Aught, no. 8 (2002)


Andrew Shelley

Crash Course

Sleek steel-grey vehicle speeding through sunlight to where the road peters out on the beach in slap-dashed cement clinging to brick-ends, mudpuddles of sandpitted tentwater and blocks of conglomerate stuck to torn-up scabs of surfacing. Jump-cut jolt-started from handscrawled signs, instance is simple tense, place made over entirely to time. Kickstarted from handscratched marks, houses are outposts of distance. Eaten under wheels stripped of all history, that progress without aftermath, where you were is where you are now set back along the axis. A single timeless virgin present processed pointlessly forwards, translating future to now exactly blanking past as expelled detritus. From absolutely inside, all without look like escaped killers, all seem nude, moving as smudges at the margins of the screen, blurring to merge beyond this sealed place whose soundless murder is self-defence against all silence. Touchbutton windows effortlessly glide closed without seam to subtract self as distinct from its backdrops, extract viewer from its sights, relieve seer of thing seen. So vision is magnified to vista eyelessly. Incommunicably itself everywhere and otherless. Slides on a layer of ensnared air through a carscape of facades each of which exemplifies self without residue, each of which is not there. Gradually nearing, fleetingly proposed as instant only to be wiped out at the moment they come close. Scanned, excised from sight in the matchless light of the shatterproof shield, it's the landscape shifts to your static demand for action. Self breathes here so bulletproof against any but its own noiseless feedback you can be shot dead for sounding or forgiven for screaming if disturbed from such sleepless cinematic dreams. Track is fodder to that bodytight mindspot from which all time and place have been sucked clean out through the seething vents' stitchless pleats. At night, senseless metal shells circulate around each other in a frictionless element of dancing lights, where all contact is collision. Beams streak streamlined through the aquamarine dark. They meld to perpetual noon at midnight. In the abbatoir on the outskirts of town, electric lights shine till dawn.

Shot out of a tunnel, out of a frame-gap, out of night as a space of mere lack, a masking, a blocking, a blind-slat, a bridge-strut, a salt-brick, thin wall between vast windows that engulf the whole view. Class concept slices through a landscape of samples in infinitely receding series, each extinguished as soon as it is instantiated, whole lush world leased to us by the sovereign sign itself unsignifiable. Moves forward by continually touching and spurning the ground it touches. All designates that which once itself described. World destroyed once it is abolished to the imagination. Fleshtight eyedot, vacuum-wrapped, styles itself into a zone of pure forms to hover over the faceless tarmac on a cushion of smooth space, purchase of its rubber base on the surface repressed beyond texture or grain, but still needing it to move on. Smoothed out from the centre, everything ripples to rough and sharply grazed enough at the edges to shred hands that reach out from the walls of barbed-wire and plaster seizing red roses, fingers that claw though the incinerating steel mesh seeking water. One touch deletes what is already not there, matchstick shack shimmers down, fragile membrane of the egg's yolk pricked by a flame-cleaned needle and syringed into empty air. So forgetting its forgettings it must carry on blinding to denial until it includes everything and seamlessly there's nothing but itself to omit. Gunshot report like a thundercrack. From crouched foetuswise between frames of the arrested fast-forward film your dark double slowly uncoils and rises up to snipe at you from the motorway bridges and tower-block balconies. Shivered images trickle through the fingers. Someone shouts at the rain-blurred fringes. Something unspins at an eye's edge. Pixel by pixel the lightscene reforms in gradually accruing drops on the screen that the wipers smear clean again. You are shot into the violent zone where the gauze tightens to burst and every contour is obeyed. Travelling into a horizon of louring haze, rain oil-drumming on metal through wet-bleared windows, forced through the gorge where the radio goes dead. Rain cross-hatching the roadscape, grey-black rubbing of zinc or lead, waterlogged rain-heavy ink-dark blue-black sky, dimension drowned-out. Inside you hear the wordecho of the thunderbolt still tapping on the window you shield behind like freezing ice-steel receiver whiplashing the signal live back on the streaming screen but somehow holding to it in motorway stormrain. You home your engine in fast lane to the transmitting tower shifting in grey rainmists but still lighthousing you to a point amid millions of gale-dashed points of cross-slit slash-silver which rimshoot off the chrome and whip-crack the signal to keep the godsped wheels from skidding. A bird's wet throat chirping rebirth as it drinks from a milkbottle full of rainwater on the step, arrived overnight with the frost's breath.


Copyright 2002, by the author. All rights reserved.
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