(1) The Dumbshow
OK, the shoe enters. It is adorable – as is Rita Hayworth in Gilda, blonde & deracinated, then repotted into fantasy Latin America. It is how she moves, why she moves, that the image-track is about. Serious, as sinuous, as smoke, as complex & dynamic actual systems, as the conduits of fluid within the great machine of this world: we inhabit barely, its ruins – young again, lost, begin again.
Perhaps we should be Kwan-Yin – not to reach her for succour but to cultivate her being. Even here, stuck on the Thames Crossing, waiting to bring the end of the world, we could do this. Anything could be possible or significant, even the arrangement of sandbags in a dead doorway. The glance of a woman on a bus when, oh, who knows – actually you do know: 1926; “Bibi à Londres” – you know, just before she turns into a bird and flies.
(2) The Feast
Albion St, Broadstairs, dawn. Towards its lower end, looking seaward. Roseate, low-key urban. Standing outside The Chapel bar, waiting for it to open, & remembering the old Albion Bookshop. Before then the little notice (mid C20) tells us it was the Parish Rooms, constructed as a chapel in 1601, replacing the former shrine to Our Lady of Bradstow. You reflect on the recurring need for a female aspect to godhead. How close Kwan-Yin is to the BVM – both maternal, & yet also with that cancelled: fantasies, male fantasies, just boys’, sons’, fantasies, sad in their inadequacy.
The shoe arrives. You are delighted.
YOU: Can we get out of this room we all live in?
GILDA: No. We must aim to destroy ourselves, for we are in the Atomic Age now. We must bring our suffering to an end. We must accept our blame, despite everything – even our hair – we must be punished for ever.
Time passes. Gilda does not die.
SMALL RUINED GIRL: This ancient hall shall be rebuilt for the common good; then inevitably stolen back by the high-status elites who gained power thru its control, and the whole cycle shall recommence.
(3) The Prayer
P: Help us, Kwan-Yin, Chinese Goddess of Mercy & Bodhisattva!
A: Help us, Kwan-Yin, you who changed your gender when you plunged back into our world to give us aid in the great task of living through this world in the sad eons after the Breaking of the Vessels. It is not in time your glance & your breath aid us. For there are no lives & no existences.
P: Help us, Adrian Eckersley, intellectual & artist!
A: Help us, Adrian. You think through the crush & ruin of our lives, living in that same rubble we scuttle amidst. Help us make the Great Crossing this night. Only as great sinners can we do this thing – help us now to sin.
P: Help us, Richard Makin, artist & poet!
A: Help us, Richard. Cut this world we live in back into its pieces so the fragments of incommensurable meaning may build up new patterns & fresh curbs. Revivify dead sands and drifting words around us. With your aid, we can get out: sudden violent creation.
P: Help us, Mme Lartigue, née Madeleine Messager, first wife and first muse!
A: Help us, Bibi, for you live for ever, quick & fresh & responsive to this world. Your husband will die; but you live on, your eyes as fragments of what life can be. Bless this bus & this dark shabby street you pass by above.
P: Help us, little bird, little Dutch finch in flight!
A: Help us, little bird. Simply to fly off into the dawn, dirty pink breaking up into calm & open nothing, process blurring all language.