Stride Magazine -



white as goosefeather
             the fabled egg
                         soft stones still breathing
                         tideswill  siltswept hushed

among a worlds treasure
                         a cloud fallen angelblunder
                         defiant & serene     

here boulderlusts occur          
                                     minute apparitions of sun litter
                                                 lure eye and hand transfers surfaces
                                                               chalkskin shimmer stonewhisper smooth tongue
                                                               thick with ocean language

it is an island risen
impeccable bread

             seen thro the
             fathomless spinning spiders
             in glimmerfrocks 
                                         lace the interior w/ icicle bric-a brac

                         times insistent upon them

                         and rushes to

                         hourglass freefall from the forest of quiet mushrooms parachuting

                                                               to umbilical gut cave
                                                               seedcluster of sullen gold
                                                               in the honeytombs of fruit

oak leaves

green gold earth brown leaf cluster

                       crinkle chuckle scratch rattled

                                   those dead brown buds as rockets arrive nowhere

                                               eyelid collection

                                                             sloughed articles slung scales

            summersleep slumberous yellow
                                  slight cymbals
                                               bell medals
                                                             droughted tongue brittle lickt skeletal chitter

            a clutch of wrought fish
                                   fettered instance

            the bud shots speared ascents

            the wood knot
                                   slender aging knuckles
                                                            her ladylike frailty

            to speak of gossamer and bones
            the dust guttered terrain of nightmare
            heat stung & busted
            the crackt deck
            the furious atrocity of leaflessness
                                   parched and restless         skint
            sacked and roped     
            the calico wings
                                                             (the bird will not fly
            its dream baggage and weighty haulage
            noosed w/ convictions
            ribald and slum drag pantomime

            eh those feckless & dumb urchins again     
            thief     bandit

            to the rigging then
            where his old and snarling hands
            wrung a story from the birds neck

A woman in front of a blank wall.

She is positioned between two rectangles. Over her left shoulder a dark rectangular frame from the perimeter of which light emerges. Over her right shoulder a light rectangular frame from the centre of which light issues. The two shapes are angels. The woman and her lucid angels pose for the cameras. There is polite jostling, some announcements then a muddle of muted sounds which hang in the room like a net of lazy grey birds.

Various trillings and splodges of laughter. Mostly off-yellow and sudsy. 

The woman wears a mannish oat-coloured suit and white shirt held at the neck with a black cube brooch.  She has not quite allowed her mouth to smile, although there is one, gathered beneath the tension of her lips.

The woman is not beautiful, she has always thought her face the shape of a baking potato. Under the spotlight as if awaiting surgery, in the pale and airy interior of the gallery, the worry of hospitals canít quite be shaken off. The light is manufactured and soothingly something.

She keeps her arms by her side and doesnít drink, smoke or fiddle with her jewellery which might be a temptation as the black cube at her throat is high and lodged in the small hollow of her clavicle, so that anyone considering her feels the urge to cough. Itís a weight. Dense and shining with absence.

She doesnít speak. The black matter at her throat is a miniature coffin for the dead voice of the artist.
The woman is an artist.

Everyone at the opening knows that the artist cannot speak. The information has slithered its way through the gathering.

Her work, it is hissed, speaks for itself.

Everyone is desperate to discuss the missing voice, but for now, they bite their tongues and work hard at being unembarrassed by the artistís silence.  As a result more than the average amount of wine is drunk. Nodding and toothy smiles prevail and the artist is left with the impression she is surrounded by people that at any moment will reveal themselves to be horses.

What has become of the artistís voice?  Later the horses snort softly around dinner tables and whinny and stomp in cafť bars. Stories of illicit and violent sex spark and shimmer. The matter is dissected.

The artist returns home to occupy the myth of sleeplessness and looks out of her window. Some of the buildings shout and slam, but mostly, she has noticed, they are stubbornly silent. She wonders if they realise what is going on.

The angels of light and darkness hang quietly in the art gallery.

The artists voice sings along with the jukebox. It is not in tune and doesnít know the words, but doesnít care. Before long the voice will dance out into the street, clatter and splash in the gutters, shout across tottering rooftops, dodge the shriek and battle at chucking out time. It does not know where it is going and will get into terrible rows on its way. It tells lies. It tells the truth. It rushes on into the dark.

The artist can do nothing to save her voice, she gave up trying long ago and abandoned it.   
The artist undresses and the woman creeps into the night. Somewhere on a street her voice sobbing.

              © Dianne Darby 2003