out and don't come back," are the words I hear
as I weep alone under the glow of the TV aerials in the dark.
Unchangeable light impregnated with
know not lips.
Objects remote from our own senses pleased to submit themselves to the
until deprived of liquid.
The body is one thing incorrupt, irradiated with material light and
made nothing, made infinite,
invisible object of its own felicity, truly blessed handiwork of the
Most planned or conceived obscurity, obvious to our senses' lesser light.
This I know: how much more then can we seem to understand
greater blessedness, opposing darkness, wickedness of the future
and love's incorruptible joy?
Truth is in asking, in not abiding what we understand, but what is divided
profoundly, remote from our way of thinking, ineffectual difference
and transition of thought by which the universe is completed interpreted,
otherwise interrupted and made savage by divine proof of variableness,
time past, and shadow turning.
This is the dawn embraced, the unfounded sun, the quick passage penetrated
Things which are present are just and unjust, deluded and incorporeal;
An appearance of a real interval of space properly understood to be
secured against all mistakes is this.
This much I know: testimony is upheld by mind and spirit and private
privilege, a providential arrangement with the semblance of the body
and the ignorant who have ease.
In all things lies interior sense appropriated from the plenitude of
sustained by outward forms, orifices and air-holes, parts left untouched
by the palate.
See this blessed sin, see an innocent sacrificed for life's pleasure;
do not mourn it.
This is no sin at all, but only a prophetic interpretation of the night
made lesser day:
A darkening of the sun, a ruinous horizon, a denuded garden,
whereas other things are said to be sensible, not in our fashion,
time emerges un-forsaken by wisdom, known or equal to the mind grown
Some things are beyond what other things are allowed to be You see what
you see--that is love's light.
An incorrupt finger is none the less simple for being true, possesses
nothing but life
which has mordant rage and ill-seeming breath to face the nominal distinction
of a whole body
throughout complete and steady in its atmospheric vibrations
irrespective of relation to the other;
for the finger and the hand are unequal
but substance is the same, is shed, and unaccounted for
in this time when we so measure what we say that any element can stray
us from our path
until we are confounded by our own inability to go on and see what is
Death becomes identical in our minds to that which created it
and we are accompanied by the sure confidence of its eternity;
Life will never be so long as that which we let divide our hearts with
What is future but our holding on to the slim rope on a craft made of
where we propel our very souls to accept instinct, alike and eternal
from all else which
holds us and keeps the assurance of love in our hearts?