Saturday, 8 November 2008

Beirut and the pleasure dome

The following is what happens when I let myself use language as a vehicle for pleasure. I am listening to Beirut's Gulag Orkestar and I have spent some time watching interviews with Hunter S Thompson. All should be as clear as a red chilli eye wash.
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Welcome to this instalment of the carousel holiday. You can see how well it’s going. After you’ve spun past the mimes and all their eerie, silent slogans, you barely have time to inspect the dust gathered in the creases of your visor. Whatever you do, don’t get off. The speed is slowly changing and you don’t want to miss the subtle shift in the atmosphere, the outline of the long-awaited pleasure-dome creasing the horizon.

Why do the girls keep fainting? This one has gone blue but she’s still smiling and murmuring something about velvet love, so on your next pass drip some red wax on her naked belly to draw her closer to squeaky bliss. The horses are parading closer to the edge. Soon we will all be flung off together into the sand, clogged with sweat and confused desire but finally free to lash out at it all or to embrace it, call it friend or fancy dancer.

The accordion is pulsing squish organ joy like a heart underwater, and that little man in the fedora is tapping the snare drum but he keeps being drawn away and the beat fades with his dreaming, making us think it will all disappear before the moment arrives.

Take one last look at your savage limbs, the way they glow under these arches of light, pools of fanged reflection on your skin, yellow orange smears beamed onto you from the giant mural of wild and stoic jungle creatures. Their comic snarls seem to croon: Remember! And something makes you think of the salt in your blood and the sea between her thighs and you gasp in a sudden, startling moment of Unknowing…

But now the hooves of our pastel convoy are crunching over the side and we are tossed, longing singing in our guts, into the abyss. We fall for days and finally land among the dunes, sacred horror holding our tongues like bells in mid-ring. We resonate but we can’t figure out why. Miniature shudders evaporate from our bodies and we march in time to the swaying curtain of heat. We fight the urge to waltz, to stir our growing trance before it can bulge into its full pageantry.
We walk for a long time, taking in the relentless hiss of the grains as they chant their holy devotion to friction. The soles of our feet mould to the undulations of hardened sand where the wind has crafted laughter from a wasteland.

The door is tiny. We who were expecting the vaulted gates of Valhalla are stunned. And there is no knocker. No barrier of any kind but whether we feel an inability to crouch, to lower our bellies near to the ground and crawl in. We don’t, and as we creep through the stone arch we can already see it, forced through the desert floor and spilling, lavishly, onto the ground above.

After all this time, still we defer the pleasure and wait, watching the steady, extravagant gush for hours before we reach out our hands and hold our fingers under the current, altering it as it alters us. The only thing left to do is taste it. And it tastes like all of our ancestors have been wrung out and turned into honey.

And now. Rest.

4 comments:

Jacqui L said...

I like what you do with words. Your writing is fluid and has a 'musical' quality to it. I love the way that you use imagery and it becomes even more enjoyable with each re-read.

"Please miss, I want some more" :-)

C.S. Perry said...

Squish organ joy?

RIGHT ON!

This is the best thing I've read in while.

Continue trading in the hard currency of words.

your new best friend said...

sacred horror holding our tongues like bells in mid-ring" favorite line. ditto on the musicality...

Scarecrow said...

I came across this by chance and was glad I did. It's rather intoxicating.