Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Gilded carnival chariots, six lanes of traffic, an intimate drunken embrace and Algeria

On the bus I was momentarily overtaken by the memory a gilded carnival chariot. I was reading Camus, The American Journals. My remembered giant cart was nightly towed around the festival grounds at Woodford, by the Hari Krishnas I think. One clear memory of unfettered delight. It was a heavy thing, decorated wildly in a style from last century, towed with great braided ropes by clamorous groups heaving through the thick air. A heavy air made tolerable only by the setting of the sun. I think of it as painted shining and white, several stories high with no practical purpose. A machine built for joy.

Camus slapped me with his spare prose. Every clean sentence the tip of an iceberg. I should always return to books like these, writers' notebooks of observations and ideas, like a  dancer returns to the barre.

It has been about a month since I last saw Leif. I think I call him Leif here, or Leaf or Tree or River or some such name but there he was at Central Station striding towards me to wait for the same train. His beard seems incredulously long. He wasn't staggering or ginger of stride but his immediate confession, as he fell into one of his intimate embraces, was that he was quite probably still drunk from last night and running hideously late for work.

I have now the urge to leave the cafe where I sit to cross the road and be tattooed with something ill-advised. This is the same urge to write. Make visible marks representing an interior feeling.

I was on my way to a job interview when I ran into Leif. He has been having difficulty securing a lease on somewhere new to live. He said he is good on paper, same good job for years and years, steady rental history. I should have remarked that he is good off-paper as well. Though he is sometimes petulant the source is always love. I often suppress the urge to build a good fence around him, not to contain him but to provide him with an impenetrable place of safety. Most people build their own borders but either he does not know how or he is so used to being invaded he has discarded any notions of sovereignty.

He was a companionable distraction on what might have been an anxious journey. I briefly became lost on the way to the office but in a fit of calm adulthood I telephoned for directions. I was violently reminded about the land of cars as I walked around the business park in North Ryde. Six lane roads and not a fellow pedestrian in sight. As I made note of the directions I was desperately hoping not to be sucked out of the poor shade a of a young eucalypt and into the screaming traffic by the jet wash of a passing truck.

I know almost nothing about Algeria. Some places I imagine dusty and hot. I am content with a vague notion of white walls and outside, in sparse shade, some scratching chickens.

The man who interviewed me was undoubtedly delectable. He shifted between consciously projecting a businesslike charm and inadvertently revealing something of his true nature. I imagine his childhood home was solid and well-furnished. The same good curtains hanging in windows for most of his life. He has a steadiness about him, whether recently constructed or an innate feature of his person I have no idea. I have developed a curiosity about him. It itches at me to be left with only the imaginary texture of his life.


Anonymous said...

i am so glad that the man/ woman with the confronting groin has moved down the page of your blog and that your day was graced with two charming characters.
i have been going mad and talking about turkeys and trying to understand wonderful sentences like this

"The abandonment of Dasin to itself is shown with primordial concreteness in anxiety"

i hate it, im terrible, it all makes no sense, i can't hold it still and yet there is an odd hilarity that rises in me when i engage. it is a burbling nonsense just below the surface and somehow its presence quietens all of the racket that seeks to corrupt me.

do you know what that is?
hope you don't have a shroom hang over... i think accidental dosage sounds like a good idea
what camus are you referring to i need holiday reading but the only thing i remember about the camus i know is that he's more fond of suicide than a life half lived, somehting like that
xx ;leurf

Dale Slamma said...

'American Journals' - Camus.

Don't worry about that sentence. Sometimes it is enough to understand the overall meaning and context of something. Don't kill yourself over university reading.