(1hr deadline, Reading , December 2007)
Ah, the location of which is beyond the brochure. There is a small table, a collection of chairs. A pillory post is laid in the room like an exhausted swimmer. Books are kept in a cardboard box, which has softened and widened at the waist. A series of titles: the fire, the wheel, the lever. A glitter on the tabletop transfers to the hand. Outside Citadel Buildings. A universe spray. It is an unreasonable facsimile. It is a specimen box that declares that the individuals included within are “often mistaken” for the one of concern. The effect is the skirting of the particular specimen in question, as if its approximate qualities could be imagined in the common similarities thrown about the arrangement. As more and more data in proximity to the specimen of concern is gathered and pinned, little else is needed. Here is a metal casing with the words “CLEAR WAY” on its front panel. And the silhouette of a key, painted into a white brick wall – with no hook to hang it, nor any hole suggesting it had once stipulated a position in use.
Mule skinned writes with a backwards lean. The same goes for his posture. The spine slants back, putting pressure on the lower back muscles. These are diagrams of human function, models that describe processes all around us. A rubber-covered cable, filling blocks. A partly disassembled machine, raided for parts.
He dabbed his lips.
Great field coils.
What sticks in the mind, in the storage area, are the enormous objects that seem to consist only of cellophane wrapping – countless layers building up into a curious, luminescent surface. But there are different textures that lay a little further in – perhaps an object – is it hair? – covered by so many turns of the transparent material that it seems unreachable, a distant dark star, clouded in cuckoo spit. He welcomes any mistaken form, or the extremities of detail summarily flattened, made bulbous and dumb by this protective membrane. Always a confusion of adding air – of more of the same.
Here the curved rows of a particular machine, a spinning camera that smothers each specimen.
In the storage facility a series of bi-coloured dials: “watch for fires.”
One of many chutes and trays, wheel-driven cages that fold into each other.
He dabbed his lips.
Glass-like strips, weeks of steady repair. All in hand. We call these bulbs – one for the right arm, one in the left hand – to the core, the nucleus cell secretly determining its wider form. You have to be sure to read it, but the transference is there, the details of each specimen translate to each spherical casing. All the details are given, though widened out, magnified and bloated, as if on an elastic surface.
Ah, this is how cells work – registered codes are inflated out from the seed – you can see the seed through the sac.