October 15th 2015, the Bakery, Jedburgh
Place: where is my place?
In the hands. In these hands.
The palm of one hand, opening,
And opening a space between
Itself and the heart.
The heart has its place,
And is a place, where there is a place
To turn and find another place
And another….and another….
Placing and placing; positioning and positioning
– hoping that something will work,
that something will come out of this.
The eye drops to the feet
which walk, shunt and carry us along,
straight ahead, no pause, no default
– until the sign to stop, and wonder about where to go…
But, meanwhile, feet are always ready, on alert,
nearly a plan of their own –
inside shoes, inside socks, inside skin, cartilage, muscle,
through and into bone –
those articulate bones –
articulating truths about standing, going, coming back.
Coming back… to find rest.
I have come to rest;
there is no rest to be found.
Turn, roll over, body in dispute with rest,
until restlessness moves her on, on to feet once more.
But no rest to be found here –
not that she’s looking –
but seeking seems to be a thread of this story.
My back’s against the wall.
Somehow the wall is soft and white and very old;
but for all that, my back is against it.
While you watch.
I don’t see you, but you know that I am there….
And I know that you are there.
“Turn and stand sideways, let one see you sideways…
but don’t leave the wall,
don’t tilt, don’t relax….
Now that we are acquainted, now dance….
free yourself into the exotic,
into the sensuous dance of your arms….
and they – let them lead you away from the wall
and into a turning world of dervish dance.”
You stand face to face with bone.
Not yours but another’s.
You peer into the ribcage, linger over the shoulder blades.
Take it all in from skull to feet.
An audible breath is a surprise. The other is no less present though for being breath – less.
You move into the space and the bones look on from the edge of the room.
A vertical presence.
Quietly occupying the space between floor and ceiling.
Your equilibrium shifts, weight seeps into the toes and the room slants off kilter.
An arm reaches and we move out with it seeing with fresh eyes the wall, the rafters, the bones beneath the skin.
We see you on all fours
an arch, a table top, a place between lying and standing
four square and solid except for the water sloshing about in the ribcage and that snake in your spine.
You change into a crouching man.
A skeleton conjures this next dance
Your hands take the measure of the steel spine that supports the roof. How cold does that metal feel?
I see a back bone – the dividing line of our right and left selves.
Back to back with the column, this dance finishes upstanding
What stranger, invisible to my eyes, are you repelling with kicks? As if the air sought to invade and occupy your place.
You are carrying a bowl of emptiness, you take a stance, and now another, support yourself against a white wall, stand on one leg.
Finding yourself in another terrain you work to maintain a sense of self.